when bad technology happens to good people

Smartphones have indisputably made my life better.

There was a time, not too many years ago where my bag was burdened with a cell phone, a digital camera, a PDA (NB: that is a personal digital assistant, not a public display of affection, you technology neophyte), and a music player. Today all those things are housed in a sleek little smartphone.

My shoulder thanks the late, great Steve Jobs for considerably lessening my load.

But it was a long road getting here.

Do any of you remember the original car phones from Motorola? They looked just like the ones you had at home, cord and all, but they plugged into your cigarette lighter.



Being a cutting edge technology adopter I had to have one. Life was good; I was the boss. I could make a phone call while I was driving. Sadly that is the only place I could make a call. It was neither mobile nor versatile, and therefore short-lived.

Next came a long line of cell phones, each getting smaller and smaller. I hardly remember the frustration caused by texting on a T9 keyboard.

Then finally the dawn of the age of QWERTY keyboard! Life became, once again. infinitely better.

I miss you clicky keyboard!

I miss you clicky keyboard!

But eventually the lure of apps and a higher quality camera became too strong for me to resist.

I caved.

I joined the masses and journeyed to the promised land.

I bought an iPhone. A sexy new iPhone.

And life was good.

I took beautiful photographs. I used apps to tell me where the movie was playing, if my flight was on time, and – most importantly – to track my fitness activities.

All of this worked beautifully for a few days. But then one day, while I was updating my status in the Facebook app, my sexy new iPhone suddenly went black. It shut itself down.

In fairness, it powered itself back up immediately – with no intervention on my part – but, still, who wants a phone that just decides to turn itself off?

I wanted a smartphone, not a smart ass.

It did it again a few days later when I was in the middle of texting. GAH!

My sexy new smart ass iPhone did this every few days for the next couple of weeks. So I took it back to the store for a check up. They looked under the hood, found nothing wrong, and advised me that “it might just be working out some kinks”. I was told to keep an eye on things and bring it back if it kept up.

Off I went to Vegas, hoping smart ass would appreciate the warmer climate and stop acting like a total brat.

It didn’t. It got worse.

This was mildly annoying when it happened while I was surfing the web, checking Twitter or texting, but not the end of the world.

But then I started training for a 10k.

I used an app to track my training. At the end of the run I should have ended up with awesome statistics, like total distance, time, pace, and splits. I should have wound up with all those great insights.

Instead, my smart ass iPhone decided to turn itself off 3/4 of the way into my run.

And to make matters worse, the app, as it turns out, does not save any of the run history in the event of an unexpected phone shut down. So I had no way of knowing how I had performed.

bridesmaidsBecause, it’s not like I actually hate running or anything.

It’s not like I am a sucky runner who needs proof of how far and fast I ran so that I can feel moderately better about doing the evil deed.

It’s not like the absence of this information is basically the equivalent of me not having run at all.


Don’t you know that if there is no proof of the run, it didn’t actually happen???


I wish I could tell you that this only happened once, and that I immediately marched back to the store to demand a fix or a new phone. Not so.

I used smart ass to track my runs again and again and again. Each time, I’d get between half way and 3/4 of the way through the run and smart ass would shut itself down.

Every. Single. Time.

It happened in Vegas. It happened in Toronto. It happened in NYC, for crying out loud.

And then, on one particularly cold and miserable run a week ago, I found myself inexplicably doing well. My pace was my fastest to date. My legs didn’t feel like tree stumps. My lungs weren’t burning. My mind wasn’t conspiring against me.

Everything was going well, and I was tracking to hit a couple of personal records for distance and pace.

And then my music went silent. That’s always my first clue.

I snatched smart ass from my pocket, looked down at a black screen, and felt my heart drop to the pavement.

My pain and sadness quickly gave way to…

White. Hot. Rage.

Fuck you, stupid shitty iPhone.

Fuck you, stupid shitty iPhone.

Everyone has a breaking point, and I found mine that day.

I debated driving straight to the store, all sweaty and smelly, because I was determined to stop Skynet before it became fully self aware.

The smiley technogeeks working at the purveyor of demonic cell phones listened to my sad story and then happily offered me a swap. They would take Skynet and I would get a brand new phone.

I felt ever-so-slightly bad as I handed the evil device over to the unsuspecting nerd.

But then I came to my senses.


I’m happy to report that the NEW sexy new iPhone has worked flawlessly. It’s smart, but not a smart ass.

So now I have no excuses not to train for that 10k. Wonderful.

Keep moving,

xoxo nancy

64 thoughts on “when bad technology happens to good people

  1. I love this!!
    I have a similar feeling about apps when running (as you might already know)
    Glad the new new iPhone is working…fingers crossed mine is ok too 😀

  2. Ah I feel so old school! I have a blackberry similar to the one you have up there! Works like a charm still, except when it throws a bitch fit then I have to wait 20 mins before it boots up again. Ugh.

    • I LOVED my Blackberry. Only two issues with that phone: 1. as you pointed out the time to reboot….GAH! Forever! and 2. Web surfing. As in, it’s impossible to on that damned device. But I sure do miss that clicky keyboard. So much.

