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"I'm from the search engine and I'm here to help you...." - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
"I'm from the search engine and I'm here to help you...."
Not quite two years ago, I acquired an Android tablet. ASUS Transformer, aka an eee Pad (see what they did there, Jobs?). Nice, for what I use it for- mainly, as an e-reader and for travel when the phone is too small (and/or discharged) but the laptop is too big (or not with me). Plus, it has a nice camera function- which is what Eleanor found especially nice when she was temporarily borrowing it when her last laptop bit the dust somewhat later in 2012.

Rather than fix that one, she opted for me getting her a clone of the same tablet, which came home sometime around the end of that April. I took mine back and gave her the slightly newer one, but it's taken far more of a beating since.  She uses it a lot more than I use mine, as it's her only link to the online world (other than a really ratty XP laptop we keep for a few Windows-only things), and over time, it's been dropped more than once, stepped on at least once (by me), been sent back to our guru's la-BOR-atory for screen replacement, but now it's just starting to get into Last Gasp territory.  The "fixed" screen is still slightly bent, the power button doesn't quite work, and several times a day it just spontaneously stops and reboots itself, with a message that "unfortunately, DMC Client is not working."

I didn't know he even was still working;)

And so it became clear to switch the tablets again, since hers, even with faults, still worked okay at the gym in reader mode, still takes good pictures, and has email and web access for those inner-betweener spots. So for now, at least, it's okay for me, and I'm fine letting her have mine for her more everyday uses.

All well and good, until you try getting under the Google hood.


Both of us experienced the same issue in the past week or so: Google refusing to recognize that we had switched. I was getting her email notifications on the one that had been hers (which I'll call George, as in Clooney, as in Cloney, which it is of the older one), and she was getting mine on the formerly-mine one she's now using (named Godot when I first got it, after months of waiting for it). In PC-land, this would be simple: we'd log out and back in. Not on Androids, though; your Google account is at the heart of the machine's operations. When we first set them up, ages ago, gmail addresses were among the first personalizations we did, and there is no quick or easy way to undo them.

Not that I didn't try. I found "accounts and sync" choices in their settings, tried turning sync on and off for each, but none of it did the trick. She was still getting my emails (and me hers), her browser was still synced to my (very few) bookmarks, and I was seriously considering the hard-reset option on at least Godot to start over from the very beginning....

until finally hitting paydirt this morning.  I researched and found how to delete my Google account from Godot and, then, add hers.  Only holdup was her not knowing her Google password. Why would she? It was stored in George on Day One and she's never been asked for it since. Unlike Firefox, there's no easily accessible password manager to display it, so off we went (on a PC, of all things) to Google Account Recovery.  I'm picturing something like Gringott's, with mean little goblins staring me down whilst trying to acquire the goods from the vault.  It went much better than that- a text instantly arrived on her mobile with the magic code to enable the password reset.

A code, incidentally, that ended in the digits 404.

No matter; it allowed the reset. But to what? I opted to append something to one of the passwords we'd previously tried (and failed) with, and all was well.  Armed with the fresh password, Godot added her account, set it as her email default, and all traces of Icky Old Me seemed to be off the thing.

Until dings began dinging; Godot now told me that it could not retrieve her email because, duh, the password didn't match. Here, again, my inclination was to log out and back in. No such animal.  No reset option in the email or gmail apps, either. Only choice was to completely delete and then restart from scratch- which is now done- and she is receiving her emails, and has retrieved many (though not all) of her browser bookmarks, and has set her font sizes to their abundantly energetic pre-cataract-removal levels.

We are done- but isn't this stuff supposed to get easier?  Maybe, in the end, that's the plan- for manipulation of hardware to be so beset with choices, and difficulty to change, that we'll just go the simpler route of making our technology purely personal. Want a frightening vision of that from 1967? Behold.

That's from The President's Analyst, a very funny, yet very scary film, from one of the eventual creators of the Barney Miller series, which takes a simple premise- what would happen if the POTUS needed a shrink and the rest of the world found out?- and cat-and-mouses through various attempts to capture the doctor's knowledge of his inner secrets, by all of the usual suspects (mainly Russians), before the Big Reveal shown in that clip above. The real villain of the piece wasn't named USSR, but TPC- The Phone Company.

Look at how far we've come toward that reality, just in this decade- and, maybe, be a little afraid of how little distance there is until it becomes fully realized.

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