A workaround, of sorts

Last week Apple released an update to their operating software, moving all audiobooks from iTunes to iBooks. So far, so what?

I spend most of my time either plugged into podcasts or the spoken word, to the point where I don’t now often listen to music. I still struggle to get to sleep, which considering how much I love my sleep still amazes people. I can’t switch my mind off, so I listen to books, write the words and drift off. When I wake up in the night, every night, repeat. This stems back from when my first marriage imploded. I would read to go to sleep, drop my book, wake up. Read, get sleepy, turn off light, wake up. The first three to four months after we separated are such a blur because I was so, so tired and ravaged by grief. I wish I’d had audiobooks then. I only manage to drop off on my own if I have a siesta, in daytime. Read into that what you will.

I use podcasts as my radio, as the radio in Australia is dire. Commercial stations that play the same songs over and over, usually someone from a reality TV show. The talk radio is marginally better, but how I long for the BBC, so I podcast my favourite programs and cope that way. That David Cameron is doing his utmost to disband both the BBC and the NHS fills me with rage – so it’s probably good I don’t live in the UK anymore, I’d be properly militant. I’d long ago stopped using the podcasts app on my phone, using Downcast instead. My back screen of my phone has a group folder called ‘CrapApps’, it includes the stock one (?); the weather one; the watch one (FFS); game centre; the hopeless, shitty calendar; newsstand. You get the picture. I cannot remove them from my phone, so they sit there, useless, taking up storage space and ignored.

Last night I spent three and a half hours sorting my phone out so I can listen to audiobooks. Because in iBooks, you can’t play a series of books back-to-back, so overnight when I wake up, I have to open my phone, restart it, lie there waiting for my eyes to adjust again. Moving the books from iTunes also didn’t necessarily move all the chapters over, helpful. In the end, I dug out my old iPod, inscribed with ‘I worked hard for this’ on the back of it. Brought in 2006, still in good condition, 32MB of memory and loaded it up with audiobooks and music.

It doesn’t have a speaker, so I plugged in some headphones, put them under my pillow and was able to play a series of books overnight. Hurrah.

I really do have a love / hate relationship with my phone. I hate how it dominates my life. Yet I love that I am connected with people I care about through it. I hate that I now go back to the house to get it, if I’ve left it behind. When I first got my Nokia brick, if I left it behind, “Oh well. People will call me later”. Now we have to respond to a text message in a nano-second, otherwise you’ll get a follow-up ‘You ok?’ sent.

I’m able to listen to audiobooks, so I can sleep. But in 2015, I’ve had to go back to 2006 to do it. Thanks Apple, another leap backward in technology. I logged a helpdesk request with you to help me resolve it, it got a few comments with other people frustrated beyond belief with the ‘improvement’. But no-one could fix it. Thanks.

I know this is totally a first world problem, when you see the picture of the little boy sitting outside a McDonalds, using the light from there to complete his homework – it pales into insignificance. Apple have created this beast, where we are all dependent on them, I know other phones are available, other software – but when you look at people on the train in the morning, barely anyone reads a book now. Life has moved on apace so that if you don’t have a multimedia device somewhere on your person, you’re regarded as odd.

I’m not entirely sure that it helps. People complain that they’re busy all the time. Turn the TV off, put your phone down, get outside and walk around. You’ll be amazed at how much more time you have. When it’s just you, not you and a gadget. See, it’s proper love / hate.

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