A Cautionary Tale

On Thursday, I had a really bizarre experience.  A reader on the Tallahassee Democrat blog area sent me a message, and I opened up my profile page to read it, and when that opened, it first went instead to the “Comment” section.  That was a very fortuitous experience, since I happened to note there were four comments made under my name on a newspaper article I hadn’t even read.  Usually I have no reason to look at my own comments;  after all, I know what I said.  The first comment made that day was around 11:30 A.M., at which time I happened to be in the drive-through line at Bank of America, nowhere near a computer. 

The comments were very negative; the first one began with “You people make me sick…” and deteriorated from there.  That isn’t language I would ever use.  Sure, I can be sarcastic, but I would never begin a response that way.  And the misspelling and bad grammar used aren’t me.

My first reaction was to believe that someone was trying to impersonate me;  using my screenname and icon.  I was afraid there was some security glitch in the TD’s software that allowed that to happen.  I almost (operative word:  almost) feel guilty about that now.  The reason that was my first reaction is that the TD’s blog software is both limited and lame. 

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that at the time these comments were posted, it had to be someone in my office.  Unless Fakedog has learned how to blog from my home computer.  Here’s what happened.  The Dem allows you to click an option which says “Keep me logged on on this computer”.  Prior to saving it as a Favorite on my work computer, I had taken that option.  Therefore in my absence, a person in my office had pulled up the Dem website and posted comments which appeared under my screenname.  Sure, after this person’s first comment posted, she saw that it was posted under the screenname “Fakename”.  But she assumed that was some generic name that allowed you to post comments even though you hadn’t created your own account.  Makes perfect sense to me. 

So in 24 hours of back and forth emails with the Democrat, during which time a staff member has been seriously trying to help, the end result is, it hasn’t worked.  My password has been reset like four times, and none of them will let me in.  Did I mention, limited and lame?  In an effort to help, they’ve totally locked me out.  Thanks a lot. 

The cautionary part is, don’t ever click that option which allows you to remain logged in on a computer that other people have access to.  The other cautionary part is, if you don’t exactly know what you’re doing, don’t post comments from your work computer, the content of which could get you fired.

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5 responses to “A Cautionary Tale

  1. You shouldn’t be locked out anymore. I don’t know why they didn’t just have you change your password yourself. The problem when we reset it is, there is often some kind of trick in them. It’s like figuring out a puzzle. For example, it may look like an o (lowercase or uppercase O) but really be a 0 (zero). Same goes for l’s and 1’s. If you try the e-mailed password, just keep that in mind. It won’t lock you out forever but the lock out does deter those who are trying to hack into your account.

  2. Nice that that you answered me on wordpress 🙂 I thought that was against your religion 🙂 It still will not let me in. I’m not the smartest person when it comes to Inertnet activiity, but I know the difference between o and O and 0, and between I and 1. Tried all of it.

  3. I’m glad there was a “logical” explanation.

    And I’d extend that warning about “logged on” to “remember password” and to even your home computer. What if someone breaks into your home and turns your computer on?

    The ” user name and password” log I keep near my computer is in a form of “code” that a stranger could not decipher, so if someone was on my computer, they cannot access my PayPal, etc. They’d have to know things like: “last street address in Bel-Air.”

  4. Are you sure that you don’t work with anndonmason?

  5. Excellent question, Nick 🙂 But the creature known as anndon is too egotistical to post under my name.

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