Question: how many passwords does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Answer: too many.
We’ve lived in our home for 15 years and decided it is time for a few electronic upgrades. OMG. In addition to our passwords for iTunes, iPad, Amazon, two credit card accounts, two bank accounts, four utility companies, four email addresses, and TV streaming we now add five more: three for high speed Internet and two for our home security system, which by the way has the capacity to hold nine. Like I said, OMG.
The ATT internet installer could not explain the difference between the password that is on a sticker on the modem, and the password for our home network, which is driven by what? The modem of course. But, hey, who am I to question? “Don’t use that one, use this one,” says the installer who is certain I know the reason for this. I do not. I’m not sure he does either.
This past Thursday, two days after the Internet upgrade, we had our home security system upgraded. All was going smoothly until the installer asked me for my wireless password. Uh, oh. Is it the password on the modem or the network password? He gave me a “how should I know?” look. Beats me so we tried both which involved many combinations of user-id and pw. We finally got it and, to my surprise, it was still Thursday.
Being a person of senior status, which in some cultures (but not ours) conveys respect, I encounter occasional (i.e. frequent) memory lapses. Thus getting passwords, never mind my best friend’s name, to the tip of my tongue is a challenge, so much so that I have created a paper document where I keep a list of them – it is two pages long and I carry it with me on all our trips. (Please don’t tell anyone.) If someone with nefarious intent finds it I’m done for. But go ahead, ask me the 16 digit number of my first driver’s license issued 50 years ago and recorded nowhere. I can recite it in an instant, to wit, W0173323071007105-46. No lie. So there.
Life would be a bit easier, or at least my password list a bit shorter, if I could use the same one for everything. “Not on your life,” say the IT wizards. Right. Some sites require six characters, some eight. Some require at least one upper case, some two, and some require a number and a symbol, like an ellipse or exclamation point, or question mark. Thus to make one size fit all would require no less than eight characters, two of them upper case, and one symbol. That is until someone comes up with an additional requirement like the last digit of the year your great, great grandmother was born. At least her SS# is not required but only because there were no SS#s in my great-great grandmother’s day. I wonder if, when I die, I’ll need a password to get into heaven. I should put that on my list.