back to article Verity's secret shame revealed

I defrosted my ideas box, and found several morsels which wouldn't make a whole meal in themselves, but nonetheless needed eating. Palmed off Here you are: a free chance get to laugh at-not-with me. I am a Palm Pre owner, pretty much the last one in the box. I hold this status in a work environment of iPeople. I feel my …

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Facepalm

The password for my (now defunct) Thus account was "fat_sweaty_biffer", a fairly strong password according to the xkcd scheme. However, I found out that Thus store passwords in clear text for anyone at their offshored call centre to see when it was read back to me during a support call. Quite funny to hear it said in a slightly bemused way by someone with a strong Mumbai accent though.

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Anonymous Coward

ah, so similar.

I had problems with an online account, and called them up to help me fix it. Once we got past the who-are-you-who-am-i part and started trying to figure out my problem, it transpired that the password I entered was accepted by their system...on creation...but not on use. We found this by way of her resetting my password and me logging in and immediately changing it. Once I logged out, I was unable to log back in. When she asked for it to determine if it would work from her location (on the inside of their firewalls) I had to explain to her that I would likely be arrested if I said my password out loud to her. Yes, it was vulgar and obscene (by any reference) and met all of the criteria for a strong password. But there was no way I was going to say it out loud to another person, especially a female, and especially not on a 'recorded for training purposes' support line. I asked her to reset it again and told her this time I'd pick a password that had the same types of characters, but was socially acceptable. After repeating the process, she determined that the problem wasn't with my password, but with my login. Between field-length and character conversion, the login screen id field was different than the password change screen id field.

My only triumph was to have a note added to my account that says "The customer's legal name on this account is not the customer's legal name. The customer's legal name is xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx" because their programmers and QA drones probably have names like John Stupid or Ruth Moron, and not Stephen M. Firstpart Secondpartoflong-lastname.

I will say that the lady in the call center was professional, courteous, helpful, and only slightly amused at my problem.

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Sod you, toff

As though I give a rat's if your bloody overcomplicated aristocratic name doesn't fit properly into my neatly delineated databasing scheme.

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Bronze badge

issues...

It could just be a long Indian name, or a Spanish name that is usually in two parts, or something like Jonathan Shepperton Cumberbatch. Chip on your shoulder, or what? Crikey.

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Silver badge

Or swedish. The wife's name was over 30 characters long (not including spaces) before we married and, due to Swedish conventions for naming, she kept her surname as a middle name with mine tacked on the end. Believe it or not, a 40+ character name with accents is not something you can just brush off as an edge case. It's very common.

We've had no end of trouble with idjits who can't comprehend a slightly foreign name. She's been called all sorts of things on paper, from minor misspellings, to using the wrong name as her first name, to the unforgettable Mr Omordlinap in one case... it's fun waiting to see each new permutation.

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Anonymous Coward

I have a very short (4 letters) german last name - Fuhr (ok no more jokes, been having the "Heil Hitler" thing since I was at primary school). There are a number of common mistakes made e.g. swapping the r & h round, replacing the "F" with an "S". Then you get people who despite you spelling the name assume they know better and insist it's Fuller, Fewer (not TOO far from how it is pronounced) or possibly worst of all Sewer. But where a few people have managed to get names like Fisher, Fitzgerald/Fitzpatric, Suter or Sully from..........

JUST hoe hard is it to get 4 letters right, spelled out using the phoenetic alphabet?

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Coffee/keyboard

Verities phonetic alphabet...

just brilliant... Cue 100 imitations round the blogs over he next month (and 150 suggestions/corrections here)

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Katherine for K? Nooo!

For K, use "Knight".

/oblig thanks to Nichols and May

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LjmG4qtkO0

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In a past life as a cold caller (put your negs away, it was for charidee) I always tried to use silent letters when cofirming post codes: "so that's 2 g-for-gome x-for-xylophone" and whatnot.

I know, little things, little minds...

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may I suggest A for aisle and I for Isle?

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Anonymous Coward

Prepare for disappointment

"I am confident that Reg readers, who watch the programme solely for the intellectual enjoyment of high sci-fi concepts, will unanimously welcome the removal of this irrelevant, supposedly-titillating distraction."

I think you may find yourself in a minority there.

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of slashes..

PHP is actually rather nice in this respect: you can write strings out using single quotes, which does minimal parsing (you're allowed a \' which ends up as a ' ). Alternatively, you can use / as a directory separator in Windows.

