Sunday, September 30, 2007

Family Life Moments

Here are a few photo's from our family life retreat.

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He Even Cares About Tennis Shoes

This weekend was glorious. Our family life ministry at Emmanuel Brinklow SDA had designated this to be the family life weekend retreat at the Eisenhower Hotel and Conference Center in Gettysburg, PA. First of all, it's a beautiful ride from the D.C. area where I live. Secondly, being in fellowship with folks that are all working on a spiritual program was indeed a blessing. There was much laughter, great food, prayer, tears and bonding - not to mention - FUN!. I felt uplifted and included. I "realized" my larger family in Christ - now, I have a pretty big "adopted" one to begin with...but this was an order of magnitude larger. I got to know folks that I never would have known had we not spent time together in this kind of atmosphere.

Pastor Brenda Billingy (Yes, I said PASTOR) of the Bladensburg SDA Church was our guest speaker. She was indeed a blessing to us all. However, one of the things that she talked about was how we as believers ask God for something, and then are absolutely gob smacked when it actually happens. We say we believe, but then when the rubber meets the road, we don't fall into our belief with faith in our safety net. I struggle with this every day. I KNOW intellectually, that God cares for me. And more than that, I have evidence in my life of His leading and caring hand. But I seem to suffer from some sort of spiritual amnesia when things go wrong. I must constantly be reminded (one of the biggest reasons I need fellowship), by those on the same spiritual path of what God can and will do for us.

That brings me to my story today. This morning at the end of our weekend retreat breakfast, I was struck with severe stomach pain. Pain that almost didn't let me stand up. I knew that even though it was pretty much checkout time, I had to go lay down for a few minutes. So back to the room I went. The distress was such that I was thrown off of my normal leaving a hotel room routine. You know - the room sweep for stuff you might have forgotten to pack. When it was time, I just zipped up my bag and dragged myself downstairs to the car.

Everyone was saying goodbye and pulling out for home. My friend and I did likewise. She drove and I napped. It was an uneventful and safe ride. As we pulled into my parking space at home, it occurred to me that I had not seen my tennis shoes. I had the sinking feeling that they weren't in my bag.

Now, I need to be honest here. Money is tight these days, and I only have one pair of sneakers. I use this pair solely for the workout program that I have had to undertake recently for health reasons. I usually leave them at the gym in my locker, but this weekend, deciding that I might like to go for a walk, I took them with me. Losing them would not be a good thing.

I walked into the house and dumped my bag. No shoes. My head started spinning. What would I wear to the gym tomorrow? Would I just not be able to go? How can I afford (with all the stuff coming up) to replace those shoes? I sat on the steps and started to cry and pray. I poured out my heart to the Lord about how much I'm trying to do the right thing in life but feel as if everywhere I turn there's a setback. I talked about how much I felt blessed this weekend only to come home to deal with yet another problem. My head continued to spin. Would I have to pull out a credit card (which I'm really against) to replace the shoes and incur debt that I'm trying to stay away from?

I called the hotel. No one could really help me. They wanted me to call back tomorrow and speak to the lost and found people. I needed shoes to workout tomorrow. (See, once I'm off a set program, it's extremely difficult for me to get back to it) I didn't even know that they would be able to find them and get them back to me. I wrote down the name and number to call on Monday with resignation.

I picked up the phone to seek advice. I called my mom. I CALLED MY MOM. I CALLED MY MOM SEVEN TIMES. I had just left her house a few minutes before and knew she was home - but each time I called, the phone went straight to the busy message. Mom has call waiting. I thought it strange, but decided to call someone else. Someone who was with me all weekend. After I shared how I was feeling, she told me to go into my car and buy the shoes - but before leaving she told me that I should ask the Lord to help me find a pair of gym shoes that I would be able to afford. She also told me that when I got back, that I should call her and tell her what the Lord had done about my request.

