Thursday, November 05, 2009

Unexplained invalid passwords: does this have to do with how OOP handles "equals"?


I found a technical discussion on OOP, “how many definitions do you have for ‘object equality’”? as I was surfing around trying to figure out why sometimes passwords “go bad”. Or sometimes they start working when a browser window is closed completely and restarted. This has happened at work before, and happens with accounts on some commercial websites.

Here “Scott” goes into a discussion of what happens in the OOP world when your car (a single instance of a class “car”) is repainted. The discussion is the difference or distinction between “reference equality” and “value equality.” But it seems that many sites do not regard a logon with a password as “equal” when a previous one was logged on during the same browser session.

It’s a pretty lively discussion and you can check it here.

I remember, after writing my first book, getting an email from a coworker titled “My book”. He should have said “My instance of your book.”

I also remember something else squirrely. The night before my learning of my layoff in December 2001, I had trouble logging in after hours. I had a sinking feeling that maybe my account had been invalidated; but no, it was one of the OOP problems in the way logon passwords are managed. The password worked the next morning that I came in to work. But then, right at 9 AM, I got a Netware message “your account has been disabled; please log off” while I was working with an internal customer to solve a problem. That was a moment of career cardiac arrest.

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