A reader has sent me some interesting facts about Formula One racing cars.
For a start, a Formula One car is made up of 80 000 components and if it were assembled 99.9 percent correctly, it would still start the race with 80 things wrong with it. That explains a lot about the cars you and I buy – most of which, I am sure, fall far short of being 99.9 percent efficiently assembled.
I don’t know how many passwords and user names you have these days. I have at least two dozen. And if you are into Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and electronic banking then you’ll know all about it.
I raise the subject because I have just received from three kind readers an electronic exchange between a poor benighted computer user and some robotic voice in that mysterious mission control room in deep cyberspace.
The poor, benighted user had been told his password had expired. If that ever happens to me I’d hurl myself off my front doorstep.
Passwords, for those who have cellphones and iPhones, desk computers and laptops, must have a certain number of letters and sometimes numbers and sometimes both. Sometimes the letters must be upper case and lower case.
The exchange of messages went like this…
“Sorry, your password has expired – you must register a new one.”
Why? Has somebody discovered my password and hacked my computer?
No, but your password has expired – you must get a new one. Why a new one? That one seems to be working well.
Well, you must get a new one as they automatically expire every 30 days.
Can I use the old one and just re-register it?
No, you must get a new one.
I don’t want a new one – it just means one more thing for me to have to remember.
Sorry, you must get a new one.
Okay then – roses.
Sorry, you must use more letters.
Okay: pretty roses.
No good, you must use at least one numerical.
Okay: 1 pretty rose.
Sorry, you cannot use blank spaces.
Sorry, you must use additional letters.
Sorry, you must use at least one capital letter.
Sorry, you cannot use more than one capital letter in a row.
Sorry, you cannot use that password as you must use at least two capital letters and a special character like @ or *.
Sorry, you cannot use that password as it has already been taken. DEAF, WHERE IS THY STING?
Threnody (she’s my secretary y’know – she files everything under M for Miscellaneous) forgot to remind me that September 24 was the day of deaf people. A pity because it bears relevance to a subject I broached last week – adult attention deficit disorder.
I have since learned that many marriages are wrecked by it.
You’ve heard the expression, “How many times do I have to tell you?” It can be an indication of deafness or, more likely, that somebody has ADD – attention deficit disorder.
But don’t jump to confusions…
Hugh Farquharson tells me of a man who feared his wife was going deaf and felt she needed a hearing aid. His wife insisted her hearing was normal.
Not quite sure how to approach her, he phoned the family doctor to discuss it. The doctor described a simple test that he could perform without his wife being aware of it.
“Here’s what you do,” he said. “Stand a dozen metres away and speak in a normal conversational tone. See if she hears you.
“If not, go to about nine metres, then six and so on until you get a response.”
That evening his wife was in the kitchen cooking and her husband, in a normal voice, asked from the adjacent room: “Honey, what’s for dinner?”
He moved closer and asked again. No response. He moved even closer
In the end he was right behind her and again asked, “Honey, what’s for dinner?”
She spun around and said: “Ralph, for the fifth time, it’s CHICKEN!”
On October 17 (that’s Thursday next week) at 4pm the Highveld’s summer rainfall season is scheduled to open with its usual bang and flash. By 5.15pm the rain will stop after delivering the first 20mm of summer rain.
Look, with all this climate change I might be a bit out.