Monday, 31 October 2011

Sign Up, Log In, Lose The Will To Live!

I've just done a quick mental inventory of all the various internet sites I belong to.  From Amazon to Yahoo, the number is about a hundred and that is probably well below average. Every single one of them has required me to sign up with my email address and a password. Which is OK, I suppose, unless you've got more than one email address. Or password.

The curse of internet security

For security reasons, we are told, it is better not to use the same password for all your sites — if the 'open sesame' to one site becomes known, then all the others — including your internet bank, your paypay account and the all-important Technophobes United membership — become vulnerable. For the same reasons  we shouldn't write down our passwords because, you know, if a burglar breaks in, the first thing he's going to steal will be the little book or diary you've stored all your personal doodahs in. Everybody knows that. Right?

Instead you should remember your passwords.

Hell's teeth! I can't even remember my own mobile phone number. Why should I?  I never call the bloody thing. So how can I be expected to remember a hundred different passwords and which email account they go with? What do these 'security' people thing I am?  A walking data retrieval system?

Time Wasting for Dummies?

Today I have lost close to four hours of my valuable time — time I could have spent writing or, at least, doing something more interesting, more life-enhancing — in simply trying to set up a link on this site to my book's page on Amazon. It should be simple enough, surely? Everyone else has one.
The problem is I set up the two accounts using different log-in details, so as I go backwards and forwards between them, I end up doing the sign in two-step.
Sign in
Log in
Sign out
Sign in
Sign out
Log out.

Aaargh! And do you see an interesting , shiny new sidebar to your right, giving you, the reader, an easy, one click option to view the details of my newly published book?  Do you 'eck as like.
So, for the moment, I'm just going to tell you that Chamaeleon: The Secret Spy, my fast-paced, exciting, fantasy adventure story for children aged 9 to 90 is available for you to look at by clicking (or copying and pasting) the link below. And I'm holding my breath that I don't have to sign out, in , out, and in again, in order to be able to do it!

Chamaeleon: in the UK

Chamaeleon: at


  1. Love the post, I too am in the same boat, so many passwords to remember and then when you sign in they say "sorry try again" and after so many tries you either have to wait or contact support :(

    Good luck on the NaNoWriMo journey :)

  2. Thanks, Mona.

    Well, I'm afraid I've broken the first rule of internet security and WRITTEN DOWN my passwords and the email addy I've used to set up each site.

    So far, so good.

    Still haven't managed to get the link to my book but in the middle of NaNo is not the best time to try. It will have to be a Coming Soon ... feature for now!

    Good luck with NaNo to you, too.

  3. Hi Lynda,

    I see you are posting the NaNoWriMo widget for 2011, so dropping in to wish you the best! I look forward to following your progress as I step into this new world of 50,000 words.

  4. Thanks, Rita, and welcome to the fascinating madness that is NaNo. As someone who averages a mere 600 words a day, I find NaNo a huge challenge. Progress is going OK - so far - but it's only day 3.
    Good luck with your own efforts. I'mm rooting for you!

  5. Hi Lynda,

    I worked for a number of years in data security, and I conducted several studies into user behaviour. The best solution we came up with was as follows: pick three passwords, that you will call High, medium and low security. High will be at least 20 characters long, and include upper and lower case letters, numbers, symbols. Medium will be 10-15 characters with maybe 1 number. Low will be 6 to 8 characters (lots of sites don't allow less than 8), probably someone's name or the name of a place. Write all three down on a piece of paper and put it somewhere safe.
    Each time you are asked by a site to create an account, you decide how much security you want, and you use the appropriate password.

    When websites tell you that you have to change your password ever n weeks, close your account and explain why. This sounds rather extreme, but the biggest study I did showed that the more often password changes were enforced, the more likely users were to write them on post-it notes and stick them on their screens.

    I suspect that eventually someone will come up with a decent universal biometric system that everyone can use on every site and passwords will become a thing of the past. Looking forward to it.

  6. Hi, Harry, and welcome.

    Thanks for the explanation and the suggestions. I suppose the passwords I do use are pretty high security then, but the more chaacters you have to remember, the harder it gets. Have never yet resorted to putting them on a post-it note - sadly, I can believe some do.

    The outcome of this whole kerfuffle, is that the Amazon Associates Widget I was hoping to install (and for which I had to sign up and set up an account) is NOT available to users in the UK. Argghhhh! Why didn't they tell me that in thefirst place? It would have saved me a lot of time.