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/ On Technology being wonderful

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The Ice Doctor - on 02 Jun 2018

Gone are the days when you pay for a ticket and you get a piece of paper. 

These days everything is paperless. Its so complicated its untrue. Often simply to get hold of something requires you down load an app, or spend a lot of time being forced to stare at a screen, following instructions to get something that was previously a lot simpler.

Yet people stand by the ascertation that technology is so wonderful. It bloody well isn't - all it does is create more stress and frustration for the end user.

What annoys me is that choice is being taken away from people and we are all forced to bow down to the Gods of IT and android phones.

Not only that, systems have been set up to buy up thousands of event tickets that are then sold up at an even greater mark up through a website, as you can no longer obtain them directly. This is not clever use of technology, nor entrepreneurial. Its a stitch up.

Rant over.

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Big Ger - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to The Ice Doctor:

Take a chill pill and relax. You'll give yourself a stroke with all your self-generated stress.

5
Andy Gamisou - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to The Ice Doctor:

> What annoys me is that choice is being taken away from people and we are all forced to bow down to the Gods of IT and android phones.

Unless you want to use the Rockfax app......

Andy Gamisou - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to The Ice Doctor:

> Yet people stand by the ascertation that technology is so wonderful. It bloody well isn't - all it does is create more stress and frustration for the end user.

Not just for the end user - you should try working on projects that create this stuff (33 years of 'professional' programming and counting).

 

Post edited at 12:32
what the hex on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to The Ice Doctor:

Claiming Universal Credit is now an online process requiring a high degree of literacy and numeracy, a keen eye to avoid the sanctions and a broadband connection (what happens if you get cut off?). I’m convinced the system is set up to fail you – saving a few tax pounds here and there at the expense of your basic human needs. I think the system is designed to be troublesome.

Another cruel example of the austerity drive…

Post edited at 12:45
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WaterMonkey - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to The Ice Doctor:

I disagree. I sold my motorbike the other day privately. The bloke communicated with me via iPhone, turned up at my house having travelled from hungary with plane and train tickets he bought online then transferred 8k from his bank account to mine via his phone and straight away it was in my account ready to spend. I then went online and filled out the V5 transfer. Job done, so much easier!

Post edited at 12:40
BnB - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to The Ice Doctor:

Technology has lifted billions of people out of poverty and will continue to improve lives long after you and I are dead. You may not like learning new skills but that is a problem with you, not the tech. The countries with the highest levels of automation have the highest levels of employment.

Think about it for a bit instead of running from the unknown. And stop being so bloody negative about the world.

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Andy Gamisou - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to BnB:

Oh my......

2
what the hex on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to what the hex:

Haha. Two dislikers… Too caught up in your own hubris to communicate normally with "the great unwashed" I assume..

2
wercat on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to The Ice Doctor:

I think the people in Aldi yesterday I saw at the moment Visa failed were a bit upset.   Fortunately for me cash is king and they opened a cash only aisle.

WaterMonkey - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to what the hex:

You clearly believe in conspiracy theories. I’ll hazard a guess you’re a lefty who smokes roll ups and weed?

(I have a theory about conspiracy theory nuts!)

Post edited at 13:36
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what the hex on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to WaterMonkey:

Not quite, I'm a centrist living in a very right wing country and don't smoke anything at all!

Have you ever claimed U.C.?

WaterMonkey - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to what the hex:

Haha bugger there goes my conspiracy theory theory!

whats a U.C? 

2
Pan Ron - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to wercat:

> I think the people in Aldi yesterday I saw at the moment Visa failed were a bit upset.   Fortunately for me cash is king and they opened a cash only aisle.

Such a rare event though.  Far more likely to be caught short without sufficient cash or a cash machine nearby.

Love contactless and online paying.

what the hex on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to WaterMonkey:

Universal Credit - it's quite an experience! (Luckily I do have a job now)

WaterMonkey - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to what the hex:

Ah sorry, had to google it to see what it was. No never, most government online forms are awful though! Tax return and applying for daughters university maintenance loan was whisky inducing!

Wanderer100 - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to BnB:

> Technology has lifted billions of people out of poverty.

Has it? Who are these billions of people that have been lifted out of poverty?

