Friday, April 30, 2010

What's the Password?

You know how just about every website and their brother now requires you to have an account so you have to come up with a user ID and a password and the password requires a minimum of 37 characters that must contain a mixture of capital letters, lower case letters, numbers and characters and when you've finally come up with one that meets the criteria you get a "sorry, that ID and/or password is already in use" and then you have to start the process all over again?  The type of password that is the best to have is something like this: "fy:23GT*9Xcxl" which is one pain in the butt to type in.  I think I'd rather have my account hacked than have to type something like that in time after time after time.  Oh, and you're supposed to change your password every time the seasons change to keep those hackers on their toes.


So you come up with a successful ID and password but because the password is so frickin' complicated (see above) you can't remember it long enough to write it down in your secret book that is filled with all your User ID's and passwords and if you ever lost that book your life would come to a screeching halt so you guard that book with your life but since your password doesn't work anymore you have to answer the secret question that is usually something along the lines of "What is the maiden name of your first pet and what street was your favorite author's elementary school on?"


As I may have mentioned, my new laptop somehow had all my files and internet bookmarks wiped out.  So I'm re-entering my bookmarks, one of which is my e-mail server and I have to enter my User ID and password to access my e-mail for the first time in, well, 2-1/2 months.  But here we hit a bit of a snafu.  For some reason, Verizon was refusing to recognize me.  No matter how many times I would put in my ID and password, Verizon would perform the Cut Direct.  I could totally sense Verizon looking down its nose at me and saying, "Do I know you?" and I'm all, "Dude, it's ME!  Don't you recognize me?  Hello!!!???" and Verizon going, "Um, no.  Sorry" and then they ask me to please move outside the Velvet Rope and stand over there with the rest of the Losers.  Again.


So, it's obvious I have to re-do my e-mail access stuff and luckily, I'm able to answer the Secret Question correctly and all I have to do is choose a new password.  Which turns out to be easier said than done.


Password after password was rejected as too easily hacked.  Finally, in my extreme irritation, I chose an expression famous in my family.  It's a Polish term that roughly translates to, how can I say this delicately, "Bite me!"  


And guess what?  Verizon rejected it!  They claimed that my Polish term was too easy to guess and therefore was a security risk that they just couldn't allow.


Dude, seriously?  I mean, I can see using a Spanish word might be too common and therefore easy to hack but POLISH?  Who knew Polish was such a common language here?


It was probably a good thing I didn't try using Yiddish because you know that Yiddish is such a widely used language someone would have been able to hack into my e-mail account in the blink of an eye.


I eventually came up with an acceptable password that met all the criteria of letters, numbers, characters and secret handshakes and immediately wrote it into The Book so that I wouldn't forget it.

I miss the Good Ol' Days when "password" was considered sufficient.

Sigh.



Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Laptops - 2, Kelly - 0

Two and a half months ago, my 3 year old Gateway laptop crashed and burned.  It was very ugly and there were no survivors.  So I purchase a new Toshiba laptop with Windows 7 along with a portable hard drive so I can back up all my files just in case something like this happens again.


Guess what?  No, not chicken butt.  Something like that happened again.  To my two and a half month old laptop.  Suddenly, I'm getting a million pop up windows, NOT from my Norton 360 anti-virus software oh by the way, telling me that a virus has been detected and if I would just "Click Here!" my problems will be solved.  I'm also getting a million pop up windows that all happen to be from porn sites on Internet Explorer which I never use because it's crap and I only use Firefox.  Porn site windows that won't let me close them.  

So Thing 1, who doesn't seem to have any problems with his log on account on my laptop, tells me to just delete my account and create a new one.  No problem because I had backed up my hard drive on to my portable hard drive only a few days ago.  

Guess whose portable hard drive is telling me that my files cannot be retrieved?  Guess whose Norton anti-virus software that backs up my files for safety is not able to retrieve said files?  Guess who is ready to put on a hockey mask, pick up a chainsaw and go all Freddy Krueger on Microsoft, Best Buy, Norton and anyone else related to the problem and yes I know I'm mixing up my horror movie villains but I. Don't. Care.


What makes me even more angry is that the reason I needed this laptop was for work and it was only when I went to install the software needed for my job that I found out the software was not only not Mac compatible which is why I went with a PC/laptop but is also NOT Windows 7 compatible.  Isn't that SPECIAL?  And this was after I had to also get Microsoft Office because the software program needed Office to work.


I never wanted to get a Windows computer.  I think Microsoft sucks and Apple products are far superior because you don't get the crap that happens with Windows computers but I had to have it for work which was a big waste of money because see paragraph above.


I think the problem came when Thing 2 watched "Breakfast Club" over the internet this weekend on my laptop.  She does not remember what site she found the movie but that's the only thing I can think of.


