New Castle News

News Bloggers

January 19, 2013

Josh Drespling: Passwords, Pa$$words, Pa$$UU()DZ

NEW CASTLE — How many times have you been greeted with the following phrase: “Your new password must be at least 16 characters in length, include one capital letter, one numeric symbol, two vowels, a mammal, one hieroglyph from the Mesozoic or Mesopotamian eras, and the periodic symbol of two or more elements.”

Maybe it is not that severe, but it might as well be. I sat at my desk today and spent 20 minutes formulating the perfect password, only to come to the realization that I will have to do it all over again in 30 days. Oh, the agony, the frustration, the dread!

I have 13 different systems I have to log in to at work. Each of these isolated processes requires a unique set of user names and passwords. To enter higher levels on these systems, I have to verify my identity again with a secondary password. That's not to mention all my personal accounts.

I have three email accounts, Facebook, two bank accounts, Penn Power, Comcast, brokerage accounts, 401ks, and about a dozen websites that I am an administrator of.  How can I possibly keep them all straight in my feeble and constantly distracted mind?

I have given up trying to commit these random sets of numbers, letters, and special characters to memory. I have tried using different software programs to save my precious data, but none of them have been as convenient as a good old piece of notebook paper. I have done exactly what you are warned not to do. I have made a list and posted it beside my work computer for all to see.

I have even contemplated creating a file on my laptop that has the majority of my personal account information. I, of course, would encrypt the file and bury it in an unusual directory using a confusing name, but guess what? To open it I would still need a password.  

Additionally, I don’t want all that information in once place, just in case it does get compromised.

I have lost count of the number of times I have gone through the lost password process on these sites. It feels like some kind of second-rate therapy session. They inquire about my first girlfriend, pets, the street I grew up on, and even my mother. Who do they think they are?

I would be willing to bet that I spend at least 20 minutes per day executing the log-in process to various different parts of the Internet or cloud. I wonder if I could get some government funding to produce a study to discover just how much time an average person wastes per week, or month, or year because of the need for passwords.

Over the years I've gotten lazy and simply used iterations of previous passwords. I started with easy1 for one specific account since the Great Password Gods make me change it so often.  I have worked my way through easy1, easy2, easy3, all the way up to the current easy7.  I have another account that follows the same dumb logic to appease my infantile memory and I am now up to the 17thversion of that password.

I haven't had any problems other than me forgetting these pesky passwords, but now that I am publishing this with the New Castle News and it will be visible to the entire free world, I better go re-examine my passwords now.

That is, if I can remember where I put them all.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
News Bloggers
  • Potato.jpg The Couch Potato: "The Bachelorette" semi-live blog

    Here we go folks: “The Bachelorette” finale is under way and of course we’re being inundated with sweeping helicopter shots of beaches and exotic locations while Chris Harrison is telling us how dramatic this upcoming episode will be. Classic opening for “The Bachelorette,” as always.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Huston.jpg Greg Huston: Readers (a few anyway) respond on Alvarez

    Last week I asked readers to share their thoughts on what the Pirates should do with the struggling Pedro Alvarez and we’ll get to that in a minute. For some background, Alvarez has two years left on his deal and makes a modest salary of 4.25 million this season (modest in terms of baseball salaries as paying me 4.25 million dollars for anything would be gladly accepted). His salary will likely increase the next two seasons through arbitration. 

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Church.jpg Gary Church: As you may have noticed, I'm not Lisa
    Surprise, surprise, surprise! The big cheese called me, and asked if I would mind if my blogs appeared on Monday, instead of on Tuesday. I had no problem with that.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drespling.jpg Josh Drespling: Time flies when you're growing up

    Where does the time go? Just a moment ago, it was Monday, and now here we sit at the opposite end of another week. Seems like a matter of seconds and this month has slipped off into oblivion. I swear I only blinked and spring had been stripped from our hands. I don't dare close my eyes for another moment’s rest or my whole life may disappear.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Church.jpg Gary Church: Grab your sisters and your mothers, it's an ice cream 'convent'-ion
    To keep my nice figure, I like to go to Forbush's at least once a week. This is also my entertainment for the night.  We sit there for an hour or so, watching people. Last week, a group arrived that I had never seen before.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • johnnyswim.jpg Tim Kolodziej: What is your definition of The Dream?

    Johnnyswim. I know, I know. Me neither. I had no idea what that word meant until a couple of months ago, when a friend of mine on Twitter was absolutely gushing about a great concert he had just seen.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Potato.jpg The Couch Potato: Does "House of Cards" crumble or stand?

    The old Couch Potato has been methodically working my way through the hit Netflix series, “House of Cards,” over the past few weeks and let me just say, it’s pretty good. 

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Church.jpg Gary Church: It was an uphill climb, but this driver was a real trooper

    It's always a tragedy when I have to cover a drowning for The News. I hope I never have to go to Kennedy Mills again for this purpose. It is located at the bottom of a twisty, turning hill on Frew Mill Road.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Happy_Ending.jpg Lisa Madras: I struggle with goodbyes, so I’ll just say ‘thank you’

    After 12 amazing years at the New Castle News, it is finally time for me to say goodbye.  I walked through the doors of this building believing that I had found the place I would live out the rest of my days, content in the chaos of deadlines and bylines, inky fingers and editorials.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Drespling.jpg Josh Drespling: When the family’s away, this bachelor will ... work?

    It was inevitable. I knew it was coming and the situation was unavoidable. Over the course of the last few weeks I have been preparing myself for this moment and it has finally come.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads

Do you talk to yourself when you're alone?

Yes, but I’m basically just thinking out loud.
No, that would be weird.
I don’t know. Next time I’m alone, I’ll ask.
     View Results