Is there anything we can do but passwords? Every other month or so, I find that Apple and I disagree about my various Apple passwords. I hate resetting them. To date, I have been through every address at which I have lived, and every phone number that I've had going back to the time I was six years old, and had to tell the “Number please?” operator the phone number I wanted. (Those were simpler days; I only had to memorize one number.)
In any event, it's not that I can't remember a few old addresses and numbers; it's the sheer volume of decades-old trivia that I have to dredge out of the depths of my brain that overwhelms me. Why so much? Because I’m not allowed to reuse passwords that I’ve used in the last year, and I need so many of them because my memory is not quite good enough to keep up. Did I assign that to the street address of the house I lived in when I went to kindergarten, or the address of my great-grandmother’s saloon?
Android, of course, can actually use my face as a password, except, for some reason, it can't. Or it couldn’t on the Galaxy. That was such a waste of time, I haven’t tried it on the Droid Turbo Maybe the software isn’t good with beards
Fingerprints and retinal scares scare me. It's too easy to imagine somebody cutting off my thumb or popping out my eyeball. Maybe, if I were dead, I wouldn't mind. But let's not go there.
I know there's a way to cash my various passwords on the Keychain on my Mac, but then I need a password to get into that, right? Actually, I have a special G-mail account that I use to send myself emails that include cryptic hints to current passwords, cleverly hidden in text that I steal from spam-mail solicitations. One problem with that is when I make the email subject line so realistic that I later delete the message before I know what I’m doing. Another is when I make the hint too cryptic and I can’t remember what it was supposed to remind me of.
It’s easy to make fun of the password situation like this, but the issue is a challenge. Not that long ago, your bank would print your drivers license number on your checks, since that was the form of identification most businesses relied on to identify customers – your photo was on the license, as was the license number, which matched the number printed on the check. Therefore, this wasn’t a stolen check. (Whether there was money in the account to cover it, is s further issue.)
These days, I do anything I can to avoid paying by check. Here’s a Xeroxable piece of paper that reveals my name, my address, my checking-account number, and the bank routing number. Do I want to hand it over to a stranger? We live in a brave new world where we depend on things like passwords. I just don’t want mine saved any place but in my head. My head, alas, ain’t what it used to be. Please, somebody, come up with a biometric authentication that doesn’t work if I’m dead.