122 Passwords


by Samuel Greengard

I think I've finally hit the wall. My eyes are aching, my fingers are sore and my mind is numb. I'm staring at my e-mail inbox. It currently contains 4,772 items that need to be filed. About 150 to 200 messages stream in on an average day and I'm now in a nonstop battle to keep my account below quota so that messages don't bounce back to senders.

My browser situation isn't any better. Right now I have 87 tabs open in Chrome. You're probably asking, "Why doesn't the moron use bookmarks?" Well, I have 422 bookmarks in 37 folders and finding what I'm looking for is becoming more vexing by the moment. Did I file the bookmark for Engadget under "Technology" or "News"? I honestly don't know. It's just easier to keep sites open that I use regularly.

It goes from bad to worse when I restart the computer. It can take 20 minutes to open all the apps and track down all the files I'm currently using. Thank goodness I'm on a Mac because it can run two weeks before it requires a restart. We'll see if the forthcoming release of the Lion OS, which promises to save the previous working state on a restart, remedies this problem.

Let's not even get into Google Alerts and RSS feeds. At the moment, it appears that I have 4,865 unread alerts stashed in folders and 1,538 unread RSS items beckoning. Oh yeah, I haven't checked Twitter in two weeks and my Facebook feed has gone over a cliff. I use a password manager for logons but that's spiraling out of control too. I have 122 passwords.

It's a total mess. I simply can't keep up. And I am willing to bet that I'm the norm rather than the exception.

Please don't send suggestions for new apps and data management tools. Each one creates its own daisy chain of problems. I inevitably wind up requiring add-on apps to make the original apps manageable.

Also, I don't need any books about how to conquer the data deluge. The proof that they're totally ineffective lies in the fact that there's a constant stream of new books on the subject. Besides, it would just add to the stack of books currently sitting on my nightstand: E-mail for Idiots, Web Browsing for Whiners and Data Management for Dorks.

Where do we click from here?