"But my password CAN'T have expired," the user whines down the line at me. "I only updated it this morning!"
"If by UPDATED you mean changed it from 'maggot21' to 'maggot22', you're out of luck I'm afraid, the new password system won't permit you to do that any longer."
"But I like the word Maggot!"
"And I like the words Grievous Bodily Harm, but I don't use them as a password. Not any more, anyway. "
"But I've never had these problems before!" he wheedles.
"That's right - the password change checker we had in place before today would have let you change your password to anything - even a single letter."
"Really?" the user gasps, obviously thinking about how much time they might have saved in logins..
"Yes really. But luckily for us it's been replaced with a far more secure option."
"I still liked Maggot," he cries,"Why can't it let me use Maggot again? Could you change it so it forgets about my old passwords."
"I could, but I'm not going to - that's just insecure. And besides we..." >click< Our verbal exchange gets abruptly cut short when I hang up the phone on myself.
"What'd you do that for?" the PFY asks.
"Its' the first rule of hanging up on people - ALWAYS do it when you're talking. That way they don't believe you'd hang up on them!"
"Hello?" I respond.
"We must have got disconnected!" The user says, "the phone just went dead!"
"Yeah, we've been having problems with crossed exchange trunks here, I think BT's switching us around the city as we keep getting mix.." >Click<
The PFY smiles knowingly, the penny finally dropping.
The phone rings again, and Caller-ID Indicates it's our whiney user again...
"Hello Israeli Embassy, how may I help you please?" the PFY cries, complete with very poor imitation of his impression of an Israeli accent. . .
"Australian Embassy Mate, what can I do you for?"
...and so it goes...
"LOOK I KNOW IT'S THE BLOODY OPERATORS, IT SAYS SO ON THIS PHONE!" the user cries angrily.
"That's no way to talk to an Ambassador!" I say, grabbing the handset from the PFY.
"Look, I want my bloody password set back to what it was!"
"Well I'll see what I ca..." >click<
"Why're you hanging up on me?!"
"We're no.." >click<
"Networks and Systems, Hel.." >click<
So now the PFY and I have to hide in the tape safe room, while The Boss performs his rampage around the office routine, involving lots of stamping around the department looking for us. All good fun really - just a pity the pubs aren't open. The PFY and I have a bet about how many circuits of the floor The Boss'll do before he gives up - just to pass the time.
"Boss is a bit energetic today," I comment, handing over five quid after he exceeds his personal record of three circuits.
"He's been taking Vitamin Capsules," the PFY comments, "I saw them on his desk."
"No, actually he's been taking hormone replacement tables INSIDE vitamin capsules," I respond, with just a hint of smugness.
"You complete bastard!"
"Nah, I'm not really. Next week, when I swap them for diuretics, or slow-acting laxative -- I haven't quite decided -- THEN I'm a complete bastard."
"You locking the toilet doors again?"
"All but the one with the bowl that isn't screwed down properly, yes."
"You complete bastard!"
"Yeah, I spose you're right.."
Sneaking out of the tape room after a supposedly safe period, we run straight into The Boss.
"Which of you bastards expired my bloody password!" he cries, entering the room.
"Bastards?" I ask in a shocked and slightly hurt manner.
"I know you had something to do with it!"
"I just installed some new software, but that was all. What was your password?"
"As in the letter?"
"Yes, I don't have time to waste typing all those letters. Anyway, who would guess I had a one letter password?!"
"Good point! And you have electronic authorisation of purchases up to WHAT amount again?"
"That's irrelevant, there's been no problems before!"
"Yes, Pity. Anyway, there's nothing we can do about it, it's state of the art software which the company needs."
"The company didn't need it before - where the hell did it come from?!"
"Oh, I saw it on TV once and remembered it when I saw an ad in a magazine."
"ON TV?!! You bought something you saw on TV!?" he gasps in mock horror, obviously thinking infomercials.
"Well yes. I was only watching Beyond 2000 to see the advances in superconductors and I..."
"Beyond 2000!" The Boss cries in revered tones, rapid about-face in progress. "Oh, I didn't know. Ah well, I suppose a six letter password is OK then."
"An eight-letter password, one of which has to be non-alphabetic, yes."
"I... Yes, it's probably wise," he comments, making his exit
"Uh, what just happened there?" the PFY asks.
"The old 'Beyond 2000' ploy -- mention you MIGHT have seen something on 'Beyond 2000' and the credibility of the product goes up tenfold. Course, you might have seen it on the coffee table while you were watching -- so it's not strictly porkies, and would pass a polygraph if necessary."
"Not a bit of it! So long as you don't overuse it, you could tell a lotech that you saw an article on B2K saying that Electricity helped typing speed and you'd have people
shoving paperclips in line cords in no time!"
"It's true, it's just an extension of the DUMMY MODE principle."
Our conversation is interrupted again by our whiner.
"About my password.." he starts.
"It's some new software I saw when I was watching Beyond 2000!" the PFY cries.
"REALLY?" the user cries excitedly, to the PFY's disgust "Well, in that case I guess.."
"You'll change your password?" I prompt.
"I guess so.
"Well, it's an eight-character minimum, one of which cannot be a letter."
"No, but if it's the extra typing you're worried about, I saw this other thing while watching Beyond 2000...."
Like shooting fish in a barrel.. ®