I am Jack's Smirking Revenge

little, yappy dogs

Friday, December 09, 2005

My Official contribution to the ISO

ISO, or the International Organization for Standardization, apparently founded by dyslexics, is a group of people who create standards we all use- the 'iso' setting on film was their work, as are many other things we come across in a day, such as how many slices of baloney officially make a baloney sandwich.

I need to contribute to this order in the world, and to do so I will add this:

Password complexity requirements.

Yes, geeky, but the world is complicated and we are forgetful. In a world where most users keep their passwords on a post-it either affixed to the monitor or securely stashed in the top drawer of their desk (and those stereo faceplates, which are either in the glovebox, behind the sunvisor, or under the seat- you're not fooling anyone you know,) the last thing we need is to have to make up new passwords for every Tom Dick and Harry freaking website who goes and decides to have their own baloney requirements.

So, here it is:

at least six characters (security experts are shreiking, but six is CLOSE to passable)
at least one uppercase
at least one lowercase
at least one number or symbol
with a maximum length of 40 characters.

(the security experts are relaxing now, but not completely)

Why a maximum so high? Well, pretty much nobody is going to want one that long anyway, but a lot of places require a password of 6 to 10 characters. What jerk made that parameter? My goal is for every user to be able to use the same password everywhere, and that way they will NOT need to write it down, and since they use it everywhere, they will be a lot less likely to forget it. There are flaws to any security system with people involved in it, so we're fundamentally screwed from the start- get over it.

I have to remember about ten different passwords thanks to various websites over the years. I could- should- go and align them all, but I'd rather complain about it first.


So, ISO peoples, let's get on this pressing issue, k?

ps: a brief search of their site did not uncover any such global standard... is there one?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Our Humbling Future

There are a few things we have down pretty well. We've gone to other planets, we've charted the stars and the depths of the oceans, realized fantastic technologies, taught computers to read and readers to compute.

We, the people of this planet, have created so much that it is inevitable that we get a fat head about it. Our abilities. How cool we are.

The problem is that eventually the amazing things we've created are going to show us just what illogical and backwards little creatures we are. This does not have to be an apocalyptic robots-take-over future, merely a combination of our symbolic logic, our ever-increasing processing speeds, our ever-expanding AI perceptive abilities- at some point not too far away, a computer is going to be able to tell us every time we aren't consistent, logical, or honest. I think each person should have such a device on their shoulder, and it would go [bzzt!], like on Family Feud, every time it detected something.

"Excuse me, miss, can you break a dollar? I need change for the parking meter." !BZZT!
"...oh, uh, heh... um, I mean, I need to pay for the parking and.." !BZZT!
"... dang! Ok, I just wanted to talk to you and..." !BZZT!
"... well, I just saw you there and..." !BZZT!
"... OK! Alright! I've been following you for about three blocks and if I don't talk to you I think my head will explode..." !BZZT!
"... I mean my pants...[sigh]."

Sure, we all know we goof up sometimes, but the weight of finding out just how little of what we believe about ourselves is true could come as a crippling psychological blow to many people. Not just our own shortcomings- those of people close to us could be dizzying. And of course, it would be the end of politics as we know it.

The world will never be ready for an on-the-fly truth and logic enforcement system. It's a funny concept to play with, though.