system change

User Alert! Avoid Password Problems: READ THIS!

We've chosen to make the final change for full multi-case account password support separate from actual CMS changes because it involves the strangeness of human perceptions. What? What kind of opening sentence is this? Here's the deal:

On October 31, we put the new 'Cloud" CMS server cluster online. It supports full upper- and lower-case account passwords. The old CMS servers did not.
Ok. For now this works with present gateway and client programs that were designed for compatibility with the old system. User passwords in accounts created before the change are stored using UPPERCASE alpha characters. Client and gateway programs (including the web site) automatically change a user's password entries to UPPERCASE characters then submit them to the CMS, which matches what's held in the CMS account. No problem.

Now we want to change clients and gateway programs to take full advantage of the multi-case password capability in the new CMS. Your passwords are pretty weak without it, and this is today's best practice. We could simply remove the automatic UP-casing that programs perform and all will be well, right? Not so fast.

The problem is that we get used to doing things one way and resist change. We need to recalibrate user's minds with what their passwords really are, so they use the tools we provide correctly. Example:

You created your account and entered password: "abc1234**$". It was changed automatically, then saved at the CMS as "ABC1234**$". You may or may not have understood that all passwords were in UPPERCASE. After that you got used to entering "abc1234**$", and even if you understood your password was correctly in uppercase, you soon forgot, and always entered "abc1234**$". It worked.

Now we remove automatic up-casing, and it throws an error: PASSWORD INCORRECT. Confusion. Rage. We're all human. Those who know what's going on will adapt and change. Most won't, at least not before tying up our meager support resources!

So, on January 31, 2018 we will be simultaneously releasing new client and gateway programs that fully support mixed-case account passwords. They will no longer automatically up-case your entry. You must know what your password really is. We've asked our third-party developers to do the same with their programs. Most will detect a password error and offer a helpful explanation of the change. Most will ask you to CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD, to help recalibrate your mind to what your password really is.

You'll be able to change your password--with full mixed-case support--at the log-in page [My account] https://winlink.org after January 30, 2018. The web site login form itself will also be changed on January 31st, so you'll need to enter your password WITH ALL CAPS if you get a password failure!

Meanwhile, if you continue to use an older version of a client program after January 31st, all should be well as long as you do not change your password! If you do, be sure to update your software, too!

This article is all the help we can offer if you get mixed up. We hope you understand.

--The Winlink Development Team

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