Owned by Apple in California

I was a gadget geek. Then a paper purist, haughty about the toys that tethered the unenlightened ones. Now I’m a gadget geek again.

Truth is, for all my Zen posing, my pared-down life wasn’t a conscious renunciation of what the Quakers call “cumber”. It was just that I kept losing shit.

I lost my Sony laptop. Two cellphones. A digital camera. A Palm PDA. A film camera (or three, if you count the ones I owned with my ex.) A few wallets. An iPod, given to me by Meetup. On my way to an interview for my new job at Stone Yamashita, I abandoned my IBM laptop on the A train platform at JFK–perhaps acting out a fear of San Francisco.

Mostly, I shrugged. It’s just stuff. I didn’t feel rich enough to replace it, so I took each loss as one less thing to fret about. My co-workers made fun of my gadget-repelling forcefield. My friends and family complained that they could never call me, but that was okay; I find a whining phone no better company than a mosquito.

But the stuff crept back into my life. Meetup kindly gave me another iPod. Hooked by that touch-me iPod, as groovy as Courreges go-go boots, I bought a Bose Dock so that it could live out loud. I celebrated my new job by replacing the lost laptop with a matching iBook, proud that I’d finally earned a product designed in California. When I got there, Stone Yamashita trumped it with a sleek 17″ PowerBook that made the iBook feel like an Etch-a-Sketch.

Before the move, I’d given in and bought a pay-as-you-go cellphone on eBay so that I could wrangle movers and realtors. Then Stone Yamashita handed me a BlackBerry that I clip to the strap of my backpack for full dorkish effect. It hasn’t helped my email twitchiness, though its clunky Canadian icons annoy me whenever I take a digital hit.

Yesterday we moved to new offices, just down the street on Brannan and Fourth, where the dotcom ghosts walk. It must have been wrenching for a small, cultish company to leave ten years of stories in the old loft we’d outgrown. To ease and celebrate the change, the partners handed us champagne and Shuffles, and fifty grown-up faces lit with glee.

I used to wander Brooklyn with a notebook, a pen, and a secondhand paperback. Now I schlep two laptops, two phones, and two iPods through SoMa (though I draw the line at listening to music in public: I can’t be in two places at once.) In the words of Mr. David Byrne, How did I get here?”

9 thoughts on “Owned by Apple in California”

  1. Hush, Pete!

    My first day here I asked where was the cable to lock up my laptop at night. Robert told me it was better if I took it home. I didn’t have the heart to say, no, really, I assure you–it’s not.

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  2. I have on my hard drive our earlier adventure in audio. I really truly intend to translate that audio file into a downloadable memento that will be so very last year that it will be worth listening to if only for the nostalgia value.

    Today I bought a generic MP3 player with a little color display for showing photos, and a microphone for voice reording. It’s not an iPod, but I plan to get the white earphones so I look cool anyway.

    San Francisco. Lucky-ducky.

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  3. Frank, I forgot to mention that at my friend Bernie’s prompting, I also bought a secondhand MP3 recorder a while back to do some voice blog pieces. Except that it’s a sucky Sony, which doesn’t do Mac software, and has all kinds of gates against actually moving your own stuff to your own computer anyway.

    Sony is no Apple. And San Francisco is no New York. 😉

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  4. Frank, I’m afraid it’s going to take more than white earphones.

    I started to comment to your post, Dervala, but decided to make into a new post for my blog instead. Look for it tomorrow.

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  5. But the MiniDisc can talk to the Apple–just line it in and make a cuppa. It will transfer your recordings into iTunes or whatever.

    I will kick off a thread in our Open Media Classroom and get the Tipperary audioheads talking about how they move content from MD to iPod. It’s refreshing analogue, in some respects.

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  6. Dervala, you’ve finally made me smile in the midst of a miserable cold with your reference to “clunky Canadian icons”. It’s provided me with endless diversion: who’s clunky, who’s not? Pierre Berton (or Trudeau)? Margaret Atwood (or Laurence)? Or just the poor designers in Waterloo…

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