Creating Great Passwords

My sister-in-law’s online email account was hacked recently, and now everyone on her mailing list is getting vast quantities of incredibly annoying spam. She’s not the only one—apparently some [choose your own derogatory adjective] [choose your own insulting noun] decided that we all needed more useless email. (Does anyone actually buy from spam emails?)

In any case, it turned out that her password was too easy to figure out, at least for a computer with a lot of time on its “hands.” This led to a discussion about how to pick a good password. Here is what my very knowledgeable husband had to say:

  • A GOOD password is easy to remember, hard to guess
  • Change it regularly, but not so often that you can’t remember all the passwords you need to know (which usually means both current and recent ones)
  • Never write it down. If you have to write it, it’s either too complicated to remember or you have too many passwords to remember.

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Why play Facebook games, like Mafia Wars, YoVille, etc.?

Today’s guest post is from Pete, my sweetie for more than 30 years. He originally (about three weeks ago) posted it as a note on Facebook. I think his observations are worth keeping in mind, especially as I hope to soon share some game reviews written by our son-in-law, who knows much more about such things than I do.

Here’s Pete:

I’ve just finished an experiment in a couple of the very popular online multi-user games. I wanted to learn how they work, how fun they are, and what was the opportunity for play that involves interaction with friends old and new.

Let me say up front: I don’t think these games are evil in some way. I have relatives who play other massive online multi-player games with really great interaction, to the point where one guy’s online game-playing team gets together in person at least once a year, traveling from far and wide to spend time together. I think that’s awesome!

How about the games here on Facebook (FB)? Here’s what I found:

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Computer House Cleaning

Today’s terrific advice comes from Pete (click on any photo for a bigger version):

When mom said “clean your room,” I often thought “why bother — it’s just going to get messy again anyway!”

But what about computers? Do home computer boxes need tidying up?

pc-dustThey sure do! That horrible mess of thick dust in the picture isn’t just a hidden eyesore: it can be the cause of some very expensive repairs. Built-up dust will cause your computer to use more power, to overheat, and ultimately the dusty grime will slow overload the fan motor(s) and burn them out. A burnt-out fan, if you are lucky, “only” needs replacing. But if the computer overheated due to the lack of fresh air, you might end up replacing far more expensive and valuable parts: your hard disk, the main board, or the power supply. That’s no fun at all. Note: this applies to both PC’s and Mac’s. No gloating, folks.

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