Back in 1999 I began working for BigPond Tech Support, first in the EasyMail area (anyone remember that shortlived little service?) and then on the general dial up plans. It was my second ‘proper’ fulltime job and required wankishly corporate attire and individual workplace agreements – both of which revolt me, but both of which I put up with….
I needed to eat, pay rent and, most of all, qualify for a credit card, with which I could purchase my heart’s desire. I already had a Gibson Ripper bass guitar, a Maton Phil Manning Standard matte black electric guitar, a Maton nylon string acoustic, a Humber Supersnipe, a MesaBoogie 15 inch speaker and a Marshall head and a computer that was probably cranking along on Windows 98SE 😉
What more could I have possibly wanted (besides a small round caravan)? One of these:
A Palm Pilot IIIx. As soon as I read about it I was totally hooked. It had a touchscreen and it’s own shorthand language. And infrared, 4MB of memory and a backlit display. My desire could not be quenched. It cost SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS. And this, I am a bit embaressed to admit, is the only reason I got a credit card. And the only way I could get that credit card was to have a legitimately revolting job. Sigh.
So I got my credit card. And immediately purchased my Palm. Some might say that such immediate gratification took the fun out of it all. Not so. I had to way t-h-r-e-e w-h-o-l-e months before the credit card mob would consider my job to be proper. Anyway, once I had it in my hot little hand, I took it everywhere. Over time I got a foldable keyboard (thanks, mum!)
…and the pinnacle of add-ons – the PocketMail Backflip (thanks, M!):
Man – the PocketMail Backflip blew my tiny mind. I cannot overstate my admiration for it. Yeah – so it was kind of hit and miss using it in the USA, and it was thoroughly useless from Spain, but when it did work – it was excellent. Too bad they overpriced the PocketMail subscription service and didn’t allow a prepaid kind of setup. The technology was so simple and cool – to do with acoustic couplers.
So that was my rig for a few years, until the person that sold me a stolen laptop on eBay tried to make amends by buying me hardware items of my choice, and I got a Palm Tungsten T3…
Finally the Palm Pilot had some bling happening…which almost, but not quite, clouded over the fact that NONE of the accessories for the older models of Palm Pilots worked with it. And its battery life (goodbye to the handiness of AAAs) was crap. The beginning of the end of my Palm fascination. There was no way I was in a position to acquire new keyboards etc. and nor did I want to, as there was nothing wrong with the ones I already had (except planned obsolescence and incompatibility). Gah.
The T3 and I remained in one of those long drawn out on-again, off-again relationships. We got all hot and heavy with the input of a new 512MB SD card (back then this was not so sniffy), and then my passion cooled with the absence of wifi and the finances to buy the add-on wifi-card. I had a brief dalliance with the Kodak MC3 (thanks, Dyl!) but it didn’t last.
I was sick of carrying around a phone, a camera and no tunes – until M gifted me an 80GB iPod video, the morning of the day we found out about PartyPie. I had a variety of kind of blingy phones, inherited from SB, which all eventually died. And a couple of cameras, ending with a Canon Powershot A85, which came to a grinding halt about six months ago.
Thus I was left with a phone inherited from my mother, the Siemens A50…
A phone which could expertly raise my blood pressure by flashing ‘PLEASE WAIT’ as it cogitated inwardly on the state of the world while I waited to find a phone number or a missed call. Coupled with this disaster was my replacement camera from T – which was better than nothing, although its favourite pastime of chewing through two AA batteries at every breath made our relationship equally fraught.
With a recent injection of funds, M had a spasm of generousity about three weeks ago, and bought me an iPhone. He said it was a thank you for being a sleepless super-mum. Oh. My. God. How much does this thing kick all my other bits and pieces into a corner and jump on them? I am loving it. I had an initial problem, and the one I got had to be sent back to Apple, but the replacement I received is all smiles. Now I have camera, video, tunes and a phone in one very designer drool-slicked package.
Here’s the thing. The outright cost (I am allergic to phone plans) made it the same as my Palm IIIx from TEN YEARS AGO. It is basically a beautiful demonstration of how handheld computers have morphed intervening period. The difference in the two is huge. God knows what will be the wonder-thing in ten years from now – but when a friend of mine called his iPhone “…a piece of shit that I’ll get rid of next year when they release a better one….” I could not have agreed less. It’s going to take longer than a year for me to stop worshipping this thing. It’s f@#$ing brilliant. YUM!