Weeds: Cell phone PINs

Are cell phone manufacturers acting in the best interests of their users? Well, everyone knows that shareholders come first, but even when the focus is on user experience, I’m not sure the engineers and designers are listening.

Today, my “Hawaii” telephone decided it wanted to update itself. It waited until I accidentally gave it permission, which is probably better than the situation with some other phones.

Hawaii
“Hawaii” cell phone, showing off its biometric fingerprint scanner (photo: Huawei)

When the phone restarted it asked for my PIN. A PIN for the SIM card was entered, 9898, but this was not what it wanted. It wanted a PIN for the machine. 8979 was then entered, and it worked. But that was not enough. It requested the PIN number again. 8979 was entered, but this time it wanted a PIN for the SIM card, or 9898. The problem for me was that the message was identical, enter PIN number.

Admittedly, age is playing its role here. There may have been subtle differences in the wording of the requests that I may not have interpreted correctly. What I find particularly disturbing is that the phone has biometric data about me from its fingerprint scanner, so that there should be no doubt as to my identity. Rather than using this, it insists on two separate four digit numbers.