A report surfaced recently contending that BlackBerry OS 10 will include a list of 106 prohibited passwords designed to prevent the clueless from choosing the likes of 123456, blackberry, or the ever-popular "password" as their password.
However, a RIM spokesman clarified for me that the list actually applies to BlackBerry ID universally, not only the upcoming operating system, and "has been active for some time now."
What he wasn't able to clarify, though, was why the BlackBerry blacklist enforces such a brutally disproportionate prohibition against names found on the character list of "Winnie the Pooh." Fully five of the no-can-do 106 -- tigger, rabbit, eeyore, piglet and poohbear - are plucked from the pages of the children's classic.
Yes, the blacklist is heavy on cartoon and fictional characters, in general: mickey, donald, barney, batman, gandalf, george and snoopy are also not allowed.
But inclusion or exclusion seems to carry little rhyme or reason, nursery or otherwise.
Calvin is banned, but not hobbes.
Dorothy and wizard are forbidden, but not scarecrow or tinman. Monkey is on the list, but not flyingmonkey. (Sure, longer character length matters.)
Want to use snowwhite as your password? Have a party. Same goes for all seven dwarfs.
Care to indulge in a more modern careless choice? Butthead is out of bounds, but not beavis, heh-heh. Homer is swell; so, too, simpson, simpsons and thesimpsons.
Why are Monday uppercase and monday lowercase prohibited, yet either variant of the other six days of the week passes BlackBerry password muster? (I'm assuming the answer is that people try to use Monday more often ... but why might that be? People hate Mondays.)
The blacklisting by BlackBerry of molson makes some sort of sense, I guess, since both are products of Canada. But if beer names are problematic -- and they probably are -- why ban miller and not budweiser, other than perhaps the latter is harder to spell?
(By the harder-to-spell standard, then, the least BlackBerry could have done for the now permanently stigmatized Pooh gang would have been to leave poor eeyore be, since I have to look up that spelling every time.)
Baseball, football and even Canada's national religion, hockey, are all banned. But not basketball. The ninth letter was enough to earn basketball a pass? Who knows?
At least at a glance, it would appear that first names appear on the list or not nonsensically. Andrew, amanda, brandy, chelsea, jennifer, jonathan, maggie, mathew, michael - and mike - michelle, natasha, pamela, patrick, rachel, steven - but not stephen -- thomas and victoria are all among the banned.
Granted, victoria is a city name, too. But natasha is a no-no while robert, which would seem to be an automatic no siree, Bob, sails on through. Also OK are charles, david, patricia, richard, susan and william.
Perhaps the oddest entry on the blacklist - oddest until I looked it up - is ncc1701. Now I understand that I will have to endure the mockery of the Star Trek crowd for having had to look it up.
Of course, it's not my ill-advised behavior that has earned the Starship Enterprise a spot on a password blacklist.
If you'd like to get your favorite Pooh character off the list, write to RIM. Otherwise, the address is email@example.com.