Regular readers who put up with my occasional diatribes may remember that I am the not-so-proud owner of a Nokia N95, which shall henceforth be known as the "overcomplicated, useless pile of crap", or the OUPOC, pronounced Oh-You-Pock. Which is probably Finnish for headjob.
Since the stupid thing is supposed to be an MP3 player, I downloaded some podcasts over the weekend and tried to load them onto the phone. It will accept any amount of music, but refuses to take on board any of my podcasts, even though they are all in MP3 format. Thankfully, I got an iPod for Fathers Day, so that solved that little problem. Unlike the Nokia, I was able to get 5 podcasts onto the iPod in no time flat with no recourse to the manual and no requirement to replace the firmware or sim card. And people scoff at Apple and their design philosophy. How little do they know.
But I have been perservering with the phone. I like the idea of having a camera on the phone, since I use my Canon camera an awful lot, and I'd prefer to have one less device to lug around. There's just one problem. No, sorry, there are two problems with the camera on the OUPOC. Hang on, maybe there are three.
Screw it, I'll just start listing the problems and we'll see what the total number is.
To start with, it takes an age for the camera feature to load. With my Canon Ixus, I can have it out of my pocket and taking photos in 2 or 3 seconds, and I do that all the time when cycling. I can whip it out of my back pocket at 40km/h, take a photo and have it turned off and back in my pocket before I start to get speed wobbles. It's that quick.
The Nokia, oops, the OUPOC is a bit more sluggish. Waiting for the camera to start is like standing behind a woman at the checkout counter at the supermarket as she searches through her handbag for her purse, then searches through her purse for a method of payment. Before she finally decides to pay the bill in 5 cent coins. All $87 of it. Waiting for it to load is like waiting for Kevin Rudd to say something meaningful. It takes so long to get going, if you turned the camera on at the start of an Obama speech, it might fire up in time for you to photograph his back as he left the stage. Elizabeth Taylor goes through husbands in less time than this thing takes to get ready to take a photo.
And once it is ready, it then takes an aeon to actually take the photo. You line up the photo, press the "shoot" button, and it just sits there and looks at you. Remember the scene in Titanic where the Captain orders full reverse on the engines? The Captain yells an order at the First Mate, who yells an order at the Second Mate, who yells an order at the Third Mate, who yells out an order for two long blacks and a slice of toasted banana bread.... sorry, went to sleep there and woke up halfway through the next movie.
Anyway, the Third Mate yanks on the big handle thing, and someone down below decks then yells into a speaking tube, and the person on the other end sends a carrier pigeon with a message down to the engine room, whereby an Engineer yells at the stokers to stoke more coal, and after that catches fire, more steam is produced which turns the turbines faster in reverse and..... blah blah blah, by that time, the boat is in two bits and they are settling on the ocean floor and the fat bloodnut is being rescued. Hope I didn't spoil the movie for you there.
But that's about how long it takes it to actually take a photograph. Things went more rapidly in the 1860's when a photographer stuck his head under a curtain and set fire to some flash powder than went "poof", and he then spent two days developing a glass plate in several bath tubs of chemicals. I have managed to take some photos with the phone, but I am yet to entice it to transfer them to the PC that I am writing this on. I have USB, bluetooth and a Vulcan mindmeld program for all I know, and I still can't get a few fucking photographs to move two feet from my OUPOC to my PC.
I have used two different Canon cameras, and have transferred about 8,000 photos and videos from the two of them to this PC with no problems at all. Even Monkey, who is not yet three, is able to take a photo with the Canon and transfer it to the PC. You plug in the USB cable and flick a switch on the back down to "transfer" mode, and it takes care of itself from then on. And trust me, Monkey might be smart, but he has not yet learned to read Bananas in Pyjamas, let alone a fucking instruction manual for a camera.
I then discover that using the camera has one detrimental side effect - it requires about as much energy to capture an image as it takes to boost a space shuttle into orbit. I was at work today when I heard a funny beeping sound that I had never heard before. I searched my desk, eventually tracking the noise down to the OUPOC, and discovered that it was the "I'm about to turn off" sound it makes when the battery is out of juice.
