Are we in the 21st century yet?

30 Nov 2008

I went to the city of Västerås today. It's a one hour train ride from Stockholm. The railroad company has received a lot of criticism for their incomprehensible pricing scheme, but apparently that has changed. As far as I can remember it from the last time I used it, the online booking system has been improved as well. But the coolest thing is that it's possible to order and pay for the ticket on the web site and receive the ticket as a text message to your phone. On the train I just showed the message to the ticket-collector. He used a device with a small camera, like the one on mobile phones, to scan the display of my phone. It took a few attempts for the OCR to get it, but hey, this really felt like science fiction. 10 years ago it would have been. It felt a bit like we have finally arrived in the 21st century.

But when I came to Västerås and tried to use Google Maps Mobile with lousy GPRS coverage to find my way in the chilly wet semi-suburban streets, I felt like I was back in the 1990s.

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