Just because St. Nicholas is hundred of years old doesn’t mean the old guy isn’t up on the latest technology.
Back in 1955, a Sears promotion in Colorado Springs, Colo., allowing children to call Santa up directly, accidently misprinted the number, redirecting calls to the Continental Air Defense Command Center, or CONAD, the main base of Cold War nuke tracking that has since become North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD.
For the past several years, NORAD has teamed up with Google to track Santa’s progress on a website.
This year, however, the two have separated and are hosting separate Santa trackers.
NORAD has opted to go with Bing this year, offering tracking on 2D maps and a 3D globe, at http://www.noradsanta.org.
Google has it’s own tracking system available at http://www.google.com/santatracker.
Though Google will not be using the U.S. government’s top radar equipment, they say they’re tracking is still possible “with a little help from Santa’s elves.”
On Christmas Eve, they will “be proudly showcasing a preview of Santa’s dashboard — the technology that powers his sleigh during his around-the-world journey.
“We’ve received this special preview from one of Santa’s many developer elves, who are hard at work in the North Pole helping Santa prepare for his big day,” the site says. “Santa’s dashboard — featuring the latest and greatest in Google Maps technology and sleigh engineering — will allow you to follow his progress around the world, and also learn a little about some of his stops along the way.”
The site also allows visitors to explore Santa’s village, play some games and even request a special call from Santa, after you tell Santa who to call and some information about the call’s intended recipient.
To help with his increasingly daunting task, of delivering presents to everyone everywhere, Santa received some help earlier this month from the users of popular social network Reddit, in their 4th annual Secret Santa gift exchange.
More than 58,000 Reddit users from 126 countries sent gifts to each other in this record-breaking event, spending over $2 million.
Gifts ranged from a new laptop to 22 lbs. of Idaho potatoes. In accordance with Santa’s wishes, a few people got coal.
With all this cyber-interconnectedness, it seems holiday cheer and goodwill toward men is able to travel as far and as fast as Santa’s sleigh.
(Zach White is a reporter for the Havre Daily News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)