I did just that. Then, I pulled out of the parking space and headed towards the mall. In the meantime, I stopped for what turned out to be a half an hour trip to MacDonald's for one silly ice cream cone (doesn't ice cream always make you feel better?). Got the cone and got back into the car. At the light, my cell phone rings. It's my good sister friend who was also in Gettysburg for the weekend with her family. I ask, are you home yet? Expecting her to say that she was there or very near. No, she said. I'm still in Gettysburg. WHAT!?!?!! REALLY?!?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? They had stayed after everyone else had gone, to do a bit of sightseeing. In my heart, I knew that was an answer to prayer. Here I am, on the way to the mall to look for a new pair of shoes after asking God to provide some that I can afford, and my friend is 2 minutes from the place where my FREE pair was.

I asked her to return to the hotel and check for them for me. The hotel graciously gave her a key to the room and after talking to the cleaning ladies who had JUST FINISHED cleaning my room, the shoes were in hand and on their way home.

When my friend called to tell me that she had the shoes, I shared my prayers. She also mentioned that when she returned to the hotel, that there was not a soul in sight from our retreat. All were long gone. Only she was close enough to return to look for the lost sneakers.

God had everything in place before I realized I had a problem. The Spirit was on hand to push my friends to sightsee long enough to be of service later in the day. He answered my prayer for affordable shoes in a mighty way. I DID NOT HAVE TO BUY ANY - and to boot, I didn't even have to wait another day to get them.

Again, I was reduced to tears at God's love for me. I often behave as if I think that he doesn't care about the little stuff. The mundane. But this was important to me. And because it was important to me and he LOVES me, it was important to him.


I went to pick up the shoes from my friends house after her return from Gettysburg. At the door as she handed me the bag, I noticed that it did not look the way I'd expected. Taking the bag from her hand, I opened it and looked inside. Not one pair - but two. I had packed both pairs of shoes (tennis and dress shoes) in one bag - and never put the bag in my case. How good is God? Before I knew the magnitude of the loss, he'd already made the restoration.

Again I was directed to Matthew 6:25-34:
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Oh, and don't think that I forgot to call and share my story after it was over. When I called, she also said - "I bet if you call your mom now, you'll get through to her". Here's the scary part. I called, and she answered the phone. She had been home all the time, and had just removed the battery from the phone without hanging it up - thereby causing the line to go busy for the entire time I was trying to reach her. You see, I know this as well, being a mom (who loves me very much), she might have just said - girl, go get the shoes, I'll take care of it. But God had lined up a reason for me to praise His name and share his goodness (over a small pair of tennis shoes) and was not to be outdone by my moms good intentions. :-)

All I can say is.... Don't be afraid to take even the small stuff to the Lord.

He cares about everything - even your shoes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Moment Of Silence For A Friend Now At Rest

For Pearl

Death Is Nothing but a Moment's Rest

Death is nothing but a moment's rest
Until the Second Coming of the Lord
When He shall gather to Him of the best
To take them to the place of their reward.
I've felt the power of Jesus in my soul
Shining like a golden sun within,
Melting my hard heart to make me whole,
Burning out the remnants of my sin.
I've felt Him work within me, so I know
The glory that will come when I awake.
I'll sleep just like a child who'll homeward go,
And in my dreams of love great pleasure take.
So do not mourn my death, and do not grieve.
The Lord will come for me: This I believe.

Poem by Nicholas Gordon

Slow and Steady Wins The Race

It's real. I'm dealing with some health issues. Health issues exacerbated and accelerated by being overweight and fairly sedentary. No, let me get honest. My fat butt hasn't worked out in months. Basically, I had given up on the weight loss thing. Two bad knees, and too much pain. I was tired. But this really isn't about that really - what it's about is the self discovery that has come around these issues.

I was talking with a gym rat friend of mine - you know, those skinny little witches who work out all the damn time (don't get me wrong, I love this one), who evidently had me under observation for some time. She came into my office with the pronouncement. Now, I had basically known this about myself, but really didn't think it ran that deep. I think of myself as an all on, or all off person. Either I love something, or I hate it. Either you are a part of my world cuz I like/love/respect you - or you are an outsider. I'm an extremist. I've really never been good at moderation or balance. I go hard cuz I have always really enjoyed instant gratification. Seems to be just the way I was wired from birth.

