Gather around, all, for I have a tale that will send shivers down the spine of any seasoned traveler.
I arrived in New York in February later than planned after leaving my passport on the dining room table at home -- over a hundred miles away from the airport I was leaving from. Despite that pre-flight hiccup, it was only to set the scene for more money-flushing antics that would cost me dearly.
The other thing I left behind -- deliberately -- was my BlackBerry. I stumbled into an affair with an iPhone, but while the fling did not last me long, it caused a great deal of grief.
After a recent trip to Brussels, my BlackBerry involuntarily decided it would slash my battery time by half, thus rendering an already depleted device to drain completely. As soon as got back to London, an iPhone was bought, as the next logical, inevitable step in my smartphone-using history.
I did not, however, contemplate the one downside to no longer owning a. One word: data.
I don't blame my mobile network, nor do I blame any other mobile network for that matter. For a UK user to travel to Europe, the cost of data is heavy, like molten gold or platinum flowing into the virtual pipes on my phone. But the cost is not as great as outside of Europe; the joys it seems of a single European economy.
But sending and receiving email, without doubt the most basic of all data uses, cost me an arm, a leg, and I'm sure somewhere in there, I'm signing away the kidneys to by first-born child.
Pinch, punch, it was the first of the month, and my mobile data bill arrived on my front porch. And what a pinch it was -- particularly on my wallet.
I was the proud owner of an iPhone for all of a month before tossing it in my lower desk drawer never to be used again.
February 7, 2012 -- Brussels, Belgium
During a briefing with the European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, my BlackBerry ran out of battery, suddenly and unexpectedly. I swore under my breath, but loud enough for others to notice -- including the Commissioner herself.
In the space of asking two questions to the Commissioner, the battery had fallen from 70 percent to 5 percent. The yellow warning light flashed for long enough for me to notice, before it keeled over and passed out.
The room was packed with journalists, and we all had deadlines and copy to write. Tethering was the only option for many, and my window to the outside world had just completely fogged over. Frustratingly, it was the second time it had happened in the space of a month. The first time it happened wasn't a work situation, but a replacement battery -- I thought -- would do the trick.
I get between 200-250 emails on an average day. I receive roughly 20-30 tweets or direct messages a day. I get dozens of Facebook notifications, calendar alarms, and numerous phone calls. Each and every time, my BlackBerry vibrates for a whole second, and the LED notifier flashes. Yet even with this, my battery lasts two days without needing to charge, while an iPhone seemingly lasts for only 12-14 hours without charge, but only if small animals are not sacrificed to the Apple gods at regular intervals.
Displease the Apple gods, it seems, and one shall be bestowed with the pain and misery of poor battery life.
I had a good, but at times difficult relationship with my BlackBerry. It was -- and still is -- a good smartphone, and it had lasted me for two, nearly three years. But the battery problem was the straw that broke the camels back. Enough was enough. Since switching completely to Macs at home, and struggling with the poor memory capacity on my ageing BlackBerry forced me into the inevitable.
It was time to get an iPhone.