On Life

Lessons for life, from my devices.

A few weeks ago I arrived home from a work trip to Wellington minus my bag. I was calm while I watched others collect their bags and move on. I remained so when I realised I was the last person at the baggage claim and no amount of staring at the empty trailer would work the required magic. I was polite, I like to think my demeanour was friendly but firm, at the help desk.

I said to John, as I climbed into the car, It’s only stuff.

But by the time I unlocked the door to our house I was missing my favourite, most comfortable winter boots, my make-up (yes I do wear some, sometimes) my one and only hand knitted jersey (sweater to those from Nth America) knitted by myself from one hundred percent merino. My brand new winter coat was in that bag as well.

But most of all I was missing my iPad. Like iPads everywhere it was loaded with all sorts of things: Amazon, Kindle, emails, photos, games, Apps for banking and newspapers and calendars.  Yep, I could do  pretty much anything, anywhere on that iPad.

Perhaps I should have got Gollum on to the job, he was pretty good at tracking down My Precious

Perhaps I should have got Gollum on to the job because, as we all know, he was pretty good at tracking down “My Precious”.

I realised, with the oh-so-familiar sinking feeling that accompanies the understanding of the hitherto unknown but, once-recognised, blindingly obvious, my iPad might be able to let anybody with a bit more know how than me, do those exact same things.

I said to John, You do know that whoever has my bag will want to be me.

I wish I could say he nodded his assent. Instead, I have to report there may have been a wry smile lurking around the corners of his mouth.

They’ll wreck my blog, I said. They’ll take over my FaceBook profile. Who knows what they’ll post to Instagram! As for Twitter, the whole world will know I’m a twerp … I paused as another, potentially more serious consequence occurred to me: They might get my money!

At this point John may have laughed. Out loud. He said, I’m sure there are a lot of more lucrative targets. (He did have a point about that one!)

And, anyway, he added, No-one will be able to crack the passcode.

Oh, really? Just because he didn’t know how to, just because he couldn’t imagine wanting to, didn’t mean there weren’t people out there who could and would.

I rang the airline. By this time they knew my my bag wasn’t at Hawkes Bay airport (I had already told them that!)  and neither was it in Wellington.

Knowing where it wasn’t, is not the same as knowing where it was, and I wasn’t reassured. Not at all. They assured me they were working on it.

My unworried but nevertheless eavesdropping husband asked, Haven’t you got that Find My iPhone App?

I did, and I do, and I set it to work.

Cleverly, it found my laptop which was on my lap. And it found my cell-phone – that was in my hand bag, on the floor by my feet. But it couldn’t find my iPad. Because – it was off-line!

That’s a good thing, said John. It means there’s nothing to worry about.

I, however, wasn’t quite so certain. I told him, I’ll set it to erase itself.

His eyebrows may have shot up at the power of my logic. You don’t think you’re being a bit hasty?

I gave him one of my looks. If you’ve never been on the receiving end of one you do need to know I have the power tot turn people to ash – with my eyes.

Being a brave man he added, It’ll be in your bag.

I conceded that according to the laws of probabilities this was a possibility and I selected the softer option. I set my iPad to play a sound when it was next switched on. I hoped that would be enough to deter any aspirational thief, the sort who might want to be me.

Time ticked on by, slowly. I got on with my day as best I could. And after lunch the airline rang.  My bag, it turned out, had gone to Whangarei – some seven hundred kilometres and two plane flights in the wrong direction.

Amazingly, late that same night, my bag was delivered to our house.

I was relieved and very tired. Overtired. Nevertheless, I thought, I’ll just check-out Facebook and take a gander at my emails, all of which I could do from my phone or my computer. But my iPad and me, we’d been separated and we had some reacquainting to do.

I powered it up.

A cross between a beep and a car horn blasted from it. I tapped at the screen. It kept barping.

I tapped the screen again. That racket kept right on going.

That’s pretty effective, said John.

But I’m not the thief, I said.

I wish I could tell you that reason kicked in, that after two taps at the screen I realised that while I knew my iPad was back it didn’t know that I was me. I kept on tapping – expecting the alarm to turn off.

You’ll be keeping the neighbours awake, said John. (An exaggeration, maybe, but not by much.)

If you’ve never been in this situation there are three simple lessons I can share:

First, The Find Your iPhone App is a great deterrent – as effective as any burglar alarm.

Second, those of you who are logical will have worked this out already, the alarm has to be switched off from another device.

Third, if your solution doesn’t work on the first attempt, or maybe the second, chances are it won’t on the fiftieth.

For myself, I don’t think I’ll have much trouble remembering lessons one and two but lesson three has already proved a bit tricky.


