1285E8 & More Highly Specialized Support

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  • Dlareg 2009-09-17 09:09
    I'll quickly make a second one so no-one will complain about single plurals.
  • Vicky 2009-09-17 09:09
    12h851 is not 128451 upside down. It's 158421 upside down.
  • Anon 2009-09-17 09:10
    1285E8? That sounds like the combination an idiot would have on his luggage
  • John M 2009-09-17 09:13
    I think the real wtf about the user/password bit is that the guy used 'password' as a password. Isn't that in IT 101? Spare PC, temp user or not, even if I'm re-assigning a password to someone, I'll use something with some sense like 'changeMe*&1' or something.

    Captcha: uxor - Isn't that some kind of greek god or something?
  • amischiefr 2009-09-17 09:15
    Anon:
    1285E8? That sounds like the combination an idiot would have on his luggage

    Weird, that's the same combination I have on MY luggage.
  • Dlareg 2009-09-17 09:19
    Well I use it to lock the atmosphere inside my planet.
  • amissheifer 2009-09-17 09:21
    Huh, no way - that's the combination I have on your luggage too.
  • DiverKas 2009-09-17 09:23
    All IT departments know:

    1285E8 = ID10T
  • Kensey 2009-09-17 09:32
    TRWTF in the first one is the IT staffer who took as much as 60 seconds to realize "this idiot is holding the token upside-down".
  • GrammarNazi 2009-09-17 09:44
    trwtf is the VIP using the st. louis ghetto slang 'her' instead of here.
  • FriedDan 2009-09-17 09:47
    Back when I was doing support I had the CD in the floppy drive call. Except the woman I was talking to didn't try to be clever, she just tried to blame it on us... wanted us to pay for getting the CD out of her machine.

    Gotta wonder about people sometimes.
  • technomore 2009-09-17 09:50
    I used to tech support for a company that sold braille displays and "screen reader" software for the visually impaired.

    I don't read Braille well at all so I usually passed that off to another guy who did. But the screen reading software actually made phone support easier than it would be otherwise: every new window, menu or pop-up text was read aloud. I'd tell the user to click on "File, then Settings." I'd hear "Dialog... Settings," followed by a host of info that'd almost certainly be read wrong by a human.

    Or if they were about to do something silly I could usually stop it in time.

    Definitely the best way to do phone support ever.
  • Code Slave 2009-09-17 09:58
    Is it bad that I read that line as:

    "oh no, my kid has a gun." ?
  • Steve the Cynic 2009-09-17 10:02
    The last one reminded me of an occasion when I was a student, working as a programmer during the summer at a now-defunct project management software company. It was 1987, and IBM's PS/2 machines had just introduced the world to 3.5 inch floppies.

    Anyway, I was occasionally asked to provide floppy disks containing my software, and one day, a saleswoman gave me a disk. OK, you know that 3.5 inchers have two kinds of label: the small ones that stick on the front, and the large ones that wrap around into that space in the back.

    Well, not quite. The disk not go in the drive. It went in about 2.5 inches, then stopped dead. Needless to say, I wasn't expecting this, and it took me five goes in three machines to work out what had happened. It was this long because I had worked out immediately that you don't stick the label on the shutter, so it never occurred to me that anyone would do so. It is, however, perfectly possible to do what the saleswoman did, and stick a large label wholly on the front of the disk. Of course, it then overlaps the shutter, and the disk won't go further in than most-of-the-way, as I found out.
  • C 2009-09-17 10:16
    Kensey:
    TRWTF in the first one is the IT staffer who took as much as 60 seconds to realize "this idiot is holding the token upside-down".
    Actually, TRWTF in the first one is that the IT staffer DIDN'T realize "this idiot is holding the token upside-down", and the VIP had to figure that out first... Although, i can't quite judge by me getting it in about 10 seconds of reading "1285E8", since anyone who'd similarly realize the same thing wouldn't end up with that job in the first place. B-)
  • zebano 2009-09-17 10:18
    I can't figure out what purpose gum would serve...
  • C 2009-09-17 10:20
    zebano:
    I can't figure out what purpose gum would serve...
    Auto-stick-to-CD tweezers. ;-)
  • DCRoss 2009-09-17 10:23
    Good thing his security token wasn't 5318008.
  • noone 2009-09-17 10:23
    Of course, it then overlaps the shutter, and the disk won't go further in than most-of-the-way, as I found out.

    Yep, I've had that one.

    Also had a similar instance where I finally figured out that the label was slowly peeling off of the back of the disk -- just enough that it would catch and stick on the edge of the drive and prevent the disk from going in all the way without forcing it. That one would have been a lot easier to figure out if it hadn't been a phone support call. :-)
  • The Mad Pedant 2009-09-17 10:24
    John M:
    I think the real wtf about the user/password bit is that the guy used 'password' as a password. Isn't that in IT 101? Spare PC, temp user or not, even if I'm re-assigning a password to someone, I'll use something with some sense like 'changeMe*&1' or something.

    Maybe the real password in the story was "changeMe#&1" but the Special High-Intensity Technician still capitalized it and used it in the "User" field? Alex has been known to be less than... absolutely literal... in the retellings of these stories.


    IOW, there's a difference between real WTF and pseudo-WTF caused by editorial license.

