I cut my own hair last week. I purchased the Elite Pro electric hair clippers through Amazon, and unpacked the much anticipated and quickly sanitized cardboard box. My overly long, unruly, very silver hair felt yucky and gross. It was time to shed the extra weight. I plugged in the clippers, stripped off my shirt and sat on a low plastic footstool over the tiled kitchen floor. Now, I was poised and personally empowered to do great damage. This was going to be fun! I drove those clippers across my locks like a 1965 Ford Mustang. What was the worst that could happen? I could leave a skid mark or two. Luckily, only my wife of forty years, who expects the unexpected from me, would witness the carnage. No one else would ever know. Hair grows, and I'm not going anywhere. We have been in solitary confinement for more than a dozen dozen days.
It has been odd spending the last twenty-one consecutive weeks avoiding any other human contact. Admittedly, I am glad we chose to stay safe, to stay at home during the pandemic, but what a strange way to live. I used to be somewhat of a "people person." Now, I share every moment of every day with my incarcerated wife and my temporarily retired guide dog. We go nowhere and see no one. We live in the shadows. Nowadays, we jump and scramble like cockroaches on the rare occasion when someone rings our doorbell. Who are they? What are they doing here? Are they going to step on us? How dare they approach our house. I want to bellow through the locked door, "I'm 65 years old. Now back off!"
In truth, we have adapted rather well. Life in the stir is all about routine. I know exactly how many calories we ingest every day. Exactly. I know how many eggs I will eat for breakfast. One. Slices of wheat toast? Two. We wrap up every day with a carefully pre-planned dinner and two small glasses of boxed red wine for me. As a treat, one plain, unbuttered and unsalted tortilla is a late night snack for us both. Rinse and repeat daily, forever.
Despite the days melting into weeks and months, we don't waste the time. Every day, my wife gets focused on her projects and I drop into my comfy chair. I have important stuff to do. I read AppleVis, play my mandolin and listen to Audible books. And, then I get serious.
On the coffee table next to my chair are two Apple Magic keyboards, a Belkin charging pad, a Mophie battery, AirPods, AirPod Pros and two iPhones. It is where I go to play.
My primary computing device is an iPhone XR. I run iOS 13.6 and stay in that environment if I want to avoid surprises. I am keenly aware and accustomed to its short-comings and bugs. I love many features of iOS 13, in particular the ability to redefine some VoiceOver gestures, but problems with the keyboard and text editing still make me crazy.
Now, when I want to throw caution to the wind, I pick up my retired iPhone 8. I've installed the latest Beta of iOS 14 on it and I have had a chance to start building a relationship with the new operating system. I have no idea of what will be present and what will work when iOS 14 is finally released, but I choose to be hopeful. If everything works as advertised, this could be a very exciting upgrade.
Part of the reason I am so pleased to have both an iPhone 8 and an iPhone XR is that they are roughly the same dimensions of the purported 5.4 inch and 6.1 inch iPhone 12 devices. I have no idea if the rumors of specific iPhone 12 models are true, but no one is here to tell me different. Of course, I would not likely open the door, even if they dropped by.
My ponderings about the possible upcoming iPhones have had a lot to do with how well they might fit into my hand. In a few ways, I really do not like my iPhone XR. I really enjoy what it can do, and I have no problem with its performance, but it is big, completely fills my shirt pocket and plasters itself against my chest like a hot brick. The iPhone 8 is a much more comfortable fit. It's almost quaint. However, I use new customized four-finger gestures all the time and my digits do not always land squarely on the smaller screen. The iPhone 8 feels as cramped as an airplane bathroom. Only cleaner. So, if I had to make the purchasing decision today, I would probably order one of the much anticipated 6.1 inch iPhones. The one thing I know that I will not do is order the unannounced 6.7 inch monstrosity. I am not interested in a very expensive hot slab of anything. Think small, or smaller.
