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Senior Moments – for week of January 13


I once saw a WWII movie where an American spy wanted to open a Nazi safe and figured out the combination by assuming it was Hitler’s birthdate, which most Nazi combination locks were evidently set to since Adolf was a megalomaniac and his underlings were terrified robots with no imagination. Security is surely important to protect valuable possessions and documents but when it becomes the all-consuming obsession of paranoid people, it’s only a nuisance.

We’ve all heard about the serious breaches of security at several retail chains where unscrupulous hackers broke into the computer systems, stealing information from millions of customers’ credit and debit card accounts by scanning recent transactions, so precautions are a definite necessity when it comes to protecting money, but why highly complex passwords are needed for silly things like e-Mail or Facebook accounts is beyond me.

Nowadays the entire world knows everything about us, what with computers that accumulate tons of data and surveillance camera’s everywhere that record our every movement. That’s a fact of 21st Century life so why do the creators of websites find it necessary to require passwords in order for us to log into their innocuous Internet Boards, Blogs, or Chat Rooms? Not just simple passwords, but the most abstruse combination of at least eight numbers and letters with one or more letters being in caps. Ridiculous. Who can remember them all, and why aren’t Usernames enough? I used to have one simple six letter password for everything, but as time went on these security-obsessed info-techs not only demanded longer and more impossible to remember encryptions, they required me to change them every 3 months. What in heck are they protecting, other than perhaps their own jobs?

Privacy in today’s society is a thing of the past and as a perfect example, a few months ago I ordered a replacement part for my barbecue over the phone from a company I had never done business with previously, and by just spelling my last name and giving my zip code, the person on the other end not only knew my mailing address but my Email address as well. I bet if I pressed her she could have also told me what color shorts I was wearing at the time.

Of course the website designers know that passwords will be forgotten since every password entry is always accompanied by the ever-present question asking if you forgot your password. Perhaps if they did away with passwords altogether and just asked if you want a password, the “Yes” or “No” answer would be good enough to get you into your extremely important account so you can tell the world what you ate for breakfast or how much you dislike your job or the current political administration, things that everyone is just dying to know about.

The ultimate solution to this problem would be to have individual voice recognition where all that would be necessary to log in would be to just say your name. The computer would be able to determine if it was you or not by your distinct speech pattern, and if you forget who you are, not being able to log in wouldn’t matter in the least. In fact it might be a blessing to everyone else.


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