Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Password Jungle

In these digital days, I find my mind crowded---no, littered---with passwords, usernames, and other detritus which seem to be the calling card of this cyber-centered culture. As addicted as I am to computing and informatics (an actual word, I'm told), the preponderance of passwords and PIN numbers which I must carry in my cerebral cortex is overwhelming. I'd love to see a study done of where in the brain such information is stored and whether those areas are hypertrophied in those of us who rely on them ad nauseum.

Every week, it seems, I have to create yet another username and password for yet another website to which I need regular secure access. Although I try to use the same (or similar) password for everything, sometimes a new formation is required and my brain is further taxed in its ability to access its RAM. And now it seems some sites even require lower-case letters, upper-case letters, numbers and symbols all in one password! The ol' cerebellar hard drive is not what it used to be and no upgrade is forthcoming, at least not in this lifetime.

In my medical work, I now have access to so many programs and databases of medical information, it's hard to keep straight where I am in my password tempest. Several of the programs that I use to access confidential patient information require a change of password every so often, each password being subsequently unrepeatable once changed. Do those programmers know what they're doing to my 45-year-old brain? I bet they're all techie brats in their 20's, hyped on caffeine and sugar with an overstock of neurons. C'mon, guys, I need a break!

Passwords and usernames aside, I add to this tangle of neurons so many other numbers and combinations of numbers: medical record numbers, dates of birth, phone numbers and addresses. So many pieces of information are taking up valuable hard drive space as we speak. Do I need a virus scan? Wait, I have a Mac now, but is my brain licensed by Apple? Where's that warranty?

Computers and computer-driven interactions are certainly here to stay, and as hacking becomes an ever-growing popular sport, our need for increasingly changing and complex passwords will only grow. If only all of those hackers would put their considerable brain power towards solving hunger or curing diseases, we could all relax and let down our digital guard. I expect that this will ne'er come to pass, thus I continue to transmute my various combinations of letters, digits and symbols to satiate the hunger of demonic programs and websites which demand my mind to remain sharpened and alert as I protect my precious information (and that of others) through alphanumeric trickery.

The woes of the digital age are many, but I'm sure that hunting and gathering had its drawbacks as well. Such is the yoke we wear in this digitized third millennium.....
Post a Comment