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Summary:

As I think it goes with most geeks, our better half (yes as a matter of fact, some of us have girlfriends and wives!) usually isn’t the most technical of people. My lovely wife can use a computer just fine, but she’s not the type of […]

As I think it goes with most geeks, our better half (yes as a matter of fact, some of us have girlfriends and wives!) usually isn’t the most technical of people.

My lovely wife can use a computer just fine, but she’s not the type of person who considers that technology can be leveraged to make her life easier — I guess that’s where I come in. So when I passed my original model iPhone down to her, it wasn’t received with the excitement that I would have hoped. A few months under her belt with the iPhone on her belt, she’s really getting into the concept that it makes her life easier.

As long as it could dial numbers and remember a couple of her regularly-called contacts, my wife didn’t care what the phone looked like or the functions it had. So when I bestowed my iPhone upon her, it lacked the fanfare that I would have hoped for. But I pressed forward and began to demonstrate some of the features that I thought would make taking care of the kids and the household and everything else in her busy life, as simple as remembering to bring the phone with her at all times. It wasn’t a smooth transition — there were some scratches and bruises (to my ego) — but these days, she actually loves her iPhone!

As a mother, and generally busy person running a household, these are some of the iPhone features that she loves and uses the most:

  • Games
    No, she’s not a gamer (though I have drawn her into the web that is Quordy), but out boys sure are! Waiting in lines, or for meals out, the many games I’ve downloaded have become a life saver. (Though also a battery drainer, as they sometimes disappear with the iPhone at home and we later find the phone dead…)
  • Movies
    Another pacifier for the little ones, I’ve added a few of the Pixar and Dreamworks short files to our media library. Unlike the full length television shows or animated movies available through the iTunes Store, these shorts are perfect for quick hits to settle them down while waiting for appetizers to arrive.
  • Scheduling Events and Reminders
    This was the main reason I wanted to get her going on the iPhone. There’s no more disconnect between hearing about some scheduled event, having to remember it, and then putting it on a wall calendar or in the computer at home — you just enter it at the point of contact and set the reminder accordingly. These days missed play dates and classroom volunteering area things of the past (well, almost, there’s still that wholeforgetting to take the phone off vibrate issue).
  • Locating Stuff
    With location awareness and Google Maps available anywhere, it’s nearly impossible for her to get lost now, or be unable to find a store nearby. In fact, I’ve shown her a tip that I use, which is not using one of the [lame] yellow pages style phone book apps, but rather to search the Maps application and direct dial the place of business from there. I find it’s much faster and generally more accurate than the phonebook applications out there.
  • Notes
    No more do sticky notes or reminders written on the back of receipts litter our house. The built-in Notes app is plenty for her needs, but I’ve gently pushed apps like reQall, WriteRoom, and OmniFocus as she gets more comfortable using all the features.
  • Weather
    Getting kids out the door in the morning is hectic — seriously. So taking the time to crack the laptop for the day’s forecast, or actually being able to catch the weather report on TV (Nickolodeon needs a weather report) is really not an option. But whip out the iPhone and use the Weather Channel app and we know exactly how to dress the kids for the weather and not send them out in shorts when snow’s coming later in the afternoon.
  • Email and Text
    She’s still adjusting to having access to her email at all times, but texting is really easy and usable for her now that she’s rocking a full keyboard. Not to mention that it makes it easier on me when she needs a quick answer to something and I’m in a meeting, unable to take an actual phone call. Unfortunately however, texting is also easy for our little ones, who have sent gibberish messages to some family members, causing a bit of confusion…
  • Shopping!
    For better or worse, ebay, Amazon and Target (favorite store!) all have their own applications for the iPhone. So she can check her bid status or selling auctions at any time, or compare items while shopping without having to remember to check later or call me to look something up. It’s actually a great way to save money (and time).

The list of life-saver applications for the iPhone in her life continues to grow. It wasn’t the easiest transition, but despite her view of technology making her life more difficult, she’s finally seeing the light. If your significant other non geek type has an aversion to technology, the iPhone may just be the vehicle for easing them into the 21st century. (If you need to convince them, feel free to use this list to illustrate the benefits!)

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  1. I know it was meant in the best possible way (at least it seems it was), but this is kind of slightly offensive as an article. You made it about *gender* (and in a bad way), when it needn’t have been. Most likely because you seem to be writing from your own (very narrow), personal experience.

