AuthorTopic: Digital Technology Failures  (Read 1060 times)

Offline Eddie

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Digital Technology Failures
« on: November 07, 2014, 06:51:13 AM »
Yesterday, I tried for a couple of hours, off and on between patients, to buy a couple of theater tickets to a road show production of Dirty Dancing that's going to be at Bass Concert Hall next week over on the UT campus. I wanted to surprise my wife.

The website is the UT Performing Arts page, which probably gets tens of thousands of visitors daily, and it's the only portal to purchase tickets to a variety of shows at various university venues, other than calling by phone.

I've used it before successfully, and in fact I'm on the email list for early ticket sales. I get emails from them all the time, so I know I'm in their system. But when I tried to check out and pay, I got a password error.

"Forgot your password?"

 Well, er...maybe.

 The kind computer prompts the poor dumb human.

"Enter your email address and a temporary password will be sent to you."

I did this maybe ten times, and I'm still waiting. I'll  most likely call today and hopefully speak to a human at the Box Office. I also attempted to open a new account, but I got a friendly reminder from the kind computer that "This email is already in use."

I hope a human answers when I call. No guarantees on this, of course.

I still have a bank account at JPM Chase bank, although I periodically transfer all the money out of it into my new credit union account now. So I like to check the balance before I do that.

When I call the customer service number , I am prompted to enter my account number. When I do this, the kind recorded computer voice prompts me:

"No password exists for this account. Please press 1 to create a password for this account."

After going through a longish queue, the computer decides that it can't help me after all.

"Please contact a bank representative at your local branch to establish online access to your account."

If I'm lucky at this point I can punch in O and eventually speak to a human who...politely answers and...asks for my account number.

Sheesh!

These little hassles are a part of daily life now, and my guess is that we all endure such vagaries of outrageous fortune, but it's a little more serious when the matter is urgent, or difficult to resolve.

Like when you want information from the government.

For instance, I got one of those updates from the Social Security Administration that outlined my estimated future benefits. To my consternation, my SS payments for certain years were missing. Okay, I paid my taxes late..but I did pay them, and I have the proof.

So I send copies of my tax returns for those years and a letter of explanation. Fixed, right?

Wrong! One year later, a new update arrives. The corrected data....still missing.

I go to the Social Security Administration website. I am assured that if I set up an account, I can view my information online and not only that, I can get a precise estimate of my future benefits calculated, based on whatever year I choose to retire.

So I enter my information and click on the button, and wait.

And wait.

The page eventually times out, after hanging up for several minutes. I try again.

And again. And again. It never works.

So I forget about it and try back months later. The son-of-a-bitch does the EXACT same thing.

Did you know that you can create an account with the IRS now to check and see if your quarterly payments have been properly credited? For a self-employed person, that's nice information to be able to put your finger on.

So I create the account. It doesn't happen instantly. You enter your info and they send you a password....

By snail mail.

And then, after I wait for weeks, I finally get the online password, and log on to my account and find out how many quarterlies I made for the year and whether they've been credited. That's good, because I can't find one of the receipts for a cashier's check I know damn good and well I sent.

And the number of quarterlies I made appears to be....Zero! WTF???

Turns out the only quarterlies you can trace are ONLINE TRANSFERS! They don't enter data from checks you sent.

And so it goes.

People really ought to consider whether the switch to the digital information age has really been a boon...or a boondoggle. This technology has only been around for less than twenty years, and it has completely replaced the old way of doing things, which was slower, but fairly dependable. The way it works now works well a fair part of the time, but it isn't unusual for it not to work at all, in the best of times.

Consider how well it might, or might not work...in a future with less energy to run server farms, and less money to pay " IT professionals".

Now there's an oxymoron.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2014, 09:30:34 AM by Eddie »
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline WHD

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Re: Digital Technology Failures
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2014, 07:50:37 AM »
I wonder what's more inhumane, technology that replaces customer service; or getting paid $8-11/hr to answer the phone 27 hrs a week, because they won't hire full time; or full time work answering phones for a corporation?

WHD

Offline Eddie

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Re: Digital Technology Failures
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2014, 07:51:56 AM »
I edited my double post and all my typos on this post...and now, they're ALL BACK.

Hope you can read this.  :)
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Eddie

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Re: Digital Technology Failures
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2014, 07:54:01 AM »
Looks okay now. I'll cross my fingers and hope for the best.

WHD

I don't know the answer to that question. It sucks either way.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline WHD

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Re: Digital Technology Failures
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2014, 08:05:34 AM »
Looks okay now. I'll cross my fingers and hope for the best.

WHD

I don't know the answer to that question. It sucks either way.

I think the answer is, it isn't civilized to make such shitty work for people or computers to do. LOL.


Offline Surly1

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Re: Digital Technology Failures
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2014, 09:34:02 AM »
IN the same way that extraction industries externalize their costs by having them borne by the public, so are the costs of incompetence and inefficiency in the tech/digital sector. And apparently the government, as you illustrate. No longer are long wait times, customer failure to get problems resolved or abhorrence at the process the company's problem: with automated tellers, it's YOUR time that is getting burned. The collapse of customer service translates into just another hand in our pockets.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline JoeP

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Re: Digital Technology Failures
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2014, 03:47:56 PM »
I work in tech and know a lot about tech failures - especially if they are software related.  The company I work with is kinda successful and employs close to 14K folks.  Anyway, I thought a story might be appropriate.  A few years back, I was involved (in a secondary role) with a financial product that was really stinking it up. Fucking fires to put out everywhere you could look. I went to one meeting and the ONLY person that had the information necessary to proceed with the meeting could not make it - he was putting out a fire. Twenty folks with six digit salaries in a big conference room left to jack off. I thought to myself...we have over 15 financial products out there, this one is gonna bite the dust.

