Saturday

Joining the 21st Century

This little corner of North America, the San Simon Valley in both Arizona and New Mexico is a little behind the times.  I've used the term "the Bubble" to describe what it is like to live in place where time slows and even presented photographic "evidence".  The New Mexico side of the valley (south of I-10) is separated from the rest of New Mexico by the Peloncillo Mountains while the eastern half of the valley, the Arizona side, is separated from the rest of Arizona by the Chiricahua Mountains.  As a result the valley and its inhabitants are ignored by both states and are left to go it on their own.  Since moving here 8 years ago I must admit I also have fallen behind the times.  While many like the status quo there are some serious drawbacks.  Primarily it is difficult to make a living down here when the major industries are ranching and birding.  Ranching does not bring in visitors and while the Chiricahuas are home to some exceptional avian fauna, this represents only a small slice of the ecotourism pie and in order to survive the area needs other sorts of visitors.  Visitors who utilize the public lands in different ways.  But visitors expect other services and amenities to be available when they visit an area such as internet and cell service.

Internet access at the Painted Pony Resort is handled through a number of routers, repeaters, and transmitters ranging up to 0.5 miles on the estate.  But cell service, until recently, was problematic.  Cell service in the main house at PPR was handled through a Wilson repeater which was able to capture Verizon cell signal from Lordsburg NM and re-amplify it within the main house then beam it back toward Lordsburg.  Not a very elegant solution but it worked.  But Verizon finally came through and placed a repeater in Antelope Pass allowing cell signal around Portal and Rodeo which until that time relied on individual femtocells to provide cellular access at specific businesses.  Although Verizon is the only service available in the valley it was enough to convince me to join the 21st century and buy a smart phone, specifically an Apple iPhone SE.  While many may find the idea of just now purchasing a smart phone somewhat amusing, until constant reliable cell service was established it just was not worth the effort or expense.  But now I've joined the rest of planet with a new phone.

I chose for a first smartphone the iPhone SE, a new offering from Apple.  I've always been a Windows user and this is my first Apple product, but as soon as it arrived even the packaging was impressive, well designed with attention to detail.  Upon opening I was presented with a very solid product that fit in one hand, again impressive.  While setting up the phone I immediately noticed the difference in using Apple's operating system.  While Windows operating systems seemed a little loose, meaning there multiple ways of accomplishing a goal, it seems iOS is based on the Henry Ford model of "you can have any color you want as long as it's black".  This structured way of accomplishing a task is not inherently bad but just requires some adaptation on my part and isn't life all about adapting to different circumstances?

The decision to purchase a smartphone and specifically an Apple product was the result of several factors:
1.  Consistent cell service.  The availability of consistent Verizon service was a deciding factor.  I spend a lot of time on the square mile of estate and most of the time I'm by my self working.  I've had several accidents working out on the landscape and the ability to now call for help in an emergency is a plus.  "Find my phone" may come in handy when I'm out on the landscape all alone and have a serious problem.  Of course this idea relies on a highly trusted emergency contact.
2.  A smartphone is a small tool with which I can easily check internet problems around the estate and for guests without dragging a laptop around with me.
3.  The smaller form factor was also an important consideration.  Since this is a working tool bigger phones are not better phones.
4.  Having computer access on my hip when I'm working and need some information is also a big plus.
5.  A built in quality camera.  I photograph a lot, the landscape, my work (for the owner) and instead of always going back to get the camera  or forgetting the charge the batteries it is a nice option to always have the camera handy and ready to go.
6.  I need some place to keep stuff i.e. important personal information.  The security and encryption system on the iPhone impressed me.  Not to mention the inability of the FBI to break into a specific earlier model iPhone was a big plus in my mind.  While no hardware/software encryption system is perfect, Apple appears to be ahead of the game.  As a brain tumor survivor with seizures and lost mental skills (memory for example) who lives a couple of miles from the nearest neighbor, a secure device with important stuff would help keep me organized and keep everything in one place a big plus that adds to my peace of mind.  No more little scrapes of paper with things written down which are constantly lost. For me it's a safety thing on multiple levels.  The goal is to create an adjunct to my mind and electronically replace the bits I lost and bits I continue to lose.  I used an old Palm Pilot (remember those) for this function for many years but the iPhone and associated technology made that tool obsolete.
7.  Finally, the ability to coordinate multiple tasks from a single device.  Instead of heading back to the desk top or one of the other larger computers everything can be done with one hand and a few thumb swipes from the phone on my hip.

iPhone SE with a rugged OtterBox case and belt clip for outdoor work.