 

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wintertree - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to Wanderer100:

> Has it? Who are these billions of people that have been lifted out of poverty?

I should say that because of technology we have about 6 billion people living above poverty and about 1 billion living in poverty.  

Without technology there’d be about 0.05 billion people living above poverty and about 0.3 billion living in poverty.

Technology lets more people live above poverty than used to live in total.  Politics are the primary reason people still live in poverty now - although technology enables repressive politics for sure.

 

Post edited at 17:16
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Wanderer100 - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to wintertree:

 

A quick google raises doubts about your claims.

Nearly 1/2 of the world's population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty — less than $1.25 a day. 1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty.

 

 

wintertree - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to Wanderer100:

> A quick google raises doubts about your claims.

I’m not interested in arguing over different definitions of poverty.  I picked a different one to you.  

My point was that technology has increased the number of people living - both in poverty and above poverty - by an order of magnitude over pre-technological society.

The Wolrd Bank’s figures suggest that the number of people in deep poverty has fallen massively over the last 30 years.  To quote them “Nearly 1.1 billion people have moved out of extreme poverty since 1990. “

 

 

Wanderer100 - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to wintertree:

I would argue that science and medicine have increased life expectancy and increased the birth and infant survival rates rather than technology. I'm not sure how owning a mobile phone and flicking through YouTube takes somebody out of poverty. 

On the contrary. There are far too many people on our small planet and earths natural resources have been raped and pillaged to the point of extinction trying to provide a lot of meaningless technology to people that have far more urgent needs like clean water and sufficient food to ve able to survive. 

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wintertree - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to Wanderer100:

> I would argue that science and medicine have increased life expectancy and increased the birth and infant survival rates rather than technology.

For sure, but what enables science and medicine?  Technology.  The highest pieces of technology most people will interact with in their lives are medical devices.  Technology is a lot more than just mobile phones and big TVs you know...

> I'm not sure how owning a mobile phone and flicking through YouTube takes somebody out of poverty. 

Education.  Also agriculture - for example a farmer in Africa being able to send a photo of crop blight half a world away and getting near instant guidance on what chemical to treat it with, rather than using a lot more money to just throw everything at it...

> On the contrary. There are far too many people on our small planet

Yes, population is the actual problem, not technology.  There is a healthy, sustainable population size for any level (high or low) of technology.  People seem to always push their population beyond that level, thus creating poverty.  The same was true before we had electricity etc.  Blaming technology is to miss the point - it seems to be a deep seated flaw in the species.  Technology just amplifies it to a new scale.

> and earths natural resources have been raped and pillaged

How do you “rape and pillage” a natural resource?  

 

 

BnB - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to Wanderer100:

> Has it? Who are these billions of people that have been lifted out of poverty?

Wintertree has already provided an excellent answer but, to elaborate from a different angle, take a look at the technology powerhouses of China and consider how they are redistributing wealth, a lot of it Western, amongst the Asian population, by creating tech-driven jobs and prosperity at an unprecedented rate anywhere. China alone has a more than a billion inhabitants, India another billion.

Yes, there is still poverty and inequality persists there, as everywhere, but technology is transforming society in Asia far faster than it is here. If you take the trouble to investigate I promise it will blow your mind.

Start by taking a video tour of Shenzhen and ask yourself what it looked like 30 years ago. 

Post edited at 18:37
Wanderer100 - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to wintertree:

Thank you for your snippy reply.

I took the OP to be referring to mobile and internet technology and it's negative impact on our daily lives.  

I'm well aware that technology assists in the development of science and medicine but so does old fashioned hard work and trial and error in the laboratory and on the medical trials. 

If a farmer in Africa needs a mobile phone and Google to find out how to treat or prevent potato blight I would suggest he should try a different occupation.

When there are no more resources left to take out of the earth what then? Oh, I know, that nice chap Bozos and his mate Elon Musk will have a little rocket to whisk you away to Mars where you'll spend the rest of your life being fat and happy like the colony in Wall E. 

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Wanderer100 - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to BnB:

Too be blunt, you haven't answered the question.  You said technology has lifted Billions out of poverty.  I don't think you are able to show any evidence supporting that claim. I would hazard a guess that the gap between the rich and the poor gets wider and wider  and India and China are perfect examples of this. 