But she walked into my office - this skinny little witch - and dressed me down about how I'm either working out like a mad fiend, or not at all. High energy or Dead. She informed me that there really was a such thing as "medium". That really struck me. MEDIUM. Not too hard, Not too soft. What the hell is that??!?! I realized like a bolt of lightning from the sky that MEDIUM was a real problem for me. I've been thinking about that in one way or another ever since.

Today, I worked out. It's day two of my making a decision (and thereby taking action) to try to reduce the impact of my current health issues by getting more exercise. I had to force myself to stick to medium. Medium felt like I really wasn't pushing myself, but after 25 minutes I was tired as all get out.

When the trainer asked me how the workout was, I told him that it was a little bit of a struggle. His response "slow and steady wins the race". All I could do was stand there and stare at him for a minute. Yet another cosmic hint about MEDIUM.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say in all this is that no matter what you're doing or going through, if it's hard, just keep "swimming" as Doree says in Finding Nemo. Keep moving, even if it is at a slow pace and you'll get to the good part eventually.

If it's fun......well, make sure you know where the brake pedals are (and how to use them when necessary).

Monday, September 17, 2007


Ok, this is something that is REALLY grinding my grits today. WTF is with OJ Simpson? I mean, this guy gets a get out of jail free card in the murder case years ago. We all know that even if he didn't do it, he was most likely involved and absolutely knows what happened. Now, after getting his get-out-of-jail free card, one would think that he'd go someplace and quietly live his golfing life never to be heard from again.


The new case.
What in the sam hill would he be thinking by bustin' up into someone's hotel room - without a mask or some kind of device to keep him incognegro, and basically holding people at gunpoint to get some CRAP back. Yes, it's crap. Piece's of cloth, paper, and plastic. What world does this guy live in? I don't know anyone that can explain this madness. Now he sits in jail awaiting yet another "trial of the century". WHATEVER!

I am sick to death of this guy AND all the media coverage surrounding him and the Goldman family (currently sinking to lows unknown by publishing the insanity written by OJ). This guy would do us all a favor if he just dug a hole (approximately 6 feet deep), jumped in, and pulled the dirt in over himself.

How bout a double favor by taking Fred Goldman with him? They can spend forever fighting each other in hell. As long as they have been removed from my television screen - I'm happy.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

In Fairness To Glamour Magazine

Ok, I'm stunned. I've got to admit. Now, there's this bruhaha going on about the editor and her comments about black hair - and I was so offended, that I blogged about it. All of my friends have been threatening to boycott the magazine forever. I too was about to get on that bus when lo and behold a comment appeared on my blog. I thought it important enough (on balance) to place it front and center, as opposed to just leaving it at the bottom of the page in a link. Here's the comment left on the blog:

"I read your post about a Glamour editor’s comments on hairstyles for work, and I’d like to share with you our thoughts. First, we regret the comments were made. The employee, a junior staffer, not a beauty editor, spoke to a small group of lawyers at a private luncheon without her supervisor’s knowledge or approval, and her comment — that Afros are not work appropriate — does not represent Glamour's point of view.

Secondly, immediately upon learning of it, we sought to rectify the situation. The editor has been dealt with in a very serious manner, and the entire staff has been reminded of the magazine’s policies and procedures for making public appearances.

Glamour is proud of its diverse readership and celebrates the beauty of ALL women. We have responded directly and openly with readers to assure them of this fact. We have also apologized to the law firm, and we extend the same apology to you.

If you know others who were offended by this incident, To ask you to please pass along this letter. So they, too, know how sorry we are."

Cindi Leive
Editor-in-Chief, Glamour

Seems like Glamour has an active campaign to fix this before it gets too far out of the box. And again, on balance, I cannot hold the magazine responsible for the actions of one employee. So, if the comment on the blog is authentic (me, ever the cynic), then perhaps we need to not crucify the organization. However, would someone please leak the name of the ignorant junior staffer who made this ginormous racial faux pax?

