Audi and Apple

I had to go to the Midlands and back to help somebody in distress today. It would have been an ideal time to listen to an inspirational audiobook on my iPod Classic. It’s also on my iPhone 5, but I had no way of interfacing the phone to my Audi’s stereo system. I realised that there was also no obvious way to connect my iPod Classic to my car’s stereo either, despite the salesman at Finchley Road Audi assuring us that a simple cable would make this possible. We’ve looked for this mythical cable, but find it elusive, as do Audi, and we don’t have a clue where in the Audi we’re meant to connect it.

In the old days, you just stuck a tape in the cassette deck and it worked. Then there were CDs, and if you had your own stuff, you ripped it onto CD and played it that way. It just worked.

We also have a pretty expensive bluetooth system in the car, but guess what? This doesn’t connect to my phone in any obvious way. We bought it a year ago and to this day, I’ve never managed to connect my phone to the car’s system.

Another option would have been to use an SD card, but I didn’t have time before I left to copy across a bunch of files. It’s 2013. I have the files on a number of other devices, I shouldn’t have to muck around with copying large groups of files. We have this thing called The Cloud too. Surely, it should just work?

I also have an iPad mini retina, with a 4G cell connection and I thought, worst case, I just play the audiobook via iTunes Match (which I subscribe to) over the 4G connection (which I subscribe to). Guess what? iTunes Match, as I onyl discovered once I got to my destination, doesn’t sync or even recognise audiobooks. These have to be manually synchronised via a computer with iTunes.

So I neded up listening to something else on the iPad mini instead, which I inserted clumsily into my top jacket pocket so that I could hear the spoken word loudly enough over the road and wind noise. That kind of failed half way to my destination too. I haven’t a clue why. I was more annoyed at not being able to use my car’s decent audio system for any of my audio, or even my phone.

There is a lot to be said for progress, but there is a lot to be said for simplicity too. I used to listen to a lot more music. I chucked some CDs in the car and off I went. Nowadays, I listen to nothing when I’m driving. This is a minor tragedy, because I only ever got singing practice while I used to drive. I haven’t had any singing practice for a decade. I place the blame squarely at the door of Apple and Audi.

I don’t believe in moaning without deciding on a course of corrective action. I’m just going to bite the bullet and ensure that when I chop the Audi in for something else at some point, it has amazing connectivity and audio, and is configured properly to play all my music from a cloudless device, like my iPod Classic, from the get-go. Oh, and the Bluetooth will actually work with my phone. Maybe I will abandon the Apple and find another solution, and maybe I will try a different car after this, my third Audi, which of all the Audis I’ve had has been the worst connected for audio and phone that I’ve had thus far. Now that really isn’t progress!

Health Update

As I lay on the floor, my consciousness receding, my body heavy, sweat pouring off me like I was emptying myself of life itself, I looked up at my child and felt regret. Regret not at the life I had led, but that I might not be able to raise my child. I recited the shahāda just in case, because you just never know.

My wife found me and called the ambulance. After a few minutes, we were able to get me off the floor and into the nearby bed. One minute I had been raring to go, set for another Friday in the office, my day planned out and my goals set. The next, I was on the floor wondering if this was it. Life can be like that.

When the paramedics arrived, I was already thinking about whether I could make it to work or not. I was still determined to go. Meanwhile, my wife was calling my boss to let him know that despite my ill-informed protestations, I wouldn’t be going in. I accepted that so long as I didn’t have to go to hospital.

The paramedics were as usual, excellent. They ran some tests. They could barely detect my pulse. My blood pressure was very low, which is odd because I’ve been taking medication for high blood pressure since the late 1990s. They ran an ECG and found abnormalities consistent with the ravages of long-term type 1 diabetes, but thankfully, no sign of a heart attack, though I’m pretty sure we all thought that’s what it might be. They stayed for a while and carried on running tests and my pulse became stronger and my blood pressure though still low, was at least better than when they arrived. I signed the disclaimer for hospital admission on the understanding that should my condition deteriorate again, I would not hesitate the next time. Thankfully, thus far, that’s not been necessary.

It’s too early to point to any one thing, though it wasn’t my diabetes. I’m intimately familiar with the symptoms of a hypoglycaemia, and my blood sugar was perfectly normal. I had no chest pains, just a ringing in my head that I’d experienced the last time I was suddenly unconscious about a decade ago. Was it a virus playing havoc? I don’t think so. There’s no point in speculating. Some have pointed to stress. I have never been less stressed. As you all know, the last two years have been the most enjoyable period of my working life, and although I’ve certainly worked very hard, it rarely feels like effort. I only understand “overwork” in the context of activity that is not enjoyable, so I don’t think we can point to that.

What I can say is that I could probably use more sleep, so I have been sleeping more since this episode, and today I tried to do more work than perhaps I should have and suffered two ocular migraines, the second turning into a full blown migraine, so I need to easy back into things.

I’ve been profoundly taken aback by all the messages of support on Twitter, both from my friends, and those who barely know me. I feel enormous gratitude for that. I’m also looking forward to getting back to my full schedule, but I will ease back into that, listening carefully to my body and ensuring I make my health my number one priority. It’s probably fair to criticise me for not always putting my health first, but that’s always been my choice, and not a wise one at that. I will adjust my values accordingly.

It’s a testament to how fantastic my work environment is that upon regaining my wits, my first thought was irritation that I was taking my first sick day in the whole year. That’s three in two years. Anyone know knows my medical history will realise that this is quite outstanding and a better record than most. I’m also grateful that none of these three days have had anything to do with my diabetes, which I’ve been looking after better than at any time in my life.

I don’t have answers, but that’s OK, I’m used to not having answers. To be able to operate comfortably from a position of discomfort is an important part of success. I’ve got a lot better at that. I will visit my GP to make sure everything is OK and I look forward to operating with my usual energy levels very soon.

Thanks again for your support and love. It means a lot to me.