Friday, January 09, 2009

Passwords, privacy, pinheads and geeks

You know, I swear I'm not going to do these quick link posts, and here I am, barely a week into the new year and I'm breaking that vow.

The problem is, I can find these things interesting, and I think others might find them interesting, but there's simply no way I can drag any kind of lengthy rant or ramble out of them.

Like this one for example. I'm pleased to say that having viewed this site on the most common passwords in use today that none of mine are included in the top 500. Although, really, there are some spectacularly stupid passwords in that list. Anyone who uses '123456' or 'password' deserves everything that's coming to them.

I'm not going to say what my passwords are, but I like to think they're a suitable mix of alpha-numeric, plus they're not anything obviously personal. I'm sure a hacker could, with a bit of effort, crack my passwords. However, thanks to my idiocy in Italy last summer, I now have deeply paranoid security measures on all my financial dealing, so good luck with that.

Anyway, the point being, if you see you see any of your passwords on that list, for the love of God, change them right away.


Next up is this woman, who is suing Blogger/Google. Why? Because some anonymous people said bad things about her on a blog. She wants Blogger to give up the personal information regarding the anonymous comments.

I have deep sympathy with anyone annoyed, offended or upset with people making offensive anonymous comments on blogs. As someone who has been subjected to harassing anonymous comments on my own blog, their cowardice annoys me, but I deal with it. If someone was talking lying shit about me on another blog (which may have happened and I simply don't know about it), then I would ask the blog moderator to take action.

But suing Blogger? Waste of time. The article rightly points out that even if Blogger did give over the information, there's no guarantee any of that information would be remotely useful. The person would be following a wild goose chase all over the internet.

It's just silly unless, as some suggestion, you're looking for attention by trying a big, publicity-seeking lawsuit against Google. In which case whatever sympathy I might have had goes right out the window.


Just in case the urge to throttle Sarah Palin has diminished any since the election, read this and feel it build once more. The sheer volume of things wrong with everything she says is mindblowing. Just for a start, Caroline Kennedy is being roasted alive by New York media as being deeply unfit to hold the open senate seat. But that would require her to read some of those, whatchamacallits, newspapers. I think they do get a few of them in Alaska. I know Kennedy is being roasted and I live in freakin' Nunavut.

God, what a twit.


And finally, some bright folks decided to mix the NCAA tournament, politics and spectacularly high levels of geekiness by creating a Secretary for Geek Affairs tournament. The theory being there is a position sadly lacking in President-elect Obama's new cabinet. Being a bit of a geek himself (massive Crackberry addict, loves comic books), clearly he needs a Secretary for Geek Affairs to keep his updated on important matters.

But who should it be? Well, now you can vote on it here. I think including fictional characters is a bit of a cheat (although the forthcoming Wil Wheaton vs. Wesley Crusher match-up is genius) and man, there were some brutal first round match-ups (Wheaton vs. Bruce Campbell, Penn and Teller vs. The Mythbusters, Stan Lee vs. Danica McKellar).

Who am I predicting as the winner? Well, assuming he can get past himself, literally, I think I'm going to go with Wheaton. He is a massive geek, and proud of it. Plus his blog is pretty entertaining. Although there is some pretty hardcore geek names in there. I mean, I'm a geek and I didn't recognize some of the names there, even after I read their bios.

More proof for Cathy that I'm not as big a geek as she thinks I am. Well, maybe as big as she thinks I am, but not as big as what exists out there.

Last Five
1. Meet James Ensor - They Might Be Giants
2. Somewhere over the rainbow - Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies
3. She's always a woman - Billy Joel
4. You broke my heart - Sherry Ryan
5. Atlantic Blue - Ron Hynes*


Megan said...

The Caroline Kennedy thing bugged me from the start. Why should she get to waltz into the Senate after a lifetime of NO public service? There are many, many other people who are more qualified. She has a famous name and not much else going for her.

Adam Snider said...

Sadly, I'm not surprised to see "mine" on that list of terrible passwords. I used to have a friend who used that as his password. Worse, his reminder question was, "Whose password is it?"

To be fair, we were both about 13 at the time, and way back then, I actually thought that it was a really clever password.

Bob Izumi Jr. said...

I like Patton Oswalt to come out of the Do'Urden region.

towniebastard said...

I'm all in favour of a John Hodgman, Wil Wheaton, Patton Oswalt and Danica McKellar Final Four. However, as it seems unlikely McKellar is going to get past Stan Lee, I'll pick Joss Wheadon instead. That's high calibre geekiness right there.

Megan, that's part of where the backlash is coming from against Kennedy. Some were willing to give her a break because of her name. But once they heard her talk, well, I think she's getting much the same reaction in New York media that Palin got nationally.

And Adam, everything always seems so much more clever when you're 13.

ThePerfectStorm said...

The #1 password is actually used as the Western Digital admin default password to their "World Book" series of NAS.

Although you can buy 2 terabytes of storage for a song now, it doesn't get you any closer to understanding what you "have" I guess (useful PSA tip: if you happen to make truely convoluted passwords - say like for your WD 2 terabyte drive - and can't remember it? push a pin into the reset button whilst powering on the unit; 123456 is restored as the Admin password).

I trust no one is carting around a purloined WD World Book and can't read the manual too.

Additional observation: "Admin" didn't show up at all. Interesting given number of Fortune 500 servers hiding behind tight firewalls that will give up their secrets to "Admin / Admin" as the primary administration account and password!

My question on reading the "What's my Password" was - how did the author know what were the most common?!


Anonymous said...

Cathy and I have something in common. We both love a geek. Just not the same one...LOL

Anonymous said...

good article re: passwords. I find a password program is a good way to go. Then you can just remember one insanely long passphrase and the rest are secure. Keepass is excellent and Open Source. Also check out diceware for a neat way to make secure passwords