Hurricane Ivan

For as fast as we tend to move forward around here, the past few days I've caught myself looking back. Back an entire decade — something that I (usually) still don't feel old enough to be able to say. (Never mind that I'm easily feeling dated thanks to the sleeping wife, aching feet, two loud-but-adorable kids, and bacon traded for yogurt.) Ten years is a long time for some things, and a short time for others.

This week in Pensacola, we're remembering Hurricane Ivan, which devastated our little stretch of the Gulf Coast on Sept. 16, 2004. I'll never forget my then-fiancee, a Yankee transplant, asking a day or two before landfall what it was going to be like. "People will lose their houses. People will die." In fact, Ivan had already killed dozens in the Caribbean before it even got to us. It killed 14 in Florida. Ninety-two when all was said and done.

Shannon and I got married two days after Ivan hit Pensacola, 10 years ago this week.

One of the crazy things about a storm like that is communication. Landlines were all out. Cell service was gone, too, rendering my sleek little Samsung SPH-A500 useless. It took a few hours for it to be safe enough to venture the three miles to my parents' house to see how they fared. And then we walked another half-mile to my grandparents' house to check on the old folks. A day or so later we found a pay phone that still worked and called the essentials — ministers, photographer, organist and, most important, the cake lady — to tell them the wedding was still on. I don't remember how they actually got the messages, but it worked. I also remember calling to change our flight to California to another nearby airport — again, from a pay phone.

The operators all hardened their towers since that insane hurricane season (and the one the next year as well). Networks are a lot different now, and backup generators are the norm, but thankfully we haven't had to test them. And hopefully we won't have to for another 10 years.

Speaking of looks back ...

  • Mobile Nations — Smartphone Experts before it — turned 15 years old last week, born when Visor Central launched on Sept. 9, 1999. That's crazy. And crazy awesome.
  • We were just a wee bit busy the past couple weeks and missed any sort of celebration, but Android Central turned 6 on Sept. 4. I was still working full-time at the newspaper then, doing Windows Mobile in my spare time.
  • A few thoughts on the iPhone event, which I watched from the hotel in Vegas. Or attempted to watch. That livestream, obviously, was embarrassing.
  • Maybe I'm just tired of it, but the rhetoric didn't seem to match up to the products announced. That's not only true for Apple, of course. All the manufacturers do it. Quit telling me how great and revolutionary the product is. Let me see it. Let me use it. I'll make up my own mind, thanks. (That's what I get paid to do, after all.)
  • A 4.7-inch iPhone just looks right. The Springboard on the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus just looks odd.
  • "Plus," eh?
  • I'm all for anything that improves mobile payments. I just hope Apple doesn't bifurcate it to the point that it's not worth using.
  • With as fast as the Android Wear space is moving — we've got six watches announced thus far, and they're only getting better — it'll be interesting to see the pace the Apple Watch takes. It's Apple, so you'd assume something slow and steady.
  • Should have our Moto 360 and Moto X reviews up this week, next week at the latest. The watch is coming first. The short, short version? Best-looking watch thus far, battery life isn't anywhere near as bad as the premature reviews stated, and it's absolutely my pick. That said, I still think we're going to see some drastic changes in software when the updates hit in the coming months. If Android Wear still doesn't look like it's for you, just wait and see how it shakes out.

It's been a relaxing weekend, taking things slow after a couple weeks on the road. That ends now. Let's get back to work.