I’m bicycling in Provence, pedalling just twenty or thirty kilometres a day between pleasant towns and villages, whilst the holiday company carries my bags. It’s decadent, but fabulous, and not, in fact, entirely effortless.
I’m in touch, of course, with my long-suffering colleagues back at LLP and systems@work and my friend and I stop from time to time for a ‘the au lait avec du lait froid’ (own teabags) so that I can get online and fiddle around with my iPhone, reading and sending emails.
Getting online is usually easy. There’s often no password, or the password is based on the name of the bar or café or hotel, or a minor variation of one of these. But then, at an obscure but lovely village (population perhaps 400) this:
What a password! It’s 30 characters long. The chance of someone stumbling upon this code by chance is 1 in 36 to the power of 30 (assuming only capital letters and numbers). What can they be thinking of? What can they be afraid of or have to hide?
I love our IT department at LLP dearly, and I know well their tendency to worry, quite properly, about security. There are hackers, of course, around every corner. Passwords must contain upper case characters, lower case characters and those special characters that make the whole thing look like an exclamation in a comic book. And then they’ve got to be more than ten characters long, and never the name of your lover, mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, wife, husband, dog, cat, hamster, frog, pigeon, favourite food, or drink. But, to give my colleagues their due, they do possess a touch of pragmatism and they’d never come up with anything as mad as this 30-character monster.
And of course it’s not at all easy to type it correctly. I got it right only on the second attempt, when my friend Caroline read it out loud to me as I typed.
Keep it simple, surely, is the important rule, or as simple as possible whilst applying a sensible level of security. At this bar in Provence they surely don’t need a password at all.