Tech Ideas That Strike You as a Bad Idea

Not trying to be a Luddite, but I was watching this program where they were talking about replacing your PIN and ATM card with biometric scanners on ATMs. The idea being that you wouldn’t have to worry so much about identity theft, you could just run your thumb over a fingerprint reader or have your eye checked by a retinal scanner to get at your money. I noticed that nobody mentioned if the scanners cared about the eye or thumb being attached to their original owner and thought, “Oh, great. So now, instead of having to worry about some guy making off with my wallet, I gotta worry about him cutting off my thumb or scooping one of my eyes out!” Methinks I’ll stick with cash, thank you very much. Anything else out there on the horizon that looks like it might have some really nasty unintended consequences?

Along the same lines, I think debit cards are a bad idea. I don’t like the idea of someone being able to clean out my checking account without even needing a PIN number. I had to struggle for 20 minutes on the phone with a bank rep before I could get them to send me an ATM card that DOESN’T work as a debit card.

I’m not too crazy either about making things so small they’re harder to use, easier to lose, and easier to steal.

Haven’t the movies already shown a lot of ways to beat this type of thing?

I think it is just for those who ae too lazy to remember a good pass word.


They do need to update the ATC system for moving airliners around the country. Need a lot more GPS ‘direct’ routes and a computer system and back-up system to run it.

Is that seriously how debit cards work in the States? My ATM card is my debit card, but I have to use my PIN to buy anything with it. I have to say, I absolutely love my debit card, and I don’t know how I ever lived without it.

I’ll second that though. I got a new cell phone recently, and the guy at the store looked like he thought I was crazy when I said I didn’t want one quite as small as the one he was pushing.

You can usually choose to run your Debit card as a Credit card. Then they just make you sign the recipt which 99.9 time outta 100 they don’t check with your signature on the card.

What in the hell kinda debit card doesn’t require a PIN?

Anyway, the latest technology in biometric scanners includes things to check the temperature of your thumb (to ensure that it hasn’t been severed) and to check your pupils for response to light (to ensure that your eye has not been gauged.)

Great. I’m gonna put my thumb on one of those things in the winter and end up with an APB for my arrest for felonious assault. :wink: (“I swear, it’s my thumb! I just have poor circulation! Look, it’s attached to my hand!” “My God, he sewed the victim’s thumb to his own hand! How sick can a man get? I say we shoot him right here.”)

What would be more cadaver-resistent (and probably easier to reliably implement) would be incorporating a simple pulse reader with the finger scanner.

Any Back to the Future fans here? Your post reminded me of something from the 2nd movie. When Marty looks at the U.S.A. Today paper in the year 2015, a headline in the corner of the paper says something to the effect of “Thumb Bandits Strike Again.” The idea behind that article, according to the commentary, was that thumbprints would be used for identification, and that criminals would be cutting off people’s thumbs to get at their money.

(sigh) I never thought this system would actually become a reality though.

Half-size credit cards on your keychain might seem like a good idea. However, do you want to hand over your credit card to a valet parker?

Just about all of them, except mine, and I had tp argue with someone about it. You can use them exactly as you would use a credit card (in the US at least). Some restrictions apply, like most car rental companies won’t accept them, but otherwise, go nuts.

Come to think of it, I’d like my credit cards to have PIN numbers too.

Good timing.

BBC News: Malaysia car thieves steal finger

Tuckerfan If you are a Luddite, then I must be one too. This business of stealing finger/thumb prints is one thing that occurred to me recently reding the governments plans to introduce Identidy Cards in the U.K. I mean, IF the supposed justification is to “prevent terrorism” and prevent fraud, then I tend to feel that the nasty evil criminals probably wouldn’t feel to bad about chopping of fingers if that is what it took.

Wouldn’t it be a bummer after all that evolution to get thumbs jsut to lose them again. :smiley:

Re. debit cards - in the U.K. at present, although one needs a PIN to withdraaw cash from an ATM, I can use my debit card in shops simply by signing my name (and in some shops, withdraw some cahs too). However, this system is gradually being changed so that instead of signing there will be a need to key the PIN into a little machine, precisely in order to make things more difficult for a thief.)

What if you’re wearing a band-aid?

Boyo Jim:

You do know that debit cards have fraud protection like credit cards do, right? I have not yet seen or had a debit card that I couldn’t call my bank and say “It was stolen/I lost it” and have any charges made in that period wiped out, after they found out it wasn’t me making them. Debit cards work in one of two ways:

  1. You use it as a debit card. This means you will have to enter a PIN number at the register for the transaction. This is just as safe as a regular ATM card, it just saves the hassle of going to the ATM. Sometimes, I’ve heard that if you claim a card was stolen, and the thief used it in this method, you might not get your money back, sicne they assuem a theif wouldn’t know your PIN.

  2. You use it as a credit card ansd sign the slip, In this case, it’s just like a credit card, except the limit is your amount in the bank, not some random number the company thinks you can pay on time. This is the way you are thinknig of it being used, since in this way, yes someone can buy things and easily claim to be you.
    So how are they in any way less-secure than a credit card? The only way for a thief to know your PIN is if you tell him, or you write it down and they find it. Either way that’s pretty stupid of you. Sure, they can forge your signature, but they can do the same with a credit card. All you do is call the bank as I said. When worse comes to worse they will compare the signatures on the slips the thief signed to ones you have signed and will be able to detertmine that yes, it was in fact stolen and you get your money back. You said you want your credit card to have a PIN too, well guess what, that’s what a debit card is! All in all, a debit card is MORE secure than a credit card.

Obviously if you don’t want a debit card then fine, dont’ get one. Personally, I lvoe mine. I use it almsot everyday because writing checks and going to the ATM is a huge pain in the ass. Sure, a CC could do the same thing, but then I have to pay a monthly bill. I just avoid that one step, however small it may be. Plus, I don’t have to worry about getting into serious debt, since I can’t spend more than what’s in my account.

I can remember a good password. What I can’t do is remember twenty good passwords, especially when I need to change some every ninety days or so. I don’t think it’s a good idea to use the same password for every account. Although I don’t have a problem with my ebay password and SDMB password being the same, you can be sure that it isn’t anything like my bank account password. And my bank account password isn’t the same as my brokerage account password, which is different from my payroll office password. Even if I tried to use the same password I would run into the situation where I’d have an easy to remember 8 character password and then run into a system that requires a 10 character password, or an eight character password with at least two numbers and a special character like % or *.

I don’t like the idea of losing a thumb or an eye, but I’m tired of having so many different passwords to keep track of.

I always thought “Call Waiting” was a bad idea. I still think it is.

However, caller ID is a great idea.

Increasingly, however, cashiers ask to see your ID if you use a credit card, or if you use your debit card as a credit card. After all, hardly anyone can give a truly representative signature in that little space on the back of a credit card. It’s your photo ID that matters.

Getting back to the OP…Water as fuel is a bad idea. Sure, it sounds good - we’ve all kinds of water, right? But you’re just switching from one non-renewable resource to another. And to make water into a usable fuel still largely relies on fossil fuels - you’re not lessening the dependence on oil yet. Not to mention the fact that hydrogen is hugely combustible - I’d hate to be the first person in a hydrogen car accident.

Of course they’re going to make it safe. And of course it’s all about baby steps - we’ve got to take the first steps before we can get to the point where we’re totally off of petroleum and using water right from the tap. But I’m still not sold.

I’d say any technology where your TV is supposed to function as a computer monitor is poorly thought out. I can remember the IBM PC-Junior commercials from long ago, which showed a Charlie Chaplin type character plugging the CPU into the TV. That’s all well and good, but my thought was, what if somebody else in the house wants to watch the damn TV?

Besides that, it seems that a TV screen across the room has to be gigantic to give you the same capacity for display that a computer screen does sitting on your desk, or even a laptop screen sitting on your lap.

In regard to technology, I agree with the OP: it’s often just more trouble than it’s worth. For instance, I’m just waiting for the new Monk Plus models to come out. My old Monk blew a motherboard and he’s been believing all kinds of silly things this week, especially since somebody sent him The Book of Mormon. Currently, he seems to believe that Og wants me to send money to a particular post office box. Very strange, and not just a little annoying. The horse is working fine, though, as they usually do. In technology versus horse, the animal always wins.

I say we chuck it all and go back to using leaves as a medium of exchange. 'Course, since they grow on trees and are therefore widely available, we’ll have to go on a massive deflationary program and burn down all the trees. It’s a hard slog, but nobody said that responsible monetary policy was going to be easy.


Right, that’s too silly. Enough of that. Off you go. We’ve had quite enough of your silliness.