Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's been a while, hasn't it?

I have a few fairly random observations to get back to. First of all, what's the special property of English Muffins that makes them take twice as long to toast as, you know, toast? I have to hit the button twice on those.

That reminds me of this hilariously cheapskate hostel I stayed in in Barcelona called the Sun and Moon. It WAS affordable, at about 20 euro per night per person, and free breakfast was included -- because, of course, that makes good advertising. But, really, they did not want to give away free breakfast at all, so what they did was make it from between 8:00 am to 9:00 am. At a youth hostel. In Barca. A single hour. All they had was cornflakes, white bread, milk, yogurt, butter, and jam, and a single toaster capable of fitting 2 slices of bread.

For the entire hostel. And this was a terrible toaster, it took 2 whacks to get the job done on regular bread.

They also charged a key deposit, even though their hostelling association claimed they didn't do that, and charged to rent blankets (I brought one, thankfully), and to use the luggage room, and to use the lockers.

We stayed in a room that was about the size of a two-person hotel room in the states, meant to sleep six in bunk beds, but they'd added another two beds in the corner -- you could tell they weren't meant to be there, since the other six had a light and power outlet.

But it wasn't so bad, really -- the place was clean and quiet, and since I wasn't there to party until six in the morning, that worked out. The shower was tiny, and just a single one, but it was a solo shower for the room. This worked fine, because the most people staying there during my stay was four, considering it was January. I hate to think of eight folks duking it out for the 1 WC -- though there was another solo in the common area downstairs -- but it was much cleaner and functioned better than the push-button gym showers at other hostels.

Speaking of security, what's with all of these high security passcodes? I just had to register for my insurance company's website with a fancy unique password, and that's I guess okay, but then my time clock at work did the same thing. I went from a password of "1234" to "123456aB," because I am required to have at least 8 characters, including capital and lowercase letters AND numbers or special characters. And, yes, I'm publishing the password, in full, on the internet, because I DON'T CARE!

Someone might, I recognize, HACK into my account and clock me in early tomorrow. I may have to ask payroll to clock me in at the proper time manually. The horror.

US Bank is the only place that I've seen whose security regulations make sense. What they do is have a SEPARATE page for entering username and password, with a secure load between them. Fail, and you are kicked out of the website entirely. That way, a bot cannot sit there trying lots of combinations. They also have a sign-countersign type of response, where THEY provide YOU with a password and image, unique to you -- this way you can't have a phishing scheme trick you into entering your password into a dummy site.

I'm sure I have something else in mind, too.


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