Don't you just hate it when your 8GB flash drive suddenly decides it will only work at USB 1.1 speeds?
Copying 32MB with 9 mins to go >:(
Some researchers have developed a way for you to learn a password (of sorts) and prove to a computer that you know that password, thus that you are you, without actually being told the password.
You can't tell anyone else what it is, because you don't consciously know. It's hidden in a region of your brain.
Here's generally how it works:
They have created a game that teaches you the password, without you ever knowing it.
The game programs a type of memory you have called muscle memory.
What is muscle memory? Well when you learn to ride a bike, for example, you are concentrating heavily on balancing and steering. But after a while, all that becomes automatic. Like instinct. It's the same with walking, you don't need to think about how to walk do you?
That's because your muscle memory has learned it for you. It does all the movements and balancing after a while, letting you concentrate on more impotant things like deciding which way to go and how fast.
Well this game is like guitar hero in that you have to press keys in time with patterns. Some of the patterns are random junk. But others are repeated. These form the password.
As you play your muscle memory gets better at pressing the keys for the repeated patterns. Without even knowing it your brain is being taught to press the keys better and better for the repeated patterns.
Being good at those patterns is enough to prove that you know the password.
You don't give the computer the password. It tests you to see if you were trained with those patterns. All you do is play the game again.
Someone who never was trained with your password won't do as well as you, because thier muscle memory never made them good at your patterns.
Thus you can prove you are you. For several weeks at least.
To try it yourself go here:
Today I have learned the importance of keeping record of software versions and usernames relating to remote computers.
On Friday Holland contacted us reporting that their PC, which we configure with our software was playing up. Apparently it was so bad it was restarting as soon as it was powered on.
The machine is what we call a scanstation. Basically its a pc running our software with a scanner attached. Configuring a replacement is not that big a deal, install the correct version of the software and the scanner driver. Ship it out and sort out last bits of configuration remotely.
I had almost done this once I was informed, by chance, that this scanstation also performed its own local processing, meaning that it has its own database and server software.
The people who know how to set one up have left the company. Have they documented anything about what they did when setting this thing up? Have they heck.
No one knows a login for the machine. Without which I can't pop on, look at it, back up the database and restore it all on the new one.
No record of what version of the software to install. Now there are rumours an upgrade had been performed. So any documentation I have found is likely out of date.
We have a support system and a wiki to store this stuff. But it probably just ended up in their heads.