These seem to take two forms: (1) general problems logging in; and, (2) being locked out. The system I use for the back office — Digital Access Pass (DAP) — controls both.
General Log-In Problems
If you have problems getting into the protected area after entering the correct user name and password, the best bet is to clear your cookies and empty your cache and try again. About 90% of the time, this does the trick.
If you still have problems, chances are you’ll have better luck with another browser. IE, Firefox and Chrome have all been tested, but there are a lot of different versions of each; yours might be the one with “issues.”
The same advice goes for the way pages display in your browser. If you’re not happy with one, try another. I’ve never had any issues with Firefox.
If you have received an email announcing that you were locked-out of your account, read on.
Getting Locked Out
DAP counts the number of IP addresses your account has used in logging in to the site. When it reaches a magic number, DAP assumes that you’re sharing your account info with your hundred closest friends and automatically sends an email announcing that you’ve been locked out. The link included in the message sends you to this page.
If this happens to you, the first thing to do is ignore it. Really. For some strange reason, this email is sometimes sent even if you’re not really locked out. Don’t ask me why; I know it makes no sense. If you’re able to log in anyway, just go with it — but let me know so I can preemptively reset your account.
If you really can’t log in, simply reply to the email (I’ll be copied) and I will unlock your account asap. If I don’t get an email from you, it’s possible someone else has intercepted your login info and caused the lock-out. If you receive the lock-out email without having tried to log in, this is probably what happened; and, we’ll need to reset your log-in info.
Why Does This Happen?
Usually, it’s because the system has seen too many IP addresses from you. If you’ve shared your password info with other people (even months ago – computers have a very long memory), this is to be expected. It’s a way of keeping folks honest and protecting the value of your membership.
It can also happen to those who have a lot of computers and/or travel quite a bit. If you use a laptop, iPhone and iPad in addition to the desktops at work, your mom’s house and in an airport lounge… it’s a matter of when, not if. Don’t take it personally; just send me an email and I’ll unlock your account asap.
If you’re one of those very “connected” people or anticipate traveling a lot, shoot me an email and I can be on the lookout for any problems with your account.
There is one other special class of members: those with dynamic IP addresses. If your ISP provides a different IP address every time you log in, you already know what I’m talking about. There’s no easy way around this, other than to ask your ISP or tech guy at work for a static address — or at least refrain from using the one that creates problems.
Last, some of you might find that your workplace has restricted access to blogs on their network. Many members who work for banks and brokerage firms have faced this issue. There is nothing I can do from my end other than recommend you access the site with a smart phone or tablet computer which uses cellular data.
Alternatively, you can have your tech people contact me to verify that, while occasionally subversive, I am not a cyber-terrorist who is bent on infecting their network. We might even come up with a group membership arrangement that makes everyone happy.
DAP is reportedly developing a version that isn’t as susceptible to problems. I’ll let you know if/when that happens. In the meantime, make a note regarding the times/places that result in log-in problems. I can’t sit at my computer every minute of every day; so, unlocking your account will occasionally be delayed. It’s best to prevent such problems in the first place.
Likewise, if you’re filled with the spirit of giving and can’t resist sharing pebblewriter.com, consider getting that special someone their own membership. I offer group rates that are perfect for investment clubs, brokerage firms, etc. Every referral to a new annual member earns you three free months tacked onto your own membership. Sign up four friends and get a whole year for free.
I’m putting in some very long hours to make this site successful. The more members we have, the more time I can put in on the blog. I don’t know what it is yet, but there is a magic number out there that will allow me to spend full time on the blog. So, help me help you.
Any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.