There’s no place like phone

Mere hours before my flight was scheduled to depart for the SIGGRAPH conference in Vancouver, my wonderful Google Pixel Phone decided to stop recharging. Which left me without a viable phone during a major professional conference.

Fortunately several trusty students helped me transfer all of my data to a different Android phone. Once I put my SIM card into the new phone, the identity swap was complete. So for more than a week I have been using a different phone and a very different version of the Android operating system.

And every second of it was utter misery.

In the immortal words of Joni Mitchell, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” Using the substitute phone felt bad, really bad. Like they’d paved Paradise and put up a snarky bot.

I have now located a USBC cable that connects properly with my original Google Pixel Phone (apparently those USBC connectors are finicky). The Pixel Phone now recharges properly, and I have happily moved my SIM card back into its rightful home.

Today a friend asked me what it had been like to be stuck with a substitute phone for a week. I replied right off the top of my head, without really thinking. Yet on reflection I think my description was eerily accurate.

“It was,” I had said, “like sleeping with a total stranger. Everything felt wrong.”

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