While we sheltered in place, I have rediscovered my AirPods. I love them, again! When I started wearing hearing aids, I thought my AirPods were doomed to being dumped on my pile of old BookPorts and wired headphones. However, being limited to hikes inside my own house and only dressing up to visit the kitchen, I have plenty of free time to try new things. I have happily found that both standard AirPods and AirPod Pros will still fit securely to my ears even while I continue to wear my Oticon Opn S 1 miniRITE hearing aids. Although the Oticon aids make it possible to understand my wife during our confinement, they are not always perfect with VoiceOver. They often develop wacky connectivity issues when I also Bluetooth my Apple Magic Keyboard to my iPhone. AirPods always blissfully work perfectly with my keyboards. I have also discovered a richer music experience when I let my AirPods get involved. I had assumed for many months that hearing aids could not live symbiotically with AirPods and AirPod Pros. I was wrong. Sometimes, just letting the hearing aids listen to the outside world while the AirPods narrate books or play music is quite pleasant. And, iOS 14 promises to make my AirPod Pros work even better as they can be customized for my hearing loss. Good accessibility is good business.
I know that we may be staying on Lock Down for many months to come. However, I am not alone or bored. I research with my iPhone. I read and write and play music with my iPhone. I stay in touch and I stay entertained with my iPhone. If the planet must contend with this viral mess, thank goodness I have an iPhone. There may be a dozen dozen or a score of dozen days left in our self-imposed exile, but I'll put the time to good use. I'll play with my iPhone and let my hair grow out.
This is my twenty-fifth blog for AppleVis. Previous contributions include "Staying Home: Already A Pro," "Hot Pants and the iPhone 11" and "Say What? : Hearing Aids, iPhones and My Apple Watch."
Please feel free to share in the comments how your own technology is helping you stay connected during these challenging times. And, dear friends, please stay safe and stay healthy.
Thanks for such an enjoyable read!
One thing I realized about this pandemic was that if anything good could come of it, it was that I'd be learning more about my iPhone by the time it was over. Well, it still isn't, but I've mastered navigating the Zoom app, have experimented with downloading apps without someone to hold my hand, and now I even have a couple of games. All I need to do is get comfortable with creating folders and putting apps into them. *shudder* j/k
your blog posts are always amazing!
they're so enjoyable reads! I've read all 25 of them!
I heard that the battery is going to be small compare to 11 pro max and 11 pro.
Hi Morgan and thank you once again for an excellent post. I, too, had a bit of time to kill while at my parents' place due to being in a high-risk group. I made it a point to explore a bit more on my iPhone, and in more ways than one numerous calls from neighbors back here helped me out. For instance, I discovered the noise-cancellation setting. I think I also discovered that if I turn off wi-fi calling, the reception might be a bit better. I'm still a bit unclear on that one though. I think I've had a bit of a connectivity issue but don't exactly know what's going on with that. Anyway, thanks again for this and I am looking forward to iOS 14 and Mac OS Big Sur when they're released to the masses this fall.
Hello From Michigan
Hey Morgan, just dropping by to read your always anticipated newest blog edition. Loved it as always. Your humor always shines through. I could just see you diving in to give yourself a trim. Hopefully, with no skidmarks, though.
As fpor my technology keeping me in touch with my world, well that hasn't changed for me. My tech seems to always be in my hands. I am looking forward to iOS14, in hopes that some of the iOS13 bugs will be banished into their traps, where they belong.
Stay safe and please pass along my regards to your beautiful wife.
Very enjoyable as always. I'm glad you're staying safe during your lockdown. I hope you don't mind if I just add a balancing comment: I appreciate that where you are in the world and perhaps in light of underlying health conditions etc. continued lockdown is what you are necessarily experiencing. I'm not saying that you are wrong to isolate yourself from humanity, as you put it; but there will be people reading those remarks who as a result wil get an inflated and disproportionate picture of the threat posed by the pandemic. I've already spoken to several blind folk terrified to set foot in a pub or restaurant. Please, folks, remember that there are some places in the world where you can go and do stuff - and, indeed, where you should go and do stuff. We have to save livelihoods as well as lives. there are risks to prolonged lockdown and you might think, like me, that they significantly outweigh the risks of coronavirus. it all depends on your circumstances. For myself I am off to Turkey for two weeks on Saturday. i never for one moment thought of cancelling this holiday. We shall spend most of it in the five-star resort on our all-inclusive package and we shall do sensible things like avoiding bars and wearing face coverings in shops when we do venture out. We will use our common sense and enjoy summer safely. Right, i'd best stop here as I have gone right orf the topic.
