It’s hard to believe that it was nearly 10 years ago that I was in Europe on an MBA trip. Time flies. Remembering back to that trip, at the time no one had yet heard of an iPhone. Now, honestly, how can one do without one?
Back then, you had a mobile phone, but it was mainly for Voice. Then came Texting, and now we have Data. What did we do without Data - specifically Mobile Data? Occasionally here in Europe, as in the States, you’ll see a public telephone. (“See children? That’s called a ‘P-a-y-P-h-o-n-e.”) And I won’t even get into the phone exchange offices you used to have to visit to make a call in some parts of Europe in the 80s and earlier.
But, am I really so cool with this iPhone? While the benefits are great, there’s the hassle too… Constantly having cellular signals come and go, having to reset my APN address settings when I re-enter France from Italy, hoping the train will start up again so that the power will return in order to power up my now-useless mobile phone (and thank goodness I found a proper adapter at FNAC electronics store in Avignon, even though their anti-theft device was triggered by the shirt my wife bought at a clothing store down the street). And, should I have to know what an APN setting is, much less set one?
All I know is that, waiting for our Strasbourg-bound train to be coupled with an engine at 4:30 am in Langres, France, my iPhone couldn’t tell me the exact rail route we were going to take to Strasbourg. But then I realized that the paper sign on the train platform could. Matching that information with the paper train map inside the train, all of a sudden I felt in command of my life. In other words - I felt thoroughly modern.