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The Verification Thing

Why are companies sending codes to my cell phone?

Excellent question.

The verification code protocol is one way companies attempt to be sure you are you before they honor a request to change a password, unlock access, register a new device, or sign in to an important account.

When such a request is made, the company sends a text message containing a 6-digit code to your cell phone. You check your phone — which presumably a “bad guy” would not have — and enter that code in the space provided, assuring the company that it is you, the account holder, making an honest request.

It is not a perfect system, but it does offer you a layer of protection.

The key to this protocol is that you must already have your cell phone number registered to the account in question. You can’t just enter a cell phone number when you need to change your password. (What would be the point?). So, if a company you already use asks you to update your account information by adding your cell phone number, it’s not because they plan to call you to chat. (Of course, all regular warnings about giving out personal information to just anyone apply here).

You may not like this system, but it replaces — or at least is an alternative to — remembering answers to security questions. (Quick: what is the name of the food that your favorite dog ate before you drove away in your first car to get to your best job?) Yeah.

Don’t Forget

Have you ever …
  • Left for vacation forgetting something you meant to pack?
  • Left your doctor’s office before asking an important question?
  • Left the supermarket without buying the thing you went for?
Avoid these annoyances by keeping lists on your smartphone. Your phone is usually with you; what better place to record the things you think of when you think of them?
Every smartphone has place to keep a list. You can use a specific app (Reminders, Notes, Wunderlist, and One Note, for example), or use the “notes” or “tasks” section of your Calendar app, or even compose an email to yourself and save it as a draft.

The key is to start and maintain electronic lists — “Vacation,” “Doctor’s Appointment,” Grocery Store,” etc. — that you can easily access and add to at any time. Then, before you leave the house, office, or market, be sure to CHECK YOUR LIST!

Skip Ad?

Do you click “Skip Ad” when you are waiting to watch a YouTube video?
I did, until I learned that the person who made the video makes money if I don’t skip the ad. Sometimes I let the ad play.
YouTube offers a wealth of information — in video format — about almost everything: crafting techniques, product reviews, technology, and cooking demonstrations, to name a few. Some videos are more informative and better produced than others. If you like a video, reward the creator.
Here are a few ways:
  • Don’t skip the ad. Of course you don’t know if you like a video until you watch it, but if you watch it again or watch another video by the same person, don’t click “Skip ad.” If the ad plays all the way through, the video creator gets a portion of the ad revenue.
  • Subscribe to the channel. If you like a video and want to see more from that creator, click “Subscribe.” You can be notified when a new video is uploaded.
  • “Like” and/or comment on the video. Let the creator know that you enjoyed the effort so he/she will make more videos.
  • Click a link in the description box below the video to purchase a product the video creator uses and recommends. This is called “Affiliate Marketing.” The video creator gets a commission if you click the link to the merchant (usually Amazon) and purchase that product.
If you want to support the knowledge, presentation, and skill of your favorite YouTubers, be sure to reward them.