Nick Heer, writing on Pixel Envy:
At around 9:00 at night, the temperature in Magelang finally drops to a more hospitable 28°C from the 37° or so that it’s been hovering at. My girlfriend and I are in Magelang for this leg of the trip and we’ve stopped at a warung for dinner — think of a small trailer that can be pulled behind a bicycle serving ridiculously tasty food. This warung is known for several noodle dishes, but we’ve asked for mie godog — literally, “boiled noodles”. The broth from this cart is made with candlenut and it’s cooking overtop some hot coals in a wok with spring onions, garlic, some mustard greens, and the aforementioned egg noodles. Every few seconds, someone on a scooter or motorbike putters past, inches from the trio of younger men sitting and smoking on the stoop of the karaoke bar next door.
I’ve taken a couple of Live Photos of the scene and play them back, and I realize that it’s captured the sights and sounds well enough that I’ll be able to show my friends and parents back in Canada, but something’s missing: the smell of this place. It’s a distinct blend of engine fumes, clove cigarette smoke, burning wood, and this incredible food. This, to me, says worlds about the immediacy of place of Live Photos, as well as the limitations that they have. They are a welcome step closer to better capturing a moment in time, but the technology isn’t quite good enough yet for this moment.
Don't worry, my fellow Americans, I did the research. The temperature in the first sentence is "82.4°F from the 98.6°F." You know I got your back.
In all seriousness, Heer's piece is a must read. Part iPhone review. Part travelogue. Part deep look into the modern technology we take for granted, shone through the lens of an unfamiliar environment and culture. He writes with such clarity, I feel as though I have a better understanding of the world around me. I feel his annoyance each time technology failed him. I feel his joy at capturing a moment in a Live Photo that will continue to transport him back to a cherished experience. I feel more connected to a part of the world I have never once been to myself.
Most reviews tend to be very similar. That's why I typically read very few of them, and why I rarely write my own. This atypical look at an iPhone does what most reviews can't. It adds context and substance to what makes a device like this special, and where its shortcomings foster frustration. It ruminates on these little pocket companions, what they mean to different people, and how they're changing the world, how people interact, how technology is valued.
Also, this piece made me realize that maybe I live on the wrong continent, since I'm the only asshole over here that seems to like Path.