Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Loosing Control of Voice Control

Of all the dangers I've faced and annoyances I've tolerated along this runner journey, there is none as infuriating, as aggravating, as relentless, as the Voice Control feature on the iPhone.

Voice Control has cost me a phone, and nearly my sanity. I finally invested in an iPod shuffle to fulfill my entertainment needs while running. After screaming "CANCEL!" CANCEL VOICE CONTROL! Please stop, please...I hate you!" at the top of my lungs at 6:45 a.m. on an isolated trail,  I knew I had lost the battle. Evil application, 1, Lindsey 0. Below is my unpublished recap of my ultimate sacrifice to the running gods during the Long Branch Half Marathon in May.

I usually try to resist turning my music on during a race until after the half way point. The first 5K is usually pretty exciting and the crowd support is loud enough. My mood is pretty good at that point and I like eavesdropping on conversations and people/runner watching. Once I get mad at the marathon momma behind me or a little miffed that a 55 y/o man just passed me, I know it's time for music.
Before the race. Here is where I'm thinking, "Gee, I hope that voice control thing doesn't go wild and piss me off. That would surely suck. 
Earlier in the week, the ipod discovered voice control. I have no idea what voice control is, how it's activated, or why it even exists but holy hell--there is nothing more frustrating than jamming out to your favorite tune and then having it skip forward to another song, then skip back, then slow down, then speed up for NO REASON. I didn't touch anything. I was rocking out with JayZ and comisserating on our 99 Problems when suddenly Lady Antebellum was Running to Me and then Pink was Raising her Glass and then Queen was Under Pressure all in less than 30 seconds. I was annoyed.

We were heading up a bridge and over a beautiful waterway. I moved my sweaty and uncoordinated right hand over to my sweaty, slipping arm band on my left and attempted to extract the demonic iPhone from it's wobbly case. What happened next still wakes me the middle of the night. The iPhone slid from the case, dangled briefly by the headphone cord, and launched itself towards the hot, hard pavement. It hit, bounced, and slid. I screamed. Runners nearby let out a collective, "That sucks."

I've dropped my phone plenty of times and for a milli-second I had hope it survived. And then I picked it up. Shattered. The screen looked like a spider web and only the control button was left on the bottom. I'm pretty sure I heard the crunching of an iPhone pieces underneather hundreds of sneakers as I surveyed the damage. A friendly runner said, "That sucks. Some phones can't handle it." I joked back, "Right! It just didn't train enough for a half. I told it drink more water yesterday."

The iPod part was still working. Despite having been dropped and jarred, the voice control option was still reaking havoc on my playlist. Miley to Beyonce to Dispatch to Mary J, it was dying a slow death.  I wrapped the headphone cord around the phone as a symbol of it's downfall and silently bitched that I had six more miles to go with no music. The only strategy I had had for the race was to listen to Pink's Raise Your Glass and F*()^&ng Perfect on repeat.

I handed the demolished shell of a once fantastic piece of technology off to Scott around mile 9. I saw him on the side and ran up with phone held out like a little kid would do when they break a toy. "Look what happened!" I shoved it at him and kept moving. I heard him holler back, "I'll fix it." Yeah, ok.

The phone and text part worked throughout the following week. The friendly nerds at the Apple Store gave me a replacement and thanks to joys or iTunes, all of my data and apps are back. I learned that 'voice control' is a byproduct of Satan and Steve Jobs that is activated when you hit or hold the middle button for a few second. Good to know. 


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