Thursday, November 13, 2008

I have a new toy


Help me. I can't stop.

Here's how it started. A customer called to place an order the other day. He had just moved and gave me his new address. But then a few hours later, he called back in a panic because he switched up the house numbers on his new place. So I processed the order, packed it up and was getting it ready to send. I use the Post Office web site and pay for postage online. It's the best thing that's ever happened to me. I just type in the address info, and it creates a super official postage label with tracking bar code and all, which I print on my own printer. So I just affix the label and can drop off the whole bunch of them at the post office at once. No waiting in line, it's already paid for. It's a breeze, and cheaper, and gives me free tracking. I swear, it's a miracle.

But I digress. I typed in this man's new address and got an error message. If it's not a valid address, it won't let me do the label. Another super cool bonus. I'll never have to worry about a returned package because I wrote the numbers wrong, or the customer made a mistake when typing in the online order . . . it's all good. So I google mapped the two different house numbers that he gave me to see which one was an actual address. Just to see if I could make sense of it, before having to bother him again.

Well, you all probably know this, but it was new to me. Google maps now has street views of addresses. I guess it's been in the works for awhile, and it's very controversial, and there is litigation pending, blah, blah. But they currently have pictures, from the curb, of addresses from all over the US. It appears to be only cities, nothing in smaller or more rural areas. I saw his house, and then typed in my own and got a sweet picture of my own house from the summer when it was sunny and gorgeous. And then typed in my sister, and my mom and . . . here's where it gets dicey.

It makes me a little skeevy even admitting it. But I typed in friend's addresses to see their houses, and a customer or two, and more friends in New York, because I love NY street scenes. It's totally wrong and voyeuristic. But I know these people and have seen their houses before. But of course the privacy issue is huge. I mean nobody wants the whole world to see where they live. Um, but it's kinda cool too.

It makes perfect sense for businesses, way more than personal homes. If you're looking for a new restaurant, or need to find a business or office, it's really helpful to see a picture of the outside of the place as well as get directions from Google maps. And people's homes crosses the line. Yes. So make me stop. Besides, I don't have time. I need to head out to set up the giant Best of the Northwest extravaganza today. So I am putting down the mouse and leaving my computer screen. Now. I swear.

The next few days will be a blur of super long days selling soap at Seattle Center. My free passes are gone, but I have about a dozen postcards which give you 50% off the ticket for you and a friend. That's a buy one, get one free, type deal. Call me.