12:13pm

Mon January 6, 2014
Politics

Will Durst: Deep in the bowels of password hell

Note: Will Durst is a comedian and you may find some of his material offensive, or worse, not funny. His views do not necessarily reflect those of KALW.

Hey guys,

Will Durst here, with a few choice words concerning my annual descent into password hell. A lot of us are taking our cues from the IT experts who encourage the general populace to change passwords once a year - like smoke alarms or high school girlfriends. Meaning now is when the brain-wracking begins to come up with a new password for 2014.

We've all seen the little bar that rates our passwords in relation to strength. Red means weak. Don't you love being called weak by a snotty algorithm? And no matter how many times you respond "Oh yeah? Well you're pedantic!" it doesn't help. The stronger the password, the greener the bar. Of course they keep adding new rules. Now your password can't be any password you've ever used before, and has to be capital letters, and non-consecutive numerals, and at least six characters, while no more than 12, and it can't be 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, or the word password, or 'eat poo and die', because some sites have a filter for that, and yeah yeah yeah, we know, the best password doesn't mean anything, it's just a random series of numbers, letters, hashtags, asterisks and ampersands and look's like Popeye's dialogue balloon after hitting his thumb with a hammer. Which means you got not one chance in hell to remember it.

Now there's always a password retrieval question which never appears familiar, giving rise to the distinct possibility that drunken site registration may have occurred. "My favorite pet." Who can make that kind of judgment? "My daughter's middle name." I don't have a daughter...that I know of. "My favorite non-cruciferous vegetable.” The hell does that even mean? You can always use a password protection app, but those seem dodgy as well. Like those subliminal tapes we used to play during sleep cycles. My biggest fear was always the subliminal message was "buy more tapes."