Tag Archives: user names

Barely Surviving Password Hell

This, my first post, I write as I attempt to unearth, organize and record many months of acquired passwords, user names and random notes scribbled on snippets of paper of all sizes, shapes and colors and buried amongst the mountains of receipts, bills and junk mail all over my desk and dresser. To complicate matters, most of the receipts and bills and even some of the junk mail cannot be immediately filed or shredded as they happened to be the handiest paper target available when I had a need to put down a code.

I have in my possession the tools of organization–a file cabinet, a shredder, a computer with a handy dandy password manager and encryption software. For many years, I tediously recorded, organized and filed. Mind you, I suggested that my parents do the same in the event that a family member found the need to pick up and follow their trail on the Internet or in their home should tragedy strike. I caught Mom and Dad scrawling notes and passwords on little pieces of paper years ago, promptly scolded them for being so careless with such valuable info, and set them on the path of encrypted files and password managers. At the time, I had every right to gloat about my organizational methods and give them the wet noodle lashing they deserved, but then came the breakdown. What happened to me? Unfortunately, somewhere along the line I became bored or depressed or sidetracked with another pursuit and began flinging paper everywhere. It’s a nightmare, really. I can’t just go through and sort and shred and file or toss because I have precious notes written on every piece of paper that need to be taken down and typed into RoboForm, my password manager, or into my log and then shredded or carefully scratched out or torn off or……….oh, my!!

One can see why I am stopping to lay out my frustration on this poor bloggy which has collected dust and cobwebs waiting for me to initiate it. It’s overwhelming. I need a break. I feel at once as if a family member or friend might turn me in to an episode of Hoarders and march a professional into my home to scan all my precious papers and photos onto my computer. But, stubborn do-it-yourselfer that I am, I would fight them off with all my might.

The shame that I see in all of this, besides the fact that I have given myself permission to be out of control for so many months, is that we humans have unconsciously asked for and allowed our lives to be complicated by the very technology and tools that were created to simplify life for us. It’s a convoluted set of circumstances. Everything we own or use reciprocates by owning us in terms of cost or maintenance, but, wow, that’s another subject for another time, isn’t it.

Back to the passwords–how many does an average person have these days? Hundreds? I don’t have the energy to count mine. I have categories: Bank and credit card accounts; Computer–login, password manager, encryption software, cloud backup and storage; E-mail, Webhosting and Blog, Internet–provider, router, Netflix, Roku, etc.; Utilities, Taxes, Insurance, Medical, Travel, Shopping, Social Networking, School, Work, IM’s, and the list goes on and on. Every password/user name combo is unique and such a difficult string of characters that I couldn’t memorize one or all of them if I tried. One can’t even apply for a job these days without having a separate user name and password for each company. It’s insanity. If it were not for password managers–RoboForm, LastPass, KeePass, to name a few of the most popular–many of us would be lost. Of course, you could do like some that I know–I won’t mention any names–who use the same, or a version of the same, password and user name for every site. What about those who use simple words or use their bank pin for everything? Scary! You know who you are. Stop it. You are begging to be hacked!

Stepping down off my soapbox now. It’s been a productive day! The passwords are now neatly organized and secure and all the papers shredded or filed. A blog post, such as it is, is written. I even managed to clean the bathroom during the brief break from password hell. Thank you RoboForm. Thank you TrueCrypt. Thank you mighty shredder. It appears I will live to fight the password war another day. Goodnight and God bless.