Aren't we done with this yet?!?!?!?

Someone needs to tell me why we are still in the dark ages in Corporate America with Black hair. People, it's 2007. Don't we have bigger fish to fry? Why in the sam hell is this still a big enough issue to be talked about in the corporate hallways and ballroom meetings of America. Good Grief! The following article is taken from The National Law Journal.

Cleary Gottlieb has a bad hair day

Talk about a Glamour don't.

Vivia Chen/The American Lawyer
August 27, 2007

It seemed like a nice frothy summer treat for some hardworking gals at a hard-driving law firm. Instead of hosting another earnest discussion about client cultivation and leadership, the women lawyers group at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton invited an editor from Glamour magazine. The topic: the dos and don'ts of corporate fashion.

First slide up: an African-American woman sporting an Afro. A real no-no, announced the Glamour editor to the 40 or so lawyers in the room. As for dreadlocks: How truly dreadful! The style maven said it was "shocking" that some people still think it "appropriate" to wear those hairstyles at the office. "No offense," she sniffed, but those "political" hairstyles really have to go.

By the time the lights flicked back on, some Cleary lawyers -- particularly the 10 or so African-American women in attendance -- were in a state of disbelief. "It was like she was saying you shouldn't go out with your natural hair, and if you do, you're making a political statement," says one African-American associate. "It showed a general cluelessness about black women and their hair."

The episode also produced a "mixed reaction" along racial lines, says this associate. "Some [whites] didn't understand what the big deal was ... but all the black associates saw the controversy."

Cleary Gottlieb's managing partner, Mark Walker, who heard about the incident from some of the attendees, also saw trouble. Soon after the event, Walker issued an e-mail that denounced the hair commentary as "racially insensitive, inappropriate, and wrong." Calling the beauty advice "appalling," Walker says, "You don't tell people that their physical appearance is unacceptable, when certain characteristics are associated with a racial group." He asks, "What's the alternative? Straighten or bleach your hair?"

As for the identity of the editor, neither Cleary Gottlieb nor Condé Nast Publications Inc. (publisher of Glamour) would say. Indeed, almost all of the half-dozen Glamour editors contacted for this story professed not to have ever set foot in a law firm. "Cleary what?" asked several.

And Walker says he has no idea whether the editor who sparked all this controversy is a well-known fashionista. Not that Walker would know, even if Anna Wintour herself crossed his path. "Who is she?" Walker asks. "I really don't know people in the fashion industry." (If you have to ask, she's the editor of Vogue.)

So did the Glamour editor realize how many feathers she ruffled? Walker says that the speaker was "spoken to by one of the women partners" and that she sent an e-mail apology. "I assume she was oblivious; I doubt she's racist," says Walker. "She wasn't thinking and said something hare-brained."

Or is that hair-brained?

You can find more interesting commentary/discussion about this on Jezebel

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Posh "Infusion" = Neither/Nor

This week, I got an email from a friend about an upcoming event in Washington, DC at a supper club called Posh. The place promised an upscale "Caribbean Night" called Infusion. Infusion promised to be "A Caribbean Affair" – spirited cooking by Paul Yellin. It was sponsored by Mount Gay Rum and Featuring Special Dinner Menu Created by Paul Yellin, a chef "raised and educated in Barbados". It also promised "Special Cocktail Rum Recipes Created by Mount Gay Distilleries Local Brand Specialist Chesterfield Browne", and a Steel Band.

Now, I'm thinking...."this should be a good night out". So I go with a couple of my girls to sample what promises to be yummy, spicy caribbean fare, and listen to some good music. As a Bajan - I'm psyched up that the fellow is a countryman and thinking that he should have some very interesting items on the menu. What a freaking disappointment!

