Technology is cool. Normally I’ll get excited about the "big" stuff – Surface Computing, Silverlight, how sweet Uncharted Drake’s Fortune looks in high def…
But the day to day stuff really rocks my socks as well. Case in point.
My favourite dance group back in the late 80’s was an Aussie group called Boxcar. I had their first album on vinyl – and then later on got their other two on CD. Thing is, about 12-13 years ago, I lost the record. I was devastated because of the memories the songs evoked and while the remixes were still accessible through the CD, they just weren’t the same – I wanted the original.
For years, I would check out music stores, and periodically trawl the web looking for their stuff. As the time went by however, I think my hope died too and I haven’t looked around for that album for a year or so.
When talking to a friend on Friday, I mentioned my desire to still get this album if I could find it, and while it was fresh in my mind, I thought I’d do another web trawl.
And boy, am I thankful that I did.
First hit was pretty much a Wikipedia article on the band, which then linked in turn to other Wikipedia articles for their albums and external links to sites such as discogs and most impressively of all, to Boxcar’s own site. This in turn revealed that they’d made a mini-comeback late last year and were now working on a new album. Their website actually cycles through all of their music, so I was able to hear a couple of favourites that I hadn’t heard for a very long time.
This then gave me hope enough to check eBay out. And yes, someone was selling a copy of Vertigo! With a reasonable Buy It Now price and reasonable shipping. In less than 2 minutes, I had logged into eBay, clicked the buy button, navigated my way through PayPal to pay for it and received the confirmation that I had indeed purchased the CD. Then I noticed that the auction had been due to finish in only 5 minutes after I found it. If any part of that process had fallen over, I wouldn’t have made it in time. But everything worked – Google, Wikipedia, Discogs, Boxcar’s own site, eBay, PayPal…
Five years ago, the information wouldn’t have been present on Wikipedia and even Boxcar’s own site didn’t exist. I might have lucked into an eBay auction, but I had been checking eBay semi-regularly, so maybe not. Internet access was slower, so getting to the finish point of buying the album might not have happened either (and I wouldn’t have even known because finished auctions don’t display by default).
I know it’s small, and it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but it was a "cool!" moment for me on Friday when it happened, and here I am 3 days later still with a smile on my face when I think about it.