I is for idiot

Reading time: 2 mins

Many moons ago I designed a simple template for a blog. It was a very popular blog back then, and it’s even more popular now with a book deal signed and on-sale, and many Bloggie Awards won (3 in a row!).

It’s a regular read of course, and this evening, as I clicked to view the latest post I was slightly taken aback to see a bug in the template! Ack!! How long had that been there and why hadn’t I spotted it before now!!

I quickly emailed Zoe to tell her and ask for her permission to go in and fix it… ohh ok, I was on the Mac and couldn’t be bothered going upstairs to get the log-in details I would need to edit her Blogger template. Thankfully she was online at the time and very promptly emailed me back with her login and password. Very trusting of her, it’s just as well I’m a nice guy…

Over to Blogger I headed and, having signed myself out (I still use it for Scottish Blogs), I logged into My Boyfriend is a Twat to make one quick change to the template.

Change made and republished, all was well, so I headed back to Google Mail to email Zoe to tell her I was done.

Now as this entire process, from my initial email to her response and on through to the fix to her template, had taken less than 10 minutes, I wasn’t surprised that her email was still at the top of my inbox. I clicked to open it and sent her a quick confirmation that the job was done and that I was looking forward to reading her book.

I clicked Send and was taken back to my inbox. I suddenly noticed that there was a green dot next to Zoe’s name in the list and the Google Talk listing had suddenly appeared in my sidebar as well… hey, hang on, I thought as I looked back at the list of emails in my inbox, I don’t recognise any of these emails either ……. OHHH FUCKITY FUCKSTICKS!!!

Yup, that’s right. I was looking at Zoe’s inbox (phnarr, phnarr).

In my haste to get the fix in place I’d forgotten that, these days, Google owns Blogger so, and this is crucial, WHEN YOU ARE LOGGED IN TO BLOGGER YOU ARE LOGGED INTO GOOGLE.

There, in plain view infront of me was an inbox full of juicy details and, probably, bank account details and sexual scandal. I’m guessing of course for, as soon as the realisation of what I’d done had sunk in, I quickly logged out and emailed Zoe from MY Google Mail account professing my embarassment and offer profound apologies and promises of copious amounts of wine (hey, if you are gonna apologise to someone properly, you’ve got to offer them something you know they like).

In fact, I think it’s the first time I’ve ever blushed with embarassment whilst online.

So, for the record: Zoe, sorry about that, I can’t help though, I is idiot.

12 comments

  1. It does sort of say “Security Hole” to me, I must admit.

    But then, if I use anything Googley, I then log out again. *shrug*

  2. Hello Worry-worts!!

    I thought this reaction might come but it’s a pretty ‘edge’ case surely? Zoe trusts me, or she wouldn’t have given me her details (I’ve already got them as it happens), and, frankly, if you keep ANY pertinent information online then THAT would be the worry. No?

    Not sure this would happen to often in everyday usage, if at all!

    (blimey, this was supposed to be funny… spoilsports)

  3. Depends on one’s role, Gordon.

    As someone who does a fair amount of web-based work as well, I’ve got five or six blogger or google log-ins – which means that it’s always possible to make a right balls-up of something that’s Google/Blogger based.

    Of course, if you’re not doing a lot of web-based guff, it’s probably not that much of an issue.

    Security-wise, though, I’d say it was an issue. F’rinstance, if some kind soul discovers your blogger password, then they’ve also got your password for all your google-based stuff. Potentially, Gmail (along with finance details, and who knows what), Google Calendar, Docs and Spreadsheets, which could all be quite useful…

  4. True but why do you have six blogger logins, ahh because they are all different ‘clients’, right? If they were all your site then they’d be listed under one login. So as you say, you are a fringe user who is ‘breaking’ the system.

    And it is no different to any other online system. If someone guesses your password they can login as you. The advantage of the Google ‘apps’ has to be weighed against that fact.

    Hence why I don’t tend to store anything of note anywhere online (Docs is used for blog posts and miscellany of writing, calendar is.. yeah, birthdays and work stuff mainly, and GMail runs under ‘zero inbox’ rules, which includes whacking sent items and trash regularly).

  5. So, were there any good e-mails in there? Aren’t you going to go past the Blogger/Google thing and give us a peek into what was in Zoe’s inbox? No? Oh, you’re just so . . . so . . . trustworthy!

  6. Lesley – which one? They both work for me..

    Peggy – I honestly didn’t even look, the second I realised I’d goofed was when I realised the number of emails in “my” inbox was way more than I usually have… I didn’t even look at subject lines or names, just looked away, blushed!, and looked back to click “LOG ME OUT NOW!!!” or whatever the link is really called.

  7. How strange. It was the first one and it didn’t work for me this morning or this afternoon, but it does now. Gremlinettes, I’ll bet.

  8. I’m sorry – did I just hear someone say “I used someone else’s ID and pasword and things went a little bit the way I didn’t want them to.” ???

    If you must cross the first cardinal rule of security and share user IDs, then either use different browsers as suggested or, better still, don’t break the rule in the first place.

    Blogger allows you to add contributors to a blog and grant them admin access. The only side effect of that is that the profile block changes, which you can fix by copying out the code from a blog page for the user profile and pasting that into the template.

    Now, you can create a new blogger ID “I_help_six_people@gmail.com” and never ever have to look at its mail or share a password again.

    I’m very comfortable with the balance of services vs. privacy vs. cost balance that Google strikes, in contrast, say, to Yahoo. You mean you didn’t know about Web Beacons??????

  9. Hi Ham,

    You are right, of course, that *I* broke the security rules (well, Zoe and I combined). Those rules are there to, probably, stop precisely what happened.

    I too am more than happy with the “balance of services vs. privacy vs. cost balance” provided by the Google Apps I use, although I do maintain a healthy distrust of said systems (can’t be too careful now, can you).

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