Friday, February 10, 2006

Back from Hell.

When I got home from school last Tuesday night, I did what I always do. I ran in here and turned on my computer. Then I ran to the bathroom. Then I ran back here and logged into my gmail account.

Except, that I couldn't. My password no longer worked. I tried again. Rejected. Gmail kept telling me that the password I'd used for ages was not correct. In fact, Gmail is STILL telling me that my password is not correct.

So, I thought I'd blog about that. Except, that I couldn't. Blogger told me the same thing Gmail was telling me: my password was not correct. I tried again. Rejected. Again. Rejected.

Naturally, I then did what any sensible person would do when faced with NO BLOG: I sat here and almost cooked myself with the steam from my own panic. I became a speared shrimp on a grill. A shish kebob. And the pointed stick was jabbing right through my heart.

It's no secret that I am terribly paranoid about being hijacked. I've blogged about it before. It's one of my biggest fears. Two years ago I was hijacked and it was a nightmare.

This week, that nightmare came back. No email. No blog. Why?

I sent out a plea to my hero, Genuine, and his business partners Shylah and Tris. They gave me the answer I least wanted.

"Did you put a weird message on your left sidebar?" they asked me. I hadn't noticed it before, so I took a look. My own email was gone, and a strange coded message was there instead.

"I didn't put that there," I told them.

"You've been hacked," they told me.

I forget now how long I sat here screaming internally. I do know that no anti-perspirant known to mankind could have countered the sweat.

"Don't worry, Jane," my heroes said. "We'll get Google to fix it."

And since I trusted and believed in them implicitly, I relaxed a little and began to wait. And they began to wait, too. Together, we waited.

After we'd waited long enough and no response came from Google, my heroes tried another tactic. They spread the news about the hijacking and Google's non-response all over the internet. My heroes are not only well-known in the blogosphere, but they are also quite well known all over the internet in other aspects of computer coolness.

Every time I got an email (on my school account, not my stolen gmail account) from Google, my hopes would rise. But every. single. time. my hopes would dash down again, because nobody human at Google was reading my plea, and the responses were identical and obviously robotic: "go to THIS help page because ALL questions concerning this problem are addressed there."

But, but, but, there was nothing on the Google help pages about getting a blog back after it's been stolen and the passwords changed. I would reply and tell them this.

And they would reply with the same robotic advice. Over and over again.

UNTIL the publicity started, via my heroes and their awesome friends. Coincidentally, once word got out ON THE INTERNET about Google's attitude, someone at Google finally responded. Yes, I'm sure it was coincidental.

Unfortunately, the human response was identical to the robotic response. This human simply could not comprehend that the Google help pages did not help every problem. She insisted that all I needed to do was access that page and click on a link.

FINALLY, after a lot of string-pulling by my heroes and their friends, a lot of adverse publicity about Google's customer service and attitude in general, a human being from Google (I'd been wondering if there even WERE any!!!) contacted me and told me that she had checked out the references I'd given her and secured my blog. If I would just click on this link she sent me, I could change my password BACK and it would once again be mine. My deodorant quit again, this time from joy. I clicked the link. I followed her directions. They didn't work. I was again told that my password was not correct.

I replied to her and told her what had happened and settled down to wait some more. I was honestly shocked when she replied immediately with an apology and a correct link. I clicked on it. I followed the directions.

It worked.

I'm back.

Life is full of irony, though. Last night as I finished my comeback post and hit 'publish,' Blogger went down for maintenance and I lost it.

That's why I had to wait till today.

Now, a piece of advice for all of you, given to me by MY HEROES. All of you: if your password is something very short and simple, like a single word, get into your dashboard and change it immediately to something a little more complicated. Stick some numbers on either end of it. Turn some of those letters into caps.

And don't use the same password for everything you have. Use a variation of it.

Apparently, it is very simple for a hijacker to steal your stuff on the internet, and all he needs is a little knowledge of you, and a dictionary. And these days, we are imprinting ourselves in great detail all over the net, even when we don't realize it. Our profiles. Comments we make. And as we become more comfortable and friendly with each other, we are posting more and more revealing (not that kind, you pervs) photographs and information about ourselves and our families.

Google says it can't give me the IP of the hijacker. I find that hard to believe, but I have no choice, do I. I don't know if they know it and just won't, or if they really can't. But come on, GOOGLE? If they wanted to know, they would know.

What I do know is this: If not for Jim and Tris and Shylah, I would still be sitting here in a puddle of various excretions, screaming internally, and panicking like nothing you could ever comprehend. And with no way to tell any of you where I was. Is there any way for me to tell Jim and Tris and Shylah how very incredibly much I love and adore and appreciate them? No, there are no words that are good enough. I can only keep saying 'thank you' and hope they can read my mind.

I still don't have my gmail back. Google isn't being very cooperative yet, with that one. Just a few minutes ago I got yet another robot message from them, telling me to click a link and go to their generic help page. Not good, nope.

If you would like to have the email I am currently using, just tell me so in a comment, and I'll give it to you. But those of you who were using my gmail address: it's no longer valid. Will it ever be again? I don't know. That would be up to Google, and they are in no hurry.

It's so good to have my blog back.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:05 PM | |


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