Magically, so much in common and yet not !
As always, enjoyed reading your post.Realised we have quite a lot in common.First I have two iphones ,airpods and the awesome magic keyboard.Instead of the airpods pro I choose Bose frames and love them.I also enjoy audible a lot.Well, I was also waiting for the iPhone 12, however could not resist and got myself iPhone SE2020 yesterday.Guess the similarities end there as I , inspite of my best efforts was unable to clip my hairs and they are nowhere near silver, just a bit of greys these days.☺
Typing on the magic keyboard is perhaps the best typing experience I have had.The only challenge is that these cannot connect to multiple ios devices at once, guess the reason for you to have two of them.I thought you were using Logitech keys to go, not sure when you made the switch.Have you written a blog on your experience with the magic keyboard.How will you compare them vis a vis the Logitech keys to go?
I wish your wife and you continue to remain safe and well and busy in your Apple ecosystem.
I stopped getting haircuts many years ago, but if I were going to go short, I would comb my hair with a beard trimmer every morning.
I hope Apple continues to put touch ID on some models of iPhone. I don't like being stared at by machines...
Jo-- Folders are useful and easy
Thank you so much for writing! And, thanks for being the first to share your own experiences.
Although I would really enjoy going out and buying a fast food fried fish sandwich with crinkle fries right now, we'll wait. We're a little older and a little more vulnerable and we can help out others by staying at home until this bug is more under control. and I am, like you, learning new things about my iPhone while we wait out the storm.
By the way, folders on the iPhone are useful. If you pick up one app while in editing mode, and drop that one on another app, a folder will be created. The operating system will give it a default name, but that can be changed. I have several folders on my Home screen, including two which are used every day. I have one named "Good Morning" and another named "Good Night." The first thing I do in the morning is to launch each app or bookmark in the "Good Morning" folder," which has those tasks that I want to accomplish before I finish my coffee. The "Good Night" folders contains those apps and bookmarks that I want to make sure and execute before I sleep at night.
Thanks again for writing. It was great hearing from you.
Stay healthy and stay safe,
Great to hear from you. I am really happy that you have enjoyed my blogs. They are always fun to write, but it does help when I know that others enjoy them, too.
Behind the scenes in many of my stories are details that don't make it into the narrative. Sometimes it is about managing word count or just maintaining momentum. There is a hidden tidbit in this particular blog that is not mention in the story, but I'd like to share it with you.
I wanted to get this piece published on August 10 because I do make reference in the text to a dozen dozen days and also to a score of dozen days. I liked the fact that a dozen dozen days from August 10 would be January 1, 2021. And, a score of dozen days will be April 7, 2021 which would have been the 105th birthday of my wife's father. He was such a great man and this was my way of making him a part of the story.
Thanks for your note. It was a treat hearing from you.
Oh wow that's so lovely!…
Oh wow that's so lovely!
that's what I like about your writing. it has some bit of personal incites and as someone who just loves reading blogs and Novels and all sorts of things in between, they're a treat :)
it gives us an insight in your life and also becomes something helpful and accomplishes the very objective of writing a blog post for applevis.
have a good day :)
best wishes from India :)
I truly appreciate how you always drop me a note when I publish a blog. It is always great to hear from you. The only thing I missed from your note was an update on Bella the Cat. That's important to me.
Regarding the not quite announced iPhone 12: I have heard the same rumors about battery capacity. But that rumor is nicely balanced by the other rumor that the central processing unit may be much faster. I'll wait until we know something for sure, but I still get excited about what we may discover. And, I have time to learn new stuff right now. With hopes that iOS 14 will be less buggy than its predecessor, it could be a welcome update after a wild and crazy year.
Please take really good care of yourself,
Well a friend kept pushing me to get in facebook so I did it. Bella the cat is in there. She also has been mention in youtube by some people and twitter. She is more famous than me. She is next to me napping.
We got time
Great to hear from you again!
