Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Some iPads Come and Go

Oh, over the years there have been Eight Track Tapes, Metric in America, Ouija Boards, Mood Rings, Hula Hoops, and Pet Rocks. Some fads we only had to endure a short time before we came to our senses, Thank God, Leisure Suits, Parachute Pants, Platform Shoes, and the Macarena. A few have become downright iconic like the Jitterbug, Barbie Dolls, the Beatles, and Penny Loafers.

A month ago, I fell victim to Apple's iPad mania (See April 9). Well, after long anticipation my package (or rather investment) arrived. And, it was up to its hype and more. I spent time setting it up. I learned its ins and outs, how to's, and just what it would do. I was in serious like. (Apple suggests you name your iPad to keep your iTunes account straight. So I named mine "Quentin".) Quentin traveled with me to California and as a traveling companion, he was wonderful.

Then I started reading more about security issues with public Wi-Fi. Now, if you are not familiar with it, one of the big selling points of the iPad is that you can surf the web anywhere there is public Wi-Fi: Starbucks, McDonalds, airports, even random places on the street. The good news is your are constantly connected. The bad news is you are constantly connected, however, you do not always know who is connected to you.

Thanks to the dark side of modern technology, while you are surfing the web on public Wi-Fi, it is not that difficult for a knowledgeable person to break into your private cyber space and gain access to your financial and personal information. This can happen, even if you do not have sites with this information "open" at the time. How they do this is above my pay grade, so I cannot explain the details. Now, there are safeguards one can take. But the more I read, the more I feared that as much I planned to use my dear iPad, I was going to be fodder for Cyber crooks.

My alternatives were to (a) only use it at home on our secure Wi-Fi, (b) when I took it out in public make sure the Wi-Fi was turned off and plan not to go "on -line", or, as a tear rolled down my cheek, (c) sell it. A more expensive version with 3G capability (ie you accessed the Internet via secure cell service) was scheduled to be released later that week.

The good news about the 3G model was that it gave you more access because you were not dependant on the availability of Wi-Fi. The bad news, you had an additional monthly fee for the cell service. The good news, there was no contract, so you could buy the service monthly only when you needed it. The bad news, the service was through AT&T, which is notorious for poor coverage and lack of band width. Given my choices, and the fact that I did not plan to spend a Saturday morning standing in line at my local Apple store, hoping there were enough 3G units to go around, I went online and ordered one.

Now, I needed to sell my current iPad to fund my new purchase. Due to demand, I wasn't worried about selling it (and I had kept the box and every piece of paperwork it came with.) It would be a week before my new one would be shipped. If I listed my current one now, certainly, it would sell by the time my new one arrived. So I listed the old one on Amazon, making sure I netted the same amount I paid for it. (I knew I could always drop the price, should it not sell by the end of the week.)

Three hours later, I checked my email and, much to my dismay, my iPad was sold, and the buyer had paid for expedited delivery. He wanted it asap. That meant I would be iPadless for a week. This was not fun, I had been here before. Being the responsible seller, I carefully packed it up, and shipped it off. Now what do I do? Wait, that's what I do. Again - for the FedEx man. Back to tracking my package from China, converting time zones.

Only this time things got complicated. Apple found itself not prepared for the demand of 3G units so there was a delay in production. (But, thankfully they stopped shipping to stores to fill their online pre-orders.) Then God prevailed with a flood in Tennessee, the major hub for Fed-Ex. So I was exhausted trying to keep up with Apple's sales projections, Chinese production numbers, and Fed-Ex shipping delays. This was going to be a long week.

My first iPad had come and gone. But, this iPad has not faded.

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