The Pain of Passwords

courtesy of hdsoft.org

Are you like me and have just had it up to there with passwords?  I tried to access a site earlier and couldn’t remember my password.  Thirty minutes later, numerous screens, error messages, and two emails, I still don’t know the password.  That’s 30 minutes of my life I could have spent doing my cardio work-out.  (insert hysterical laughter here)

When I worked in a cubicle farm, a majority of us would stash our computer passwords under our keyboards.  We all knew each other did this, but nobody said anything because, of course, it was not an allowed practice.  But it was easy to remember.  And, that’s the problem with passwords — only a 12-yr old can remember any of them.

I tried using the same password for everything.  That fell apart when some jerk hacked an email account.  I got the notification, panicked, and realized I had 70 hundred thousand million passwords to generate.  And they all had to be different.  And I had to have them in my head and be able to retrieve them.  Oh my.  This would never work.

I got the bright idea of jotting down passwords in a small notebook.  That failed when the notebook fell on the family room floor somehow and EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer, had a midnight snack.  Ack.

Next, I decided to embed passwords into phone numbers.  Disaster!  I couldn’t remember which part of the phone number was the password, or if the phone number was a real one, and ended up phoning some rather angry people.

I had heard about smart phone aps that took care of passwords.  I quickly downloaded the latest ap.  I loaded all my passwords into it, then gave it a password.  Guess what I forgot?  The password to access my passwords.

I created an Excel spreadsheet and put all my passwords there.  Then I thought it would be a good idea to print it out, so if I died unexpectedly (like from a password event-generated stroke), Devoted Spouse would be able to get into all my records online.  But the spreadsheet was too big for my printer paper.  I had to scotch-tape the printed pages together.  It turned into such a mess, I shredded everything and opened a bottle of wine.

There seems to be no easy solution to this.  I have a copy of the spreadsheet that wasn’t taped together. I threw it in a file folder to deal with later.  I just don’t remember what I did with that folder…sigh…

This is Your Brain on Drugs…

Like the dork we all know me to be….I managed to wrench my shoulder the other day while re-arranging the new living room furniture.  This is not the shoulder I dislocated in my accident; no, this is my good shoulder.  duh squared.  While it hurts, it does not stop me from using my laptop and frittering away on Twitter which is where I was Saturday afternoon when I started having computer problems….again.

Now this computer is not even a year old and it’s been in the shop several times – needed a new keyboard, needed a new power cord.  Suddenly it won’t start unless I take out the battery, then put the battery back in and start the machine.  Then it started making this odd clicking noise and I got that bad feeling — ya know the one where you suddenly realize you haven’t backed up any of your precious data (like the photos of EmmaLou Golden Destroyer) and your computer is on the verge of a crash?  Yikes

Back up about 10 minutes — I had taken a pain pill – a rather strong pain pill because my shoulder was just giving me fits.  Okay now fast forward to the computer issue.  It dawns on me this laptop needs to go to the laptop emergency room and it needs to go now.  But I just took pain meds and can’t drive so I enlist the help of Devoted Spouse and off to Best Buy we go.

By the time we got there, my pain meds had kicked in.  I approached the counter of the Geek Squad , put my laptop on the counter and draped myself on the counter, too.  How I managed to explain the problem is beyond me because I distinctly remember telling them to look at how cute the background picture of EmmaLou was and I believe we discussed many other topics that this young man and his assistant couldn’t possibly have cared about – but they sure were grinning.  Devoted Spouse had seated himself in the reception area and was pretending not to know me (just kidding; he was actually grinning from ear to ear as I rambled and babbled on and on ad nauseum).

They kept my laptop.  I have no idea what they are doing.  I do know they were performing a hard drive back-up as I was leaving.  They asked me what I wanted backed up.  I thought that was the most obvious question in the world, so on the line on the form where it asks what you want them to copy I simply printed the word “EVERYTHING” and I am hoping they understood that.  The young man smiled as he read the form.  I also remember writing in the box where it asks what is wrong something to the effect of:  “It doesn’t work.”  Well… it didn’t.

