Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Have you ever counted the number of passwords you have? Not necessarily use, but have.

I came up with 14. I probably have more but I’ve forgotten them — ones used on web sites I no longer visit.

We’re all warned not to use birthdates, the names of deceased or living pets — anything that can easily be figured out by those who want access to our money or privacy. I get the thing about keeping my debit card number a deep dark secret but I really can’t envision anyone (a spy? a detective?) sitting at my computer trying to access my files. Boring.

"The ideal password is for one site only, it uses letters in both upper and lower case, numbers, and other characters. Something like this: EAJst9s74*$d!2 -- but the problem is that it is just not easy to remember.”

No kidding. If I created passwords like that, I’d have to write them down somewhere which kind of defeats the purpose of keeping them a secret.

I won’t tell you how I do figure out my important passwords (if I did I would have to kill you…) but mine are certainly easier to remember than the example shown above.

My eldest son once told me that for sites you really don’t give a rip about, use the same password for each site — one that is simple but rather bizarre such as a product name (Bounce Sheets, Ketchup) or just a word like “renegade” or “dermatology.” (And, no, those aren’t mine.) Doing this makes it easier on the brain for someone like me.

As for the advice to frequently change your password — forget it. If I did that, I’d never remember what they were and be denied access to all my accounts.

Gone are the good old days when all I had to remember was the combination to my school locker.

There are passwords I really do care about keeping private — the one that gives me access to my account on this computer and the ones for my email accounts. Whenever I’m about to type in one of those passwords and a family member is hovering nearby, I ask them to avert their eyes.

Their response? “Ah, we don’t care about the stuff you have on your computer or your email.”

WELL, I DO. And I care about keeping it all mine.

Why? I think that in a household of all males, this is the only privacy I have. And it’s precious to me.

So there, guys.


Anonymous said...

The whole password thing is a major pain.

I laughed at your comment about your computer being all's the same for me being in a house with all males. I tell them that my computer is like my purse...they have no business rooting around in there because I just like to know that everything is where I left it.

Beth said...

trish: Supposedly, this computer is mine. However, the other members of this family have accounts on it. How come I don't have an account on theirs??

patricia said...

You may not have 'a room of your own' but dammit, you have a password of your own! In fact, you have plenty! Lucky you! ;)

Beth said...

patricia: I wouldn't give up my computer & email passwords for a "room of my own" - but it would be tempting.

Beth said...

me + all males=no privacy

I am right there with you! I will take any l ittle bit of privacy I can get!

Beth said...

And they wonder why I lock the bathroom door. BECAUSE I CAN!

Nomad said...

I am SO glad to hear someone else saying this...this is my pet peeve, I feel like my conputer is intensely personal...GAWD my ENTIRE life is on it...I have to confess other than my husband to check email no one else gets on it.
My delimma is that since we have so many overseas guests they often ask to use it and me selfish I don't really want ANYONE else on it. Period. (Especially my mother... who can be a bit snoopy...tho I love her to bits...we had a discussion about it and then TBG caught her sneaking in a quick email pickup...imagine!!)
I don't ever ask to use someone elses. Never ever. There must be cyber etiquette published somewhere...This day and age...bring your blackberry, laptop, go to a cafe...whatever... but stay away from my computer.
I think we will have to set up an old one to collect email for it does make me feel a bit selfish and guilty (which annoys me even more...)

Beth said...

nomad: I so agree. What is on my computer is private and personal. Having someone tell me they're not interested in seeing "my stuff" doesn't make any difference.
But my concern is keeping my password to my account on this computer private. My husband has his own account (access) on this computer and there is a guest account for the boys and for GUESTS who wish to use it. Each account requires a separate password (and you can't access the other accounts while you're "in.")
Can't you somehow configure your computer settings/preferences to set up a Guest account? I use a Mac but I know one of my kids has a guest account on his PC.
If you could do that, it would save you a lot of grief - no more guilt!

Dorky Dad said...

I can't stand our password-rich culture. It's driving me nuts. I can't keep all of them straight.

Nomad said...

Hi Beth,
uh...I think you will need to come to my house to set it up...I don't have a CLUE how to do it...


Beth said...

dorky dad: You? The man with such a way with words?
Maybe it's all a part of aging. I never hear the kids complaining about remembering passwords.

nomad: Duh - I'm just as clueless as you. Send the air fare - I'll ship over my bilingual son. He'd love to spend some time in France.

John said...

I was thinking about this just the other day. I did, in fact, change the password on my e-mail account for the first time since I got it (about 5 years ago). Ever since I changed it I've had to retype the password because I keep getting it wrong. One of these days I'm going to lock myself out of my own e-mail account. Then I'll have to remember the answer to my secret question...which, seeing as I've never used it, I've forgotten too. So in changing my password to protect myself, I've potentially opened up a can worms!

Beth said...

john: I recently had a similar problem - forgot the password and also forgot the answer to the secret question. What a dumbass.
Question - What is your favourite book?
I only have about 20 or so favourites - took me awhile...

cipriano said...

You know what?
A great way to adopt new passwords is to take things like old phone numbers, or postal codes [phone numbers are better] and substitute letters for times when they would rhyme with the NUMBERS of the alleged phone number.
Like "V" or "B" for "3".
Actually........ "V" is the only one that works. So..... OK, forget everything I am saying here. It is not practical at all.
Not only this, but I am also drunk right now, which does not help at all.
So, instead of the above suggestion.... name all passwords for former pets, and/or grandmothers.
And/or, grandmother's pets.

Beth said...

I'm going to take all your words of wisdom as to passwords with a grain of salt - with a margarita...