Thursday, March 31, 2011

Short term memory loss

Our work computer system has many, many layers of security requiring codes and passwords just to get it the home screen before you even start entering user names and passcodes for various programmes. One of these is a password which is regenerated by the system every three months or so., It tell you you need to change it and there is a button to click on and it spews out random letters. If you don't like what you get, you can get it to spew alternatives. All are entirely un-memorable.

Unless you have a System. I decided that if I read them as names and came up with an image of the person whose name it sounded like I could remember it. So I have had the Pakistani Diplomat MI5 spy, the Vietnamese woman who sold sticky rice in banana leaves by the side of the road and currently the Sudanese camel trader. He came along only on Wednesday and as I get to know him I am beginning to fear that he may also trade in refugees. Before that there was a one eyed Turkish carpet trader.

And that is where the problem is. I can see these fictional characters in my head real as life. But apart from the new one I have not got a clue what their names are.  I types each one's name at least once a workday for three months each. One only last Tuesday. Do I have the faintest idea what they were called. Nuh huh.

Which is more worrying? That I may have pre-Alzheimers or that I came up with this systen instead of writing the password down backwards somewhere in teh back of a diary as I bet most people do?


Vicki W said...

Most people write them on a post it note and put it in the top drawer of their desk or under the keyboard. These smart security people should let is stick to petname1, petname2, petname3........

Feather on a Wire said...

No one can remember them, so you are doing well to remember them at all. It's such bad practice to impose passwords which have no meaning to you at all. Even sites which really don't need them impose stupid things like password must contain letters and numbers.

We have to remember all the geeks who think these things up are either borderline or have full blown aspergers and their brains work differently. (I'm married to one).

Your work involves high security information so the passwords do need to be changed but there needs to be a better system in place to make them memorable.

Anonymous said...


You only remember things that are important ... thier names are only important until the password changes. However, it sounds like they are some interesting characters, so maybe you should write a story about each one, but give them an alias so you don't reveal the password!

Judy B

magsramsay said...

After 20 years at work trying to think of new passwords every 3 months I'm in trouble as I've run out of Australian marsupials.