Well, it’s like this. After that iPad experience I wanted to make sure my new phone could never, ever be used by anybody else. I set it up to turn only when it recognises my fingerprint. Can’t get much easier or much tighter than that.

I’d had the phone in my possession a full two hours when it would not turn on. I touched the button, and waited while the clever little machine read my finger print. Try again, it said. So I tried again, and again, and again, and again …

I’ll have to take it back, I announced, suitably miffed.

Um, said that brave man I’m married to, That’s your thumb.

Yep, I’m good under pressure. Sharp as a hammer.

I’ve got a class tomorrow,  on how to use my phone,  think I might need it.

Me being me, something similar is bound to happen again. So please help me out – what are your tips for keeping your devices secure?

35 replies »

  1. Great storytelling. With your three wonderful rules about passport, bags and photographs, I guess you now have a fourth. If and when the time comes to update your iPad, check out the mini. It’s a traveller’s dream. It’s small enough and light enough to carry in a travel purse or travel vest, safe places for such a worthy travelling companion.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How distressing Jill! I have tried to save my passwords in code on a document on my phone – and it is probably not astonishing how often I have to refer to it. I truly hope that nothing as stressful happens to you for AGES.


  3. Oh Jill, first of all I gasped, shock, horror when your bag disappeared then I agonized with you (and sympathised with John getting “your look”!!!) then I couldn’t help giggling and saying over my shoulder to Jack “don’t miss Jill’s latest post” Then burst out laughing when you were finally reunited and the darn thing screamed at you…. (this should be “freshly pressed!!!)


  4. I did wonder if the bag was lost because it had the iPad in it, good to hear that wasn’t the case. Oh the humour and the anxiety of technology! My daughter put her cats paw print as one of the fingerprints, not sure I recommend that, but was amazed that it was even possible!!


  5. I know I shouldn’t laugh (and wouldn’t if it happened to me), but it’s the way you tell it!!! I must admit I read most of the post thinking “you put your iPad in your checked luggage????” I’m glad you got it back and hopefully your security measures all work out. I’m now painfully aware how vulnerable my devices are. Except when I’m travelling and they’re more or less attached to my person.


  6. Sorry to hear about your lost bag situation Jill, but glad it turned up.

    As for the fingerprint security system on the iPhone, mine was also set up to open when the right pin code was also entered. The very kind man in the Apple store told me it was best to have both just incase my thumb was ever chopped off!!


    • Oh, Hugh! I didn’t think of that!! But deselyjane, see below, reckons it’s possible to set up more than one print. I think I better investigate that option just incase my index finger gets the chop.


  7. Laughing with you! Wonderfully well written saga that we know could happen easily to us. The goodies and baddies of our brave new world……delight and challenge us all. Thanks for sharing…..a lift for my morning. So glad it ended well. I could hear the alarm from here!


    • Hello Eileen, It’s amazing how easy it is to believe it will happen to somebody else, until it happens to you! It did take a bit of time before I could see the funny side.


  8. I’m afraid I had a big smile on my face to – it’s the way you tell ’em! I don’t own any of those I thingummyjigs, but I would never put my tablet device into a hold bag. No that stays with me on the plane. As does the camera 🙂


    • Heyjude, Good to know I made you laugh. And I can laugh about it now, too. The silly thing is I don’t usually check that bag through. All I can say is that something popped in my brain on the day. Never again, that’s for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I sincerely hope that I am laughing with you. If not, I’m laughing with your husband. I’m also standing behind him, in case you’re building up to one of those looks. I’ve had plenty of those in my time.

    I’m glad all is well again.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hahaha Jill, this was such an entertaining post. Many of us have been there, don’t worry! Yes I use my fingerprint – you can set multiple fingerprints. Now don’t laugh (actually you can since I did) but I have two iPhones so I’ve set my left thumb print for one and my right for the other (actually I’ve set left and right for one of them). That way I can open them both at the same time!
    As for security – my email was hacked a few months ago and I had to change all my passwords. It was a harrowing experience because I was advised to use different passwords for everything! I’ve now got about 8 different passwords that I rotate between based in song lyrics but in an obscure way that nobody could guess. So glad they returned your bag!


    • You made me giggle, desleyjane – just a bit and only because I’d be useless with that arrangement. As to email hacking, that would be my worst nightmare. I have to own up that on the day I did set about changing passwords – part of the experience that is worth an entire post of its own. For now I’ll just say I’ve run into some difficulties remembering them!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m so sorry but I laughed out loud while reading this Jill!! I can fee your pain and only hope I don’t lose my devices – but I will take on your lessons learnt! Glad it all turned out OK in the end.:)


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