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Technology Addiction? or is it incomprehension?

19 May

Not so long ago I made a purchase at one of the local stores. As I was looking at the teller’s machine for the card insertion point, so that it could read the “chip” on my card, the attendant serving me, a young girl perhaps in her late teens, exclaimed….” Oh you don’t need to do that, you have one of the new cards,… here, just tap the card”…In my stupor trying to understand what she had just said I looked at her. She just as quickly grabbed my card and “tapped” it to the screen. Immediately the machine responded with its whirring sound and spit out the paper receipt which indicated that the sale was now complete.
As she looked at me with a smirk on her face, no doubt because of my own dumb looking expression trying to grasp what had just happened, I exclaimed ….. “but I did not enter my code to accept the purchase”. With a continued girlish giggle she exclaimed with no more of a what to do than…”oh you don’t have to, your card has the tap feature. See this little icon in the corner,” a small transmit signal strength display, “that means you can just tap the card.”
She continued to look at me with that youthful grin, no doubt proud of herself that she had once more educated some old ignorant geezer of the new way of shopping. Of which she appeared to be much more cognizant and comfortable of the process than I am.
Well, in my defense, I would not exactly call myself an “old ignorant geezer” but I am for sure old enough to be her grandfather. I grabbed my purchase and left the counter, mind wheeling and wondering about this new card feature.
The transaction certainly was a new one on me. I had not heard of the new card characteristic now making its way into the market place. I suppose in that sense I was technologically ignorant. Now I do travel a lot globally, and often see banking card features overseas before I see them here in North America. This tap feature however was a new one on me, but not one that I would quickly accept at face value. This merited further investigation for sure. I set out to discover just exactly what this “TAP” feature is. I asked various vendors as well as my banking establishment. As they all explained to me that the new cards now transmit a signal that the vendors can read and seamlessly complete the purchase transaction. No numbers to forget. Naturally,I exclaimed that if it can do this without my entering any secret pin number, then “ANYBODY” with my card can make their own transaction, using my card, and this could happen without my ever knowing it.
I must be the stupid one because both vendors and banking tellers quickly and without any alarm iterated that …. “of course that could happen but the bank limits the amount to some small pre-determine value that you determine. As well some merchants reduce that amount, even more”… As well the banking tellers always iterated that if you should lose your card the need to alert the bank “AS SOON” as you are aware that your card is missing. Doing further research on the web I see much text from the financial institution repeating that the burden is on me to guard my card AND alert the bank quickly, blah blah….the legalese jargon is too long to point everything here but makes for an interesting read on how they develop slumped shoulders.
Well I don’t know about getting with the times, but I think this is inherently wrong. For sure it has a certain degree of speed and convenience, which the marketing departments are quick to outline for you. They are however much slower to indicate the potential liabilities that it also gives the thieves of this world Cart Blanche to shadow you.
Now I agree that I am not technologically the most savvy and I know that out there, are hackers, or just plain seedy people which are way more advanced than I am, and FAR less scrupulous than myself. Let’s look briefly at these transmitting cards for a moment. If I can buy online an attachment for my phone which lets me scan credit cards, then I am sure that somewhere is also available a tap reader, whether on open market or the seedy alleys. What is the transmit distance of these cards? Likely not far, but it does not matter, I am sure that the seedy engineers of this world can create signal enhancers to increase whatever signal emitted. Once upon a time a pick pocket had to physically touch you to extract $10 or $20 dollars from my pocket. Now he just needs to scan me. Once he has my code and he is smart he will not empty my account. Taking a random few dollars here from various people could render someone a good wages,….TAX free. How long before any of us ever notice that a ten dollar coffee charge was not done by ourselves. Does anyone EVER check, absolutely every charge printed on their bank account? Carrying this thought a bit further if one can find a card reader why not a card creator. My card certainly was created by a machine. Now potentially two of my cards “could” exist. Which vendor would ever raise a suspicious eyebrow because a transaction did not go through? After all it’s for such a small amount, as stated earlier. Any thief could easily and believably shrug off the inconvenience and just pull out a different card or pay cash, since the tap card will equally work at the ATM. When I spoke to one of my banking person I expressed that this feature HAS TO BE youth driven. I was told then that no older people wanted the new cards too. Perhaps, but I am sure older people are the minority. I for one cannot believe that we are in such a rush that we cannot spend an extra thirty seconds max, to enter a four digit code.
I believe that our younger to middle aged people are so technology driven that they are blind to the potential hazards. I also believe that the banks are showing a certain degree of irresponsibility in providing it just because people want it. Is the market such that the fear of “ if we don’t provide it, someone else will and we lose all those transactions revenue.”
I often thought of trying to do the math on how many ATM transaction any bank does in the run of a day. At one to three dollars a pop, for bank visiting users I am sure it would scare most people, more automation and less people.
No, I am sorry, but for me, I have requested the feature to be TURNED OFF at my banking institution. I will depend a bit longer on my stupid four digit code, and follow the bank’s instruction: “always guard and protect your pin”.
What if I forget my pin you say? Well I guess I will do without my coffee today and visit my nearest branch to get my numbers or a NEW one re-initiated. At least if I “drop” my card on the floor, nobody can pick it up and buy their coffee from MY pocket, much less slowly and unexpectedly bleed me for months or possibly years when I get a new card.

