iCan’t Remember

Here’s a funny little tidbit:
Fact #1: I can’t remember numbers very well. I remember the patterns they make on a keypad, but not the actual numbers.

Fact #2: My iPhone is locked with a 4-digit numeric code. It has some financial apps on it, so in case I lose it I don’t want people having access to my bank account.

Fact #3: My short-term memory is generally shot. I’ve worked for years at a job that pulls me in 20 different directions at once and requires that I switch context FAR too often, so I’ve had to establish a system of notes and lists in order to keep something from getting lost in the shuffle.

I’m sure you can see where this is headed.

I had to remember a number in order to get through a security gate. Because I am bad at numbers, I enter it into my phone as a note and I kept repeating it in my head, to make sure I wouldn’t forget it. What your humble writer did not know at the time was that the number he had been given was incorrect.

I drove up to the security gate and entered the number I had been given. Nothing happened. I entered the same number again, hoping for a different result (definition of insanity?) and once again nothing happened.

Now I have several cars lined up behind me, so I managed to pull myself out of the way of traffic. I figured I’d call up the person that supplied me with the bogus number. I picked up my phone and entered my security code into it.

Nothing happened.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I got an error that I entered the wrong code. Not too uncommon; sometimes I just fat-finger it when I’m trying to enter it, so I just enter it again. Error. Ok, obviously I must be a little flustered at this point. Let me slow down and enter it real slow.

Error. Ok, seriously, WTF? I KNOW what my code is, I know the pattern it makes on the keypad, so let me just tap it out very carefully and… DAMMIT! I’d never failed to enter the correct code more than twice before. Now the phone said I had to wait a minute before I could try again.

Now I was stuck in the car, looking at a gate I couldn’t pass through without a code that (I thought) was on the phone that I couldn’t unlock. I couldn’t call the person that gave me the code for the gate because I couldn’t remember the code for the phone. Finally I managed to ride through the gate on someone else’s back bumper.

Now, what to do about the phone? After each successive attempt, the amount of time I was locked out increased. I found myself wondering “Did I try this combination yet?” The funny thing is, I’m still convinced that I entered the proper code, but that the phone just got stupid on me.

One of the options on the iPhone is that you can set it to erase all of the data on the phone after 10 failed attempts to unlock it. I can verify that this feature works as advertised. All of my data: gone.

The cherry on top of this whole ordeal was that I had just installed Windows 7 on my home PC a few days before. One of the things on my post-installation to-do list was to install iTunes and sync my phone to it. I hadn’t done that yet. That meant that I did not have a current backup of my phone readily available.

In the end, I was able to restore the phone from an older backup file. Of course after installation the ONLY piece of software that couldn’t find it’s own data was Apple’s iTunes. All of my Windows apps worked just fine after a quick re-install to the proper location. I had to jump through hoops to get the Apple software to recognize it’s own data. The bad part is that my contacts weren’t in the old backup file. Thankfully they were stored on me.com. The good thing is that my apps still had all of their data after the restore, which I didn’t expect.

That was a nice little adventure. I thought someone might get a good laugh out of my misfortune.

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