Emerging Gift-Giving Technology




It has arrived. I’m referring to the Apple Store gift card that was arranged rather quickly days before Russ’ birthday. Looking back at it, I’m pretty amazed that a group of friends scattered throughout the world with a common love of mobile technology brought together by a guy named Russ was able to pull it off.

To tell you the truth it would not have been possible without the use of traditional and non-traditional technology:

  • IRC: Much of the organization took place using IRC in #mobitopia and various backchannels and private messages. IRC was probably the most-used technology in getting things organized. Because we’re a bunch of mobile geeks, much of the IRCing was done on the run using WirelessIRC.
  • Wiki: Once we realized that more than a few people were going to be involed, I put up a wiki page on one of my secondary or tertiary wikis. The wiki page was called DonTTellRuss. This was crucial in keeping track of who had pledged, who had confirmed, and who had paid, as well as keeping general information about the status of the project.
  • Email: While email is a little old skool, it did play a role in bringing everyone together once the ad-hoc organization was complete. Email is still “old reliable” even though it’s not as timely or reliable as it used to be.
  • Transcontinental and Transatlantic SMS: International SMS messaging is one of those things that I’m glad “just works” most of the time. SMS messages were especially useful in keeping in touch with TomH who’s not an IRC regular. Costs associated with this were negligable: 15 cents or so for a SMS to the UK.
  • Paypal: Though I have misigivngs about PayPal and some of their draconian practices, it’s just the only way to move a little bit of cash worldwide in an instant. We would not have been able to pull this off if we were not able to pool money from Germany, the UK, Sweden, and America together in a timely manner. I love their emails: “You’ve got Cash!”
  • Jabber/Instant Messaging: This was especially useful in keeping everyone in touch during organization when we were at work and couldn’t be on IRC. Some of us used a Jabber gateway to Yahoo! and IRC. I used Gaim on windows to keep in touch wtih Martin via Yahoo! and others via AIM.
  • Next Day Shipping: We take it for granted, but getting everything organized around the world in a matter of days would not have been possible if we were not able to pick up a gift card in Virginia on Wednesday and have it arrive in San Francisco on Thursday. The original plan was to send it US Postal next day (so it could have been shoved in Russ’ mailbox), but we got a few inches of snow in DC and traffic was so bad that if I had waited to get to a post office in Maryland it would have been closed. It went FedEx and unfortunately arrived while Russ was at work. No worries though, because he got it Friday before the crucial Mac min purchase.
  • Voice on Mobiles: Believe it or not we do occasionally use our mobile phones to make voice calls. This was particularly useful in keeping in touch with Erik while he and I were on the road.

Thanks again to everyone who participated. I’m glad that I was able to help facilitate the efforts of a bunch of mobile geeks in getting the guy that brought us together a birthday present.


36 responses to “Emerging Gift-Giving Technology”

  1. Martin Little Avatar

    Matt, thanks for taking the time to do the running on this one! We all appreciate that. 🙂

  2. www.gadgetguy.de - The GadgetGuy Avatar
    Happy Birthday Russell Beattie!
    Best wishes from me as well, hope you enjoy your dinner!

    How does it feel to be 40…?

    UPDATE 2005-01-22: No more secrets, here’s the present the Mobitopians got Russ. Matt has the details about the amazing high-techness of the gift giving proce…

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