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    iPhone… my precious…

    By Derek | July 3, 2007

    iPhone In DockNeed I say more? 🙂

    After waiting 6 months for the iPhone, I drove down to our local Apple store at about noon on iDay.

    I took my lawn chair, a cooler full of ice and water, my lunch, a couple of healthy snacks, my hat, sunscreen and my sunglasses. I didn’t take my PowerBook, but I did take a physical book to read. Turns out, I didn’t need it. I also took my iPod, but my headphones were in my laptop bag, so they got left behind, too.
    I parked my car, saddled up my gear, and headed for the line. There were somewhere between 75 and 100 people in front of me already.

    When I got there, right as I was setting up my chair, an Apple employee was walking down the line, asking “how many?” When he got to me he mentioned that they still had “plenty” after I told him I only wanted one.
    Most people were getting only one, but some were getting two. Two was the limit.

    A guy near me said he was only getting one, but it wasn’t for him. It was for the CEO of his company.

    We chatted a bit, and talked about how his company was on Exchange, and his IT guy didn’t think he’d be able to support the iPhone. I told him that the iPhone would do standard IMAP, and that Exchange has supported IMAP since Exchange 2000. It seems strange to me that a Microsoft-shop IT guy wouldn’t want to use a feature Microsoft had built-in.
    Apparently, he was told there was some kind of security issue, and their IT wasn’t going to be turning it on. He was under the impression that if the CEO says “make my iPhone work” and the IT guy says “we can’t” — well, then the CEO would get a new IT guy that would.

    The guy’s name was Gerald. Actually, that’s the only name I got while talking to everyone in line. Kind of reminded me of the scene in Fight Club, where Brad Pitt talks about “single-serving friends.” Great movie, you should see it.

    More people kept showing up. At this point, there were about 10 or 15 people behind me. I mentioned to the closest ones that an Apple employee had just been by a few minutes ago, with promises of there being plenty left.
    Another guy I talked to was studying for his masters, in neuroscience, no less. This guy was very interesting. He and I talked for a while, about science, of course, and Apple, of course. He was planning to get two phones, one for himself, and one for his (wife or girlfriend — I can’t remember).

    Still more people showed up.

    After a couple of hours, my friend David, from New Braunfels, called me. He asked what I was doing. Funny he should ask! I invited him over to the Apple store to spend some time waiting in line.

    Surprisingly enough, he accepted.

    After a few minutes, he showed up. I immediately asked him to save my spot, so that I could take a restroom break, and he agreed. After all, I’d been drinking water continously for about 2 hours at this point. 🙂

    Once back from my break, we talked at length about what was going on with him.

    At just before 2pm, local time, the Apple employees announced that they were going to close down the store at 2pm, and if anyone wanted anything before then, they should go get it now. I’m not sure exactly what they wanted us to buy at that point, but hey.

    Still. More. People. In line. On a hot sunny day.

    One of the guys near us was waiting in line to hold someone else’s spot. He said he was getting paid. I asked if he was charging $20 per hour, like that guy in the Craig’s List ad. He said he didn’t think so, but then made the comment he ought to, since $20 per hour was “the going price.” We all laughed at that.

    I’m not joking about the Craig’s list ads… here are a couple:

    Here’s one from Atlanta, a reverse of the others, a guy (or gal) asking to pay $100 for someone to wait in line for them:

    Guess there’s more money to be made in SF. Gotta offset that cost of living somehow, I suppose.

    Actually, I read an article about the craigslist ads the night before, and called my sister, Jennifer about it. She had to work that day. Bummer.

    Nice of Starbucks to hand out iced coffees, even if they only did it once after I got there. After that they switched to water. Still, ice water on a hot day is nice.

    The Apple employees kept coming around, too with an ice chest full of Smart Water, handing those out. I guess someone dying from heatstroke would be bad publicity for the iPhone, eh? 🙂

    Oh, and Godiva was handing out free samples of chocolate “pearls.” Little tiny chocolate balls, kinda like Whoppers, but soft.

    My wife showed up after 4pm. I didn’t really expect her to show up that early. We had talked about her coming closer to 6pm, when the Apple store was supposed to re-open. I took another break, and then we sat around and talked.

    Meanwhile, there are news crews from several different stations running around. Our local KENS TV, KSAT TV, Univision and one other who didn’t have any identifying marks were there. We found out later, by watching the news, that it was our local Fox affiliate. I guess if I was them, I wouldn’t point myself out, either.

    They kept walking around, interviewing different people, and trying to get good “action shots” of a bunch of people waiting patiently in line. Tough job, I suppose.

    Each of them got several shots of Gerald. Turns out, by night, he’s a trumpet player, in a band. And not afraid to let everyone know! I guess you gotta be bold to be a professional, or even semi-professional performer. He got on all of the news channels, as far as I could tell. Good for him. Unfortunately, he wasn’t wearing one of his bands’ t-shirts. Bummer.

    Around 5pm we were all getting hungry, and smelling the wonderful smells emanating from PF Changs. My wife and I talked about getting some food, since it was still going to be almost an hour before the Apple store opened again.

    She agreed to run and get it for us, and I’d stay in line. Good plan, we thought.

    What we didn’t know was that about 5:30pm, the Apple employees came back out, and started organizing everyone. I had to pack up my stuff, and move to a different place so that they could better organize the line. They asked us to be polite, and orderly, and to work with the Mall security so that walkways etc. could remain open and unblocked.
    I was hoping to eat sitting down in my lawn chair! Instead, my wife got back with the food at about 5:45pm, and we didn’t really have the room or the time to lay out dinner and eat it.

    At 6pm sharp the line started moving. By this time there were probably as many people behind me in line as there were in front.

