Before You Ask, Are You Ready for the Answer?

“So what’s your password?” I casually asked the CEO of a small business I was doing work for.

I don’t usually make a habit of asking people for their passwords, least of all members of the highest executive class. In fact, I hate it. I don’t want to know anyone’s password. I don’t want to ever be looped into the circle of suspicion should anything ever happen with a resource which that password gives access to. I even cringed the one time my mother had me type in the password for her I Can Has Cheezeburger account while I was trying to figure out some odd web browser problems of hers.

However, since this small business is owned by family friends whom I trust I decided to cave in for a little while. For a little over a year I had been attempting to impress some order on the technological maelstrom that existed, but I knew that I still had to pick my battles carefully.

The office network didn’t even have a dozen PCs on it.  They were all Windows machines and I was migrating them to a new Small Business Server 2008 Active Directory domain. This one machine that I was giving my attention to was a laptop that I hadn’t joined to the domain yet. It was its own little island of settings and preferences given to it by its user. I felt like I was sitting in front of a feral cat that could at any moment turn into a hissing chipper-shredder if I touched it wrong. I had some troubleshooting to do on it and I needed to know the user’s password for the time at hand.

“Ahhh…” I heard on the other end in response to my question. Then there was a brief pause. Silence. The hesitation surprised me. Did I detect some uncomfortableness in his voice? I think I did. Surely after years of passwords being freely divulged it wouldn’t suddenly be a taboo now.

Before I could think through the situation any more, the individual broke the silence. “Enn.”

I knit my eyebrows together as I hovered my fingers over the keyboard. “In? In what? ‘In the heat of the night?’, ‘In the nick of time?’, ‘In the jungle, the mighty jungle?’ ”

“No… just Enn. The letter ‘N’.”

My index finger twitched over the keyboard. The cursor blinked silently in the password field. I tapped ‘N’ on the keyboard.

“Capital N!” the person chimed in.

I pressed enter. The Windows login chime cheerily greeted me.


  1. Richard Holloway

    July 16, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Isn’t that worse than no password at all ?


    • Wesley.Nonapeptide

      July 16, 2010 at 2:08 pm

      Funny you should mention it. I have a story about blank passwords as well. I think you just prodded me to blog about it. Thanks! =)


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