Saturday, March 03, 2012

A "Chrome" pop-odyssey (remember "Nsync"?)

Today, Google Chrome “vanished” on me, from a Windows 7 Dell XPS (converted from Vista) where I do most of my work.  I had been in Internet Explorer looking at a PDF pointed to by an Electronic Frontier Foundation article mentioned in a tweet.  The PDF somehow disappeared, and so did Chrome. The Chrome “New Tab” panel disappeared to the lower right, and would not come back.  I have had some intermitted issues in Windows 7 with the touchpad generating unwanted commands, ever since conversion from Vista.

The only way I could get Chrome back was to restart the machine, uninstall, fill out the questionnaire, and re-download.  Then to use the browser, Google forced me to sign on to my Google account (it did not reverify with 2-step, since apparently the computer is still trusted and had just finished a 30-day cycle), and then it forced me to use the Chrome password.  It had told me I would not need the application-specific password again, but I did need it. Fortunately, I had saved it anyway.  Then it “re-sycnhed”.  Apparently the application-specific step is another layer of security from hackers.

I don’t think this incident happened from malware; I think it’s something in Windows 7 when converted from Vista.  It did not even generate a report to send to Microsoft, which normally happens when an application crashes. 

My experience with the 2-step “trusted computer” concept is that it runs about 32 days, not just 30.
One other thing. I just got a Motorola Droid phone from Verizon, as my contract recycled. I’ll have to get it completely synched up (with Google, Facebook, and Twitter, and banking sites) before I go on another trip.  When I’m home, I don’t really need to use these; I don’t keep up with people on the run with texts (like I see so many people do on dance floors).  I don’t know how 21-year-olds can type on these little touchpad-qwerty’s so fast in the dark accurately; I can’t.  But being able to use all of a device’s features properly is itself a security precaution, because it makes it easier to keep up with everything, particularly "on the road".  One of the best defenses against identity theft is to be able to check things frequently from any device; people who check their accounts frequently have fewer problems.  Before travel, to remote areas, check your cell provider for coverage in the areas you will transit.  

By the way, Chrome is consistently the fastest browser in my own experience. I thought it was the simplest. But not today. 

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