I love my iPad. I really do. For months and months, we had so much fun together, texting and FaceTiming and emailing. Then one day, something, somehow went terribly wrong. I tried to sign in to FaceTime and iMessage. I put in my password. The little wheel thing went around and around and around and around and finally a message appeared: “Could not sign in. Please check your internet connection and try again.” Everything seemed connected. I tried again and again. I tried a day later. I tried 5 minutes ago. The message is the same. Where did I go wrong? Is iPad angry? Sulky? Diabolically obstinate?
Don’t roll your eyes and say,” Stop personifying your iPad!” On CNBC recently, a commentator was babbling on in her fit, blonde, smartest-one-in-the-room voice about the coming-someday-soon Apple watch which knows when you’re looking at it. Not only that, but it knows how long you’re looking at it. Give it a quick glance and one screen appears. Look at it longingly for an extended time and another screen appears cajoling you to interact with it more intensely. Not one of the other in-the-know CNBC commentators said, “Whaddya mean it knows how long you’re looking at it?!” No one thought that this sensitivity on the part of a high tech trinket was creepy or weird or overheated PR. No one.
So, I ask you – if an Apple watch can perceive your attention span, why can’t iPad have moods? Never thought about it that way, did you! Well, I miss FaceTime and iMessage, so I’ve thought about it…alot.
I know my iPad password is valid because it was acquired after a lengthy, convoluted, demonic process involving my hamster’s middle initial; 9 characters including letters, numbers, symbols, and 10 lords a leaping; and wavy writing designed to prove I was human. (No robot would have wasted the time!)
So what could be wrong?
A Geek Squad Guy came to our house, complete with regulation Geek Squad shoe covers, to fix another computer. (Don’t ask!) I brought out iPad, hoping for a quick diagnosis and solution.
“FaceTime and iMessage won’t work on my computer,” I said, holding out iPad like a sick kitten.
“That’s not a computer,” Geek Squad Guy said.
“No. An iPad is a data retrieval device for downloading games, music, movies, books.”
“But, I don’t download stuff,” I replied, bewildered.
“Do you use email and take and store photos?” asked GSG.
“Sure, that’s what iPad does really well,”I boasted, hoping to bolster iPad’s self- esteem (and mine).
“Well, you’ve probably run out of memory and can’t download updated versions of the iPad operating system and you need that to run iMessage and FaceTime.”
“Ok. I can buy more memory, right?” I asked, confident that a solution was near.
“Nope. There’s no way to add memory to an iPad.”
“What! They never said that when I bought it!” I squawked, beginning to panic and wondering why the heck people can store 48 hours of their kid’s Bar Mitzvah videos on their iPhones and iPad can’t handle a few hundred measly photos.
But GSG had gone back to scrutinizing a family member’s Mac Air, a “real” computer which presumably does have memory and is worthy of repair.
iPad and I slunk away despondently.
I then sought advice from a genuine computer pro in Washington, DC. Sigh…he confirmed the not-enough-memory problem but had a suggestion. Since my accumulated iPad photos use a lot of memory, why not store them in the cloud?
Sounds logical, sensible, just beam my collection of treasured photos right on up…aaaaaaaah!
The cloud! What if they get lost up there? What if my cloud password/PIN/username suddenly doesn’t work and a cyber storm deletes everything?! And why is this amorphous storage area? space? sector? spot? thing? called “The Cloud” anyway? That’s hardly reassuring. Why isn’t it called “The Vault,” or “The Fortress,” or “The Castle with an Alligator-Filled Moat?”
Clouds are wispy, ephemeral. Here today. Gone tomorrow. Like FaceTime and iMessage.
Look what happened to Sony! I’ll bet they had plenty of valuable data stored in the cloud, plus a whole geek load of tech support to watch over it and ZAP! I don’t want Kim Un Dun and his nefarious minions phishing in my photo stream.
Why does it all have to be so complicated? Why can’t iPad be more like a toaster? Now there’s a solid, dependable device. No apps. No passwords. No mystery about how it works. Plug in. Add toast. Select “light, medium, dark.” Push the handle down. Pop! Done! Day in and day out… for years.
Why weren’t iPads modeled after toasters? Toasters never say,”Can’t make toast. Check your server connection and try again.” Toasters just work and toast gets served.
BUT…not for long! Toasters and other simple appliances are, I’ve read, destined to be replaced by “smart” versions that text, turn on and off remotely, and interact with you via a smartphone app. Folks, this is not going to end well! Do you really want your fridge broadcasting that there’s a jar of South Korean Kimchee on the bottom shelf behind the Bubbe’s Pickles and the Sabra Humus?
At the risk of being labeled a Luddite, a laggard,or even a loser, I propose a make-tech-simpler movement called T.O.A.S.T.E.R – Take Out All Stuff That Encumbers Real-life. (You remember real-life, don’t you?) To join, just sync up and sign in with your user name and create a 14 digit…