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Here's something...

I think this electronic revolution is going too far. Don't get me wrong, I love all the services, but I can't use most of them as I forget all the passwords.

A couple years ago, I just had the standard SIN to memorize, and that wasn't yet necessary. You have to have a real job for it to matter much. Now, I walk up the stairs to work, and key in a 5-digit code to open the door. I sit down and log on to my machine, using either my local or domain username and password. Of course they can't be the same, can they? I check my e-mail with another password I didn't choose. This illogical one I have to keep written down. I check my phone messages using a 4-digit code. I look in my snail-mailbox and find I've received a company credit card, complete with 4-digit PIN number and instructions to memorize it, not write it down elsewhere.

When I head home, I likely will need to get some money for groceries, so I use an ATM (Who goes to a bank during business hours? How can they?) and key in my other 4-digit PIN number. If I wanted to, I could do some things by phone instead, using yet another number. No thanks. If someone left a message on my home voice mail, I key in another 4-digit code to retrieve it. Low security on this one, so I might write it down somewhere.

When I head back to Waterloo some weekend, I'll want to check my UNIX account (8-digit password) and see if my old MacJanet account is still active (another 8-digit account). I want to change my registration, so I'll have to use my student number (another 8-digit annoyance). I might set up a terminal server account, but I can't think of another password!

I should head back home to Montreal as well, since I have to fix up my leave of absence from the Army reserves (9-digit service number I don't think I have written down anywhere), and although I (should have) graduated from CEGEP Vanier College over a year ago, I'm still involved in a grade dispute over my last term English (I was in Pure & Applied Science, with extra science credits. I should have taken an extra English). I hope I remember that old student number.

I haven't even considered my Calum account, my extension and other details of the phone system, or my third home phone number in a year. I won't even touch postal codes.

I hope I don't sound a technophobe, but I am going crazy over these codes. I say, let's identify people by fingerprint, or retina patterns, or whatever other crazy scheme we can come up with. Too many people write their PINs on their bank cards, and too many numbers drive me crazy. I'll go now, and send in this article... What is my mail password again?

Carolyn MacLeod


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