Friday, February 01, 2013

iPhone5 - Airtime

The weather was lousy for flying the last few weeks so when the sun popped out I had to do some "errands." That's what we call it in "the business." The thermometer in the truck said it was 45 and I was faced with the usual paradigm -  fly or work out. For me, work out means run, mostly. Both seem to do a similar magic for the soul.  I chose the flying and it was all about the Parajet (Paramotor). Frantic - I ran to grab the airtime before the sun went down. It's the worlds simplest aircraft but there are still a dozen elements that you can't forget, especially in Winter. Ear plugs, gas, oil, gloves, tools, wind sock, balaklava.

Down by the firehouse, an unfinished subdivision - the preferred locals takeoff. I charged my camera and my phone on the way - they were the last things I grabbed before I took off. First try on the ole' forward launch in no wind. It's was my lucky day. I pumped it up to around 9000 feet en route to my favorite mountain, Lone Peak. I had a real junk show going on with my dangle cam - the one that hangs below me on strings. Long story boring - it wasn't going to work. So, I Chris-gyver-ed the camera onto my shoe. Shoe shots are an old favorite in the long list of "look at me" angles anyway.

There's nothing more boring than a shot of a glider going straight and level so I banked it up a few times, went over to where the light was better - ran out of battery. Sometimes I am so happy when the SD card is missing or the battery is dead. Just enjoy the flight. I killed the engine... Dreading a no wind pounder of a landing on the pavement with my speed system tied down half way, I lined up on a snowy patch. Skimmed the snow, it was actually wet sloppy, slush, and came to a stop with my entire kit - sopping wet. Soaking wet feet, camera lying on the ground - what a mess. From hero to zero in a moment.

The most comical thing about paragliding and powered paragliding is that when you are doing it, you swear that it is the coolest thing a human could do - and it's right up there. But, when you watch one fly by... Save the magic moments when the light is perfect, the glider is banked up etc. - it's pretty damn dorky. There I was, sopping wet dork. Smiling ear to ear. It's super fun.

Thinking Instagram, I reached for my phone to grab a shot that I would hash tag #toolsofthetrade. If it turned out, I might even tweet it. I am crazy like that. BUT,  it wasn't to be - no iPhone. Naturally, I am a worldclass iPhone fondler. I smoke a battery by 3 pm, easy. It's embarrassing.

When I lose that bastard, I always look where I want it to be. In the truck, in my pocket. My house is only a few minutes away and I quickly found myself sitting at my Mac Book googling "findmyiphone" - nothing popped up. I still haven't found the web page. - no. - no. iCloud.mac - no. I don't know anymore - shit used to work.  Just the app store. Apps on laptops - whatever.

I was 90% sure that it was in my truck somewhere. 10% sure that I had it in the pocket of my Crye Precision Tactical pants and 100% sure that the battery was about to die. I always fly with my iPhone - hell, I take it to the bathroom.

The findmyiphone app works on both iPad and iPhone. I skpe myself. It rings - cool.  Found the app, downloaded it, username and password and drum roll...

Son of a nut cracker, that thing fell out of my pocket way over there, didn't hit anyone, isn't that far from the road, survived a drop from every bit of 2000 feet and is still working - still on! It's a miracle. My heart was racing at this point, naturally. I am not really the type to call a friend for help unless I am really screwed. If you call me and ask to borrow my iPhone, I will probably sooner go with you then loan it to you. Yeah, my iPad is wifi only. Seconds later, I drove away, iPad in hand. A block from my house, the connection is lost and so is my visual on the location of my phone. U-turn, back to the wifi connection, grab as many screen shots as I can - wide, tight, super tight. Zoomed all the way in. I hacked my way through some peoples back yards. It was 5:30 or so and people were just arriving home. How awkward would it be if I asked you to call my phone every five minutes? Can I have your wireless password? Borrow your phone? Want to go for a hike? I groveled up the hill at sunset, iPad in hand, trying to find an open network. Trying to "findmyiPhone."

This IS the workout that I was hoping for. Already, I am loving the adventure. Is this geocaching? Yeah, I dread the thought of a new iPhone 5 or whatever with no upgrade thingy. What is it a $600 hit? Maybe I will become a Droid - on Verizon. Will people question my intelligence if I do? More so than they do already? Are Droid people smarter? I wonder if there is a findmydroid.  There's something special about running up a hill for a purpose vs. the no damn reason running which kinda sucks. The snow was sometimes thigh deep. Snow-groveling.

