This month's submission to a local newsletter...This month's winner for sparkliness for me is my iPhone, a fascinating new toy tool. It's Apple's newest (for a while), a recent upgrade from my relatively clunky Palm Treo. Being a Mensoid and also retired, I’m involved in a lot of different things, such as graffiti mural promotion, local politics, tromboning, grandchildren, social activism, and photography. As part of all that I have a need to track and interconnect online with people and events, via Facebook, email, Twitter, photo sites, and online papers and blogs. My old phone sort of did that, but this next generation phone links everything with much improved speed and functionality, yet in a much smaller package. In addition, it adds features like GPS (global positioning system) access and positional sensing - it knows if it's been turned sideways or shaken. Even more possibilities, for example, as I headed out to a recent TGIF, I checked the time of the next bus downtown and found the closest ATM for a quick cash fix, then while on the bus I was able to listen to Lady SOV’s hip-hop tunes, read a Jeeves story by P. G. Wodehouse, and answer a call on my phone. OK – maybe not so much the last part, as I still encounter a fair number of dropped calls due to user malfunction. I had bought a NetBook last year for casual computing while downtown for a coffee or on a train trip - it sits at home now, as I can do most of that work still with this much smaller device.
The fast access is great for checking out a photo site, sharing Google documents with a team, or just adding a few facts into those inevitable bar discussions. And of course, since this is from the land of Apple, it includes a built-in iPod and a link to the iTunes store, for a movie or TV show, or the latest song hits - as albums, singles, or snipped into ringtones. I also have loaded in some of my own CD's, 700 songs so far, using up only a quarter of the space available. And of course, I have lots of apps (applications) in there. Actually, now that I look again at the selection of apps I have added to my iPhone so far, I admit it is staring to look like more of a toy. With GPS this device knows where I am, so various apps can map my route, speak the directions, display the local weather, or even show the nearest LCBO or Sushi place. Along with the restaurant’s open hours and specials of the day of course. Plus, if I have to sit and wait for a restaurant seat, I can download and watch a free movie short from the National Film Board. Or I can work on this column, there's an "app" (application) for that. In fact, no matter what you need, just assume that there is an app for that, often free, or maybe only 99 cents. I’m still new to this, exploring this tool/toy , adding new apps, deleting some, but if you’ve recently also succumbed to the Smartphone lure, look me up at our next event and I’ll show you how we can “bump” each other. Yes - that's another app. I'd be interested too in how you use your new toy tool for work and play.Drop me a line via email or comment in here.