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Managing User Accounts and Passwords

While reviewing the video that goes along with this article, my mind drifted back to my first real paying job in radio. It was a big station with a big news department and what makes it pertinent to this discussion is the fact that they had a mini computer running Unix. This machine kept up with stories coming in off the UPI and AP news wires and the reporters used it to write local stories. There was a terminal in each on-air studio and more back in the newsroom. I can still remember the meeting I had with the sysadmin to get my very own user account on the system. Believe it or not, I can also still remember the password I chose after nearly 30 years. And no, I’m not telling.

Up to that point, my experience with computers mainly consisted of playing games on a Commodore 64 and typing term papers into my brother’s Tandy 1000. At the time, I remember thinking that it was cool to have access to a “real computer.” This was before the Internet. It had no GUI and the printers were tractor-fed dot matrix that could only print plain text. It was basically a giant word processor. What I found fascinating about it was the way I could sit down at any terminal in the building and login to find all my stuff just the way I left it. I could write a story, save it to a file, and send it to a printer all while the guy in the next studio was doing something else with the same system.