The second photograph taken with and edited on the iPhone

20 comments:

  1. I really like it and you can now reach me without having to send an email or leaving a message on the estate phone. A steep learning curve for me, but Apple's detail work on designing and implementing their operating system makes adapting easier.

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    1. I'm REALLY antiquated. Remember slide rules?

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  2. Yep, I learned to use a slide rule in High School but eventually got my first calculator. With the rapid pace of technological change we've seen in our lives it is a matter of constant adaptation. I like the slower pace out here but my family likes the idea of being able to easily keep in touch for emergencies. I received the first text message from my mother the other day, quite a milestone.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I enjoyed TEXTING but gave Peg back the iPhone when I quit working for her; it was really HER phone. I drove off the road going to the trash station; texting can be dangerous while driving and I could not resist that activity so it probably saved my life or someone else's when I gave BACK the iPhone. Glad your mother could TEXT you. Ah, technology. . .

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    3. Your quite right driving and texting is dangerous. I can how the phone can be addicting and now better understand why kids seemed glued to the things.

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  3. You made me laugh this morning! Thank you "... and ignored by both.." Then, in reading the comments - you know you're behind the curve when mom texts you 1st!

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    1. Yea, I've realized that without a smartphone I was behind times and it is a sad statement when my 82 yr old mother texts me first because I was just learning how to use the device.

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  4. Dan, I first noticed that the valley was ignored by both states when I attended a meeting of the tourism board for Southwestern New Mexico. They had a draft map they were preparing to publish but Rodeo did not appear. It was then I realized that it was up to those who rely on guests to make a living to advertise and promote the area. The cool thing is that being ignored gives everyone a chance to build and create something without interference. It is what each individual makes that will build visitation.

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    1. The road sign for "Rodeo" must have helped some. I remember when that went in. Actually my husband does NOT like all the people moving in. He wishes we had NOT been found.

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  5. I do not think the area will ever be over run, it is equidistant from the large population centers, Tuscon and El Paso, and there is stuff to see in between which draws folks off before they come even close to the area. One can not exit the expressway into the valley, one must exit at Road Forks in NM then drive back to get into the valley. Finally, while I have heard that sentiment from many local residents, I and others rely on visitors to make enough money to buy dinner. It is a really simple equation for me, visitors = dinner.

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    1. And I should add that I'm awfully fond of dinner.

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    2. I heard that Jackie is cooking for PPR now; I'd be careful of portions of dinner; she is a great cook!

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  6. Jackie has been catering meals for guests for a number of years. The astronomers generally have multiple meals prepared by Jackie during their stay. She comes down from her B&B, the George Walker House, just to do the dinners for folks. Her cooking is truly amazing and guests always rant and rave over her meals.

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  7. I should also point out the La Buena Vida Farms has cooked for a wedding and did a cowboy cookout for another set of guests. The Rodeo Tavern has catered a couple of weddings, and Kelly's Catering in Animas has also catered meals on the estate. Providing tools and resources for guests helps make their stay more memorable.

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    1. yum, great cooks all. I'm getting hungry thinking about it!

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    1. Hey is this a record number of comments? I have not been keeping score.
      by the way, I deleted my comment and put in an almost identical one when I saw a typo in the one I deleted. Bad spelling [especially on MY part] makes my teeth hurt LOL

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  9. I'm not sure Pat, as part of the morning routine I check for comments and always make sure I respond to anyone who has commented, I don't want to leave anyone hanging.

    Spelling has always been an issue for me and it has gotten worse. I rely on spell check to help and often compose in a word processing program (which has a good spell check)then copy it over or open a new new tab in the browser and check the spelling of a suspicious word I'm not sure how to spell. As I've said before "Language is our common currency and some days my wallet is empty". Presentation and detail are important in my online work.

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