Sometimes Low-Tech Works

I went to a hi-tech company to present the exciting new features of the latest version of Madcap Flare. Knowing that they were located in a parking-challenged area, I asked the documentation manager about the availability of company parking. He was wonderful – send me your license plate number and I’ll arrange it, I was told. He then explained that the gate to the underground parking would open automatically once the computer “sighted” my car’s license plate.

I’m always nervous about being late and with traffic into Tel Aviv, I left super-early, hit the massive traffic jams I was expecting, and still got there 30 minutes too soon. I figured I would park somewhere and look for a cool place to sit. Maybe I’d call him and explain.

I pulled up to the parking gate and as promised (though perhaps not fully expected), the gate went up with ease. I drove downward, took the first turn, and right in front of me – an empty visitor’s parking.

I shut the engine just as my phone beeped, “Here?” was the message from the documentation manager.

I was shocked. I was…tempted to carefully look around me and wonder what else was being recorded. Obviously, I thought to myself, obviously, the computer system is rigged to send a message immediately to the person who ordered the spot, alerting him/her to the fact that the guest had arrived. Wow.

I’ve been in hi-tech places before. I’ve been in places where they tracked you when you left the floor and alarms went off if you went to a floor to which you were not cleared. I’ve even been on army bases working on “live” computers with soldiers checking every once in a while to see what I was doing (and no, I didn’t launch any missiles by mistake).

But still – despite it all, I was amazed. We are talking seconds here – to pull in the car – and already enough time for him to have sent an SMS. I wrote him back, “Are you psychic or is big brother watching?”

And that was when I got the most amazing response, “Saw u pull up. Getting food and will get you.”

See, sometimes we are so used to the hi-tech solutions, we forget that the good old low-tech solutions still work!