My Own Digital Hell

This is something that I know we techies experience a lot: we sign up for an account somewhere, and then years later come back and discover we need something from that account. In the intervening years, the account has been forgotten, disused and neglected, to the point that retrieving the account information through a forgot password link nearly becomes an exercise in futility.

Alas, here I am.

The backstory is this: Patrick had a band concert last week–his first of his senior year. They played a piece by Holst that was nearly a companion piece to one that most of the same band members were challenged to play as freshmen. Being the dutiful, if not good father that I am, I went back through the 70+ YouTube videos of concerts of years past to find that freshman performance. But it wasn’t in my current account.

The reason quickly became clear. My current YouTube account is not my original YouTube account, which was created before I had a smartphone capable of shooting and uploading HD video to the interwebs. Even before Google owned the half of the internet not already owned by Apple, Microsoft or Yahoo. Thus, my original account, created in the dark ages of the last decade, had no relation to much of my current digital signature.

But I knew I had videos out there on that old account. At least a dozen or so, from Patrick’s 7th grade on. So that raised the question: how do I find that old account?

Google, as with all online services, has a method for retrieving forgotten usernames and passwords. Except the problem is that I couldn’t remember which e-mail address I’d tied to that old account. So I’ve tried every e-mail address I have to find one that matched.

And all it wanted to do was change my current Google account password. Damn it.

Somewhere out there, in YouTube land, sat an account, with my videos in it, all locked down so that only people with the links could get to them. Except while I was supposed to have the links, I couldn’t get to the links because I didn’t have my account information.

This was a conundrum.

After a few days of trying to figure this out, I went back through old e-mails in three accounts before I found one that had the sign up information. I found the account name, reset the password, and then got interrupted. I remembered to go back in tonight. Except I’d forgotten both the account name and the password I’d changed it to–no, for whatever reason, I couldn’t make it follow my usual password routine, and no, I didn’t put it in my password file. So sue me.

Tonight, I got it reset. I got in to see the uploaded videos–fifteen in all, covering some of Patrick’s 7th grade year, the girls’ third grade, and a couple of songs from Patrick’s 8th grade year.

Yep. You guessed it. They’re not there.

9th grade hasn’t been digitized, apparently. I’ll add that to the list, along with our wedding video and countless other hours of stuff…Maybe I’ll just lock myself in my den for a couple of days over the Christmas break.

Damn it.

See you tomorrow.