Autumn has definitely arrived, and you don’t need the calendar to figure that out. Just step outside. You get a little of this and a little of that, weather-wise. Speaking of which, I’ve been perusing the Old Farmer’s Almanac again, and the prognostication is that this month will be rainier and cooler than normal…whatever “normal” is for New Mexico, where all at once you can have bright sunshine in the back yard and hail falling in the front.

But I’m sort of glad to see October roll around again. September is one of those months that can’t decide if it’s fall or if it’s summer. But October…well now, we can plow right ahead into the more familiar territory of brisk weekend hikes, dressing in layers, and, oh yes, Halloween. A non-virtual reality you might say.

I’m talking about one thing that technology hasn’t changed. Dressing up and saying boo.

We live in a time where you can get instant information, instant entertainment, and instant frustration. In the old days, instant frustration might only have been the occasional Coke machine that stole your quarter or car that wouldn’t crank right away. Today, on the other hand, we’re entitled to be frustrated every single day thanks to the all-knowing glowing device that spits out more than we need to know about what’s going on in the world; the personal computer.

Computers didn’t use to be personal at all. No, they were big and impressive with dials and wires and tubes that had to warm up like an old TV and took up the better part of a room. Computers were operated by people in white lab coats and would click and clack and use things we called IBM cards; the kind you were forbidden to fold, spindle, or mutilate.  Your income tax refund checks were even printed on those computer cards at one time.

Speaking of frustration, I found six possibilities on Facebook why Facebook crashed on Monday:

  • Aliens
  • Comet impact
  • Cancel culture
  • The flat Earth crumpled
  • Mercury in retrograde
  • The Sea Peoples

Skip it.

Beyond all that, in the past few weeks, I’ve been seeing a few on my Facebook friends saying not to respond to their messages because they’ve been hacked. I guess that’s part of the new normal; having to change one’s password again because some hooligans out there in the world might get hold of your personal information.

Chances are there’s nothing wrong with your old password, it’s just for your own good to come up with a new one. And it should be a combination of upper- and lower-case letters and numbers and a symbol, but not use a password you have used before.

Also, I shouldn’t use the same password you have on other sites with the same username, and it would be a good idea not to write it down where someone could find it, just keep it in your head, I guess. Or stash it in a safety deposit box at First State Bank.

This is how technology is making life simpler. Pre-internet I thought a password was something like “Joe sent me,” or what soldiers in the dark passed between one another to keep from shooting each other.

But on the internet, you must have an embarrassment of passwords. If you mess up or forget a password you can’t do what you were expecting to do. Then you spend who knows how much time going through a process of setting up a new password and by the time you’ve done that all and were allowed to get where you were going, you’ve probably forgotten what you wanted to do and all the fun has gone out of it.

Experts say not to use simple passwords either, such as 123456, admin, “whatever your dog or cat’s name is,” or something like qwerty123.

And I’m not going to get into the whole can of worms of usernames.

Hey, that’s a good username; “canofworms.”

Anyway, if you want a password that internet bandits can’t figure out, never fear, free websites are coming to your rescue: password generators. With a password generator, you’ll be able to come up with something like “65$BHjqT#hT@!7aM” for a password. Then memorize it. Simple, huh?

This high-tech thievery never happened when we didn’t have the convenience of shopping or banking or writing letters on the internet. Those olden times (all of 25 years ago?) when we had to buy things at a real store, walk into a real bank and mail our letters in an envelope. Those days are long gone, but I still know how to write a check and lick a stamp. Oh wait, they don’t make those lickable ones anymore.

But I digress. I’ve been thinking of making myself password-protected, so if you need me for anything just say, “can of worms.”