The menu was price fixe. We began with a watermelon gazpacho shot - that pretended to be an amuse bouche. You know, that small wonder of a one bite that sets the tone for the evening...well, it was strange. Not bad, but not great either. One thing was right tho - it was the tone for the entire meal. The appetizer hurricane rolls of shrimp wrapped in a red snapper filet the covered with phyllo dough and fried with a side of scotch bonnet sauce was a poor beginning. The shrimp overcooked, the snapper fish, the phyllo dough soggy - with a sauce that MUST have come straight from a bottle purchased at local west indian market had me in the land of second thoughts before the main dish arrived. My companions fared no better with the pumpkin and lobster bisque. WHERE WAS THE LOBSTER?!?!?! I never saw one single piece. It appeared as if someone made a pumpkin soup and decided that seafood seasoning, would be enough. Even to call this thing a bisque was an insult to the word.

By now, I'm internally nervous about what is coming next from my Bajan brother - and surely, the dinner continued to plow down the same, bland badly cooked road on which it had begun. Hanger steak - completely unseasoned and tasteless. Rice with Mahi Mahi that had to be returned to the kitchen because it was so badly undercooked. Mashed sweet potato with no flavor whatsover. All this for $45 A PLATE?!?!?!? I felt taken advantage of and confused. This from a Bajan chef who has written a recipie book and traveled around the world cooking for dignitaries etc?

For me, there was no saving grace at that table in terms of food. However, I can say that my service was impeccable and that the restaurant itself appealed to the eye. I'd really recommend that the menus that they gave us (which could double as weapons, they are so heavy) be revamped, and that the management at Posh seriously consider their own reputations before hyping up such a non event from a non chef like Paul Yellin. Obviously, this fellow has lost touch with reality and his roots - in forgetting that the food of that region has FLAVOR that is not to be forgotten. If my own Mother does better caribbean food every day than Mr Yellins fine dining experience.....where's Gordon Ramsey when you really need him?

I think I'll avoid all things "Posh" for the forseeable future. I'm willing to give this place one more try for their regular menu. However, I can promise that it won't be on my own dime. As this night added up it was neither "posh" nor "infused" with anything it promised.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Why I Continue to Hate Comcast

Didn't we know this would happen one day? It's why I kept DSL. DSL allowed me to keep my independence. No one complains about what I do or how I do it. I always had a feeling that sharing a pipe was a bad idea - it's what happens in the workplace. Everyone is limited because of the sharing of one large connection.

Cable folks....come on back to the darkside, choose dsl.

Shutting Down Big Downloaders
Comcast Cuts Internet Service to Bandwidth Hogs

By Kim Hart
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 7, 2007; A01

The rapid growth of online videos, music and games has created a new Internet sin: using it too much.

Comcast has punished some transgressors by cutting off their Internet service, arguing that excessive downloaders hog Internet capacity and slow down the network for other customers. The company declines to reveal its download limits.

"You have no way of knowing how much is too much," said Sandra Spalletta of Rockville, whose Internet service was suspended in March after Comcast sent her a letter warning that she and her teenage son were using too much bandwidth. They cut back on downloads but were still disconnected. She said the company would not tell her how to monitor their bandwidth use in order to comply with the limits.

"You want to think you can rely on your home Internet service and not wake up one morning to find it turned off," said Spalletta, who filed a complaint with the Montgomery County Office of Cable and Communication Services. "I thought it was unlimited service."

As Internet service providers try to keep up with the demand for increasingly sophisticated online entertainment such as high-definition movies, streaming TV shows and interactive games, such caps could become more common, some analysts said.

It's unclear how many customers have lost Internet service because of overuse. So far, only Comcast customers have reported being affected. Comcast said only a small fraction of its customers use enough bandwidth to warrant pulling the plug on their service.

Cable companies are facing tough competition from telephone giants like AT&T and Verizon, which are installing new cables capable of carrying more Internet traffic.

The cable companies collectively spent about $90 billion in the past decade to improve their networks. And on cable networks, several hundred subscribers often share an Internet connection, so one high-traffic user could slow the rest of a neighborhood's connections. Phone lines are run directly to each home, so a single bandwidth hog will not slow other connections.

As Internet users make more demands of the network, cable companies in particular could soon end up with a critically short supply of bandwidth, according to a report released this month by ABI Research, a New York market-research firm. This could lead to a bigger crackdown on heavy bandwidth users, said the report's author, Stan Schatt.

