Password, Smashword

If you are like me, you are feeling a bit cranky about things these days. Most likely because you practically put your back out trying to get behind your desk to to retrieve the post-it note with all your passwords on it and now you’re setting aside your entire Friday night to change them all again.


This is our lives these days. Immersed in the stream of progress, which is not to be confused with the River of Angst and Gnashing of Teeth.

I’m going to ramble on for a bit. Bear with me for a moment.

My kids are on spring break so we’ve been showing them some classics from our childhoods. First off, boy howdy did the rating system change over the years! (Which I already knew, but whatever.) Anyhoo, my kids’ whole lives I have been known to break into song like some really bad B-side musical. That being the case, it seemed like a good time to show them Good Morning Vietnam in spite of the language issues. If for no other reason than now they can quote the opening likes along with me.

I share this bit of possibly questionable parenting for this reason…the role technology plays in our lives since the 1960s has changed so much that it’s not even a fruit to fruit comparison. In GMV, Adrian Cronauer spins a 45 of Martha and the Vandellas, the radio station is made up of many recording rooms, and the soldiers use an AM/FM radio to get their news and musical fix.

Fast forward to 2014 and Littlest can run an iTunes search faster than I can type Louis Armstrong. My kids have never touched an album, the only radio we own is in my Honda Odyssey, and soldiers today use the internet to stay on top of what’s happening in the world, and in their homes — one Skype or download at a time.

Can you imagine going back to 1965 and not feeling quite hampered by the lack of familiar technology?

And yet, it isn’t all peas and carrots as those of us changing all our passwords know. The internet and our dependance on it has inserted itself into our lives in such a way that we are edging our way to a Borg-like existence of sorts. Sure, it may have seemed impossible for humans to “plug into the hive” a lá Jean-Luc Picard, but that’s basically what most of us have done.

We are plugged in via our computers and phones, our programable cars and remote thermostats, our checking accounts and direct deposits. It all works great and makes our lives better until it suddenly doesn’t. And then, my dear friends, we are well and truly frustrated.

I’m not going all hulk-smash Smashword about this security breach. (I may in the near future, but for now I’m rather chill.) But perhaps Heartbleed has happened at a perfect moment in our time–keep your digital identity and access safe and stay vigilant about that safety. Because we all know there is no going back to a “simpler time” where the Beach Boys were encouraging us to be California Dreaming. We’d go a tad crazy living that slow of a life today. But just because we won’t be going back, doesn’t mean we can’t think about the best way to go forward from here.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve only got a half a million other passwords to change.

Sorry if none of this makes sense. Remember being in college and writing an essay the minute before it was due and having absolutely no idea what you wrote? Yeah, that. Oh, wait, you didn’t do that? Only me? Well, heck fire.


1 thought on “Password, Smashword

  1. Yes, I get it. I suddenly realized the other day that if one’s tri-met tickets are all on the phone, and the phone dies and one has no cash – one can’t get on a bus or be on the train w/out worrying about the fine and being banned from the train, etc. I now carry a few actual paper tickets as backup, just in case. So much for a paper-less society. Still, I will continue to use the phone-tickets and transit tracking most of the time because yes, it is much more convenient than the old way.

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