Security – A New Year – Time for New Passwords!

Happy New Year to you all!
Do you have a List of Resolutions?
Thought about adding ‘New Passwords’ to that list?

The Quippery

In 2011, The Car Guy’s Yahoo Mail account sent out invitations to most of his contacts to use Viagra. After hours of looking for a breach, I realized that the account had been hacked through Yahoo itself. We secured the account with a new password, but the whole episode was a good reminder of why it is a good idea to change passwords frequently, and have different passwords for different accounts.

Strong passwords are also highly recommended. Some sites require specific combinations, though not quite as rigorous as this password protocol that I made up:

The Car Guy and I developed and memorized a few mnemonic phrases. They form the first part of our passwords. The second part of each password varies from site to site. We’ve memorized most of them, but keep them all in a database (without the mnemonic part) for those days when we can’t find our car keys, let alone remember a password…

Do you have a Password ‘System’?

My First Look at Windows 8.1

This is the last post on my old computer… probably. The average operational lifespan of a laptop is apparently about  5 years.  The useful lifespan can be as little as 2 years, thanks to an industry that is based on the concept of planned obsolescence.

My laptop just passed that magic 5 year mark and it has become quite crotchety. It often gets up in the morning and can’t find it’s mouse. I have to turn the computer off, unplug it, plug it back in and reboot it. Then it finds the mouse, but it might refuse to talk to the memory stick it was good friends with just the day before.

Last week my laptop decided to issue a gag order on the Internet Security software. I eventually had to let a tech support guy named Raj in India sort the whole thing out. That wasn’t exactly a quick fix, either. I watched Raj work for over an hour, and while I understood everything he did, I sure wouldn’t have had the courage to muck around the registry the way he did!

The writing was on the wall, however, so I started to look for my next laptop. What I thought I wanted, and what is available, are two different things. What is in the store to try, and what is for sale online are two different things too.

In a complete departure from my normal shopping routine, I bought a new computer at the second story I walked into. Then I spent the next two days second guessing my purchase – mostly because I second guess every purchase I make. The Car Guy just shakes his head at my dithering – “It’s not like you have to live with this decision for the rest of your life, you know…”

I have been trying to bond with my new computer. The learning curve has been monumental because the operating system is Microsoft Windows 8.1. I’m only fluent in Windows 7. My experience so far has been sort of like going to the dentist, shopping for a bathing suit, starting a diet and finding a dent in my car – all on the same day.

My Desktop
An early version of my Windows 7 desktop – the sticky notes haven’t taken over the screen yet…

Windows 8.1, I’m sorry to report, has a split personality. The dominant persona is a bossy ‘App’ based creature that wants to tether me to the outside world in order to force feed me content on a page full of  colorful tiles. I’m not all that interested in most of these tiles and apps, however. I want my Windows 7 messy desktop with the links to my programs and my digital yellow sticky notes and my calendar gadget…

Wait! I just found a Windows 8.1 tweaking website that tells me how to get back to a Windows 7 feel. Today is going to be a good day to try out all sorts of things…

Are you a Windows or an Apple person? What version of OS are you using? What does your desktop look like?

iPad Draw Something! How to Make S’Mores – Traditional and Super Simple

TRADITIONAL S’MORES

Ingredients: graham wafers marshmallows chocolate bar or Nutella

Technique: First, the ideal marshmallow cooking stick must be found, and then whittled to the exact right point. The stick has to be brandished like a sword by a child (or someone who is child like) for a few minutes, until some mom says, “Put that stick down before you poke someones eye out!”

In the meantime, someone has to build a fire. Probably a number of someones – the paper bringers, the match finders, the log splitters, the kindling scroungers. Then there is a discussion of how best to stack the paper, wood and kindling. Once the fire is off and running, the ritual of telling stories, adding more wood, and poking the fire with a big stick, has to take place. When mom says, “Put that big stick down before you burn up the forest!” it is time to get out the marshmallows, and find the very pointy sticks again.

Once a marshmallow is skewered, they are slowly browned until they are golden on the ouside, and drippy goo on the inside. Alternately, the marshmallow can be burned to a crisp in just a few seconds. In addition to the Marshmallow Cookers, there is the Keeper of the Graham Wafers and Chocolate. This person will line up the graham wafer squares on a suitable surface. Alternate wafers will have a square of chocolate or a smear of Nutella put on it.

The Marshmallow Cooker presents the cooked marshmallow to the Keeper of the Graham Wafers, who will try to sandwich the marshmallow between two wafers without burning their fingers. (This ‘recipe’ for Traditional S’Mores is dedicated to the 305 families of Hidden Valley, Alberta who lost their community (and all their campfire rings) in the Floods of 2013.)

SUPER SIMPLE S’MORES

There are other simpler ways to make S’mores, of course. If you have a gas stove and a long handled fork, you are half way there! You can cook wieners that way too, though your mom may not like you doing that any more than my mom did when I was a kid.

No gas stove? Well, there is always the Microwave Oven. Put the chocolate on one of the graham wafers and the marshmallow on the other. Pop it in the Microwave Oven for only a few seconds, then check to see if the marshmallow has started to melt. If not, microwave a few seconds more and continue until the marshmallow has expanded to about the size of the graham wafer.

Watch the chocolate too. You don’t want it to melt and run all over the place. Remove and make your chocolate marshmallow sandwich. Let it cool before eating. Each S’more will have about zmfxn calories and nbxz fat, sodium and sugar – but they are worth it.

Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.
-Erma Bombeck –

What are your S’More memories?

iPad Draw Something! There Be Pirates

The average man will bristle if you say his father was dishonest, but he will brag a little if he discovers that his great-grandfather was a pirate.
– Bern Williams –

I’ve been drawing again. The Draw Something app on my iPad is letting me express my creative talents. Okay, I realize I am rather talentless, but I’m having a good time drawing.

Can you guess what I was drawing? The category was ‘There Be Pirates’. Does that help? The word was 5 letters long.

There are many very talented cartoonists on the internet – here are a few that I have discovered:

Aren’t these people good? They can draw clothes!

Since my last post about Drawing (A Drawing Game) I’ve earned enough ‘coins’ to buy colours – including green, which the Draw Something app doesn’t include when you first start playing.

Now I can draw grass. A green squiggly line is grass. A similar squiggly line, only in blue, is water. You can see from my drawing above that I’ve drawn water – and not just plain water, but waves. Can you see the shark in the water? I hope not because I didn’t draw one. I think it would be very hard to draw a stick shark…

Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.
John W. Gardner –

iPad Draw Something! for the iPad

Third Daughter and The Car Guy have been playing Draw Something on their iPads. They invited me to join, so I downloaded the App a few days ago. The premise is simple enough. Player 1 chooses one of 3 supplied words –  which they then illustrate. They send the resulting drawing to Player 2 who tries to guess what the word is. Player 2 is told how many letters are in the word, and they are given a selection of letters to choose from.

It is an odd game for us to play. None of us seem to have the artistic gene. Then, there is the issue I have with the colour palette. They only give you four colours: black, red, blue and yellow.  They don’t give you green. How can anyone draw without green?

Correct answers earn you some points and once you have enough points, I think you can trade them for more colours. Or maybe not. I’m not too clear about that part. But it doesn’t matter, because when three people who can’t draw very well play a game like this, it will be an awfully long time before we earn very many points.

Here is one of my very best drawings. Can you guess what word I was illustrating? It is 8 letters long and it has a ‘k’ in it.