May 9th 2017
Today I was called out on a tech support mission for my Grandad. Apparently Orange are deactivating their email service at the end of the month, so I had to set him up with a new email account.
The thing that I hate most about the internet is when things don’t work together. I want everything to be connected for maximum convenience. I get that that is not ideal for security, but I want a one email, one password internet that logs you onto everything. Or biometrics, that’ll work.
I had to go onto every website that my Grandad is subscribed to, or a member of and update his email address individually. There were probably 40 websites that he had an account on, and because each website has different stipulations on password strength, he had a different password for basically every website.
To find his password he had to look in ‘his book‘. His book contains handwritten notes on how to do basically everything you can image. From how to defrost a chicken in the microwave to how to get a photo off his camera and onto Facebook.
It’s messy and complicated but it works for him. It just meant flipping back and forth through the book to find his passwords for his bank, his airline, his energy provider etc.
It took a long time.
Fortunately, Google helped us out a little bit of with the second half of the task. It turns out you can transfer your old emails and contacts from one provider to Gmail with relatively no fuss. So that made that task a lot easier, it just takes a few days to sync up.
I then had to send an email to his entire address book to let them know that he had a new email address. But Orange’s webmail service is so broken that it only lets you email five people at a time, so I had to go through his contacts sending the new email five at a time. With functionality like that I can see why Orange webmail is closing down.
I then had to make sure he could find his new emails, so I stripped away as much customisation as I could from Gmail, and set up a bookmark for it (he’d never heard of a bookmark in this sense). He had to write down in his book ‘To find emails: Open Google. Go to top bar. Click on gmail in top bar.’
I tried to make the bookmark as obvious as possible.
So, the Google half of the job was relatively straightforward, and something tells me that they’re not going to go bust any time soon so this should hopefully be the last time we have to do this… I just personally can’t wait for pupil-recognition access to everything. I hate remembering different combinations of passwords, and it’s not something you should really write down.
Until tomorrow, long live the robots.