Hmmm what was her name again..

Have you ever been in a situation where half way through a conversation you realize you haven’t the faintest idea what the name of the person is you are talking to? Now, this happens to me at rather awkward events. This is the story of one such event.

I was just parking my car and walking towards a nearby coffee shop (side-note: its impossible to find parking at the place you need to be) when someone called out my name. Turning around I saw a young lady smiling and walking towards me. For a brief instant I felt quite pleased that I had parked where I did as it gave me a chance to meet this person. Then it hit me, I did not know who this person was. Compounding the matter, she seemed to know exactly who I was (the fact that she knew my name tipped me off) and she appeared genuinely pleased to see me. Now I did not want to ask her for an introduction and figured that I’d catch on once we started talking so I just played along. “O hi, how are you?” I asked, quite pleased with my confident approach.

Our conversation continued however much to my horror, I was nowhere closer to placing this stranger. I did not know her name nor did I know where I knew her from. It’s the worst of situations. See even if you don’t remember the person’s name but know where you know them from, you can still carry on a complete conversation built on historical commonalities. For example if I don’t know your name but know that we went to the same karate class (yes I said Karate not dance class so shove it) I’d say something along the lines of “so you still practicing those kicks” etc. But to not know anything about the person you are speaking to, especially if the person is an attractive member of the opposite sex, is a disastrous situation indeed.

Getting back to the story, only two minutes had passed since that first fateful hello, but to me it seemed like an eternity. Then an idea struck me like a bolt out of a clearly blank sky (read: mind).. “So you still in touch with anyone?” I asked. This should be helpful, but it wasn’t. She just rattled off a couple of names I did not recognize. So-and-so was married, so-and-so has had a kid, so-and-so bla bla bla. Then it got worse, much worse.. She asked me who all I was in touch with. Dammit my social engineering experiment failed me once again. It was time to get creative. I decided to drop names from various stages in my past. I spoke about the childhood friends I played with when I was 4, I spoke about my school friends (from both schools to be on the safe side), I talked about a few college friends and friends from work and a few from dance.. i mean karate class. While I thought back to see if I left anyone out she just looked at me like I was mental or something. Anyway, after a significantly long pause she said, “sorry but I don’t know any of those people”. Dammit not only had I wasted a serious amount of time and made a bit of an arse of myself, but I also managed to get nowhere in my quest of identifying the lady.

Thinking the day could not get more awkward I decided to leave and was about to turn when another voice called out my name. Looking back I saw another girl smiling and walking towards us. As you would have guessed, I did not recognize her either. Now there I was stuck between two attractive women and I had no idea who the hell they were. Did they know each other, am I expected to introduce them to each other, O God, am I expected to introduce them to each other!!! I pretended I had no manners and did not even make the slightest attempt at an introduction lest I get caught out on my ignorance.

At that point the second girl (named based on order of appearance) said she saw my profile on a popular social networking site (not sure if it was orkut or facebook – man I’m bad at names) and that she had sent me a friend request – which I subsequently rejected. Now I did not recall this but it seemed plausible as I tend to reject requests from people I don’t know (or in this case can’t remember). Deciding to use my smarts once more I said “perhaps you used a different name which I did not recognize, which name did you use in your profile”, ah ha this ought to work, now she will tell me her name and perhaps I’ll be that much closer to solving this mystery. Her response was simple, “I just used my name, nothing fancy”. Knowing that plan failed I shot back with – “perhaps you used someone else’s photo, like a celebrity of something and I did not see the name so rejected it”. ‘Nope, it was my photo only’, was the reply. Giving up I apologized and asked her to send it again. Now I had been nearly ten minutes since I stepped out of my car and I knew this was not working out so I bid adieu to the two ladies and started waking to the coffee shop, suddenly I turned to the two girls and said, O by the way, do you two know each other.. This was my masterstroke for now they would have to introduce themselves to each other I’ll finally know their names and hopefuls who they were…

The two girls just stopped and stared at each other, then at me. They had this look of amusement and bewilderment. Then it happened, they both spoke in unison. “Course we know each other, we are sisters”!! My jaw dropped.. There was no recovery.. Then one of them asked – you do know who we are right?, then the other – what’s my name?, then the first – what’s my name?.. At that point a middle-aged man approached the girls, thinking he was their father I said, hello uncle, how are you. The guy just stood there for a moment, then took the girls bags and put it in their car. The girls followed him but while entering the car one of the first girl said – by the way, he’s our driver”. Then they rolled up the window and drove off.

This incident happened a while ago but a certain cartoon strip sent to me by the girlfriend brought this back to mind. And here’s the cartoon credited to XKCD (

Quest for a Camera-Less Phone

Before I begin let me tell you that I am much the mobile geek (and many a fried will testify to that). I have always had pretty high end phones and spent many hours installing third-party apps to extend their functionality. I always considered those owing a non-smart phone as lesser mortals. How ironic life be.. To my horror my current place of work does not allow camera phones in the facility. After fruitlessly trying to fight against the system I finally gave in and decided to buy a (dare I say it) camera less phone.

Now seeing as there is a wide diversity of mobile phones available in today’s marketplace I was sure to find some decent smart phone without a camera. Boy was I wrong! Not only are there no new camera-free smart phones but even the decent midrange feature phones all feature cameras. To make maters even worse, most of the budget phones also had a camera on board (albeit a rather low quality one but a camera nevertheless). I was faced with two choices, (i) either succumb to my situation and use an absolute base of the pyramid mobile one twentieth the cost of my current phone or (ii) return to the dark ages where people did not have mobile phones.

Unwilling to do either I decided to use my research skills to scour the virtual globe for any last remaining vestiges of camera-free smart phones. My extensive research led me to three devices which fit the bill of being fairly intelligent devices minus a camera. The phones were :- 
1) The Sony Ericsson W950
2) The Sony Ericsson G700 business edition
3) The Blackberry 88xx series

Device comparison:-

The SE W950 was, in my opinion, was the best looking phone of the lot. It was compact and was said to have good sound quality (after swapping the headphones) and had a touchscreen. The drawbacks of the device were its less than average keypad (practically no tactile feedback), no extendable memory (fixed 4GB flash drive), below average battery and a few software issues here and there.

The SE G700 business edition is essentially the same G700 without a camera. On paper it looked ideal. It was compact, had a good keypad and fairly good touchscreen. In terms of audio quality it was said to be on par with other sony ericsson phones. The drawback was that is I did not care for the looks and the battery life was less than acceptable.

The Blackberry 8800 was one of the most popular BBs in its day however now it’s pretty hard to come by. The phone has a very good battery life, typical blackberry form factor, good screen and best of all the ability to use blackberry connect. The drawbacks of this phone are its size and limited support for third party games (yes I am a child). Apparently the device does have pretty good audio quality however one would need to swap the supplied headphones for more powerful ones (not to mention to 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter).

With my new found knowledge I set out look for these devices and not the quest really gets difficult. You see, all the above mentioned phones have been discontinued and are no longer available in the market. I will have to find working second-hand devices or tap various retailers to in-turn search the grey market for these devices. I even spoke to one dealer who said he’ll try and have one shipped from the Gulf if nothing comes up here.

I still have not decided on which phone to opt for as it also depends on what price they are quoted at. By my estimates they all should be around the same price but finding them would be the hard part. So fingers crossed… lets see how this goes. In the mean time feel free to post any suggestions you may have, I’d be happy to get someone else’s opinion.