Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

I Knew Better…

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ohhh boyoboy yes indeed I certainly did know better than to take on the job of cleaning up the 19 single-spaced pages of coded passwords and secret instructions about this or that techno-headache.

But those passwords get changed. The websites get out-dated. One’s own sites get moved to new servers or closed down or changed in some strange way. New permutations of social media come online. And after a few years, the whole damn secret-code mess needs to be overhauled.

It’s almost two in the afternoon. I don’t know how many hours I’ve been working on this obnoxious task: several, is all I can say. Several boring, tedious, miserable, frustrating, HAIR-TEARING hours.

It’s a wonder I have any hair left at all, considering the number of boring, tedious, miserable, frustrating, and hair-tearing hours I spend in front of a computer.

The password conundrum is just one of the many indications that he who imagines the computer makes our lives better should get his head examined.

Yes. I do know that I could use one of those password generators to emanate random, supposedly unguessable passwords. But…y’know…if a hacker can’t guess or break into a randomly generated code…neither can you or I. If you lose the master password, if you have a stroke or an accident and you forget the master password, if you croak over…then YOU CAN’T GET INTO YOUR OWN ACCOUNTS. Neither can your heirs, should you shuffle off this mortal coil.

Knowing my own propensities for loss and for forgetfulness, there is noooo way I’m handing over the keys to all my bank accounts to some random password generator.

The problem is that WHEREAS I should’ve had enough sense to have put this vast table of websites and secret codes into an Excel file, I started out with it in a Word table.

Word’s behavior with tables is the main reason we call Word Wyrd. The program is OK with short tables, and with tables that aren’t very complicated, and with tables that have no Asian characters in them, and with tables that have no math symbols…as long as they’re short. That’s the operative term: “short.”

Let your data set grow to, say…oh, 19 pages, and you drive Wyrd berserkers.

Word has a lot in common with a cat. It will purr along, seemingly calm and cooperative, for the longest time. Then when you get about four-fifths of the way through whatever you think you’re doing, WHAKOLA! It will give you such a smack upside your head you’ll never forget that cat.

Twice I had to redo page after page of mind-numbing trash the thing deleted and would not “undo.”

The job would’ve taken enough hours without having to redo and reformat whole sections.

Welp, I managed to get rid of a lot of out-dated and redundant blather. We’re now down from 19 single-spaced pages to…yes…18 single-spaced pages.

 

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Author: funny

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5 Comments

  1. I gave up on a password “file” years ago – and installed this tool – https://keepass.info/download.html

    For each site/account – I can capture a user name, a password – as well as the URL of the site. I also store the answers to the “secret questions” in each record – since my answers to things like “The town you grew up in” are things like “grapefruit” – random words.

    The tool will generate “complex” passwords for me, and you can copy/paste the password from the record and into the box – so you don’t have to type it out ever.

    And it’s stored on my computer – not in the “cloud”.

    I wrote the master password down and it’s in a safety deposit box with my will and trust documents 🙂 You can also have a master “key file” instead of a password if you prefer that – burn it to a cd and stick it in a file cabinet.

    • Yeah, I know about these tools. And I’d heard of Keepass. Dunno…I guess it has to do with my retrograde mentality: something about having to have a secret password to deal with all the secret passwords makes my head hurt. I don’t want to wade into MORE confounding technology when I feel like already up to my eyeballs in confounding technology. And these days the motto TRUST NO ONE applies all across the board. I suspect the risk of hacking exists no matter which way you jump. If a tech or a band of techs can develop a program, some other tech can hack it. If you have Keepass on a thumb drive, for example (as suggested on their Features page: https://keepass.info/features.html), what happens if you drop that drive in a parking lot and the wrong person picks it up?

      • Well that’s where your One True Password needs to be really good 🙂

        The encryption used by these tools is solid – if you don’t know the password, and it’s not guessable, you’re not getting into the database.

        And honestly, if you drop the drive in a parking lot – the chances are pretty slim that the person who picks it up, will recognize what they have, and know how to do anything with it. The average person is going to format it and keep it for themselves, if they recognize what it is.

        That being said – I keep my database with my personal passwords on my home computer – if they get it, they also have my computer, which has plenty of other information on it 🙂

  2. Ugh. Sounds like it might have taken less time to transfer the info, piece by piece, into an Excel file instead of trying to work with Word.

    I, too, have a master password file, although mine isn’t nearly so long. And I live in fear that I’m going to sign up for something or change a password and forget to update the list.

    Said list is labeled something innocuous and tucked away in my documents folder. I’ve been tempted to create a document, something like “Master Password File” and inside it just type, “Hahahaha…nope.” But (hopefully) no one but me would ever see it and get the joke.

    • Funny about Money
      October 1, 2017 at 6:52 am

      I expect a lot of folks do this. Really, unless you use one of those tools Spiff describes, what else CAN you do?

      Mine are coded, so it would be hard to figure out what the entries are passwords TO…but it could be done, I imagine, with enough patience. Being able to copy and paste instead of type argha.123.wargha//bargha every time you sign in to anything goes a long way toward making the Web navigable. Without a list like this, I just would give up.

      But yeah…I had the same though, after the fact: should’ve typed this stuff into Excel. Starting out, I’d figured I’d just delete stuff that was no longer relevant and organize the remaining data in a more coherent way. But it turned into a much, much larger headache than planned.

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