I am not usually one to walk around with a big grin on my face on Friday, glad to bid good-bye to the week at hand. No, I enjoy my work (most of the time), just as I enjoy the freedom that weekends provide for me to mop up any urgent work, and combine it with my own doings. But I admit I’m happy to see the back end of this week.
Why? Working my way backwards, the week ended with a bang–a quick snow squall that popped up out of nowhere–but did leave a beautiful reminder that winter has not yet abated.
Couple that with a marathon of exam grading this afternoon, and I could use a beer. Or a glass of wine, or 4.
But that’s not what really irked me this week. No, it wasn’t that. It wasn’t even the fact that ‘usually-organized me’ (almost) missed a good grant opportunity and found it at noon on the very day it was due at 5 pm. And I had a 2 hour meeting that same afternoon. My urgent phone call from Omaha (Central Time) to ask whether, by any chance, 5 pm might not be Pacific Time, met with a “Nice try, but no!” But I am happy to report, the grant went out at 4:50 pm Central Time.
My most constant worry has been the ever-crashing and ever-troubling issue of a reliable e-mail system. In my previous blog (“Who says scientists aren’t creative?“), I described my utter frustration with our e-mail system– known as Lotus Notes. I noted my dismay at having to “do figure eights-in-the-air” to be able to load e-mail on the web-based system from home. I probably forgot to mention the many e-mail attachments I have been forced to send to journals, colleagues and collaborators using my daughter’s g-mail account (until I finally opened my own). Not exactly what one would expect from a system supposedly designed for serious work.
It turns out, from the many comments and sympathy statements that I received, that I am not alone in this frustration. In fact, there is even a website called “I hate Lotus Notes” that discusses “the healing process” and has items for sale (Share the pain, get gear). Such as this T-shirt:
But–relief is on the way. Microsoft Outlook, with it’s Macintosh capabilities is scheduled to kick in on March 6, 2012 to replace LN. Yes! But wait…
I was informed that my beloved BlackBerry will not be compatible with the new Outlook, that my calendar won’t be synchronized, and I will no longer be able to have my client e-mail work seamlessly with it. It is important for me to point out that through all my frustrations with LN, my trusty BlackBerry never failed me. Not once. After being set up, these past 2-3 years it has worked seamlessly with my LN calendar and many, many times has saved me–being my only workable e-mail. The muscles on my two thumbs can probably rival those of the strongest body builders.
So I was in great despair to find that I would need to trade-in the old BB for an iPhone. Now everyone who is anyone says, “Wow, what an upgrade!”
But I’m not so sure. The BB did everything I asked of it and more. True, it’s internet capabilities were a bit limited, but ultimately there were few websites that I couldn’t get into. It was easy to use, I could control making the whole thing silent, vibrations for e-mails, rings for the phone, beeps for IM, dings for twitter and FB. Everything worked! And at night, charging in the corner of my room and used as an alarm clock, one finger click and the thing was silent until the next morning. Ahhh, and that blinking red light in seminars–a much awaited e-mail!
Yes! Yes! I was hooked. Crack-Berry.
And now, I sit with my new iPhone beside me, still struggling to unravel the puzzles it presents. It took a day or two to get it coordinated with the university e-mail. That now seems to work okay. Whew. But g-mail? All week I was trying to figure out how I could possibly IM on g-mail without having to open Safari. And STAY OPEN–otherwise people wouldn’t know I’m online. Hours of digging through comments and posts online, and I finally found an application that could be uploaded–and it works. Whew!
I admit that the internet is faster, more sophisticated, more possibilities. All true. But my number one beef–aside from the complexity of learning to use it properly–is the speed at which I can (or rather can’t!) type.
On my old BB, I could e-mail with 2 thumbs as fast as I can type on this computer. With the iPhone, I can’t use my thumbs and still hit the correct keys. Perhaps my thumbs are too brawny from BB exercises, but it just won’t go. So it’s poking away like a real amateur. SLOW. People say I’ll get used to it. I don’t know if they mean I’ll learn to type faster (and with fewer mistakes) or that I’ll just get used to typing more slowly. Probably the latter.
Well, enough said. A traumatic week. And my kids are making fun of me–”What, you don’t WANT the iPhone? Get with it!”
Any advice for an iPhone novice? Aside from anti-depressants?