Never Lock Your Cell Phone

I was walking out of Nautical Nellie’s, a restaurant downtown, and I guess my phone fell out of my pocket.

A passing pedicab driver saw it and picked it up. He saw that the first number on my contacts list was as rival pedicab company across town (where I worked at the time), so he took the phone to the company headquarters and left it on a table. It remained for a week until I noticed it and picked it up.

On BC day the following year, Sarah McLachlan played at the legislative buildings, and afterwards I went for a bike ride in Beacon Hill park with a friend. We stopped for a nap on a sunny patch of grass, and when I got up, my phone again fell out of my pocket.

About half an hour later, my friend’s phone rang. It was my cousin. He was the second contact on my list, and the person who found my phone had called him. The three of them arranged a meeting at the entrance of the park, where my phone was returned to me.

At a bus shelter in Oak Bay, the young man I was with insisted on tango dancing with me while we waited for the bus. Distracted, we left a bag containing his iPod Touch on the shelter bench.

3 months later, he received an email from a woman.

“I found this iPod in my mom’s knickknacks box. She said she tried to return it, but couldn’t figure out how to turn it on. Ha! I’m sorry I accidentally deleted your pictures, but before I did I noticed that there were a lot of car pictures. I took some snaps of my son’s Hot Wheels to make up for it. If you meet me at Tillicum Mall I’ll give it back to you!”

And we did, and she did.

The first year I lived in Victoria, I dropped my wallet on the bus. I called BC Transit to ask after it – they had it. I went and picked it up. Everything was still there.

2 years before that, in Campbell River, I dropped a different wallet on a different bus. When I noticed, 4 hours later, I returned to the bus terminal. The first driver I saw recognized me, and said that my wallet was on the number 3 bus. “She’ll be back in an hour or so, if you don’t mind waiting.”

I waited, but I missed my ride home. When the driver who returned my wallet learned this, she offered to drop me wherever I needed, since she was just coming off shift and on her way back to the depot.

A different phone, different bus, a different city. Someone at my school found it. He emailed me, using the phone, to meet him in the Business building. He refused my offer of a thank-you coffee, as he was in a hurry to get back to class.

People are pretty awesome.

If you lock your phone and lose it, there’s nothing anyone can do with it but wipe the data and keep it. They can turn it in to your phone company, but it’s not satisfying. More likely they’ll put it in a knickknacks box and leave it there forever.

If you make it easy for people to return your stuff, they very often will. Take a chance.

Also, invest in decent pockets.

The agonizing process of choosing a new phone

I feel like a complete ass* for even writing this post.

Well, my beloved Blackberry is dying. The charging port is loose and the camera sucks, and these are good enough reasons for a new phone.

blackberry curve with hearts

A bunch of things went into my decision. You should know that the 3 main (only, really) contenders for the new phone were a Blackberry 9360, the new Blackberry Z10 or Q10, and the Google Nexus 4.

Here’s the score:

Familiar clicky keyboard, and I’m a keyboard diehard.
Cheap as chips at $200 or so on eBay.
Already have a BB plan set up on Fido.
Better camera (5mp) than my current phone (3.2mp).
I’ve been really happy with my old phone and this is a slight
upgrade without any real changes.

Blackberry Z10 (or maybe Q10):
New shiny
Blackberry loyal
New shiny counts twice
Really good reviews on the virtual keyboard, and I want to
give it a chance.
I would love to develop for the Blackberry platform
My classes+research have me mega-ultra-hyped about the QNX
operating system – I would also love to develop for QNX.

But they want like 600 bucks for it. Oh my god. It’s not like I can afford any of these things. Minus, I don’t ¬†know, 4?


Google Nexus 4:
Camera is getting rave reviews – gonna go ahead and award 3 points for this.
New shiny (though only once in this case)
I’m already developing for Android.
Cheap for what you get – $363 shipped.
Factory unlocked.


The final factor is that I’m moving to Australia in June. My advance scout reports that it is impossible to do anything in Oz without a smartphone. Ask people for directions on the street, they won’t help you, they just tell you to Google it. Kind of lame, but when in Rome, right? My current BB will not be sufficient in this kind of climate, although it does technically have a web browser. Data is expensive and it won’t let you use wifi without a sim card and a plan.

The Nexus can be used without a plan and is unlocked so I can get onto an Australian network without doing nerd stuff.

Not to mention, AUSTRALIA. I’m going to need pictures. I’m not a good enough photog to justify a nice camera, but I do need pictures.


The price on the Blackberry rules it out – at least for now. I’ll get one when I’m wealthy(er). My Nexus is in the mail.


android eating blackberry
Photo found here:

*Is “ass” the right word? I’m thinking of some combination of tech nerd, hipster, tech hipster, first-world-problem-having, latte-sipping metrosexual. Also, girls can be metrosexual, right? I think I’m going to change my gender to “no comment” just in case.