Unintended Benefits

The iPhone, iPad, and Windows 10 OS upgrades are proceeding apace (“iPhone, iPad, and Windows 10” might be the worst law firm name in history) with just a couple of minor, only slightly panic inducing moments in the iPhone upgrade last night. This is why you do backups first (and often)!

iOS 9.0.2 is actually quite nice on the iPhone 6+ so far. I like the new default font a lot, the keyboard improvements make a huge difference (at least to me), the new format for flipping through open apps and closing them is cool, as are a number of other new upgrades, such as iTunes. (Do not, repeat *NOT* join Apple Music! I’ll rant some other time, but trust me on this one.)

With that done, I’m spending tonight upgrading the iPad. It’s an iPad 2 with 64 GB of RAM, which was state of the art and the biggest and baddest available in its time. Unfortunately, that time was about five years ago, which is several generations in the computer world. It’s now sluggish and almost painfully slow at times, especially compared to the new iPhone.

But I still like it and use it a lot, so let’s hope the iOS upgrade goes well, even if I can’t count on it going particularly quickly.

Meanwhile, this just popped up on my FaceBook timeline, shared by one of my Pepperdine MBA classmates:

File Oct 06, 22 26 48 small

There have been a few of these over the last couple of years, usually with a found camera, phone, tablet, or some other electronic device. I have no doubt that a large percentage of electronic devices found by strangers, especially if they don’t require some sophisticated hacking to break into, are simply kept by the finder.

But increasingly we’re seeing people use the internet and social media to try to match the owners with their devices. This is no doubt because so many normal and decent people have figured out how much of their personal lives (data, pictures, video, and so on) are stored inside these magical devices. Folks are now thinking, “If I lost my [insert electronic device here], I would be totally screwed and pissed off!”

In the pre-internet age, the wallet or purse was the most likely receptacle of large amounts of personal information, but the amount of data held was minuscule compared to even the smallest and simplest of today’s “smart” devices. In addition, if one wanted to get the contents of the wallet or purse back to the owner, there wouldn’t be any huge problem in finding out who they belonged to. Real world river licenses and other forms of ID do not have passwords that include a capital letter, a lower-case letter, a symbol, a number, and the paw print of a rabid ferret.

So with so much more at stake in holding and guarding the details of our lives, of course we now have to be that much more careful about keeping those details private. In the event that one of our electronic devices are lost are stolen, we keep them protected, often with several layers of passwords, or even biometric verification schemes, such as the use of fingerprints. This is fantastic if your device is lost and you never see it again but someone, possibly someone without your welfare in mind, gets it and wants access to that data.

What is a good person to do in order to get this device back to those people when we have no clue about who those people are, where they live, or how to contact them. The police are too busy with crime and other problems, and to the average person this would seem to be a needle in a haystack task.

Until someone had the brilliant flash of insight to realize that if a funny cat video could get viewed by half of the people on the planet, so could a picture and the story of a lost camera or iPad.

None of this was why the internet was invented in developed. (Obviously it was built so that we could watch cat videos and get into horrific, stupid, abusive arguments about stupid crap that doesn’t mean squat!) But it’s a great unintended benefit, a way of letting each of us potentially contact millions of people if needed. Even if it’s just to get someone’s vacation pictures back to them.

Do you recognize these people?

And now the iPad upgrade has crashed and burned. What in hell is an “Error 4016”??


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