Day 380

Wednesday | March 13th, 2013


Right when I thought Wednesday would come and go without anything of note (partially because I’d slept until at least 15.00, naturally) and halfway through thinking about doing the dishes and mid-conversation with Meow, a phone call interrupted us. It was the phone shop telling Meow that we had until closing time Wednesday to claim the phone I’d been waiting for.

I went ahead with the dishes because I knew with a new phone/camera/computer in my hands chores and responsibilities would fall so far down the list of importance and consequentiality that I may not end up doing dishes for the rest of the week. Doing them though knowing that a better camera was near to hand and the dark days of camera-crashy-right-after-photo-takey would be over made those seventeen minutes stretch so far behind untime that it seemed like I would be doing the dishes for the rest of my life. Or just forever washing hundreds of chopsticks.

I didn’t even shower, days off aren’t for showering because showering is a kind of work when the weather isn’t very warm. At the phone shop we met the strange girl again who both has a perfectly round head and very shapely almond-eyes and red springy hair and grandma glasses. She’s definitely younger than me and looks more like a crazy old witch than anyone I’ve encountered. She talked endlessly. Getting a new phone is always endless in Korea. I can’t remember what it’s like in the States, but I don’t think it was like this. Getting a new phone means giving up an hour or an hour and another half of one while the phone tech/salesperson yabbers on and on about ? —I’ve no idea really, it’s all in Korean.

Witch-girl told Meow that she lives in our neighborhood. That a girl near her was raped by a Chinese immigrant a few days ago and many people are freaked out and feel unsafe. You have to be careful of those Chinese, Koreans always want to tell you, they send the yellow dust, they steal everything from Korea from tech to K-Pop to culture and they’re dirty. Koreans always want to tell you how dirty the Chinese are, how China is a dirty country. I imagine some of the conversation was like this. The witch also went on about phones, how handsome I was—something which she said so many times that Meow finally just told her, “You know, in New York City, if you go to Wall Street there are hundreds of man just like him.” (this is Meow’s way of saying I’m not so especially handsome that the witch need keep mentioning it). The witch then presumes that we met in New York City, which leads to more small-town-girl wowing of Meow and Meow’s things (including her husband).

When I finally have my phone in hand and we walk out, the witch tells me I’m delicious (which is the Korean way of complimenting looks or fashion sense or both). She walks us to the door and reminds Meow to call her next week so she can pick up my free brown phone case—all the shop had was this nasty lime green case.

We clear the shop and head of to our downtown dinner. I tried not to play with the phone at dinner, but there were things that needed to be set while I had both phones in front of me. The LTE (a.k.a 4G) was shut off immediately. I don’t need superfast radiation feeding into my pocket because I’m not rich enough or stupid enough to stream video over my cellular connection. I spent a lot of time making sure the privacy settings were the same as well. Then the data settings because early adopters have complained that the iPhone 5 eating more data than any previous iPhone somehow magically forcing those consumers over their data allotment for the month and incurring hundreds of dollars extra on their bills. Another reason to kill the LTE, superfast = superwaste.


It wasn’t until much later that I got around to the most important thing: the camera. The iPhone 4 had two problems: the camera was too slow, too few megapixels, sucked in low light; and the Home button was broken. The Home button was a $28 fix, but the camera problems would only be fixed with a change in hardware. Just how much better could a phone, a mere two generations later be? The answer is it can be as good as Apple decides to let it be. And that is a mark of goodness which I find extremely satisfying for a tiny thing that fits in my pocket and is a phone and a computer too. The shot above was taken under the same conditions as the shot on Day 373. The only difference is the iPhone. Day 373 was with an iPhone 4 which has a 5 megapixel camera. Today’s is with an iPhone 5 and an 8 megapixel camera. The street light didn’t just get a lot brighter in a week’s time. The camera tech in the new phone is just that much better and much more responsive in low light.


Since the new phone has more powerful hardware I can finally put 6×7 up to its full image quality. Now when I shoot with this app, it saves out as .tif. There is still a level of compression going on, but not the disgarding of data which takes place under .jpg saving schemes. While .tif is quite an improvement, it’ll never be as good as .raw just like any phone I’d be carrying for the next 5-8 years won’t have the quality of this camera and I would buy the RX1 if I had $3,000 just for the 14-bit .raw files it generates.

These here are lean times. I need a phone with a working Home button that will take pictures faster than the phone with the broken Home button. I also need not reinvest money already spent on another OS (so no Android phones even if some of their cameras are specced higher). Most importantly, I also need not to have any problem with that tech over the next year or two that I use it. Such a device needs to connect to my computer and share as much data as possible or the computer-in-my-pocket thing is pretty worthless.

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The camera has a panaroma feature …


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