As you’re reading this I’m probably in the air on my way to Switzerland for a week of business. Yes, I know that’s a tough assignment. I’m hoping to have a few hours to take some photos and see the sights as I visit a half-dozen customers conveniently located between Zurich and Geneva.
I’m a tech geek. I admit it. I adopt just about every new piece of technology within hours of release, knowing that I might regret it a few months later when something new was released. So it was with the iPhone, and last year when it was released I immediately chucked my reliable Verizon service and companion Treo for supposed spotty AT&T coverage… but a gee-whiz new phone. AT&T surprised me with good coverage and the iPhone has been a joy. In fact, it was one reason I switched from a PC to a Mac earlier this year. I have no regrets about that decision either, except that Quicken and QuickBooks for the Mac pretty much suck. However I can run them under the Parallels emulator… which actually runs them faster than on my old almost-new Dell XPS M1330. Last week I upgraded my "old" iPhone to the new 3G model. Justified? Of course. Between the trip to Switzerland and a trip to Japan in October, the cost to rent a world phone exceeded the upgrade cost to a 3G, which is world compatible. Voila!
Ok, I’m going to try to re-locate my original thought behind this post. Oh yes: Solitaire. I’ve always enjoyed a good game of solitaire while waiting those few moments for the plane door to close, riding a bus to a terminal, and other times when it just wasn’t worth breaking out a book or a laptop. I figure it’s good brain stimulation, maintaining and improving the capability to recognize patterns and make quick judgments (I like the timed versions). So of course when Apple created it’s Apps Store I downloaded a free version of the game.
And what a version. Almost 30 forms of solitaire, so many that it took me a while to find my "traditional" game. And then the real killer: your scores are uploaded to the solitaire mother ship, so you can see global daily/weekly/all-time scoreboards. All of a sudden I realize I’m not quite as good at the game as I thought, as "Tomas" from the UK has a score about 3x my highest, followed closely by "HottiPotti" from Japan.
The addiction sets in. Soon I’m playing (my favorites are Eliminator-4 and Tri-Peaks-up) at the coffee shop after reading the paper and before figuring out my three key tasks for the day (any ZTD people?), in the evening just before falling asleep, while listening to the wife blabber about something unimportant… you get the picture. I justify it as a way to keep my brain young, although there’s a new app called "Brain Tuner" that claims to do something similar.
Today I happened to see the small-print statistics that show up when you finish a game. 680 games played. In about six weeks. Hmm… perhaps this is every so slightly counterproductive. So I’ll ratchet back, and probably remove that app and find a simple solitaire that doesn’t tickle my globally-competitive side.
But I am now the global Eliminator-4 champion. Take that, "HottiPotti"! Sorry, I’m not going to bother defending my title. I have better things to do… like sit on a plane for a 12 hour trip over the pole.