Danger danger, Will Robinson
Tuesday October 13th 2009, 8:05 pm
Filed under: Non-Knitting

Okay, that phrase dates me.  But boy does it fit: Lost In Space. I’m writing this for the sake of the million other people who own one of these in case they haven’t heard yet.

Seven years ago, my husband’s co-worker stood in line on University Avenue in Palo Alto to be one of the first when the doors opened to buy the hottest new gadget: a cell phone that actually did web browsing, email, IM, calendar and calculator functions, and even had a camera.  This was unheard of.  He brought his prize into work to show off, with the upshot that my husband stood in line the second day the thing was out, after some discussion with me, and proudly brought one home too.

“You bought that for me, didn’t you.” It was not a question.

Well, no, not really…

“You’re going back to buy one for me, aren’t you.” Still not a question.  Now, normally I don’t aspire to owning electronics, I really don’t. But a phone where someone could reach me where I didn’t have to hear it?! Honey, that was mine.

And it turned out to be a really good idea for both of us to have one, of course, because that way he could reach me from wherever he might be without having to have a computer at hand.

We went back together.  What was really amusing was when the clerk handed me the box with mine in it: there were two young adults photo’d on it, Having Fun!

It was a ‘you know you live in Silicon Valley when…’ moment. I had a few years previously sat next to the mother of one of those two at his and my daughter’s high school graduation and had told the woman what a nice kid she had.

And the reason I mention all this. Those phones are Sidekicks. We still have them. (I’m on my second, Richard’s on his third; we’ve dropped them enough times, etc etc.) T-Mobile sells them; Danger manufactures them.

One of the selling points was always that all the information on your phone, your contacts, your emails, etc etc, is sustained offsite as well as in your phone, so that if you ever lose the thing, you haven’t lost all your information, it’s right there online ready to be tapped into again.  Again, this was revolutionary at the time.

Danger sold out to Microsoft recently. Microsoft, whether as an act of deliberate sabotage or complete incompetence and indifference, did not support what it had just bought, and the end result is that all that online backup has suddenly and utterly vanished. If your phone battery dies before you recharge it, if you reboot your phone as their service people were completely wrong in advising when people first started having problems, EVER (or till further notice, as they frantically try to undo what they did)–poof: everything in your phone is gone.  All your contacts information, sorry, you don’t have it anymore. It’s gone.

My stars.  No more forgetting I’ve left my phone in my purse and not recharging it overnight. I can’t remember my own parents’ new phone number without that thing.

I guess the good part is, if we wanted I-Phones now instead, well, our contract’s been broken by them and we can leave without penalty.

But by golly I’m a bit antsy about my info. Enough to go blog about it to warn others with Sidekicks.

(Oh, and this shot is just to show that the leaves here are trying their best to turn while it’s actually Fall.)

14 Comments so far
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I love gadgets, and enjoyed reading how much fun you and Richard have (used to have) with that toy — until I read “Sidekicks”. Oops! I’d read about that problem in the paper, and thought at the time, “Aha, another Microsoft goof!” Cliff and I have very simple Jitterbug phones.

Humor –

During a public demonstration of military armor, a couple of college students asked if they could take the photo of the young man standing by the M1A1 Abrams tank. “What’s your name?” asked one of the students. “Lance Corporal Smith,” he replied. The student shook the young man’s hand and said, “Thanks for showing us the tank, Lance.”

Comment by Don Meyer 10.13.09 @ 8:26 pm

Lol! Jitterbug, to me, is the name of a sockknitting yarn.

Comment by AlisonH 10.13.09 @ 8:28 pm

Don, there was a 3.8 quake in Sunol at 8:27, between when you posted and when I did in response. Didn’t feel it, did you?

Comment by AlisonH 10.13.09 @ 9:03 pm

I remember when 90% of the AOL employees had sidekicks — I was an AOLer, but not a sidekick owner.

Now I’m an iPhone person (on my second) and in love!! LOVE!!! Seriously, if you need to think about the next step — think iPhone. Just saying.

And I just finished a pair of socks in Jitterbug — they make great yarn.

Comment by Patricia 10.14.09 @ 5:26 am

I have an iPhone and could not possibly function with out it now! Unlike all my old phones, I always know exactly where this one is as it is NEVER far from reach.

Comment by TripletMom 10.14.09 @ 6:59 am

We had the same discussion here. “I’m gonna’ buy a Blackberry” the Knight announced. “No, you’re buying TWO” I insisted, since he’s the contact person for our contract for the business phones…

He came back with two, and his 20-something assistant had already done a lot of the set-up on mine as they rode back to the shop. Ironically, I can email him at the station where there is no cell service, so they’re very handy indeed.

Comment by Channon 10.14.09 @ 7:02 am

It is nice to deal with others who are mature enough to understand the desperate helpless-arm-waving catastrophes signaled by the phrase “Danger, Will Robinson.”

Comment by LauraN 10.14.09 @ 7:03 am

I have a Blackberry and love it. I don’t know how I ever lived without it and I’ve had several cell phones. However, I think my next one will be an Iphone as I like the applications on that one (has some that are knitting specific).

Have fun!!! You’ll enjoy the new phone.

Comment by Joansie 10.14.09 @ 7:13 am

That really stinks for you. But I have to say, I don’t know how I lived before my iPhone. And yes, Apple will store all your information on your computer for you. BUT, it’s not “on line”. If you lose your phone AND break your computer in the same day, you’re essentially screwed.

And I use the Danger Danger line all the time. Must accompany it with rigid swinging of arms in robot-fashion, though.

Comment by Candy 10.14.09 @ 7:52 am

Oh no. Horrifying story. I feel your pain!!!!!

Comment by Karen 10.14.09 @ 8:30 am

They seem to be still trying to recover the data according to this story. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

Comment by RobinH 10.14.09 @ 10:14 am

I have a Samsung m 550 (I think. It might be a m500) at any rate, it has great sound for me and interfaces really well with my hearing aids. BUT, I heard the iPhone does not. You might want to do some web searching to see what users with hearing aids thought if you are going to talk on it. Of course, if you just want to text and email, you’re good with it….

Comment by Carol 10.14.09 @ 1:17 pm

Leave it to Microsoft to mess up a perfectly fine working thing…

Comment by karin maag-tanchak 10.14.09 @ 7:50 pm

We had an unusually heated discussion in our knitting group today. L suggested that Microsoft was about to come out with a good operating system. As far as C was concerned L might as well have suggested that the sun would stop coming up each day. I’m a convert to Apple, too. (And love my iPhone.) I’m glad to know about the Sidekicks, but I’ll probably remain mum about it at knitting. I have no doubt that Windows computers are tremendously helpful to lots of persons, just not necessarily the persons in that small, select group.

Comment by RobinM 10.15.09 @ 9:19 am

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