"These new applications require huge amounts of bandwidth," he said. Cable "used to have the upper hand because they basically enjoyed monopolies, but there are more competitive pressures now."

To trigger a disconnection warning, customers would be downloading the equivalent of 1,000 songs or four full-length movies every day. Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas declined to reveal specific bandwidth limits.

"It's our responsibility to make sure everyone has the best service possible," he said, "so we have to address abusive activities so they won't damage the experience for other customers. "

Companies have argued that if strict limits were disclosed, customers would use as much capacity as possible without tipping the scale, causing networks to slow to a crawl.

Some customers are unaware they are using so much capacity, sometimes because neighbors are covertly connecting through unsecured wireless routers. When they are told of that possibility, many curb their use after an initial warning, Douglas said. Others, however, may be running bandwidth-hungry servers intended for small businesses from their homes, which can bog down a network serving a neighborhood. Comcast said it gives customers a month to fix problems or upgrade to business accounts before shutting off their Internet service.

Joe Nova of North Attleboro, Mass., lost Internet service after Comcast told him that he was using too much bandwidth to watch YouTube videos, listen to Internet radio stations and chat using a Web camera. He and other customers who complained of being shut off said they were not running servers from their homes.

"Sure, I'm online a lot, but there's no way I could have been consuming that much capacity," Nova said.

Other Internet service providers, including Time Warner Cable, Verizon and AT&T, say they reserve the right to manage their networks, but have not yet suspended service to subscribers. Smaller Internet service providers RCN in Herndon, Leros Technologies in Fairfax and OpenBand in Dulles said they do not cap bandwidth use.

Some AT&T customers use disproportionately high amounts of Internet capacity, "but we figure that's why they buy the service," said Michael Coe, a spokesman for the company.

Cox Communications, which provides Internet and cable services to parts of Northern Virginia and Maryland, said the bandwidth demand on its network has doubled every year for the past six years. It has boosted its speeds twice in the past 18 months to keep up and offers tiered service plans for heavier users, spokesman Alex Horwitz said.

"We don't spend a lot of time enforcing [bandwidth] caps, but we contact customers when their usage is egregious enough for it to impact the network," he said. "Instances are few and far between."

When Comcast canceled service to Frank Carreiro, who lives in a Salt Lake City suburb, he started a blog about the experience. His wife and six children then relied on sluggish dial-up Internet access until a phone company offered DSL service in his neighborhood.

"For a lot of people, it's Comcast or it's nothing," he said.

Bob Williams, director of, a consumer Web site run by Consumers Union, said the vagueness of Comcast's rules is "unfair and arbitrary."

"They're cutting service off to the people who want to use it the most," he said.

Schatt, the ABI Research analyst, said he expects cable companies to spend about $80 billion over the next five years to increase network capacity. In addition, they may acquire airwaves at an upcoming federal auction and could lay fiber-optic lines over their existing cables. Switching to digital-only programming could also help conserve capacity.

Comcast, Cox and Time Warner say they have more than enough capacity to meet demand and are adding new technologies to strengthen signals. Bruce McGregor, senior analyst at Current Analysis, a research firm in Sterling, said the bandwidth bottleneck is not yet a crisis for cable companies, but it could intensify with competition from phone companies.

Companies like Comcast "need to address people who are major drains on the network" without angering consumers, he said. "They're not the only game in town anymore."

Ipod madness

A 30 second rant here to go along with the post from article clipped from the Washington Post below.

What the hell has gone wrong with these people? Hey, it took me a long time to convert to Appleland, and get an ipod - even upgrading to the very cool video version. However, Mr Jobs - what I need now is not a complete revamp BUT MORE SPACE ON MY DEVICE. Ok, a bigger screen would be nice - however, what I really like about this thing is that it can be an entertainment center in my pocket. I like that it can store SO MUCH data and give me access to all of my own content. I don't want Wi=fi OR the ability to buy tunes on the thing - I can do that at home. What I want is really not that complicated.

