Monday, October 10, 2011

Password Pandemonium

Password Pandemonium
The digital age is truly a wonderful thing, I love the way I can communicate with people around the world by email and skype (although I haven’t yet ventured into tweeting). I love being able to Google just about anything and find the answer. We’re presently contemplating a move to the UK from Australia. Being able to look at properties online and then take Mr.Google (I’m not sure if this is his real name) for a walk down the street the property is on and see if we like the neighborhood as much as the house is an incredible facility. I can keep up with friends on Facebook, view their latest albums and whatever wonderful things are happening in their lives and share ours with them.As one of our children lives overseas, we can keep in touch by email, skype and Facebook. We can share in her life, exchange ideas, take a walk around her new London flat with skype and feel almost as if she’s in the same room as us.Said daughter is marrying in England later this month. A few years ago, organizing a wedding from 12,000 miles away would’ve been impossible, but through the wonders of internet I’ve been able to search venues, then pop an email off to them and have an answer waiting in my inbox the next morning. We’ve been able view the galleries of venues, florists, photographers, cake makers, caterers, bridal boutiques and accommodation. Within a month of the engagement, everything was booked and invitations issued. Three months later, we’re about to board our flights from Australia to England, all courtesy of the Net. We’ve viewed and chosen our plane seats, chosen the meals we’d like to eat during the flights, booked transport to and from the airports, rented a car, a holiday flat in London and B&B’s throughout England. It’s truly marvelous!

BUTAnd yes, there has to be a BUT…While I love the internet and spend way too many hours trawling websites for any number of things, I absolutely HATE the whole password thing. Yes, I know it’s supposed to protect me, but if I can’t remember my password, or indeed which of the three email addresses I registered with, then it becomes all rather vexed. And useless. And sometimes downright nasty!One site I use a lot asks me for a number. If I don’t put that number in correctly and the password (the one I can’t remember) it gets very snippy at me. And then if I mess things up three times, it completely shuts down on me saying dire things about “failure” and “banning” access!And I know you’re going to say I should write down all my passwords somewhere, and I did, the only problem is, instead of calling the file something sensible like, oh… Passwords! I decided that would be a bit silly if I lost my laptop, so I’ve called it something else altogether. AND I’ve made it password protected…I’m on semi-friendly terms with sites that ask me politely, “forgotten your password?” and provide a link to security questions. Except on one of these sites, I’d accidentally mis-spelled my mother’s name in the security question. Took me months to work out where I’d gone wrong (and I have to confess I only discovered it when I retyped my mother’s name incorrectly) Of course I have no idea how to change the spelling in the original question. Other sites’ security questions are completely useless. One demanded I provide the name of my favorite sports team. I don’t have a favorite sports team, so I made it up. Now I can’t remember the name of that fictional sports team.It’s all very stressful when you really need to access one of these sites and are denied simply because you’re too silly to remember your password, or too lazy to write it down somewhere you’ll remember.However, I do remember my first ever telephone number (it’s only three digits, so not so hard, but it’s something I’m proud of and never get wrong!)So if I manage to post this blog, then you know I’ve successfully remembered my password and/or login name.What do you love and hate about the digital age? Do you have trouble with passwords, or do you have some helpful tips about them?

Till next month – and if I can manage to navigate my pictures album and upload a few photos of my daughter’s wedding in next month’s blog – did I tell you she’s getting married in a castle? (because she’s a princess of course) - I will. And if I can’t remember the password, then I won’t.CC!


Louise Cusack said...

Great blog, CC. Have a fab time in London with your little princess. Would love to see photos!

Anonymous said...

I hear and feel you pain, CC... I am similar, and constantly forget passwords and such. But when I do get there, life is sweet. :) Enjoy the wedding!

Anonymous said...

I have a have a little spiral note pad. I started writing passwords in it in the 90s when I first got internet access. Now that little notebook is almost full and naturally, it's falling apart. I went so far as to buy a new little notebook, bound this time, so as to avoid pages disintergrating around the wire at the top. Needless to say, I haven't transferred a single password into the new little book. If I ever lose the old little book, my life will be ruined. You see, I also write down my own prompts to passwords ... usually in code ... like maternal grandmother's maiden name (mgmn) + date of birth (dob). Hers or mine???