    Captcha: uxor - Isn't that some kind of greek god or something?


    Actually, Latin for "wife". So, more like "goddess".
  • The Even Madder Pedant 2009-09-17 10:30
    The Mad Pedant:
    John M:
    I think the real wtf about the user/password bit is that the guy used 'password' as a password. Isn't that in IT 101? Spare PC, temp user or not, even if I'm re-assigning a password to someone, I'll use something with some sense like 'changeMe*&1' or something.

    Maybe the real password in the story was "changeMe#&1" but the Special High-Intensity Technician still capitalized it and used it in the "User" field? Alex has been known to be less than... absolutely literal... in the retellings of these stories.


    IOW, there's a difference between real WTF and pseudo-WTF caused by editorial license.


    Good point, but you're not establishing your pedant cred well by botching your quotes. Tard.
  • OMG 2009-09-17 10:41
    "It went in pretty easy," she casually said, "but it won't come out now. I have been going at it like an hour with a pair of tweezers."


    That's what she said.

    Wait...
  • Adam V 2009-09-17 10:41
    John M:
    I think the real wtf about the user/password bit is that the guy used 'password' as a password. Isn't that in IT 101? Spare PC, temp user or not, even if I'm re-assigning a password to someone, I'll use something with some sense like 'changeMe*&1' or something.


    I actually like using "user/password"; I feel that should make it obvious that the "user" account is going to have absolutely no remarkable privileges. If they complain "I can't do X", you can instantly reply "what did you expect with that username and password? Idiot."
  • amischiefr 2009-09-17 10:58
    zebano:
    I can't figure out what purpose gum would serve...

    You never watched MacGyver did you?
  • JL 2009-09-17 11:19
    C:
    zebano:
    I can't figure out what purpose gum would serve...
    Auto-stick-to-CD tweezers. ;-)
    Yeah, I guess the gum would stick to the tweezers pretty well. And if the gum doesn't work to get the tweezers out, a little peanut butter should loosen up any residual gum left in the drive.
  • Daniel 2009-09-17 11:21
    That is why my bank shows a picture of the token when it asks for the number. I dare say it sure helps me when I am paying some bills early in the morning (before my first cup of coffee) or late in the night (after a really long day).

    3rd try <- TRWTF
  • Sir Wilhelm 2009-09-17 11:29
    Highly Specialized Techinician = Hi, I'm The Best PET Soda Bottle Cap placer... IN THE WORLD! Bwhaha... Oh... what is that? Is that a PET Soda Bottle ALUMINUM Cap? Oh no, I dont DO those... sorry.
  • me 2009-09-17 11:31
    DCRoss:
    Good thing his security token wasn't 5318008.


    8008135 are always a good thing!
  • Zapp Brannigan 2009-09-17 11:41
    JL:
    C:
    zebano:
    I can't figure out what purpose gum would serve...
    Auto-stick-to-CD tweezers. ;-)
    Yeah, I guess the gum would stick to the tweezers pretty well. And if the gum doesn't work to get the tweezers out, a little peanut butter should loosen up any residual gum left in the drive.
    Then you put a mouse in there to eat the peanut butter?
  • jimlangrunner 2009-09-17 11:43
    amischiefr:
    zebano:
    I can't figure out what purpose gum would serve...

    You never watched MacGyver did you?

    Isn't he the guy that led the Stargate teams? Used gum to fix the stargate whenever it slipped. The gum made the lock just sticky enough.
  • gravis - ultrasound or analog pro? 2009-09-17 11:45
    Not so much "highly specialized" technician as simply "special".
  • Sir Wilhelm 2009-09-17 11:46
    Zapp Brannigan:
    JL:
    C:
    zebano:
    I can't figure out what purpose gum would serve...
    Auto-stick-to-CD tweezers. ;-)
    Yeah, I guess the gum would stick to the tweezers pretty well. And if the gum doesn't work to get the tweezers out, a little peanut butter should loosen up any residual gum left in the drive.
    Then you put a mouse in there to eat the peanut butter?


    But my friend, that is the beauty behind the plan. The mouse-in-a-wheel who magically powers each PC will take care of any residual peanut butter while he's taking his tea at 5-o'clock.
  • Anon 2009-09-17 11:55
    DCRoss:
    Good thing his security token wasn't 5318008.


    What if you got two of the token and put them together?
  • enim lla enim 2009-09-17 12:03
    Kensey:
    TRWTF in the first one is the IT staffer who took as much as 60 seconds to realize "this idiot is holding the token upside-down".

    Usually those things have some printed text on the front in addition to the LCD screen. So, anyone who doesn't get the hint needs to be exceptionally stupid.
  • Murdog 2009-09-17 12:27
    amischiefr:
    zebano:
    I can't figure out what purpose gum would serve...

    You never watched MacGyver did you?


    She wanted to make a Jeep out of her computer?
  • B B 2009-09-17 12:41
    Process for removing CD from floppy drive:

    Stick gum to string and CD needing to be removed.
    Tie string to CD tray
    Write a script to eject the CD tray to yank it out
  • snoofle 2009-09-17 12:45
    enim lla enim:
    Kensey:
    TRWTF in the first one is the IT staffer who took as much as 60 seconds to realize "this idiot is holding the token upside-down".

