If you’re an active member of the webOS community these days, you’ll know we’re a small, tight-knit group of friendly folks. Our three subgroups tend to be mostly free-time developers, advanced users, and those that are hanging on to the form factor/mobile OS despite its limited services and with little regard for the do-it-all-for-you modern devices.
The forums on webOS Nation continue to be the primary source for communication and provide the venue for meeting the occasional “newcomer” to our little slice of the web. This is the story of one such friend of webOS. Meet Karen…
…a complete stranger swimming in the sea of internet anonymity like us all.
I met Karen via twitter.
@alan_morford Found you on WebOSNation. I'm using an original Pre as my primary, have a new Veer that I'd love to get up and running. Way above my paygrade. Can I hire you? Also, lifelong Cubs fan. If that helps 🙂
— Karen T Madden (@karentmadden) November 13, 2017
To read her full backstory check out her first post on the forums but I’ll summarize: she had 3 Sprint Pres since 2009 which all died slow deaths physically, she bought a Veer with intent to switch to a GSM carrier but the setup steps were a bit daunting, so she reached out to the community for help.
You may notice the time gap between her post and the tweet above. The Veer sat in the box for about a year and in the meantime she had been using a semi-crippled Sprint Pre and an unnamed Android device to get through her work and home life.
She needed assistance with the Veer and I offered to help. But Karen’s story does not end with sending me the Veer nor is this a tale of getting a webOS user back up and running. What I learned from helping her was two-fold because while Karen is a specific person, she represents something bigger.
- Karen is “every man”…well, as it relates to the quiet masses of unnamed people out there still using webOS. There are more people still using webOS than we in the community realize. The forum may number in the 100s but there are likely 5-10x still out there plugging away with that tacky keyboard and brittle slider. These folks will find us eventually on the forums. We must be ready and willing to assist.
- webOS is still impacting people’s lives in the original ways Palm strived to achieve. Connecting everything via synergy, fast task switching, and everything accessible via a “Just type” search among others. But this only encapsulates the “what” in webOS’ draw. I’ll let Karen tell you the “why” in the words she shared upon receiving the Veer back from me (emphasis added).
“I’d been telling myself it’s ‘just a phone’ but…using it today, I know that webOS is so much more for me. I powered [the Veer] this morning and, I just don’t have words. It’s that July day back in 2009, all over again. Except…back then I was meeting a new friend, who, I thought, might help me live my life on my terms. The Pre was the first device I carried ubiquitously. Today, though, flipping through cards, running apps, it’s a long lost friend and partner, returning to my life. I hadn’t realized how it had been slipping away, one function at a time, with the Pre. You never know what you have until you’ve lost it. I can’t even express what this means to me.
“…I drive so hard in life, and depend on a few tools and people to enable my work. Years ago, when I was playing cello professionally, my daughter broke my cello, [I thought] permanently. It was in the shop for over a month, and while I had an exquisite loaner to use, it wasn’t the cello I had used every day for 25 years. Everything was just a tiny bit….off. Everything […] required extra thought, extra awareness. I finally got my cello back, restored. I didn’t have words then either. This feels exactly the same. Having a phone that is intuitive allows me to focus on the big stuff!
“I will put it succinctly: webOS is a superlative tool that allows me to focus on work and do great good. My contributions to this world would be diminished without it.”
Well said, Karen. webOS itself was quite the contribution to the world. And our little community, however small, still makes a big impact not in the market but in the lives of its users.
It’s awesome to give back to those that make our little community great especially during the season of giving. Thanks webOS Nation!