The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020


I neglected to mention I received the security hardware token from the Corporate Overlords. It's the size of a USB thumb drive but it's not USB. It's just a simple device with an LCD screen and a green button. You press the green button and a number shows up on the screen and that's your “password” for the moment.

Pretty simple and I've used it once so far to log in.

But when I went to submit my timecard for today, I had to reauthenticate. No big deal, just hit the button—“12h522h“.

Odd, I thought, I thought this was numeric only. Perhaps a few segments are burned out? So I type “1265226” and no go. I try again with the same value and again, no go. By the time I want to type it in a third time, the token went blank. I hit the button and get … a backwards “J”? “6” maybe? What is going on?

A few moments later I get a sequence of numbers with a backwards “J“ and an “h”.

It takes me a few more minutes to realize I'm holding the security token upsidedown.


There are three graphic symbols on the token along one edge. With the token oriented one way, the three graphic symbols spell out a word. Flip the token upsidedown and the three graphic symbols spell out a different word. And what's amazing is that one of the symbols reads as a “E” one way, and as a “D” in another.

Yeah, the symbols are that abstracted.

Boy do I feel stupid!

I thought it stood for “Girl In File” so of course it's pronounced …

The three letters “G,” “I” and “F.” Together, they represent an image format, but there is some controversy over how it's pronounced.

Tom Scott presents the arguments for the two ways GIF is pronounced, but I like Mike Rugnetta's take which is a completely different pronounciation based on “ghoti” (the alternate spelling for “fish”).

Obligatory Picture

[“I am NOT a number, I am … a Q-CODE!”]

Obligatory Contact Info

Obligatory Feeds

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go ahead, I won't bite. I promise.

The dates are the permanent links to that day's entries (or entry, if there is only one entry). The titles are the permanent links to that entry only. The format for the links are simple: Start with the base link for this site:, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

You can also specify the entire month by leaving off the day portion. You can even select an arbitrary portion of time.

You may also note subtle shading of the links and that's intentional: the “closer” the link is (relative to the page) the “brighter” it appears. It's an experiment in using color shading to denote the distance a link is from here. If you don't notice it, don't worry; it's not all that important.

It is assumed that every brand name, slogan, corporate name, symbol, design element, et cetera mentioned in these pages is a protected and/or trademarked entity, the sole property of its owner(s), and acknowledgement of this status is implied.

Copyright © 1999-2024 by Sean Conner. All Rights Reserved.