Friday, July 24, 2009

How I’m Wired

I just read a column about how anyone who is cool has an iPhone. Now, as a 48-year-old woman, I doubt that I meet the definition of “cool” in any way. However, I am as wired (or more so) than my 16- and 21-year-old offspring!

My workhorse is a year-old BlackBerry Pearl (I would picture it here, but I can’t take a picture of it with it so…). It works seamlessly with the BlackBerry server at my work, keeps me up to date with FaceBook and Twitter (seriously, if you don’t have UberTwitter, download it NOW), and runs the clinical software for one of my hospitals. I have tweaked available apps to do my patient billing, I get weather and real-time sports updates, and I can carry around photos of my kids, pets, and husband. I would like to be able to double its memory, and there are downsides to the compressed keyboard, but I love the little gizmo.

What my Pearl could not do was read Kindle files. It’s screen was pretty small for reading anyway. And I have a netbook I can use for documents. Why did I need another e-toy?


Then my boss showed me the Kindle app on his iPhone. The screen is big enough to read clearly, and an iPod Touch is at least $100 less than a Kindle. My old iPod’s battery was only lasting about 20 minutes, and I just got a $200 honorarium. The stars were aligned for the purchase of the bad boy at right, now wrapped in a purple silicone case.

I downloaded a bunch of books, and some “fun” apps (none of which cost more than $2.99). I then packed my bags and took off for a 4-day business meeting.

The Kindle reader is a blessing. I became aware of a book I wanted to read soon immediately, so I downloaded via the hotel’s lobby hotspot. In a package smaller than a paperback I brought 3 novels along. And I can listen to music while I read.

I have found some games I like, but most of the apps available don’t appeal to me. That’s OK, I am not their target market. I don’t need iBeer to feel cool; I can buy real beer when I want to feel cool! Web sites are easier to read on the bigger screen, though, especially in landscape format.

I still prefer an actual keyboard to the on-screen version. Even with the compressed one on the Pearl, I’m a fairly fast thumb-typist. With the iPod Touch, I am reduced to one-finger work with lots of errors, even in landscape mode. Way slower, for me, than the Pearl interface.

For right now, I am OK with two devices. Together they take up less space than my first cell phone! I don’t have enough memory on a BlackBerry to ditch my iPod, and it’s screen is too small for ebooks. My weeks with the Touch confirms the keyboard difficulties I experienced in the store when the iPhone debuted. Besides, there are apps for work that I just can’t do with an iPhone!

I am due for a new device about the time the BlackBerry Magnum is supposed to debut. Now there’s a cool device for a hot, middle-aged babe like me!

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