Ok, it looks like I am actually going to recant something I said earlier about hardly ever winning anything, because I actually just won something of significant value. Almost every year for the past fifteen years I have attended a work related conference. Towards the end of the conference a couple of drawings take place – one is for a two night stay in a very upscale resort and the other is for a laptop. I have consistantly been trying to win that laptop for years. The drawing for the laptop requires visiting a number of trade show vendors for signatures on a card and then dropping your card in the drawing box. I have always been very diligent about collecting these signatures, which is a timely process. Each year I actually expect them to call my name for that laptop, but they never do.
This year we could not stick around for the drawing. As my coworkers and I were heading home from the conference, I reached into my purse for a tissue and found that I still had my signature card for the contest with me. “Oh no! I forgot to drop my card off!” was followed by a resigned “Oh well, I never win anything anyway”. One person said “Mail it in”. Another one said “Let’s turn around and go back so she can drop it off”. I don’t know if it was out of kindness or because I also happen to be their Supervisor, but everyone looked at each other, then turned around and drove back to the conference center, where I quickly ran in to leave the card.
A week later I received a call from the hosting agency. Expecting it to be a reminder to pay our conference fees, and then blaming it on my hearing issues, I had to ask them to repeat ” You won a brand new”……which ended up not being the coveted laptop, but a brand new iPad 2, which would be sent to me directly from Apple. Well, amidst my jubilation rose up a bit of strange….not exactly anxiety, but a fleeting moment of a pause. Although I have managed and been able to trouble-shoot issues with my desktop Windows PC fairly well, I am finding myself increasingly technologically challenged regarding certain things. I have very little experience with Apple products, having an older model iPod with no updated music, as I keep bumbling the uploads and everything keeps mysteriously disappearing off of it. I have a basic cell phone with a conventional keypad and am very slow on keeping up with all this texting that everyone seems to be doing now instead of making voice calls. Not up to speed with the latest tech stuff, I wasn’t totally sure what an iPad 2 was, beyond knowing that it has a touch screen and is like something out of The Future.
Although I know I just won something expensive and wonderful, part of me was actually scared of it because instead of being an item that is more familiar, like a laptop, it is now something new I am going to have to learn. Of course, my children let it be known they would be happy to lighten my concerns by taking it off my hands were I so inclined to pass it on.
The Free iPad arrived by mail to the office a couple of days ago. The box was so much smaller than expected that I actually exclaimed, “That’s it?” From what I can see, it is a rather cool little invention once you figure it out and become proficient on it, which it seems almost everyone half my age already is. I have been muddling through getting it set up, and I have made a few discoveries about my prize.
First, in order to run the thing you have to register with iTunes. This part costs nothing, and it appears I am already connected to iTunes by the mere fact I have an iPod. When I plugged in the new iPad 2, it already had all my information and my name popped up. This was amazing to me and also a bit disconcerting for some reason. We Know Who You Are. Next, I didn’t have a wireless router, and to connect to anything, at least if you want to use it at home, you need wireless service. I found this out when I turned it on and it told me so. So I had to go out and get a new router, which will hopefully get hooked up in the next few days by the Significant Other, who appears to be in no hurry. After that, given this is a fairly pricey piece of Free equipment that I won here, it seemed a good idea to get a protective film to put over the touch screen to keep it from getting scratched, and also a case/cover so you can carry it around and not damage it. Even though I did not choose top-of-the-line versions of these products, these items were of significant cost for what they are. Ka-ching.
It appears that The Future is not cheap, and as with other situations in life, things that are Free often come with hidden costs. But still, I actually won something. And thus, I am in it now, boldly moving forward with technology! That is, hopefully, once a wireless connection is hooked up….