Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ok, spin the wheel of seasons… and today we have…. Winter again…?

So, let’s see what season it is…. Hi=71, LO= 52, Hi=32, LO=16, HI=64, LO=32…..  any guesses?….. anyone?

Me either.  My dogs are so confused they are shedding profusely while growing both summer and winter coats at the same time.

Snow the past 2 nights. Tonight clear and 16 and Saturday and Sunday will be about 68. I feel like a popsicle in a worn out old freezer.

On a more stable note, Emery and Christi got their pantry emptied of a collection of the past 20+ years and have it spread out in one of the empty bedrooms for me to go though before it gets pitched out.

Every day makes the house more theirs than ours and that is great.  I feel the burdens of years of accumulation gradually melting away. It is wonderful!

Randy was telling me how great Roadrunner Turbo mode is supposed to be. Presently, I get about 6 megabit download data rates and 350kb upload data rates.  Turbo is supposed to get me from 10 to 20mbit down and up to 500kbps upload rates.  What didn’t become apparent in this is that these seemingly wonderful performance goals are targeted only for gamers and really high large file downloaders. The average run of the mill web surfer, emailer, IM user and such will not see any noticeable improvement in web performance.

I still decided I had to know if it would be worth another $10/month to me so I turned it on yesterday.  First glitch was that they could not turn it on until I went down to their store and picked up one of the cable modems that Time Warner uses.  So I went down town, got the new cable modem, returned home, installed it and proceeded to see pretty much what I have been seeing all along in performance.

That is when I found out from their tech support about the performance improvements were only going to be useful to the gamers and big downloaders. humpf!  Well, I have 30 days to try it and then if I don’t think its worth it I can drop it for free.

Today, I have been too busy with non-internet stuff so I have not been able to really wring it out like I wanted but maybe tomorrow….

Meanwhile, I am still fighting the increasing struggles with the whole userid and password jungle.  Now that more and more checking and restricting is being done to make passwords more secure and less vulnerable to hacking or cracking, it is getting harder to just login.. anywhere!

I have over 800 userids with passwords that I use. It is impossible to make them all unique and still be able to remember them.  Heck, its impossible for me to remember any of them.  Then you get the sites that require you to change your password every so many days to a new one that has not been used before and pretty soon one has no clue what a password might be.

I have complained before about getting over 500 emails a day of which maybe 1% or less is not spam. Now, I have to ask for a forgotten password every time I try to logon to a website I have not visited today and I am getting more and more frustrated.

Sure, I have password managers that keep them all very secure but again, the increasing security blocks these from working so to even use them I have to manually open each one in the PW manager and edit it to see what my password is right now and then manually type it into the security prompt for that site.  That is bad enough but on the back side I have to manually maintain these passwords in the PW manager every time one must be changed due to the logon restrictions on the site. It’s impossible to keep it all straight and as soon as a couple of mistakes creep into the database, they all become suspect. 

This difficulty factor is doubled when they block the password you type in so you can’t see what you typed. Sure, I make typos just like everyone else so when it rejects my password I don’t know if I mistyped it, miscopied it from the PW Manager or have changed it on the site and now the PW manager does not have the correct current PW in it. To straighten this out I have to go to the site, say I lost my Password, get it mailed to me (or a new one if they only offer a reset function) then login to the site with the new one and also make sure to up date the PW in the PW manager for this site and all other occurrences of it (yes, there may be multiple PW entries in the PW manager due to different entry points to the site. Each will have a PW manager entry with userid, password and URL.  All have to be found and changed manually.

By now, I have totally forgotten why I needed to get into that site.

The only defense against this is to make the logon on all your sites use the same userid and PW. This, of course, makes it so unsecure that the web sites have to add additional complexity in the form of questions that you have to answer AFTER you have entered your userid and password. The questions change and are different from site to site so there goes the one userid and password workaround!

I have run into some of these types of sites that do not have any questions that I could supply an answer to that I would be able to remember a consistent answer to in 3 months. Other questions have no answer possible for me. One such example is “what is your mother’s middle name?”  My mother was never given a middle name.

The only common questions everyone already knows, like “your mother’s maiden name”, “your date of birth”, your high school mascot”  (heck, that was 50 years ago.. I barely remember the name of the school).

So, there you have it… Clearly, the more secure they try to make the logon process the more complex it becomes and the more complex it becomes the more people try to simplify it to keep it usable and that undermines the very security that was being attempted by the process.  Really dumb approach to security.  Like putting more padlocks on a wooden locker. If I can pick one I can pick them all or I will just bust the hinges.

The only people that are being blocked from getting into their accounts are the people whose accounts they belong to.

Enough of the rant.

Obviously, I am not in the middle of my happy place tonight so I will say TTFN until tomorrow.

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