February 22, 2012

It just doesn't register

At the risk of sounding like an octogenarian with an ear trumpet, vigorously waggling a cane at some teenagers traversing my lawn, I have to say: the Internet is really starting to annoy me.

Not the Internet in general, mind you. I actually love the Internet. But, there's one aspect of the Internet specifically that has me on the edge of insanity.


Not a day goes by, it seems, that I'm not requested to register online for SOMETHING. Web pages want me to register. Computer applications I'm not even aware exist on my machine suddenly pop up and ask me to register. E-mail services I haven't used in years manage to locate me and ask if I'd be so kind as to re-register. Online registrations are basically replacing the previous scourge that was junk mail.

Honestly, I wouldn't mind registrations all that much if they each didn't require me to come up with a unique user name and password--and yes, they have to be unique, because using the same information over and over opens you up to identity theft, and I don't want thieves stealing my identity; mostly because I'm interested in protecting the thieves from a lifetime of embarrassment.

Now, I'm not what you'd call an elephant when it comes to my memory. I've pretty much forgotten what I wrote in the previous paragraph, although I vaguely recall it had something to do about online registrations. My point is, I can't be expected to conjure and then REMEMBER countless user names and passwords for every Web page, computer application, e-mail address and whatever else prompts me to register online.

There was a time, about 10 years or so ago--back when Google didn't quite yet own our online souls--when I actually kept a notebook filled with user names and passwords for such sites as eBay and the like. But now it's as if every entity that maintains a Web presence wants a registration pound of flesh if I want to simply read a single page about anything. There's just no way I can maintain an accurate log of that many user names and passwords. I'd have more success trying to memorize all the names on "Schindler's List" or the ingredients comprising a Twinkie.

Of course, the online registration world isn't entirely stupid. Web entities at least realize people are annoyed by online registrations, so some try to sweeten the deal by offering goodies if you'd just be so kind as to register. My own unintended research into this has revealed most Web entities think a two GB USB key is the necessary carrot to entice people to register. On a typical day, I'm offered about three USB keys if I'd just take the time to register.

Now, there was a time, 15 years or so ago, that two GB of storage was considered more data than a person would ever use in his or her lifetime. Nowadays, a two GB USB key is the equivalent of a 1.4 MB floppy disk. If you don't know what a floppy disk is/was, then you managed to avoid a data storage era that involved hundreds if not thousands of saved disks that are now basically worthless.

Anyway, 2 GB today really isn't all that much storage, but it occurs to me that a 2 GB USB key is probably ideal for maintaining a database file of all the user names and passwords I've accrued over my digital lifetime.

That's pretty sneaky, when you think about it.

Posted by Ryan at February 22, 2012 10:48 AM | TrackBack
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