    Usually those things have some printed text on the front in addition to the LCD screen. So, anyone who doesn't get the hint needs to be exceptionally stupid.

    alex:
    Very Important User: a member of the Board of Directors

    Um, yeah - that seems about right...
  • bfhd 2009-09-17 12:46
    enim lla enim:
    Kensey:
    TRWTF in the first one is the IT staffer who took as much as 60 seconds to realize "this idiot is holding the token upside-down".

    Usually those things have some printed text on the front in addition to the LCD screen. So, anyone who doesn't get the hint needs to be exceptionally stupid.
    Yeah, but who looks at that?

    I've made the mistake before, just coincidentally when all the numbers that were on the token looked the same upside-down as right-side up
  • pessimist 2009-09-17 12:48
    John M:
    I think the real wtf about the user/password bit is that the guy used 'password' as a password. Isn't that in IT 101? Spare PC, temp user or not, even if I'm re-assigning a password to someone, I'll use something with some sense like 'changeMe*&1' or something.

    Captcha: uxor - Isn't that some kind of greek god or something?


    you've obviously been fortunate enough never to work with the general public, i actually had a guy recently going ballistic because he forgot his password, reset it, and got assigned one made of random characters. despite the fact that it was in an email he could copy and paste it from, and the fact he was forced to change it as soon as he logged in, he still thought it was too hard to remember. fuckin jackass
  • yeah whateva 2009-09-17 12:56
    Just this monday (sept 14), I walked in the door to have my boss tell me our highly specialized technician wasted a ton of time over the weekend in a foreign country with an Ethernet communication problem.

    Turns out the jack to jack connection was correct, but he somehow managed to plug the connector in upside-down on one of them. As to how this is possible, I haven't even the courage to duplicate the effort. Seriously, how can you do that??

    It's always dumb stuff like this. The only way these people keep their job is because they're "willing to travel", meaning, get called at 4AM, rush out somewhere on behest of upper management omitting the necessary equipment or any planning, and then wait around a day for UPS-red to deliver something the next day.
  • Seann Alexander 2009-09-17 12:58
    I'm guilty of holding my RSA Key upside down. I was curious as to why I never seen hex digits before on the screen, oddly enough at the same time my login wasn't working.
  • LaSepp 2009-09-17 13:18
    Daniel:

    3rd try <- TRWTF


    Obvious: Alex has been successfull in implementing Greylisting!

    Had the one with CD in floppy - I think for a moment I had a quite strange expression on my face!
  • SteamBoat 2009-09-17 13:27
    Zapp Brannigan:
    JL:
    C:
    zebano:
    I can't figure out what purpose gum would serve...
    Auto-stick-to-CD tweezers. ;-)
    Yeah, I guess the gum would stick to the tweezers pretty well. And if the gum doesn't work to get the tweezers out, a little peanut butter should loosen up any residual gum left in the drive.
    Then you put a mouse in there to eat the peanut butter?


    Then you put in a cat to get the mouse.

    I don't know why.

    MArk B.
  • bored 2009-09-17 13:46
    TRWTF was that the VP was doing work.

    captcha: Venio (a venetian gang member)
  • Captain Beanie 2009-09-17 13:57
    RSA token upside down? It obviously has a label. So, that's shockingly incompetent.
  • bd_ 2009-09-17 14:13
    I don't know about the RSA tokens used here, but the ones that Paypal uses have a label that wears off really quickly. After a few months, there are no obvious indications as to their orientation.
  • @Deprecated 2009-09-17 14:17
    B B:
    Process for removing CD from floppy drive:

    Stick gum to string and CD needing to be removed.
    Tie string to CD tray
    Write a script to eject the CD tray to yank it out


    You, on the other hand, apparently have watched MacGyver.
  • djlarsu 2009-09-17 14:27
    Testify. A while back, I was doing tech support at an ISP. User calls for a password reset. I say new password is eaTm3. User types, then says it isn't working.

    Me - "Are you sure the T is uppercase?"
    User - "What's uppercase?"
    Me - "Capital. Big Letter. Hold down shift."

    Doesn't work. Then a go through the necessary keystrokes for each letter.

    Me - "small e"
    Me - "small a"
    Me - "BIG T, hold shift while you push it"
    Me - "small m"
    Me - "three"
    User - "Is the 3 upper or lower?"
    Me - "Just shoot me in the face."

  • Kowell 2009-09-17 14:38
    amischiefr:
    Anon:
    1285E8? That sounds like the combination an idiot would have on his luggage

    Weird, that's the same combination I have on MY luggage.


    Prepare Spaceball 1 for immediate departure!... And change the combination on my luggage!
  • Coyne 2009-09-17 14:42
    Gum solves everything!

    My grandparents used to carry gum always: They used it to plug holes in the gas tank on their Rambler station wagon (after kicked-up gravel punched holes in it).
  • Zapp Brannigan 2009-09-17 14:42
    SteamBoat:
    Zapp Brannigan:
    JL:
    C:
    zebano:
    I can't figure out what purpose gum would serve...
    Auto-stick-to-CD tweezers. ;-)
    Yeah, I guess the gum would stick to the tweezers pretty well. And if the gum doesn't work to get the tweezers out, a little peanut butter should loosen up any residual gum left in the drive.
    Then you put a mouse in there to eat the peanut butter?


