Technology: Friend or Foe?

I’ve had mixed experiences with technology today, and for a change, none of it is work-related.

Shir Hadash held a blood drive this morning, and I’d signed up to donate. But when they signed me in, the computer printed “Not Eligible” on the form — this alarmed me, since I couldn’t think of any reason I wouldn’t be eligible to donate, unless they’d found something bad in my blood from a previous donation. So the head nurse called back to the home base, where they discovered that I’d been deferred last time because I’d taken antibiotics within 72 hours of trying to donate, and someone had coded my record to indicate that I was taking them on a regular basis and was unable to donate because of that. Fortunately, that’s not the case — but no one was available at the blood bank who could update the records, and so they couldn’t take my blood. *sigh* I had a doughnut anyway.

We’re also waiting for my brother-in-law and his wife to arrive from Denver, where the weather is apparently dreadful. I used United’s “Flight Paging” service to have updates on their progress sent to my cellphone, and it’s worked wonderfully well — I got a page two hours before their scheduled arrival, then another one twenty minutes later telling me that they’d be an hour late, and another one just a few minutes ago telling me that the flight would be over two hours late. Pete also called from the plane to tell me that, while it pushed back from the gate almost on time, they were waiting for de-icing, with no estimated actual takeoff time. So thanks to modern technology, I’m sitting comfortably at home instead of paying $4/hour in parking fees to wait at SFO.