Thursday, November 18, 2010

This post typed using my fingers

I can't blame companies for doing it, but I don't have to like it:  Do I really need to know that the mail you sent me was sent using your Blackberry, iPhone or Droid?  Do I really need to know what tool you used to  clip something?

Of course not.  Looking at it a little less peevishly, I suppose I should be grateful when it doesn't matter which tool was used to create or send something, and the company behind one or another part of the process has to explicitly announce its presence.  I've gritted my teeth on plenty of occasions when I wasn't told which product had produced a document -- and I already knew because I couldn't read the thing.

In fact, given the sheer number of pieces in the whole stack end-to-end, one could even argue that it's surprising how few little mini-credits one runs across.  Imagine if there was a "routed by a Cisco router using Ethernet" credit on every network packet (OK, you could figure out from the MAC address whose router it was, but the MAC address has to be there in any case).  Or something in every HTTP request that said what browser produced it.  Wait, that's there, too, though again not so visible.

Well, I still find it all a bit annoying.  So there.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Maybe I just don't understand this whole "privacy" thing

Today I had to get the full account number of a bank account.  It was probably on some old paper statement at home, but I wasn't at home and besides, didn't I "go green with online statements" years ago? Everything's on the web these days, right?

Except when it's not.  Many sites in a similar situation will provide a way of getting your full account number directly. Not this one.  Most will at least provide PDFs of the statements they would have mailed, but again, no.  Fine.  I call them up and give them a bunch of identifiers (not quite as bad as this time, just the usual rigmarole).  May I have my full account number now?  Well, no, they don't give that out over the phone.

But no worries.  What they can do is fax a recent statement, with account activity and all manner of other fun stuff, to any random fax number I choose.  So that's all right, then.

For bonus points, they do read out a disclaimer warning that information sent to a public fax machine might be seen by anyone and everyone.