August is silly season for the tech world. A few more weeks and a slew of devices will hit the markets. One of the best ways to spend this month is to take a trip from London to Istanbul by train. It is a great way to see some beautiful scenery, some magnificent old cities and to find out about the competencies of the IT departments of our national banks.
One of the first things I did before starting on the trip was getting a travel card from my bank, which happens to be the biggest bank in India. Even though the NRI branch of the bank was made up like a tasteless luxury hotel, it had the same staff, who seemed to just have discovered the term ‘computer’. Probably that should have rung some bells. Nevertheless I took the card, loaded it up and started on my adventure, if you can call it that. Just when it started to look like everything was going smoothly I encountered my first big problem in Budapest. Due to reasons that I won’t go into, I had to access the online account of the travel card I was carrying. So I popped into a nearby coffee shop with WiFi, got my iPad out, typed in the web address and the next thing I know I am looking at a website designed in the 1940s. Since I had the bank generated password with me I hit the ‘Login’ button and waited. Nothing happened. Having realised that in the parallel word that the bank’s IT department lives, iPads don’t exist, I got my MacBook out, booted it up, launched Safari and started all over again.
This time it started out better. I launched the website, hit the login button which had a small pull down menu, selected customer login. And then my real troubles started. As soon as I hit the customer login button, the login page appeared for all of five seconds before it disappeared and gave me a blank white page. I finally figured it out that it is because of the pop-up blocker, so disabled the pop-up blocker and tried again. As the login page finally appeared, I put in the card number, and the password given by the bank, which I thought I will change once I login for the first time. The bank though had a surprise for me and as soon as I logged in, it asked me to change the password. It was a classic case of enter the old password and then the new one twice. Below the fields though there were instructions about the password like number of characters, combinations etcetera. Thinking my ordeal is over I entered the old and new passwords and found myself on the same page again and again. As it turns out I did not read the instructions fully. The final instruction is this. “This is only compatible with Internet Explorer version 6 and above”. It meant that since I don’t use Windows and don’t have access to any other PC I had to call a friend in India to do the needful.
I don’t know what world the bank’s IT department lives in but I have not seen Internet Explorer in four years. I don’t even blame them for loving Explorer, but have they heard about things like Chrome, Firefox and Safari? I shudder to think that me and half of the country are leaving our money in the hands of people who think Chrome is a metal.
The writer is a tech geek Email: firstname.lastname@example.org