Well it did not work out that way...I think this is because one of the customers was a huge buyer of our products overall (in $$). So what I believe happened is R&D was forced to throw a lot of resources at this bitch and made it work to satisfy this customer.  I think the customer was RBC.  Moral of the story is the tech folks can make it happen if they have enough resources. Tech folks report to the corporations.  The corporations report to corporate plutocrats, and the corporate plutocrats report to the Bilderbergers.
just my straight shooting honest opinion

Offline JoeP

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Re: Digital Technology Failures
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2014, 03:57:06 PM »
Forgot to mention, this product is thriving now. Sales out the Wazoo.
just my straight shooting honest opinion

Offline Eddie

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Re: Digital Technology Failures ---- Eek! Who Took My Identity?
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2014, 05:49:02 AM »
I take off a little early on Fridays, but I was lucky that my hard-working partner was still at the office when Wells Fargo called to tell us they'd had a security breach, and that all my accounts had been temporarily frozen to prevent fraud. As I soon learned, I couldn't even log on to the WF website to check my account balances. ( I still can't.)

Actually they didn't say it was their fault, which doesn't surprise me, but after digging a little deeper and consulting with a local branch manager who went to school with one of my kids, it appears to me that it was in fact just a typical hack job, and not anything I did.

It might not sound like much a of a problem. No money was actually stolen, apparently, and at least they got on the problem quickly, before my dollars were turned into roubles in some Russian hacker's account.

But we had to make a trip to a local branch on Saturday and sign paperwork for all our accounts to be assigned new account numbers. And the business checking and savings accounts can't get new numbers until a new "profile" gets built, which will hopefully happen today, because my business writes a lot of checks, at least a few on most business days.  ( If no one had been at work when they called late Friday afternoon, I'd be finding out this morning, Monday.)

We order checks, not from the bank, but from a printer. It will take about two weeks to actually get new checks, once that new account number is assigned. In the mean time, we can still transfer money to our payroll service online, and the few regular electronic debits I make will still go through, at least in theory. So the employees will get paid. In theory.

I'm hoping that if I really need to write a check to pay a COD, that I can call the bank and they will clear my checks one at a time, until  the new ones arrive. It's not clear that they'll do this, but otherwise I might run out of materials to do my job. My regular creditors will just have to wait a couple of weeks to get paid. Sorry!

For me, as a business owner, this is a real pain in the ass. But it is what it is, and I have no alternative but to just do what they say, unless I want to change to some other bank, which seems pointless.

I just love banking in the Digital Age.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2014, 05:52:07 AM by Eddie »
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Eddie

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Re: Digital Technology Failures --- Signing Up For Obamacare
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2014, 06:16:47 AM »
My son is getting kicked off our insurance on his birthday, which happens in a few days. We've been expecting this, since he's turning 26, and they kicked his older sisters off in the same fashion, when they aged out of their parents' policy.

So he's been trying to get signed up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

Since the kid is a starving artist type, he theoretically qualifies for a Federal subsidy to pay a hefty part of his premiums, and should be able to get coverage for a price even he can afford.

Except that Texas is a state that hasn't been playing ball with the Feds on this program, and if you live here, you get punished for that.

Repeated attempts to sign up online were rejected, so he had to call in to get a human, which took a while. But he finally got one. Problem solved, right? Nope.

He was politely told that they "had no record" of him being a citizen of Texas (or the USA, I guess) although he's lived here all his life, and incidentally, did file a tax return.

I'll have to give the kid credit for persistence (and his Mom for staying on his ass). After only SIX more lengthy phone calls, it now appears that the sign-up problems have been resolved..and he can now APPLY for coverage. If he gets it, he can get a shitty HMO plan for about a hundred bucks a month (after the subsidy is paid by the Feds,I'm  not sure how much they're paying Blue Cross, but it's almost certainly more than he's paying. For  an additional sixty bucks a month he can get a slightly better PPO plan. The truth is that he can't really afford either one, so I'll have to slip him some cash under the table, or he'll go uninsured. (Please don't tell.)

I just wonder how many young people in his circumstances have the intestinal fortitude to fight the system for weeks and weeks and go through a half a dozen or more phone calls to get through the bullshit and claim their legislated benefit.

I'm guessing not too many.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2014, 06:35:24 AM by Eddie »
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Petty Tyrant

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Re: Digital Technology Failures
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2014, 02:36:47 AM »
a hundred bucks a month for a single under 30 non smoker (im guessing) is highway robbery. I would want every extra including maternity for males for that money.







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Offline Eddie

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Re: Digital Technology Failures
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2014, 12:36:30 PM »
Update on my frozen bank accounts:

 At five pm today it will have been exactly five days since my accounts were frozen to prevent fraud. I still have not received new business checking account numbers, so I haven't even been able to order new checks.

An attempt to transfer funds to pay two different mortgage payments by phone today resulted in leaving a voice mail, which has not been returned. As as result of this problem I now owe two sizable late charges.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

 

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