Archive for the ‘ wanderjahre ’ 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.

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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Making sense of computing

Welcome to my website here you’ll find help and advice on a variety of computer and IT related problems. You’ll also find news and views about what new and exciting in the ever changing world of Information Technology. Enjoy!

Wanderjahre provides information and support for those day to day problems that people experience using their computers, not only the my-desktop-pc-won’t-start variety but also the How do I do…?

Technology is there to make our lives easier, yet most of the time, the opposite is true. Virus checks and firewalls are a necessary part of computing life, but I can make sure this is less of a chore and more of a pleasure with upgrades, system checks and all the minutiae of the dedicated IT geek.

I don’t charge an arm and a leg and I’ll quote you for all the work before we start. In some cases I may be able to suggest a DIY solution at no cost to you.  Just click on the contacts page for more details