Archive for the 'Random' Category

Forgotten Your Password?

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

I was just reading an interesting blog article titled “Forgotten your password? Google can find it for you. Unfortunately“. The article discusses a potential security vulnerability having to do with the way that passwords are stored in many of the databases of the various web sites we all visit. Now I’m not technical enough to explain this properly, but I “get it”. And what it boils down to for me is that this is yet another reason not to use the same password over and over for all the sites you visit.

Personally I’ve always been paranoid about relying on one password. This is because I’ve been witness to organizations with very lax data security standards; I’ve seen databases that held usernames, passwords, credit card numbers and expiration dates along with billing addresses but which were unsecured and free to be copied by any employee in the whole company. One disgruntled employee who copies a database like that could do a great deal of damage to the people whose data resides there. I’m paranoid about that one disgruntled employee.

As the computer industry, and especially the web, ages and matures we see a greater attention to security, and disgruntled employees can do less and less damage. But still, it seems there’s always some new threat that some brilliant hacker has just figured out.

So what I do is to use a different password for each site I visit. And then I keep track of those passwords by writing down codes for them which no one but me would understand. For example, if I used the password Purple890 I might code it for myself as notRedX09. And then when I see notRedX09 I would associate notRed to mean Purple and I would know that X means the number 8 and then I would know that the last two numbers are simply reversed.

If you are confused that’s the point. The point is that I encode my passwords so that the associations to the encoding are mine and mine only. I encode them using connections to concepts or numbers or patterns which occur in my head alone. And that means that unless you plan to torture me you are not going to figure out what all my passwords are.

MetaFilter I Love You

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

When I get bored, as I just did this evening while waiting for a boatload of monstrous PDF files to upload to a client’s server, I look at MetaFilter. You should too.

Some of today’s MetaFilter findings:

  • Gilmourish – If you love David Gilmour (must I date myself by saying he was in Pink Floyd?) this is for you, and the web design is just luscious. When my design skills get that good it will be time to jump in front of that ever-present Cancun taxi cab. There will be nothing more to live for.
  • Chat Noir – That means black cat in case you live at the bottom of a barrel and never took French. It’s a game, it’s addictive, and I keep losing.
  • Lucky Dube is Dead – If you don’t know who Lucky Dube was then you probably do live at the bottom of a barrel. How’s the light down there? He was one of those critical, seminal reggae musicians. And I’m so out-of-touch that it took me a whole month to find out about his death…
  • David Byrne Narrates A Bike Ride Through NYC – That’s The David Byrne to you. Gawd I miss New York.
  • TED Talks – Well this isn’t a find for me, but could be for you. The TED Talks feature some of the most important speakers around (yes, like Al Gore, yes, I know).

Oh crap, it’s raining, gotta run…I have clean sheets (formerly dry) on the clothesline.

Blog Tag – A Modern Incarnation Of The Chain Letter

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

I’ve been tagged by Cancun Canuck to play a little blog game. Here are the rules: when tagged link to the person who tagged you, then post the rules of the game, then list eight random things about yourself. At the end of the post link to eight other people’s blogs.

8 Random Things About Me

1. I can’t sleep with either of my ears exposed to the air. Short haircuts do not work for me because I then have to sleep with a pillow or an arm slung over the exposed ear. If I feel air on my ear I wake up. I’m sure this goes back to the recurring nightmare I had when I was 2 years old about the gorilla that would hide in my closet and then come out when it was dark and bite off my ear. I could get therapy for this, or I could just not wear my hair short.

2. When I was a kid I wanted to be a clown, or a detective, or a spy.

3. Now that I am an adult I want to get a Master’s Degree in Application Usability.

4. I secretly like pictures of cherubs and angels, even though I think they are tacky and I would not be caught dead putting that kind of trash on my walls.

5. Within 5 feet of me right now are: a poster from the Pearl Jam concert which took place on November 7, 1996, a book titled “the zen of css design”, a 17 year old cat whose hobby it has always been to throw up daily and a plastic wind-up penguin who hops (but only when you wind him up).

6. I like to do sit-ups. In fact I like to do at least 100 per day, but that doesn’t happen usually.

7. There is someone that I hate.

8. I just, today, named my most recently acquired street cat “Emma” (she is our 10th cat); Emma being short (in my mind) for Clementine or Clementina (have not decided which).

8 Other People’s Blogs

Random Musings

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

Lots of unrelated and discordant thoughts are running through my head. Sorry for sharing the chaos.

First, my friend CancunCanuck has FINALLY started blogging!! It was a good thing waiting (and waiting) to happen. Watch her, she will need only moments to find her “blog voice”, instead of the full year of suffering it takes most bloggers. She is a sensitive and skilled writer with a big heart. (You rock Girl!)

Oh, and one of my cats is driving me nuts. He just wants to go out all the time and he cries sometimes for hours. But each time I let him leave he’s gone for days, and comes back with 3 or 4 ticks on him; not to mention that I have to listen to the husband whine the whole time the cat is gone. So it’s one whiner or the other. Jeez. Get over it guys.

I posted a while ago that I was worried that someone living nearby the condo we bought was a hit man. Well, he was, just like we thought, he got busted, he was forced to move out…so we are no longer watching for bodies falling from the roof. Now someone just needs to get rid of the drug dealer who lives nearby and fills the courtyard with pot smoke 18 times a day.

The condo is coming along. Our renter comes tomorrow to finalize contract language and see the changes. One change being that today we had a stationary gas tank installed on the roof. I hope no one steals it. The stationary gas tank will save our tenant money, since it’s cheaper to fill than the small portable dangerous tanks that most people have in rentals here. And we won’t worry about her blowing herself up hooking and unhooking those portable tanks, the only people messing with the tank will be the guys from the gas company.

