Tragedy

Technology (1)

The first week of May, my phone broke.  You may not be aware at this point, but I do a lot of things, and the calendar on my phone is how I keep track of them all.  Being without a phone for a week was not fun, even though I rarely talk on the phone or send or receive text messages.

Because the break was a manufacturer’s electronics error, I didn’t have to pay for the replacement phone, but it was still a major pain to be without a phone, to transfer everything from my old phone to my new phone (especially since my old phone wasn’t working very well), and to talk with tech support to verify that I could get a new phone for free.

The Plague (1.1)

I was also sick during dead week and finals week.  The Monday before finals, I woke up with a fairly severe fever.  I went to my CS class and I ate, but that is all I did that entire day.  I slept (or lay in bed without sleeping because my fever was keeping me awake) for 19 hours.  I cancelled all of my other commitments.  That was the only Monday I had to cancel the Palo Alto HS debate meeting.

Getting 19 hours of sleep helped, and I didn’t have to miss any other commitments.  I didn’t do anything above the bare minimum, though.  In other words, I missed the pre-law event on Tuesday, the LGBTQ lunch on Wednesday, the product design dinner on Thursday, and probably some other things. 

It did mean that most of my final projects and final examinations weren’t in the best of health.  My peer counseling written final was on Tuesday (the applied final was the previous week, though, so I took it in good health).  My final project in my CS class was due on Wednesday, so I had to spend 10 hours on that between Tuesday night and Wednesday at 5am.  Thursday was my SLE oral final, so I spent some time studying for that on Wednesday night.  Friday was my social movements research paper, so the entirety of Thursday after my SLE final was spent on that.  And I didn’t miss class, either.

Thankfully, though, my CS final, which is the one I was worried about, was on June 10, or roughly 220 hours after I first woke up sick.  I was still congested, but I was in a clear state of mind at that point, and the 5 days in between my last non-CS-final activity and my CS final helped.

I’m not quite sure what the sickness was.  Some people thought it might be Swine Flu – there were about 7 cases on campus around dead week.  Right after news of swine flu came out, the president was talking about shutting down the campus and sending everyone home if there were any cases in the area.  Then everyone realized that the swine flu was less harmful than the seasonal flu.  Because of the swine flu possibility, though, my RA and roommate coerced me into going to Vaden, the campus’ free clinic. When I stopped by on the Tuesday (or maybe Wedensday?) after I got sick, they thought it might be strep (the test came back negative) and gave me some Tylenol and ibuprofen.  I almost choked on the Tylenol since I have never learned how to swallow pills.  The process of choking (and coughing) made my shoulder sore – this symptom persisted for the rest of my sickness, and it was much more severe than any symptom I had after Monday’s fever.  Yet another plague of modern medicine!  Or I should really learn how to swallow pills.  I didn’t end up taking the rest of my doses of Tylenol or ibuprofen.

Identity (theft) (1.2)

The Monday after I got back home, I got a voicemail from my bank / credit card.  They said that there was some suspicious activity on my account and to call them back as soon as I got it.  I checked out my account online, and there were two $150 purchases posted to my credit card account earlier that day.  Needless to say, they weren’t me. 

I gave them a call back.  They cancelled my card, sent me a new one in the mail (apparently, they had my address wrong on file even though I had been getting mail from them properly.  I had to call a different person later that day to get that straightened out), and told me that I wouldn’t have to pay any of the fraudulent charges.  I would only have to fill out some fraud paperwork (it still needs to come in the mail.  So does my card.).

The disturbing thing is that I pay a lot of attention to data security.  I never lost my physical credit card.  I have used the physical card for several purchases, but the only time that it left my sight for any amount of time was when I went to a restaurant once for someone’s birthday dinner.  Online, I only deal with trusted websites (paypal, amazon, Amtrak), don’t have any viruses, and don’t let anyone else access any of my financial information.  In other words, the only weak links were when I handed it to the waiter at the restaurant and the databases at Amtrak (which, I would wager, aren’t very secure.  T Mobile had their databases, including all of their employee financial information, hacked.  A bank in Germany had all of their information hacked.  Companies don’t take network security seriously unless they are someone like Amazon or Google or Paypal.).  Even my local network couldn’t have been compromised (there are attacks that would let people do fraudulent purchases if you ever log in to a website that has your sensitive information, like Amazon, over wifi.  I never made a purchase at Target before, though, so that wasn’t the issue).  In other words, it’s disturbing that the most secure of people are insecure because of the society around them.

It was cool, though, that my bank caught the fraudulent purchase less than a day after it happened.  Go modern technology and computer science!

Quarter:

Experience Type:

Experience Date: 
Saturday, June 20, 2009