<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> A True Story: Find your iPhone!
Little Log

Apple Magic

May 8, 2010

I was really quite pleased and surprised to learn that my birthday present was an iPhone. Not a new 3GS, but a 3G -- just like the one I had. In fact, it IS the one I used to have. Here's the story:

Today we left Florence for Bend, where the plan is to board Barney Monday morning, then drive to PDX to catch the Empire Builder out of AMTRAK's Union Station Monday afternoon. We made a stop at the Mac store in Eugene, to sample the new MacBook Pro laptops, as my older MacBook just ran off its 3-year AppleCare coverage -- which is what usually triggers the upgrade. Just after going in the Mac store in Eugene, I suddenly had a very, very bad feeling -- where's my iPhone? I know I took it with me when we left this morning...don't I? Stephanie's first reaction was "Well, we really ought to go back and get it, because you'd be miserable taking a long train trip and spending a week away without it. We can cancel our dinner reso at Seventh Mountain, and just reschedule it for tomorrow night."

But we'd already logged about 70 miles from home, and I'm the person that *never* wants to go back for some forgotten item...particularly at the cost of 140 miles.

Stephanie was at first thinking that it must have somehow fallen out in the car on the trip over; but it was nowhere to be seen in the car. Obviously it didn't just magically jump out of the window on the way over. In fact it was cool enough that we had the windows closed. Where else? We DID make a quick stop for coffee on the way out of town; just after we'd given Barney a morning walk at the park just of of 24th street. But there was nothing unusual about those stops. So it *must* be that I really forgot to bring it. So the only question was really -- do we go all the way back to get it?

Part of the decision to return was based on realizing I'd be thinking about not knowing *for sure* that it would be waiting for me at the Florence house on our return. So we did a 180 in Eugene, and started back to Florence.

Only then did it occur to me that I have that interesting little application called "Find my iPhone". I'd never used it -- but it seemed to be just what the doctor ordered. Shouldn't I be able to create an Internet connection on the laptop, then "locate" the missing iPhone? I found the first convenient place to pull off the road in Eugene, and plugged in my trusty Verizon USB modem. Then I searched my laptop in vain for the application called "Find my iPhone". I used Spotlight to search the whole laptop... But nothing. Just not there. But I know I'd seen it *somewhere*...

As a last resort I went online to the Apple Support site, and searched for "Find my iPhone". There I found a description of the application, and more importantly realized what I should have known all along: This is part of the MobileMe network,and if I'd just sign into MobileMe I'd see the application.

I hurriedly did exactly that...saw the application online at my MobileMe account, and launched it. Within a few seconds it was reporting back that it was searching for my iPhone. A few seconds later a map began to appear...one in in fairly large scale. It was drawing a large circle around somewhere on the coast. As the circle got smaller, the map details came more into view. There it was -- Florence! So it really was at home after all.. But hold on, the circle got smaller still, and the street details were becoming visible. It was zeroing in on our house, right? Right? WRONG!

It was zeroing in at the corner of the parking at the end of 24th street where we'd left the car to take Barney for his morning walk. The information said this sighting was made at 11:07 AM. It was now barely 11:08. It was becoming pretty clear now: Somehow the iPhone had fallen out somewhere near where we were parked. But that's a gravel parking area where others drive in to park and walk their dogs too. How long would an iPhone last in the middle of a gravel parking area? Surely it would get run over; or a curious person would pick it up and enjoy the expensive new-found toy.

Our GPS said it would take an hour and twenty minutes to get back there, and it doesn't know about the curves, hills, and traffic on Highway 126 between Eugene and Florence, so it's usually not possible to keep up with Ms. Garmin's ETA. However, we did it in an hour and twelve minutes. We had no idea what we'd find, or "if" we'd find, when we arrived. We could only HOPE that one had run over it -- or rejoiced with a a special “find”. The first outcome seemed particularly likely. But it had lasted from around 9 in the morning until 11:07...so just maybe it might last a bit longer. The strategy was to get to the parking area, then call the number to see if we could hear it ring. With my luck it would have been inadvertently switched to the "silent" mode (as so often happens). It would "vibrate", but only the sound of a rapidly escaping snake would provide a hint of its precise location.

We pulled slowly into the gravel parking area so as not to end up being the very person that actually demolished the lost phone....but saw nothing. Stephanie popped out of the car before I'd even come to a complete stop, and headed back in the direction we'd returned from walking Barney. Lo and behold, lying just outside of the areas cars might drive there was a black object. A case! It was not in an area that would have been easily seen. And if it had been found by someone else, this is definitely not where one would have carefully placed it so that it would be both safe and visible in case the owner returned to look for it. No, it was apparently just there at the same spot it had somehow fallen -- and seemed untouched. I quickly opened the case and tried turning the phone on. It works! No harm done.

However, this has turned out to be a birthday I won't soon forget. And I'm very happy to have been given the best present of all: My very own iPhone!

If anyone doubts Apple makes fantastic applications, just remember this birthday story!