It sounds like you have put your extra time to good use. I definitely understand that staying at home for an extended period is less than ideal, but turning it into a positive learning experience is very cool. In the last two days, since I completed this blog, I finished one Audible book, read another and just started a third. If I have books, I can deal with anything.
Ekaj, I enjoyed your very upbeat note. Thank you.
Stay healthy and take care,
I also love hearing about…
I also love hearing about Bella the cat :)
Howdy from Texas
DD and I always feel that my blog has been successful as soon as we know you have found it. It truly means a great deal to us when you send your notes. As always, thank you.
My haircut turned out amazingly adequate. I put on a three-quarter inch gauge so that it would likely limit any damage, and it seems to have worked perfectly. No skid marks or pot holes. It was a lot of fun! It is pretty short, but consistent. I figured that if I had really made a mess of the whole thing, and if I suddenly needed to be around other people, unlikely right now, I could always wear a mask and my Stetson.
As much as I teased about the isolation in my article, we are very content and happy. In all our years on this planet, this is the first time we have ever needed to join a hermitage. So, we have embraced the change and adapted to this temporary condition. We are fortunate in that I am fully retired after a couple of fun careers, so this really is not too hard for us. My thoughts are for others with different circumstances who are having a difficult or anxious time. Like everyone else, we do look forward to getting out and about again.
We hope you stay safe, healthy and happy. It is always such a pleasure to hear from you.
Warm wishes from Texas,
Hello from Allandale Hi Morgan, Nice piece.
My 96 year old mother and I are quarantined near MoPac and 2222. I have a 10-R and a SE 2020 and an iPad and two Macs and spend a bit of this down time keeping them all updated. I have learned how to Zoom and I am currently attempting to get a grip on the Orbit Writer. I learned today that there is a very much needed firmware update for the writer but the update must be accomplished using Windows. What a drag. We are fortunate in that we have Shipt grocery delivery, Amazon and Randall's pharmacy delivery and so don't have to venture out except for Doc visits. I have had only one trip to the outer world on a doctor's visit a month ago. Why didn't I start cutting my hair years ago? I would love to go hear the Denny Freeman band at the Saxon Pub except that they ain't playing gigs. So, it's Bard books, Zoom, and text and talk with several old girl friends. Fortunately, they all don't mind that I keep up with all of them. Anyway, I enjoy your writings and to know that there are folks in same boat as me. Be safe. Fred
Hello from California
Might as well chime in here. Things have been going well on my end. Life has slowly picked back up, but school continues online. Probably for the best. I've managed to do a few things while stuck indoors. I sold my MacBook Pro and switched to a Razer Blade (I'm sorry I cheated on you, Windows) and learned an awful lot about myself. Hey, turns out that I'm way into cyberpunk and synth wave. Selling that 16-inch beauty (or nightmare, depending on who you ask) means I no longer own any Apple products, but I am looking forward to purchasing my first brand-new iPhone this fall. I may have been dissatisfied with Mac OS, but this lady's still dead-set on plonking down the Benjamins for a shiny new phone. As a perpetually disappointed Android user, I'm very, very excited for iOS 14, though I'm seriously considering getting the iPhone 11 if the rumors of a smaller battery turn out to be true. If I'm satisfied, I'll likely pony up some extra for an Apple Watch. Possibly some AirPods if I can squeeze them into the budget.
In other news, things have been okay. It's mostly just been me, but I was fortunate enough to meet my girlfriend in person recently, and we had a wonderful time together. Food, driving, girl stuff, the works. She's been incredibly supportive of me and has learned a lot about accessibility for her website. I've been playing with my Focus 40 Braille display and slowly learning Python syntax so I can do my math stuff for CS, going to doctors, getting meds, growing my hair out and making everyone jealous. weight gain has been a problem, but I'll get it sorted eventually. I already did it once. Hey, least I don't have to worry about restarting Voiceover 15 times a day because QuickNav broke... again. I did get to try the Big Sur beta shortly before selling it. They appear to have made some improvements, most notably making Braille support into something better than the hot pile of garbage it currently is, but I have enough bad memories to last me a while. Perhaps I'll give the Mac another try once they finish the transition to Apple Silicon. I've got a good friend with a developer transition kit telling me all about how the new OS is coming along. I've got a feeling we're going to get crazy power and crazy efficiency. There's rumors of the first Mac having a 15-20 hour battery life, and I suspect it'll clobber most of the MacBooks available today.