Now my first mobile phone, issued in around 1992 or 1993, spent most of its life parked in a charger on my desk. If you actually took it out of the charger and popped out for lunch, it went flat. It was mobile to the extent that you could talk and walk around the office, so long as you never went more than 50 feet from the charger. And kept calls down to something like, "Hi, I'm on the mobile. Bye." It was good for showing off the fact that you had a mobile phone, but not much good for actual conversations. And it caused your ears to go crispy and fall off.
But as mobile phone technology improved, so did battery life, and it got to the point where I almost never used the desk charger with my last phone. I simply stuck it in the car kit whenever I drove anywhere (which was every few days), and that was sufficient to keep the battery topped up enough to never run flat.
The new OUPOC went flat so fast, I turned it over a few times and inspected it minutely to make sure that there were no holes that were leaking electricity. It went flat faster that a Woin Swan economic statement. In fact by lunchtime, it was flatter than Julia Gillards vowels. If I'd stuck a red merkin on top of it, I would have been arrested for taking the PM hostage (Gillard is PM now, isn't she?)
I came to the conclusion on the way home that my phone was attacked by an emission trading scheme. I have reconstructed the crime, using forensic techniques rarely seen outside prosecutions for terrorist crimes:
Penny Wong: "Does your phone have electricity in it?"
Me: "I believe so, unless you vote Green, and in that case, you'd believe it ran on pixie dust."
Penny Wong: "Did that electricity come from a coal fired power station?"
Me: "No, I have George Obama at home in the basement. I feed him a bag of rice a week, and he runs on a treadmill for me, which powers our home. Of course it came from a fucking coal fired plant. Where do you think we are? France?"
Penny Wong: "In that case, your electricity is bad. I must take away 90% of it in the form of a carbon tax. Give me your phone."
Me: "Fuck off".
Penny Wong: "Green Goons, beat him to a pulp."
Green Goon 1: "We've just come from a protest at the Gunns pulp mill, so we can't do that in good conscience."
Penny Wong: "In that case, beat him with your truncheons."
Green Goon 2: "Are they made of wood?"
Penny Wong: "Of course they are. They're meant to hurt."
Green Goon 2: "Hurt? Yes, they're meant to hurt all right. Trees have been hurt! Fellow goons, we must make a circle and pile our truncheons in the middle and scream and wail like demented attention seekers. We must ask forgiveness from the trees."
Penny Wong: "See here, you must hand over 90% of your electricity. It won't cost you anything, and you must think of the children."
Me: "Which children?"
Penny Wong: "THE children. You know, the children. The CHILDREN."
Me: "I meant which ones in particular?"
Penny Wong: "THE children are our FUTURE. You must think of them."
Me: "The children are our future? Have you been watching too much Doctor Who? Time travel hasn't been invented yet, unless you count going to Tasmania as a trip back into the past."
Penny Wong: "Forget the children. Give me 90% of your electricity. Or we will all die."
Me: "But you just told me to think of the children, and now I am supposed to forget them? And how are we all going to die?"
Penny Wong: "From global warming. It will kill 9,763 people in 2018, plus a budgie."
Me: "Plus a budgie? How do you know that?"
Penny Wong: "Because our computer models have predicted it. A granny will die of heat stroke as she cleans her budgie's cage, and she will smother the budgie as she collapses".
Me: "That's quite impressive. By the way, it looks like rain. Will I need an umbrella this afternoon?"
Penny Wong: "How should I know. Now, give me 90% of your electricity. It won't cost you anything"
Me: "Won't cost me anything? I'll only be able to make 10% of the calls that I need to, and you tell me that it won't cost me anything?"
Penny Wong: "I am convinced it won't cost you anything, because you don't actually need to make most of those calls."
Me: "How do you know what calls I do and don't need to make?"
Penny Wong: "Ah, you see I am one of those special people that know what is best for you, and I am telling you that you need to make 90% fewer phone calls."
Me: "Fuck off".
Penny Wong: "Do you really have George Obama in the basement?"
Penny Wong: "Well, you'd really be doing us a favour if you did have him down there, because it will help to get the Messiah elected."
Me: "Why do you want that overinflated windbag to get elected?"
Penny Wong: "Because with a like-minded environmental socialist in the White House, me and all my friends will get invited to fly over all the time for conferences and working parties and informal get-togethers."
Me: "Yes, you lot really are special".