    Then you put in a cat to get the mouse.

    I don't know why.

    MArk B.
    I know where this is going, eventually the gorilla dies when winter comes.
  • bryan986 2009-09-17 15:04
    Zapp Brannigan:
    SteamBoat:
    Zapp Brannigan:
    JL:
    C:
    zebano:
    I can't figure out what purpose gum would serve...
    Auto-stick-to-CD tweezers. ;-)
    Yeah, I guess the gum would stick to the tweezers pretty well. And if the gum doesn't work to get the tweezers out, a little peanut butter should loosen up any residual gum left in the drive.
    Then you put a mouse in there to eat the peanut butter?


    Then you put in a cat to get the mouse.

    I don't know why.

    MArk B.
    I know where this is going, eventually the gorilla dies when winter comes.


    They probably broke the CD in half to jam it in the drive. Now they use the gum to stick the two halves back together.
  • EngleBart 2009-09-17 15:20
    Seann Alexander:
    I'm guilty of holding my RSA Key upside down. I was curious as to why I never seen hex digits before on the screen, oddly enough at the same time my login wasn't working.
    Me, too. I usually catch it after one or two entries are rejected. It only delays me if it is a number either way, I notice the E and h right away.

    I am just glad that the RSA sticker hasn't fallen off yet!

    On a true, enterprisey system, it would detect the upside down entry and inform you that you need to invert your key. Kind of like most password fields now warn you when you have your caps lock on.
  • Zylon 2009-09-17 15:22
    Kowell:
    Prepare Spaceball 1 for immediate departure!... And change the combination on my luggage!

    Here's to you, Explains The Joke So Everybody Knows He Gets It guy!
  • pong 2009-09-17 15:32
    B B:
    Process for removing CD from floppy drive:

    Stick gum to string and CD needing to be removed.
    Tie string to CD tray
    Write a script to eject the CD tray to yank it out


    You forgot the steps for building a CD drive with a tray.
  • Franz Kafka 2009-09-17 15:56
    EngleBart:

    On a true, enterprisey system, it would detect the upside down entry and inform you that you need to invert your key. Kind of like most password fields now warn you when you have your caps lock on.


    I'd like to put something like that in the rsa entry fields - if you enter letters in the rsa code field, it tells you to turn the thing over.
  • RogerInHawaii 2009-09-17 16:10
    Well, here's an idea: How about the company that makes those tokens and the software that controls them make sure that it only ever displays characters that cannot be mistakenly read upside down?

    It's the same concept that SHOULD be applied to captchas. They should never include characters that can be easily mistaken for other characters, like I and 1 and l, and 0 and O and Q, all characters that can easily be confused for one another, particularly after they've been mangled by the captcha software.

    Oh, yeah, I guess that would be too sensible.
  • Wine Snob 2009-09-17 16:21

    Well, here's an idea: How about the company that makes those tokens and the software that controls them make sure that it only ever displays characters that cannot be mistakenly read upside down?


    Congrads, you just reduced the one time password scope considerably.
  • Anon 2009-09-17 16:47
    RogerInHawaii:
    Well, here's an idea: How about the company that makes those tokens and the software that controls them make sure that it only ever displays characters that cannot be mistakenly read upside down?


    Because when the token is upside down, the character are also in reverse. So, you'd have to make sure that all codes are palindromes. .semordnilap era sedoc lla taht erus ekam ot evah d'uoy ,oS .esrever ni osla era retcarahc eht ,nwod edispu si nekot eht nehw esuaceB
  • Grant 2009-09-17 16:49
    Zylon:
    Kowell:
    Prepare Spaceball 1 for immediate departure!... And change the combination on my luggage!

    Here's to you, Explains The Joke So Everybody Knows He Gets It guy!
    Er, no, that's the next line in the dialog.
  • Jeremy 2009-09-17 16:57
    bored:
    TRWTF was that the VP was doing work.

    captcha: Venio (a venetian gang member)



    No no no...you clearly don't understand the chain of management. TRWTF is not that the Board Member was doing work, it is that the board member called in for himself. Really, what normally would happen is that the Board member would contact the CEO, who would then contact the CIO, who would then contact the director, who would then contact the manager, who would then contact the technician responsible for fixing the issue.

    Also, ironically enough, the CAPTCHA I just got was 'ingenium.'
  • Zapp Brannigan 2009-09-17 17:19
    Jeremy:
    bored:
    TRWTF was that the VP was doing work.

    captcha: Venio (a venetian gang member)



    No no no...you clearly don't understand the chain of management. TRWTF is not that the Board Member was doing work, it is that the board member called in for himself. Really, what normally would happen is that the Board member would contact the CEO, who would then contact the CIO, who would then contact the director, who would then contact the manager, who would then contact the technician responsible for fixing the issue.

    Also, ironically enough, the CAPTCHA I just got was 'ingenium.'
    There is always an executive assistant in the chain of command.
  • North Bus 2009-09-17 17:25
    RogerInHawaii:
    Well, here's an idea: How about the company that makes those tokens and the software that controls them make sure that it only ever displays characters that cannot be mistakenly read upside down?