    It bothered me that you assumed that all geeks are male, and that “most” must have a non-technical spouse or girlfriend. It bothered me that you seem to constantly proselytise your “better half” and explain to her (presumably because she is not smart enough to figure it out herself), all the great things the iPhone could do. Finally, it also bothered me that the majority of your suggestions for her involve helping her with tracking the grocery budget, “the kids,” shopping again, and then the kids again.

    Perhaps your domestic situation is a 1950’s era cliché, but it would be nice to have a tiny mention of the fact that not *everyone* is that way inclined.

  2. I don’t think that you were sexist at all in this post… but as someone in the same situation (who happens to be male, though that’s irrelevant), I totally understand you. I’m trying to get my better half hooked on the iPhone, too, but she has yet to see the advantage. I’ll keep plugging away, though!

  3. @Gazoobee All great and valid points. However, the fact is that this post was my wife’s own idea. (Kind of changes the perspective, eh?) All of the topics I covered were things she made mention of – so apparently you’re insulting my wife’s (very narrow) personal experience? Now that’s not very nice.

    The intro was merely an attempt at humor, and not meant as a broad gender stereotype. I assume nothing about the shape/size/gender of geeks, (“If your significant other non geek type”) simply stating that these are the features that have won my wife over, who tends to fit such a category.

    If you take a look at the high points (which she made) without your narrow view, and think outside the box of the examples I used, you (or your non geek acquaintance of any sex) might notice that these can be applied to anyone’s situation, 50’s era cliché or not.

  4. I was going to say that some of us have boyfriends and husbands, too. However, Gazoobee made the point much better than I could.

  5. @moleskinegurl my apologies for a joke that didn’t come off well. Next time I’ll try to focus my commentary as asexually as possible to avoid offending anyone.

  6. @Gazoobee: Let’s be honest, you seem to be bothered by most of our articles.

    Try not looking for ways to be offended and take the article for what it is…one man’s point of view. Nothing more, nothing less.

  7. I think you did fine Nick. It was a personal experience that was written as a personal experience. Making it asexual or taking out/ changing the details would change the context of the article. I don’t read all your articles for one reason or another but enjoyed this one because I went through the same ordeal but failed miserably. You can’t make everyone happy. :)

  8. Dude,
    This is your first sentence without the part in parentheses.
    “As I think it goes with most geeks, our better half usually isn’t the most technical of people.”
    Maybe you should slow down a little.

  9. Gazoobee might’ve been a little snarky, but I have to agree that the post just rubs me the wrong way, regardless of author’s intentions. That single, opening sentence manages to endores multiple tired stereotypes that not only offend but exclude lots of people (uh, about half!) who might otherwise enjoy reading this blog and be contributing members of its community.

    “As I think it goes with most geeks, our better half (yes as a matter of fact, some of us have girlfriends and wives!) usually isn’t the most technical of people.”

    I don’t think you have to read too deep to get the implication that (a) readers of this blog (“us”) are, er, romantically challenged, (b) readers of this blog are male, and (c) women are not technically inclined. (Okay, at least you acknowledge that the “half” is “better”, but that’s easily lost and might even sound patronizing in context.) We should give ourselves a good, hard stare and consider which of these assumptions we actually hold. Then, maybe we could all go read this. (:

    Meanwhile, I have to firmly disagree with DaveE and suspect that Nick would, too. The real content of this post applies to any parent, from the single dad to the still-rather-common housewife. Aside from fixing the distracting intro, it could remain an account of Nick’s wife’s personal experience and be a perfectly fine post—no compromises. It’s all good, as long as we remember to acknowledge that our individual experiences are just that—individual experiences.

    Gazoobee probably could have made these points without getting snarky, but it’s easy for me to forgive. My wife works in software and deals with crap like this on at least a weekly basis, and that’s at a company whose culture we think is on the upper tail of the curve. Most places now have the sense to stop holding company parties at strip clubs (I’m not making this up.), but we’ve got a long way to go to get past the latent “boy’s club” attitude. These things might seem small, esp. to some who take for granted the privilege that comes from being in the majority, but assumptions like these can, over time, profoundly affect how people feel they fit in or belong in an organization or community. What a sorry way to lose creative talent and perspective.

  10. Two remarks to deal with. First, from the offense-prone Gazoobee: “Perhaps your domestic situation is a 1950’s era cliché….”

    And perhaps yours is a 1970s-era cliché.

    On a lighter note, Nick our author noted:: “… there’s still that whole forgetting to take the phone off vibrate issue.”

    What a wonderful opening for an application, one that would put an iPhone on vibrate for a user-selected time and then switch it back to ring automatically.

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