See, ruined, I tell you.........



Anonymous said...

Hi CC. Great blog. Have a great time at the wedding and shall look forward to the photos. :)

Cathleen Ross said...

I have all the same issues that you mentioned. I had to force myself to learn how to self publish on Smashwords by going through the 84 page booklet and now I'm learning how to build a website. The reason I'm doing this is to grow new braincells in the hope I don't get dementia. First sigh - short term memory loss.
Enjoy that wonderful wedding.
Cathleen Ross

Fiona Lowe said...

A wedding in a Castle how wonderful. You can enjoy the experience 'password-free':-)

Anonymous said...

Hi CC, Great blog. I have an app on my iphone where I store all my passwords and anything important I need. I have a password to access it, but it's easier to remember that password than every single one. A wedding in a castle sounds incredibly romantic. I hope all goes well.

CC Coburn said...

Hi Louise, I'll (somehow) put the precious wedding pics on my website or facebook page. Can't wait to get on that plane and forget about passwords, lists etc. etc. Hope the weather is beautiful!It'll still all be wonderful no doubt. One down and two to go!

Hi Malvina, Yes,it's a ruly beautiful thing when you finally remember a password, isn't it? Like when I finally got my acto together (with the help of another Harlequin American romance author) and managed to post my blog! :-)

Oh Jan, I had tears in my eyes from laughing. You sounded so clever and organised (and proud of yourself too) but in the end you're as messed up about the whole password business as the rest of us!!!

CC Coburn said...

Hi Helen,I sure will have fun and take lots of pics to share ;-)
Dementia or demented Cathleen ;-) I'm ertainly demented with this password business, but I'm sure learning something new and difficult like building your own website will help to ward off dementia. Note to self: sack wonderful webmistress and try doing it myself. Yeah. Right!

Hello Fiona, I sure will be enjoying escaping from those passwords in the castle corridors. :-)

Laura, now we all know you're a closet librarian which means you're tidy and you catalogue everything! Storing things in my iPhone would be a great idea, if I could work ot how to use it. Funnily enough, I'm sitting here with the instructions and scratching my head...

Kandy Shepherd said...

Oh CC, I had to laugh as I read your blog! I have exactly the same problem as you with remembering passwords. They say for security reasons not to use the same one but I get into such trouble accessing sites where I can't remember which password I used! And it's usually late at night when I am practically weeping (and definitely cursing!) with frustration.
So glad the wedding plans are going well--it sounds like a fairytale! Tell me, will we see a novel from you sent in a castle?

Pamela Stone said...

Oh, CC. We've all been there. And although they tell you not to write them down, how can one not, especailly when this one wants 8 digits alpha numeric and this one wants a special character. This one is case sensitive and this one isn't. And just as you get them all down, some silly system makes you change your password and my system goes all wacky again.

So ask why I sometimes miss my blog date...well, there you have my dilemma.

Leigh Duncan said...

CC, oh, I'm sure your daughter will be a princess in her castle wedding! Have a wonderful time!

As for passwords, what a pain. Like so many of us, I got burned earlier this summer when hackers grabbed the passwords of a major writers' site. I had to change all my passwords from the very user-friendly two or three I always used to a different (insert colorful phrase) password for every account.

Do I remember them? No way.

Instead, I keep all my passwords in a Word doc, but I NEVER save it to my hard drive. I save it to a flash drive and print a hard copy which lives in the drawer next to my computer. I know you travel--a lot!--so that might not work for you, but maybe you could work out something similar.

Michelle Beattie said...

CC, I too have a book for my passwords and I only have one email addy so I've kept it simple!
Like Cathleen I learned how to self-publish for the same reasons, figured it would kep my brain alive!
Anyhow, the castle sounds lovely and a perfect setting for your next book.

Linda Warren said...

I hate having so many passwords. It's a pain. I had one for a long time for everything when I was naive and stupid. I was hacked. Now every account is different. Geez!!

Can't wait for the wedding photos. Everyone loves a fairytale.