iPhones and bricks as pillows…

Written by

Andrew Millar


October 10, 2008

There are two types of pillows in hotels.

One sort can be likened to building materials covered in polyester/cotton. These bricks are so hard the cut off the circulation in one side of your head. So the only thing that gets any sleep is your ear, numbed by the loss of blood. Personally I’d rather try and rest on two phone books. The other sort of pillow look good from a distance but as soon as you lay on them they disappear allowing your head to sink to the mattress at whiplash speed. You get to enjoy the full and relaxing support of two layers of pillowcase.

I’ve tried to get around these bedding failures. You can fold the disappearing pillows in two and the gives some comfort. Though you now have the problem of balance to contend with. You can use cushions off the couch though the thought that someone else’s bum has been on them puts you off. You can even grab dry towels from the bathroom in the hope of getting a little sleep but the rough toweling texture leaves a funny pattern embossed on of your cheek for the rest of the day.

But it was not the pillows that were keeping me awake last night in Sydney. It was the rhythmic and primal thumping on the wall by the couple in the next room.

Either they were line-dancing enthusiasts and she was shouting her appreciation of is ability to learn new moves, or they were experimenting with combinations of Red Bull and Viagra and had dosed too much with one or the other.

3 hours this went on for. Eventually they went quiet; passed out in an sweaty, ecstatic stupor I imagined. But by now it was 3.30 and I was wide awake.

So I did what any bloke stuck alone and sleepless in a hotel room, in the middle of the night, in a strange city, would do…: I fiddled with my iPhone.

This is the only phone I’ve actually wanted to carry and use. I love it.

Apart from the fact that it slips into your pocket without giving you that ‘I’m glad to see you’ look, I love that it is more than a phone. I love the fact it holds music (I stuck the headphones in, tapped ‘shuffle’ and just enjoyed being alone in the dark with the music. Though I did skip the melancholic and sad tracks that the iPhone selected …- Snow Patrol’s ‘Chasing Cars’ is not good 4 am stuff…, particularly the acoustic version,… though I like the line “’I need your grace / to remind me / to find my own’” But “All I am / all that I ever was / is here in your perfect eyes / they’re all I can see” gets me very time’. I wish I could write like that…)

But what I really love are the small programs you can download from the Apple store… some fun and some very useful. I loaded a great little guitar tuning program. That bit was a useless right then and there, because I had no guitar with me. But the metronome within it was handy because I could work out that the horizontal folk dancers in the next room were at it 42 beats to the minute… and keeping a very regular timing.

And then I started thinking of great ideas for other downloadable programs. And I came up with this idea, which I thought was damn good (at 5am). And I might persue it’s development… That day I had watched my luggage being x-rayed at the airport and I thought ‘wouldn’t it be handy if you could download that image to your iPhone’. Then using image/shape recognition software, identify individual objects within your luggage. So when you arrived at your destination and needed a fresh pair of socks or toothpaste or something, you could call up the image on your phone, tap the appropriate icon… say the toothbrush icon… and it would locate it on the x-ray image. Thus enabling you to go straight to it,  negating the need to up turn the bag on the hotel room floor to find your comb.

I call it Google Suitcase.

And then I thought I could extend it to solve every woman’s problem of finding stuff in handbags. (It would supersede my original idea of putting a zip in the bottom of ladies’ handbags, because that seems to where everything always ends up – so why not start the search there…). It would be called Google Handbag.

The problem is though; it always seems to be the mobile phone that she’s looking for…, so I shelved that part of the idea and gently slipped into the arms of Morpheus….

Only to be awoken minutes later by another handy iPhone feature -… the bloody alarm clock.