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Michael's Metaphors of Life Journal

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Fugitive Passwords, a Coup D’etat and the Digital Divide

August 23rd, 2013 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, do missing passwords go to the same mysterious place as lost socks?

It has been one of those weeks in my work life. You know what I mean. Hectic, nerve fraying, whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. Deadlines are slipping away from my grasp like a feather in the wind. Last minute changes to yesterday’s last minute changes.

So it just figures that I would come home and find a security warning e-mail message from my web host. Some unscrupulous person has launched a bot that is attempting to break into sites using the blog platform my sites are built on. They strongly advise changing passwords.

So I dutifully log into one of my sites and reset the password. Log out and attempt to log back in. Can you guess? The new password doesn’t work. Neither does the old one. How is this &%$#$ possible?!?!

Next step, of course, is to click the “forgot password” button. Type in my user name for verification. Off it goes, assuring me that I will get an e-mail that enables me to do the password change – which, of course, doesn’t happen.

I’m in that generation, now known as digital immigrants, which remembers when computers didn’t exist as well as when they first started to infiltrate our lives. We adapted to computers by necessity because it is pretty much impossible to earn a living otherwise in this day and age.

The generation that followed are known as digital natives because they grew up with computer technology. It makes sense to them. They intuitively understand how it works.

There is a clear divide between these generations. Digital natives wonder how anyone ever got by before computers existed. Digital immigrants wonder why in God’s name someone thought the damn things would be a good idea. Secretly, we’re plotting a coup d’etat in which every computer in existence is destroyed and we return to the good old days when Pong was the cutting edge.

Here’s my confession – technology makes me feel utterly helpless. I know how to use it but haven’t a clue what to do when it fails which it all too often does. The door to cyberspace slams closed and all of us digital immigrants can only stand in front of it looking forlorn.

There are exceptions to the rule. I know some people in my generation who are quite tech savvy. Thank God for them because they are still able to feel empathy for the rest of us. Digital natives regard us with puzzlement. How can you not understand?

I’ve had enough brain drain for today so I’ll shut down the beast and hope that tomorrow things are magically back to normal. Sometimes, to my amazement, it happens. The cyber beasts fix themselves… or unbreak themselves… or reconfigure themselves… or reboot themselves… whatever the proper terminology may be.

I do take solace in one fact. Computers don’t partake of metaphors and never will. They’re too linear and logical. Tech engineers will no doubt tell me a computer can be programmed to do just about anything. But that’s the whole point – you don’t program a metaphor. They’re organic and fuzzy by nature which is why I like them so much.

So I’ll coexist with computers because I can’t avoid them. But metaphors and I will continue our love affair offline. Metaphors never slam the door closed. They are forever opening doors and inviting me in – like all true friends and lovers do.

~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of “Until the Deep Water Stills – an Internet-enhanced Novel” – double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

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