Ramblings of General Geekery

Pass-phrases, and the problem with dumb websites

I’m a huge fan on pass-phrases. Since Jeff already evangelised them over passwords, giving arguments and advice, there’s no need to add anything…

Except, well, some good old complaining.

It pisses me off that some websites have a limited length for passwords, thus preventing users from using pass-phrases. It’s not a pass-phrase if it can only have a maximum of 12 characters, is it? But the worst is how most of those websites won’t even warn you that your password is too long… they will just truncate it and tell you everything’s okay! And then, the next time you log in, you spend 10 minutes wondering how you can mistype 50 times a passphrase you’re absolutely sure about.

Now, time to point some fingers. Recently, the 2 websites that gave me this kind of crappy user experience were the Archos Store (after creating a new account) and Linked In (after changing my password on an existing account). It’s especially surprising how a high profile website like Linked In can be so poorly implemented.

Disable windows from resuming when opening your laptop’s lid

One of my laptops is getting old and the lid is not as sturdy as it used to be. It now has the unwanted tendency of triggering a “laptop lid open” event when you barely touch it because the lid moves up a bit and back down. This is problematic because it wakes up the operating system, which doesn’t always detect that the lid was closed immediately.

When you run an internet search about laptop lids and putting Windows on stand by or hibernate, you find a lot of stuff, but nothing useful about disabling resume. To solve this problem you need to think like a programmer, i.e. find a solution that kinda makes sense, but not really.

Obviously, the answer lies in the Power Options dialog, but the only setting you have access to is what to do when the lid is closed, not when it is open.

Well, here comes the shocking answer: if you put your computer on stand by when you close your lid, it will wake up when you open it. But if you don’t do anything when you close your lid, it won’t do anything either when you open it!

Setting that first combobox above to “Do nothing” therefore fixed my problem. Now, I can close the lid, let the computer go to sleep after 5 minutes of inactivity, and move it around without fear of it waking up because the lid is too sensitive. I do have to press the power button to wake it up instead of just opening it, but that’s not too awful.