    Note that the passwords are numeric on a 7-segment LCD. Eliminating the numbers that appear 'similar' upside down gets rid of 1, 2 & 5, 6 & 9, 8, and 0. The remaining passwords can therefore be any desired combination of 3, 4, and 7.

    However, this will still not prevent lusers from misreading 3 as E and 4 as h. If you wish to have a system sufficiently robust to deal with this segment of the population, you should restrict your character space to the digit '7'.

    Have fun.
  • North Bus 2009-09-17 17:27
    North Bus:

    Note that the passwords are numeric on a 7-segment LCD. Eliminating the numbers that appear 'similar' upside down gets rid of 1, 2 & 5, 6 & 9, 8, and 0. The remaining passwords can therefore be any desired combination of 3, 4, and 7.

    However, this will still not prevent lusers from misreading 3 as E and 4 as h. If you wish to have a system sufficiently robust to deal with this segment of the population, you should restrict your character space to the digit '7'.

    Have fun.


    And if anyone comes to you asking where the backwards-J key is on the keyboard, you must smite them repeatedly with a clue stick.
  • Moss 2009-09-17 17:29
    bryan986:
    Zapp Brannigan:
    SteamBoat:
    Zapp Brannigan:
    JL:
    C:
    zebano:
    I can't figure out what purpose gum would serve...
    Auto-stick-to-CD tweezers. ;-)
    Yeah, I guess the gum would stick to the tweezers pretty well. And if the gum doesn't work to get the tweezers out, a little peanut butter should loosen up any residual gum left in the drive.
    Then you put a mouse in there to eat the peanut butter?


    Then you put in a cat to get the mouse.

    I don't know why.

    MArk B.
    I know where this is going, eventually the gorilla dies when winter comes.


    They probably broke the CD in half to jam it in the drive. Now they use the gum to stick the two halves back together.


    But what of the gorilla? We must save him!
  • Anon 2009-09-17 17:33
    North Bus:
    you should restrict your character space to the digit '7'.

    Have fun.


    No, because upside down (and rotated) 7 looks like an L.
  • enim lla enim 2009-09-17 17:39
    Grant:
    Zylon:
    Kowell:
    Prepare Spaceball 1 for immediate departure!... And change the combination on my luggage!

    Here's to you, Explains The Joke So Everybody Knows He Gets It guy!
    Er, no, that's the next line in the dialog.

    Even if it wasn't I'd like him more than I like Repeat The Same Joke Because He Is Too Lazy To Read The Previous Comments guy.
  • NutDriverLefty 2009-09-17 18:10
    gravis - ultrasound or analog pro?:
    Not so much "highly specialized" technician as simply "special".


    I wonder if he arrived on a short bus.
  • Him over there 2009-09-17 18:43
    I've had common things like "My laptop won't power up from the mains"

    <flick>

    And "The computer isn't on"

    And of course the electricity is off

    But my own contribution to this field was putting a CD into the drive of a Rack mouted server, getting distracted by someone and inserting the disk between the top of the CD Drive unti and the bottom lip of the bay.

    Had to power down the server and get it out on the rails and opened up.

    D'Oh

    CAPTCHA - appellatio, a Mountain Man sex act
  • Anonymous user 2009-09-17 19:14
    username: Password and Password **** (user??) ..

    how did the technician swap username for password and password for username when the author specifically said otherwise..??

    I blame the author for this mistake or WTF??
  • Anonymous Asshole 2009-09-17 19:22
    It's clearly because he's a very "special" technician.
  • Bill G. 2009-09-17 20:08
    FriedDan:
    Back when I was doing support I had the CD in the floppy drive call. Except the woman I was talking to didn't try to be clever, she just tried to blame it on us... wanted us to pay for getting the CD out of her machine.

    Gotta wonder about people sometimes.

    She's right you know.

    If you initiated installation of Windows XP Personal (aka Windows XP Home) by using the WINNT command in DOS mode, it will eventually tell you to insert your Windows CD into your floppy drive.

    As an OEM maker, you ARE responsible for supporting your customers through that process.
  • SilentRunner 2009-09-17 20:35
    "...I occasionally have to help the Highly Specialized Technicians that our equipment vendors send over for maintenance."

    I would really have enjoyed hearing about the maintenance that was done on the technicians.
  • Zemm 2009-09-17 22:21
    Get ready to run, we've got 25 minutes...
    15 minutes ...
    05 minutes ...
    6h minutes!?
  • Andrew 2009-09-17 22:51
    Wine Snob:

    Well, here's an idea: How about the company that makes those tokens and the software that controls them make sure that it only ever displays characters that cannot be mistakenly read upside down?


    Congrads, you just reduced the one time password scope considerably.


    Actually, it can have a gravity activated sensor to turn the display upside down.
  • Not Bob 2009-09-17 23:11
    Andrew:
    Wine Snob:

    Well, here's an idea: How about the company that makes those tokens and the software that controls them make sure that it only ever displays characters that cannot be mistakenly read upside down?


    Congrads, you just reduced the one time password scope considerably.


    Actually, it can have a gravity activated sensor to turn the display upside down.


    There's an app for that

    Or at least the RSA folks should make one.

    Personally, I think you should just make tokens that always display 1010101 for the passkey. Works upside down or not, backwards or forward.

