Max Headroom Wants Your Password

Why you need a password manager, Lorde’s new album, breweries and more on this week’s Six Things.

Max Headroom Wants Your Password

1. It’s time you invested in a password manager

So, you use the same password for a few sites. What of it? And, yeah, you can’t use the same password on that one site because it requires two special characters instead of one. So, you make a one-off. You’ll remember it.

But then, when your life is literally dangling from a highwire one million feet in the air, you get the “password or email you entered is incorrect” error message. Your nose beads up with sweat. Your heart runs a lap. The tiger approaches closer— wait. The highwire starts to fray. “Did I use a one-off password? Or did I sign up with my Gmail address that I use for junk?” You don’t remember, so you try again—same error message.

Just then, your genitals fall clean off and disappear into the dark abyss. You give it a third go, but this time— ah, see, you’re smart— this time, you type your password out in the notes app in case of a typo. The error message pops up again with a new sentence— “you have one more attempt before your account is locked.” The highwire snaps in two, and you’re in freefall.

Just then, below you, you notice a ledge to grab onto. You click on the forgot password link...Error message: “This email is not associated with any account.”

Here’s another scenario:

In a dark room somewhere, a hacker wearing sunglasses  just purchased your DoorDash username and password from a deep-web website with a URL so crazy you’d mistake it as the result of your cat crawling over your keyboard.

You see, DoorDash had a data breach , and they’re dragging their feet with the press release. And now, Hackerman has the email address and password that you use for everything (not just for an app you occasionally use when you’re high and hungry)— your bank, your Venmo, your T-mobile account. Oh god, they now have your p-hub account if they think to check. Yup, they have it all. It’s just a matter of trial and error to find out which websites you’re signed up to.

Get a password manager. Give each of your accounts a unique password that will pass the strength test with flying green colors.

1Password is the most popular and, in my opinion, one of the best available.

Also,

  • T-mobile just had a data breach. SSNs, emails, passwords, the works. The phone carrier said it affected 40 million customers and prospective customers (whatever that means).
  • Have I Been Pwned will tell you if your phone number or email address is on any available data breach lists.
  • How to set a password that takes 200 years to crack.
  • Don’t Click On That is a helpful and digestible resource dedicated to the cybersecurity topic.

2. Yik Yak is back, I guess.

Yik Yak was (is) a completely anonymous social media platform popular with college kids back in the early 2010s. It’s like Twitter without profiles or usernames.

A 76% decline in user engagement was the official reason Yik Yak closed their doors in 2017. Unofficially, Yik Yak struggled with fixing the rampant cyberbullying and hate speech on its platform. Some universities went as far as banning the app all together. It was a mess.

Today is a new day, and Yik Yak is back and under new ownership. I was intrigued when I heard the news. Enough to sign up and scroll through my feed (I screen-grabbed a few). But I don’t remember anyone asking for this. Why do we need the return of an app that was somewhat popular seven years ago?

From the Yik Yak website:

We spend our lives online under the weight of labels — both self-imposed (personal brand) and those assigned to us by our peers (societal labels). Whether its the type of label that can be inferred via a feed of carefully curated Instagram posts, or the type of label that can be read plainly like a LinkedIn title, labels inform almost all of our interactions with others online.

Neat.

Also, their opening line addressing how they’ll handle bullying and hate speach:

We're committed to combating bullying and hate speech on the Yik Yak platform by any means necessary.

Okay, I guess. I don’t know, I’ll probably still use the app sometimes.

3. A wife in recovery

I have some people close to me who have decided not to take the covid vaccine. My biggest fear is losing them.

I read stories like the one from this Twitter thread (read it), and it breaks me every time.

The woman survived, but barely.

4. Lorde dropped a new album

When I asked a friend what they thought of the new Lorde album Solar Power, she replied “I fear Lorde may be happy.” That seems to be a shared sentiment. I’m working through the album, giving it multiple listens before I offer an opinion. Until then, allow me to offer an opinion— I’m not blown away.

Apple Music | Spotify

That said, Lorde can make whatever type of music she wants. I think my friend would agree. And to be fair, it took me a few listens to appriciate Melodrama, and now I love it.

Also, Nas just dropped an album— King’s Disease II. Ms. Lauren Hill blesses us with a verse on the song Nobody. I miss her.

Apple Music | Spotify

5. Let’s go to a brewery

Full thread.

6. Old articles and new perspectives

Deadly Trail (1995): I lived near the infamous Orange Blossom Trail in the mid-nineties, near the end of the crack epidemic. A few years back, I came across this article, written in 1995, about two OBT “hookers”— Felicia and Peaches. The report boasts how the Orlando Police Department has made over 800 arrests in their attempt to clean up the strip. All drug-use-related, of course. It’s a challenging read, if not a fascinating look into how we tend to vilify lower-class Americans with substance abuse problems. Compare this 90’s strategy to how we’re dealing with the upper-middle-class opioid epidemic today.

The Max Headroom incident (1987): Someone hijacked TV airwaves dressed as Max Headroom twice, for a couple of minutes each. They used their time to fly-swat their bare ass and chuck a few Pepsi cans off-screen. The person was never caught.

An article in hindsight — An Unsolved Midwest Crime: The 1987 Max Headroom Incident

How Restaurants Got So Loud (2018): A fascinating look into how 1950s and 60s restaurant designers focused on reducing din (loud, unpleasant noises), how noise-absorbing fabric went out of style, and why restaurant owners tend to design sterile spaces that seem to be incredibly loud (hint: we spend more money on drinks when a restaurant is noisy).

Another good article on the topic of din: Restaurants Take the Din Out of Dining (NYT)

Google Changes Its Rank Algorithm In Response To DecorMyEyes Story (2010): A sunglasses store was flooded with negative reviews. In response, the Google Algorithm shot the company to the first result for the keyword “sunglasses”.

In 2011, one year after the DecorMyEyes story broke, Facebook updated its Newsfeed algorithm, seemingly favoring negative engagement. A coincidence, I am sure.