Sat navs, smart phones and portable printers

So, in the continued theme of blazing a trail, it fell to yours truly to do the last minute mad-capped dash to buy everything we needed to create a presence at the UK Demo Day at SXSW.

After arriving back in Fort Worth from a few days relaxation in the desert (well, as relaxing as Vegas could ever be), we collected our hire car and started to head down to Austin.

Just one small problem – we had only 4 hours to make the journey and needed to pick up a printer and a monitor on the way. For the children of the 80s out there, I felt like Anneka Rice – minus the jump suit and, sadly, the helicopter.

Not one to be daunted and with a wealth of technology at my fingertips, I proceeded to rise to the challenge. So, with my TomTom GO 920 course set for downtown Austin, TX I fired up my shiny new Nokia Lumia 920. Now, here are 2 pieces of technology that the modern world would be a very different place without – the sat nav and the smart phone – truly gifts from the gods of technology.

So, with Nokia Maps in-hand – yes Nokia Maps, not Google, I proceed to search for ‘Best Buy’. For those of you unfamiliar with large US retail chains, think Comet (only still in business) and hey presto! There’s one just off the highway, not 10 minutes south of where we are.

A short drive and some very helpful instructions from Priscilla, as I like to call my Nokia Drive assistant, we’re pulling into the parking lot of one of the biggest electronics superstores I’ve seen. It is true what they say about Texas.

Once inside, now for the challenge of finding the products I want. Now, not knowing if the product you want even exists, let alone if the store you’re in stocks it, presents a set of unique challenges. This, coupled with the fact that a British accent is considered strangely exotic this far South, makes for fun.

Well, I’d come this far. I won’t let a small thing like appearing like a total moron to someone who’s first impression of the entire British nation will be my jibbering nonsense stop me.

I had no need to fear. The staff at Best Buy Fort Worth South were friendly, helpful and, dare I say it, knowledgeable. They immediately identified the ideal product for my needs, a Canon Pixma iP100, small and portable and with good connectivity options. Just one small hitch, the helpful young sales assistant didn’t think that they carried it.

Not to worry, he proceeded to pull out his iPhone 4 to see what stores did – none of this going to a terminal on the other side of the store nonsense. “Oh”, he exclaimed, “we do have it”.

So here I am, heading south on I-35, my purchases in the trunk realising that technology, really can make people’s lives better, easier, fairer more interesting or fun.

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