iPhone Upgrade

I was planning to upgrade to iPhone 14 when I discovered Sprint quietly terminated the FlexLease program. I spent some time “yelling” via chat at their sales rep (her explanations were pathetic) and then paused to see my options. It turned out that Apple itself now runs a similar program without any attachment to a specific carrier. The only unplanned expense was paying back the remaining cost of my iPhone 13. That also had a certain advantage because now I owned it, and I passed it to Boris.

I was cautious about when to make a switch because previously, I had all sorts of complications and had to visit a store or chat with a rep.

This time, it was the most smooth transition I have ever had! Zero interruption in receiving calls, and all the apps migrated without problems. The only thing I had to set up anew was a FaceID (and the new one is better and n=better recognized). Also, I had to confirm adding credit cards to Apple Pay on that phone, and that was it.

There are several new cool features on the iPhone 14, one being the “always on” option (it turned out it consumes a lot of battery, but it is nice to have it). The screen goes dark but not completely black, and important notifications remain. I also love the new and improved camera (what is the primary reason to switch to the next model anyway :)?).

There are also some new features in the apps. It is entirely possible that they were there before, and I just didn’t pay attention, but nevertheless:).

I looked at the Health app because I noticed that it reports the sleep time differently and wanted to see what else is new. It turned out that it now reports way more data on sleep, including the phases, but while I was there, I ran across something else.

I verified how my medical ID is set, and the app asked whether I wanted to connect my medical records. I replied – yes, and it started to sniff around and look at the medical institutions close to my house. Then it found the one where my family doctor is and asked whether I wanted to link my medical records. I said yes, entered my credentials, and my medical records were linked. I know that many people find such app behavior intrusive and dangerous, but it means that if I call for emergency medical assistance by pressing the button, the paramedics who arrive would have instant access to my medical records, my doctor’s contact information, etc. And I think it’s very important.


Whatever you say, technology makes life easier. Sometime around Christmas, I received a notification about an unauthorized charge on my Visa. Not for the first time, and as usual, the card was blocked, and a new one was issued immediately. What surprised me, though, was how painless the credit card replacement happened. Previously, the change in the credit card number would result in going through a dozen and dozen automated payments and websites, and you would still forget to change it somewhere and miss a payment. This time, the card in my apple wallet was replaced automatically. For most of the online and/or scheduled payments, I didn’t need to do anything – the card number was automatically updated! I was shocked – my life didn’t get disrupted at all.

An even bigger surprise happened with my iPhone upgrade – that was the first time in my life that I didn’t have to call customer support and didn’t need to resubmit any passwords or anything – the switch happened with zero hassle. The only thing I had to confirm was adding my credit cards to my Apple wallet, but again, no numbers to punch, just a confirmation.

I even didn’t need to reconnect my AirPods! Probably the only thing I needed to add was my FaceId :).

Technical Difficulties Again

I planned to pack all the cookies I am sending internationally on Sunday evening, and I do not understand what happened. Lena left a little before 2 PM, so I had half of the day ahead. I talked to Boris since we didn’t have much opportunity to talk while I was baking. Then I went to see mom, had dinner and did all the cleanup. Even though we are baking next weekend, I do not want to leave any food for mice and cockroaches. And then, all of a sudden, the day was over! I only had time to pack five boxes, not even half of my international shipping! And I still went to bed late, realizing I was behind on everything in my life!

I had to finish packing and printing the shipping labels on Monday. The whole day at work went wrong; same as at home, I completely forgot about several tasks I needed to complete, and while one of them still could be done, another one (the corporate giving) was a total miss! 

What will you do when your whole life is going the wrong way?!

I left work a little bit earlier, with lots of things not done, but I also needed to see mom and then go to our annual condominium meeting, which ran late because everybody was so happy to see each other in person…

So – it was late, and I was still packing. Then I wrote all the remaining cards, which went to the packages. Then, I finally started customs declarations and labels. It was already 11-30 when I was ready to print them. On the fifth page, my printer ran out of paper. Not a big deal, I loaded more, but it was still saying that it is out of paper! What was wrong???

