Member Rara Avis
Heaven knows I don't often get irritated. But you asked for help and Cindy expended a lot of time and effort trying to supply it. To see you blow her off with "she already did this" goes beyond irritation. Frankly, if your sister knows enough about computers to have already gone through this process on her own, she can certainly explain to you why your supposition is -at best - na´ve.
However, for the benefit of those who don't have such a knowledgeable sister, let's explore it.
The Internet, by default, is a stateless environment. That simply means that when you go from one web page to another web page, you effectively become a brand new visitor. The web server on the other end creates a brand new process, opens a brand new connection, and presents you with a brand new page. Once you get the page you requested, the computer process is utterly destroyed, along with virtually all information about you. Whether you came from another web page on that same server or from a search engine in another time zone makes absolutely no difference.
In the bad old days, that meant you would have to identify yourself anew for every single page. Not a lot of fun. So Netscape, one of the first browser companies, came up with a concept they called cookies. Since the web server has no way of keeping track of you, Netscape decided to let your PC keep track of you.
PC: "Here's the username and password my master just enteredů"
Web Server: "Okay, those are good. Please store both on your hard drive, in cookies, so you can give them to me again later."
PC: "Sure, I can do that for you!"
A few minutes later, you click on a link and go to a new web page. Remember, you just became a brand new visitor, creating a brand new computer process that doesn't know you from Eve.
Web Server: "Hello, PC on the other end. Do you happen to have any cookies for me?"
PC: "Well, yea, I do. Username is set to Gossamerwings and password is set to ****"
Web Server: "Fine. In that case, I won't ask your master to enter them again."
Most of the time, this little scenario works pretty smoothly and it saves Internet users a lot of typing. But software isn't perfect and sometimes it gets out of whack. In the conversation above, when your PC said, "Sure, I can do that for you," it was blatantly wrong. It couldn't do it. Maybe the file was corrupt, maybe you have the settings wrong. But it wasn't able to save the new cookies. And the next time the Web Server asked for the cookies, your PC gave it old information.
Please note that web servers do not talk to people. When your fingers touch the keyboard or wiggle the mouse, you are talking only to your own PC, not to the web server. At some point, when you click on a Submit button somewhere along the line, you are asking your PC to send something along to the web server. If it's what you typed, then your PC did a good job. If not, then it's a problem between you and the PC. Web servers do not talk to people. They can't look through the monitor and recognize eye color or length of hair. They can't even look at what you typed, but only what your PC tells them you typed. Web servers don't talk to people. They talk only to PC's. And if that works for approximately 25,000 people at Passions every day, but doesn't work for you, guess what? It just might be a problem with your PC!
I don't expect everyone to understand the intricacies of Internet communication like Cindy does, or like your sister obviously does. But neither do I expect people to stomp their feet and say, "This is the way I think it should be, now damnit, make it work." If you're going to ask for help, at least give the person who takes the time to reply the courtesy of assuming they know more than you do. If they didn't, you wouldn't need to ask for help and they wouldn't waste their time responding.
Lack of understanding is okay. Lack of courtesy isn't.
For those of you who share a computer with multiple Passionate personalities, you might want to avoid the problem entirely by using different Profiles. For IE users, that means setting up Profiles in Windows, which will then cascade to Internet Explorer. For Netscape users, you can use the Profile Manager that comes with recent versions. In both instances, your PC will set aside separate areas of the hard disk so you can have a different set of cookies for each Profile. An even easier, though less useful solution, is to go into Preferences here in the forums and tell Ceres to not use persistent cookies. That means every time you shut down your browser your cookies will go away - including the corrupt ones.
Of course, Gossamerwing's sister already knows all this.