Because I take the Northern Toll Road frequently, I have signed up for online payments. They get my credit card number, top it up to $20 and, when it gets below a certain level, top it up again. I also have a pin for checking online statements - got to keep track of those $2.20 transactions.
Here's part of an email received from the New Zealand Transport Agency some months ago:
"The first time you log into your account from 30th January, you will be prompted to create a new alphanumeric PIN. This requirement has been introduced to better protect your data privacy, by strengthening the security measures on our website.
"Along with this change, you will notice that you are now required to enter a verification code when logging in. This step has been added at the request of the Privacy Commissioner to further protect your data from unwanted attention."
New technology has changed many things for the better, but it has not done the one thing that it always double-dead-dog-crossed-its-heart-and-swore-blind it would do - it has not made our lives simpler.
Four-digit PIN numbers used to be sufficient for all our banking needs. Now, hitherto-sane enterprises are contacting their customers to say their rusty old passwords aren't good enough and they have to change to one that includes at least three numbers and one capital letter.
At least you can ring the Transport Agency to have a bit of a chuckle with them about their toll system. Many websites of large organisations no longer include a phone number in their contact details.
Phones require people to answer them, and not having to pay people makes things simpler for the big organisations, if not for their clients.
Email is easier for them and has become such a default means of communication that choosing to ring someone instead is tantamount to an act of aggression. "What do you mean by bursting in on my personal space with your human voice?"
And when a phone call was made, you either remembered it or forgot about it. With emails we have to spend time deciding whether or not to save them and, if so, into which one of the dozens of subject folders we have by now created to hold messages we will never need or see again.
You're also likely to be seen as hostile if you proffer cash in exchange for goods or services. This once-common method of conducting a transaction is almost forgotten. The undeniable convenience of Eftpos has all but eradicated it.
Consequently, when faced with a $10 bill for a $5 purchase, the average shop assistant reacts with denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, acceptance. At which point, he or she will go looking for either an elderly person or a calculator to work out your change.
As it is with mental arithmetic, so it is with competent typing - relegated with horse-shoeing and roof thatching to the graveyard of skills no longer necessary.
Making corrections to typing on a typewriter was cumbersome and ugly. Typists went to great efforts not to make mistakes. Now we - actually, I - bash away and spend as much time with a spellchecker correcting my work as I did writing it.
And, when you bought a typewriter, it stayed bought. You weren't offered updates with bug fixes and improvements that 90 per cent of the time aren't relevant to you.
Which all shows how placid we are when it comes to accepting change.
Change is here to stay, but every time we encounter it, we should be alert, sceptical and mindful of what, if anything, it is really doing for us.