I stopped and started the printer – nothing changed. I checked the paper tray one more time – the paper was there. I could not leave it for the next day – I had already paid the postage and scheduled the pickup! After several unsuccessful attempts, I realized it was already late morning in Helsinki and facetimed Boris. His printer is identical to mine, which often helps to identify problems. 

After some remote diagnostics, he asked me to check whether the stoppers in the paper tray were set correctly to the Letter format, not A4. I checked, and indeed, they were set to A4 – I must have accidentally moved them. Everything was set up correctly, but the printer still insisted there was no paper!

I was at my wit’s end. Boris suggested I try the rear load, but this didn’t change anything. It was already way after midnight, and I told Boris that it did not look like he could help and hung up. Then, out of desperation, I removed the printer from the system and added it again – which worked! It started printing! Now, I had to put all the boxes into padded envelopes and attach all the labels to the packages.

Finally, I went to bed after 1 AM, and I still had to be up early to assemble the cookie tray to take to the office. The next day was Tuesday, and I had a CSO concert. I was so afraid I would fall asleep, but I didn’t – the concert was outstanding! However, after I got back home… I had to pack five more boxes! And I went to bed at 1 AM again!

My journey from a flip phone to a smartphone, and back to a (smart) flip phone

My last three phones

As some of the people reading know, I had a flip phone (a Kyocera DuraXTP, to be precise) until late December 2021.

I was, and still am, on a family phone plan. When the rest of my family switched to smartphones, I went with a flip phone because smartphones were much more expensive and I was poor. But after a while, as cheap(er) smartphones became available, it became sort of a combination of wanting to see just how long I can survive with a flip phone in an increasingly smartphone-orientated world, being leery of just how easy it is to get drawn into social media/internet when you have a browser in your pocket. And, in recent years, I also grew leery of participating in the certain aspects of smartphone-centric world. For example, rideshare platforms like Uber and Lyft are built on labor exploitation and investor subsidies, and I could neatly avoid all the moral quandaries that come with using apps by having a phone that didn’t support them. I liked having my transit passes on physical cards and buying (or printing out) physical tickets. And, like I said, I just didn’t like the thought of being connected to the Internet all the time. It may seem counterintuitive, given that I’m a journalist, but I appreciated the fact that, when took the ‘L’ train, the lack of onboard wi-fi forced me to disconnect and gave me a respite from work concerns, even if for less than an hour.

Now, in a bit that’s going to be a recurring motif in this post, I should mention that my mom got less and less amused by my choice the longer this went on. She would never go so far as to tell me to get a smartphone already, in those exact words, but she made her displeasure known. In 2018, when my phone screen suddenly stopped working and I had to get a new phone, I was almost resigned to getting a smartphone. But my mom kept gloating how I would “finally be joining the 21st century,” and I ended up getting a flip phone out of sheer spite. Which is how I got the Kyocera.

Continue reading “My journey from a flip phone to a smartphone, and back to a (smart) flip phone”

Home Improvements

I could write a long saga of my kitchen lights, of which some didn’t work from the day I moved in. And to be precise, more light fixtures in this apartment did not work than did :). Same regarding the ceiling fans. 

I made one attempt to fix them in June 2021, which was only partially successful because the people who started fixing them went out of business. 

Recently, two more kitchen light fixtures stopped working, and I had to resume my search. There were several unsuccessful attempts, plus three no-shows, so basically, I went through the complete list of NextDoor recommendations.  

Finally, I scheduled an inspection from a bigger electrical company, which was a success. Although they said it would be a consultation only, the guy fixed all the kitchen lights (I never had them all working!) and turned on the jacuzzi (the actual switch still should be fixed, but at least I can plug/unplug it). And now they are going to fix all the non-working ceiling fans. The latter will cost close to 1K, but during my multiple attempts to fix them, I got a feeling that it would be something around that, even before inflation hit. I had money set aside back when this first company was going to fix them; it just never materialized. 

