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I’m Not The Sharpest Tool In The Drawer

July 29, 2013

It was three minutes. Four at the most. I jumped out of my car, raced back into the store. . .and it was gone. . .

“It” was a 64 GB iPad 3. I had left it sitting in the basket of my empty grocery cart. It was 10:24pm last Wednesday night. I know the exact time because I had to find it for the police. I didn’t call them right away. First I checked with the customer service desk.

Nope. They generally get turned in, but we haven’t seen anything tonight.

Next, I wandered through the store trying to not look like some creepy stalker as I spied at the contents of everyone’s basket. I returned to the “scene of the crime” multiple times.

There was the cart return just inside the doors. Oh. . .there goes someone with a. . .Nope.

Back to the service desk. . .Still nothing.

Back out to my car. Maybe I accidentally put it in one of the bags? Nope.

Back to wandering the store.

Finally, it started to sink it.

It was gone.

And it was my own stupidity.

Now what?

. . .

Well, I called the police and described it along with the circumstances of losing. . .no, that’s not right. The circumstances of it being stolen. The officer was helpful, but not particularly encouraging.

What are the odds I’ll see it again?

Probably about 25%.

At this point some of you are yelling at the screen:

Check “Find My iPhone!”

I enabled Find My iPad when I first got it. My iPad was WiFi only. No cellular function. Funny thing about that Find My iPad application. It will send you an email as soon as the iPad connects to the internet. The problem with that is that I put a screen lock on. So, whoever stole it had no way of getting to the WiFi settings to agree to connect to a network. If they wandered past my house, the iPad would autoconnect to my home network, even if locked. The other possibility was that all the LDS Church buildings in our town have the same SSID and password. So, if the thief took it to church, it would check in.

I didn’t have high hopes.

And a funny thing happened. I discovered an important lesson about tools. While I was upset that someone stole my iPad, I had to admit that it was gone through my carelessness. And the things that I used it for were now much more difficult.

The blog entries I posted Thursday and Friday last week (But He Held Great Meetings, and The Danger Of Inviting In The Tiger) were not up to my normal standards. The formatting was clumsy, the pictures were not done as well as I would have liked. I had to try to publish the blog with a different set of tools. I had promised a take on “Mountains of Perspective.” That blog entry was based on pictures that only existed on my iPad.

It’s hard to do the job with a missing tool

I really noticed the missing pieces.

I’ve spent most of my life using a PC. After all, I worked for Microsoft for nearly 10 years.

When I got the iPad, I committed to making it my primary work device. It took a lot of getting used to. And there are still pieces that drive me crazy. But, as I loaded WordPress on my wife’s Windows 8 machine Wednesday night, I realized that I was not nearly as inconvenienced by the iPad as I thought I was. I spent parts of two days wrestling with the tools on Windows 8 and the content suffered.

On Friday I had occasion to return to the same store, this time to fill a prescription. As I was waiting for the pharmacist, I checked in at the Customer Service counter. I was simply killing time. I didn’t expect anything.

Can you describe it?

Well, it’s an iPad. The case is grey and has a simple cover.

Chris disappeared to check “the office” again for another fruitless search. He came out carrying an iPad that looked just like mine.

It WAS mine!

Are you kidding me?

Well, someone turned it in last Wednesday night. They realized that it was locked so they handed it to us.

I asked about it several times. How come you could find it?

Well, I’m the one the customer gave it to on Wednesday.

Lost and Found

The amazing thing is that I no longer mind the iPad “quirks” that so bothered me last week.

Most people are good people and given the chance will do the right thing. I appreciate the anonymous stranger who turned it in. And I’m actually grateful that I had to be without it for a couple of days. I would have never given it up willingly, but the lessons learned were certainly worth it.

I do still apologize for those two columns last week.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, blogger and IT Consultant. He no longer uses his iPad to write grocery lists. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and 13 children.

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