Can’t somebody just take out a ledger?

But there are definitely cases where we’ve become too reliant on technology.

We love technology — most of the time.

In the newspaper industry we’d be slowed down without it. We love our digital cameras, recorders, smart phones and layout programs.

Gone are the days of physically cutting copy and waxing. Most of us don’t miss it — though the ease with which everyone can fire off an email makes us a little nostalgic for the era of longhand and postage some days.

We have huge respect for the journalists in Japan who, after the devastating earthquake in 2011, wrote entire editions of newspapers longhand and painstakingly copied them by hand too, so that people in the worst hit areas could get some idea of what was going on.

That’s dedication.

But there are definitely cases where we’ve become too reliant on technology.

We see it when the power goes out. Many stores have to actually close their doors, totally unable to function without the computer systems that run their tills. They are literally unable to serve customers without their gadgets. And of course, a great many people don’t carry cash anymore; the only method of payment they’ve got in hand is a card of some variety.

But these are relatively small inconveniences. Where we see real problems are when government software goes on the fritz.

Take, for example, the scandal of the Phoenix payroll system rolled out for federal government employees this year, in spite of the fact that systems weren’t ready to take the pressure.

It’s left such a mess in its wake that, even now, months later, the problem has yet to be fixed.

The price tag for that as-yet incomplete fix? $50 million, CBC reports.

Canada’s public broadcaster has been on top of this story for months, telling the personal tales of people who’ve been seriously hurt by this technological glitch. Some haven’t been paid since last February. Many of those are the most vulnerable types of workers, like interns.

Some have been forced to make the unenviable decision to quit because they just couldn’t wait any longer for a pay cheque to come through. Others have incurred debt (on which they are paying interest) as they try to hold out.

One talked about eating nothing but a handful of salted rice each day he was so strapped.

Most of us can’t afford to go months without being paid.

One would think someone could simply issue a cheque, but, so wedded to the computerized payroll system are they, that apparently nobody can just take out a pen and a ledger and get on with it.

There’s a lesson in there. Technology is great, but we’ve got to be willing to step away from it when it’s not serving us.

Just Posted

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Mariah Segee (centre) was named 2021 Lady of the Lake last Saturday, with Megan Rowbottom (left) as first princess, and Macey Anderson (right) as second princess. (Submitted)
Lady of the Lake returns to Lake Cowichan

Mariah Segee takes the crown in first pageant since 2018

Darren Campbell's truck was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch (pictured) on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
UPDATE: Cowichan Bay Good Samaritan’s stolen truck recovered

‘Very much appreciated the help from so many people. I hope the very best for all of you’

Threads N Tails owner Lee-Ann Burke’s pet clothing has been featured on the cover of the June/July issue of Pet Connection Magazine. (Submitted)
Lake Cowichan business featured on magazine cover

Lee-Ann Burke hopes the extra publicity will increase sales

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Most Read