Last IFA a Phone Saved My LiveblogThat avalanche of TVs, fridges, iPod docks, and iPod dock fridges that some people like to call IFA 2008 but I call Satan's Hell on Earth, agonized to its end this week. About bloody time. To me, the star of this fair wasn't the Sony ZX1, the Samsung X360 or even Addy's bags, but one now-ancient gadget that saved my life not one, but two times at the show: my good old trusty iPhone. It all started the first day, during the Sony press conference liveblog. Expecting Wi-Fi around the fair like last year, I opened my laptop and searched for networks to start posting the news as they were announced with text and images, like we usually do. Then it was the first time I realized this IFA was going to suck big time, starting right there: the T-Mobile Wi-Fi network, the one we usually connect to in the show, wasn't available at Sony's hall. Fuck. OK. No worries. There's another one, completely open, labeled Sony Event. "Great," I thought, "they are giving us Wi-Fi to work". I tried to connect. Nothing. There was no connection to the internet. Tried to connect again. Nada. Suddenly, the big screen in front of me lighted up:
Bloggers, you have Wi-Fi available. So feel free to blog the event live.
"No we don't, you son of Sir Howard!" Tried again and again and again. Restarted the computer. Some smelly Frenchman next to me was getting amused by my desperation, giving me stupid advice about how to connect. I wanted to punch him. On the crotch. As the place was getting full and the event was about to start, I started to panic. I saw people trying to connect like me, also frustrated. It smelled pretty bad. And it wasn't the Frenchman. I needed to start blogging in one minute. "OK, last try." No dice. My only internet device was the iPhone, with its screen keyboard, the one that some people think is useless to actually type. The trick about the iPhone keyboard is that you don't have to try to be precise. Just try to hit the correct letters more or less, and let the prediction do all the work. However, even while I'm a good iPhone typer, doing updates over the slow GPRS, waiting for all our editing system to reload every time I saved, was going to be impossible. Thankfully, Kit was in Lisbon awake and working. I fired up my AIM client and wrote to him "EMERGNCTT!" Shit. This spelled "d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r-!" Actually, it spelled "desastre!" because I had my Spanish keyboard turned on. After I changed the keyboard to US English, I started to write at full speed on the iPhone, with Kit copying and pasting from his AIM screen to the post in Giz's editing system, saving instantly. The whole process was only adding a couple of seconds of delay to the liveblog, so we were good. And the pictures? Straight from the iPhone camera and sent over email whenever I had a pause to take them. I would just start the camera, shoot, send via email, get immediately out, and keep liveblogging via AIM while Mail was uploading the photo. Even the pictures were looking great because I was right next to the well-lit stage. No need for fancy stabilizers. I just held my breath and that was it. We did the same with the Philips press conference and, at the end, everything worked out perfectly. I know that many other smartphones would have been able to do the same, but this time it was my good old iPhone, with the broken screen, and Jones on the background. The same iPhone that I hated and blamed for taking the worst pictures at the best rock concert ever saved my life at IFA 2008. I guess there's always a yin to every yang. [All IFA 2008 Coverage] This just in case you didn't get the headline reference: