Too Cool for Internet Explorer

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Emotional Roller Coaster

I still can’t believe it. How I managed to go from feeling extremely proud of myself in the morning to feeling like a complete dolt in the evening is still beyond my comprehension.

It started when, today, I finally decided that I was tired of putting up with a feature of Entourage not working. (Yes, I use Entourage. Sue me.) I’ve used Entourage in v.X for quite a while and I frequently send text that was originally typed by a coworker in Word, then copied and pasted into the e-mail body. Because my coworker prefers to keep the setting for smart (curly, or typographer’s) quotes enabled, and because I almost never send HTML-formatted e-mail, and because plain-text e-mail often mistranslates characters like smart quotes, dashes, accented characters, etc., I always try to straighten the quotes.

I was thrilled when I first got Entourage to learn it had a built-in quote-straightening feature, and I used it regularly. Recently, though, I finally got my hands on Office 2004 where I work and was miffed that this feature, for some reason, was broken. For a while, I assumed it was my fault, but began to doubt it. The function worked fine in v.X and all the other auto text cleanup options in 2004 work fine, too—just not quote straightening.

Upon learning that Microsoft wasn’t going to give me any love in the form of complimentary support for the first X-number of days, I finally took the gamble and got into their pay-per-issue support line. The price was easily handled as a business expense, but I was betting I was correct about it being a bug, and they’d waive it.

My gamble paid off. The policy is such that they have to initially take a credit card number to charge the $35 fee, but the support person confirmed the inoperative quote straightening command on three separate machines in his department and actually agreed it was an undocumented bug! The fee was credited back to me and, hopefully, the next point update to Entourage (or at least the one after that) will include a fix to this broken code.

The reason I was proud of myself is that this is, after all, Microsoft we’re talking about.

But, this evening, it all came to a fiery crash and burn.

In the morning, I had also made a “Buy It Now” purchase on eBay. No problem there, except that I received tonight an e-mail message that my “bid had been cancelled.”

My emotion got the best of me and I hastily made efforts to find out what had happened—very stupid efforts!

First of all, the message said my “bid” had been cancelled. I didn’t bid. I used the Buy It Now option.

Second, the e-mail came to my ATPM e-mail box which has no legitimate connection to my eBay activity. Moreover, it’s a publicly listed address and gets an above-average amount of spam.

And the feat that takes the cake is that I actually clicked the link in the e-mail and logged in to what I assumed was eBay.

Very, very, very, very stupid thing to do. I was running purely on emotion because I was annoyed that what I thought would be a smooth transaction would have this kind of problem.

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, it was a classic phishing e-main message. And I bought it hook, line, and sinker—and I know better than to do stupid things like that.

I believe all will be okay. My PayPal account is a completely separate login than what I use for eBay. Also, within minutes of making this error, I quickly changed both my eBay password and the security question. In addition, since I run Mac OS X and not Windows, it’s a very safe bet that I didn’t end up with malware installed on my computer.

Yes, I’ll also be watching my eBay and PayPal accounts extremely closely the next couple weeks to be certain.

Let my experience be a lesson. Never, ever, ever use e-mail links to log into any account that access your financial information. Even messages I determine are legit, I still type the company’s web site address into my web browser myself and then log in. Why I didn’t this time—I’ll probably never figure out.

Coming back to this entry’s title, you should now see why my state of mind has taken quite a wild ride today—pretty distant ends of the emotional spectrum!

» Posted by ALBj at 11:55 PM (ET)
Category: Idiot of the Moment, Journal


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