I had a chat with TheManTheMyth about this and told him we have two options.  Option 1:  We can continue to have problems and lose files over and over, apparently, and spend money over and over without any guarantee that it won't happen again in the next year or two.  Or even in the next month or two.  I've already lost my files and all my work twice in 2 months.


Option B:  We can just bite the bullet and get a new Mac that will last for years.  That software program I need for work will not be used after this year anyway so I have no need for Windows in my life except the kind that lets me look outside.  To put it in terms that TheManTheMyth would understand, I told him that Macs are the equivalent of KTM dirt bikes and computers that use Windows are the equivalent of those cheap dirt bikes made in Communist Asian countries that you can buy at Pep Boys and always need repairing and you end up spending more than you paid for it just trying to keep it running.


TheManTheMyth looked at me, whimpered and went off to take a nap.  I don't know if the whimper is a Yes or a No.


Well, I'm off to the Geek Squad to see if they can fix this problem and retrieve my files from either the laptop or the portable hard drive.  Best Buy sells Macs.  Hmmmm.


Update:  I took both the laptop and the Passport to Geek Squad.  The good news is, they couldn't find a virus anywhere and they gave me something to scan my system to look for malware, viruses, etc and that came out clean.

The bad news is that once again, none of my files could be retrieved.  Somehow, both the Passport backup hard drive and the Norton Backup thingamajig failed miserably and my files on both systems are gone baby gone with the wind.  So I am right back to where I was 2-1/2 months ago and having to start from scratch to get my 500+ racers data entered all over again.  Unless I can convince TheManTheMyth we can sell one of the kids so I can get a Macbook.

 


Monday, April 26, 2010

I Go Out Walkin'

But not after Midnight because that would be dangerous what with all sorts of nefarious characters afoot although it would be kind of interesting because if I'm out walking after midnight the odds are good I'm sleepwalking because I'm a 10:00pm bedtime type of gal because I like my sleep.  A Lot.  And I got all that "Stay Up Until the Cows Come Home" stuff out of my system a decade or so ago, not that I knew any cows that came home when the sun came up because I've pretty much lived in the suburbs my entire life where there aren't any cows to come home to and where was I going with this nice run on sentence that started with the title of a song by the Late Miss Patsy Cline?  

Oh yes, I remember.  I'm walking.  Yes indeed I'm walking.  Ok, who's feeling musical today?  That'd be Me.

ANYWAY.

Miss Gracie Lou requires exercise to get her tuckered out because otherwise, an unexercised (nonexercised?) Gracie Lou is a hyper, bored and possibly destructive Gracie Lou so we go on a good walk in the morning and another walk in the afternoon.  During the week we do these walks at a park a couple of miles away that's on the way to and from Thing 2's school so it's not like I'm going out of my way but on the weekends, we walk from our house.  We had been just walking straight up the road about a mile and then coming back but that got a bit boring so now Gracie Lou and I have decided to start walking through the various neighborhoods in the vicinity.  I have lived in my house in the Prestigious Plaza area of Long Beach almost 15 years and this is after spending almost every weekend and vacation in this house while growing up so you'd assume I'd know these neighborhoods like the back of my hand but you'd be wrong there with that assumption.

This has been a very interesting experience I'm enjoying seeing more of my hometown, even if it's just within a few miles from my door.  I love looking at houses and our walks give me the opportunity to look, admire AND critique and lemme tell you, people have done some interesting "remuddling" of their basic 1950's California Ranch houses.  There have been more than a few that I've stood there, gaping, and I'm all What. The. Fuck?  and have thanked my lucky stars that I'm not their neighbor and are forced to look at that every day.


So anyway, yesterday I was over at my seester's new house and it was time to take the dogs for a good walk. This is my seester's dog Coco.  She's a Labradoodle but I think she looks like one of the Flying Monkeys.  Coco is one of the best dogs and is a wonderful Role Model for Gracie Lou.
So Gracie Lou and I are taken for a walk and I am shown a place I never knew existed in my own town.
This was a beautiful Nature Preserve that goes along the Northeast end of Marine Stadium.  
It's filled with native plants and flowers and the Golden Poppies, which I neglected to take pictures of, were in full bloom and there were benches to sit down on and take in the view and it just amazes me how many things there are in Long Beach that I don't know about.


So we enjoyed a lovely walk along the waterfront and through this nature preserve and then trekked back to the house through another neighborhood I had never been in and by the time we got back to the house, Gracie Lou wasn't the only one who was completely tuckered out (raises hand).


So our walks are serving two purposes:  health and exercise and experiencing previously unknown parts.  And you know what that tells me?


I gotta get out more often.