Category Archives: News & Annoyances

Password Chaos

Creating a memorable password runs against most of the rules implemented for creating a strong password.  Much fine work has been done parodying this interesting fact.  That being said, the folks who implement the rules and subsequently announce those rules to the users have lost their minds.  Take a look at this description of the required rules I happened upon recently.

Required Overlap
Required Overlap

Let’s pair some of these.


Between 8 and 64 characters

Increase the length from 12-20 characters


Use both uppercase and lowercase letters.

A lowercase or uppercase letter


Not repeat any character more than 3 times in a row.

Not be a sequence of 4 characters in a row.

In each of the above pairs, the first line is all that is required to articulate the apparent rule.  The second line can be dropped as superfluous (and confusing).

In the length pair, the “increase” line is essentially unparsable.  This is to say I can formulate no meaning for that line which aligns that line with the other lines in a logically consistent fashion.  If the minimum is 8 then there would never be a reason to increase by 12.  If you are 20 away from 64 (the maximum) there is no reason to increase the length.

In the case pair, the and and the or cannot be conjoined.  If you must use both (and) then you cannot use one or the other (or).

In the repetition pair, if you cannot have three in a row you necessarily can’t have four in a row.  Further, if the minimum is 8 it must be longer than 4 regardless.

Then there is the order of the list.  Makes me wonder if that order could have been arrayed in a way that would be more confusing.  Could it?

Never mind that five lines are sentences (ending in periods) and the other three lines are not (unpunctuated).

It’s like they took a poll of the IT staff and just listed out selections from their various responses.

Just… think it through a bit.  UI/UX isn’t something that requires a specialized developer.  Think.

2024 Update

I came across this lovely gem of password instructions and wanted to share it as well.

Password Policy
Password Policy

Why limit a password to 18 characters?  That’s just plain silly.  It’s not even a power of two.  “Hey, let’s arbitrarily limit passwords!”.  Idiots.

Why restrict spaces?  Again, arbitrary and silly.

Both of these rules limit passwords making them less secure rather than more.  Stop it.  Just don’t.  Fix your shit.


Fuck Comcast

Comcast used to give me a static IP address for five dollars a month.  This is exorbitant (as you will see below), but it was paradise to pay compared to what they are doing today.

First a word about IP addresses.

For IPv4, this pool is 32-bits (232) in size and contains 4,294,967,296 IPv4 addresses. The IPv6 address space is 128-bits (2128) in size, containing 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 IPv6 addresses.

So for IPv4 (what is most commonly used still) there are about 4.2 x 10^9 and for IPv6 (newish but growing slowly) there are about 3.4 x 10^38 total addresses.  If we were limited to IPv4 we would be having some minor difficulty getting addresses assigned around the globe.  Mostly that’s not an issue because mostly individual computers sit on local networks and don’t need public addresses.  These numbers are really only about pubic facing addresses.

Think about that scale for a moment.  Let’s look at the math.

340282366920938463463374607431768211456 ÷ 7631836561 = 4.458721884×10²⁸

So, every human on the planet could have their own pool of addresses (just from IPv6 because at this point the IPv4 address aren’t even a rounding error by comparison) and they would get a pool of about 4.5 x 10^28 addresses.  To put that in perspective the the mass of the earth is 5.98 x 1027 grams.  How much is a gram of dirt worth?  This is the scale we are at with addresses.

Comcast will charge $30 per month for an IP address (a static address).  Let’s break that down.  In order to get a static address you must have a business account which is an increase in your monthly fee of (at least) $5.  Then you will need to pay the monthly fee they charge for the static lease which is now $15.  Finally, you must rent a modem from Comcast at $10 every month.  (I may have those numbers reversed but either way it’s the same math.)

You may think “oh, I’ll save some money and buy my own modem”.  Good thought.  That’s what I did.  But it turns out they are now geared to fuck anyone who tries to escape that fee.  They are currently refusing to assign static leases to customer-owned modems.

They will tell you it’s not possible, but this is what I do for a living.  You can assigned a static lease to any device on your network by several various means, and it doesn’t matter who owns that device, who made that device, or what sort of device it is.  You only need the MAC address of the device (which is easy to provide and which I have repeatedly offered).

They are lying.  In addition to it being technically possible, I also know this from experience with Comcast.  Remember this is what I do for a living.  I have set up businesses around town with their own modems, with Comcast as an ISP, and with static addresses many times over the years.  I know too of specific business with this arrangement currently.

So, in short Comcast is charging any customer who asks for one thirty dollars for one-tenth of one gram of dirt.

Fuck Comcast.


Windows Hates USB Drives

Not sure why but Windows is always throwing little tantrums when I attach a USB drive.  None of the other operating systems I use complain, but Windows complains nearly every time.  I think it can smell the Unix.

When I first attach a drive it will probably confront me with this terrifying message of doom.

What to do?
What to do?

Continuing without scanning always works fine, but if I should ask it to scan and fix (as they so thoughtfully recommend) I get the obligatory “are you sure?”, because (of course) “Scan and fix” means “scan and… that’s it”.

Er... repair?
Er… repair?

Oh, shit.  They found errors!  Better fix them.  I mean it’s the only option at this point.  (Canceling is just giving up.)

The No Error!
The No Error!

I’m pretty much doomed.  Save yourself!


How to Be Unobvious

A user wrote in because they button they were using to show the Desktop was no longer present.  We all had a good laugh when we saw their attached image.

Original Screen Capture
Original Screen Capture

The problem was were all laughing for the wrong reason.

They were not in fact using the close button on a window to show the Desktop as the above may suggest.  No.  They were actually using the Show Desktop button at the far end of the Taskbar.  We should have been laughing at the oddness of the image.

Take a closer look.

The Minimizer
The Minimizer

In reality it is important to understand what the other is saying.  This will ensure that you are laughing for all the right reasons.


Random Spamdom

You know what’s fun?  Spam!

I think this one was from a politician-bot.

In this awesome scheme of things you’ll get an A just for hard work. Where exactly you lost everybody was on the details. You know, they say, the devil is in the details… And that couldn’t be much more true right here. Having said that, let me inform you precisely what did give good results. Your writing is actually rather convincing and that is most likely the reason why I am taking the effort in order to comment. I do not really make it a regular habit of doing that. Second, even though I can see the jumps in reason you come up with, I am definitely not certain of just how you appear to connect the details which inturn produce the final result. For the moment I will, no doubt subscribe to your point however wish in the near future you connect your dots better.

Any horse lovers out there?

If you offer him $10,000 for your horse, he’ll almost certainly probably market it
to you. Other factors, for instance pedigree,
trainer and jockey riding the horse and whether or not the horse
performs well about the turn or on dirt can also be carefully considered
by handicappers of their quest for that win. The one’s which do
win, have reached such short prices, you won’t
ever recover your losses.

Not clear why I would offer someone else money for my horse, but I’m getting pretty excited nonetheless.