Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese


RIP Scarlett

At work on Friday, I dropped my phone, much like I have done a countless times before. But this time when it landed, it made a horrible crunching sound and I knew that couldn’t be good. I picked it up, flipped it over, and saw this:

shattered iPhone screen

My phone, affectionately named Scarlett, is a few weeks shy of three years old, which is 978,237,923,302 in phone years. I had just gotten her battery replaced in Dec (since there was a discount on battery replacements and my battery was absolute crap), so I was hoping to get another year out of her. Clearly, that is not meant to be.

I started debating whether I should stick with iPhone – the new ones are more than $1000 and I’m really not too keen on dropping a grand on a phone – or jump ship and get an Android. But then I was talking to a colleague about the bad day I was having (in addition to the phone smashing, a few other things weren’t going my way on Thursday), and she said, “Do you want my iPhone? It’s an 8 and I’ve only had it for year and I’m getting rid of it. I got it as a gift, so I wouldn’t feel right selling it, but I don’t like it and am switching back to my Android phone this weekend and if you don’t take it, it’s just going to sit there on a shelf.”

I was in complete disbelief that someone would be so generous, but she was insistent that she couldn’t sell it and if I didn’t take it, it would just sit there and she’d feel bad about it being wasted. So I just have to make it through this weekend with a phone on which I can’t read anything in the top right corner of the screen and that feels totally weird when you touch the screen.

In related news, I find it super weird that the touch screen works despite being smashed to bits.


A Whole New iPhone Battery

Remember when Apple was in the news for, without telling customers,  slowing down the operation of older iPhones when the battery was low on power (which older phones are all the time because their battery life sucks) or it was cold outside (which is a constant problem for someone like me who is often at a hockey rink)? And then they offered a discount on replacing batteries in the affected iPhone models?


I have desperately needed that battery replacement for quite some time, but I haven’t had a chance1 to get to the store to do it until now (as I am officially on vacation and can do such things as go to a mall in the middle of the day). And even that was prompted by the fact that the discount ends on December 31! So today I went to the Apple store for my replacement battery.

The Apple “genius” ran some diagnostics on my phone was like, “Hmmm, seems this phone is about two and a half years old. That’s usually about the life of these batteries. Hmmmm… oh yeah. Look at this!”

Typically you need to replace the battery after about 500 charges. You have done 1100 full charges.

Apple “Genius”

If we do the math, that’s about 1.2 charges per day. Which actually sounds about right, given that the battery has been so bad for the last several months I’ve had to charge it at least twice per day, sometimes more!

And since, as my mother puts it, “my phone is spying on me!”, I decided to check out what I’ve been using up my battery power on. Here’s the breakdown for the past 10 days:

Battery usage

I’m actually surprised that I didn’t spend more battery power on Google Maps, but other than that, this seems about right. 

Clearly, I should look into investing in Niantic2

  1. Where by “had a chance” I mean “have been too busy and disorganized to actually do this. []
  2. The company that makes Pokemon Go. Sadly, I just saw on their Wikipedia page as I went to make that hyperlink that they are a privately held company, so not stocks in Niantic for me! []


Gone With The Wind

Totally thought this posted a few days ago, but just came onto my blog to write a new posting and discovered I hadn’t. Anyway, here it is now!

So it turns out that I bought my last phone a really, really long time ago. Like more than 3 years ago, which in phone-years, means my phone was 892,386 years old. It was an iPhone 5 – not even a 5S, let alone the newer 6 or a 6 Mega-Double-Plus size. A lot of features have come out on iPhones since I bought that phone – like TouchID (where you scan your fingerprint rather than typing in a passcode to unblock your phone, which is super useful),or the phone being able to count the number of steps you take (slightly less useful when you leave your phone sitting on your desk or your kitchen counter for half the day, but kinda cool when you do carry it around) or a camera that can actually take decent photos in light that is less bright than full-on sunshine at high noon). But I am cheap and I don’t like throwing out things that are useful and replacing them with a slightly newer and shinier version. The straw that broke the camel’s back, however, was that my battery, after 3 years of constant use, decided that it no longer wanted to hold a charge, so it wouldn’t last me anywhere near a day (despite the fact that I put the phone into “Low Power Mode” pretty much all the time), which necessitated me constantly having to bring my charging cord with me and always needing to find a place to charge it.

