Friday, April 28, 2006

random reflection brought on by malfunctioning technology

Wednesday the wireless went wacky in the apartment. B came home to try to help, but I was prepping food and the house to have people over for dinner, so we never did get it working that day. We did figure out that it was some sort of communication error between lappy and the Airport Express, because everything else worked, including hardwiring the laptop to an ethernet. This was more than awkward, so I decided I could just use B's big bad g5 with dual monitors for the light stuff I'd be doing that day - checking email, aggregator, class discussions - not doing any actual homework.

Getting closer to the point: I have a hella lotta passwords and user ids. I actually had no idea just how many of these things I have going on, because I let the computer remember most of them. I don't let the computer remember anything about my online banking, but that's about it. In the daily course of checking email, aggregator, and grad school class space, there's a lot of *other* stuff I end up doing - blogging, commenting on a lot of blogs, looking at pictures, adding to wikis, writing more emails, looking at a lot of links, looking up books at the library and so on. And a lot of these things require the user ids and passwords I created and save on lappy.

I have probably about 3 core variations on the user id, which also means I'm spawning multiple identities across the net. There's my real name, there's my libraryish screen name, there's my foodie screen name. Then there's the issue of if my screen name isn't available and I need to choose a variation. Sometimes my standard variation of that particular screen name isn't available, so then I have to make up a new variation. So I might have up to 10 different actual user ids.

And then there's passwords. Let's just say my passwords are probably only secure from me. I can't remember which one I've used where, and more often than I like have to go through the process of resetting said password.

I suppose why I found this so interesting (really frustrating as well as I kept getting stopped in my tracks) is that I generally avoid creating accounts whenever possible. I use in my rabid avoidance of creating accounts for news organizations. But I think its a very telling sign of the interactivity, the 2.0-i-ness, of the web, that someone who generally won't comment on a blog or read an article if I have to create an account has ended up with this long list.

In no particular order, some of the many places I visit and have to login for:

  • bank
  • home email
  • work email
  • grad school email
  • project email
  • flickr
  • blogger
  • grad school class space
  • grad school library
  • grad school grades
  • grad school money stuff
  • yahoo groups
  • typepad
  • public library opac
  • library elf
  • blog aggregator
  • amazon (which i don't purchase from anymore because they donate a lot of money to the republican party)
  • powells
  • zingermanns
  • delicious
  • eat local wiki
  • wikipedia
  • meredith's library wiki
  • paypal
  • livejournal
  • grad school ftp web stuff

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