    It took us about 1/2 an hour to get inside. As we got nearer to the entrance, the Apple employees let us know that there were two ways to go once we got inside the store. We were told to go left if we were positive that we wanted an iPhone, and that would put us in queue for one. We were told to go right if we wanted to check out a demo of the iPhone before purchasing. As far as I can tell, everyone went left. 🙂

    They further split the line down while we were inside the store. They had a credit only line, and a cash line. Since I had been saving up for mine, I had to stand in the cash line, even though I as paying partly with my debit card. They also mentioned that we should go ahead and get an iPhone first, and then we’d have time to shop for accessories after.
    Note: the cash line moves much slower than the credit line! By the time I was second or third up to buy one, everyone I had been talking to that whole day had already gone through the credit line, and were already looking at accessories.

    After receiving my iPhone, I went and looked at all of the accessories. I picked out a nice hard plastic case to wrap my iPhone in, and called it a day. I did actually look at bluetooth headsets, but as the iPhone doesn’t yet support stereo headphones, I didn’t really feel the need to replace my existing headset.

    Unfortunately, I’ve ended up not really liking the iSee Contour case. It doesn’t fit the iPhone perfectly snug. The iPhone feels kinda loose inside the case, and it bugs me. Also, the “holster” that it comes with it a joke. The little thin piece of plastic that Contour calls a “belt clip” will break in about 10 seconds under normal use. Contour seriously needs to check out some Motorola StarTac holsters to see how it’s done.

    After we left the store, we had all this food that was going to get cold if we drove all the way home, so we went ahead and walked over to the Mall food court, and had our PF Changs there. While at the food court, before I ate, I opened the iPhone box just to stare at it.

    I had no idea it would be so tiny. I guess Steve Jobs has smaller hands than I do, but it kinda looks bigger in all of the video I had seen so far.

    I won’t write about what an experience it is to open a brand new Apple product. That’s been well documented thus far. If you must, here’s a link: ZDNet.com. OK. Opening the box is really cool. Apple spends considerable time and effort designing everything, including the boxes they ship stuff in. It’s really amazing.

    Up to this point, everything had been going great. Read on. If you dare.

    I started trying to connect my iPhone at about 8:30pm. I tried to hook my iPhone up to my Intel Mac mini, since that’s where my iTunes, iPhoto, iCal, Address book, etc. was located. No dice. I downloaded iTunes 7.3 just like I was told, and it took about 20 minutes or so to update my music library.

    The phone was being recognized by my Mac, according to System Profiler, it just wasn’t showing up in iTunes.

    Long story short, I spent about 5 hours troubleshooting it. It was recognized by iTunes on my 15″ Powerbook, just not by my mini. Everything I needed to sync with was on the mini.

    I talked to Apple support for about 2 hours, after I had tried everything I could think of. I even created a new user account to see if that would help. Nothing. Shows up in SysPro, but not iTunes.

    I finally got moved to Level 2 support at Apple. I was given a case number, and put on hold, that is.

    I ended up hanging up because I had started the call on my existing cell phone, and hadn’t waited until after 9pm to call. So I had about an hour and a half of minutes used on my existing phone, that I was planning to cancel in the morning.

    While off the phone with Apple, my friend Stephen called. We talked for a bit, and I guess I convinced him to get an iPhone. He finally left his house after 11pm to drive to the Apple store and buy one. They had said they would be open till midnight.

    I called Level 2 support back, and waited on hold for a tech. Obviously, Apple’s support lines were over-run, because I’ve called their support before, and never waited more than a couple of minutes to talk to someone. I waited almost 25 minutes. Their greeting politely informed me that I would have to wait “five minutes, or longer.”
    When the L2 tech came on the line, he had me try a couple more things, like removing the “AppleMobile” kernel extension, and removing iTunes completely, dumping the trash, rebooting and doing a complete re-install of iTunes. Nada. Also, we tried doing a disk repair from the OS X boot / install disc that came with the Mac mini.
    He finally advised me to perform an “Archive and Install” of OS X, assuring me that would fix the problem. He was confident because the phone kept showing up in SysPro.
    So, I started the A&I and waited. I did a custom Install, and unchecked all of the bundled apps that come with OS X, like iPhoto, etc. I didn’t want to wait to re-install all of that stuff when I knew that my first trip to Software Update was going to bring down the latest versions (which I already had) anyway.

    I did let it install all the Printer Drivers, X11, the languages and Front Row, but I pretty much unchecked everything else.

    Guess what?

    It worked. If you’ve never done an A&I install on a Mac — which I had done only once before — it’s awesome. Apple, unlike that other company, knows that your data, your OS and your apps should all be separated. When doing an A&I, all of your apps (that you uncheck) and your user profiles and data are all left completely alone. Only the actual system, and any extensions you’ve installed, are replaced. Ever tried to install XP by yourself? You know what I’m talking about, then.
    So, 20 minutes later, I reboot into my brand-spankin’ new install of Mac OS X, load the latest combo installer for 10.4.10, the latest Java, the latest Front Row and only about two or three security patches (my mini shipped with 10.4.6) and I’m back in my user profile, with all of my data ready to go.

    I then re-installed the latest iTunes, QuickTime, etc. and was finally ready. It worked like a champ. Plugged the iPhone in, it was recognized immediately by iTunes. {Sigh}.

    I proceeded to activate my new phone — again, here’s a link — and started my sync process. At this point, I had the minor problem of having to shrink some of my Playlists. After all, I had a 30 gig 5th gen iPod, so I had my playlists set kind of large.

    Wonderful! Amazing! Insert your own adjective! (Every word is a different iPhone review!)

    Enjoy!

    Topics: Me, Technology | No Comments »

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