Likelihood of Google Account Lockout

Monday January 30, 2023 — oldfolio

My primary Google account dates back to 2007. I have never been locked out of it. Nonetheless, I have always hesitated to make it my primary online identity for fear of being locked out. I know three people personally who have been locked out. All three cases involved forgotten passwords on accounts where 2FA had not been set up. Two of them eventually got back into their accounts. Unlike my acquaintances, I do have 2FA set up: multiple hardware keys, TOTP authenticator app, backup codes. My account password is stored offline in a KeePassXC database. I don’t think I am as vulnerable to an account lockout as my acquaintances. Yet the fear of lockout still haunts me sufficiently that I cannot bring myself to use that account as my primary online identifier.

So, I was grateful to Jeff Kaufman for digging through lockout reports and trying to determine, “How Likely is Losing a Google Account?” He concludes that if you take a few simple precautions (such as activating 2FA), you are very unlikely to be locked out -- sufficiently unlikely that it is probably safe to use a Gmail address as a primary online identifier. The psychological impact of Hacker News stories about account lockouts continues to weigh heavily on me -- perhaps irrationally so -- and I am still not using a Google account as a primary identifier.

Tags: tech-trends

Cheating and AI

Saturday January 21, 2023 — oldfolio

So, I recently stumbled on this little post by Terence Eden:

I'm now in the middle of writing up my MSc dissertation. I'm doing it in Google Docs - because I'm a masochist. Google Docs has a useful feature called Smart Suggestions which → offers to autocomplete your sentences. Is that cheating? I've signed a declaration to my University saying that my dissertation is all my own work. But it isn't. Google's AI suggested a couple of dozen sentences...

Google Docs knows what I want to write before I write it. Am I merely the editor of machine generated text?

Tags: tech-trends

On Slide Rules

Sunday December 4, 2022 — oldfolio

Wow. It has been two years since I have posted to this blog, and I suspect it may be two years more before I post again. When I studied physics hand-held calculators were still something of an anomaly. We used slide rules. So, I was interested in the slide rule reflections over at the Miscellaneous Stuff blog.

...slide rules are an elegant computing solution. They require no power. They last forever. And, they work well enough to solve most problems where an individual understands the basic principles associated with the problem he is trying to solve.

The Miscellaneous Stuff author is worried that fewer and fewer people understand the “basic principles” of the problems they are addressing. I think he may be right about that.

Tags: tech-trends

The Need for a Return to the Desktop Computer

Friday December 4, 2020 — oldfolio

Some reflections on the future of computing at the Miscellaneous Stuff blog:

The future of personal computing looks rather bleak to me... They are making it harder and harder for us to do what we want with our computers. They are successfully taking away our general-purpose computers and replacing them with little more than Internet appliances...

I am not looking forward to a near-term future in which my operating system is so locked down that I cannot install the software I want. Many have already reached this future.

Tags: tech-trends Site Colophon

Wednesday November 11, 2020 — oldfolio

From Carl Svensson:

Too many pages rely far too heavily on a presumptive user having the latest browser, fastest computer and highest bandwidth.

The whole article is worth a read -- as are Svensson's other musings.

Tags: tech-trends