My Medicines Saved my iPhone

I’ve heard about all sorts of disasters with smartphones, and other small, portable electronic devices. Being small and portable makes them easy to drop — something I’ve personally witnessed. Phones are tough by design, but they really don’t like water. Drop one in a toilet while you’re relaxing, and it’s gone for all practical purposes.

So I had my phone outside with me one evening while I was safety diver for my granddaughter who was practicing scuba skills in our pool. She was enthusiastic and stayed in the pool until it became completely dark outside.

Well, out of sight, out of mind. I helped her out of her dive gear, and then went inside. The phone stayed outside in the dark, quite forlorn and forgotten.

Next morning I noticed it had rained in the early morning hours. Great, I thought, the lawn needs water. But when I went outside I discovered my phone sitting face up on a glass table with beads of water everywhere, including on the phone. A few expletives followed, as you might imagine.

photo (10)My phone had been somewhat protected by an almost all enclosing Otter box, so I was hopeful not all was lost. Indeed, when I brought the phone in, removed the Otter box sheaving and dried off the phone with paper towels, the phone came back on. Immediate disaster avoided. Thank-you Mr. Otter.

But it took a little while before the potential damage became apparent. When my phone would ring, I’d hear nothing on the ear speaker. I had to switch to speaker phone mode to hear anything. Well, that was annoying.

And then I tried to take a phone photo of the scuba gear, and I could barely see through the camera view finder for the obscuring droplets of water. Rats! Clearly, water had gotten inside the phone. It was merely a matter of time before more damage was done.

With nothing to lose, I plundered through my medicine cabinet and found a potential solution, pictured below. Dessicant

In fact, I found four of them. I placed those small cylinders of silica gel in a quart-size zip-lock style bag, and placed the dampish phone inside and sealed the bag after squeezing out excess air. If the silica gel canisters didn’t hurt the medicine, it probably wouldn’t hurt my ailing phone.

And there the phone sat, with the small vials of desiccant.

I don’t pray for the healing of phones, but I did have some thoughts somewhat resembling prayer.

I let the phone-in-a bag sit overnight, and in the morning I found I could hear the voices on the other end of the phone connection, and my camera lens no longer had droplets of water on it. As you can see from these photos, the camera worked just fine, and all functions have worked fine ever sense.

Even Siri didn’t seem to mind getting rained on.

phone in bag






Embarrased by My Too-Smart Phone

Some government meetings require cell phones to be left outside the conference room. We are told it is for security reasons, but I’m convinced it is for our own safety. Smart phones are becoming too darned smart, and any machine that is smarter than its user is dangerous.

Case in point: I recently attended a serious presentation by military flag officers. The meeting wasn’t classified, but it was important. Of course, not wanting to be one of “those people” I had placed my new phone on “stun” – vibrate, before the meeting started. But I did not turn it off. Like most supposedly clever and important people at the meeting I intended to occasionally use the phone to access my email between briefings.

During one such lull between briefings, I noticed a Pandora splash screen briefly pop up; I must have inadvertently touched the on-screen icon with an errant finger. But I quickly shut the application down with the “Home” button. Or so I thought.

If you don’t know, is a site for Internet-accessible music. It’s a convenient way to keep yourself entertained when taking long walks. What I did not know at the time is that the Home button hides the application, but does not shut it down.

As the flag officer started his talk I could hear soft music – some Irish girl singing. Is that part of the talk, I wondered? Then I noticed those in the audience near me were now looking directly at me.

Oh my Gosh, it was coming from my pocket. PANDORA!

I jammed my hand into my pocket, hitting buttons wildly to shut the phone up, but no luck. She kept singing, softly at first but slightly louder with each passing second. Panicked, I left my seat clutching the phone against my body, trying to muffle the sound, and headed for the door, bumping knees and knocking papers off chairs, drawing even more attention.

I refused to look at the General trying to speak over the commotion — he used to like me.

"Strangle that guy!"

By now I’m imagining the other Flag Officers signaling for my elimination.

"Never mind, I'll just shoot him."







Safely outside of the room, it took me at least 3 more minutes before I figured out how to shut that Irish chick up.

Sure enough, at the next break I heard someone asking who that guy was with the phone, and of course I cringed when I heard my name mentioned. In spite of my best efforts, I had become “… that guy!”

It is not an overstatement to say that I now have a well-earned love-hate relationship with my smart phone.

OK, I admit that those file photos above are taken slightly out of context. However, that’s what I thought was going on behind my back. (Photo credits:;