This is a story I wrote about a year ago, just in a case I start a blog some day. So now I have a blog and you can have some laugh…
About two hours ago I was on the beach of the Baltic sea to see a sunrise.
Last days have been rather cloudy so I didn’t have much hope. But on the east side of the sea there was a hole in the clouds above the horizon so I kept walking east.
About 4:30 the sunrise started. Heavy clouds over my head, red Sun rising over the horizon, sand and water under my feet. Great. So instead of walking, thinking nothing and enjoying the view I went “hey, why not to take a picture”. I’m not very fond of pictures and stuff, so I don’t have a “normal” camera. But I had my Nokia E50 with me.
So I put it out of my pocket, unlock, click, click, can’t go to the menu, to activate the camera (oh, this sand under the keyboard, it can get anywhere). Some walking, some looking on the sunrise, some clicking. Keys beep, when pressed, so they work, but no menu and therefore no camera. I sit on the beach to reset the phone. No luck. OK, forget the phone, enjoy the view…
But finally the damn phone comes back to my mind again. Clicking, trying to get to the menu through messages, calendar, voice menu, mysterious keys on the sides of the phone, resetting the phone, removing the battery (twice), whatever… No menu, no camera. The damn Sun doesn’t want to wait for my phone to start working and I’m not Copernicus to stop the Sun, move the Earth, stop both of them, or whatever he would do in such situation.
OK, calm down, enjoy. Beautiful sunrise. Red sun looking into the water of the sea, some clouds backlit by it – you get the picture. When the Sun goes pretty high, I guess the sunrise is over (who knows when the sunrise is over?). There are still clouds over me and it starts raining so it’s time to go home. No picture. Pity.
So I turn back and go west. Sunshine, rain – you know the formula: a beautiful rainbow appears on the west, half of it above the sea! And it’s a double rainbow!! Oh, that’s enough!!! Clicking, clicking, maybe this will work, maybe that, maybe this time… No. No menu, no camera.
I gave up. Sunshine in the back, sand, water, rain, rainbow in the front and only few other people on this beach sharing the experience. Very nice moments when I think of them now.
But getting back to the phones usability in panic situations. When I got back home, it turned out the menu worked just fine.
So what happened? I was just hitting the wrong key! I was hitting the “C” key on the right side of the joystick, instead of the “whatever is pictured on it” key on the left side (or east and west as I’ll probably remember them from now on ;). Well, not to make a complete idiot of myself, I was hitting “C” most of the time. When I was hitting the other one, I pressed it for too long, because it wasn’t responding well, because of the sand under the keyboard, because I have spent the last few days on the beach. And when I pressed that key for too long, the phone did not show the menu, it displayed “Standby” icon, which did “I’m not sure what” and back then I was too afraid to check :). This is a classic example of a chain of events leading to a “panic situation“.
Well, I’m not a complete moron (however I’m not so sure of it now ;) ). And I’m not a complete phone-illiterate, mind you. I’m probably even in the phone geek camp, trying to develop Java apps for phones.
So why was I hitting “C” for “menu” in the first place?
I’m not sure, maybe the “menu” key didn’t respond for the first time because of the sand so I went to “C” and continued to operate in “panic mode“, because I couldn’t stop the Sun from rising :).
“Phone geek, heh?” you say. “So get an iPhone, slide to unlock, select the camera, …”. Well, I’m writing this on a MacBook and I have to say I really like it and OS X, and Mr. Jobs and so on. But I tried to synchronize my MacBook with my Nokia via Bluetooth the night before and it didn’t work. Mac advised me to reset the phone but this didn’t help. Deleting phone settings from Mac and pairing both devices again did. Therefore it was probably Mac’s fault, so it’s not all “black or white”.
I’m interested in usability, design and stuff like that and funny situations like described above put me from “panic mode” into “think mode”. I’m sorry, I can’t show you two nice pictures. But I can share this little story.
Update: It turned out I became and iPhone developer shortly after that :).