When I became a mom, I knew that the role would call for many things. However, this morning my daughter attempted to assign a role to me that I simply cannot and will not do: Keeper of the Computer Passwords. I can’t keep up with my own; let alone anybody else’s!
Those of us who have seen the computer revolution blossom in front of our eyes (you know who you are – you took classes on Basic in college; you remember when the Internet did not exist, or at least was not as ubiquitous in the American household as, say, the refrigerator is; you can remember playing games on a Commodore 64 computer that plugged into your TV to use as a monitor; and you remember when 1/2 megabyte of RAM was a lot of memory for a PC and we stored extra files on 5 1/4″ floppy discs), can remember a time when – hang on for this younger generation – you could get through life without any passwords at all! Yes, you heard me correctly – you could go from the cradle to the grave without having to enter a password into anything more complicated than the combination lock to your bike – and you wrote that combination on your book bag so you wouldn’t forget it. Those from a slightly later generation can remember when you could use things that were easy to remember, like your children’s name or your birthdate, for passwords or PIN numbers. Heck, only about four or five years ago, most of us did not need to know what the words “case-sensitive” meant.
However, somewhere as the years went on, the simplicity of the password has completely faded into oblivion. Each organization has its own requirements in terms of the amount of letters and/or numbers to be used in a password. Some sites are even getting hyper-technical on me and requiring not only letters and numbers, but characters too! People, if I can’t remember whether my original password was adam12 (or maybe that was Adam12 or ADAM12) I don’t have a hope of remembering whether I used a !, a%, a # or (for when I lose my temper) &^%$##$%&&%%##**$ to go with it.
I have had web sites grade me on the strength of the password I am selecting; that gives me an inferiority complex. I never felt happy with a grade unless it was an A, and I have yet to get an A grade on any password I selected. (If I did get an A grade, I probably wouldn’t be able to remember the password.)
I have other sites that require me to change my password periodically whether I want to or not; that’s really disturbing, because how do I know I can come up with a password that is as good as the one they are making me get rid of? I also have to perform a series of mental gymnastics to keep track of which password to use this week.
The logical thing to do, of course, is to find a place to store all the passwords for all of the sites in one place so you can look one up when you need it, but apparently we are not allowed to keep such a list any place where it can be easily found, which means that the odds are good that I won’t be able to remember where I put the list by the time I need it!
So, to my daughter who won’t read this anyhow because she doesn’t have the password to our home computer (how else could I get away with writing the stories I write about us?), I must regretfully decline your offer to become Keeper of the Passwords, at least until I am able to successfully keep my own!
Have a great weekend everybody!