, , ,

Imagine my horror, loyal readers, when I discovered that my place of work has no one in charge of Removing the Corpses of Pigeons From Outside Windows, Roofs and Other Inaccessible Yet Highly Visible Places. Indeed, such a department doesn’t even exist within the venerable NHS institution. A mere oversight, I’m sure. So there it remains, slowly rotting away, day after day, as I try to eat my lunch without looking at it.

Since that was not the worst thing to happen in recent weeks, the moratorium on writing while under a morbid cloud has continued. The “Great Push” that was going to define the start of October was rather tragically pre-empted and my motivation has therefore been lacking. I had nothing to say, or at least that I felt was worth saying. Until today, when I came up against a uniquely 21st Century problem.

Before that, I have a uniquely 20th Century problem – I find myself somewhat peckish and in need of a smidgeon of something so with a full larder I will complain to myself that there isn’t anything suitable to eat. Maybe a cup of tea and a caramel wafer will suffice.

While you wait, have a wee play with this – it has caused quite the storm on the infonet.

Now, once upon a time on the radio, there was a discussion on the implications of our digital legacies. When one dies, one takes with one the keys to their digital kingdom – passwords. The recommendation was that a record should be made of all your passwords and filed confidentially with your solicitor along with your will, to be used in the event of your death by the executor of your estate to wind up (or down) all your dealings. Since I find myself in the unfortunate position of not having a solicitor, a will or an executor, I have made no written record of my passwords. This is of course in accordance with the wishes of any organisation that has ever issued me with a password, in conjunction with the threat that they won’t be held accountable for their actions if they find out I’ve had the temerity to write it down. A threat that has been so internalised, whenever the thought creeps into my mind that it might be sensible to keep a record of these things it is meet with a sharp intake of breath and an “ooooh no, what would the bank say if they found out?!”

The unintended consequence of this is that I spend a lot of time filling out the rather patronisingly entitled “Forgotten our password again, have we?” form. This is made all the more difficult by my penchant for migrating from one email address to another when they start to fill up, meaning I often find myself in the position of not only not knowing my password but also not being able to remember which email address I use to log in with and gawd help me if it’s just a username instead. Thankfully, Gmail retrieves the junk from my other email inboxes and sqirrels them away discreetly until I choose to look at them. This means that once I have remembered which email account to get the password reminder or reset email sent to, I then have to wait until Google decides to retrieve it for me.

I do realise that most internet browsers have the facility to remember your passwords but in the long term I really think this causes more problems than it solves. What if you need to use someone else’s computer and you can’t remember the password because it has always been remembered for you? What if yours gets stolen or decides the extended warranty has now just expired and it doesn’t want to work anymore? What if you are surrounded by those objectionable people who like to log in as you and make outrageous statements (usually with homophobic, ablist or mysogynistic overtones)?

Loyal readers might be wondering why I don’t have a System for password management. I think I can only shrug my shoulders in bewilderment and declare in a strangled whisper that it is too late for that now. I could blame Randal Munroe for one of his comics about the likely consequences of using the same password for everything, I’m sure that has something to do with it. I must however, shoulder the lion’s share of the blame. When it first started I only needed one or two passwords so it didn’t matter if they were the same or different. If there’s one thing I can do it’s remember a few words. But slowly over the last decade or more, it has spiralled out of control. Although I have a main password, or variation on it, that I use for quite a few things, many other accounts have sprung up and some idiot fancy led me to secure them with something different, worse yet, something irrelevant and eminently forgettable.

Financial institutions are by far the worst culprits when it comes to Babelian towers of internet security. Log in numbers, random number generators, security codes, mother’s maiden names; all together a Fort Knox of electronic impenetrability. Strange, therefore, that they try to sell me fraud protection insurance when in their own terms and conditions I am not the one liable for genuine fraudulent activity (if such a thing can be said to exist!).

A system cannot form when such institutions are conspiring to dictate the terms.

By way of diversion, I realise that today is Friday and I have no photo for you. When I was clearing out the office the other day, I found a haiku I wrote years ago so you may have that instead:

All you need is love

And the food and clothes and friends

But mostly love…yeah.

GRPs for clearing out the office – a room designed for productivity! +1

  • Karma: +16
  • FRP: -16.4
  • Relationships: +6
  • Family: +9
  • Friends: +15 [Supplementary PPs: +2]
  • Career: +9
  • Fitness: 0
  • General: 0
  • Hospitality: +3
Lyric of the Week: He sleeps alone, He needs no army where he’s headed cause he knows That they’re just ghosts And they can’t hurt him if he can see them