S.O.S. for Help

Just the other day, a close family member asked me to help issue an electronic credit card for online transactions.  He’d read up on the subject and figured it’s less risky to create a virtual card than to use his existing Gold card.  Now, he is not a techie but he does surf the web and check his email regularly.  Not wanting to ask for help without making an effort, he called up Citibank to find out how it’s done and was told to go to their website and follow some steps.  Few minutes later, a Java error of some sort made him reach for the phone and call me for help – after all, I am the “geek” in the family.

So I tell him, “No problem. I will take care of it.”  And when I do, I discover that while my browser has the latest Java plugin, I need an HPin to login to the Citibank website.  How do you get an HPin?  You need an ATM Pin for that.  And how you get an ATM Pin issued for your credit card?  You need to call the bank, authorise yourself and request for an APin.  So there you have it.  You can do almost any thing you need to do from the website.  Almost.

Ever so often, I find myself facing “bugs” of this sort … situations where Technology needn’t have been so unfriendly, so unmanageable, so unweildy.  But it is.  And it’s not the fault of the human being at the other end of the line.  It’s the technology, stupid.

Martin Tobias writes in an essay on what he wants from the next generation Web :

1. Over the last five to seven years has technology increased or decreased your personal productivity?
2. Increased or decreased your overall quality of life?
3. Strengthened or weakened your interpersonal and family relationships?

His answers :

1. decreased, 2. increased, 3. weakened.

He goes on to propose a wish list that would be any one’s envy :

So what do I hope for from Web 2.0? What do I want to invest in? Technology that actually reduces the technology footprint in my life. Applications that result in a net increase in productivity. And most importantly, technology that enables me to strengthen interpersonal and family relationships.

Sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it?  But here’s hoping we realize this dream soon…  Before you and I find ourselves on the wrong side of youth, reaching out to the neighbourhood techie, calling for help…

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.