In 2014, according to an Institute of Social Science Survey, Peking University, income inequality amongChinese mainland citizens has reached severe conditions, with 1% of the Chinese population possessing 1/3 of the country's wealth.

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BnB - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to Wanderer100:

I regret to advise you that you’re simply not sufficiently well-informed. The growth of the Chinese (and other Asian) middle class is the most powerful new driver in the world economy. Instead of ignoring my answer with your eyes and ears closed, go take a virtual tour of Shenzhen.

As I stated in my edit above that you might have missed, after your tour, imagine what it looked like 30 years ago. As for inequality, those ratios are very similar to the UK’s. I’m not advocating inequality as a good thing, but abject poverty is not that common in the UK, mostly thanks to a previous technology revolution, and it will be eradicated in China very soon. What is happening there is spectacular.

Post edited at 18:55
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Wanderer100 - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to BnB:

You choose to ignore the original question about your spurious claim about technology lifting Billions out of poverty.  I don't believe that the Chinese or Indian middle classes total Billions and I don't think you do either.  Millions, yes, tens of millions, probably.  Hundreds of millions, possibly.  

More than 60% of the Chinese working population earn less than 20$ per day. I would say that leaves them in poverty. 

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BnB - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to Wanderer100:

Instead of lifting random data off the internet, do as I suggest. It’ll blow your mind.

Or google “agricultural automation in the rice paddies of Asia”. Let me help you:

https://govinsider.asia/smart-gov/why-is-smart-farming-suddenly-so-cool/

i have a good part of my pension fund invested in projects like these so rest assured I’m putting my money where my mouth is (and alleviating food poverty to boot). 

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Dax H - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to The Ice Doctor:

Let's just agree that on balance technology has been very beneficial for the world in general then get back to the point that Ice Doc was making. 

I fully agree with you, I want a paper ticket that I can put in my pocket, I want to chose how I pay be it credit card, debit card or cash. No I don't want to install your app to make 1 purchase or book 1 concert / accommodation / transport ticket and whilst I am saying no to that I would also like to know why an app to boog concert tickets wants my permission to access my phone contacts, camera, storage and microphone. Piss off you don't need it. One of the worse aspects of modern tech though is the assumption your available all the time. I have just had a blissful week on holiday with my phone on airplane mode the entire time. The only time technology pissed me off for the entire week was when we were trying to get in to the Blist Hills Victorian Village in Telford and the wife didn't have a good enough data signal to download the pre paid tickets. 

teh_mark on 03 Jun 2018
In reply to The Ice Doctor:

You'd have thought that reducing wasteful paper consumption would be a good thing, eh? I can't think of many more depressing things than knowing that forests are being cut down for your train ticket.

Dax H - on 03 Jun 2018
In reply to teh_mark:

Is it any more wasteful than the resources and energy that go in in to smart phone production and use?. Trees can be replanted. 

1
wercat on 03 Jun 2018
In reply to Pan Ron:

I did wonder about the chaos that might have happened at fuel pumps when people had filled their tank and found they couldn't pay

wintertree - on 03 Jun 2018
In reply to Dax H:

 

> Is it any more wasteful than the resources and energy that go in in to smart phone production and use?. Trees can be replanted. 

It is if you have a smartphone anyway.  A typical A6 piece of paper takes about 15,000 J to manufacture.  A smartphone takes about 15 J to download and display a QR code on its screen for a few seconds.

I agree with the OPs rant about electronic tickets mind you.  It’s an over complicated mess of hodge podge “solutions”.  

Post edited at 09:55
captain paranoia - on 03 Jun 2018
In reply to BnB:

> Technology has lifted billions of people out of poverty and will continue to improve lives long after you

Technology itself isn't really what the OP is complaining about; it's badly implemented technology, and there is plenty of that about, much of it in apps and badly-designed systems.

I've spent my entire life developing technology, and am continually frustrated by badly designed systems; I can see how much better things could be done.

Dax H - on 03 Jun 2018
In reply to wintertree:

Interesting numbers thank you. I didn't expect anyone to come up with a comparison 

Dax H - on 03 Jun 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

> > Technology has lifted billions of people out of poverty and will continue to improve lives long after you

> Technology itself isn't really what the OP is complaining about; it's badly implemented technology, and there is plenty of that about, much of it in apps and badly-designed systems.

