The name's Fox, Michael J. Fox

If memory or Wikipedia entries serve correct, the 1980s were much more totally righteous than the 70s. I was born as Vietnam was winding down imploding to a halt, Tricky Dick was stealing the letters from G. Gordon Liddy's first name, OPEC hosed us by turning off the oil spigot and Jimmy Carter was flushing the can-do spirit of the free world down the peanut hole. By comparison, the 80s saw me going from third grader to high school senior; Reagan, Thatcher and Pope John Paul II kicking commie arse all over the Warsaw Pact; Bill Cosby's sweaters; and a show called Family Ties starring a scrappy little Canadian named Michael J. Fox.

All was right with the world.

Assuming, of course, you didn't mind being asked by children with underdeveloped senses of humor if you were related to said Michael J. at least 18 times fortnightly. At the time, I found it a tad oppressive. It wasn't until the late 80s when the tide shifted to catcalls of "Hey, Doogie!" did I realize just how innocuous the MJF harassment really was.

Anyway, I say all that to say this: I feel a bit like my Canadian surnamesake today. For today is my first full day using the new iOS 4 on my iPhone 3GS. And until all my apps are updated to properly utilize task switching multitasking, the biggest new feature I'm using is FOLDERS. So yes, I'm like Michael J. "Marty McFly" Fox in Back to the Future, which came out in 1984—the same year as the Mac. Finally using folders on an iPhone 26 years after the appearance of Apple's first GUI for the masses.

But I don't care. I love my folders. I've gone from 11 screens of apps to two. TWO! It doesn't look quite as elegant as all the individual apps, but maybe Jobs will someday unlock the power of custom icons for folders to make them purtier. You know, like we used to do in System 7.

In other updates to the iPhone OS, we have such groundbreaking features as: a soft orientation lock that only works in portrait mode; an updated Mail program with threading, a unified inbox, and (still) a complete lack of a "mark all read" function; a 5X digital zoom on the camera for enhanced noise; touch-to-focus while taking video (hey, actually useful); custom wallpapers for the home screen; iBooks for extra squinting time (curse you, iPhone 4 owners with your superfine Retina displays); and more.

Okay, so the big update doesn't really seem so big at the moment. As alluded to earlier, developers will have to take advantage of all the new APIs to really make iOS 4 sing. Things like local notifications require updates. Which require approval from Apple. Which tends to be capricious and random. While several of my apps have already been update to 4.0 compatibility, most have not. In fact, the new Facebook app that just came out last week actually crashes more under 4.0. But I expect that from Facebook because their programming always blows. I sincerely hope Navigon updates their navigation app pronto since they've been harping about how cool it will be to take a call while driving and still be able to hear the voice prompts. Also, I like downloading 1.6GB updates over 802.11g.

So those are my thoughts. All in all, I realize this is an important update. One that would be even more superspecial if 1) all my apps were already 4.0 aware and 2) I were using it on an iPhone 4. Sigh.

Oh well, at least I didn't almost take my mom to the prom like Michael J. That's just creepy, yo.



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