    Minor degradation in the security level, but only if hackers find out.

    Captcha: nulla
    What, like the wafers?
  • BentFranklin 2009-09-17 23:47
    Why put that in hardware when you can just put it in the RSA field validation? That only cuts the universe in half, which should be fine.

  • Falcon 2009-09-18 01:14
    Zemm:
    Get ready to run, we've got 25 minutes...
    15 minutes ...
    05 minutes ...
    6h minutes!?

    I immediately thought of this! Nice to know I'm not the only one...
  • justsomedude 2009-09-18 01:52
    GrammarNazi:
    trwtf is the VIP using the east st. louis ghetto slang 'her' instead of here.


    FTFY
  • Jelte 2009-09-18 02:22
    In my early days as a computer programmer (this is 1987) I was working at a company where every programmer had to take 1st line support calls as well. The CD-ROM story reminded me of the following call:

    A user calls up and says she's having trouble installing the software. She said: "It says insert disk #3, but I can't get it in anymore. Disk #2 was already hard enough..."

    After I resolved the problem I went back to my programming desk and changed the installer to say "Remove Disk #1 and insert Disk #2"!

    (This is serious, not a joke!)
  • bjolling 2009-09-18 04:38
    Sir Wilhelm:
    Zapp Brannigan:
    JL:
    C:
    zebano:
    I can't figure out what purpose gum would serve...
    Auto-stick-to-CD tweezers. ;-)
    Yeah, I guess the gum would stick to the tweezers pretty well. And if the gum doesn't work to get the tweezers out, a little peanut butter should loosen up any residual gum left in the drive.
    Then you put a mouse in there to eat the peanut butter?


    But my friend, that is the beauty behind the plan. The mouse-in-a-wheel who magically powers each PC will take care of any residual peanut butter while he's taking his tea at 5-o'clock.
    I use those newfangled laser mouses these days
  • Jak 2009-09-18 04:48
    7 is L.

    All numbers must be removed. No user input so no errors. Sounds good.
  • rainer 2009-09-18 04:50
    yeah whateva:
    Just this monday (sept 14), I walked in the door to have my boss tell me our highly specialized technician wasted a ton of time over the weekend in a foreign country with an Ethernet communication problem.

    Turns out the jack to jack connection was correct, but he somehow managed to plug the connector in upside-down on one of them. As to how this is possible, I haven't even the courage to duplicate the effort. Seriously, how can you do that??


    One of our users just damaged a DMS-59 to DVI adapter by plugging it in upside down. Turns out that the D-shaped shell is completely useless to prevent this. It's manufactured with sufficient tolerance to go in both ways equally easy. Designed for failure.
  • SR 2009-09-18 05:58
    bd_:
    I don't know about the RSA tokens used here, but the ones that Paypal uses have a label that wears off really quickly. After a few months, there are no obvious indications as to their orientation.


    ...until the "E"s and "h"s start to appear
  • Bonce 2009-09-18 05:58
    Well, as long as you write the software to accept entries of either "7777777" or "LLLLLLLL" as the same key then there will never be any confusion. No more helpdesk calls; win!
  • N0G 2009-09-18 07:00
    bjolling:
    Sir Wilhelm:
    Zapp Brannigan:
    JL:
    C:
    zebano:
    I can't figure out what purpose gum would serve...
    Auto-stick-to-CD tweezers. ;-)
    Yeah, I guess the gum would stick to the tweezers pretty well. And if the gum doesn't work to get the tweezers out, a little peanut butter should loosen up any residual gum left in the drive.
    Then you put a mouse in there to eat the peanut butter?


    But my friend, that is the beauty behind the plan. The mouse-in-a-wheel who magically powers each PC will take care of any residual peanut butter while he's taking his tea at 5-o'clock.
    I use those newfangled laser mouses these days


    Mice with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads?!
  • Henning Makholm 2009-09-18 07:44
    bryan986:
    They probably broke the CD in half to jam it in the drive.

    Why so? An ordinary CD-ROM is smaller than a 5¼" floppy disk in every dimension -- possibly excluding height, but there were a lot of vertical give in those drives. No need to break anything.
  • IT Girl 2009-09-18 10:02
    Anon:
    RogerInHawaii:
    Well, here's an idea: How about the company that makes those tokens and the software that controls them make sure that it only ever displays characters that cannot be mistakenly read upside down?


    Because when the token is upside down, the character are also in reverse. So, you'd have to make sure that all codes are palindromes. .semordnilap era sedoc lla taht erus ekam ot evah d'uoy ,oS .esrever ni osla era retcarahc eht ,nwod edispu si nekot eht nehw esuaceB


    Okay, where are the grammar nazis to point out the missing "s"?

    captcha: damnum, damnum all.
  • IT Girl 2009-09-18 10:04
    Zapp Brannigan:
    Jeremy:
    bored:
    TRWTF was that the VP was doing work.

    captcha: Venio (a venetian gang member)



    No no no...you clearly don't understand the chain of management. TRWTF is not that the Board Member was doing work, it is that the board member called in for himself. Really, what normally would happen is that the Board member would contact the CEO, who would then contact the CIO, who would then contact the director, who would then contact the manager, who would then contact the technician responsible for fixing the issue.

