Sunday, August 9, 2009

On Giving Notice

Not leaving a job or anything like that, but about the two weeks notice that Windows XP likes to give you before your password expires. It’s really just a nuisance, but I do understand why this sort of thing would be desirable.

In case you haven’t worked it out yet, it is to give you enough time to think of a new unbreakable password. The fact that most people don’t, and just use a password as predictable as the last is irrelevant and Microsoft cannot change that. All that they can do is give plenty of opportunities to change it.

The reason for including the option to change the password immediately, instead of waiting two weeks for it to expire, is just in case the user thinks of a brilliant unbreakable password. It is quite possible that the user won’t be able to remember this password after 14 days, and so Windows allows the user to change it early. That way, at least if they forget the password, their security won’t be compromised by them using a simpler password. They won’t be able to log in, but that’s not a problem, is it?

On the topic of logging in (actually, more along the lines of logging off), have you noticed how, after installing a new program, as soon as you click on the Start button to log off, an excited message pops up saying “New programs installed! Click here to see them!” It’s a brilliant marketing scam.

(On a side note: Why do you log in, and then log off? Why did they not think when they coined these terms. At least they seem to be changing these days.)
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