Actually, I've got that rather backwards: ideally, in PHP you should only use double-quotes when your strings need variable inclusion ("Hello $foo") or escaped characters ("Hello world\n").

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Any string in single quotes, in PHP, is a string literal - basically.

Though when it comes to paths it's probably easier to just use UNIX-like paths and drop them into a realpath() function - though that does return false if the file/directory doesn't exist which can make debugging "interesting".

It's probably good practice to also enclose any variables you want to output in curly braces (just in case) so "Hello $foo\n" might be better written as "Hello {$foo}\n" - it makes sense if you want to output something like "Now you're {$sExpletive}ed\n" ;)

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Hmmmmm

I usually include a "$" in passwords just to see now well a site handles strings but I see I must experment a bit more.......

"pass$word\n{$(drop table *;)}\n

"=======D({0})" could be a good password as well, 1 letter, 1 number and a couple of other symbols

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Whilst on the phone spelling something, my wife rather splendidly used:

"N for Knob"

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I used to go one better for passwords, random words in languages I don't speak fluently.

As for the phonetic alphabet, how far can we go with something like:

B for boole

C for cool

D for duel.

F for fool

J for jewel

M for mule.

N for newell

P for pool

R for rule

T for tool

Y for yule

Z for Zool

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Headmaster

Also...

E for Ewell (Near Epsom in Surrey)

G for Ghoul

H for Hoole (in Cheshire apparently)

K for Kewl [sic]

L for LOOL (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=lool)

Q for Queue'll (an ugly but valid contraction)

S for [Brian] Sewell

W for Who'll

I'm a bit stuck for the vowels, V and X though

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Happy

See, that's backwards of how I would do it.

If the idea is to introduce maximum confusion, you want to choose similar sounding words only for similar sounding letters. For example, M and N sound similar, thus you would choose "M for Meade" and "N for Need." Though, to be fair, "N for No" is great.

Other letters include "P for Pee" and "T for Tea," along with "B for Bee" and "G for Gee."

For letters without a like-sounding pair, you always choose words with that letter silent: "H for Hour," "K for Knight," and so on. Using a word that sounds like another word is bonus points: "E for Ewe," "Y for You," "C for Cay," or "A for Aitch."

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and "J for Jay"

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G for Ghoul

L for Loule (town in Portugal)

S for Stool

Y for You'll

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Coat

One man cheese and wine society

Are you sure you haven't mixed up Jon P's Doctor with Jason King? Easily done.... frilly shirt, velvet smoking jacket...

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Jason Bentley?

Older readers may remember a cross betwen Pertwee and King:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detectives_on_the_Edge_of_a_Nervous_Breakdown#Jason_Bentley

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IT Angle

Oh, oh God....

It's all making sense now. Put me down for a pre-order of the HP Glados xd666c, with a side order of the Wheatley OS/2 Warp module.

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Devil

Speaking of WebOS......

...whatever happened to that, what seems to be, the last boxed, HP Tablet El Reg was supposed to give away?

Inquiring minds want to know what Lester did with it....

;)

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Upwardly mobile

It's probably been commandeered as the control computer for the LOHAN project and is due to join the 20-mile high club.

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Slashes

Windows has allowed forward slashes in the file-system *API* for a very long time, at least as long ago as Win95 original, and probably all through the life of WinNT3.x, so for about 20 years. I'm sure there's a pedant somewhere who can tell me whether MS-DOS 2.x supported them back in 1982/3 or so, but I wouldn't be totally surprised to find it did.

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slashes...

In the command line on this XP box it accepts \documents and settings/jimc/windows but not /documents and settings/jimc/windows. Consistency? We've heard of it!

Novells clients for Netware/OES have been slash agnostic ever since I can remember.

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Headmaster

ANSI C Standard

Requires that '/' is accepted as a directory separator for all stdlib functions (that deal with filenames). The library must translate them, if need be, into the appropriate character for the underlying OS.

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Slases in URLs

I went to a talk by Tim Berners-Lee not long back and someone asked him if he had any second thoughts about the design of HTML etc. He said that he had only one regret: if had to do it again he definitely would have had just one slash after the http: instead of a double one. I think the audience were with him on that.

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Re: Slashes in URLs

Why even have one? It's not functional as I'm aware.

1) http://theregister.co.uk/blah

2) http:/theregister.co.uk/blah

3) http:theregister.co.uk/blah

Three looks best in my opinion.