My problem then became what phone to buy. I really love my iPhone, but I did *not* want a phone that is bigger than the one I had. I run a lot and when I do, I have my phone strapped to my arm. And I am a small person, so the iPhone 5 already takes up most of my upper arm – I couldn’t even imagine having something bigger – it would be so cumbersome! Fortunately, Kalev keeps abreast of all the iPhone rumours and told me a while back that Apple had a plan to bring out a phone that basically had all the feature of the iPhone 6, but in the iPhone 5 size. And so I waited and lo, the prophesy was true! The iPhone SE has basically all the features of the iPhone 6 that I wanted: TouchID, wicked good camera, Apple Pay, stuff that makes it faster than my old phone1.

While I was deciding it was time for a new phone, I also decided that it was time for a new cell phone provider. I was with Fido and while I never had any issues with their service, their price tag seemed a bit high for what I was getting. So I decided to switch over to Wind. Wind is a lower price carrier – I’m able to get everything I had in my Fido plan (unlimited calling and texting in Canada, caller ID, voicemail) plus 5 times as much data (5GB vs the 1 GB I had with Fido) for less than half the price I was paying to Fido. The trade-off is that the Wind network doesn’t have as good of coverage as Fido, though I’m so rarely out of the city, it’s not really a problem for me2.

I consulted a few people who use Wind and they all told me that they’d not had issues and one person even pointed out that since you don’t sign a contract with Wind, I could try it out and if I don’t like it, I can always go back to one of the bigger carriers. So I decided to take the plunge and sign up for Wind. After a couple of technical hiccups3, I was up and running with the new phone and am ever so happy with it.

The next step in the process was that I needed a name for my phone. I’d totally phoned4 it in one my last phone (the iPhone 5) and named her Bellatrix 2, as the previous phone (the iPhone 3G) was Bellatrix. I name my electronics, with some exceptions, after female literary characters (see: Bellatrix, Hermione, Ginny Weasley (my external hard drive), Marla, and Daenerys), and the name for my new iPhone SE just came to me as I thought about the fact that I’d “Gone with the Wind”. Everyone, meet Scarlett ((I absolutely loved the movie Gone with the Wind when I was a kid and watched it many times, as we had it on a VHS tape. Because, like my previous phone, I am 892,386 years old. I even dressed up as Scarlett O’Hara one year for Hallowe’en.)):

My new iPhone SE

I thought that since I was getting a new phone that is the exact same size as my old phone, I’d be able to keep using the same case, but my old case has a slight problem:

My new iPhone SE

As you can see in the above photo, my old case covers the home button, which was fine with the iPhone 5, as you can still press the home button through the silicone case. You cannot, however, do Touch ID through the silicone case because the home button needs to be able to scan your fingerprint, which it cannot do through silicone, and Touch ID is my favourite thing that this phone offers. So I ordered a new case that won’t have this problem. It also gave me the opportunity to buy a case with a slot on the back to put my Compass card5 in.

My new iPhone SE

I currently keep my Compass card stuck in the back of my case, but it’s a bit of a pain to have to take my card out from there, especially given that 5 days a week I have to tap my card a total of eight (!) times going to and from work and the faregates cannot read the card through the silicone case. Apparently once I set up Apple Pay, I won’t be able to leave my Compass card in my new case when I scan it (as Apply Pay interferes with the Compass Card system), but even still, it will be a lot easier to slide it out of a card slot than it will be to half remove my case every time I want to tap my Compass card. I’ve ordered a new case from Amazon – should be here next week. Hmm…. I suppose I will have to name my new case Tara.

  1. It doesn’t have 3D Touch, but I don’t really care about that. []
  2. I looked at Wind 3 year ago when I got my Fido account, but at the time I had a job where I covered the Fraser Valley and beyond and Wind didn’t have coverage out there, which would have meant that every time I went to, say, Abbotsford for a meeting, I wouldn’t be able to use my phone. Wind now has coverage there, but I don’t have that job any more, so it doesn’t actually matter to me. []
  3. First, they messed up porting my number from Fido by accidentally typing my Fido account number in wrong. Fortunately, since they typed the account number in wrong, Fido didn’t know that I’d cancelled, so they didn’t give away my number and Wind was able to port it the next day. Second, because I was on the temporary number (which was only supposed to be on my phone for ~1 hour until my original number ported) for half a day, my iMessage got all messed up and kept trying to use the temporary number (which I no longer had access to once they fixed my porting problem) instead of my real number. The Apple engineers were able to help me out with that one though. []
  4. Pun intended! []
  5. For my non-Vancouver readers: Compass card is the card you use to pay for travel on our Skytrain, buses, and Seabus in the greater Vancouver area, and you have to tap in and tap out as you enter/exit fare paid zones of the transit system. []


She May Not Have a Name, But at Least She Has a Home

While my new iPhone remains, as of yet, nameless, she is now safely nestled in a cozy new case1.

