Last night, we were all secret agent super spies on a mission and it was AWESOME.
It was like 24 and Sneakers and Hackers all rolled up into one. Josh was Jack Bauer, Ed was Sidney Poiter to my Jeff Goldblum as we hacked the gibson, Miranda was Rosie, Shan was Uhura and we all SAVED THE DAY.
When I got my iPhone 4, I opted to try out MobileMe for the Find My iPhone feature. Because I have so many iDevices, I wanted to be able to track them down in case they get lost or stolen. After the trial period I decided to pay for the yearly subscription, but in order to get the most out of it, I tried to convince the gang that they needed to install the app and allow me to set it up using my MobileMe account. It would be somewhat risky if they didn’t trust me, because the app allows you to not only locate the device anywhere (awkward when having affairs), but also remotely lock or wipe the data completely. I’d never do the latter unless asked, but I saw a good thing in the former – should any of us lose our phones, I or Ed could track it down easily. This would clearly be useful – Shan lost her Blackberry last year on a mountain, and had to buy a new one because there was no way to find it. I swore on a stack of maps (it was all that was handy) that I would not use this power for evil, and we installed the app on several phones to try it out.
Until last night, the only time the app had been used to locate anyone was when Ed wanted to know where I was but knew I was riding and unable to answer a text message.
Then Josh lost his iPhone.
We were all spread out – Josh at home in North Van, Ed at Sparta, the ladies at I at Heather’s house for an evening of terrible TV. When Josh realized his phone was gone, he used Twitter to send out a plea for help, which was intercepted by Ed and Shan. Ed loaded up the app to locate Josh’s phone, and Shan relayed the message to the rest of us. I had doubts that we would be able to help, because I knew that Josh had turned Location Services off to reserve battery strength. Miranda was having none of my negativity though, and insisted we push forward to try to recover Josh’s phone. Using the Find My iPhone app, I sent two messages and sound alerts to the device (which will play regardless of the volume or mute setting), as well as remotely locking it with a passcode just in case. I then sent the device a coded message on how to locate the passcode number, and sent the information to Ed because he was the keeper. Then .. we waited. Josh needed to travel to the location of his phone as read by the app – several blocks from his house – and see if he could find it.
I’ll let him tell the story from this point on:
@coaxial: that was kind of fun, must have fallen out of my pocket taking out trash, grew legs in the form of a skater tween
@coaxial: he was walking down [the road] and it was making the godawful noise, he dropped it and ran :)
@coaxial: the kid was sufficiently scared. I pulled up in the crazy person van, heard the beeping, screeched, he glances/drops/runs
A translation: Josh drove to the location in his Delica and as he slowly drove along, he heard the warning beeps made by the emergency notifications we pushed to the device – which happened to be in the possession of a little skater boi. Josh stopped the van, the kid looked up, dropped the phone, and ran off: Josh got his phone back as it was being carted off by the kid who found it. HOORAY!
We all celebrated and cheered, feeling really pleased with ourselves. I was happy because this was exactly the scenario I had in mind when I suggested that my friends allow me the ability to track their phones, and it worked PERFECTLY (and also because hello we were totally a remote spy team). Those who were not convinced will likely be setting the app up, and our crew can rest assured that we will be able to track their phones down whether they be misplaced or kidnapped by dumpster yeti.
Pleased as PUNCH. Yeah, I’m paying $100/year for this service, but it’s covering tracking 7 iPhones and my iPad – it works out to pennies a device and is totally worth it if I can reunite my crew with their increasingly important communication tools.