Now finally, my whole move-in list will be completed, although I already know what appliances I am ready to replace 🙂

Apple Watch Ultra

This time, I got a new model almost immediately after it appeared – I only waited until my fall travels were over. The moment I saw the ads, I realized that it has all I was dreaming about: a much better screen and a long battery life. It was so annoying that I had to charge the watch midday, and consequently had to carry a charger with me everywhere.

Well, it exceeded expectations! No matter what I do, it stays charged for at least two days, and it’s far from being completely discharged by that time. I think it could easily live for three days!

Another New Mac – My Own

I got another Mac, and it is my own, and not Mac Air. I never thought I would purchase a Mac for myself, and the most recent model, but here I am.

There were a couple of things that I did for the first time with this Mac. my first trade-in (I traded in my old Mac Air), my first time applying, and getting an Apple card – for the sake of getting 0% financing for a year. They also said that I could order a physical card for this account – a “titanium card.” I ordered it; to be honest, I thought that the usage of the word “titanium” had no more to do with reality than multiple “gold,” “diamond,” or “sapphire.” But when the card arrived, it turned out that it was titanium! Which means it’s too thick to put her into my phone case.

But I guess, it’s OK since I have it in the Apple Wallet 🙂

Or and also, that was the first time I completely restored my new laptop from the time machine, and I was surprised that it actually worked (like I didn’t have to look for all the passwords and licenses one more time :))

Apple Is A Black Hole, And Nobody Comes Back!

I started using AirTags. First, I resisted the desire to buy a package of four for $100 and bought one for $30, but after that, I already bought two more :). Boris was the first to give me the idea; I didn’t even pay attention when Apple announced the new product.

Buying the tags was not enough; you need to have some case (either a case to attach to a keychain or a case to stick it to something). So I got those, and my first AirTag went to my keys. It’s pretty cool and funny. First, you can find your tagged object using the FindMe app on your iPhone. I practiced it: the tag starts to make a sound, and the phone tells you “14 ft to the right,” and so on, and it displays the arrow on the screen. Second, if you leave this object behind (and take your phone with you), the object will start beeping. You can mark some places “home” so that the tag won’t beep when you leave an object there. The funniest thing was that when I opened the AirTag properties on my iPhone, it showed two homes: mine and Boris’. Boris agrees that your phones know too much about us! In fact, we have already caught them a couple of times communicating without our consent!

Too Smart Phone!

Today, it was snowing in Chicago, which means there was a lot of snow! One of these days, that makes me very happy that I do not own a car anymore! 

Still, I went for a walk in the middle of the day, because I just can’t stay inside all the time! On my way back, I stumbled on a pile of snow and fell. It was not even an accident, the snow was soft, and it was funny, but my phone slipped from my pocket and ended up in the snow.

Again, not a big deal – I picked it up, brushed the snow off, made sure the phone worked, and kept going.

I was going to the musical tonight and planned to leave the house at six. Around 5 PM, I plugged the phone to make sure it was charged before leaving the house for five hours. Immediately, I saw a message on the screen indicating that the is some water inside the plug, and I needed to wait till it was dry before charging; otherwise, I could damage the phone. I waited and tried again. Then I tried to dry it with the fan. Nothing changed. 

Imagine: there is only 28% of power left, I need to leave in 10 minutes, and I have everything on the phone! My ventra card to get on the public transportation. My vaccination card. A ticket to the show (with a Broadway in Chicago subscription, the only way to display your ticket is using the phone, they do not even show a picture of QR code when you are on your laptop!

I turned the phone on, took a screenshot of the ticket, then printed it. I took a physical vaccination card with me,. and I only turned the phone on to get into the CTA station! I could not even use a computer while on CTA! Fortunately, the phone got dried when I arrived at the theater, and I could charge it with the portable power bank!