So, kids, learn from me.  Always start your computer and make sure it is working properly BEFORE you take your pain meds or you may find yourself hanging off the counter at Best Buy with pupils as big as saucers, telling some young guy how much you like his Geek Squad tie clip…sigh

Living With My Laptop is Just a Bowl of Cherries

Once again I find myself faced with a laptop that has issues.  Some would say it is I who have the issues but we all know that can’t possibly be true.

Even though this infernal machine is only a few months old it needs to be sent to the factory for some work.  Thank goodness for warranties.  I cannot believe the keys are rubbing off the keyboard; my T is completely gone.  This seems to happen only to laptops I own….and no, I do not have long fingernails.  Maybe EmmaLou is licking the keyboard at night or something equally bizarre.

Yesterday I noticed several crimps in the cord and it is frayed.  I immediately thought of EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer, casually sitting behind my chair gnawing on the cord, but there are no teeth marks – it’s simply bizarre.  So since the actual wiring is showing, I’ll be needing a new power cord.  Gah…

First thing Monday morning, the laptop will go to the store and I will be without a computer for maybe up to two weeks.  In the meantime, there is a slight (very) chance I may be able to snag Devoted Spouse’s laptop for brief moments – just long enough to maybe post something.  Just in case I can’t….I’m declaring a Blogoliday – so don’t get too upset with me if you don’t see any posts here for awhile.

I’ll be back in business in no time I imagine.  Till then…just go read a good book…watch a movie…and miss me…sigh…

Courtesy of the SmartPhone you will still be able to find me on Twitter  @Croneandbearit.   Cya l8r kids!

Computers, Music & General Junk

in case you don't know him, this is Bach

As I sit here waiting for my IT guru to arrive I am firmly ensconced in my 2nd favorite comfy chair upstairs in my crap room craft room home office .  My satellite radio is playing stuff from the Coffee House channel and I find I’m constantly jotting down music and artists I like but don’t have any of their music bought or downloaded.   Where have I been?   And why do I not have any of these CDs?   The last CD I bought was the soundtrack to the latest Twilight movie New Moon which has some really good music on it.   But I need to get in gear and update my music inventory.

Earlier I was listening to NPR radio and they did a feature on Sparklehorse (Mark Linkouse) who just committed suicide the other day and they were playing one of his songs off his Good Morning Spider CD and I thought to myself — why do I wait so long to “discover” these musicians?  I simply have not been listening to music lately for some strange reason.

Amazon.com is gonna love me in the next few days as I have quite the musical wish list going.  I definitely need to catch up and there’s just a little bit of room left on my mp3 player.   It may be time to put away Sheryl Crow.  Honestly, I think the last song I loaded was Amy Winehouse’s Rehab — what does that say about me?  Always late to the show…

In preparing for the IT guru I had to clean up my  crap craft oh whatever-room and it has never looked this good.  The problem is I basically hauled all the junk from one room to another.  So now Devoted Spouse can hardly walk through his home office gun workroom Civil War book depository place-to-get-away-from-me-room because I piled up all my junk in there.  He was not a happy doober.  I promised I would start going through the junk and throwing out stuff soon.  Uh-huh.  I’ll get to it honey.

So here I sit thinking about all the “stuff” I moved from this room and really should put out in the garage to build the world’s biggest garage sale this spring and yet I just added to my wish list over at Amazon.com.  They love me.  I have a wish list there longer than my Blogroll which is rapidly becoming about the longest blogroll in the universe.

I have so much stuff now I should be getting rid of — I have no business acquiring CDs – what am I thinking?  Oh wait, I saved so much money on the new laptop…but I also need to buy a new vacuum to replace the “Suckless Wonder”.  It’s always something.   sigh…

The Sledgehammer Cometh…

And there I was in the midst of something very important and my laptop crashed…again.  The wonderful little blue screen of death.  Earlier it just quit working right as I was writing what I thought was rather important…it stops dead in its little Dell tracks.  I tried everything.  I did the Control Alt Delete thingie a thousand times – I pounded on the Escape key until I broke a nail (note to self:  look inside keyboard for remains of nail).  I finally had to manually shut it off AND take out the flippin’ battery and then put everything back together again before it would come on.  Let me tell you it was not a happy laptop with my actions.

