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“It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” - Sir William Osler

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    Wednesday, April 23, 2003
    I'm having password withdrawal.

    You may not be as fixated on computer passwords as I am, but I have a reason. (Honest.) At work I have several programs that I have to sign into whenever I use them - my Microsoft Outlook, our computer appointment scheduling program, the online access to hospital labs. Because I wind up having to sign in a dozen times a day, I use the same password for everything to keep things simple. Unfortunately, about every four months I have to change passwords because they expire. I realize this is a security precaution, but I still find it annoying; it's a strain to think of new passwords. To minimize password-picking anxiety, I tend to run in patterns. For awhile I used various religious words or names of saints ("stluke", "stmark" and my favorite, "heresy").

    Now I'm on a different tack: names of detectives. No, I won't tell you which one I'm using at the moment, but I just switched and I'm upset. My new password is awkward to type but it's the right length (passwords can't contain more than a certain number of letters, which tends to restrict one's creativity). My old password was clever, unusual, stylish and easy to type. It felt like having the perfect outfit hanging in your closet, or finding an extra twenty in your wallet.

    Alas, all good things come to an end, and my password, as it were, passed on. Expired. The system won't allow re-use of a password so I had to move on and console myself with a new one. I'm still in mourning, though. I'll never forget you, password.



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