An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

And the password is... (2007)

When it comes to the New Devil Twins and their Auxiliary League of Neighborhood Kids, we rarely encounter any of their parents. The most we usually see from the parents is when they pop their heads in the front door to ask if their kids are on the premesis, almost as if they are afraid of setting actual foot in the building.

Last week, though, the mom of two of the primary League members stopped by, with her kids in tow, to sign up for computers. We only had one available at that point, which I knew because I'd gone back to reboot it some minutes earlier. The other two computers were occupied by a no-name patron and Mr. B-Natural, respectively. I told the mom she and her kids were welcome to use the computer we had.

The eldest son, Mark, signed up and headed on back leaving mom and little brother at the desk. Mom said that her younger son (points to younger son) had told her about some permission form we needed to have her sign in order for him to use the internet on his own and asked for one of those. I forked it over and waited while she started in on it.

"He's not going to be able to look at anything bad, is he?" she asked.

"Well, he'll have access to pretty much anything that's on the internet," I said. "Well, anything that can get past our filter."

"But nothing gets past the filters, right?"

I shrugged. "You'd be surprised. It's pretty good, as filters go, but it's not foolproof."

She gave the boy a long appraising look.

"MooooOOOOoommm! I'm not gonna look at anything bad."

"You better not."

While they were filling out the form, I went back to log on the computer for Mark. Only, when I came around the corner into the computer hall, I saw Mark was already using it to load a webpage. Mark looked up at me and I saw guilt cross his face.

"Now, how exactly did you do that?" I asked him, knowing full well that I had rebooted that computer earlier and that it had returned to our login screen where a password is required to proceed. "You're not supposed to know the password."

"No... I didn't," he said. "I just hit this button, but I didn't know it." He pointed to the single letter that has served as our password for the past few months. Granted, it's no great feat to have paid attention to our hands during the 200 times we've logged him onto a computer in that time, so it's not exactly surprising that he knew it and he's certainly not the first to have mastered that trick. His brazen use of it, however, was a bit off-putting.

"I'm sorry," Mark added.

"Let him tell me what it is," Mr. B-Natural said in a hopeful tone.

I gave Mark a stern yet forgiving look and told him it was okay. Then I left a note to the staff that we need to change the passwords again.

We've now changed the passwords, yet again. At my suggestion, we're going to use a password of multiple letters. Mrs. A then suggested and instantly approved a choice: my three initials.

Immortality is mine!

(Now if we can only convince Mrs. J to stop saying the letters aloud as she types them.)

A-MINUS: 10

1 comment:

tiny robot said...

We use some sort of random password generator to supply fresh passwords for our public terminals (we're academic) each time someone wants to use them. It spits it out on a slip of paper and the user enters the pswd themselves.

There's also a one-hour per day timer for each public user. It automatically kicks them off after 60 minutes. I gotta say in this case, technology is a beautiful thing.