To those who take technology and make life harder: you’re doing it wrong

I like technology. I don’t hate technology. But I hate what a bunch of idiots have done with technology.

You’d be forgiven for thinking I was referring to the mass misinformation-authoring that used my name over the last three months, but, frankly, this level of technological misuse is everywhere in various forms.

Take today, when I was charging our latest press car, an EV. The charger was at Pak ’n’ Save Porirua. It didn’t work, because the process was incredibly complex, and, as it turned out, the charger was kaput.

Logic would say: charging technology has existed for a long time. They’ve built this charging device. Credit card-reading technology has existed for a long time. Why not combine the two? Yet the Pak ’n’ Save charger, from, and the City Council ones (like the one behind the Tawa library) require an “app” to work.

Why invent this utterly superfluous step?

I have money on the card. Money can be used in exchange for goods and services. This is how things work.

I called and they said I had to use the app, but then they made it available only on Google Play and Apple Ishop, or whatever they call it. I explained that I had neither. The rep refused to believe me.

I explained that it would be logical, since I was already on their own website, that they hosted their own APK so Android users like me could download it. Do the same for Apple Iphone users. Why would I go to yet another site when I was already on theirs?

Having read’s terms and conditions, there is no mention, other than Google Analytics, of their alliance with Google’s surveillance platforms, yet they are demanding I willingly submit myself to them.

I said that apps are merely little web browsers but unlike regular web browsers, they are limited to one site. But the rep was insistent that the app did more. She said, for instance, the app would tell me that the Pak ’n’ Save charger was kaput. I explained that now that I had logged in to their website, I could see that, too. The machine itself had a digital display with ‘Err’ on it. But in theory, couldn’t I just do it over the web? She said I couldn’t. Which makes no sense, because you can even do Uber—a service I was recently forced to use, and which also has a half-baked “app”—through their website.

I did find their “app” on Uptodown, and installed it, but it refuses to function without Google Play Services. Aren’t they the things that phone home to the mother ship constantly and drain your battery? screenshot, program refuses to work without Google

In other words, it’s designed to let foreign Big Tech snoop on you.

Realistically, I want a commercial relationship between me and, not with third parties that have proved time and time again to be utterly untrustworthy. This is the same problem that I had with Lumino, and with countless others. I’ve built websites for longer than some of these folks and don’t see the need to force people on to the path of Big Tech juggernauts, or export their data overseas to questionable third parties.

Which means: everyone loses. They don’t get their sale and I don’t get the convenience of charging.
I see Kaspersky has a preachy post about cybersecurity, using the Jason Statham actioner The Beekeeper as its hook. Their conclusion:

… all these mass surveillance and espionage tools governments develop, along with other cyberweapons, could easily fall into the wrong hands and be used to attack innocent people …

So, this seemingly nonsensical action flick actually teaches us that dangerous tools can be used in mass cyberattacks at any moment. Therefore, it pays well to be prepared for anything and use reliable security tools both on personal devices and for corporate protection.

To use their own words in the article: ‘What utter gibberish.’ Isn’t this the same Kaspersky whose malware “scanner” was forced on me as part of a dubious Facebook programme that I busted with the help of journalist Louise Matsakis, then of Wired? Isn’t this the same Kaspersky who clammed up when questioned about it?

Don’t get on your high horse, kids. You might fall off.
PS.: I remember the great early days of the web, when it all felt so freeing and expansive. That was what I wanted to get at, and thank goodness for Jon Sullivan who brought me back on track when he commented on Mastodon about this. His words: ‘A lot of tech no longer seems to be primarily focused on serving its users. It feels like a much more adversarial relationship than I remember 10 or 20 years ago.’ I share Jon’s view. The web could be filled with so much more promise.

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