Today at work, for the hundredth time since I've been there, somebody complained about how they have to log in over and over again to various internal services, and asked if there was any known solution. And for the hundredth time since I've worked there, people suggested various workarounds, including Greasemonkey scripts, bookmarklets, and third-party software.
For the hundredth time, people pondered why authentication (especially web authentication) sucks so bad, and wondered why biometrics hadn't taken off yet. The people who worked on the software in question heard their cue, and like clockwork, chimed in to defend why it really was necessary and useful to type your passwords twelve times at the beginning of each day.
The bit flipped, the algorithm advanced, and self-appointed security nazis popped out of the woodwork to yell at people for wanting to save their passwords and shave a few seconds off their morning routine.
The thing is, real security experts never chime in on mailing lists telling people what to do. Real security experts know that talking to people one-by-one is pointless: next month there will be a new n00b asking the exact same question, doing the exact same retarded thing.
Instead, real security experts -- people who want to achieve change in general -- work silently behind the scenes to change the system so that the players are automatically guided down better paths.
I see this pattern all over the place, not just in software, and it drives me crazy. Think of all the effort expended trying to save the planet by changing peoples' behavior one-by-one. If the planet needs saving, we are screwed because running commercials encouraging people to turn their thermostats down isn't going to make any difference at all. If the planet needs saving, we're going to need a concerted effort to find a systematic solution to a systemic problem, not people keying each others' SUVs and touchy-feely TV commercials.
Working on mass market software has taught me that you can't educate everyone. Even if you could reach them all, people are mostly lazy, dumb, and preoccupied. If you really want to make a change in this world, you need to change the system, not the people.