Archive for the ‘ technology ’ Category

Passwords to the wise – password creation made easy.

Passwords are a pain! Most people either use the same one over and over again or tie themselves in knots attempting to come up with convoluted codes which will be never be guessed in a million years.  Some passwords are obvious and I wonder just how much I could access with the password “trustno1?”

Here’s a quick guide to painless password creation.

Step 1. Choose a four-letter word or four-character phrase

Use a four-letter word like care, look, tree, bull, pine, rest, blob, east, bike – OR – use a four-character phrase that’s easy to type with one hand such as qwea, wers, ertd, rtyf, tyug and so on.

Step 2. Choose a single-digit number

You have the choices of 0 through 9. Pick one.

Step 3. Use the first three characters of the web site’s domain (URL) the password belongs to

This is best shown by example:

Yahoo Mail: yah
Hotmail: hot
Facebook: fac
Twitter: twi
Gmail: gma

Step 4. Choose the pattern of the password

The patterns you have to choose from are any that DO NOT start with the digit, because there are several web sites that do not permit that. That being the case, you have four patterns to choose from:

1. Word+Digit+URL
2. Word+URL+Digit
3. URL+Digit+Word
4. URL+Word+Digit

Let’s say the four-letter word you chose was tree, the digit 8, and the pattern you chose was Word+Digit+URL. Here’s how the password would look:

Hotmail: tree8hot
Yahoo Mail: tree8yah
Facebook: tree8fac
Gmail: tree8gma

Benefits of generating passwords with the Word + Digit + URL method

Easy to remember for you, difficult for others to guess

You’ve been told over and over again that you should always pick passwords you can remember easily but others could not guess – but were never told how to do this. W+D+U passwords are exactly the way to do it.

No need for a password manager

Many people do not want to be bothered with a password manager because they consider it too much of a hassle. For those that hop between OSes this is especially true because many password managers only work on one OS and nothing else.

Has “good enough” security for most people

You’ve also been told over and over again never to use the same password for multiple web sites. The 3 characters from the URL keeps passwords unique and satisfies this requirement.

Drawbacks of the W+D+U method

Some sites will have the same password

Example: Meebo and Meetup. Both start with mee, so the password would be the same for both sites. You can get around this by counting the number of characters in the domain name and adding an extra digit. Meebo is 5 characters, Meetup is 6. If the password is tree8mee, Meebo’s would be tree8mee5 and Meetup tree8mee6. If both sites have the same amount of characters in the domain name however, you’re out of luck.

Same-service accounts will have the same password

This is the biggest drawback of the W+D+U method of password generation, and the only way around it is to add an extra digit based on priority.  Example: You have two Hotmail accounts. Both accounts have tree8hot as the password. Whatever account you use the most should be changed to tree8hot1, the second tree8hot2, and so on.

If someone guesses your 5-character passphrase and recognizes the pattern, the password is useless

The likelihood of this occurring is slim, but it’s a possibility. If your 5-character passphrase is tree8 and someone realizes that you use that passphrase plus the first three characters of a domain name for all your passwords, you’re basically screwed – but only if you use the same username everywhere.

W+D+U is weak, but better than 12345678

I’m not saying using W+D+U for passwords is strong or secure, but “good enough” as said above. These passwords are easy to remember, difficult for others to guess, you don’t need a password manager and the best part is that they work everywhere.


A quick round up

A screenshot of Xournal 0.4.5 running on Linux...

Image via Wikipedia

Some articles that have caught my eye in the last couple of weeks and look promising. Check them out.

Getting better all the time? Tweetmag for the iPod.

Xournal Note taking application for Linux OS. Xournal is a note-taking Linux application.You get a blank piece of “paper” every time you open it up and if that sounds a bit flat it does come with a host of note taking notes. If anyone out there is downloading or using Ubuntu 11.04 right now could be worth a few moments to check out.

On a similar note check out  WriteBoard: A Free Note-Taking Web App That Supports Collaboration and Exporting

Springpad opens up its note-taking platform

A modern Email sig. PCMech

The link goes to a profile site where you can have a blog and Facebook community page listed. The profile page is purposely simple, but has the option of adding in a ‘bio’ in a text box, and the ability to add in as many links as wanted.  I have since found out that using this seems to need the person who wants to view the sig to register which seems to miss the point to me. It may be a glitch somewhere but otherwise looking out for my article on how to do this using Dropbox for free and no registration for your viewers.
USB3 is a technology that was hyped up quite a bit in 2010, and it was said many times in many different places that wide availability of USB3 would be

Slipstreaming is the process of integrating a Service Pack to a Windows ISO. The tool that will be used to do this is called RT Se7en Lite.

Some of you out there may have read stories like this one and may be confused at the fact as to why Google of all companies uses tape as one of its backup

New IP Wikiprox is a fast web proxy for keeping yourself anonymous and for bypassing network restrictions!   Comment anywhere and enjoy the best of the web, as voted by the Pushnote community.

‎ free disposable email address service, unlimited free disposable email addresses

Webmail: Battle Of The Awesome Features. PC mech looks at some champions and young contenders in the world of webmail.
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Back from the dead

Screenshot of Ubuntu 8.04.

