Our IT guy has been hounding us to make better choices for login passwords into the company information system. More characters, digits, and the use of mixed case is recommended. Like many people, I have accounts in diverse systems that are not connected. Not every system gives me a choice of login names and passwords.  Eventually one ends up with a variety of codewords that one has to keep straight. Soon it becomes a little burdensome.

There is a website that purports to provide random character strings. It is Random.org.  The operator of the site is a lecturer in computer science at Trinity College and uses atmospheric noise from a group of radios to capture random events that are somehow translated into character strings.

If you need strings of random digits, there is von Neumann’s middle square method. It can be done on a calculator. While it is hard to guarantee that there isn’t some kind of periodicity, von Neumann felt this method suited his needs.

I wonder to what extent the shaky state of internet security depends on the structure and prevalence of Microsoft code?  I have no idea.