[TL; DR version: I got an iPhone. I made some Erosblog wallpapers for it. You can have ’em if you want.]
Well, Johnny and Johanna Appleseed, it seems I have joined your ranks.
You might say I dragged my heels. And so far, I haven’t (yet) put one screaming pinched penny in the pockets of Steve “freedom from porn” Jobs.
It happened like this. I have a relative who came into possession of a used iPhone that is locked (as you would expect) to the AT&T network. My relative doesn’t deal with AT&T. It happens I do, reluctantly, for the simple reason that every viable competitor of theirs that I preferred, they bought. So one day this phone arrived, literally for free, in a Priority Mail envelope. Until then, I’d been sporting a three year old flippy Nokia with no features (it rings, I talk, I hang up) that came for free with my now-expired contract. So temptation fell rattling out of my mailbox.
Have I been wanting a modern smart phone? Sure I have. Ever since I saw the first iPhone in 2007, I’ve wanted something like it. But I didn’t like the price, I didn’t like the “choice” of network, I didn’t like the data plan, and I especially didn’t like the “walled garden” concept that I was going to pay four or five or six hundred bucks (up front or out the ass later, nobody rides for free) for a sweet little handful of computer that I’m not “allowed” to have root privileges for. (Yeah, I know it’s possible to jail-break and ass-plunder my own phone after I buy it, but I really shouldn’t have to; and I’m not that much of a techie anyway. Tasks like that are possible for me when the instructions are carefully-spelled-out on the internet, but I find them extremely unwelcome. If I buy an expensive computer, it should run whatever software I want, not just a limited selection from a pre-chewed G-rated menu that I have to pay extra to access.)
So, ever since 2007, I’ve been looking at successive generations of smart phones, with special attention to the various Android efforts, looking for something that offered an acceptable facsimile of that sweet Apple engineering in an open platform at a price I could afford to pay.
I’d say progress was steady on the engineering, but it was two steps forward and one back on the open platform; because as fast as Google innovated the open platform, the manufacturers that implemented it were locking it down on their devices so they could load up their devices with proprietary hard-to-remove crapware. And I was losing steady ground on the “price I could afford” front, simply because in recent years my personal economy has been sucking, right along with the national one. So, the Nokia flipper kept right on flipping.
And that’s been something of a professional problem for somebody who slings porn around the internet on a daily basis. Because between 2007 and now, the way people use the web has undergone a profound, even paradigmatic, shift. The fact that a ton of people are now running around with something in their hand smaller than a deck of playing cards that lets them surf the internet easily and happily and rapidly, in brightest living color — it’s changed the game. Until you’ve held one of these devices in your hand, it’s very hard to realize just how much the game has changed (and I myself was very slow to notice). But increasingly, in recent months, I’ve been aware that I stalled too long. It was time and past time to get on the smart phone technology bus, if I didn’t want to be the last yokel hoofing it through the dust with a lost and clueless look on my face.
And then, all of a sudden, I’ve got a free (!) 16GB 3GS iPhone in my hand, and all it wants is a live SIMM card on the AT&T network and access to some sort of data plan for when it can’t taste the thick and chewy wifi that lives at my house. So I hauled butt down to the local AT&T store to inquire about swapping my Nokia flipper for this new toy. And before you could say “Johnny Appleseed” the nice girl behind the counter had pried the SIMM out of my old phone with a paperclip, popped it into the iPhone, added a minimal data plan to my account, and sent me on my merry way.
And hasn’t that been an eye opener?
So far, I barely know how to make and receive calls. I’ve moved a few icons around, surfed ErosBlog (which is surprisingly painless, although I’ve got some new ideas for making it more mobile-friendly), set up some contacts and a custom ringtone that I made from a song I had on my iPod, fiddled with the camera, all the stuff that you do with a really capable new phone. I’ve got iTunes set up for synching stuff, and I have an account (already had one for my iPod actually), but I haven’t bought an app, and I’m in no hurry. I don’t plan to die on this hill (Plants vs. Zombies only $4.99?) but I’m in no hurry to send Mr. Freedom From Porn my money, either.
Mostly, though, I just take it out of my pocket, fire up the web browser, surf a few pages, and then stop and stare at my hand in slack-jawed drooling amazement. I’ll get over this phase, I know I will. Everybody else did, back in 2007. But still. A genuinely capable wireless web browsing device, that’s fun and easy to use, in a form factor that fits in your shirt pocket? And doesn’t need any keys or buttons? I’ve bashed me some Apple over the years, yes I have, but this is one fine, astonishing, miraculous, wonderful item of tech. I’ve been aware of it for years, I just didn’t fully grok how smoothly all the grace notes of the design came together. I knew it worked, and that it was good, but I did not fully grok that it was so excellent.
Once I got settled into my new phone, however, my highest “playing around” priority immediately became the desire to hack together a custom ErosBlog-themed wallpaper for it, using the design elements from the blog. In fact I made two different wallpapers, using the simpler and more complex versions of the ErosBlog logo graphic. Quite possibly, I’m the only person in the world who wants them. But just in case somebody else might, here they are:
One final note for total iPhone noobs like myself. If you look closely at my iPhone home screen, you’ll see a custom icon for ErosBlog itself:
I thought it was pretty cool when I discovered that the browser on the Iphone would create an icon on my home screen for any website; then I can just thumb that icon to surf right to that website whenever I have connectivity, which is always. To make an icon on my home screen while browsing any site, all I have to do is heavy-thumb the browser’s plus icon and it will pop up a button offering “add to Home Screen”. But it makes the resulting icon by default out of a screenshot of the whole page, which isn’t very attractive when scrunched down to tiny.
Surely, I thought, there must be a way to pre-set the icon, like a favicon, so that people get a custom icon of my choosing when they do this? And sure enough, there is. And it’s easy. So my bloggy friends, now you know one more time-wasting way to customize your website — make a nifty icon for the people who bookmark you on their iPhones!
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