Complex’ passwords puzzle the mind


At least, I think that’s my CougarNet password. Even if it is an exaggeration, the truth is, it’s been just more than three months since UH instituted its strong passwords program after, so that means, of course, it’s time to mix it up anyway.

In a world that reeks of terrorism, identity theft and spam, these so-called "complex" passwords admittedly have their place. But is that place really between CougarNet, and a hurried student who needs to print a research paper, but who can’t remember if the exclamation point comes before or after the number seven in their password?

The only thing worse than having to think up crazy passwords that one would have to tattoo into their forearm in order to remember, is having to change them every three months.

Of course, there is something to say for taking an active role in protecting one’s personal security online, but the line has to be drawn somewhere. Passwords cease to be useful if the account holder can’t even get in to their own account.

Students reading this now are the lucky ones, though. They don’t have the summer to conveniently let their password slip out of their mind in order to make room for more important things, like working on a base tan or wondering if Greg from that bar last weekend will ever give them a call.

Students returning for the fall semester will stroll into the library to check their wall and post a bulletin between classes, or maybe even download their math textbook and print the entire thing, but won’t be able to.

Instead, they will spend 20 minutes trying to locate that post-it where they scribbled their password, be unsuccessful, get locked out of their account after five frantic attempts, call the IT Support Center (713-743-1411), and spend an hour or so looking around, finally choosing a new password that looks more like an alien’s name than the key to anything.

Some may say this sentiment is just that of some asinine liberal arts major who couldn’t wrap their little pea-brain around anything more than Google and MySpace if their life depended on it; someone who isn’t quite up to the task of remembering what they did last night and who, if given the chance, would be perfectly happy with the word "password" being the only thing keeping them between their all-important e-mail account, online banking account, their (gulp) PeopleSoft account.

Maybe so. But that doesn’t help me remember my password.

Palmer, a media production junior, can be reached via [email protected]

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