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(This is a follow-up to my original post, found here.)

Well, here it is, almost two weeks later, and I’m healing quite well.

The abrasion on the tender side of my right forearm has been reduced to what now looks like a bad rash; the more significant abrasion on the outside of my right calf no longer requires a bandage, but there’s still a fair amount of scabbing, and where the scabbing has healed, the skin is a tender pink compared to the surrounding summer tan color. And the HUGE bruising on my posterior, which, by the way migrated half way down my leg, is almost gone now, save for a small amount of purplish-yellowish tone in an area about six inches above my knee.

The bike is fairing well, too. I’ve re-taped the handlebars; looks new again! The leather seat sustained a fair amount of scraping, but the leather skin was not breached, therefore I won’t be replacing the seat at this time. The same goes for the rear derailleur; it sustained some deep scratches from the lateral slide with the road surface, but the damage is only cosmetic as it still functions as it should. And the front tire? I’ve patched it twice already, but I cannot get the patches to hold since one of the two punctures was on the sidewall. I will be getting a new tube for that tire.

Yes, I still have the iPhone, and no, it has not been repaired or replaced. I was actually hoping I would not have to repair it. In fact, I sent a copy of my blog, in letter form, to Apple with the hope of garnering some sympathy for my misfortune. Yes, I admit it — it was a cheesy attempt to get Apple to feel my plight. But I believe they are not without empathy, and since it hasn’t been two weeks yet, maybe there’s hope.

Time for a little history…

I’m an Apple convert. A new-found loyalist, in fact. And proud of it. I started out, as many do, on a PC with DOS and Windows. For me, it was Windows 3.0. I was a mainframe programmer at the time, and the company for which I worked asked me to be their in-house ‘computer guy’ for a small network of Windows PCs (it was predetermined we would be using nothing but Windows). Soon, I was responsible for the entire company network. I lead the migration to Windows 95, then to Windows 2000 and XP. I was repairing PCs and even building them from scratch. I had accumulated quite a bit of knowledge about Windows and PCs in general. So much so, in fact, that I would go home every evening and spend at least an hour or more making sure my home machine was protected from the latest virus and malware threats. And it was becoming exhausting.

The time had come for me to spend some hard-earned money to either upgrade my PC — or buy a Mac. I had toyed with the idea of getting a Mac when Apple release OS X Tiger and switched to the Intel processor. And combined with the realization that an upgrade to my PC would only give me a faster machine that was still susceptible to all those same — and emerging — virus and malware attacks, I decided it was time to make the leap and try a Mac. It was February 2006, and I was the new owner of a 20″ iMac with OS X Tiger.

Few things are more satisfying than getting a new computer. Buying the latest model, take it home, unbox the various components, spending an hour or more sorting out the pieces, cables and peripherals, plugging everything into each other, then arranging all the components so they fit in the available workspace before finally pressing that all-to-familiar power button to watch it spring to life. Unfortunately, for some, this is an incredibly complex task.

With the iMac, there’s the power cable. That’s it. One cable. Plug it in and you’re done. Side note: I opted for the wireless keyboard and mouse, otherwise there would normally be a cable for the keyboard and mouse too. Oh, and my Internet connection (I wasn’t wireless at the time, so I plugged in my RJ-45 broadband cable). So I had two cables to connect. I was done connecting everything in under a minute. Flat. Arranging everything? What’s there to arrange? It’s a single unit. Clean. Simple.

Then I pressed the power button. Holy Mother of Christ! The heavens opened up, the clouds parted, the sun’s rays came pouring into the room, and choirs of angels trumpeted glorious music as OS X presented itself for the first time inside my home! Think I’m exaggerating? I’ve birthed quite a few PCs in my life, but NOTHING compared to this. I was so blown away, in fact, that it only took a half hour and I was hooked. I immediately started looking for OS X versions of my favorite applications, and within two weeks had completely weaned myself off the old Windows box. Two weeks. I shut it down and never went back. I had just terminated a 15-year relationship with Windows, and all it took was a 30-minute, out-of-the-box experience.

So here I am, two-and-a-half years later, still running the same iMac. Still loving it. Still NOT going back to Windows. Yeah, I still use Windows at work, but not as much as I used to. My responsibilities have changed somewhat, and since I’m now doing layout and design work, the company put a 24″ iMac on my desk. Very nice machine. Very happy employee. Very smart move on their part.

Now if I could just get Apple to help me out with my first-generation iPhone…

Dear Apple,

My iPhone saved my life.

