Monthly Archives: January 2013

Midweek music: Retro… Dan Hartman – I can dream about you (because….Walter Hill)

It’s a very retro moment that Sly Stallone has a new movie out in 2013 with Walter Hill! In 1984, almost 30 years ago, Hill had a big movie out that was also very retro at the time called  Streets of Fire. Here’s a clip from that film

Hey journalists (and others): here’s a simple way to generate passwords to make it harder for hackers to break

It’s simple. Go to a Starbucks. Pick up one of those cards that has free apps/movie/song of the day. On the back is a code. Use that as your password. Keep the code in your wallet. Do this on a frequent basis.

Want to make it more secure? Add numbers and punctuation to the beginning or the end.

Worried the code isn’t random enough? Type it in backwards or add punctuation and random characters in the middle (e.g. after the first three characters).

For example, here is the code on the card I have: A63RKXMEWWJ6. (No, it is not used on any of my passwords.)

If I go to a site like this, How Secure Is My Password?, and type it in, it tells me it will take 37 years to break it using a PC. If I add !123 to the end of that, it will take essentially forever to break it (16 billion years).These times are based on using a PC to break it. But even if the hackers had an enterprise class computer, it will still take a long long time. Furthermore, if you change your password very often, you will make it next very difficult to hack your password the way the passwords were hacked at the New York Times.

There are ways to get your password that doesn’t requiring stealing and cracking the password database. But you can practically eliminate this way if you take this approach.


Great ways to visualize your quantified self….

Can be found here: Doing beautiful things with self-tracking data « RescueTime Blog.

I thought turning self quantified data like this….


….to be a brilliant idea. But there are numerous brilliant ideas on that blog: well worth a look.

(Thanks to AmritaMathur on twitter for that)

A good rundown on the feuding of social media companies and what it will eventually mean

While this HuffPo piece is about a new service from Vine, Twitter’s ‘Vine’ App Users Can No Longer Find Friends Via Facebook, it also has a great rundown of all the feuding going on between social media companies these days. For example…

(Facebook and Twitter) have been feuding since this summer, when Facebook announced it would buy Instagram for $1 billion despite Twitter’s reported prior offer, supposedly worth $525 million, for the photo-sharing service. Twitter responded to the snub by preventing Instagram users from syncing with their Twitter followers. Facebook followed up by making it impossible for Twitter users to embed Instagram pictures in their tweets.

Twitter and Facebook are certainly not the only feuding tech companies. In August, Craigslist stopped allowing search engines to index user’s ads in order to try to defeat competitors like Craiggers. In early January, Google experimented with blocking Google Maps on Windows phones, although that experiment didn’t take.

I expect alot more of these to go on over the next few years. Eventually there will be winners, but also the social media business will be disrupted and displaced by other technology waves (think: mobile platforms and cloud computing and that the social media companies will no longer be a central/go to place. It will happen: ask AOL and various portal sites left by the side of the road). Until that happens, expect sharing to get harder, not easier.

The use of github for non-programmers is coming (time to learn git)

O’Reilly media is doing something I haven’t seen before: using github as a repository for a book. Github is a famous code repository, and I have seen it extended to include government data. But this sees like a new way to use it. Expect more non-traditional uses of github. In the meantime see:

How farming may have led to the domestication of dogs.

There’s a fascinating study here highlighted in Nature News & Comment that dogs and their domestication may have been a result of farming. Key quote:

Most humans have also evolved to more easily digest starches2. Lindblad-Toh suggests that the rise of farming, beginning around 10,000 years ago in the Middle East, led to the adaptations in both species. “This is a striking sign of parallel evolution,” she says. “It really shows how dogs and humans have evolved together to be able to eat starch.”

Another interesting fact is that dogs have a gene that allows them to digest starch, a gene that the wolf does not have.

Well worth a read.

How to combine data analytics to dating sites to find the man of your dreams

Really? Really! Amy Webb was not having much luck (to put it mildly) with dating sites, so she applied her excellent data analytical skills to come up with the best way to redo her profile to find her perfect match. See Hacking the Hyperlinked Heart –, for the details on how she did it. Well worth reading.