The detail is excellent and I was really close to the dot. Had to be. If I had only figured out how to make the app play a sound before I left the house... but that would have killed the battery, no? If only I had asked my wife to call it every five minutes. If only I had a hot spot to power my iPad. If only my iPad had 3G or 4G or whatever it's called. If only I had phone insurance. Come on and ring. Someone send an email. Let one of those tweet sounds come through. It was on vibrate, I think. or was it? Thing is, that hillside burned since the satellite image was taken and it's covered with snow. What's that word? Starts with an F and ends with an exclamation point...? It was dark.

Plan B - my wife and kids have gymnastics till 7. The will be home at 7:30. Flashlight, Red Bull, metal detector. I don't have a metal detector. Maybe I should get one. Harbor freight? We don't have a home phone. Not sure who does. Maybe old people. A few Skypes and AIM messages ( now I sound old ), we meet at the gas station and she hands me her iPhone with the app already downloaded. The battery is almost dead. "Darling", she says as I am about to drive away "you want to know the best thing about you?" Uh, yeah, bring it on - this should be good. "When weird and bad stuff like this happens, you don't get mad, you just get excited." My wife rocks and she is damn right. This might be the most fun I have had since I got my buddy Butt Nugget out of a tree. I am having fun but ONLY if this results in a happy ending as in ONLY if it isn't a $600 fun afternoon. I shut off her wifi, turn down the brightness - all the shit you do when you are nursing a dead batt.

Round two, up the hill it's a 30 minute grovel except it's harder for some reason when I am not holding the iPad, when I can't really see. My ankle sock slipped down and is now all the way at the toe of my duck boot - little kid style.  Back to the exact same spot - fire up the app. The phone app, as it turns out, shows how much battery the lost iPhone has. One bar. That's a damn good sign. Activate "play sound" - it's the sonar one and I can hear it. Is the sound coming from her phone?  That would be stupid. Familiar though, like when you call one phone to find another and you can't tell which phone is ringing. Ten feet to my side, further toward the gulley. BINGO! What are the odds? Seriously.

Best I can tell, a little animal heard it and ran up to see what it was. Cool. 

It landed on the side of a sort of steep hill, about a foot of snow. A 2000 foot drop minimum. Unreal. 

View from the spot where I found it, naturally. 

Technological freaking wizard that I am, I sent myself and AIM message that would light up on my iPad and my MacBook at home. It said: "I found it - Woooooo!" No response. Plan B - and you gotta have one. I Skyped myself from my wife's iPhone and the family answered from the iPad - love those guys. It's all so neat. Kinda nice marching up the hill at sunset with no cell phone at all though. I really am - we are - some of the most fortunate people on the planet - ever.

The take away -
- phone insurance might be a good idea
- there are some reasons to keep the battery above half way
- download the app on all your devices ( get findmyiphone for sure )
- it's probably not the worst idea to give someone your UN an PW so they can try to find you  if you are missing
- try findmyiphone and see how it works ( when I logged in, it knew where my ipad and my MacBook were )
- if you stick your phone in a pocket, close the pocket - dumbass
- my iphone was in a case by Speck
- I swear I wasn't taking a pic of myself or texting when that thing dropped
- if you or your phone are going to digger into a mtn from 2000 feet, do it on a steep, snowy one
- iPhone's R-O-C-K, remind me to tell you about when I threw mine into two feet deep water for fifteen minutes and how I used it that same afternoon - it was 100% the next day


Blogger James Dog said...


You deserve to spend the rest of the day trying to fiqure this out.

Next time I IM you on Facebook, you better reply, or your luck my change MF.

Love PoP

P.S. That's about the greatest story I have ever read, LOL the whole time, got a side ache cause of you; YCMF

10:02 AM  
Blogger Kent Wien said...

Great Story, Chris. I'm still laughing.

1:21 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This is one of those stories that you had to see to believe, and well, I guess the proof is in the pictures. I’m surprised that your iPhone did not only survived a 2000-foot drop, but also still worked after being under a foot of snow. Thanks for the “tips” and the laughs, Chris!


7:23 AM  

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