2014-11-09

J2 - Careful what you wish for"'

One of the rules that guides my life is "be happy with the scraps you get". There has been few times that I have wished upon a star if you know what I mean. But even a blind chicken stumbles upon some corn.

The Jolla phone was one of those rare occasions. It took years of wishful thinking to finally get a complete Linux system in a phone form factor. ...and it didn't take a miracle either, just some Finnish sisu.

The days pass and the Jolla is my main phone. My only one to be honest. It goes where I go and serves me well.

So it was only logical to start hoping for a smaller phone that my fiancé and our two children could use. My head has been orbiting that task for most of this year, you know that. During all those hours thinking about the smaller phone for my loved ones, the thought of the next phone for myself has been put aside in a more shadowy part of my soul. Wishing for oneself is dangerous and should be avoided.

But today I will make an exception to that rule.

This was supposed to be a comment at JollaUsers.com but after three failed attempts I simply gave up and wrote things down here instead. 


Jolla J2

Some mistakes are really beneficial, but I was pretty sure that my days as a reporter for [censored] were coming to an end that day. Basically I f-ed up and was saved by some unknown deity and a little girl.

I was supposed to cover the new phone releases at MWC but got off to a bad start. To make a lengthy story much shorter I was very very very late to the exhibition area. As I was just an extra hand (and pair of eyes) the smaller manufacturers was my lot. Watching the Samung demos would have been fantastic but I would have been happy to be part of the Sony crowd too. I actually did beg my editor, but she just sneered. So I was stuck with the minor makers and by now I had missed most of them. On top of that my head was aching and let's not talk about the taste in my mouth, ok?

The queue to the beverages that I so badly needed felt eternal. After twenty minutes it had barely moved. But I would only return to humanity after quenching my thirst so there wasn't much else to do. Looking around didn't reveal much. A crowd is a crowd in all parts of the world. The only difference here was that everyone were flashing their phones. A sight that cut my already sore eyes. All that fancy hardware would be someone else's job next year. The expensive electronics dangling on necklaces mocked me silently. No scorning looks were needed. No shouting nor pointed fingers. The message was clear. "Early bird gets the worm but you overslept." I bowed my head down in shame as the queue shifted a bit.

To my surprise there was a phone next to my shoe. Little did I know that by picking up this pearl I would lift myself above the rest of the reporters in the pen.

The display lit up in my hand. The four inch or so screen showed a subtle lock screen with a background filled with white horses. Clearly the phone of a girl. Nice. On top of all my other worries I now had a phone to return to someone. But how?

The line shifted a bit again, unexpectedly soon. And again. Maybe i would get something to drink today after all? The beautiful salespeople fluttered around like butterflies now and they were smiling too. Weird.

My hand buzzed. No, it was the phone. It probably played some kind of ringtone too but that was lost in the noises of the happy crowd.

"Hello?"

A male voice on the other end greeted me and politely asked me where I was. Couldn't really place the accent but is was definitely not British. German, perhaps? Nah. 

"I'm at one of the tents close to the Sony booth."

Two minutes later a family of four shows up, obviously looking for something or someone. The youngest of the daughters taps her headset and the phone in my hand wakes up. I simply lift it up above my head and wave it around a bit.

The next minute I'm being dragged away from the safety of the café into the wild territories. The family talks to each other in languages that I can't understand but most of it has to be Swedish. The two girls change languages all the time, as if they're experimenting with them. Spanish? Finnish? My own mouth is like a sandstorm in Sahara.

They take me straight to a boat inside one of the booths. Yes, a real one, with oars and everything. The lady of the family talks a few words to a chinese-looking woman and promplty gets a bag. From it she pulls out an unmarked glass bottle and hands it to me.

"Here. Drink it all if you like, we have more. it's mead made from honey."

The bottle was cool in my hands and the scent of it wonderful. I felt like a character in a fantasy story as I raised the bottle to my dry lips. The Asian woman smiled at me. The sounds of the crowd were almost quiet as if they were waiting for me. I drank.

"Well?" asked the man of the family.

I was out of words. He laughed and nodded as I took another swig. ...and another.

"There's nothing magic about it, you know." he said when the last drops fell on my tongue. "It's Sima. Made of fresh lemons and those are easy to find here."

The younger of the two girls was waiting for me. She didn't say a word but she expected me to follow her nonetheless. A man standing next to me saw her serious face and laughed.

"You won't be disappointed" he said.

She took me to a counter and gave me a phone.

"Charge." she said with a soft voice. It was easy to tell that English wasn't her native tongue, but she was easy to understand. There was a black cable that i attached to the top of my phone. She connected another cable to the bottom of her phone and placed it sideways next to a matching keyboard. She clicked an app and the sixteen inch monitor next to her phone lit up.

"Now you do."

I looked for the same app and yes, the larger monitor next to me woke up too.

She didn't tell me much. Perhaps her English wasn't good enough. But she showed me how the phone could be used as a computer too. It wasn't spectacular but quick and easy. There was none of the switching around that the Ubuntu system has. Instead the phone experience just grew to fill the bigger display while the phone transformed into a touchpad with built-in notifications. She even answered messages while showing the system to me. And she made me do the same things with the phone she had asked me to charge. The one I had could do the same things but it was bigger and it was faster too. I also guessed that the display had a slightly higher resolution.

After a while the other daughter of the family started filling in the blanks that her younger sister left behind. The two phones were twins, more or less. The one I found was a J3 and the one in front of me with a 4.7 inch display was a J2.

After just a few minutes she pointed at my phone and showed me that it had reached 100% charge.

"Now use phone." she said. She showed the gesture to leave the desktop mode and then disconnected the microUSB cable.

"Call home."

I couldn't. My parents died in a car crash two years ago and I was single at the time. My last resort was written on a piece of paper in my pocket. I dialled the lovely Portuguese woman that I was with the day before. She was surprised to hear from me. I was more surprised that I had called. It took some explanation to get her to understand that no, this wasn't my number, yes, the phone was borrowed and yes, I was a the MWC. 

"Are you near to the Jolla place?"

"Yes. I'm talking to you with a Jolla phone, why?"

The voice at the other end burst out in strange noises and cheering.

"Hello?"

The young girl next to him smiled. In fact, both of them did.

"Would you be my angel and get a Jolla beanie for me?"

I asked the girls what a beanie was and the older one said she would get one for me. It didn't take long. With the black cap in my hand i asked in astonishment:

"You want one of these?"

"Yes, yes, yes!" shouted the voice on the other side of the call. "Yes! Can I have it? Please?"

The call ended after booking a date for eight o'clock.

"You could come with us" said the Asian girl as she passed by. "I could get the two of you tickets. ...but you have to pay for the food."

I suddenly noticed the size of the crowd standing around us. Literally dozens upon dozens of smiling faces. Slightly blushing I turned to the girls again.

"Mess her the change in plans, OK?" said the older one and instructed her sister to show me how. The gesture controls of the J2 were odd but easy to learn and quick to use.  The answer was even quicker, though.

"Yes! Yes! pick me up at [censored] at seven thirty."

I gave the phone back to the younger sister and she turned it upside down, removed the SIM card and gave the phone back to me after fastening the rear.

"But I can't take it."

"You have to. It's your passport to the Jolla people tonight." said one sister.

"Give it back tomorrow." said the other one with a smile "...or we find you," Now both of the girls were smiling.

What choice did I have?

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