How the iPhone may have saved Christmas...

dcom

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Aug 7, 2007
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Suwanee, GA
#1
This is one of those "in the right place at the right time" stories and how an iPhone may have helped save Christmas for someone we met while on vacation. It was the kind of things commercials for the iPhone are made from.

My wife and I decided to spend Christmas in San Francisco this year and we thought it would be fun to hop on a cable car on Christmas Eve and go look for one of the city's famous (or infamous) stores, the City Lights Bookstore. This particular book seller became popular during the 1960s because it carried (and still carries) a lot of political books and publications so all the radical/free-thinkers of the time hung out there. Most of it's current selection seems to be geared toward old hippies and dissidents. We were perusing their offerings on the lower level of the shop when we overheard another customer, a teenage girl, telling one of the employees that she was upset because she didn't have a gift for her father and wanted to get him book but wasn't sure what to get.

The clerk asked what his interests were and she said he had just started to get back into reading but wasn't sure what he'd like. She did know that he liked Jimmy Buffett (who doesn't?) :) The clerk wasn't much help and walked off to help someone else. My wife went over to her and asked if she knew that Buffett had a couple of books out and maybe the store would have them. The girl didn't know that and went up to ask someone else where such books might be.

When she came back down, she said the guy upstairs told her, "We only carry books by serious authors and Jimmy Buffett is not a serious author, nor is he a serious musician." Geez, what a jerk! I suggested she might find the books at a more mainstream bookstore like Barnes and Noble, Borders, or Waldenbooks. I told her we might be able to help her find such a place.

Not being familiar with the area, I took out my iPhone saw I had 3 bars of signal from the basement of the bookstore. I opened the Maps app and entered "Barnes and Noble, San Francisco". Within 2 seconds, the little red pushpin dropped onto a map of San Francisco with the label "Barnes and Noble". I saw that it was within a block of the cable car route we took, and about a mile down the road from where we were! I showed her the screen and she said she knew where it was but she wasn't sure if they were open since it was Christmas Eve and lots of stores were closing early. Tapping the little '>' in the label brought up their address and phone number so I tapped the phone #. The phone rang and a recording answered, telling me they were still open!

She thanked us profusely for helping her and hurried out the door to catch the next cable car. I don't know if she got the book she wanted but it was cool to be able to help someone in a desperate time of need. :)
 

PhilipJohn

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Aug 24, 2007
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#3
That's really neat! I live in NYC and anytime I see tourist huddled over a map I do the same thing, I plot out the course from where they are with the maps. They love it! Cool story!
 

geordisjd

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Jul 1, 2007
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#5
A lot more believable than the airline pilot checking the weather on the iPhone.
 

Lincoln

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Aug 11, 2007
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#6
A lot more believable than the airline pilot checking the weather on the iPhone.
Wow, seriously? That's kind of scary.

Great story. Thanks for sharing.

- John
 
Jun 19, 2007
33,478
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Upper Marlboro, MD
#8
Nice story! Google Maps on the iPhone is one of those apps that I didn't anticipate using much when I first bought the phone, but I've gotten a lot of good use out of it!
 

GailLA

Contributor
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Nov 13, 2007
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Northern IL
#9
I agree. That airline pilot commercial was the worst. Drew's story is good. Apple should put Drew's story on TV.
Drew's story is great. I also love City Lights -- it is quirky and special. But you are right, if you want to be in the mainstream don't go to City Lights.

As to the airline pilot, I'm not an airline pilot, but I am a pilot. Remember the pilot in the ad merely got a "picture" (both as in seeing it on the phone, and a mental picture) of what was happening with the weather. Then he called dispatch and they checked the official weather.

If you are sitting in a shut down airplane, you don't ususually have a lot of displays. I imagine not all of the avionics are fired up. Even if you are plugged into an auxiliary power unit, you don't turn everything on when you are just sitting and waiting. The radar in the plane sure would not be on at that point.

So the story in the ad was that one recent radar pic on weather.com on the iPhone prompted him to inquire about the weather from official sources. This is not far fetched to me at all. Back when I was flight instructing at a little Midwest airport, we would all watch the weather on TV on the noon news. Sure we had the official briefing from Flight Service, but as they say, a picture beats a thousand words and there is no rule about getting extra non-official information as long as you don't compromise the safety of flight by using it.

That's my take on it. If any airline pilots are lurking here, please weigh in. If I'm all wet, please feel free to tell me. Being a pilot, I really got a kick out of that ad and it was one of the reasons I wanted an iPhone.
 

jjvaldez

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Jul 3, 2007
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Salinas, Ca
#10
yes.. the airplane story for the commercial was weird, he claims that he went to weather .com or something like that but he failed to mention that the iPhone has a weather app that he could have used, this was indeed one of the worse commercials that they made to advertise the iPhone
 

geordisjd

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Jul 1, 2007
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#11
OK, you're right, the plane is on the ground.

I just hope that my next airline pilot won't rely on the iPhone to check the weather ahead when up in the air. MY iPhone can't connect to anything as soon as the plane is up in the air till we touch down a couple of thousand miles later.
 

GailLA

Contributor
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Nov 13, 2007
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Northern IL
#13
yes.. the airplane story for the commercial was weird, he claims that he went to weather .com or something like that but he failed to mention that the iPhone has a weather app that he could have used, this was indeed one of the worse commercials that they made to advertise the iPhone
The weather app doesn't do radar pics. I use the accuweather Web app. He used Weather.com. You don't have to like the ad, but don't dislike for the wrong reasons.
 

Elbacanazo920

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Dec 23, 2007
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#15
Great Story, You just saved christmas for a person. I love my iPhone, when it comes to weather I can't say i really trust it cause i have been let down before. But its great when i'm at a boring party, i grab a chair and a Presidente (Dominican Beer) and check the Forums. At my Job all i do is listen to the ipod and watch videos cause i work security and I don't do anything.
 

OJsakila

New Member
Jul 15, 2007
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Jupiter's sulphur mines
#16
I agree. Margaritaville is NOT a serious piece of art...neither is the one responsible for such trash a serious author.....

Kudos on finding a plastic corporate bookstore that houses such crap...Yaaa for the iPhone! It might very well have helped destroy our society while trying to help save Christmas in San Francisco.... I didn't think Christmas was even allowed in San Francisco....I thought the Gay Militants would arrest you for that there....







Man! I am so kidding!