Monthly Archives: September 2007

Forced password change

Today I emailed a number of our users, asking them to change their passwords. To be exact, I emailed 7462 users, which in itself is a bit of a logistical exercise, when you want each mail to be personalized.

Of them, we got some 250 or so bounces – that I saw, anyway, I was smart and redirected them to a colleague. This was quite expected, and will help us improve the data quality.

We also received, during the time that I was there, 75 or so mails from people who were confused, or had problems logging in. This over the course of about 2 hours. This was also expected, although some of the responses were a bit more over the top than I’d expected. People seem to not want to change their passwords.

I had the pleasure of handling some of the support requests, and I think I can happily say that they are mostly an issue of noone having used this system before. People didn’t know what their user name was (even though it was stated in the email), not did they know what password was to be changed. Still, apart from the 75 or so support requests I saw, more than 400 people have managed to change their passwords. All in all, I am quite satisfied at this first try – we knew it was going to be a hassle, and it’s proven us right. 😉 It will hopefully improve a lot when we send out the 2nd and 3rd rounds in a few weeks time, and be much, much better when we do it all over in February.

Fog lamps

I know my vision isn’t the best. I wear my glasses, I moderate my speed if I have trouble seeing in night. I drive with my lights on at all time – daytime running lights are required by law in Denmark.

But I really don’t think I’m blind enough to ignore fog. It’s usually quite obvious when it’s foggy – or there’s heavy rain, dust or snow. If it’s serious, the right reaction is to turn on your fog lamps. Of course, turn them off again in city traffic, since they tend to produce a lot of glare.

Seriously. Turn them off. If there isn’t any fog, heavy rain, dust or snow – turn them off! I don’t care if they look good on your car, they’re bloody annoying, and anyone running them at night without need are bloody idiots.

Thank you.

Tax debate

There is a tax debate going on in Denmark at the moment. I say tax debate, it’s actually more that a number of political groups are making statements to the effect that they have the best tax plan. The groups are cut into two big camps:

  • Those who believe the tax should be lowered, especially in the top end, to give a bigger incentive for people to work more.
  • Those who believe the money is better spent on welfare, hiring more people to work with elders, children and so on.

I know enough about taxes and public administration to know that in theory, both of these things work. However, in practice – I find that there’s a few problems.

Sure, lowering taxes, especially for those who’ve hit the high marginal tax rate, is an effective means of incentive. But when a very large part of the society isn’t ready to accept people working more than the standard working week of 37(½) hours, it isn’t really going to do much. In particular, public employees are hired on very inflexible terms, even though this is among the areas where more people would make a difference.

The other suggestion, spending more money on welfare, is really a good idea too. Hiring more people, sure – but where are you going to get them? Denmark is the country in the EU-15 with the lowest unemployment – and I guess the same is true of the entire EU. Sure, they’ll find some way to spend the money – but it isn’t going to provide more employees. Again, flexibility is needed – if people were actually allowed to work more, it might be possible.

My suggestion is a compromise – and a focus on flexibility. Let’s cut the tax somewhat, provide some more money for paying public employees – and most importantly, find a way to open up for working more than the standard working week if you so desire. Why not?