I’ve been a fan of minimalism for years. Not only the aesthetics but also the life philosophy. At one point in my life I could fit everything I owned in a car - granted, I was only 20 at the time. I always try to avoid being extreme in anything I do, but if you’re thinking about something for too long, you might not be able to avoid it until it bite you in the ass.
At the end of August 2021 I got my second Covid-19 vaccine. I thought this was the perfect time to do a clean up, both in my home and digitally. People love symbolic events, I guess. I’ve thrown out or gave to friends and relatives lots of stuff I didn’t need and was basically hoarding - I had 3 graphics cards just in case the one I was using collapsed from all the OpenTTD I was playing - the Nvidia 30xx is still a new architecture, you never know!
After reducing my unused graphics cards, monitors and mice to zero, it was time to look at my digital footprint. iOS has a feature that tells you that some of the passwords you have saved in Keychain are reused or compromised. I suspect using Have I Been Pwned or some other similar service. And this has been bugging me for some time. I decided I’d change all passwords of services I care about to Keychain generated ones, and delete the accounts for services I don’t care. After doing just that, I also decided I’d add some extra security layer, by using Google Authenticator - spoiler alert, this will bite me in the ass in a couple of lines.
With the accounts taken cared, it was time to do the same to my devices. The first victim was my laptop. Clean wipe and reinstalled macOS. Felt good!
Then came the iPad, Watch and my iPhone.
At this point, all my devices were decluttered, my accounts were secure and all seemed good! Time to start cluttering again. First clone my GitHub repos that were super secure with the awesome sauce Google Authenticator. And even if they weren’t I had the keys GitHub gives me when I first added the authenticator - all was good!
Thing is, after installing the Google Authenticator app, none of my secrets were showing there - small panic!
After Googling a bit, I found that Google Authenticator does not backup to any service - BIG PANIC! I was an idiot, and should’ve checked this prior to doing anything. No problem, the only important accounts were my GitHub and my Degiro account. To GitHub I had saved the codes in Apple Notes, and to Degiro I knew I could just call them and remove the authenticator.
But there’s more. Apple is not great at web services. And “It Just Works” sometimes doesn’t. My notes were not synced across iCloud. I probably didn’t give it enough time to sync, or it may have found a problem. I don’t know what happened, just that for some reason, the GitHub notes I had saved with my codes were nowhere to be found.
Degiro was easy. After a 10 minute call I recovered my account - all goof in the hood. With Github, not so much. I opened a ticket with them, but I knew from the get go it was probably a lost cause. Three days later I got the response saying I couldn’t get the access - all was lost. Fuck…
I lost my GitHub account of several years. I had a couple of projects there, but only one active and private - Ares, my RSS Reader. I was (and still am) actively working on a side project and all the work was lost. Thankfully it wasn’t too much lost there. Right now the major loss is really just Ares. I can’t update it and will have to rewrite everything from scratch. Thankfully I’m probably the only person that uses it on a daily basis and it won’t affect that many people. My website, I managed to migrate to this one, and even grabbed a new domain, just to restart - I really love symbolic events.
Looking back, I don’t think it was GitHub’s or Apple’s or Google’s fault I lost my account. I should’ve done my due diligence. I failed to do that because I wanted to get a fresh start. Got it in more ways than I wanted. But lesson learned.