    Also, ironically enough, the CAPTCHA I just got was 'ingenium.'
    There is always an executive assistant in the chain of command.


    Who would have caught the VP's stupidity and saved everyone the hassle.
  • Zapp Brannigan 2009-09-18 11:19
    SilentRunner:
    "...I occasionally have to help the Highly Specialized Technicians that our equipment vendors send over for maintenance."

    I would really have enjoyed hearing about the maintenance that was done on the technicians.
    Well one time, I had this work order to lay some cable at Megan Fox's house. I was just about to ring the doorbell when Jessica Simpson's convertible pulled into the drive. Her passenger was Jessica Alba and they were wearing satin teddies. Megan had invited them over for a pillow fight. And then...
  • Coyne 2009-09-18 12:28
    North Bus:
    If you wish to have a system sufficiently robust to deal with this segment of the population, you should restrict your character space to the digit '7'.

    Have fun.


    Under those rules: 7 can be read upside down as L, so it's gone, too.

    Digits 1, 2, 5 and 8 read as the same digit upside down or right side up (on 7-segment displays). So if you were to use those, and stick to palindromes...that'd give 64 passwords (for an 8-digit display).
  • MOH 2009-09-18 12:29
    bd_:
    I don't know about the RSA tokens used here, but the ones that Paypal uses have a label that wears off really quickly. After a few months, there are no obvious indications as to their orientation.


    Don't ask don't tell ?
  • C 2009-09-18 12:52
    Vicky:
    12h851 is not 128451 upside down. It's 158421 upside down.
    i can't believe noone else thumbed this up yet...

    Grant:
    Zylon:
    Kowell:
    Prepare Spaceball 1 for immediate departure!... And change the combination on my luggage!

    Here's to you, Explains The Joke So Everybody Knows He Gets It guy!
    Er, no, that's the next line in the dialog.
    Agreed. Actually, i knew i heard the joke before, but couldn't remember where from. :"> Thanks, Kowell!
  • Arancaytar 2009-09-18 13:48
    He only told him to "type user first, THEN password". He didn't say which *fields* to type them into. As for the "lower-case", it probably arrived as "not upper-case".

    Some people are pretty inventive when it comes to coming up with new ways to be stupid.

    (That goes for the chewing-gum lady too. It's a kind of Idiot McGyver)
  • Vic 2009-09-18 14:22
    Been there, done that!
  • Vic 2009-09-18 14:27
    But my own contribution to this field was putting a CD into the drive of a Rack mouted server, getting distracted by someone and inserting the disk between the top of the CD Drive unti and the bottom lip of the bay.

    Had to power down the server and get it out on the rails and opened up.

    Vic:
    Been there, done that!

    Sorry - failed to quote original message.
  • Harrow 2009-09-18 15:18
    I wrote a filk on "The Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly" but there's no way to post it here.

    It starts out "I know a young lady who stuck in a disk...", but when it got to the part about how the tweezer failed to please her, Miss Priscilla Goodbody, the supervising censor over at Akismet, went into cardiac arrest and the post was rejected with prejudice.

    Well it's probably too labored and long anyway.

    -Harrow.
  • Kristoph Minchau 2009-09-18 16:16
    Exactly, there are always an executive assistant in the chain of command.

    Coincidentally, the same day, I got another RSA token call with yet another Board of Director.

    He was on vacation in Hawaii trying to remotely log in. I was talking to him guiding him through the process and asked him to enter the code on his token. He said that he didn't have the token, but assured me that he had the code... he had written it down.

    Apparently, he didn't realize that the token number changes, and assumed that the code that was displayed was the same all the time. So, he wrote down the code, left the token, and went on vacation. (Which obviously was the source of his problems).

    We ended up conference calling his secretary where she was able to find the token and read back the -current- numbers, and he was able to log in.

  • someone 2009-09-18 17:37
    7s can be read upside down as Ls
  • Me 2009-09-18 20:11
    TRWTF with #1 is segmented LCD displays. 1980 called: it wants its technology back.
  • savar 2009-09-18 21:30
    Kensey:
    TRWTF in the first one is the IT staffer who took as much as 60 seconds to realize "this idiot is holding the token upside-down".


    I would have assumed the LCD was broken, too.

    I mean, really... out of the 1,000 or so times that I have used an RSA token, I have never, EVER read it upside down, even for a second.

    It's just as stupid as reading a magazine upside down and wondering what language its written in. I just assume nobody -- especially a board member -- is dumb enough to do that.
  • pv2b 2009-09-19 06:41
    I don't know about the RSA security tokens you guys use, but how mine works for a system I access - I press a button and 6 digits appear on the screen. There's apparently some kind of internal clock keeping the two systems in sync.

    If you make a mistake typing in the security code, you can just try again. It's not like the account locks if you mistype your security code. (That would be stupid in most systems.)

    So, I don't see why a system couldn't be devised, which couldn't just, when it notices that the code doesn't match, just attempt to turn the code "upside down" in software (trivial to do) and resubmits the code, turned upside down to the login system.

