This is why we need password counseling

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It's the turn of the century, and this manufacturing plant has rolled out a production system that uses terminals for data entry, according to an IT support pilot fish working there.

"Hourly employees, many of whom had never touched computers before, were required to enter production data," says fish.

"Their passwords would expire and they'd forget, and then call the help desk. Our official policy was to give them their initials and the date as a temporary password -- for example, jqp01-24.

"However, many of these poor folks were already way over their heads in just using a keyboard and screen, so I'd give a few special cases a simpler password: abc12345.

"One day, I walked down to the table that held three terminals and noted that there was a piece of paper there that had 'abc12345' written by three different hands. I guess that must have been a particularly busy day for me."

Want to send Sharky your story using a terminal? That'll work too. Just email your true tale of IT life to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt every time I use one. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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