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Oh! the joyous exclamations of a virtual memory

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aj+ column

Reader Tony Bryer emailed me with a solution to the password problem outlined in this column two weeks ago (AJ 20.3.02). It's Darn! Passwords! at www. odarn. com/whatispw. shtml

He writes: 'I wish I'd discovered it before I forgot the password to my Australian bank account.Three bad guesses and I was locked out.They will only issue me with a new one if I go into the branch with proof of identity. Unfortunately, it's in Melbourne.'

Long inured to the likely veracity of sites such as trustme. shop and the reliability of those homely sites with self-evidently dodgy names like goodnessgraciousme! ! . com, I took a look at the Odarn. com site. Who uses that word 'darn'any more? And those exclamation marks! And then the suspiciously long list of awards and friendly reviews. But this was the turning point. They mostly checked out.

And then Bryer confirmed that he meets with the author Dan Veaner at US shareware developer conferences.

So what does Darn! Passwords! do?

Well, it remembers your passwords. You only have to remember one password, which then opens the 'safe'containing all the others. You drag or paste the password into the log-in box whose details you have long forgotten and hey presto. I haven't used it myself yet, but, as it's only 10 quid or so, I shall follow Bryer's excellent example.

But hold it. What about Bryer himself?

Checking out his return address produced the fact he had modestly failed to mention - he runs Survey Design Associates, which develops SuperBeam, ProSteel and SuperHeat (download it at www. sda. co. uk). If you haven't heard of these applications you are clearly not most of the building control offices in the country.

SuperBeam does what we used to do with slide rules and a loose grasp of integral calculus before we gave up and rang the engineer.SuperHeat does those all-important Part L calculations.

Only a lot faster than on a slide rule.

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