Sunday, January 15, 2017

Straight Pins

Before we all lived tethered to technology, before we added words like googled and download to our lexicons, before we verified where we were and when with hundreds of cell phone photos , before we knew about tweets and a story going viral, before we loved our apps, we were known by our given names.

Now our names are of little value if we don't remember our password, or user name or pin. Try and tell the robot your name instead of your password or pin. My mother knew how to hold five or six straight pins between her lips when putting up a hem. She never knew of a pin as anything other than a convenient pointed item that you could buy in box.

Yesterday I could not find out how much data I used this month because the Verizon app asked me for my password and user name. I tried three different combinations--all incorrect. No fourth chance--I was locked out of the app. I couldn't say my name--unacceptable. I couldn't verify that I was who I said I was. A license-- no value.My birth certificate-- no value. All they wanted was that password. And I had not written it down.

"We're very alert to security," said the man with a clipboard at the mall Verizon store. Even after he retrieved my password the robot blocked my path. Unlocking the app required a call to someone in tech support and his directions to me were so convoluted that I handed my iPhone to the man with a clipboard. And he proceeded to communicate with the tech support fellow and with the additional help of a computer they cleared me to use the app. I am a password, or many passwords, my pin is not straight, and my user name carried more weight than my birth name.

There's a moral to the story. If you live in the land of robots and computer chips you best write down all passwords, pins, and user names. And best to also write down your given name.


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