August 4th, 2005



August is when everyone who only uses their account once a year to get certificates (i.e. most of Facilities) comes in to reset their password. Now, you're not allowed to set your password to something that you've used before as a password (or, at least, used within the last several password changes). So a significant fraction of such people come in telling me that they don't remember their password, sit down to type something new, and get told by the system "You can't reuse a password". So the new password they're making up is the same as the old password they already had. If they just knew they knew it, they'd be set.

I could write it off as "people use the same password for everything" (and heaven knows I don't use different passwords for every web site out there), but I am also reminded of when the submariner hit his head and wasn't storing short-term memory. He kept going around and around through the same topics of conversation, because he didn't remember that he'd had them before. We behave the way we behave, the same each time, because that's what we do. We create the same new password, we start the same conversation - the only reason we don't actually run in little hamster wheel circles all the time is when we remember we did it before.
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