A little brain teaser

Tonight I had to enter a password. I carefully typed a series of keys, and got a message that my password was incorrect. I changed nothing, pressed no button, did not move the mouse, or alter the state of my computer in any way. I typed exactly the same series of keys again – same keys, same order, doing nothing differently, and this time was allowed in.

How can that be?

13 thoughts on “A little brain teaser

  1. Of couse, the usually suspected explanations come to mind: keyboard not connected to laptop; caps lock/num lock on or off; and, most likely of all, you only THOUGHT you “typed exactly the same series of keys again”.

    However, for my first guess, I’m going to say that you when you typed your password the first time, the cursor was in the wrong place. The first time, you entered your password (something like 1M6beers!) and then hit enter. On the second try (and as a result of the failure of the first try), the cursor was in the right place and you succeeded.

    If I’m right, then the glory of MR&HBI will be sufficient. If I’m wrong, then I’d like to hear about the lovely parting gifts.

  2. First possibility: You had your caps-lock key on the first time.

    Second possibility: It’s just one of those random things Haloscan (or iblog or whoever) throws at people now and then to keep them alert. Happens to me all the time.

  3. You’re very close, but remember, I typed EXACTLY the same keys. Nine key strokes, no. Nine key strokes, yes. No other keys, buttons, or configuration changes in between.

    I was logging into my machine, no place else for the cursor to go.

  4. Sometimes you just have to stick your tongue out the right way or tilt your head at the right angle to get things to work. You probably weren’t doing one or the other the first time.

  5. I don’t think this is the answer, but it demonstrates that the caps-lock suggestion meets your criteria.

    First attempt: accidental caps-lock, seven-character password, enter.

    Second attempt: intentional caps-lock, seven-character password, enter.

  6. I think lew may have something there. At work, I always have to make the appropriate libations to the photocopier gods in order to get the dang machine to work. And even then, I may not get the exact results I want, such as a 3-hole punch when I don’t want it, or no punch when I do.

  7. I second lew’s explanation. As a former crack chimp, often I would place the voodoo offerings on the top of the monitor to get code to compile. Usually, the chicken’s foot and newt’s blood was not required. Usually.

  8. You know, Brian (rhymes with Not-Eric), I was all ready to tell the story of the times you and Not-Brian would put money atop the cd-burnin’ box (back then they were exotic and not terribly reliable) to pray for a good burn. No one was allowed to walk too close, or an hour of burnin’ was lost.


  9. All right, it’s a caps-lock thing. But what made this less disinteresting was the the caps lock was an intentional part of the procedure. My password is of the form abcDEF, so I routinely use the caps lock while entering it. The first time, caps lock was set and I didn’t notice, so I typed ABCdef. I saw the error the second time, but the computer was now in the state I thought it had been the first time.

    Of course, the second time I also was sticking my tongue out and squinting oddly.

  10. I’m sorry, lew was talking about typing? I thought she was describing what was happing just below the crop line in her recently posted pictures, and why she was smiling more euphorically in the second picture. (Or perhaps why the middle picture in the series was not posted…)

  11. Bam! and right there MR&HBIs goes rated NC-17. Squirrely Joe had us at “R”

    How about it, Squirrely? Got a follow up? A triple X throwdown?

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