Okay, that’s a little exaggerated. But it DID save me from considerable injury. Considerable, additional injury.

I’m an avid cyclist. I like to ride, and I ride hard. I ride an American-made Cannondale R500 road bike. I love this bike. It’s very light and very fast. It has classic road wheels and road tires. The tires, in fact, are inflated to 130 pounds per square inch for optimum traction and control on the road. Yeah, the ride can feel a little stiff, but it’s good to feel the road beneath you.

I take my phone with me so my wife or my kids (two children, both in their 20’s) can reach me if I’m out for a ride when they call. I keep the phone in my hip pocket and use the included earphones, but I don’t listen to music while I ride because I believe it’s more important for me to hear the traffic around me than some song that could distract me from what’s more important — safety. And I use only the right earphone so that my left ear is uninhibited to the sounds around me. Finally, I find the in-line ‘clicker’ to be the easiest — and SAFEST — way to answer incoming calls.

In the rural area where I live there’s not too much traffic. On this day, I was just finishing my ride, making the final sprint towards the entrance to my subdivision. The entrance is relatively wide and paved, with a shoulder approach so decelerating traffic can afford other motorists the courtesy of not impeding traffic flow when entering the subdivision. I was decelerating from about 30 mph; I had just glanced down at my speedometer and saw the display change from 27 mph to 25 mph. I began my right turn onto the entrance drive when it happened.

Riding a bike is second-nature to most people. So much so that it’s the source of several clichés. But have you ever realized the complexity involved? Very few people can balance on a bike that isn’t moving, but when put into motion, balance becomes easier. It’s all simple Calculus (the “math of motion”). We instinctively make steering corrections to maintain balance to prevent us from falling over. Making a turn on a bicycle can be described as a ‘controlled fall’: you begin to lean, then follow that lean by steering in a perfect arc so that your turn is executed cleanly, then over-correct at the end so you can return to an upright
position. What’s really amazing is your brain processes all of the related math without you having to give it any thought.

Until something unexpected changes the calculations.

In the instant just before executing my turn, something in the road punctured my front tire. In two places. 130 psi of traction and control were gone in an instant. I immediately went into an uncontrolled fall at 25 mph. Since I had already started my turn, the vertical stability of my bike gave way to momentum and gravity. I hit the pavement hard, sliding about 20 feet before friction brought me to a stop. Suddenly the pavement didn’t feel so good beneath me. I had a nasty abrasion on the outside of my right leg and right forearm, and a very sore right ‘cheek’, which took the brunt of my fall. I stood up as quickly as I could to
take inventory of my faculties to see if I suffered any broken bones. Luckily, I hadn’t.

Once I gathered myself and my bike to the side of the road, I reexamined my injuries. I was somewhat pleased the abrasion on my arm was not as bad as it could have been, saved by the leather-palmed gloves I was wearing for such an occasion (which were now ruined, but a small price to pay for the protection they provided). And my leg could have been worse, too, had it not been saved by my…my iPhone. “Oh no!”, I yelled.

Panic raced through me. Retrieving the iPhone from my pocket immediately revealed the screen had not suffered breakage, so I pressed the ‘Home’ button and the iPhone sprang to life. I was still about a mile from home, so I unlocked the display and immediately pressed the Phone icon so I could call home for assistance. The ringing sound at the other end was music to my ears; the phone still worked!

My wife answered and the clarity in her voice told me the phone was working as engineered. I recounted the event that just took place. I assured her I was okay, but was nonetheless relieved when she insisted that I stay put while she comes to get me. My wife, she’s a wonderful woman; one in a million.

After disconnecting the call, I sat there, staring at this incredible piece of engineering called an iPhone. Hats off to the entire team. I checked a few more applications and found each to be working as they should. Then my heart sank.

Upon turning the iPhone over, it became crystal clear why my leg did not suffer more injury than it had: it was saved by the iPhone. Nestled within my pocket, it was in the exact location needed to spare my leg from most of the friction of a 20 foot, 25-mph-to-zero slide on pavement. The fabric in my shorts protected the back side of the iPhone for a limited distance, until friction wore through the fabric. Then, the iPhone’s back protected my leg for a short distance until it too succumbed to the friction and relocated to another position within my pocket.

Although not quite life-saving, the iPhone not only saved me from additional injury, it also still worked such that I was able to call for help. Unfortunately, the camera lens has been destroyed, and the case is somewhat worse for wear, but it still works, nonetheless.

Kudos to Apple and the iPhone Development Team.

March 2017
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