Thursday, December 27, 2012

Technology, Pins, Usernames, Passwords and When Did I Get So Old?

I'm almost ready to throw in the towel. This is exhausting. I have expressed my thoughts about technology innumerable times.  I've attempted to keep up with the latest and I've been hanging on by a thread. My brain is currently on overload. I think life would be much less stressful if I just quit trying.

I know of people in their forties and fifties who have given up. They don't own a computer and some don't even bother with cell phones. I've seen older people at banks trying to use interac and being taught by bank personnel. Technology comes easily and seems commonplace to the young, as it once did for us. As everything becomes more complex, it is increasingly challenging to keep up. I'm currently being challenged.

From what I can see, my new, larger cell phone performs the tasks of my old one, only less efficiently. The "apps" have not yet endeared themselves to me. I have not had a sudden urge to google, look up my hotmail, investigate facebook, do my banking, or watch a movie on a teeny tiny screen. Nor do I feel compelled to use this device at church, in a restaurant, while visiting friends or in the WC. On a recent car trip, I fiddled with the phone until I located traffic reports. By then, hubby had already heard them on the radio.

Everything nowadays needs to be done online. Not that I have a problem with using a computer, but on the rare occasion when you need an actual person, it's impossible to speak with one. Example, I recently discovered that there are government offices which have been closed except for the one employee hired to sit at a desk in front of an elevator and inform people that the office is closed. "Do it online".

I also found out that there's some magical mystery way of emailing money. Note to self...go to the bank, find a person (I know for a fact they still have some) and learn out about this. How does one email money? How does aforementioned emailed money know into which account to deposit itself ? Is this anything like the emails I get from countries far abroad saying that I have received a gift of a million dollars? Another senior mystery. I'll report back.

Every time I turn around, it's necessary to have a new pin, username or password. Get a cell phone, need a password. Try to retrieve voicemail, need a password. Get an email account or try to register for anything online, need a username and password. Get a satellite dish, need a password. Open a bank account, need a pin number. Three bank accounts? Don't even get me started. What about those credit cards that get mailed along with a secret number in a separate envelope? Don't write it down. It's not safe. Shred it, or better still, eat this paper after memorizing your four digit code. Oh, by the way, you can change the code anytime you another pin. Do not use, 1234. Do not use your birth or other significant date and definitely, do not use your telephone number! Experts warn that you shouldn't use the same pin for all your accounts and credit cards. Your identity could get stolen along with your many dollars. Most likely the ones that have been sent in your email.

"It's no problem retrieving passwords either is it?" I ask sarcastically

It's not as simple anymore as "what was your mother's maiden name?" You have the option of making up your own question, or responding to one of a myriad of potential offerings designed to keep potential crooks baffled. How would a thief ever know what your first car was? I don't even know what my first car was...a question clearly designed by the male of the species for the male of the species. My first school? Well, let's see. Should I select the first one I attended? The first one I attended in Toronto? The first one in which I taught? It doesn't matter. No matter which one I pick, it'll be the wrong one when it comes time to retrieve my password. What about ridiculous choices of questions like "What's your pet's name?" Yeah, right. Like that's top secret information. And of course, it is always recommended that you combine upper and lower case and at least one numeral. Good luck with that.

I never thought I'd be the kind of person who would reminisce about "the good old days". There's a lot to be said for technology. I admit, however, that I do sometimes long for a time when one gadget performed one function, when there were no passwords, usernames or pin numbers and when people were not at the beck and call of their electronic devices. Life was simpler then.

1 comment:

  1. Dear, dear friend, well written, but sadly you've only scratched the surface. There's software upgrades we may or may not know of or devices that are supposed to interconnect, but end up disabling one or all. My personal favorite is when the wireless network malfunctions and I need to park at McDonalds to get my email.