I would like to sincerely and publicly thank the men and women who volunteer to run the poling stations in our fair city, especially the one where I’ve voted for the past 14 years. Two and sometimes three times each year, they leave their warm beds to head for the church so that I can exercise my sometimes misguided right to vote. So, thank you.
This year, however, our beloved volunteers had a new challenge…an iPad-based electronic voter registration list that scans the bar code on your driver’s license to find your name in the registry. No longer will the volunteers have to struggle with the old cumbersome binders full of women (and men) to find the registered voter! It’s all electronic now.
Unless the name on your driver’s license is William and you’re registered to vote as Bill.
Now, I personally wasn’t in any particular hurry, and didn’t suffer any inconvenience (they did find my name reasonably quickly), but I did ask myself while watching the volunteers fumble with the iPad whether this was truly a better solution.
Oddly, this is the second time in two days where technology has been a hindrance rather than a help.
Yesterday, my better half suggested that I get reservations lined up for Mother’s Day, and forwarded an e-mail she’d received from one of her favorite restaurants, offering to make said reservations at the click of a link.
Being the world’s greatest husband, I clicked through, only to find that not only could I not get a table for 15 at 11:30, or for the two-hour window before or after 11:30, but there were no open reservations within 30 days of May 12. WTF?
“This can’t be right,” I thought. And it wasn’t. A five-minute telephone call to the restaurant netted a reservation for 15 at 11:15.
Technology is a wonderful thing. It can speed your day, organize your life, enable you to connect with long-lost friends and family, and access the world’s collective knowledge at the click of a button.
But how are you using technology to make the human experience more convenient, enjoyable, productive, joyful?
Sometimes I wonder who serves whom.