I do a lot of "day in the life" articles that usually focus on a particular new device and covers how that device aids me in a typical day. This article is not like that so bear with me for a little while. Yesterday was not a typical day for me but mobile technology played a distinct role so I thought I should chronicle it. The day started out as any other, I rose early and processed my email on the Fujitsu P1610 like I do every morning. I then checked my RSS feeds for any newsworthy items to pass along on jkOnTheRun and tagged items of interest in Onfolio so I could return to later.
I headed out for my first meeting of the day across town after firmly attaching the TomTom One navigator to my windshield with my route all planned. I hit heavy traffic not once but twice and it was making me late for the first meeting so I called my contact at the host company using the XV6700 phone. I dialed him using Voice Command 1.6 which provided hands-free dialing, something that I consider essential while driving. I continued on my route and as I approached the exit ramp at 65 mph my right front tire blew. It was a hairy few moments as I fought for control of the Mustang which I thankfully was able to regain and brought the beast down to a safe speed. Unfortunately for me, this was a newly constructed exit ramp that is elevated and roughly a quarter mile of a single lane. There was no place for me to safely stop to change the tire so I had no choice but to limp all the way around and down the ramp to get to the relative safety of the feeder road at the end of the ramp.
I pulled as far over as I dared that would allow me room enough to change the tire on the right side and that’s when the comedy of errors began. I pulled the temporary spare tire (I hate those) from the trunk of the car and quickly realized that part of the jack assembly was missing. I’ve only had the car for a couple of months and I had looked at the spare tire and saw the jack sticking out from under the tire so I assumed (yeah, I know) that the entire jack was there. Stupid me. So now I’m on a busy access road with a now shredded tire to change with no working jack. Mobile technology to the rescue.
I pulled out my phone and hit the SEND button twice and redialed the guy who is now waiting in vain for me to show up. His office is just a few blocks from my present location so I quickly explained to him my predicament and asked if he could bring me his jack to change the tire. He’s a real life-saver and said he’d be right there. I’ve never been so happy to see anyone as I was to see him pull in behind me on the feeder road.
He pulls the jack out of his truck and that’s when the fun part began. My Mustang GT sits very low to the ground and now sat even lower thanks to the flat tire that has begun to come off the rim. His jack was designed to fit his truck which obviously sits much higher than the Mustang and it wouldn’t fit safely under the frame of my car. We messed around with it for a full five minutes but that jack just wasn’t going to fit. I had an idea and had him get under the car with the jack while I did my best to life the right front of the car to see if we could get enough clearance so he could slide the jack under the frame in the proper location. It took us a few tries (and a pulled shoulder muscle) but lo and behold he was finally able to slide (and force) the jack under the frame. Yes! A few minutes later and I had the tire changed and was ready to go get a new tire. I thanked Pat profusely and told him I’d reschedule our meeting for later in the week so I could get my car dealt with so I could continue with my afternoon of scheduled meetings.
The temporary spare tire was looking pretty low too so I didn’t want to drive very far nor very long so I GOOGL texted to ask for the nearest Starbucks. The good folks at Google sent me back a couple of choices which showed the nearest location to be on the next street, maybe a block away. It was in a Barnes & Noble and a T-Mobile hotspot to boot so I pulled in, got my coffee, and settled in for some WiFi goodness. I got online immediately and started searching for tire stores in the immediate vicinity and found one that was only 1.27 miles away. I finished my coffee while processing email and when I was ready to roll I plugged the address of the tire store into the TomTom and headed over.
I should point out that the four tires on the Mustang were fairly worn although not excessively so but I figured this was the perfect time to get them all replaced at once for safety. I also wanted them to align the car as I was pretty sure that the blowout of the tire and riding the rim for a good distance probably knocked it out of whack. It was going to be at least an hour as they were very busy so instead of sitting in the waiting room I walked down the street for some lunch. I ordered my lunch and pulled out the P1610 and started processing email. It was an Asian restaurant and of coures my meal appeared just minutes after ordering so I set the Tablet down and dove into my food. When I was done I finished my email processing and decided to head over to the tire store to check on their progress. I should point out that all of this mobile connectivity was provided by my Verizon EV-DO service and possible because of the PC Card slot on the P1610, the single most useful feature on the mini-Tablet, at least for me.
The car was not ready so I sat in the waiting room and got online again. I was able to answer a bunch of email, check RSS feeds, and connect to Big Oil Company’s Exchange Server via Outlook Web Access and process email from them. I sent a meeting request for later in the week, reserved a conference room for that meeting, and read a report I received from one of the contractors that I use. I made suggested changes using PDF Annotator and sent the revised report back for editing. Soon they called out my name in the store and I paid ($900, ouch!) and I left, just in time for my next meeting.
I arrived at the meeting just in time thanks to TomTom and even though I was covered in grease (no matter how hard I scrubbed it wouldn’t all come off) the meeting came off as planned. At one stage of the meeting I made the decision to forego one of the steps in the contract as this contractor was not getting good results trying to implement it in the processing flow. This particular step was not even needed for the given project objectives and I’m not sure why Big Oil Company put it into the contract in the first place so I gave the contractor official permission to skip this step. Since the contractor was contractually obligated to perform this step, as the appointed manager for this project I sent an official email right from the meeting (using EV-DO, of course) giving them permission to forego it. One less thing to worry about later, something that I find EV-DO connectivity lets me do regularly and has made a big difference in my work.
The meeting went a few hours and when it was done I got in my now sure-footed car, and headed home with TomTom giving me directions verbally. I ran into some unexpected traffic on the way due to an accident and I pulled off the main road and headed into a subdivision to get around it. TomTom (thanks Bonnie) instantly rerouted my trip, got me through the subdivision and back on the main road past the traffice obstruction. Once I got back to my home office I thought back on my day and realized that even though it was not a good day the mobile technology that I use helped me take a bad situation and make it fairly painless. Except for that $900.