    If the login succeeds, it'd let the user in, but not before smacking a dialogue in his face admonishing him for not turning his security key the right way up.
  • pv2b 2009-09-19 06:43
    Oh, this could also turn a mistaken input of all-digits and turn it upside down as well. No need to check whether there are any letters in the input - thogh if there are, that's a sure-fire way to know to turn the code upside down before submitting it.
  • MichaelWH 2009-09-19 13:37
    savar:
    I just assume nobody -- especially a board member -- is dumb enough to do that.


    This means you have never done technical support in your life and that you've never met anybody at director level or higher in the corporate world.
  • methinks 2009-09-20 06:06
    North Bus:
    RogerInHawaii:
    Well, here's an idea: How about the company that makes those tokens and the software that controls them make sure that it only ever displays characters that cannot be mistakenly read upside down?


    Note that the passwords are numeric on a 7-segment LCD. Eliminating the numbers that appear 'similar' upside down gets rid of 1, 2 & 5, 6 & 9, 8, and 0. The remaining passwords can therefore be any desired combination of 3, 4, and 7.

    However, this will still not prevent lusers from misreading 3 as E and 4 as h. If you wish to have a system sufficiently robust to deal with this segment of the population, you should restrict your character space to the digit '7'.

    Have fun.


    OR perhaps simply write "this side up" on the casing or put an arrow on it or the like...
  • hdgjhd+ 2009-09-20 14:42
    We discovered

    71346315

    and 7353

    in our math classes. First is Godwin-related, second is what nazis are ;)

  • Bob 2009-09-20 23:24
    MichaelWH:
    This means you have never done technical support in your life and that you've never met anybody at director level or higher in the corporate world.

    Sorry, now you've confused me.

    I know government is bad. It just is - everyone who works in or near the government is lazy, stupid, and incompetent. There is no beaureacracy that exists solely to keep stupid people in important jobs.

    Everyone who works in private enterprise, however, is brilliant, motivated, talented, and quickly evicted if that turns out to not be true. There is no beaureacracy keeping stupid people in important jobs.

    Therefore if a person is smart they work for a company, and if a person works for a company they must be smart.

    Anyone who believes differently is a smelly socialist.

    Therefore "anybody at director level or higher in the corporate world" is as smart as they could possibly be, and would never hold anything upside down unless it is supposed to be used upside down.

    That's a well established internet fact. You can check on wikipedia if you don't believe me.
  • Marcello 2009-09-21 11:00
    > That's about the point you start wondering about
    > who is running your company.

    or, better, you start wondering who's the moron that designed the token without any distinguishable indication of what's top and bottom.

    just consider for a second the unlikely event of a 999999 or 666666 combination...

    i used to have one for our VPN here, you couldn't tell how to read it without having it display the number. that's plain dumb.

    M
  • Alan Edwards 2009-09-23 07:33
    Kensey:
    TRWTF in the first one is the IT staffer who took as much as 60 seconds to realize "this idiot is holding the token upside-down".


    It took me half a day to work out someone was using a trackball upside down! The report was that mouse cursor moved in the wrong direction - it wasn't till I asked her how she was holding the trackball I realised what was going on - she had it upside down and was using it like a mouse.

    And to be fair to the original person holding the SecureID tag upside down, with the old ones the only way I could tell was to check for the countdown ladder at the left-hand end of the display. The new ones aren't so symmetrical in shape.

    Alan.
  • C 2009-09-23 14:21
    Me:
    TRWTF with #1 is segmented LCD displays. 1980 called: it wants its technology back.
    But... But... BCD is *fun*, i enjoyed wiring it up in my Digital Circuits class! :)
  • nick 2009-09-24 08:53
    North Bus:
    RogerInHawaii:
    Well, here's an idea: How about the company that makes those tokens and the software that controls them make sure that it only ever displays characters that cannot be mistakenly read upside down?


    Note that the passwords are numeric on a 7-segment LCD. Eliminating the numbers that appear 'similar' upside down gets rid of 1, 2 & 5, 6 & 9, 8, and 0. The remaining passwords can therefore be any desired combination of 3, 4, and 7.

    However, this will still not prevent lusers from misreading 3 as E and 4 as h. If you wish to have a system sufficiently robust to deal with this segment of the population, you should restrict your character space to the digit '7'.

    Have fun.


    7 could be read as an L though
  • C 2009-09-24 13:36
    This is silly. All these people complaining about leaving 7 in instead of about getting rid of 3 and 4...

    However, this will still not prevent lusers from misreading 3 as E and 4 as h. If you wish to have a system sufficiently robust to deal with this segment of the population, you should restrict your character space to the digit '7'.
    Not true. "If you wish to have a system sufficiently robust to deal with" that, you just check if the input is all-digits (3s, 4s, and/or 7s) or all-alpha (E's, h's, and/or L's). How hard would that be?
  • mec 2009-09-24 20:51
    "after calling him up ..."
    "i asked him to please tell me ..." [current private code]

    Ah, I see the hidden WTF there.

    Next time you call him up, tell him you're a clerk at his bank and you need him to confirm his credit card number to you.
  • Flaming Foobar 2009-10-04 21:10
    The best solution obviously would be to have the system accept the upside down tokens, too. It's not like it would be difficult to program or make the system significantly less secure...

    Oh, and the "Password in the username field" thing isn't a real WTF. That's most people would do if they couldn't get the credientials to work after a couple of tries: try them capitalized, swap them around etc.