Why would anyone fall for the newest Ipod (released in the UK) at 8 or 16 gig for approx $300 bucks! It's a sad imitation of the iphone at best. Personally, I like my click wheel - it works. I really don't need a touch screen that I have to keep wiping finger prints off of before I watch a movie.

The new shuffle is kinda cute - but do you really want 2.5 inches of a movie? Does want want 2.5 inches of anything? Sorry, I digress. My thoughts are devolving now. I'll quit while I'm ahead.
Poked in the i

By Eugene Robinson
Friday, September 7, 2007; A21

If I were an iPhone owner, I'd be hopping mad. I'd be iRate.

Just 10 weeks ago, otherwise sane individuals were camping overnight in long lines for the privilege of paying $599 for a mobile phone. These people were fully aware that most wireless companies will give you a basic phone for free, but the object of their ardor was anything but basic. It was a lifestyle choice. It was an advertisement for oneself. It was a shiny little slice of the future, a thin slab of cool. So what if it cost, gulp, 600 bucks? How could anyone get hung up over anything so prosaic as the price?

But when chief executive Steve Jobs announced Wednesday that Apple was slashing the iPhone's price by a third -- meaning that owning a slice of the future now sets you back only $399 -- the iPhone Internet forums lit up with buyers who felt they'd been taken for chumps.

On the everythingiPhone forum, someone with the screen name "Silverado" posted: "So much for a consumer-oriented company. This was my first Apple product and it will be my last." And on the macrumors site, "mac17" wrote that he intended to e-mail Jobs a harangue that begins, "As a loyal Apple customer I feel like I and other iPhone customers are being treated like dirt."

Jobs didn't go out of his way to make them feel any better. "That's technology," he told USA Today. "If they bought it this morning, they should go back to where they bought it and talk to them. If they bought it a month ago, well, that's what happens in technology." Stung by the reaction, he did offer Thursday to give early buyers a $100 store credit -- but no cash refund.

Still, you've got to hand it to the man for knowing his customer base. Better than anyone else in the silicon-based industries, Jobs understands that people adopt new technology not so much because of what it does but because of what it promises. And he understands that as long as you promise something that no iWhatever can possibly deliver -- a changed life, basically -- then you can keep the customers coming back.

What the iPhone does is package a lot of functions into one sleek device -- telephone, music, e-mail, Web browsing, photos. What it promises is that it will simplify and unclutter your life. We go through each day being bombarded with inputs from every direction; we're always having to come up with data -- phone numbers, e-mail addresses -- that we've left somewhere else, on some other machine; we leave the laptop home and wish we'd taken it, or we lug it around all day without using it. Here, according to the promise, is an elegant little machine that can serve as portal, organizer, window on the world. Here, we're promised, is control.

The few people I know who own iPhones seem to love them, but they haven't reported a marked improvement in the quality of their lives. They still have too much work to do and too little time; they still can't quite find that one piece of information they need right now. But, hey, maybe the next-generation iPhone will do the trick -- and you know that Jobs has one on the drawing board.

The fact is that in terms of miniaturization and number of features, some gadgets are already reaching their practical limits. I have big fingers; there is no way I could possibly thumb out an e-mail on a keyboard smaller than the one on my BlackBerry. The same physical limitation applies to cellphone keypads. And a 10-megapixel digital camera is no better for taking family snapshots than one that shoots a mere six megapixels.

Occasionally, there's a real breakthrough. But mostly what we're getting from the purveyors of electronic devices are incremental advances and improved packaging. Jobs was quick to realize that you have to sell image along with the gizmo.

This time, though, he has failed to live up to one clause in his implied contract with iPhone buyers. The sky-high price was supposed to guarantee a decent period of exclusivity. For a time, if you bought an iPhone, you were supposed to be the envy of your friends. The ability to show off all the neat things it could do was your compensation for the fact that the iPhone didn't really change your life.

Eventually, you understood, everybody would have one -- as happened with the iPod. But after spending $599 for a cellphone, the aura of supercool should have lasted longer than a couple of months.

Sorry if you feel cheated. As the man said, that's technology.