Monthly Archives: December 2016

Passwords

This shouldn’t have to be said, but there are still some who think they are the only ones struggling with passwords. Let me tell you that you are definitely not alone.

There’s not much that hasn’t been said about passwords. We all know that they should be unique and not recycled, sufficiently long and complex, and changed on a regular basis. But most of us are still struggling to balance those password attributes with the biggest one: recallable.

By recallable, I mean that you can recall it without resorting to a handwritten list or an unencrypted electronic list, which are both strongly frowned-upon.

I would like to believe that we are on the verge of a password-free world where all your devices and services recognize you by face, voice, fingerprint, retina, etc., instead of requiring you to memorize strings of characters. Smartphones have recently made great strides with their fingerprint readers, but that has, so far, failed to progress to apps and services on the smartphones, or to most tablets and personal computers.

Until that day comes, you might consider using a password manager: an app that stores your usernames and passwords in an encrypted form, unlockable by fingerprint or strong password. Most have a good level of encryption, meaning there are no alternative methods of decrypting your list. Some have extra features that make it easy to display or even enter your credentials into apps/sites for you, and some can maintain the same list on all of your devices.

In closing, I will mention a couple of password managers that I have encountered. There are several tools with the unimaginative name “Password Safe”, but only one that was originally designed by Bruce Schneier. Its logo is easily recognizable with its red triangles and diamond, and its home is pwsafe.org. This tool is truly multi-platform (it is available for Windows, OS X, Android, iOS, and Linux), and there are ways to synchronize your database between your devices. The second one is a relative newcomer: Intel’s “True Key” (truekey.com) has many of the same features as Password Safe, but in a more refined form. There is, however a price for this refinement … you can store the first 15 passwords for free, but beyond that, it will cost you $19.99/year.

P.S. After writing this article, I encountered a client with only ONE device capable of securely storing her passwords (read: “Dark Ages”). In a case like hers, I might recommend writing down your passwords in a secure location … because, as it was in her case, you might get locked out of your device when you need your passwords.

Blogging

I must admit … I don’t see the purpose for all the social network sites. I use Facebook as a source of news for what my friends and family are doing. I use Twitter, from time to time, to get quick updates on certain developing events. But that’s about it.

I do, however, see a few purposes for blogging.

Blogging is a good option for connecting with a group of people who often need to coordinate meeting times and places, or simply want to connect on a particular topic. So, you could set up a blog for your hiking group to plan/post where and when your next outing will be. Or you could create or join a group to discuss the implications of media on today’s youth.

Blogging is also a good option for journaling. Whether you are sharing a travel journal with the world, a select group, or simply want a place to put your thoughts so you can refer back to them from any device, anywhere, and any time.

Finally, blogging is a good place to simply share your opinions. If you like to write articles on a specific topics, or a variety of topics, you can put them into a blog and share them with a group, large or small.

The real beauty of blogging is that it doesn’t clutter people’s email inbox or Facebook page. Folks can choose to follow, or not. You can set permissions that allow or prevent posting or commenting by certain groups.

Storage space for blogs is often free, and blogs tend to never expire. On some blogs, users can choose to get notified (or not) if posts or replies are made.

The only downside I see to blogging is, if you open up posting or comments to the public, you are bound to get junk posts and comments.

Back on the upside, you can get special blogging apps, but you can simply remember the URL (web address) and use a standard browser. If you want to try creating a blog, head over to blogspot.com with your Google account. If you just want to try following a blog … oh, you already have! You are reading this on blog.teky.ca!