Life is a Mystery

24 June 2012 . Comments Off

Tweets of the Week

17 June 2012 . Comments Off

Tweets of the Week

15 June 2012 . Comments Off

It’s a mystery

Tonight will be opening night for Nate in his school production of Hairspray. He is playing Edna, mom of the heroine Tracy. Last night we say their first run-through as the cast and crew put the show on for families. It was wonderful.

I thought it was pretty gutsy of Nate to take on this role. He’s never been in a play before, he does not even like to sing in church, and he has to appear on stage night after night in a dress and curlers. And yet, on top of all the other things he does at his school, he took on this challenge. I couldn’t be more proud and impressed! That smudge in the spotlight of the picture below is Nate as Edna in the opening scene last night.

Over the past few days I’ve been arriving early and remembering why I love theater. The chaos reminded me of nothing more than this exchange in Shakespeare In Love:

Philip Henslowe
Mr. Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.

Hugh Fennyman
So what do we do?

Henslowe
Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.

Fennyman
How?

Henslowe
I don’t know. It’s a mystery.

It is, indeed, a mystery. But the kids of Crosswinds are sure pulling off the miracle of theater tonight. If you are in town, join us for opening night or for one of the other performances over the next two weeks.

Hairspray
Crosswinds Arts & Science School
600 Weir Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125

Friday, 6/15, 7:30pm
Saturday, 6/16, 7:30pm
Sunday, 6/17, 2pm
Thursday, 6/21, 7:30pm
Friday, 6/22, 7:30pm
Saturday, 6/23, 7:30pm
Sunday, 6/24, 2pm

Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for students.

Hairspray at Crosswinds

11 June 2012 . Comments Off

Passwords

I have a long history with passwords, but the latest LinkedIn compromise brings passwords to mind again and I’d like to share some thoughts on a simple method for creating complex, unique, memorable passwords that are hard for the bad guys to crack.

As this Gibson Research calculator makes clear, length and complexity add a lot of security to a password. But how can you get length and complexity and still remember your passwords, especially when it is essential that you give every site a different password? The best answer I’ve come up with is similar to the answer at Gibson: padding. But my padding is a bit more complex than theirs.

I devise a prefix and suffix that is complex but easy to remember. For example, the prefix “PW:” and suffix “;don3“. These provide the complexity and some length. They have upper and lower case letters, some punctuation, and a number. You should not use these (these are not even the ones I use), but come up with your own along similar lines.

Then for every site I come up with a simple but unique middle. So my Amazon password might become “PW:books;don3” where my Apple password might be “PW:steve;don3“.

The result is a unique password for every site with the length and complexity to fend off easy attacks. Some horrible sites force me to change my password every few months, for those I just add an number I increment, like “PW:silly2;done3“.

Unfortunately, some vendors insist on coming up with rules of their own and I inevitably have a few sites that rule out my method for no good reason (one awful example: a bank that limited passwords to eight characters!). This is why I also use a piece of password “vault” software to keep track of passwords. My preferred vault is 1Password, which exists for Macs, Windows, iOS, and Android devices.

Have fun out there, and use a long, complex, memorable, and unique password at every site you value!

10 June 2012 . Comments Off

Tweets of the Week

3 June 2012 . Comments Off

Tweets of the Week

Eric Celeste / Saint Paul, Minnesota / 651.323.2009 / efc@clst.org