Alarm Clock: Keep On Ticking

I woke up this morning before my alarm clock. That’s not uncommon. In fact, it happens so much that sometimes I wonder if I even need an alarm clock. Yet on this day, it was preferable to the recent bout of insomnia that caused me to wake up around four and then mostly stare at the ceiling for two hours. For that reason, I wasn’t at all upset that I beat the alarm by ten minutes.

With that extra time I was able to devote a moment to reveling in the splendor of my alarm clock. My early morning mind was simply ponderous about that little alarm clock, boxy with just a few buttons on it, a green digital display that’s still working, and most of all the logo on the front, Aiwa.

Aiwa was a brand that had existed for almost fifty years before the majority share holding Sony simply bought the brand completely and retired it. For a brief moment, around the millennium, Aiwa commercials were everywhere. They were the new, less expensive kid on the block. It seemed if anyone was getting new audio equipment, it was Aiwa. Then they simply vanished. Yet, according to wikipedia the brand returned in 2015 and made some bluetooth speakers. According to the global webpage, Sony has since bought the company again.

Around the time that Aiwa was huge and stereos were turning silver, I was graduating from high school and moving to college. I’d hadn’t really had a reliance on an alarm clock before. Having the safety net of parents to wake me up had served me well. There I was, twenty years ago, ready to move out into the world and I needed this little thing to come with me and make sure I didn’t sleep through the whole day. Which is a strange threat to live under because now it’s wild times if I make it passed seven.

Over the last twenty years I’ve had countless phones and computers die on me. My Aiwa alarm clock has been a constant. While those other electronics were used on an almost daily basis, so has that alarm clock. Sure they were far more complex and all the alarm clock has to do is tell time and chirping like the sentinel of not sleeping in and gainful employment that it is. May it live for another twenty. Perhaps I can be buried with it. Wouldn’t that be ironic. I’m seriously starting to entertain the idea of being buried with it.


Phone Case: The Case of The Missing Case

Phone case, does one’s phone truly need one? I mean they protect our phones and everything, but are they really necessary or are they just one more way to milk us for every dime we have? For those that missed it, I got a Google Pixel, but I didn’t get a phone case for it yet. I know, that sounds crazy. Why walk around with a beautiful metal and glass phone in your pocket. Phones are so expensive and ever so slightly slick to the touch as they’re pulled out of said pocket. No case, no rules. Naked as gawd intended.

Here’s the thing, the purchase of the phone was rather impromptu. One moment we were eating lunch and the next we were buying a phone. I didn’t have time to look for cases. Furthermore, at some moment in between those two extremes I said, “I don’t want to buy a case this time.” My wife gave me the look anyone would give someone who’s catastrophically dropped their phone twice and then says they aren’t going to buy a case.

It doesn’t help that my old phone is physically coming apart. However, that falling apart really comes from me pulling the case off to shove the phone in my armband when I run. The phone case always got stuck on the buttons and recently caused the screen to separate from the frame. I could see the little glowing lights underneath. It certainly was a mesmerizing peer behind the curtain. One that I can’t unsee and may have contributed to the unraveling of my sanity.

It doesn’t help that my old phone is physically coming apart. However, that falling apart really comes from me pulling the case off to shove the phone in my armband when I run. The phone case always got stuck on the buttons and recently caused the screen to separate from the frame. I could see the little glowing lights underneath. It certainly was a mesmerizing peer behind the curtain. One that I can’t unsee and may have contributed to the unraveling of my sanity.

Moving on! I feel like I need to add – possibly jinxing myself – I haven’t dropped the phone yet. This story will end fine, hopefully. I love my new phone, a lot. While I think it looks great, it is very slick when I hold it. When I’m standing with it in my hands, I imagine I look like a toddler with a sippy cup and a beard. Both hands cling to it, for the sustenance it contains is all that matters. There’s a maladroitness to the whole scene. Of course, the chances of me losing my shit and flinging my phone with rando toddler rage are very low. In fact, mental cognizance is fully off the charts. I am fully aware of myself, my surroundings and all alternate futures that fork into a web from my current position in time and space.

That’s no good! No one wants to look at their phone with such awareness. People want to zone out. It’s the only way to internet. I don’t even know if twitter could even function if people actually knew what they were doing. To that end, I’ve softened on my anti-phone case position. I can’t tell if it’s familiarity or actual necessity, but there’s a sense of security that comes from having a phone case.

Yet, I can’t help but wonder. Why do laptops, tablets and phones – in particular – have an entire symbiotic industry built up around them? Phone cases invade our phones and, on the off chance they are dropped, may provide some level of protection. That’s all the good they do!  That’s almost parasitic! Why do phone companies not just make the screen look nice and leave the guts hanging out the back of the phone? At least the case wouldn’t detract then. What’s the point of making a nice looking product if people are simply going to cover it up?