I had a gift card from Best Buy, so I figured that my need of an iPhone case was a good opportunity to use that. There were a fair number of cases available, but the vast majority of them were pink and purple. Ugh. I wanted to get either an awesome blue or red one, but they only had a shade of blue I didn’t particularly like and nothing at all in red. In the end, I settled on a two-for-the-price-of-one pack – one white case, one black.

iPhone cases Nameless iPhone in her daytime attire.

iPhone casesNameless iPhone all set for the evening in her little black number.

I also picked up an armband case to use to strap my iPhone to my arm while running, as I use my iPhone as a MP3 player/GPS run tracker/zombies-are-chasing-you motivator when I run.

iPhone arm bandNameless iPhone, ready to hit the pavement.

And while I was in a protecting-my-electronics mood, I decided to also pick up a case for my kobo 2. I got myself this shiny red number:

Kobo caseMy kobo, for some reason, likes to keep Hitch-22 as the cover when it’s powered off. Despite the fact that I’m actually reading World War Z at the moment.

Oddly, the package for this e-reader case indicated that it was an e-reader case “for her”:

Werx for her

What exactly makes a red envelope-looking case “for her” – I have no idea. The other e-reader case like this one was black, and was also called “for her.” There were no e-reader cases “for him.” Apparently, men don’t read.

This, of course, made me think of Ellen’s bit on the ridiculous “Bic Pens for Her”:

  1. Which decreases my paranoia about dropping her. And thus probably my likelihood of actually dropping her, since I’m more clumsy when paranoid! []
  2. For the record, my kobo’s name is Luna, after Luna Lovegood []


I Snooze, I Lose

So I’ve been meaning since forever ago to write a blog posting about the Sleep Cycle iPhone app. It’s a free app1 that tracks your sleeping patterns2 and then works as an alarm to wake you up when you are in the lightest stage of sleep. But mostly I love it because I get to look at a graph every morning when I wake up! A graph that looks like this:

Sleep Cycle App - screenshot

Or this:

Sleep Cycle App - screenshot

Or maybe this:

Sleep Cycle App - screenshot

Of course, what prompted me to write this blog posting today, of all days, is that Dr. Dan just blogged about this app! I didn’t even know that he used the Sleep Cycle app, and here he is scooping me! Of course, the data from our respective Sleep Cycle apps show that I spend, on average, 7 hrs 02 mins sleeping per night compared to his 5 hours 40 minutes per night and so clearly he used his extra awake time to scoop me on this blog topic3! As I suggested in my comment on his blog posting, “Beth snoozes, Beth loses… literally!”

Like Dr. Dan, I wish that this app had the option to overlay all my graphs on top of each other to see if some sort of pattern emerges. I mean, I have data from 243 nights4 and it’s pretty hard to spot patterns just by flipping through the graphs one at a time. I’d also like to see what my maximum and minimum sleep times were (or some other measure of the spread of my data); though my average across 243 nights is 7 hrs and 2 mins, I routinely sleep 5-6 hours per night during the week and 9-10 hours on the weekends.

Now speaking of sleep, that actually sounds like a good idea right about now. BETH SLEEPY!

  1. and you know how I feel about free stuff []
  2. by using your iPhone’s accelerometer to sense your movements as you sleep []
  3. I have a vague recollection of Cath writing a post about the Sleep Cycle app eons ago, but a quick search of her blog came up empty, so now I’m thinking that perhaps she just told me, at some point, about her using []
  4. though not consecutive, because sometimes I forget to turn on the app []


There’s Not An App For That

Where is the iPhone app that reads my thoughts and records blog posting ideas that I have while I’m running, driving, or otherwise unable to record them?  I always have lots of *brilliant* ideas in these situations, but by the time I get to a place where I could record them, they’re gone.

Case in point: I had at least four brilliant ideas during my run after work today and the only one I could remember by the time I sat down to write this was that I wish there were a mind-reading iPhone app for this1!

  1. your definition of “brilliant idea” and mine may vary []


GPS Navigation App Acquired!

