Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Little Black Book . . . or Something

I've read more than a few times that individuals who convert to something  -- a religion, belief system, etc -- are often more zealous than those who have embraced it for most of their life.

I'm living proof of that as it applies to technology. I was dragged, scowling and muttering, by my husband to the library years ago to take a mini-workshop on "The World Wide Web -- What it Is and What it can do for You" one day back in 1994 or 1995. I had no desire to spend an afternoon sitting at a keyboard when I could be reading or taking a walk, but my husband, who had used the internet while in the Air Force, really wanted me to go, so I went. Very, very reluctantly.

I was just as reluctant when he tried to talk me into signing up for internet service as soon as it was available where we lived. The workshop at the library had failed to convince me that this new Wide World Web had anything to offer me other than images that loaded at excrutiatingly-slow speeds while an annoying electronic noise repeated incessantly.

I finally bought into the whole internet thing and whole-heartedly welcomed high-speed DSL (excuse any misuse of terms -- I can use it all even though I don't know what it's all called). I would balk temporarily any time my husband wanted to upgrade or add memory or something else that threatened to case me to have to learn something new, but he would always talk me around.

I didn't embrace or welcome new technology at all back in those days. I simply tolerated it.

In the past ten years, though, I've welcomed new technology. I love my laptop, have had an iphone almost from the first, and can't live without my ipad mini (partially funded by the trade-in of my ipad 2, which was partially funded by the trade-in of my original ipad). It's not just the hardware I've embraced.

I have 4 email accounts -- one for work, one for my writing, one for personal correspondence, and one for lists and contests, etc. I have this blog, use facebook, and I even have Twitter and Instagram accounts. I love etsy and ravelry and pinterest, and . . . well, I think you get the idea. I also love finding new apps for my macbookPro, ipad and iphone that enhance my work and my personal life.

Yes, I who was a reluctant -- at best -- attendee at a internet workshop only 20 years ago is now an enthusiastic embracer of technology.

Using these programs and apps has created a problem, though. I have usernames and passwords galore. Because my first name is very common, and because I only use my first and last name for a few very specific usernames, and because I try to change my passwords at least once a year for security reasons, I have trouble keeping my usernames and passwords and emails associated with memberships straight.

A year ago, I thought I'd found the perfect solution. I found a mini-composition book -- about 2" x 2 1/2" -- somewhere and used it to record all of my usernames and passwords. For security reasons, I kept the mini-comp book in a safe spot in my apartment, but all too often I would be at work or at my son's and need a password or username, and changing the passwords every few months caused the little book to get messy in a hurry. I decided to go digital.

I investigated a few ipad apps and tried several of the free versions with great reviews, but none really worked well for me. Today, I gave up on finding the perfect app and simply loaded all of my usernames and passwords onto a "Note" in my ipad and emailed a copy of the note to my work email and then saved it to a folder there. My ipad is password protected, and I wasn't foolish enough to name the note "Passwords", so I'm okay with the security level for now, particularly since I didn't include any account or password information for my online banking account.

After I finish downsizing physically, I plan to downsize electronically, and I'm sure I'll be getting rid of 2 email accounts and other programs and apps. Until then, though, I'm content with my method for storing usernames and password information. It isn't very fancy, but it's in a format that works for me, and I can easily update the passwords as need be.

What about you? How do you organize the electronic aspects of your life? I'd love to hear about what has worked for you!

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