It’s tough remembering all the information to see our information

To many people in the baby boomer generation the introduction of technology has been one of the most interesting changes in of lifetimes.

Case in point, is I started working many years ago in the newspaper business on typewriters (yes they did exist in the workplace beyond the ones you see in museums today). We also did the original cut and paste which amounted to actually cutting some paper with scissors and pasting it on a page.

In all honesty, technology occasionally does frustrate me, but the positives overwhelmingly outweigh the negatives. There are days when I really wonder what we did before the advent of the technology that exists at our fingertips today because it makes many things so much easier.

One of the most interesting, and sometimes, frustrating things about the technology age is the use of passwords, PINs, usernames and all the other little codes.

There was a time in this world when it used to be that there were two numbers we needed to remember — our phone number and social security number. Of course there was also a time when you could walk up to an airport five minutes before your plane left, hand them a ticket and get aboard. Those days are long gone as well.

Now the world of technology has changed everything in our lives. So much so that before we can do or access anything at work or home it is necessary to enter those magical passwords, PINs and usernames.

All of these steps are put in place for security purposes to make sure no one gains access to them, but most of us will agree it can be ridiculous.

Even a trip to the supermarket for something as simple as a gallon of milk or loaf of bread may require punching in some codes, PINs and much more. Access to bank accounts, medical information, utility bill payment and just about everything else requires an access code or password.

Toss on top of that security codes for home protection services. Those are in place so when you enter your home it doesn’t sound like the Fourth of July with alarms going off everywhere as the SWAT team comes busting through the door because of forgetting the correct codes to disarm it.

I know one person from my generation who was somewhat of a self proclaimed tech savvy genius who wanted to prove his worth in that area by putting all his passwords, codes etc… in a folder on his smart phone. Only problem is he promptly forgot the password to his phone leaving him locked out of everything including so he couldn’t call for help.

Ah yes, the joy of having our valuable information secure — or is it?

The frustrating part of it is it’s like a growing monster over time. What starts out as a few numbers continues to expand with the more things you get into requiring usernames, passwords, PINs and the rest for just about everything. Of course they strongly urge you not to use the same password which is smart. However, it also is frustrating in giving us even more numbers and passwords to remember.

An added fun part of it is the different things they require. Some tell you to use five letters, two numbers and one character. Or capitalize the first letter, use four letters followed by a dash and two characters, which usually results in me saying some not too nice words out loud in frustration like Fzd-ak&!  Hey, that can be my new password.

As time went by many of us began placing sticky notes at various locations around our computers or at home to remind us of all these “safety” codes and numbers. Of course how “safe” is that?  Not very.

From that point it became necessary to move to create a list and most of us now are at the notebook stage to keep track of our important information to get at our information.

Confusing isn’t it?

I know one guy who keeps those numbers in a small safe in his home. For his sake, I hope he doesn’t forget the most important access number — the combination.

Glad to see this is the paperless generation because isn’t that what we were trying to get away from by doing everything online? At this point we will soon be back to the stacks of paper just to keep the security codes and numbers.

But I get it. The purpose is to keep our valuable information safe and secure. The only problem is every couple of weeks we read, hear or see where some Russian or other hackers broke in and stole all of our information anyway. Kind of makes you wonder why we went to all the trouble in the first place.

Anyway, keep those passwords and security code numbers floating in your head and if you enter the correct password to get to News Advocate website I will…see you next Wednesday.



Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at

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