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Saturday 26 November 2011

A Thoroughly Modern Experience.

The other day i had one of those thoroughly modern experiences.
I forgot the password for one of the myriad online accountts that i have.

Nothing strange about that i hear you cry and rightly so.
I'm sure it's something that has happened to the best of us. Especially in these days of spam, scams and those dodgy emails telling you that you've won lotteries that you've never entered, or even heard of.

You have to be increasing careful out there in the wild west of the Internet. And because of that we now have to have various passwords and usernames for all of those online accounts that have become such an essential part of our everyday lives.

If you're anything like me, you have accounts ranging across a wide spectrum of different interests and usergroups. We are frequently told and quite rightly too, that Internet security is a very serious subject and one that needs to be taken seriously.
I'm always reading accounts of people who have been taken in by the scammers, or who have just been plain stupid and used the same password for all of their accounts.
After all, it's hard work trying to keep track and note of all of those different passwords. Most Internet sites now offer a service which tells you how strong, or otherwise, your intended new password is. So, now you have to be increasingly inventive and start including numbers etc mix it all up.
So, how on earth are we all supposed to remember it all?

Of course, one solution is to keep all these passwords and usernames written down somewhere.
But, what then happens in the event of a burglary at your house? I'm guessing that one of the first things the modern day burglar searches for is that little notebook filled with all your valuable Internet information. Passwords, usernames etc. You just can't win can you?

I would suspect that it would be no exaggeration to say that i have around 100 different accounts of one kind, or another. Now, you may well think that that's a huge number. But, before you criticise, go and count up your own first. The figure may well surprise you.

I have many accounts that i probably no longer use and should really close. I have done that with a few. But, you know how it is? Good intentions and all that....

Also, due to my social networking activites, especially under my 'andymooseman' name. I have tended to sign up to several sites that i've had no real intention of actually ever using.
This may sound a little strange and probably is. But, the idea was to get in quick and grab my online username (andymooseman), just in case somebody else got in there first and grabbed it.
After all, you wouldn't want somebody else using your "name" would you. This could be viewed as being a bit egotistical. But, your Internet username becomes a kind of personal brand name, over time, and one that you will wish to try and protect. Just as any company would do.

I guess that this another one of those thoroughly modern things that you feel the need to do?
And, all those sites need a password, even if the username is already taken care of.

But, my recent predicament took this to a whole new and unexpected level.
I tried to sign into one of those sites that i'd not visited for a long time. Well, not long in Internet terms anyway.
As i mentioned earlier, i realised that i'd forgotten my password and didn't have it written down anywhere. I tried a few variations of other passwords that i've used before. That didn't work. So, i tried the "Forgot your password?" link that you see for just these occasions and then it dawned on me...
I couldn't remember which email address the account was under!

I still don't.
I asked them to send an email, including my password,  to several potential email addresses, but with no luck.

Over my time on the Internet i have had many email accounts and addresses. We've all changed ISP's over time i'm sure? I know i have and many times too. And each new ISP tends to come with a brand new email address. Ones which i have often used in the past.
Thankfully, at some time, i saw sense and signed up for a web based email account. Something for which i am now very grateful. Now, if only i'd done it a lot sooner.

So, be careful out there. They're all out to get you you know.
But, beware of those long lost and forgotten usernames, passwords and email accounts. They may just come back to haunt you in years to come.

Life was so much in the past wasn't it? Especially as a child.
If you forgot your name, all you had to do was to look inside your coat and read the name tag that your mother had sewn there.
How times change eh?


  1. I think the need for remembering hundreds of different passwords is just a plot by young people to keep us old farts off the internet. But someday, it will backfire on them when they hit 50 and can't remember shit anymore. It may take a few decades, and we may be long gone, but that day will come. It has to.

  2. Your blog inspired a poem. (I didn't say a good poem.)


    I do not like the password,
    It puts me in a state,
    A frame of mind that's near despair
    And yearns for quick escape.

    The passwords I remember,
    I'm told are not the best,
    Are apt to be discovered,
    My secrets all undressed.

    And so the dog cannot be used,
    My favourite aunt is out,
    The nickname that I earned at school
    Is also void of clout.

    It must be something clever,
    Full of guileful zing,
    Hard enough to thwart a crook,
    From Moscow or Peking.

    My software can invent one,
    I'm told by those who know,
    Its randomness a work of art,
    Impregnable by foe.

    The asterisks secure its grip,
    No need for me to see,
    It saves the snaking line of code,
    Protects the shining key.

    But if my hard drive falters,
    Or if a thief streaks past,
    It takes its secrets with it,
    Betraying at the last.

    I cannot get my email,
    Blogger counts me fled,
    YouTube's but a distant dream,
    Facebook thinks I'm dead.

  3. Ken: Good point & i'd not thought about it like that. Those pesky kids just hate it when us oldies come along & start to gatecrash their party don't they?
    Their time will come & id love to still be hear to say "I told you so" ;)

  4. Dugal: I don't think i've ever inspired a poem before, so feel rather honoured.
    Personally, i think it's a good poem. Would you mind if i used it elsewhere?

  5. Andy: Glad you enjoyed it. Yes, feel free to use it elsewhere. I have changed "Peking" to "Beijing" since I posted, just so I don't look like a complete dinosaur. I've also posted a video of the poem on my YouTube channel, by way of getting my feet wet (again) on YT. I did reference and link to your blog under the video by way of providing context. If I don't hear from you I'll assume that's OK. ;)

  6. Dugal: No problem and thanks for the shout out :)