Technology Without Borders

As I sit down on the 125 bus heading towards Rondizzoni metro station, it hit me how amazing this globalized tech world has become. I’m not sure when it happened. Maybe it happened 2 months ago when I had packed up and came down to Santiago. Maybe.

I spend fewer hours a day in front of a computer, never even bothered connecting a cellphone, and have been living fine without my Apple TV. Yet, I’m deeply plugged in, perhaps in part due to fewer connections in my day to day life than I am used to.

This gives me a deeper reliance on being more creative with my technology and a tremendous appreciation for what is nearly invisible and mundane.

Here’s why this thought crossed my mind at this specific point in time, on a sweltering Satiango bus.

A dear friend of mine introduced me to Dave via a group chat on Facebook. He had just successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign, and raised well over $12,000 to make a very unique sauce with Aji Rojo Secco (dried red pepper). He needed it to come from Chile. A quick Skype call later, and he’d introduced me to his project and explained what he was looking for.

That same day, I went through La Vega (an enormous market), browsing for an hour or so before finding what he was looking for. I get the stall keeper’s phone number, snap a couple shots of the aji on my iPhone, send them across via Gmail, along with the contact details (sigh, the details were a picture of scrawl on a piece of paper) over to Dave. From Montreal, after talking to my contact, we decide to go with another supplier.

That brings me to today.

I wake up, sipping on my Guatamalen coffee, invite Dave to a Google Hangout, which is automatically being recorded to Youtube. I grab my Canon 60D, my GoPro and my girlfriend to help. I stop at a Banco de Chile where I withdraw money using my Royal Bank of Canada card – money that was sent to me less than 30 minutes earlier by a link in an email via an Interac e-Transfer.

Google maps gets us close, but a good old human interaction gets us closer. A guard with an old fashioned walkie talkie gets us the rest of the way.

In my broken Spanish and with patience, the transport that was arranged from Montreal, goes off with only the smallest hitch and the product heads out to the airport. On to Montreal, where the 50kg of Aji Rojo Seco will be turned into the sauce to end all sauces.

While I sit there on the bus, I use the GoPro app (using Bluetooth and wifi) to review the footage (including the footage of a 5 year old who had never heard of Canada or the US, yet wearing a Spiderman tee).

Then, it really just hits me. 10 years ago this was not a quick afternoon’s worth of work.

About 7 years ago, I did a similar trip to South America, only that time I was just discovering Facebook and Gmail. The range of high quality platforms available to us for free or thereabouts, were unstable and useless at best. These days, I call the US and Canada for free, video chat works pretty well, online banking, apps, cloud services, torrents, even Netflix, WhatsApp, Text+ (I get a number for free?!), offline navigation, productivity tools (Wave, Basecamp, Trello) and of course being able to watch Habs hockey is an added bonus.

It’s amazing. It’s even more amazing to imagine what the next 7-10 years look like.

As I head down to Patagonia, one thing that I’m looking forward to not having to have so many different machines.

They are very inconvenient to throw into a backpack.

Footnote: The Aji Rojo Secco are being held up in Canadian customs at the moment. If anyone has any connections at the border…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *