Did you know you no longer have to go to the bank to deposit a cheque? No, neither did I! More on that in a moment.
I’ll admit it — I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to tech stuff. I have always been an early adopter of all things computer, even winning the very first New South Wales government technology award for Court Guide — an interactive laser disc project for the NSW local court system way back in the… umm… late-1980s.
For more years than I care to remember I have not carried or used cash. If I have to, for whatever reason — yuck! — I’m fanatical about washing my hands.
All my banking, quarterly business activity statements for the Australian taxation office for my small business, electricity, water, rates, insurances and yes, even car registrations are online. It’s so easy, so efficient and so environmentally friendly. It’s all about digital media, which I just love.
However, the possible downside for some people is not understanding the golden rule of digital media. Back-up, back-up, back-up!
I learned the hard way about this golden rule. As a long time freelance content producer, I record and edit audio and video for mainstream and online projects. I do this from the comfort of my home or even on the road if we go caravanning. I have many terabytes (basically lots of data) on various hard drives all over the place. Think of it as a large wall cabinet full of books and magazines.
Of course you can probably already guess what happened… Yep, the one and only drive I had all my stuff on — some spanning several years — broke down. Without getting too technical it is possible to recover some hard drives that crash, but several hundred dollars later the tech gurus I engaged to help me recover the drive all informed me: “Sorry mate, she’s dead”.
For someone so passionate about preserving content it was like losing a loved one. Personal emotions aside, I kicked myself for being so stupid! How could I, a tech savvy bloke my entire life, be so irresponsible?
Believe it or not tears welled in my eyes, but thanks to my ’50s-’60s upbringing I got over all that pretty quick, dusted myself off and started again… Albeit with a bit of a sniffle.
Now, everything gets backed up… Twice! If you thought some people you come across in life can’t be trusted, believe me every piece of electronic gadgetry — hard drives particularly — can not be trusted ever.
Lesson learned. I now do back-ups of back-ups — yes a copy of a copy in my quest to remain paper free. For me, buying new drives every three years or so is now a no-brainer.
What about that thing about cheques, I hear you ask. I have not needed to go into a bank for around eight to 10 years, but recently a cheque arrived from my insurance company. I took it in to my local branch after finally finding somewhere to park in the busy shopping area. When I finally found the bank, the doors were closed. It was three minutes past 4pm. What?! Banks close at 4pm. What a total waste of time.
The next day I decided to try a different branch of the same bank (parking was easier) and while waiting for the next teller, a very helpful bank service assistant came up and asked, “Is that cheque all you need to deposit today?”.
When I confirmed that it was he escorted me outside to the ATM, and after giving him my account details and showing ID, voila, the cheque was deposited. Something I could actually have done myself. Had I known, of course.
There is more to this story, however. The service assistant then said, “You know you can also deposit cheques via our app on your phone? You just scan the barcode, select your account and the app does the rest!” Wow! I have the required app on my phone and once again as a self proclaimed tech-nerd, I was almost embarrassed I never even knew this.
If you’re ever frustrated and scratching your head about anything technological or you manage to delete photos, emails or worse a whole hard drive, don’t stress. In fact feel free to have a bit of a giggle at my expense, the tech nerd who thought he knew almost everything techy. Just goes to show life is full of challenges no matter who we are or what our backgrounds and we are always learning.