Arts & Crafts Magazine

The Password Is.....

By Bertyc @bertyc
As someone who literally built his first computer from a kit (Heathkit-Zenith 8088), but who also still has a flip-phone that pretty much just makes phone calls, I'm conflicted about technology. I like what it can do, I just don't like doing it. That said, my entire work life is run by machines. And like every good machine, each has to have its own password.
First, I have to log into Windows to get onto my in-car computer. Once in Windows, I have to log into the program that runs my in-car camera. This one is easy - it's the same as my Windows password. But my Windows password changes every few months, and my camera password doesn't, so they get more and more out of synch as time goes on. So far, I've been able to remember which is which.
Then I have to log into the program in which I do accident reports and traffic tickets. This is a different password altogether, but it's one that never changes, so not so bad. Then I have to log into the program the I use for the bulk of my work - dispatch info on the run I'm on, reports, people checks, vehicle checks, etc. This is yet another password, but also one that never changes. Next, I have to log into the program in which I log evidence. This is the same password as my reports/runs/people/vehicles password. So far, so good.
But then I also have to log into programs that allow me to access state driver, vehicle, and criminal history records. You would think that I was logging into the launch codes for ICBMs aimed at China. I have to change my password about every three months. And each time, I have to meet a mind-boggling set of criteria. It goes something like this:
Please reset your password. Remember, your password must adhere to all of the following guidelines:
1. Your password must be between 16 and 42 characters in length.
2. Your password must contain at least 1 upper case letter, 2 lower case letters, 5 numerals, 7 punctuation marks, a diacritical mark, a polynomial equation, and a smiley face.
3. Your password cannot be similar in any way, or even look or sound like, any other password ever used by anyone.
4. Your password cannot contain any part of your name or the name of anyone else in the galaxy.
5. Your password must use the Runic alphabet.
So, I wind up stringing together my dogs' names in order of age (highest to lowest), my wife's bra size, Grover Cleveland's real first name, the formula for the gravitational force on Saturn, the diameter of FDR's wheelchair wheels, and an antonym for ablutomania. I write it down on a slip of paper, which immediately falls down into the space between the driver's seat and the radio/lights/siren/computer console of my squad car.
I haven't accessed a driver, vehicle, or criminal history in at least 12 years.

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