Will your men want to fight for you when they hear you wouldn’t fight for them?
– Jon Snow “Battle of the Bastards” Game of Thrones
Last year, we vacationed in Europe for a few weeks staying in Airbnbs. International cell plans are insanely expensive and complicated so we relied on our host’s WiFi to look up restaurant reviews, museum discounts, train schedules, and everything else you used to rely on finding in a guide book. Each wireless network had a long and complicated password usually provided by their ISP stickered on the router. Five people with multiple devices asking to read aloud passwords like “xshumk38jbf67opw” was a frustrating experience. What was worse is that they weren’t as secure as the length and jumbled mix of letters and numbers might suggest.
When I got home, I set out to make a tool that would provide both friendly and secure passwords. The result is Pass Plum. When you visit the site, a passphrase of typically four simple words is generated just for you. You can see a good (and sometimes entertaining) sample in its automated tweets.
Other tools exist with similar goals, but the ones I found were too technical, configurable, required input, or previous knowledge about password security to get something useful. I wanted something simple, approachable, fast, and usable from any device. I spent extra time making the what, why, and how straightforward so any visitor could understand and trust in what I am providing. Even the name “Pass Plum” was chosen because it’s easy to share by word of mouth and hard to misspell. (Originally, I liked “Pass Pair” because it had the visual repetition of p’s like “passphrase” and was something you paired with the task of creating a password, but after saying it aloud, I realized it could easily be confused with pears 🍐 so I settled on plums.)
At the time of writing, almost 1,500 passphrases have been generated! 42% of those weren’t tweets so word is slowly spreading. Help your family and friends increase their security with a simple passphrase. Change your own password while you’re at it.
I installed Wallcat earlier this week and have been pleasantly surprised every time I gesture away all my windows. Check out today’s “Fresh Air” to see what I mean.
The Threshold of Misery is that point when things have become so bad, you simply cease to care when they get worse.