Posted by: bkivey | 3 September 2010

PIN Codes for Geeks and Nerds

Everyone has to use a PIN code for something; the four-digit number that identifies you to some computer somewhere. Some people need a PIN code to access their PIN code database. Depending on where you work and who you do business with, you may need to change some of your codes on a regular basis. Sure, there are only 10,000 possible combinations, so in a user-base of above a certain size it is a certainty that someone will have the same PIN as you. Still, why not have a little fun and ‘personalize’ this impersonal identifier?

Confining ourselves to the numbers 1001 – 9999 and leaving aside the obvious choices like 1138 and 1701 for your techno calamus nomen, consider these choices the next time you need a new PIN.


The smallest number with 10 prime factors. Also 1 kilobyte of  computer memory. Yes, there was a time in living memory when computer memory was measured in kilobytes.


The computer error code that displayed in Eagle during the descent to the lunar surface.


Represented by all seven Roman numerals in descending order: MDCLXVI.


1 mile = 1760 yards = 320 rods = 8 furlongs


2592 = 25 * 92, the only pattern of its kind.


4096 =  1 trillion in binary = 10,000 in octal = 1000 in hexadecimal.


In the Laws, Plato considered this to be the proper number of men in the ideal city because it is evenly divisible by any whole number from 1 to 10. Also 7!.


The sum of the factorials of the first seven natural numbers.


8208 = 84 + 24 + 04 + 84.


When multiplied by 87531 forms the largest product of two numbers using the digits 1 to 9 once.

Tip o’ the hat to The Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Numbers for some of these examples.

College Football Kickoff

The college football season kicks off tomorrow and I’ll be following my Oregon State Beavers. They start off at TCU in Arlington, TX, and then visit Boise State in Boise, ID, two weeks later, which is no big favor. In between they’ll play Louisville at home.

The Beavers went 8 – 5 last year, and they’re projected to finish the same this year. Beaver Nation hopes that we don’t see the usual start slow-finish strong pattern that has been a OSU hallmark. Please God can we get some wins early. It’s a good thing that OSU has a strong Construction Management program because they usually spend the latter half of the season digging themselves out of a hole.

For some reason a mid-season game against Cal has been designated the Homecoming game. I thought that Homecoming traditionally was the last home game of the season. The last two home games are against Washington State and USC, so maybe the OSU athletic department thinks they can win against Cal, although unless Wazzu has improved tremendously, that should be a W. We do get the Civil War at home this year.



  1. Are you from Oregon? I hope they haev a good season. I’m wondering if now that I live a mile from Berkeley if I’ll become a Cal fan. At any rate I’ll pay attention to the Cal/Oregon St if nothing else than to have blogging bragging rights. (say that three times fast!)

    • Keith,

      Thanks for reading. I’m not from Oregon in the sense that I was born and raised, but I have lived in the state for a good while and Oregon State got a good chunk of my money. After watching Oregon State – TCU I’d say that all the Beavers need to have a good season is a QB that makes better decisions (granted, he is a rookie), and a defense. The O-line looked OK for the first game and the brothers Rogers weren’t as effective as I would have liked, but every team the Beavers play will be keying on them.

      After watching Boise State – Virginia Tech Monday I am not looking forward to Sept. 25. Boise State is tough on the road (as they proved) but damn near unbeatable at home. The Beavers are still being touted as a quality opponent for the Broncos, so I guess that’s something. Now Coach Riley has two weeks to fix the problems uncovered last Saturday before the home opener against Loiusville.

      And if the Beavers lose to Cal, I’ll just cry.


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