Emails and Identity

As I have said in several earlier posts, I am trying to revise Dames, Dishes, and Degrees. Unfortunately, I have found it difficult to get into a consistent rhythm of working on the book.

The family members that I do a lot of caregiving for have taken up most of my time so that has been one limitation on how consistently I can work on the book. The other thing that happened more recently and pertains to my manuscript is that Hampshire College changed its email system. Essentially Hampshire email is now part of a college-based Google account.

Without getting too much in the weeds, I’ll just say that since I already had my own personal Gmail account, the first attempt at accessing the Hampshire Gmail did not go that well. Monday and Tuesday were involved with figuring out how I could make this new system work and occupied a lot of my time. Wednesday morning I finally figured it out and I think I have a workable process by which I can access all of my different emails in Thunderbird. At least I now have a working system.

The way this email trouble intersected with the topic of my book, faculty wives, and the fact that I am one, is that I have for many years had a Hampshire email account but the username indicates to anyone in the know that I am a guest and not a full functioning member of the Hampshire community. My actual Hampshire email address is amGU at hampshire dot edu. The GU stands for guest.

I’ve been aware of that classification for years, choosing to ignore how badly it made me feel. In this process of the transition from the old email system to the new Google based system I had to stare at amGU, my email address, repeatedly. Looking at it reminded me how precarious and constrained my position at Hampshire has been all these years. Most of the women I write about in my book were in a comparable situation. They were often part of elite families – being the wife of a Harvard college professor is nothing to sneeze about – yet their role, their identity, as a faculty wife mostly constrained them from having an independent autonomous life.

This week I realized, again, that my own life has consisted of constraints that I have endured for many years as a Hampshire faculty wife even though my husband’s position has allowed me to have a very comfortable lifestyle making me, as a white woman, among the more elite groups in American Society. Although triggering has become an overused word and the subject of ridicule by the American right by Republicans, having to stare at amGU at hampshire dot edu repeatedly this week was certainly triggering for me.

The net result of all of this is that I have decided to begin a process where I eventually will not have that Hampshire email address. My husband is retired. We don’t really have an active connection to Hampshire anymore although I did do over 20 oral histories for Hampshire and I’m still trying to get that to be an actual collection in the archives.

In general, we don’t really have anything to do with Hampshire, therefore I can be like everyone else, accept that Google now rules the world, and just have a Gmail account. Another possibility is to have two email address instead of three, keeping mail amymittelman dot com which is from my website where I post this blog. I think at this point in my life I can forget about existing within the constraints of being a faculty wife and try to have an identity that is just me,  Amy,  as I go through the world.

Domain Change

I know I just posted my weekly blog but because my life is always very exciting, I had to post again. Siteground hosts my blog but my domain registration is still with Bluehost, my old host.

I got an email today from Siteground that said the “new Centralized DNS service is now active for use for your site(s) listed below. The email included the new DNS settings. Since  my domain is registered  with BlueHost, I have to get that information to them.

I barely understand all this and I really want to do the simplest thing. I have not transferred the domain to Siteground, even though that would make the most sense, because it has seemed too complicated.

I just finished chatting with someone from Bluehost and they would install or do whatever with the new settings but the process means my website could be out of commission for up to 48 hours. That is why I am telling you all this.

If you haven’t read my latest scheduled post yet, please try to do it soon or you will have to wait until sometime on Sunday in the late afternoon to do so.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Computer Trouble, Again

Last week, I had planned on not having my computer for Wednesday into Thursday. The back cover of my laptop needed to be replaced. When the shop started the repair, my screen cracked. This meant I had no computer until Saturday.

This put a big dent in my work schedule and made posting on this blog very difficult. I couldn’t figure out how to post something from my phone. If any of you know how to do that, please let me know.

This unforeseen problem is why I didn’t post last week. Because I am so far behind on working on my book, I have decided not to post this coming Friday either. I plan to resume my regular schedule on Friday September 3.

There have been many times in 2021 that I have felt akin to the biblical Job. Maybe I am cursed or living under a bad sign. The Jewish New York begins September 6th. Hopefully thing will begin looking up.

Subscription Bomb

 

On Thursday I got an email from Venmo that someone had changed the primary email associated with my account. Before I could focus on what I had to do, my Gmail inbox was suddenly populated with almost four hundred emails. They were mostly emails confirming I had joined or subscribed to something. Of course, I hadn’t.

This was very overwhelming, and I didn’t know what to do first. Venmo wanted me to change my password so I tried that. It didn’t work; I think because it no longer recognized my email address. I sent emails to Venmo support, receiving a response that they would get back to me in twenty-four hours.

I tried to call Venmo, but you can’t reach customer support by phone. I also found out that Venmo will not cancel any payment. You must deal with your financial institution. On Thursday I called my bank to make sure that no payment had gone out to Venmo. On Friday, because I couldn’t reset my password, I went to my bank and put a stop on Venmo.

On Saturday I was finally able to access my Venmo account and I saw that on Thursday there was an unauthorized payment to Buydig.com for over one thousand dollars. I rechecked that the payment hadn’t gone through and then I cancelled my Venmo account. I emailed Venmo informing them of this and asked them to remove the payment. I got no response.

On Monday, the bank called and said that Venmo had tried to put the payment through, but it was blocked. I will never use Venmo again. They were completely useless and have terrible security.

While I was dealing with Venmo, I deleted the four hundred emails. I then found out from a friend that what had happened is called a subscription bombing. The point is to distract you while they try to access your financial information and sites. The article I read said that you could keep getting emails for months or years.

I am still getting about 6-8 emails a day from the subscription bomb. I first tried to put a filter on everything that was in my spam folder. That did nothing. Now for each email, if I can unsubscribe, I do. Then I make an individual filter, directly deleting it. Then I mark it as spam. It is very tedious. If any of you know of any other way for me to deal with this, please let me know.  Happy Thanksgiving.

 

Computer Troubles

Since Monday I have been dealing with a failing computer.  It stopped charging and since then only charges when the cord is in a very specific position. There is obviously something wrong with the charging port. This is always the weak link on PC laptops. I don’t like MACs but their power cords are magnetic and make much more sense.

My computer is a Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus and it has had problems for a while.  When I have a browser open and have another window open as well like my email it can freeze when moving the cursor from one window to another. The only way to fix it is to reboot.  At other times Firefox will just freeze and go to a blue screen with a black box on the top.

When this first started happening, I reinstalled both Windows and Firefox. That didn’t help so I called Samsung because  I had owned it for less than a year. They wanted me to do a full recovery which I did. That also didn’t help.

Since the problem was intermittent I decided to ignore it. This spring it started getting worse and I called Square Trade since I had bought an extended warranty from them. They wanted me to send them the computer. I didn’t want to do that so I once again ignored the problem.

Now my power port is broken and I have to send it to Square Trade. I am reluctant to do this for two reasons. One I am afraid they will wipe out my data and I will have to reinstall all my programs and settings. The other reason is that it is hard to be without a computer for at least five days.

I don’t think I would buy a Samsung computer again. I also used to have a Samsung phone and that wasn’t a very good product either. I would like a laptop that will last at least three years and maybe four. If anyone has a suggestion please let me know.

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