Archive for August, 2011

Password Strength – you’re doing it wrong

Friday, August 26th, 2011

A confluence has occurred – time to write a post!

password strength explained

Wow.  That’s very observant, and kind of funny (to me anyway).

So, my corporate password was expiring shortly after I read this, so I decided to change my pattern, chose three motivating words, and set the new password.  Then I went to a meeting.  Then I went to another meeting.  That meeting slid right into our Friday afternoon bash, with pizza and beer (though I’m sure that is an irrelevant detail).

After that, I went back to work and for the life of me could not remember the first word.  A co-worker brilliantly pointed out that I can VPN in to the network using my RSA key, and can thereby access the password-reset application without providing a password.  It’s late on a Friday, so I put my laptop in standby and go home.

At home, I do the VPN trick from another computer and reset my password.  Then, I see the flaw in my plan.  The laptop is locked with the old password with a missing first word.  To unlock it with the new password, it must be connected to the office network.  I can connect using VPN, but must unlock it first…

So, I ended up working a couple of days from a krufty old back up laptop using the Outlook Web Interface to mail and without any support tools.

The workaround (for next time) is to install a  local administrator account while I have access, then use that account to establish VPN.  Our Very Smart IT Guy says that when I then switch users, it will use the active network session to check for access and change the cached password.  Note: I don’t actually anticipate there will be a next time.

This came up today:

You're doing it wrong

I like it.

Cover the Moon in Yogurt

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

I stumbled upon these two gems in close succession. Regardless of how you feel about the competing budget “plans,” the debate is absurd.
Paul Ryan puts it beautifully in this clip:

“Let’s pass a bill to cover the moon with yogurt that will cost $5 trillion today. And then let’s pass a bill the next day to cancel that bill. We could save $5 trillion.”

He [Ron Paul] puts it more seriously in this post:
When a cut is not a cut

One might think that the recent drama over the debt ceiling involves one side wanting to increase or maintain spending with the other side wanting to drastically cut spending, but that is far from the truth. In spite of the rhetoric being thrown around, the real debate is over how much government spending will increase.

In reality, bringing our fiscal house into order is not that complicated or excruciatingly painful at all. If we simply kept spending at current levels, by their definition of “cuts” that would save nearly $400 billion in the next few years, versus the $25 billion the Budget Control Act claims to “cut”. It would only take us 5 years to “cut” $1 trillion, in Washington math, just by holding the line on spending. That is hardly austere or catastrophic.

In Washington terms, a simple freeze in spending would be a much bigger “cut” than any plan being discussed. If politicians simply cannot bear to implement actual cuts to actual spending, just freezing the budget would give the economy the best chance to catch its breath, recover and grow.

How Cowboys & Aliens got Smurfed – just OUCH

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Ouch.  That hurts.

Cowboys & Aliens, Smurfs Tie at Box Office with $36M Each – TIME
For many, the surprise this weekend was not that The Smurfs did so well but that Cowboys & Aliens had such a wan debut. With a budget of $163 million, plus another bundle for marketing costs, the film mostly attracted the geezer demographic (63% of the weekend audience was over 30), and even with that, it managed only a mediocre B CinemaScore, which bodes ill for the movie’s shelf life. Universal publicist Paul Pflug wrote in an e-mail on Sunday that “the pedigree of the filmmakers and bold concept made the film a bet worth taking.” Yet plenty of indicators could have warned the sponsors of Cowboys & Aliens that this was a sucker’s bet. Here are four:

My concept of geezerhood requires a few more decades.