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Chris Carpenter
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How to Wreck Your Computer in Two Easy Steps

By Chris Carpenter Program Director - For everything in life there is a gateway, a passage to take you from one place to another. When a person gets married he says ‘I do’, thus transitioning from a life of singleness to togetherness. For students, scoring at a certain level on exams will elevate them to the next grade. Even something as simple as turning a key in a car’s ignition will take you from here to there.

Perhaps the most puzzling gateway for me is entering my user name and password for a rapidly increasing number of computer programs and Internet Web sites. It is not that I despise providing this type of information because I realize security is crucial in the technological age we live in. My problem is that I simply can’t remember the litany of user names and passwords I have created for various things.

My friends tell me to use the same user name and password for everything. That always seems like a terrific idea until you delve into the various complexities of a given software program or Web site. Some require all CAPS, others are case sensitive, and still more require a number at the end. Many require a mixture of all three. Some passwords expire every few months. Then of course are the passwords that need to be no shorter than six characters and no longer than 12. When you factor all the possibilities you realize your password could be any of, say, 1,448 different combinations. Ouch.

The most frustrating hurdle for me are the Web sites that require you to use your mother’s maiden name as your password. This is all fine and good if your mother has an uncommon last name like Strychowski or Papadokolos. My mother’s maiden name is Elliott. E-L-L-I-O-T-T. I can’t tell you how many times I have entered her name and had the red letters of death pop up on my screen telling me the surname Elliott is already taken. When this happens my second option is to type in my grandmother’s maiden name – Campbell. No good, that one is taken too. When all else fails, I use my uncle’s long since deceased poodle’s name – Fleur. I think that is French for flower. When that doesn’t work I just make something up.

I couldn’t help but laugh recently when I overheard two gentlemen at my church sputter on ad nauseum about how computers are ruining the world. “Nothing like a good old pencil and paper,” I heard one of them say.

He might be on to something.

Not to confuse you, I love technology. I have come to grips with the notion that the world runs on computers – or at least until something more sophisticated and advanced comes along. But why do I have the strange suspicion that we will eventually come full circle and be back scratching out hieroglyphics on a cave wall at some juncture?

This still does not disguise the fact I was recently accused of being a techno-peasant by one of my colleagues.

What is a techno-peasant you ask? Well, let me tell you. A techno-peasant is someone who will spend several hours on the phone with a customer service representative on Christmas just because you don’t trust putting your personal information in an online form. A techno-peasant is someone who would rather sign up for a new online account than simply requesting your user name or password be emailed to you. This humble scribe has nine accounts for the community channel alone. However, that’s mild compared to others. One individual on this very Web site has 37 accounts. Finally, you are a techno-peasant if you refuse to download the latest version of a required software because you consider the current one an old friend.

You might be a techno-peasant if …

Ok, I will stop. You get the picture. I’m not trying to become a Jeff Foxworthy for the cyber age nor am I attempting to be an analog man living in a digital world. I am simply trying to illustrate that computers can be very confusing due to their high level of complexity. A day does not pass where there is not a new iPhone, iPod, MP4, IPTV, or RSS feed to consider. You can easily become overwhelmed … or at least very caught up in the all the abbreviations for things.

But you know what? I love the idea that I can laugh and make fun of myself in relation to my online inadequacies. Laughter is a gift from God.

In I Thessalonians 5:16-18, Paul writes, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Uproarious laughter, joyous emotion, even poking fun at ourselves when we are frustrated is a form of rejoicing. In everything we must rejoice – that we can speak, that we can feel, sing, hurt, cry, or even take a hammer to our PC’s (sorry Mac users) due to a lack of patience.


User Name: Jesus Christ
Password: I Believe – ibelieve – iBelieve – I BELIEVE3in1*

* or any one of 1,444 other combinations.

Portions contained within this article from the Transformer Study Bible.

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