We can forget it for you, wholesale.

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I've just spent over an hour trying various combinations of usernames, passwords, browsers, email accounts, memory tests, auto-completion forms, secret identities and inside trouser-leg measurements.

I now have three h2g2 new Uxxxxxx numbers, four BBC "Single Sign On" (SSO) accounts, and a reactivated hotmail address that I stopped using five years ago.

When we first designed the h2g2 registration system, we wrote down all the things that annoyed us about other web registration systems. The most annoying thing was "having to remember stuff".

While computers frequently do a spectacular job of failing to make our lives easier, they are very good at remembering things.

In fact they're so good at remembering things that sometimes that's their only job, and then they're called databases: Hugely complicated machines that automate the job of not forgetting stuff, in much the same way that washing-machines automate the job of not having to buy new clothes every week.

Although I've already demonstrated that I have a fantastically selective memory, I do seem to remember that there's usually a database or two having a crafty ciggie break round the back of the web servers.

So, given that the BBC has spent vast swathes of licence payers' cash on machines specifically to remember stuff for us, why, when I’ve forgotten my password, am I expected to remember something else?

When you forget your bank PIN, you ask your bank to send you a new one. The cash machine doesn't ask you for a special backup PIN, and there's a reason for that.

Call it a "Secret Question" if you like, but it's really just another password. So even if you chose to dispute the notion that if someone's forgotten one password, they may have forgotten the other one too, you can't dispute that six is *more* than three.

Giving someone six goes at guessing their way into a system makes it *less* secure than allowing them three attempts. Even rabbits, who can’t count higher than five, could work this one out.

I only hope whoever's responsible for the "Single Sign On won't send email reminders" policy can work it out too, because I have this horrible vision of them quivering in the middle of the road, transfixed by oncoming headlights.

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