I do not own an external hard drive, no matter how many times I have said while perusing the aisles of Office Depot, “pick up an external hard drive and back-up POC laptop.”  So the other evening I spent several hours with as many flash drives as I could round up in this house backing up data.  I cannot afford to lose my gazillion and one pictures of the ever adorable EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer.  And then there are my stories, and websites I cannot remember but certainly can’t live without, blah, blah, blah, infinity.  It is an ongoing pain.

On the advice of my IT guru (who also I might add advised me 2 years ago to buy this particular POC Dell), I went to the HP website and started “building” a new laptop.  He is now advising I stay away from Dell since this is my second Dell that has not performed well and he now advises I buy from HP.  Anyway…so I’m on the website and following the instructions building this laptop and I stopped when I had reached the monetary value of a third world country.  Oh for the love of Pete – they claim you can buy a nice laptop for around $799.  IT’S A LIE!  A LIE, I TELL YOU.  D’ya know what you get for $799?  The friggin’ shell and a supply of yellow Post-it Notes.

The laptop I finally decided upon came in at around $1400.  I about had an aneurysm and I’m not sure why I didn’t.  I know for a fact my left eye was twitching.  Was this laptop a fancy model?  Nope.  Did it have cool stuff like fingerprint technology so no one can sign in but you?  Nope.  Did it have a webcam?  They offered a link to eBay where old Polaroid machines were listed.  Aye aye aye.

So I have put off actually calling these HP people (which my IT guru advises I should do because if you get a live body on the phone you may get a better deal).  Maybe tomorrow.  It is just so much stress and pressure — I sat here going through all the specs on the laptop and realized my chin was sore.  Here’s a little medical fact heretofore unknown – the stress of a crashing laptop will cause a normally non-facially deformed woman to break out in pimples.  I have a pimple on my chin.  I am not making this up – that’s what this POC laptop is causing.

Soon I will be a brave buckaroo and make the call and end up ordering a new laptop and no doubt spending more money than I want or need.  The other day online I noticed there were a couple of freebies.  I plan on asking for a wireless printer, some ink cartridges, a power cord (they always seem to be extra), a free dinner at the restaurant of my choice, a new car, and a kiss.  I’m betting I get the kiss.  sigh…

Heigh Ho the Derry-O, The Dell Limps Along

I have been literally babying my Dell laptop for months now as one thing after another either falls off or goes wrong.  Let’s recap this fun journey, shall we? …

Not counting the massive amounts of Vista-related crashing…the first traumatic injury was when the quotations key fell off, only to be re-attached by some computer geek guys, but it fell off again and refused to be re-attached.  I taped it to my whiteboard in my home office and gave it a small tribute:

Not to be outdone by the quotations key, both the backspace key and the K key decided they no longer wished to function correctly.  Now those two keys must be pounded on with the finger pressure equivalent to an elephant being dropped 30 feet to the ground in order to get them to work properly.  The fingers on my right hand associated with those two keys are getting pressure calluses.

Feeling left out and one-upped by the backspace key and the K key, the E, R, N, and M keys all decided to peel off their coverings so that if one were not a touch typist, one would be in deep doo-doo while writing a blog post.  I’m not making this up:

Then the amazingly constructed power cord decided to stop functioning correctly.  It would, at the worst time, simply pop out of its home on the side of the laptop, leaving me on battery.  Then it escalated its mischief and stopped working while it was fully plugged in and much like the old tv rabbit ears antennas, I would have to hold the power cord up and over my head with my left hand while trying to type with my right hand so the battery wouldn’t keep discharging.  Not only was the power cord acting wonky, it was not charging the battery when it was fully plugged in – so I was screwed regardless.  Power on – battery still slowly dying.  After much agony and an aching left shoulder, I ordered a replacement power cord.  It now works, for how long is anyone’s guess.

Being the highly educated, innovative, creative problem solver in the family…I got out my handy dandy Sharpie and re-drew the letters E, R, N, and M and then painted some craft varnish over them to keep the Sharpie from accidentally smearing.  I’m so clever:

And so for now we have a barely functioning laptop once again.  I can update any or all 3 of my blogs, I can Twitter to my heart’s content, and maybe…just maybe I can get to read and comment on some of my bloggy friends’ postings this week.

Nothing else could possibly happen to this laptop could it?…

Just in case, I have this handy:

And I am not afraid to use it…