> I've spent my entire life developing technology, and am continually frustrated by badly designed systems; I can see how much better things could be done.

I'm in the process of looking for software to assist planning jobs, scheduling them for the lads, do digital job sheets on a phone or tablet and integrate in to our accounts system. Looked at 2 so far, one has a fantastic app for use on site and decent scheduling software but the accounts side is awful  the other has the worse app I have ever seen but is really good for the accounts side. Got to keep looking. 

BnB - on 03 Jun 2018
In reply to Dax H:

> I'm in the process of looking for software to assist planning jobs, scheduling them for the lads, do digital job sheets on a phone or tablet and integrate in to our accounts system. Looked at 2 so far, one has a fantastic app for use on site and decent scheduling software but the accounts side is awful  the other has the worse app I have ever seen but is really good for the accounts side. Got to keep looking. 

You might well find you’re better off using the “best” solution for each application instead of compromising one or both. It’s not unlikely that the preferred time and scheduling tool can produce outputs that are readable by your favourite accounting software.

We turnover nearly £1bn per year yet we still import cloud-based time-sheet generated financial outputs into head office central accounting software.

Keeps both teams happy even if there’s an extra (messy) integration layer. And yes, that’s how it was done back when I had to do everything myself. 

Post edited at 20:16
teh_mark on 03 Jun 2018
In reply to Dax H:

Are you going to give up your phone because of the availability of paper tickets? It's not exactly the most concrete of arguments, is it?

hokkyokusei - on 03 Jun 2018
In reply to WaterMonkey:

> ... Tax return and applying for daughters university maintenance loan was whisky inducing!

Really? Online tax return is a doddle compared to the old paper forms.

captain paranoia - on 03 Jun 2018
In reply to hokkyokusei:

And yet there are still elements of the SAE system that arent very good, and need to be improved. I provide feedback every year, usually on the same points. They ignore it, although they have finally realised that they have some of the information required, which you used to have to fill in.

Dax H - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to BnB:

That's what I'm probably going to do. Use the one that has the good onsite app side and  scheduling to generate the report and maintain the crm then effectively manually generate an invoice and put it in to the accounts. The biggest problem is discount levels  I have  contracts that are tied to different discount levels on different items (complicated but worth the hassle) . A mate of mine has some cracking bespoke software that does exactly what I need but it cost him 70k to develop and I can't afford anything like that. 

joshtee25 - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to Wanderer100:

> If a farmer in Africa needs a mobile phone and Google to find out how to treat or prevent potato blight I would suggest he should try a different occupation.

I think this sentence demonstrates that you are arguing from a position of ignorance, and close-mindedness. 

The farmer doesn't have a choice what he does - if he doesn't farm, he has to find a way to commute to where there are jobs, to earn not very much money, to buy the food he can grow himself. He probably hasn't had a secondary school level education, and even if he has it is unlikely to have covered agricultural processes at an appropriate level to ensure the farmer knows of all possible diseases his crops could potentially suffer from. 

Therefore the farmer is saving money, his crops, and his time, by utilising mobile technology. 

Dave Garnett - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to Wanderer100:

> If a farmer in Africa needs a mobile phone and Google to find out how to treat or prevent potato blight I would suggest he should try a different occupation.

Except he'll already be using his mobile phone to do his banking.  Certainly in East Africa mobile technology has revolutionised small businesses and given millions the potential to lift themselves out of subsistence agriculture.

And, he'd probably tell you to get onto google and do some basic research on the causes of potato blight and what crops he's more likely to be growing.

 

Dave Garnett - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to The Ice Doctor:

> These days everything is paperless. Its so complicated its untrue. Often simply to get hold of something requires you down load an app, or spend a lot of time being forced to stare at a screen, following instructions to get something that was previously a lot simpler.

All I can say is that when I needed to use the local trains in the Helsinki area, with no previous knowledge, it took me about 20 seconds to download the app and about another 20 to enter my credit card details.  After that I could buy any ticket I liked in about 10 seconds, cashlessly and without queuing, and show the code to the ticket inspector without having to search my pockets for a lost bit of paper.

