Friday, August 08, 2014

Hard Concrete Heart

Switching to new email addresses is basically complete now except that my Dubai email does not return an error when I send it a test message. Since that company is incompetent bordering on criminal, I’d feel better if those old email addresses were verifiably gone. Hypothetical situation: A merchant sends an email to my old address with an enticing, clickable offer. An evil-doer at the email company clicks on it and arrives at the merchant’s website, where my login is, of course, the email address that received the offer, and my password is ... the same as my email password. (I know ellipses are to be used to indicate missing words, not to build suspense, but there’s no other punctuation mark that quite does the job.)

Actually, my current email password is unique, but it used to be the same password I use for a number of websites, and the email company may still have that old password listed somewhere. It is particularly important, by the way, to have a very strong email password, because if someone gets your email password, they can go to Amazon or some other site where you log on with your email address, where your credit card information may well be stored, indicate a forgotten password, and receive an email letting them change the password to whatever they want.
 
So, anyway, then the person at my email company (if they think of trying my former email password) orders up a lot of expensive stuff, the charge appears on my credit card, I dispute the charge, and that’s the end of that, most likely. I guess that’s not the end of the world, and I started to think that maybe I should just forget about whether my old email returns an error or not, and that whether I forgot about it or not, I’d probably have to live with it, because I’ve called them three times to try to get them to properly delete those accounts, without success, plus I got into a fight with the “customer service” person during one of those calls, making it now three times I’ve lost my temper in the course of this whole thing, once being with Treasury Direct, the world’s worst website.

The email customer service person said the accounts were fully deleted and that she didn’t really feel like talking much, quote unquote, and things degraded from there. “You don’t feel like talking?!” I would be unemployed about five minutes after my boss learned I had said to someone I was assisting that I didn’t feel like talking. Fortunately, the next time the email customer service person and I spoke, I easily remained civil and she seemed to have no recollection whatsoever of the prior exceedingly unpleasant conversation, but I still wasn’t getting an error after sending myself a test message.

By the way, the reason she didn’t feel like talking is that she was sick with bronchitis and the reason she didn’t stay home is that she’s the only person in her department now. I think there used to be a number of people working there, but it’s starting to seem as if there are just two, the owner/engineer and her. That really didn’t pacify me in the moment: if you’re at work, you should be more or less able to work. But later of course I felt ashamed of myself (and, for the record, I was actually calm again by the end of that same conversation). Yes, to me it sounds wacky that a customer service person should travel to work, answer the phone and announce a desire not to speak, but I guess that’s the old paradigm and merely reveals the privilege I enjoy as the employee, at the moment, of a large company.

Not long ago, KQED’s Forum program was about older people, some of them homeless, struggling to find jobs. The guest host asked at one point something very close to, “Why don’t they just go golfing with their old colleagues and get hooked up with new jobs?” It was also mentioned how brutal Amazon warehouse jobs are, with employees walking for miles on hard concrete floors, and the host said dismissively, “Well, I guess they know how hard the floor is before they apply for the job.” As if, in this ageist society, 50-, 60-, 70- and 80-year-olds have tons of choices and take those crappy Amazon jobs just for fun, or to kill some time until they see their golfing buddies and get jobs as highly compensated, perk-drenched corporate attorneys.

That is to say, there can be a moment of cluelessness bordering on callousness now and then, including by Bugwalk.

It occurred to me that maybe the old email company just doesn’t have error handling in place, so the next time I sent myself a test message, I also sent one to ginger.sri.streepado at the same domain, and didn’t get an error for that one, either, so I have decided to let the whole thing go. It’s not that some remnant of my email address necessarily remains—they assure me it doesn’t—it’s that they didn’t set up error handling. (Or else Ginger Sri Streepado is wondering why I sent her a blank email.)

So that was the end of that, just in time to have to change all my financial account passwords due to the Russian hackers. I’d heard about the giant theft of passwords, but figured that with 1.2 billion people involved, it might take them a while to get around to my accounts. They might not even notice my accounts! But a close associate immediately changed all his financial-company passwords, and when I checked with another person whose judgment I trust to see if she was changing her passwords, she said it hadn’t occurred to her until I mentioned it, but now she was going to go ahead and do that, so then I had to do the same, and then I lost my temper once again. With Treasury Direct. And that’s the computer news.

1 comment:

lisajean1015 said...

Oh my god, Treasury Direct. Painful.