Friday, May 9, 2014

Google: The Pain of Trying to Live With It

A long time ago I signed up for YouTube.

And I occasionally posted a movie.  Most of them were tutorials on how to make various cocktails.  The Gibson Martini was a favorite.

Somewhere after I had set up my YouTube account and after my initial burst of video creativity, Google bought You Tube.

I continued to post videos with gusto, assuming that Google would have too much sense to mess with a good thing.

That turned out to be wildly optimistic, at least as how Google’s “messing” would affect me.

I can’t remember all of the iterations of what began to happen then.  But they all had a common theme embedded in weasel words like “to improve the user experience”.

I figured that was probably not a good thing.

It wasn’t.

What happened was that my movie inventory functionally disappeared due to multiple password-centric attempts to accommodate whatever it was that Google was trying to accomplish.

If they had sent me an email in English saying that now that they owned YouTube they felt it would be a good idea to consolidate its functions – and any existing pre-Google movie inventory under a new Google/YouTube password I would have understood and complied, and probably, have kept my old inventory and begun to merge it with new items in the new Google world.

But that isn’t what they did.

What they did was start issuing technical edicts about passwords that, at least in my case, created a morass of dueling passwords.

There was no way to get to the old inventory.

In those days Google had marginal and hard to find technical support available if you accidentally stumbled upon it.

The word “technical” should be emphasized in any discussion of that fleetingly available function.

The upshot of my use of the function was that what I was describing as a problem could not possibly be true and that if only I had faith and recited the Google prayer all would be good.

So I have been spooked by Google Passwords from the outset of my relationship with them.

I have hoped that they indeed had one password for all their functions – functions that began to cascade as they acquired other companies, but I have always harbored a fear of somehow getting crossways to them and not being able to get to my post purchase YouTube inventory or – worse still – being able to post to BlogSpot or sign on to BlogSpot.

Then the plot thickened a bit.

Because I dream of a gigabit post-Comcast world, and since I assume that all those user IDs and “your email” components of they myriad on line accounts that I have, and that I depend upon being able to communicate with and access, I decided that I needed a non ISP email address.

You guessed it.

In spite of anything resembling common sense, I picked Gmail.

Actually, I have two Gmail addresses.

I would have to be nuts to try to explain why I have two and you would have to be criminally distorted to want to know why I have two.

But I do.

And they may or may not duel.

I can’t really tell.  But the fact that there are two has a spiritual link to the reason that I lost access to a valuable YouTube inventory.

I set up both of those addresses for access through Windows Live Mail.

Along with the already Comcast address I have for some time receiving mail – mainly on Comcast – but sporadically on the Gmails. 

It was a sort of dress rehearsal for a post Comcast world.

Then one day out of curiosity I clicked on a link in the Google tool bar. 

It went to a Google sign on page with my Gmail address – my Google ID (the one of the two Gmails that Google recognizes) – displayed and an empty cell for me to enter my password.

Since the great consolidation I get nervous every time I need to enter a Google password.  I constantly expect to be told that my password lacks panache or has been deemed unreliable, or is at odds with the current mix of application oriented opportunities to which I might want to avail myself.

Also, on this day, to the best of my ability to understand I was and had been for weeks already signed on to Blogger and to Google proper (whatever that might mean).

I entered the password and was immediately signed on.

From that point everything goes dark.

The light returned the day I got into my apartment in Paris and signed on to email.

Comcast came in as needed.  But Live Mail was having trouble with the Gmails.  The user ID or passwords were not such that Live Mail could get to the Google servers.

I can’t tell you how much time I have missed to enjoy my time here in Paris that trying to figure out what the problem was (iTunes is a potential casualty if Gmail doesn’t work, and my iPhone needs to be synched, and apps need to be bought and music needs to be downloaded, so this was serious shit).

It got really serous yesterday when I tried to post – that has always worked – to BlogSpot from Windows Live Writer.

“Your password or user ID relationship with this server is fucked up”

Now my life was really beginning to decline in digital quality.

The myriad (Google) searches involved in the quest of the problem and its fix seemed to indicate that the most obvious source of the problem was Google’s two step verification .

“That’s easy to check out” I said to myself.

No it isn’t.  At least for someone as stupid as I apparently am.

Although I can sign on to Google from an apparently infinite number of links, all with the same password and no matter how many current instances of already being signed on to Google may exist I cannot find in my account data any way to get at any security settings.

That was true until this morning.  I got up and turned on the ThinkPad and entered.”How do I turn off two step verification?”

“We thought you’d never ask” rejoined the gods of Google.

And they presented me with a link that, when invoked took me to a sign on which took me to a “turn off two step verification” function which, when turned off allowed me to post the predecessor post to this one.

Assuming that to be a one off event I immediately composed a new post.

“Test” was its title.

“Test” was its content.

But that just seemed too small a thing to celebrate the possibility that I have yet again figured something out and dealt with it.

I am not going to proof this thing so it’s raw from the cow.

If you see this it may – or may not – mean that I can now post blogs and maybe even, if I set up the two Gmails that I deleted from my Live Mail account, receive Gmail.

On va voir.

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