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I said the *API*, not stdlib. CreateFile(...) accepts slashes of either sort, with one exception: if you call CreateFileW with a "pre-parsed" path, i.e. one that begins \\.\ and then continues with a path, that path and the intro sequence must be ready to use exactly as they are, and will, for example, not have /-to-\ slash conversion done on them. They can also be up to 32767 UTF-16 characters long rather than the feeble 260 including NUL that is normally allowed.

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To really raise blood pressure, I suggest 'Zee' for Z.

Also; my dad uses "A for 'orses".

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Joke

"A for 'orses".

Your dad isn't Ronny Barker by any chancs is he.

"Four candels please"

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foxtrot uniform

Or as my dad used to say for "u": Underwear.

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Cockerneee Alphabet

B for mutton etc. etc

http://www.cockneyrhymingslang.co.uk/alphabet

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Pfff everyone knows 'O' is for Oss ;)

"whur am ya?"

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Anonymous Coward

@Cazzo Enorme

That sort of password works quite well .... until you have to register somewhere where they start to dictate to you what a secure password is - i.e. you find that that password is rejected because it has to contain some combination of upper case, lower case, numbers, symbols, spaces etc. So you end up adjusting the password you know by adding in a capital letter, changing an i to a 1 etc to meet the requirements. Then next time you try to login you type in your password and it fails, you then remember that you had to do something to get it accepts but what was it and you end you clicking the "forgot password" button.

As for the "security questions" ... I had a site recently where I had to choose 3 out of a fixed set of 7 or 8 possible questions and I struggled to find more than one to which I would be certain of giving the correct answer ... things like "what is you're favourite food" just don't have an single correct answer for me. Had another site once which asked me where I'd gone on my first holiday as a security question and when I submitted the answer got the response that that answer was not acceptable!

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Password dictatorship

I totally hate that sort of website... the quality of the protection of my data should be for me to decide not the website programmer.

Frankly most website programmers are far too dictatorial... you 'must' fill in your address - oh yes? Did you check that I didn't just put your company address in for you - oh no, done that again... you 'must' give your name - must I? How do you know its my name not something random (I post on the BBC as anotherfakename).... you 'must' give your age - oh come now you are jesting... you 'must' give us your phone number ... yes, have you tried dialing 0111112121232? Bet you didn't get me... and if you do check too much how about dialing your own office? you 'must' all sorts of things that frankly I don't do, but really p*** me off.

Let me give you the information I know you need to answer my question - mainly just an email addresss.

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Llandidneau? Is that the scouse pronunciation?

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Thumb Up

It's pretty close actually - the 'u' = 'i' is correct.

Not that I speak Welsh but I lived there for a few years and my Dad still does. I think that 'Llandidnor' is perhaps a little closer(*). In other words much as Verity spelt but apply a Welsh accent to mutate the final vowel :)

(*)Assuming you know all about 'll' in Welsh :)

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Anonymous Coward

Or even

χlandidnor

(The 'χ' here is the Greek letter Chi, in case your browser renders it as an 'X')

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Anonymous Coward

Llandidneau

.. Well that's one way to annoy the welsh - if you meant LLandudno, that's not even an L!

To make life easier for me I got a 1 letter name with a 1 letter domain (before the . of course) ... Spent more time explaining that it is a legal address than if I'd not bothered.

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Alien

I for one would welcome the removal of Amy's bandage

"I am confident that Reg readers, who watch the programme solely for the intellectual enjoyment of high sci-fi concepts, will unanimously welcome the removal of this irrelevant, supposedly-titillating distraction."

prudishly painting on a skirt would not be practical as far from being irrelevant, the distraction is integral to the plot

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Alien

Plot?

To be fair, the plots have been so flimsy lately that it's the only way to persuade the over 15s to watch the show.

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I'm up for it-

-removal of the skirt/bandage.... not replacing it.

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Surely L should be

Llanfairpwllgwyngyll etc...

Also following the silent letter trend why not K - Knickers and my favourite D - Djelibeybi.

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Joke

In the bright early days of Pre ownership,

And what about post-ownership? :-D

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Anonymous Coward

bandages..

I think we really need an extensive gallery of pictures of said bandage so we can all make up our own minds, and not just rely on second hand opinion.

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Coat

YAAP - Yeat another annoying password

How's about

I_Do_Not_Live_1n_A_City

simply because the majority of the UK population does not live in a city yet web form codes seem to thing we are frigging Yanks.

Coat, door, bye.

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