A DIGITAL DUNCE IN PASSWORD HELL
I would rather fly in an American Airlines 737 (before they were grounded for threatening to fall out of the sky) than talk to another American Airlines AAdvantage person.
My problem revolved around a password that I could not remember. It took two days to explain to a series of nice but dense AAdvantage people that my name was not Jerry Femina.
Somehow American AAdvantage had lost the “Della” on an AAdvantage MasterCard I’ve had since 1997.
When I sent them a copy of my driver’s license, they decided maybe I was indeed Jerry Della Femina, but now I needed a new password, and the next day, when I used the new password they gave me, they said I had the wrong password.
It brought to mind a column I wrote two years ago that is word-for-word true.
A DIGITAL DUNCE IN PASSWORD HELL
What’s your password? How many times a day are you asked to remember a password?
Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Facebook, AT&T, Apple, Netflix, every bank – everything in life now needs a password. I started out with a simple password, “winter,” which was the password I used for everything.
This did not satisfy the password gods. Not enough letters ... add a number ... capitalize ...
The password gods and geeks are insatiable.
Want to get on your own WiFi? You need a password. WHY? Why do I care if Mr. and Mrs. Klapperstein, the nice old couple who live next door to me, use my WiFi? Maybe they can’t afford their own WiFi.
I’m declaring war on passwords. From now on, if you want to access anything I have, use my password for everything:
And here’s a true story about how a forgotten password messed up my life when my wife, the beautiful Judy Licht, managed the impossible. She managed to hack herself on Facebook.
Let me repeat that: SHE HACKED HERSELF.
Let me explain.
In 2016 I sent an email to my children that read, “The two worst things that ever happened to this country: Donald Trump is president. And your mother has her first iPhone.”
Judy is a brilliant woman. But she is an electronics nightmare — a digital dunce. Hold a television remote in front of her face and she reacts like Dracula when you show him a crucifix.
Judy gave up her ancient Blackberry and got her first iPhone and decided go on Facebook again.
Five years ago I spent an entire weekend setting her up with her own Facebook account. Judy spent one week on her computer reaching out to all her friends. At the end of the week she had 609 Facebook friends.
She “friended” everyone, including, I believe, Charles Manson, O.J. Simpson and, from Facebook Argentina, Martin Bormann. Then, after one hectic week when she was on Facebook 24 hours a day, she stopped cold. She would never tell me why, but I always knew.
She forgot her password and had no idea how to get a new one and was too proud to ask me for help.
Now, this past weekend, armed with a new toy, she decided to put Facebook on her new iPhone. Naturally she couldn’t get into her old page without a password so, without telling me, she decided to sign up for a new Judy Licht Facebook page.
When I found out, I pointed out in a rather loud voice (actually, it was something of a scream) that a new Judy Licht Facebook page would lose those 609 friends and hundreds of smiling photos, etc. She attempted to get back on the original Judy Licht Facebook page.
This, it turns out, is impossible. Facebook only seems to recognize her new, friendless, photoless page.
Every time we attempted to go back to her original page, Facebook would bring us back to the latest, empty Judy Licht page.
We tried over and over and over and finally Facebook told us that someone was hacking her page. Then Apple sent us an email to tell us that someone was hacking the Judy Licht phone and to answer them by having Judy enter her Apple password.
Naturally, Judy couldn’t remember her Apple password. Soon a few of our friends wrote me saying that someone was hacking Judy’s Facebook page. Next I expected the doorbell to ring and Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, to come barging into our home to make a citizen’s arrest.
Facebook has met its match – Judy.
It’s a mess.
What will happen with Judy on her own iPhone?
So if you get an email from Judy saying, “Hello, I’m calling on you because you’re our only hope. Jerry and I went on a vacation to visit the synagogues of Karachi, Pakistan, and on our last day someone broke into our room and stole our wallets, passports and identities.
“We cannot get home unless you help. We are walking the streets of Karachi and we are hungry. Please send $5000 to Amman Habib (a nice man who has befriended us) and I will pay you the minute I get back.”
Don’t pay the money.
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