I save soap. When I travel, I do not rip-off hotel towels, coffee cups or blankets. That would be wrong. However, I do collect little bars of soap. I generally find one bar at the hotel room sink and another on the side of the tub. I unwrap one to use, and then put the other in my luggage. Before the maid comes by the next day, I surreptitiously slip the moist and somewhat diminished bar into a plastic doggy bag and stash it in a drawer. When I return to my room, I find two brand new cakes of soap waiting for me. It is almost magical! I pack the new pair in my luggage and bring out the wet one. Repeat ad infinitum. By the end of every trip, I have a healthy supply of pristine soap for use at home. Never waste a resource.
I like to save money, too. I have chosen to live rather frugally, so that I can then purchase really good toys. I'm a serious geek. I hoard all unexpended funds and wait until the best-ever gadget comes along. My maxim is simple: Wallets and bladders should be emptied when full. When Apple announces a new product, or when I read of a new keyboard or headset on AppleVis, out comes my debit card and I go for it. Over these many years, I could have populated a small museum of aging, and formerly much appreciated, technology. Even so, unlike my cache of acquired soap, I seldom revisit and use my retired electronics.
Last September, my wife and I abandoned our identical 5S iPhones for the new 6S and 6S Plus. Our forgotten twin two-year-olds were locked away in my desk drawer where they prematurely cooled to room temperature. They might have been forever held without charges had I not suffered a twinge of envy. My wife has an iPhone 6S, and iPad, and iPad Pro, and an Apple Pencil. I have my 6S Plus and, well, a new pair of slippers. I am amazed at how she uses all her devices for different tasks, taking superb advantage of their various capabilities. I love my 6S Plus and the incredible power it puts into my pocket, but I craved additional tools. I wanted more than just warm feet.
I could care less about large amounts of useless screen real estate. I like small. I simply desired more goodies with raw power. And -- flash of awareness -- I could do this on the cheap! I reached into my desk, determined to give the retired 5S iPhones new life.
Now, other than the joy of trying to keep all three devices charged, synchronized and up to date, what could I do with multiple iPhones? Well, I could listen to my audio books on all three phones. I could read the news on all three phones. I could enjoy podcasts on all three phones. Heck, I could do this on ten phones, or twenty! But, that sounded kind of stupid. I could also do everything on my one iPhone 6S Plus and only worry about maintaining and keeping track of a single device.
Still, a man requires more than slippers to satisfy his primal needs. A friend suggested that my older iPhones might be used to manage indoor lights, air conditioning and a Wi-Fi door bell. My approach was less ambitious. I knew what to do. One antique phone could serve as the hub of my living room sound system. I would sleep with the other.
Managing music while working in my living room is a pain with only one phone. I wear EarPods while I work, and I can enjoy Apple Music through them, but it is hard to listen to tunes and spoken text at the same time. If I connect my iPhone to my Bluetooth UEBoom speakers on the fireplace mantle, I have VoiceOver yelling at me from across the room. Not ideal. If I get a call, the music stops. If I step outside for a quick break with my guide dog, I may walk back into the house listening to my speakers stutter in their attempt to reconnect. However, by designating an old iPhone as the heart of my home audio network, and leaving it on the glass table next to my comfy chair, I can keep music going all day without interruption. Sweet.
I added spice to my nights. For the better part of a decade, I had been taking an old American Printing House for the Blind Book Port to bed with me. I loved that device. I'd hide a pack of Double-A batteries in the nightstand to keep it powered up, and I would regularly download old radio shows to its memory card. I went to sleep every night with Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade and Sergeant Joe Friday. Unfortunately, my aging Book Port utilized an antiquated DOS file structure, and it required a desktop computer and cable for file transfers and updates. It made me feel old. Now, I have my other 5S iPhone, resting gently next to my pillow, lulling me to sleep at night. And, with the new features in Voice Dream Reader 4.0.2, I can load up my sleepy-time iPhone with new audio files from anywhere through my iPhone 6S Plus. Granted, not everyone goes to bed with an old phone, but it works for me.
My iPhone 6S Plus remains the center of my digital universe. I am ever cognizant of how fortunate I am to be connected to the world in so many ways through this very special technology. Even so, the revitalization of my two retired 5S iPhones has really enhanced my days and nights. Whether it is hotel soap or old iPhones, I like to fully utilize my resources. I enjoy putting my tiny soaps to productive use in our kitchen and bathrooms. They don't survive long in water, but they are fun while they last. My iPhones are much the same. Small, fun while they last, and adverse to water. This I learned. I used to have an iPhone 4S. My brother has a pool.
G. Morgan Watkins enjoyed a long working relationship with both The University of Texas at Austin and Guide Dogs for the Blind. He is now happily retired, pondering what new technology might eventually replace him. Morgan has written seven other blogs for AppleVis, including "Dancing In Sand: Ferrite Audio Editing on the iPhone,", "Small Differences Matter: Cleaning up with FileBrowser and the Dropbox App," and "Big Is The New Small: A Love Story."