Experience keeps a dear school, yet fools will learn in no other.
Benjamin Franklin

It was a Blast

3 Dec

My youngest son has been working as an audio engineer for a little over a year now. Recently a studio hired him to be the audio engineer for a product advertisement for a major retail store head quartered in Toronto Ontario Canada. In the hiring process, it seems that the producers were a bit shy on real life people to film while using their new tool line.
They asked my son if anyone around him would mind trying out the tools and willing to be filmed doing it. Of course, there would be some required questions pertaining to the tools themselves while speaking on camera. As my sons and I are constantly renovating, and using tools are not really in short supply, he tentatively volunteered me to be one of their candidates.
Of course talking at length has never been an issue for me so when my son approached me, I was only too glad to oblige. The fact that it was a good paying job for him only made it that much more satisfying. The opportunity to work with him professionally in his new career was equally most satisfying.
The filming day started around ten am with my outlining for the producers, the jobs that I had lined up, which could best demonstrate their tools. The camera and audio equipment was set up, and ready to roll. My son outfitted me with an additional body microphone, not that I have a soft voice by any means.
They directed me from which angle they would be filming and what they expected me to do. I executed each task as needed. A question period then followed to describe my opinions for the tool’s performance. With what I thought was only a few retakes, to make sure they had enough footage and dialog to cut and splice as needed later, we moved on to the next task.
By five o’clock, we completed as many task as possible and all the equipment was broken down in the unmistakable fashion of the movie industry, quickly. Everybody appeared pleased with my performance but you know show biz……”Oh we loved you” ……”you did great” …. “Of course we will call you later” ……only never to be heard from again. Ha ha ha
Well no matter. I hope that they do call but frankly, I won’t wait by the phone or lose sleep over it. Certainly I won’t be quitting my day job just yet…..ha ha ha, Never mind starting to look for an agent, even funnier.
All and all it was a memorable day, which I hope can be repeated again some time. Oh, they did eventually call, well in today’s format, it was an email. It wasn’t to offer me a contract, tears running down my cheeks, but to give me the link where I could view my performance.
Hit the play button and judge for yourself how I did.

Help Please

24 Oct

Very often in our everyday work life we require assistance from others. Quite often we assume that what we are doing is common knowledge to all and further we assume that what we personally know others know as well.
I’m here to say that most often, none of this is true. What we know we have gain through training and personal experience. Our views and approach to problem solving are not necessarily that of everyone else’s.
As a result when we ask for help and especially if the request comes not as a face to face communication but perhaps through a telephone, and certainly in today’s scenario through emails, the required information takes on a whole different aspect. Our semantics take on a much higher degree of importance.
For one thing we must paint a picture to whomever we are communicating with of the situation. We must also make them aware of any urgency and why. Then if this person is perhaps unfamiliar to us, without giving them our full resume, make them aware of what are strengths are or perhaps what we might understand or even where we fail to comprehend.
Exposing these things up front may allow a much more focus help. Pertinent elements can be addressed first and with a higher degree of competence. Their probing questions can be more poignant to our problem, or where to go for better support.
Good communications will never go out of style. Read my latest article https://dl.dropbox.com/u/19327951/How%20Can%20I%20Help.pdf

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Forum of One

Just a place to express my opinions or views

WPShout

Just a place to express my opinions or views

JG-Audio

Company Portfolio

Young Feller Fridays

" New Freestyle or Remix Every Week "

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Forum of One

Just a place to express my opinions or views

WPShout

Just a place to express my opinions or views

JG-Audio

Company Portfolio

Young Feller Fridays

" New Freestyle or Remix Every Week "

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

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