Continuing the everyday look at everyday objects through the camera lens…
The Internet plus computers = real-time information and instant transactions/updates.
We take it all so readily for granted; check your bank balance, pay a bill on your phone, keep in instant contact with friends and family and, to be candid, to be able to access the sum of humanity’s knowledge from just about anywhere on the planet, on a device the size of pocket calculator.
In the 80s this was the stuff of science fiction.
And Star Trek, obv.
Using my phone (or tablet, or laptop, because nobody has PCs any more) I can interrogate just about any database, any repository of information.
And using my phone (or tablet, or laptop, because nobody has PCs any more) I can edit, write to/update all databases that I have permission to edit, write to/update.
For example, we have a new car.
We needed to tax the new car.
So we (I’m using the Royal ‘we’ here, OK?) went online to DVLA and bought some road tax (yes, I know it’s not called road tax any longer but this detail is so small it’s insignificant).
How did that work?
- We went online and accessed the DVLA website
- We interfaced with DVLAs systems
- We proved legal ownership of the vehicle to DVLAs systems, which was then accepted
- We input payment details for some road tax
- DVLAs systems went off and validated that those payment details related to us (and therefore, double-checked legal ownership of the vehicle)
- The bank’s systems authenticated the payment request, approved the transaction and, instantly sent the money to DVLA
- Then DVLAs systems came back and said the payment had been made
Except that’s where it ends, but it should not be where it ended.
Because we went online, the next day, and accessed DVLAs systems just to check the car was now taxed.
DVLAs systems said it wasn’t.
Despite the fact that the previous evening the money had actually been removed from our account, DVLA were saying, the next day, that the vehicle was untaxed (and therefore was illegal).
So we (I’m still using the Royal ‘we’ here) rang up DVLA and spoke to an actual human being.
The actual DVLA human being said it could take 4-5 days for their systems to update with valid taxation details.
Let’s assume five days (for mathematical reasons). That’s 120 hours.
In this age of near-instant fibre-optic Internet-based communications, it’s going to take DVLA 120 hours to update their taxation records – and that’s 120 hours after the payment has been taken.
Sometimes I wonder how we managed to crawl out of the swamp.
Here’s the trouble-maker: