Archive for the ‘Getting Organized’ Category

Just Love Those Passwords!

October 1, 2010

Password or Painword?

Selecting a password is about like choosing a name for a baby. When you finally have conjured up a password you can remember you’re informed someone else already has that password. So you try again and are rewarded by a red message indicating your password is “too weak.” So you try again, and again, and again. At some point I usually give up and decide the web site isn’t worth any more of my time or frustration trying to create a password like “yellowsparrow21.” I wonder, could there be a password like, “Ihate2UsePasswords.” You didn’t see that since I’m going to start using that password.

Password Paranoia

I’m paranoid about privacy so I don’t have the page “Remember Me.” That means I have to remember all my passwords. Since I now have a zillion passwords it can be a real test for me to associate which passwords goes with the web site I want to enter.

Forgot Password?

I’m an expert on the sign in option “forgot password?” I use this option all the time since it’s easier to do this than to keep a password list or use one of those password management programs. I also don’t want a list of passwords on my computer for a hacker to find.

Password Not Recognized – Please Try Again.

This morning I shot myself in the foot real good! I wanted to log into one of my e-mail management accounts to check some statistics. It was one of e-mails I allowed to remember my password. However, for some weird reason it wanted me to enter my password to get to the management section.

You guessed it. I couldn’t remember the password. So I tried about 20 of my recent passwords. Zing what a feeling – all the passwords were incorrect. So what’s a guy to do? A little dim light turned on in the foggy part of my with a newsflash. Use the “Forgot Password?” option.

I felt a little smug thinking I didn’t really need to keep a well organized password list, I’d just get a new password and then write it down where I could find it. So I smiled as I requested a new password for the e-mail account.

I became a little impatient as I checked my e-mail several times for the new password. So I closed the e-mail and restarted it so it would check for new mail more quickly. BIG MISTAKE!!! It wanted my new password. Earth to e-mail program – I DON’T HAVE A NEW PASSWORD YET!

I made several attempts to remember and enter the pesky little password. After about ten minutes I gave up and started going through my “organized” stack of papers. You probably have one just like it. It’s standard equipment to have a big stack of papers sitting right next to your computer chronologically organized for quick and easy access.

Take a Deep Breath But Don’t PASS(word) Out!

So I took a deep breath and decided it was time to organize and file each sheet of paper in the list. Each time I came across a post it note with a password, I tried it and it failed. I then realized the password would probably be toward the bottom of the list since it had been a while since I created this e-mail account.

Twenty minutes into my search, I finally found the paper with the right password. I got back in and checked my e-mail. Still no new password. By then I didn’t need another new password.

Later I checked my e-mail on my other computer and guess what? It had sent the new password stuff to that computer. Da! If I had used my brain I would have realized I’d been smart enough to set up the e-mail to send information to another e-mail account.

I opened the new password e-mail and luckily it had an option to cancel changing the password. Interesting. They must have put that option in for all those other dummies that can’t manage their passwords.

So What’s My Punishment?

I now have to file all those little stacks of paper I created sorting the big stack of papers.

What Did I Learn?

To be more organized and keep a printed and updated list of passwords in my “Password” notebook.


Oops! I used a password instead of my name! I guess I’ll have to change that password!

Are Your Photos Overwhelming You?

April 12, 2010

Photo Management Suggestions

During the past fifteen years I’ve struggled with many strategies to preserve, organize and manage photos. I have many different types and sizes of photos including slides and newspaper clippings.

The photo at the left is one of many photos in my Olsen family photo collection. This photo represents an avoidable tragedy. The photo was taken about 1900 in Norway. These two beautiful young ladies are probably relatives. Unfortunately we may never know their names, where they lived and how they were related, No one took the time to write any information on the back of the photo. Hopefully I may find a relative who has the same photo with information.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about working with photos:

  1. Scan and save only the best quality photos. No one will be interested in looking at poor quality photos unless a photo is ‘one of kind.’ Refer to my blog about scanning recommendations so you don’t waste time creating poor quality scans. More scanning information can be accessed by clicking this link.
  2. Eliminate duplicate photos. Pick and save the best photo when you have several similar photos.
  3. Photos without descriptive information are worthless. Sorry to be so blunt. Few people enjoy looking at meaningless photos. Click this link for more information.
  4. DO NOT copy photos into your computer without a plan. You will discover it’s easier to find photos in boxes than disorganized folders on your computer. See the next suggestion.
  5. Avoid organizing photos by names and dates. Maintain the context in which photos were taken when copying photos into folders. Use topical names for folder or collection names such as the occasion when photos were taken. For example, you take photos on a picnic or hike. Put all the photos taken during the picnic or hike into a folder named “Dry Canyon Hike” because that is the location where the hike occurred. For a graduation you might name the photo folder “Nathan Graduation 2009.” Photos of my great grandfather’s rock home are in a collection called, “Carl Steen’s Rock Home.” More information may be found by clicking this link.
  6. Do not break up photo albums. Scan photos into categories (folders) similar to the pages in the album. This will maintain the organization that was used to create the album. For example, you may discover the photos on an album page were all cousins. Studying the photo grouping of album pages and sections may reveal other hidden information.
  7. Add oral narrative and stories to photos. Next time you visit your grandparents ask to see their photo album. Be prepared to hear fascinating stories of their history that you’ve never heard. Don’t forget to ask about how they met, courted, and married. Old photos were expensive and usually taken for a reason, Your challenge is to discover the story hidden in each photo. Record the stories and information with a tape recorder or digital voice recorder. Associating oral narrative with a photo is priceless, enhances meaning and really brings a photo back to life. 
  8. Keep Information within the photo file. Use a computer software program to embed (store) descriptive text information and dates in the computer photo file. Learn more about “Photo & Information Survivability by clicking this newsletter link.
  9. Improve your digital camera skills. Learn to take better quality photos. For more information, click this newsletter link. Digital Photography in Family History.
  10. Avoid scanning promotions. If someone comes to your door and offers to scan and preserve all your photos – Smile and then RUN! All you will end up with is several DVDs and a big bill. Your photos will be preserved but without any of the descriptive information that makes the photo meaningful and valuable. There is still hope if you copy the images from the DVDs and use another program such as Heritage Collector to add photo captions and identify the people in the photos. Make new DVD archives of the photos and information. Note: Having someone scan and enhance your photos maybe helpful and save time if you do not want to scan your photos. Sort photos into groups so you will have some general photo organization when you receive the DVD photo collections.

More information links about photos

Old Shoebox Newsletter 

Photo Identification Suggestions

Scanning Tutorial

Photo Management Software