Technology is a wonderful thing - most of the time. But as we've seen lately, much of the technology we use today is falling short of our needs, and the cost to improve it can be astronomical. We don't have much choice in some situations but to improve it.
In the Malaysian airline mystery that has riveted the world, so much hinges on decades-old transponder technology and other electronics that allowed the plane to go off the grid so easily.
It's difficult to imagine that a passenger jet's main way of communicating with ground installations can just be shut off so easily. Other instruments apparently sent occasional information about the engines, but the fact that it's been so difficult to pinpoint a crash site shows how vulnerable we are to this kind of thing.
The "black box" that has 30 days of "pings" in it to help locate wreckage seems outdated as well. Those have been used for a long time and it seems like something better would have been designed.
Credit and debit card fraud is on a huge increase in the United States. Many of us either know someone whose information has been compromised or have even experienced it ourselves. Crooks can install card readers that steal our information and crooked employees who take our cards can quickly get the card information. Credit card companies are good about restoring our money and banks do their best with debit card info, although it often takes longer than fixing credit card fraud.
In the United Kingdom, "chip and PIN" credit cards are used, and they are a lot safer. There is no magnetic strip and anyone trying to use it better have the PIN or they can't make a purchase. With the U.S. cards, all that's required is a signature.
The downside to the chip and PIN system, according to Bankrate.com, is that the liability of theft then switches from the bank to the consumer. That means if you still get your card stolen, you're just out the money. But, according to experts, it's next to impossible to steal that information just from skimming the card.
Trying to keep up with this technology seems impossible. As long as there are millions and billions of dollars at stake, thieves will find new ways to get it and industry won't want to spend the money necessary to upgrade the technology.
It's wonderful to have lots of fancy bells and whistles, but the trade-off often isn't fun. Welcome to the 21st century.