iPad: A love story. Part 1

Posted: April 20th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »
Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

I was out of the country when the iPad went on sale. I was traveling with my iPod Touch, which has done a completely adequate job of keeping me connected and semi-organized when away from my desk. But the iPad really intrigued me. Here was a device that could not just extend my iPod Touch with a larger screen but potentially replace a laptop. A device that I could actually use to record ideas, do some writing and maybe even maintain an up to date schedule.

So upon returning from my trip about a week after they were introduced, I went to the Apple Store and checked them out. Yes they were very cool but I was not totally sold. I wanted to check around the web and see what real users were saying. The associate told me they were on back order and the best thing to do was to reserve one as the backlog was about 5 days. As the reservation was non-binding, I agreed. Five days would certainly give me enough time to decide. He stepped me through the process on-line, using a 27″ iMac and then congratulated me when it was complete.

The next morning I got an email “congratulating” me as my iPad was waiting for me at the Apple Store. So 5 days became 24 hours. I waited for my kids to get home from school and asked them if they wanted to go with me to the Apple Store. Number One, who wanted his own iPad, said no. He was going to wait for me to buy one and use mine first (like that was really going to happen). Number Two said sure and he would even get me his “friends and family” discount -which I don’t understand as he has no family working at the Apple Store but he said he was friends with Jordan, the manager. Number Two is 13.

So we go to the store and find Jordan. She is about thirty, attractive, tastefully tattooed and yes friends with my 13 year-old son. I give her a copy of my congratulatory email, she checks it out and then she proceeds to congratulate me too. My son asks her about the discount. She smiles and apologizes. No one is getting the F&F discount. I think to myself, he is obviously not that friendly with her. She leaves us to retrieve the iPad from the back of the crowded store.

Jordan comes back with my iPad and John. John congratulates me too. They begin to double team me about the benefits of Apple Care. Normally I blow these things off but 2 years ago when I bought my first generation Kindle, it stopped working after a week. Fine, include the Apple Care. Satisfied, Jordan handed me completely off to John to process the sale.

i told John that I wanted a keyboard. As we were walking across the store, he tried to sign me up for mobile me. I told him that between google docs and dropbox I was covered. He pressed me again, telling me that I could have access to all my files from any computer. I told him that I already had access to files from any computer. He shrugged and led on.

I was going to buy the bluetooth version but John steered me toward the docking keyboard as it had special iPad keys. Fine. Ring me up. The whole deal was just short of a grand. John took my Amex card and swiped his iPhone terminal. The card was good. I wanted to yell “approved” like Kristen Wig on SNL but this was the Apple Store, not Target. And besides my son would be mortified.

Despite my protests, John went to the back of the store to get us a bag -it was part of the Apple Store experience. He returned and packed us up. He congratulated me one more time, this time he raised his hand in the air, trying to give me a hi-five. I complied as it would have been awkward to leave the guy hanging.

As we walked out of the store, I mentioned to my son that it was a bit cult-like being congratulated over and over again for dropping a grand on something that I was not sure I actually needed. “Dad, you have an iPad”.

……..to be continued.

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What matters most.

Posted: January 25th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Last weekend, Number Two was Bar Mitzvah’d. Towards the end of the service, Number One, my wife and I, all had the opportunity to individually address Number Two and the 250 or so people in attendance. I took the podium after they both finished. As the  audience was enjoying my intentionally humorous dialogue, it was abruptly interrupted by something just short of wrestling match, described by one guest as “a refreshing and honest public display of family dysfunction”. Number Two turned off my microphone. Number One hijacked my “flowchart”. And on a live mic, my wife was insisting that my talk was too long. As a consequence, I only got to present the funny stuff, which while enjoyable to the audience, left me a bit unfulfilled.

So this past Saturday night, at a fund raiser, I was given the opportunity to finish my speech. I began by giving the audience the back-story that I provided above.  Then I delivered the ending, and as I always prefer to speak unscripted and spontaneously, this is approximately what I said:

“It doesn’t matter what your job is, how much money you make or how much money is in your bank account. It doesn’t matter what kind of car you drive, how big your house is or what town you live in. It doesn’t matter what your clothes look like or what the labels inside them say. Life by itself is essentially pointless. It is up to you to give it meaning. And all the people we care about, those that are with us today and those that are absent, all our family, all of our friends and our entire community; they are why we are here. We give meaning to each other’s lives. And that is what is truly important. That is what matters most.”

And then with uncharacteristic brevity, I just thanked everyone and left the podium.

So I told my kids what I did and what I said. And they kind of understood the message intellectually but I didn’t think it really resonated to their core. So I asked them this question. “If you were living in Haiti and came home to find a pile of rubble where your house had been, what would you dig for? Would you dig for your ipod or your macbook? For your new shirt or jeans? of course not, you would dig for your family, your friends or anyone else who might have been in the house. And you would not stop digging despite how tired you were or if your fingers were bleeding because those lives are our most important treasures.” And then they got it. They really got it.

Plagued by the meaning of the plagues. Or what would MLK say?

Posted: January 14th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Number Two chose this weekend for his Bar Mitzvah. He wanted it to coincide with our national observance honoring Dr. Martin Luther King and the continual struggle to bring equality to all members of our society.  He also chose it because it happened to be the passages in the book of Exodus where the God of the Israelites unleashes the first of the 10 plagues on Pharaoh and the people of Egypt.

He wrote an insightful D’var Torah, or teaching, that discusses the relationship of MLK and the struggle of all righteous individuals to move our society toward one of equality and Moses bringing the word of God to Pharaoh and the demand to let the Israelites go. Number Two put his soul into this lesson. He lives his life by simply not tolerating acts of inequality, oppression or cruelty. And that makes me proud.

My disconnect comes when he talks about the power of the God of Israel; a forceful “kick-ass” God who is portrayed as intent on sending a message to both the Israelites and the Egyptians.  My disconnect is not with my son, but with the actual the passage in Exodus 9:15-16 “I could have stretched forth My hand and stricken you [Pharaoh] and your people with pestilence, and you would have been effaced from the earth. Nevertheless I have spared you for this purpose: in order to show you My power and in order that My fame may resound throughout the world.”

In my mind, the plagues are acts of compassion, not a demonstration of force and vengence. The God of creation could have not only wiped the Egyptians from the face of the Earth, but from history itself, however they were his children too.  So we are witnesses to the sequence of  plagues, delivered as increasingly severe but measured responses, only after Pharaoh repeatedly rejects each demand to let the people go. Acts of compassion. That may not be the traditional interpretation or even the non-traditional interpretation, but its mine. And I would believe that is the lesson that was truly meant to be resounded throughout the world. What would MLK say?

Becoming a man (whether you want to or not).

Posted: January 14th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | No Comments »

This Saturday Number Two becomes a man. He will be called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah. If only becoming a man was that simple, my job would be done. At 13 years and 5 weeks I could send him off into the world with a clear conscience and the utmost confidence that he had been thoroughly prepared for what lies ahead. I know that sometimes he thinks that he’s ready to go out on his own and it would free up some of my time, but I just can’t do it.

Sorry Number Two, its not happening. Despite the fact that I am really proud of how mature, sensitive and confident you are, we still have some work to do. I still have some work to do. You see, I can’t really be a man until I actually have that aforementioned clear conscience and utmost confidence that I have done everything that I could to help you become a man. I guess we’re stuck with each for at least a few more years. And I’m going to enjoy every minute of them.