Image via Wikipedia

Spent much of the weekend and a fair bit of Monday, a couple of weeks ago trying to persuade a laptop to work…

A practically venerable Evo laptop suddenly decided that it didn’t like Youtube and refused to play anything declaring each time that the flash player had crashed and I need to refresh the browser, a phrase in IT terms akin to “turn it off and turn it on again and see if that help?” I didn’t!

To be fair it’s a very old machine, AMD Athlon XP 2000+ 512 RAM shared with graphic and 40gb storage. Pretty ancient – the theme set should probably be velociraptors!

Youtube is not a site I spend a lot of time at; watching teenagers attempting to castrate themselves on a skateboard or dancing Meercats not really having much appeal, but at the time I had been clutching my notepad and rewinding frequently in an attempt to understand another aspect of this IT Kabala they call Joomla 1.6 so the timing was not good.

I started to investigate. After a bit of experimenting I found that non-Youtube sites were fine. All very puzzling! Reinstalling flash did nothing and trying various Firefox plugins and handlers just seemed to make the problem worse.

I decided to reinstall….nope. Ubuntu 10.4 would not even let me have a decent Gnome desktop! Probably a badly burnt disk, but I didn’t have the time to burn another one and suspected that it was actually more of a hardware issue with the latest version of even Ubuntu demanding more than an old machine could handle. This needed a rethink.

Tucked away in my collection of distros was my Ubuntu 8.04 LTS custom CD. A partial roll-your-own of Ubuntu 8.04 with lots of added goodies that I had put together using Remastersys. I had some doubts fearing RAM or power supplies issues which would have been way too expensive to deal with in a machine of this age. However I crossed my fingers (realised that this would make inserting the CD difficult) uncrossed them and tried. Synaptic had demanded 840 odd updates which came as no great surprise but in the end I had a working laptop which was more than 8 years old and had seen heavy use. Youtube worked fine, DVD played and MP3 did their thing from the admittedly tinny speakers.

I never did find out what the problem was? My guess is an update for Linux Mint the previous distro had conflicted with my hardware, some modern driver that definitely didn’t want to play nice with my ancient rig. But its comforting to know that Linux gives you options and if all else had failed I am sure one of the lightweight distros like Puppy, DSL or Feather would have loaded.

Aw well now back to what I was doing when this problem started on Saturday….ho hum!

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What a tangled web we weave….?

Toshiba Rupo, Japanese word processor

Image via Wikipedia

There are many sites out there with sage and expert advice for the would be website builder. This article focuses more on the things you should not do when building your new site and although I have to confess to having a my tongue firmly in my cheek all the advice is based on real life. Only the names have been changed to protect the, innocent…ahem…

1. Don’t try to build your site using Word/Publisher/Open Office/Powerpoint! Assuming this is your first try at site building the temptation may be to see that Word outputs to HTML or that Publisher offers a “web publication” or Open Office can do HTML. The fact of the matter is that what you need is a HTML editor, try Kompozer if you are looking for something free and useful.

2. Your camera may be able to handle 10 mega pixel images but you website won’t! If the plan is to add images they need to be optimised for the web. Smaller images will download faster than large one and really large images, 2 megs or more will resolve across the screen with agonising slowness while your visitors curse you to the deepest pits of hell or more likely go elsewhere.

3. Not everyone has MS Word. Despite Microsoft’s attempted dominance of the world word processing market, there are a few heretics out there, like me, that prefer to use a non-MS word processor. But any word processor document is not really a good idea. For one thing do you really want people downloading your stuff which can then be edited – think about it! And for another for some time now when it comes to download docs Adobe’s PDF format has been king. Little hint here. Open Office and Libre Office but output your document to a PDF at literally a click of a button and they cost my favourite price – free!

4. The missing link. Its easy to set up a simple page or couple of pages and have yourself up and running with your site. But if that site grows you’ll soon find you have problems. If each page contains a link to each and every other page, the moment you change one page you need to change the others. In simple HTML, there is no way other than to edit each and every single page. Time consuming and dull. If you need anything more than a couple of pages of easily formatted HTML then it’s time to think again – see below…

5. And finally, why bother? Ten years ago, if you wanted to get on the net then a website was pretty much your only option, but nowadays there are so many other ways to get yourself “webbed up” that frankly a webpage built by you from HTML is probably the last thing you want to do. Consider some of these as alternatives

  1. Google sites: easy to use web site creation which integrate seamlessly with other elements of your Google account. Simple to use and the finished results are usually quite professional.
  2. Jalbum: Online photo web site. Sign up, upload your pictures, choose a theme and away you go. The storage allowance is generous but you may find yourself changing your collection unless you opt for the paid account.
  3. Blogger: want to ensure your word of wisdom find their way into the electronic world? Sign up for a Blogger account. As with Jabum, choose a theme and away you go. Blogger comes with lots of interesting addons and entry creation is just a matter of typing in the box.
  4. WordPress:  Similar to Blogger but more favoured by the professional, WP themes can be tweaked at HTML and CSS levels and some theme will effectively offer you a pre-formatted website. Like all the others, the basic account is free.
  5. Facebook: Combining some of the more useful elements of photo storage and blogging. You can be on the web in seconds with a FB account. Chances are many of your family will be as well (if that is why you want a web presence) If you are out to sell than Facebook will be only one weapon in your arsenal and hopefully you will be treating this article with some amazement. So there you have it 4 things to avoid and 5 ways to get yourself on the web. Enjoy!
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