Remember when the only password you needed was the one that granted admittance to the neighbourhood clubhouse? Things are a bit more complicated now. It’s not uncommon for one person to need as many as 20 access codes-for such things as telephone voice mail, security systems, bank cards, credit cards, Internet and e-mail accounts, individual Web site subscriptions, office access, and computer and laptop computer log-ons.
While there are security risks associated with using the same password for more than one account, many take that risk rather than try to remember 20 different codes. Others are more safety conscious. Workplaces require employees to change all their individual passwords on a regular basis, and no repetition is allowed. And lately, companies and banks are reminding customers that there are strict password guidelines set out in their customer service agreements. Break the rules and companies don’t have to compensate for theft. Here are some common restrictions as well as advice for a memorable but safe password system:
• Passwords used elsewhere
• Your name or those of close relatives
• Your birth date, telephone numbers, addresses
• A number on any ID card that is kept with or near your bank card (e.g., SIN number)
• A six-character minimum
• A combination of numbers and upperand lowercase letters
• For numeric-only codes, convert a password to numbers on an alpha-numeric keypad
• A system for keeping track of changing passwords, such as food preferences in alphabetical order: start with apples and then change to brownies. Or use variations on lines from a childhood verse: “Yankee Doodle went to town” (YDwtoltown), then “Riding on a pony" (Roa2pony)
“1 am reading Wild Stone Heart. An Apprentice in
tthe Fields by Saskatchewan author % f^O Aharon BuT y tala. In all of her writing, Butala captures the mystery and beauty of the prairie.”
president and chief executive officer of the Capital Health Authority, which oversees health services in the Edmonton region “I’m about halfway through Timothy Findley’s latest, Pilgrim. He’s a favourite. I’m also rereading The Diviners by Margaret Laurence, which made a huge impression on me when I first read it.”
Glen Murray, mayor of Winnipeg
“I am reading . A Cities Back ■ ÍzjL from the Edge ~ k —New Life for Downtown by Roberta Brandes Gratz, with Norman Mintz. It is a book of innovative thinking on how to rejuvenate older city cores, which is exactly what is going on right now in Winnipeg.”
Over and Under Achievers
The boys of summer
Hamm: strike 1! Bonds: home run! And from the Parliament Hill sandlot league: Stock’s bench strength in doubt again
^John Hamm: Nova Scotia premier outlaws nursing strike, but poll shows public thinks nurses’ wage demands are reasonable.
^Sam Holman: Ottawa baseball-bat maker provides the lumber for San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds’ run at the single-season home-run record.
John Manley: Foreign minister hints big AIDS pledge will come this month, after Canada offers embarrassingly litde at last week’s UN conference.
^Stockwell Day: Loses yet another MP, Brian Fitzpatrick, and more defections are expected as early as this week.
^Clarence (Big) Miller: Edmonton group plans $100,000 statue of beloved jazz musician who lived in the city from the 1970s to his death in 1992.
NO 2-TIER HEALTH CARE?
When Jean Chrétien voiced an interest in Sweden’s privately run hospitals and health-care user fees recently, official Ottawa was taken aback. What could possibly have prompted the PM’s remarkable openness to such innovations in public health care? After all, Chrétien campaigned aggressively just last fall against any hint of diluting Canada’s universal medicare tradition, scoring big points by attacking the Canadian Alliance’s alleged “twotier” policy.
One reason Chrétien might be growing more flexible these days: he knows many Canadians are. Polling by Ekos Research Associates Inc.—a firm whose insights into public mood swings are influential in the Prime
Canadians responded to the following statement: “Individuals should be allowed to pay extra to get quicker access to health-care services”:
Minister’s Office—has uncovered a growing willingness among better-off Canadians to consider out-of-pocket payments for care. While it remains a minority view, the concept has been gaining ground among those who define themselves as middleor highincome.
Among middle-class Canadians, fewer than a quarter thought they should be able to pay extra for quicker medical care back in 1995. By early this year, more than a third agreed with the idea of pulling out their wallets for faster access. Another reason that Chrétien might be eager to embrace health reform of any sort: while Canadians used to blame the provinces for health-care problems, Ekos has found they are now just as prone to point the finger at Ottawa.
Under the Big Top
Step right up, folks! Don’t be shy! Here’s some big-top trivia taken from Circus!— an interactive exhibit at the Ontario Science Centre:
• The highest number of juggled balls in the world is 12.
• Clowns are called “Joeys” in tribute to the grandfather of clowns, Joseph Grimaldi (1779-1837). Grimaldi also invented the colourful, baggy, frilly costumes many clowns wear.
• New and naïve circus employees are called “The First of May.”
• “Lot lice” is the term used for local townies who arrive early to watch the circus unload.
• In photographs, an elephant’s trunk must be raised for good luck.
• “Shills,” in circus talk, are the employees who stand in lineups to make business look good.
• Jules Leotard (1838-1870) not only invented the flying trapeze circus act at the age of 21 but the piece of formfitting
clothing trapeze artists still wear today.
• The word “jumbo” comes from a male African elephant by that name who toured with the Barnum & Bailey Circus. In 1885, Jumbo died when hit by a train in St. Thomas, Ont. It took 150 people to remove him from the tracks.
Yanks pull a Mercer
We might be dull, but at least we’re not derivative. On June 20, a crew from NBC’s Today Show arrived in Halifax to ask Canadians a few questions á la This Hour Has 22 Minutes' segment “Talking to Americans.” While Canadian host Rick Mercer has exposed Americans as gullible and ignorant when it comes to their northern neighbours, the Today Show crew had the opposite experience. Among the questions posed in front of Nova Scotia's provincial legislature and on a busy street: Did you hear that in order to vote in Texas you need to have a gun? Did you know that President George W.
Bush has a plan to purchase the life Canadian side of Niagara Falls to tjjfi cope with the U.S. energy crunch? ^ “Most people were on to us, say_
ing, ‘You guys are doing a Rick Mercer, aren’t you?’ ” NBC producer Tom Mazzarelli told a local newspaper. “More people got the joke than not. But on the other hand, some people were just too damn nice, saying, ‘If you need the Falls, go ahead and take them.' ”
Mercer, who is currently shooting Made in Canada episodes, I wasn't surprised most Canadians I I didn’t fall for it: “It’s our joke, one I we can pull on them. It just doesn’t -i work in reverse."
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