 

tom_in_edinburgh - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to Wanderer100:

> Too be blunt, you haven't answered the question.  You said technology has lifted Billions out of poverty.  I don't think you are able to show any evidence supporting that claim. I would hazard a guess that the gap between the rich and the poor gets wider and wider  and India and China are perfect examples of this. 

Technology is what makes people different from animals.  Clothing is technology, using fire is technology, building shelters is technology, the wheel is technology.   Computers and iPhones are just more advanced technology.

It is very difficult to even imagine a society without any technology and if you look at societies with the least effective technology or the most ancient societies they had a pretty short, underfed and disease ridden life.   Even if you go back to Victorian times life was far worse than it is today.  Healthcare, levels of pollution, comfort and effectiveness of shelters and clothing, access to information, transport all far worse than today no matter how much money you had.

Absolute levels of wealth are clearly improved by technology.  Statements about relative poverty or 'the gap between rich and poor' are about how society chooses to distribute the wealth created by technology not whether technology is effective at creating wealth.  They are also not particularly helpful if your concern is about actual poverty and welfare.   If you were making £100k a year and living in Monaco then under definitions of relative poverty you would be poor.   Someone in North Korea with far too little to eat on the other hand wouldn't be poor based on income relative to other people in North Korea.

 

 

Toerag - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to Dax H:

>  A mate of mine has some cracking bespoke software that does exactly what I need but it cost him 70k to develop and I can't afford anything like that. 

Can you 'share' his system?

Wanderer100 - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

More stunning news released today.

People like the sound of their own voice. 

A new day starts once every 24 hours.

Bears really do shit in the woods.

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Dave Garnett - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to Wanderer100:

And grumpy old sods can be even grumpier to more people with the help of technology.

Dax H - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to Toerag:

> Can you 'share' his system?

I wish. He is a mate but also in competition with me in the same game though much bigger than me. 

wintertree - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to Dax H:

> Use the one that has the good onsite app side and  scheduling to generate the report and maintain the crm then effectively manually generate an invoice and put it in to the accounts. The biggest problem is discount levels  I have  contracts that are tied to different discount levels on different items (complicated but worth the hassle)

If you’ve got an electronic system on each side and are really happy with both, and you can run a manual translation between them then do that.  Then shop around for someone to make a script that eats (a) the output of your field tool and (b) a simple database of your discounts on a per-customer and per-part basis and spits it out in a format your accounting tools can run. 

If you can imagine your discount database sitting in a spreadsheet of parts by customer then this sounds like a week’s work - assuming well documented and clear data formats at the interfaces.  

Who knows, put your mind to learning a bit of Python and you could do it yourself.  

The key step is to document your manual translation between them precisely so that you have a spec to work or contract to.

Sorry, erm, that’ll be £35k and 3 months if you please...    

 

Post edited at 22:13
Jim Fraser - on 05 Jun 2018
In reply to The Ice Doctor:

I was thinking about how wonderful technology was when I was buying a ticket at the car park at a certain town centre supermarket. In the 1970s you put money in the meter and there were a couple of whirs and clicks and maybe a second or two later you got a ticket for parking, neatly stamped with an appropriate time. Now you put money in the meter and there are no whirs or clicks to amuse you during the delay and it checks with GPS where it is, calculates what time zone its in, calculates the time and date, checks with half a dozen servers around the world whether the earth is still turning, checks 100 other useless things over IP links to 5 continents and then prints a ticket that you might be able to read, or might not, some 5 or 6 seconds later. Absolute b0110cks. 

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Dax H - on 05 Jun 2018
In reply to wintertree:

That's what I might end up doing but there is a plethora of work scheduling and managing software out there so I'm going to look around a bit first. Worse case I get the one that is excellent for scheduling and doing the work sheets and risk assessments on site and my office use that to manually produce an invoice. It will still save lots of time because being in a digital format means my office don't have to decider and translate my or my lads chicken scratches from the triplicate book sheets we use and type it all in to our database. Also its not bad with the lads, they get in just about every day but I might only get to the office once a week and often drop off 40 or so job sheets to be processed, emailing them through automatically will be far less daunting for the Admin peeps. 

eroica64 - on 05 Jun 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

" it's badly implemented technology, and there is plenty of that about, much of it in apps and badly-designed systems."

Oh yes, oh bloody yes!!

 


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