Technology – It Can Work Against You For Worse

How much do you rely on technology today to get through your day?  Do you have an alarm clock?  Odds are it is digital, and it is programmable to wake you up at a certain time of day.

Now alarm clocks are getting sophisticated.  Take mine for example: It has a built in time synchronization in it where it can check the satellite in space and automatically adjust the clock time per my time zone. What is real cool is that if you unplug it, and then plug it back in it will automatically reconfigure itself, and it will even adjust itself for daylight savings time!  Even better, no need for 9Volt batteries to keep track of the time.

So where am I going with this?  As great as technology can be at times, it can work against you in times when you don’t realize.  This past week on Monday, I got up at 7am.  I pressed the snooze button a few times, and then finally got up and left for work at what I had believed was 8am according to my clock.

As I was about to leave, I noticed the clock on my stove said 8:50am. Wait, that’s weird. My bedroom clock said it was 7:50am.  It’s not daylight savings time yet, is it?  No, it could not have been because that is still at least a week away.

I checked my cell phone which I knew always had the correct time, and it showed 8:50am as well! Holy crap, I’m late for work!  Lucky for me, I live about 4 miles from work and I didn’t miss anything urgent within that hour away.

What happened to my clock?  Did it turn evil on me?  The night before when I went to bed it worked fine.  All I know right now is somehow it had self adjusted itself one hour behind and it was not even DST yet.

Yet, what would have happened if I had an important meeting at 8am?  If the clock had screwed me over on that day, then I’d look really bad.

Now I know this is a specific scenario, but below is a true story I had remembered reading about in a newspaper on where technology is going against the user.

Almost everyone has a cell phone, right?  You store all your contacts and other important information in there, right?  You would never ever expect to lose it because the cell phone is part of you, but guess what?  People lose cell phones all the time whether it is left behind on the plane, back set of a taxi car, or maybe just pure stolen.

Whatever the case maybe, I read a newspaper article about a woman who had lost her purse (and in it was the cellphone).  Did she leave it at the restaurant?  Taxi cab?  Library?  Bottom line was someone had it and she didn’t.  She called her husband from a pay phone to let him know she lost her belongings, but it was too late. Her family’s life just got turned upside down and I will tell you why.

Apparently on her cell phone, there was a contact named “Husband cell” or something similar to that effect.  The person who had swiped the cell phone was standing in front of an ATM, and deciding it might be worth a shot, sent a text message to the husband’s cell phone as below:

“Hey, I totally forgot the PIN number on our debit card.  Can you tell me what it is?

The husband who just thought it was the wife having a brain fart texted back with the PIN number.  The accomplice then proceeded to wipe out the entire debit account, which I believed was several thousand dollars.

Finally, the wife got in contact with the  husband to let him know that the cell phone was gone. The husband was surprised, as he said he just texted her from his cell phone to hers, and then that is when it dawned upon them that a person just robbed their debit account.

I forget what the conclusion was and if the family got protected by Visa, but the bottom line is something as simple as a cell phone (and poor security practices) can have technology work against you.

Have you ever lost anything important?  I sure did. In the summer of 2006, I was living by myself doing this Internship at Decatur, IL and I was living on the outskirts of downtown.

I lived in a three floor apartment, and I lived on the bottom floor. My living room is at ground level, so if the blinds are open, theoretically people can walk by and peek in to see what is inside the apartment.

Every Wednesday I went out around 6pm to go play softball with the coworkers.  I want to say that my next door neighbor across the hallway is not the most sophisticated neighbor.  There was a white guy with his girlfriend, and they were always arguing about whatever. The guy looked like a redneck, had tatoos, and clearly did not have a job.

Anyway, one day after I had came home from my softball game, I had noticed something familiar on the steps to the apartment in the parking lot.  Was that my black and white rug?

I picked it up, and god damn it was! I went downstairs almost tip toeing because I had an idea in the back of my mind as to what happened, but I hope to God it wasn’t true.

Ah crap! The lock to my back door was broken as the wood had splintered where the deadbolt goes into the door frame.  I cautiously walked in, getting ready to pump up the adrenaline 110% in case I found anyone in there.  Luckily, there was no one.  However, I noticed right away something was gone.

“Boys and their toys” as the old saying goes.  Well, my toys was my electronics, and the robbers ganked my PC, my CRT monitor (I was surprised they took this), my external hard drive, digital camera, speakers, and my DVD player. They were ever so kind to leave behind a brand new un-opened pack of 50 DVD+Rs and my old 13 inch CRT.

I just sat there and wanted to cry.  What really hit home even further was I had left my check book on the kitchen counter that morning, and of course it was gone.  I called the police, got everything written up, and had the landlord send out the repair guy to fix up my door.

You could say from that day onward I really hated my neighborhood, and the town I lived in.  On the flip side (surprisingly), it had forced me to execute and live better computer and technology practices.

The part that sucked the most was that I had bought a new video card 2 weeks previously and didn’t really have a chance to play with it!

Lucky for me, I didn’t have any personal information on my computer so no worries about identity theft, but I sure did a background check for months just to make sure nothing was signed out in my name.  It sure was scary times!

So how about you?  Ever got technology to work against you? Let’s hear about it!

Posted on October 28, 2009, in Life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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