  3. In other news…I think it is only a matter of time before sky net (or similar) takes over, I am hoping that my fondness for technology will stand me in good stead at this point and I become something more than a slave…
    (please mr skynet sir if you are reading this…)

      • I totally get it! I was on the phone with a girlfriend after a walk and checked my phone and my app had given me an award (like my fastest time yet) and I yelled at the app, cause I don’t want an award, when they give me an award they don’t tell me my MPH. Without my MPH I don’t know how fast I walked, so I don’t know how many calories I burned and then it’s like I never really walked, cause I can’t adjust my eating properly… etc.. yeah, it’s not a good thing – but you wrote a great post about it! 🙂

      • I learned from another blogger, my friend Sam (Midsummer 365 Project), that using multiple apps helps. If one craps out, there is another one potentially tracking – just in case. So for me, I’m using the Run Coach app to train for my 10k — it give me the intervals for run / walk with audio cues — but then I use Strava to track my total distance, time and pace. 🙂

  4. I love my “slightly smart ass” iPhone too but do miss my Blackberry. 🙂 It was a great pocket fitting size and perfect for calls and messaging! Web surfing though – not so much… I think the fact that our newest gen smart phones do so many things for us means they provoke more love and rage than one small device really should. 😉

    • Lisa, when that little shit died on that last run…I didn’t even recognize the person I became. I now understand the whole going postal thing. If I had a weapon, that fucker would have been blown to smithereens. Then again, that would have made exchanging it for a new one a challenge.

      Glad I kept my wits about me. If you call stomping my feet and screaming “NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO”, while shaking my fist in the air, keeping my wits about me.

  5. I can’t believe they didn’t give you a new phone the first time you went in. I’ve had an iPhone since the early days, and not once has it just shut down. Not cool at all.

    Speaking of cool, I remember when I had a PDA. I thought I was soooo hip and happening with my little stylet. Now smart phones are to PDAs what the Wii is to Pong. 🙂

  6. Messing with my running stats should be criminal. I NEED those stats for validation to convince the little couch potato that still resides in the back of my head that I AM a runner. Your patience with the devil phone is commendable. I would have tossed that little piece of shit as far as I could … then I would have walked the half a dozen steps to retrieve it and returned it to the store 🙂
    Happy training & stats monitoring!!

    • I’m so glad someone gets this! This was a majorly traumatic thing for me. Without stats the run is basically null and void!

      I should have thrown that little shit, or stomped on it, or something. But I was worried that might make my support contract null and void. 🙂

      So far, so good on iPhone #2. Apps are working well and the phone hasn’t demonstrated a mind of its own. Yet. 🙂

  7. Sounds like it’s just taking an extra long time for your iphone to train you.
    Don;t worry – once your new electronic overlord is comfortable with your place in its hierarchy, I’m sure everything will be fine.

  8. It’s funny that so many of us look back on our Blackberry’s and have fond memories. Yet we jettisoned them so easily for the lure of the iPhone. I know, I did it, too. Sometimes my iPhone is my other appendage and I wouldn’t do without it, and then there are those times it doesn’t perform and my son-in-law laughs and “bleats” at me, reminding me I was one of the sheep who just followed the latest shiny toy. He likes to tell me how many better phones there are. I read above you weren’t feeling well at the beginning of the week. I hope the garlic-cure actually worked and you’re feeling much, much better. 🙂

    • I miss that Blackberry for everything except the small screen and the nearly impossible web surfing. Other than that it worked like a charm. And now embarrassing typos/autocorrects either! 🙂

      Still sick Debra. It went from just congestion/head cold to a full on rattling bronchial cough last night. I’ve switched to real pharmaceuticals now as the homeopathic treatments were all tested and all failed me miserably. 🙂

  9. Wow, technology, the thing we most love to hate! I had every version of the cell phone, including the bag phone, the “mobile” phone installed in my car, the increasingly ‘smaller-is-better’ phones that followed, and of course the Blackberry. Being an employee of a technology company, you would have thought that my phone was the best money could buy, but you would be wrong. 😉 Anyway, I can’t believe that none of your commenters bragged about their Android phones. For my personal use, I have had an Android since my very first smart phone and would never switch…and I have never had to send one back or have it randomly shut down or lose all my contacts…why do people put up with this stuff just because it’s from Apple? 😉

    • Working for Microsoft for 10+ years meant I had to use MS-friendly technology. Apple was a four-letter word. When I left I was so Stockholm-Syndromed that I went to blackberry first; seemed less like cheating. Then last fall I just decided to jump on the Apple bandwagon. So far, since trading in the lemon, it’s been smooth sailing. Next phone will be an android I think. Hopefully not for a long while though. These fuckers are expensive!

      • So glad the new iPhone is behaving for you. They are crazy expensive…and the damn contracts, since we are still chained to one…doesn’t allow us to upgrade till August, and VZ is having a BOGO on the Samsung Galaxy S5, which I covet…ARGGGH. Oh well, I will survive!

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