Well, DID she ever change her password?

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Flashback to the days when this pilot fish is managing an email system for several corporate clients, and he needs to pick good passwords from the get-go -- because these users will never bother changing them.

"I wrote a program to generate accounts and to create a password," says fish. "The system consisted of a dictionary of about 100 three-letter words, and a separate dictionary of four-letter words where I had tried to remove the bad words. Then there was a list of special symbols, and then the digits 0 through 9.

"The system chose one element from each list, and put them in a random order. It then printed the information out. I folded the piece of paper and placed it in an envelope and mailed it -- never actually looking at it.

"So of course a female customer who was well over 400 lbs. just had to get the password 1fat-lady.

"She just would never believe that this was a computer-generated thing and that it was not done on purpose.

"Actually, I knew her from past contacts, and had I created a password to insult her on purpose, it would have been something a lot less complimentary."

Sharky likes his passwords long and his tales of IT life true. So send me your story at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

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