It would be like buying a Lamborghini, which, according to some people is a great looking machine. I’ll take their word for it. Mostly so they quit asking me to do coke and cease giving me high fives. And besides, I can’t hear anything they are saying over Don Johnson’s Heartbeat. Look, someone designed the Lamborghini to look appealing and go fast. Not in the same manner as technology, but the principles are relative. Look good! Go Fast!

Could anyone imagine buying a Lamborghini and then covering it up with a case? Obviously, it would detract from the, “Look Good!” However, it would also cause drag and effect the, “Go Fast!” What would a case even look like? Maybe it would be like one of those eighties sling shot bikini things – that were essentially four shoelaces radiating from an oven mitt – and some puffy boxing headgear. Before you ask, yes, of course, it’s red! It also comes in yellow.

New Phone, Google Pixel: Anxieties of the First World

Yesterday I bought a Google Pixel. I’m upgrading from a Nexus 5, which has been a great phone. In fact, it still works as well as the day I got it. I never had the button issues or any other problems. However, there a few reasons that I upgraded, one is the fact that my plan price stays the same whether I’m paying off a phone or not. I’m afraid if I did any tweaking to it, I’d end up paying more when I got a new phone. Secondly, I’ve had a crack on the screen for the better part of two years and one time my screen began to peel away from the frame. I managed to get it to stick together again though. Lastly, the Nexus 5 quit being supported in October of 2016. It’s a ballsy move to wander around these days without security updates.

I bought my new amazing phone. It was everything I liked about the Nexus 5 just better and newer. The body is metal. Interacting with the interface is snappy. It came with an OTG adapter which allowed me to transfer apps and text messages from my old phone to my new one. It was very much like the premise for X-Men: Apocalypse. Plus, I can use that OTG adapter for plugging a controller into the phone for gaming. What’s not to love?

Well, nothing. It’s all great! And yet! I was flying through the phone, checking stuff out when I come across a news story. It’s something that I’ve read about in a general sense and then completely forgot about. Google’s three year plan. The Google Pixel will only be supported until October 2019! One year of that time will only be security updates! I know that technology is ever progressing, but reading that your brand new phone has a year and half of good updates and one more of security updates is a head-butt to the no-no’s. Especially when reading it on the new phone after purchasing it two hours prior. In fact, I have the authority to say, “Google, that fuckin’ sucks!”

Sure, one could argue that people typically update their phones every two to three years or so due to plan renewals. However, people typically do trade-ins and other people purchase those trade ins*. Yet these phones will be useless unless the user puts LineageOS on it. No carrier is going to do that! Furthermore, three years of life from the release date is a little tight. Not all parts of the world get the phone at the same time. Will people only have a year of support left when they get their Pixel?

Seriously, my Nexus 5 is still running fine despite its physical maladies. I think it’s still got one good year of life in it at least. It’s one of those things where if it were a four year plan, I’d feel better about it. Hell, how about a nice round number like five? The same number the Apple is apparently using as the iPhone 5s is going to get the iOS11 update. Google! Fix it!

I also own a Nexus 7 (2013). Same story, but in perfect physical condition.

*or maybe they all just wind up on a barge in the Pacific that eventually sinks

Nexus 5 Down

Yesterday I did something absolutely stupid. While needlessly jogging through the parking lot to pay for a parking spot, my phone fell out of my hoodie pocket. I knew it was getting close to falling out. I had felt it bouncing around for a stride or two. I guess I have lost some weight so my belly doesn’t pin it against my pocket like it did last fall. As the fateful moment approached, my hand was reaching for my phone. As my hand entered my empty pocket, I heard the thud.

I stopped and turned. My phone, my buddy, was lying face down on the only mound of patched asphalt that seemed to exist. I had a terrible feeling. “Oh no!” I loudly moaned as I flipped it over and saw the shattered screen. I didn’t care that there were people around who heard. My phone’s screen was broken! The point of impact, just on the edge. Whatever had caused it was nearly missed.

I felt terrible. I typically don’t break things. My first G.I. Joe broke after six years of ownership. Even then it seemed to be of natural causes. The elastic holding everything together just broke while he was lying there, perfectly spaced from every other Joe in the box.

With that kind of resume, it is no wonder that I didn’t pay for the extra device protection. The joke is on me I guess. However, it might not be. Even though it will cost $140 to fix the screen, I would have paid more than twice that if I had added the protection plan ever since I’ve owned a smartphone. In addition, I have even been able to find the replacement screens for $47. After watching a few DIY videos though, it seems pretty meticulous. It may not be my cup of tea.

Also, I don’t know what I thought my phone was held together with, but I didn’t think it was double sided tape. Oh, how the mystery is gone!