Other than wearing a mask and staying inside most of the time, things have been business as usual. That is to say, boring, lonely, and perpetually waiting for some tech to not disappoint me. Maybe the iPhone 12 and iOS 14? Ehh, I'll probably find something to complain about eventually.
Well forgot to add that learning to use facebook is a major pain in my PC and iPhone. Bella photo is in facebook and friends love her. I wish I could take picture and video her so more people see her and love her. She still miss the Egyptians who decided to make cats gods. They need to be punish for that. Cats now want the same treatment from all.
Thanks for sharing
Thanks for your kind note and for offering your thoughts. We chose to stay at home primarily because of our age and because our medical providers thought it was prudent. Seemed reasonable to us. Even so, with social distancing, masks and more awareness, we can all hope to get this viral mess under control and protect our family, friends and neighbors at the same time.
Of course, my article had two primary purposes: Inject a little humor about this strange time and to talk about my excitement with the upcoming iPhones and operating system.
I hope you have a fun and safe vacation. My wife and I enjoy traveling. Last year, we visited both Italy and France before the pandemic burst into all our lives. When the world finally reopens, we will go right back to Paris. I need Paris! I love Paris! Unfortunately, this summer, my travels are limited to going up and down stairs in my house and, although I trimmed this from an early draft of my blog, we do venture onto our front porch every day to listen to the birds, cicadas and the occasional Amazon truck creeping by. Our porch is large and set back from the street, so we can get fresh air out there.
Bingo, thanks for writing and sharing your perspective. It was great hearing from you!
Much in common
You are right! We do have much in common. How fun!
Very cool to hear that you have adopted Bose Frames. I tried out a pair when they first came out and I was impressed. Unfortunately, my hearing aids, which rest on top of my ears, got in the way of the Frames arms. My wife gave me AirPod Pros, which I am wearing as I type out this message. I do love them.
You are so right that I used to be a huge Logitech Keys-To-Go enthusiast. They are so delightfully thin and lightweight. The cloth-like covering they used to have would often bubble up over time and become a mild annoyance. For that reason, I suspect, Logitech moved to a rubbery-feeling cover on their Keys-To-Go keyboards that I found made the typing way to stiff and much less comfortable. So, I switched to the Apple Magic Keyboard and am quite pleased. You are right that a major short-coming is that the Apple Magic Keyboard only connects to one device at a time. So, as you suspected, that is the reason I have more than one of them. I have not written a story about my current keyboard experiences, but that is a good idea.
I sure enjoyed your note. Thank you so much for writing.
It's looking at me
What a great note! I agree with you about TouchID. Although I like the extra real estate with a button-free Home screen, I wish I did not have to stare at my iPhone so often. AlthoughI am used to FaceID, I would also love to see the iPhone begin recognizing fingerprints from anywhere on the display glass. I want the best of both worlds.
Take care OldBear,
From Austin to Austin
Well, my Texas friend, I know your neighborhood! My wife and I used to drive down Mopac and pass Ranch Road 2222 every weekday for more than 25 years when I worked for the University of Texas at Austin. I know your part of town very well. How cool!
Once we get past all this viral mess, I will be heading back to my favorite barbecue joint, not that far from you. It is, of course, "County Line on the Lake." I will know life is back to normal when I can smell dinner from the parking lot. Right now, that five minute drive may be months away, but I am smiling at the thought.
Thanks for writing and sharing some of your story. I really enjoyed it.
Take good care of yourself and your Mom!
Hook 'Em Horns,
New iPhone in your future
Thanks for your note and all the thoughtful feedback on the Mac. I am glad a new iPhone may be in your future. All though I have used Apple computers since almost the beginning, writing code for the Apple II, the 128K Mac, the first laptop and the first PowerBook, I have pretty much switched solely to my iPhone. I like small computers and this works very well for me. Still, your case for the future Mac and the incorporation of the new CPUs is intriguing.
Good luck with your studies and please stay safe,