Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Back When I was Your Age...

Yesterday I went to get Biometrics (aka fingerprints) as part of a form I filled out for the Immigration folks. I haven't been at the US Immigration office in years, so I was surprised at how different it was. Way back when, a vist to the House that Bureacracy Built would entail a 6-8 hour wait. Worse yet, becase it was first-come, first-served with a daily cap of how many people can enter its hallowed halls, people would line up at 4am (4 hours before the doors opened at 8am) and secure a spot early enuf in the line that they fall within the daily limit. The lights were off, there were no restrooms, and it was miserable.

But no more! I was all prepared with three novels, a thermous full of coffee, snacks, a blanket, and an empty bottle emptying things, but I didn't need any of it! I just waltzed in at my appointed time, filled out some forms, got fingerprinted, then I was on my way. Total time elapsed: 12 minutes. And the fingerprinting machine was just plain grand. No more sticking your fingers in that inky sponge and tasting ink on your french fries for the next 48 hrs. Today, it was a purpose-built finger scanner that took a digitized photo and immediately loaded it in my profile. Instantly, this was merged in the backend to the Mother of All Databases and crossindexed with my finacial info, police records, and education history. Amazing stuff. Even more amazing, as I finished scanning my left index finger, the printer attached to the scanner churned out a coupon of Dannon's yogurt (what I had for breakfast), and printed out "2nd floor, 3pm. " which was the time of my next meeting. Truely Amazing.

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