Password length for my eir

While many online portals are embracing two-factor authentication and other security best practice, our telecoms utility eir seems determined to stop us using good quality passwords.

As you can see from the screenshot below, the self-service portal doesn’t allow users to set passwords longer than 10 characters.

The error message on screen also notifies anyone (including potential hackers) that all passwords for the system are between 6 and 10 characters – which would be a massive help to anyone attempting a brute-force attack on the site, as it would reduce the number of password combinations they need to try.

This is a shocking example of bad security by design, and is a carryover from the old Meteor self-service portal. Someone at some time in the past chose to limit password length, which forces people to use short insecure passwords.

Irish Water Charges

As of today, 1st October 2014, the Irish people will be liable for domestic water charges.

For the first 9 months, households will be liable for an ‘assessed’ charge that is based upon the number of adults in the property. The first adult is charged €176 a year, and each additional adult is charged an extra €102.  Children will not be charged.

Then, as of July 2015, those properties with water meters installed will be charged based on the volume of water consumed – at a cost of €2.44 per 1,000 litres of water.

However, I live in an apartment, and as such I’m very unlikely to have a water meter installed. So I’ll continue to be liable for the ‘assessed’ charge going forward.

The thing is, now that I’m suddenly paying what is in effect a subscription charge for my water, my first instinct is to try and maximise my usage.  It’s like having a gym membership or a subscription to Netflix.  You want to feel that you’re getting the maximum value for your money.

With that in mind, I’m considering now having two, or even three, showers a day from now on.  I’m going to wash each item of clothing in a separate wash.  And to ensure that I always have cold water available for when I want a drink, I’m going to leave a tap running in the kitchen.

After all, I’m going to be paying 76 cents a day for this water, so I want to make the most of it.

Broadband unavailable

Seems that NTL (or rather UPC) are having a bit of trouble with servicing my area at the moment. On Friday evening the whole network went down for about two hours, cutting off both my TV and broadband signal. And then this evening the broadband internet disappeared for another couple of hours.
I used to tell people that, once the NTL service was set up, that it was fairly reliable. I know my cable TV and broadband connection in Edinburgh was good, because for one period of time I didn’t have cause to contact them for about 3 years. But the utilities here in Dublin don’t seem to be all that resilient – what with all the power cuts too.

Another outage

Just eight days after the last one, there was yet another power cut in the early hours of this morning. According to news reports the outage also affected Christchurch, Temple Bar and Wellington Quay.
I have no idea how long the power was off, but it was long enough to wipe the memory from my bedside clock. Luckily, however, I didn’t need my alarm this morning, as I was woken by traffic noise. But I could have just as easily slept in by mistake, and been late to work.

Power Cut

Depping at St Pat’s this evening, and the lights suddenly went out a few minutes into the rehearsal.

We were experiencing one of the many power cuts that regularly afflict central Dublin. This one went on for well over an hour, and meant that we had to change all the music we were singing, to unaccompanied pieces. Luckily, however, we could cope without the lights, as God was providing us with beautiful bright sunshine through the windows.

When I got home, later on in the evening, I also discovered that my flat had lost power at some time during the day. I can always tell, as the clock on the cooker resets to zero and starts flashing. I haven’t been keeping tally, but these power cuts seems to be fairly common in the city – about once a month.

Indeed at Christ Church we had a power outage for several hours almost exactly one month ago. We were in the middle of a rehearsal for the Handel Festival concert at the time, and had to continue rehearsing by torchlight. It was fine at first, because the cathedral’s emergency lighting came on – but once that failed after about an hour, the only way to see was with a torch.

Thankfully, on the performance night itself, we kept power.