As I type this, the Navigon GPS iPhone app is installing onto Bellatrix!  As anyone who has ever met me knows, I suck at directions.  Unlike my iPhone, I have no built-in compass.  I’ve heard that most people can just feel which way is east and which way is west, but I totally cannot.  When I moved to Vancouver from Ontario, for the first three or four days of driving I totally felt like I was driving east, even though all the signs clearly said I was on the Trans-Canada highway going west.

Since I bought my iPhone, I’ve been using Maps to give me directions as to where to go, but Maps requires that you look at the screen, zoom in to see street names, scroll when the little blue dot that represents you goes off the screen, etc.  I need a GPS that will tell me “Turn left at Granville Street” outloud.

******squeee!   It’s installed!!*****

Anyway, after doing some research and talking to some peeps, I decided to go with Navigon as my GPS.

Although I did find it odd that this app is apparently appropriate for anyone older than 4 years old:

Navigon MobileNavigator

I guess all those driving four-year-olds aren’t very good with directions either.

Also interesting, you shouldn’t operate your GPS while driving:

Navigon - Do Not Operate While Driving

Which is funny, seeing as it’s a freaking GPS navigation system.  And that you can set it for “car,” “motorcycle,” and “truck,” in addition to “bike” and “pedestrian.”  I suppose I should use it while pushing my car?


Scramble Needs A New Dictionary

Since getting my iPhone, I’ve become somewhat addicted to Scramble1. It’s basically just a jumbled bunch of letters and you have to find as many words as possible in the jumble in 3 minutes. But I’ve noticed that a lot of the words it accepts aren’t words. Sometimes, when I can’t find a word, I’ll just put in random three-letter combinations and it accepts the weirdest things. Tod and I were just talking this morning about how Scramble needs to get a better dictionary. And then I got this message the next time I opened the app, which pretty much confirms it:

Scramble needs a new dictionary

  1. it’s Tod’s fault. He got me hooked on this game! []


iPhone’s Voice Control is Psychic

Today’s blog posting will have to be short one as I’m trying to get some marking done.  And I may have spent all of last night playing with iPhone apps.  So my quick blog posting will be, not surprisingly, about my iPhone1.

The new Voice Control. It rocks. by Adrià Fontcuberta.

The iPhone has a feature called “Voice Control” – you push a button to put the phone in voice control mode and then you can speak to the phone to tell it what you want to do:

  • “Play songs by Madonna” will turn on the iPod function of your phone, a voice will say, “Playing songs by Madonna”  and then start playing songs by Madonna from your music library.
  • “Call Tod” will cause the phone to look up Tod’s phone number in your contact list, saying “Calling Tod” and then it dials his number.
  • “What song is playing?” will get the phone to tell you the name and artist of the song that is currently playing.

As I was playing around with it last night, I said, just for fun, “Go make me a cup of tea,” to which it replied, “No match found.” Then I tried, “Go fuck yourself.” To which is replied, “Calling [insert name of person I don’t really like by whose number I happen to have in my contact list].”

Guess I shouldn’t have downloaded that “make your iPhone psychic” app.

Image Credit: Posted by Adrià Fontcuberta on Flickr.

  1. did I mention that I love my iPhone?  I think from now on I’ll just sign my paycheques over to Steve Jobs directly []


Meet Bellatrix

So. iPhone. I gots me one.  And I named her Bellatrix:

Me and Bellatrix

Telus started selling iPhones yesterday, but their system crashed so they couldn’t *actually* sell the damn things.  Also, I had to throw a fit and threaten to jump ship to Rogers or Bell because Telus didn’t want to give me the promo price on the phone (i.e., they wanted me to pay $899 instead of $299 for the phone) because I was 25 days shy of being within 6 months of the end of my conferencecontract.  As if.  And the Telus “loyalty” rep was all, “It’s just 25 days you have to wait,” and I was all, “Yeah, it’s just 25 days, so you can waive it!”  I may have even had to pull out the old “”Well, who does have the authority to do this? I want to talk to them.”  As the old saying goes, the squeaky wheel gets the iPhone and so I walked out of the store with Bellatrix in my hot little hands this morning.

Now, you may be wondering why the name “Bellatrix.”  I’ve been trying to come up with a good name for the last week or so, and my thought process kinda went like this: my old phone was named Hermione (from Harry Potter), and my iPod is Marla (from Fight Club, character played by Helena Bonham Carter).  Put these two together and what you do you get: Bellatrix Lestrange!  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have more iPhone apps to download!