Caitlin takes matters into her own hands and Heidi's friend finally gets a name.. Welcome to the commentary for "Clock's Ticking". Please read the chapter first before continuing.
Heidi's friend, first introduced in Chapter 2, got named. There wasn't an easy way to slip the name in; I was pushing it with Heidi. But, now Caitlin needs to call her something, though "Heidi's Friend" is still on her list. Tanya might regret getting involved at this point, but that's now on her.
Caitlin takes charge of the investigation. She can't help it, really. It's her nature and the reason she's at the Academy. After all, leading at least two revolutions before high school - one against her previous school, one against Academy juniors - can't be done by just anyone. Takes a certain mindset. Heidi might have fallen in right away if the red-haired girl hadn't mentioned lock picking.
Simcoe's computer lab may or may not reflect current standards in high schools in Ontario. I never researched this. However, libraries do use similar. Computers there provided a virtual drive only, so anything that needs to be saved has to be on a USB memory stick. I'm also assuming that schools were forced to upgrade their equipment with Microsoft ending support of Windows XP. Many corporate and government sites had to go through a very last minute upgrade, hardware and software, as a result, though Microsoft gave plenty of warning. In most cases, new computer equipment was needed; the costs of upgrading was far more than anyone wanted to pay, leading to a larger cost as everything is replaced at once instead an incremental roll out. Schools aren't in the best position to take this sort of budget hit, being underfunded. Tanya's miracle, indeed.
Passwords. Everywhere wants a password today. Job sites, social media, newspaper webpages, and places that you never expect, on top of work or school logins. How does one track it all? There are password keepers, but those need a password, too. Common ones include swordfish, 123456, password, and qwerty. The result? A staggering number of accounts are just waiting to be misused*. What does help, though, is a limit on the number of tries at any one time. Most corporate and government sites allow three times before locking the account. Sites like Gmail, though, can't lock the account in the same way, but will provide a means to reset a password through a link sent to a registered contact, such as email or phone. Autumn can't use brute force, not that she would, to hack an account. Tanya did get lucky, but Autumn didn't have anything to lose.
The riot Tanya references at the Academy was Caitlin's Jennifer uprising. The Academy does have some problems with public relations. The Unrulies are a convenient scapegoat, and they do relish the part. If they're going to get blamed anyway, might as well do the crime. It was one of the core concepts I kept in mind when writing; the Unrulies would normally be someone else's antagonists. In any other story, the Academy would be the villain. The girls enjoy being in the role, at least most of the time. I never had a chance to do some pre-NaNo work as I wanted, similar to the background work I did for By the Numbers to get in to the characters' heads. Keeping in mind that the Unrulies would normally be someone else's villains helped keep the plots going.
Tomorrow, the new Unruly episode, Chapter 4, "Cheesecake and English".
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, Evil Dead.
Saturday, over at MuseHack, Fixing Dungeons & Dragons.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of /Lost in Translation/.
* A recent xkcd strip added a new wrinkle, though. Pass phrases are harder to guess, easier to remember, and can include a mnemonic by site so that different passwords can be used without losing track.