And in other news I’ve fallen in love with that orange cat that I took off the street a couple of months ago. My sister agreed to take her, and I could let her go within the family. But I’m about sure that this is one of the best cats ever to walk this planet, so if she doesn’t go to someone in the family, who can continue the love exactly where I leave off, then I won’t let go of this cat.

It’s stunning to think that this amazing lovely creature was starving and alone and dirty living on the street. How could the universe leave her out like that? I can think of some people who might deserve to live under a car in the dirt like that, but not this magic cat.

And that leads me to my motto of the day, and it’s only for today, because it’s mean, and I try not to be mean, mostly. “A friendly cat is better than a catty friend.”


Thursday, October 18th, 2007

I received some lovely gifts for my birthday. One of them was a pot of lilies from my husband. He likes to give me live plants, rather than cut flowers.


My mom grew lilies like these when I was a kid. Just looking at them takes me back to 1974 in New England. Lovely. (Thanks Viejo!)

Blogs, Blogs, More Blogs

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

I just brought to 50 the number of blogs I subscribe to via Bloglines (no wonder I don’t get my work done). The newest addition to my list is La Gringa Mas Bella, which is written by an American woman who is married to a Mexican man.

She’s witty and funny and tells it like it is. But she’s wrong about one thing, her tag-line says that she’s married to the BEST Mexican guy on the planet, but that’s me honey, not you!

Read on: La Gringa Mas Bella

Here are a few of the other 49 blogs I subscribe to:

  • 1603 Katrina – A fellow alum from my college helps tear down historic but rotten buildings in New Orleans.
  • New York Hack – The blog of a NYC cab driver named Melissa Plaut, she’s just published a book too.
  • The Multiverse According To Ben – The blog of Dr. Ben Goertzel, artificial intelligence guru and another fellow alum from college.
  • Hell’s Half Acre – Travelogue – A mom of 4 writes about their travels and their time living in the Riviera Maya.
  • SimpleBits – Master web designer Dan Cederholm’s blog. His work puts the rest of us to shame.
  • Julie Zickelfoose – Artist, writer, and close friend of a close friend. Julie takes lots of pictures of birds, something I can’t do with all these cats around.

My Kid On Eggs

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

When I mentioned to my vegetarian daughter (a vegan wannabe), just moments ago, that I had forgotten to buy eggs at the store she said “Good, I don’t want you to eat eggs anyway. Eggs are like abortion, except you eat them.”

Oh the mind of a 13 year old, she knows it all but is still innocent. And with that simple comment she solved the issue of what I should eat for dinner. Nothing! I’ve lost my appetite, thank you.

Oh how I waste my time

Friday, September 14th, 2007

I spent an hour today on this, may my clients forgive me this trespass:

GAT/CA d- s: a C++++ U> P+> L—(+) E? W+++ N++ o- K?
w+++++ O—-(+) M–(+) V? PS+++ PE-(++) Y+(–) PGP t++@ 5++
X++ !R tv– b+++> DI++++ !D G– e++> h—- r+++ z+++++

If you have to ask…Google.

And I heard a couple of great quotes in recent days, I hope I can get them right:

This from a gringa friend on having a Mexican boyfriend/husband:

What is it about a Mexican man that makes you want to throw things at his head?

I only wish I knew.

And this one from another gringa:

“Did I tell you that I would be married to Eddie Vedder if my stupid ex-husband had only gone to happy hour?”

You and me both. My ex wouldn’t go to happy hour either.

It’s been a particularly hard week. There’s a sinus infection in this house that no one seems to be able to kick. So we all walk around suffering from that exploding-brain-tumor feeling, which can really make one quite grumpy.

But work-wise things go well. Real estate inquiries are picking up. And I’ve picked up several high-end real estate listings. And my web work is getting done, albeit too slowly for my taste. Now if I could just get that one old bitchy cat to quit throwing up all the time, and find a home for the new one, and get the kid to do some chores, well, then we’d be in business.

Oh, and I went to see the new Bourne movie, the Ultimatum one…and I just loved it! I just couldn’t get enough, it was like the best roller coaster I’ve ever been on. It was smart, and quick and unpredictable, but not hard to follow. It had one or two boring moments, and it had a typical ridiculous car chase scene, just to prove it was made by Hollywood. But Matt Damon was so good in it that I didn’t once even think “what a weenie”. I’m going to drag my kid to see it this weekend, maybe getting her out of the house will fix what ails her.

Canine Bubble Gum Woe

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

This afternoon I could be heard saying to my daughter “If I find any more bubble gum on the dog you are in big trouble!!”.

The dog, it seems, adores bubble gum as much as my daughter does. And when she discards her gum in an easy-to-raid (meaning lower than dog height) garbage basket, the dog gets the gum back out of the basket and attempts to eat it.

Now Sam doesn’t find it all that easy to eat gum, you see, he ends up trapping it under a paw and then pulling at it with his teeth. The effect of this is that he ends up with strings of bubble gum all up and down his forelegs.

So now my daughter is under strict orders to discard her bubble gum only in the tall kitchen basket (which Sam has actually learned NOT to knock over), or in the basket under the sink (which is has a cabinet door in front of it).

We will see if I can train my daughter to dispose of her gum properly. And if not, then we will see if we can train the dog not to eat bubble gum. Yeah right.

A Trip to the Frozen North

Saturday, July 21st, 2007

I just got back last week from a trip to New England, I spent most of my days in Maine actually, pretty far north, near Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.

This trip was planned months ago, specifically it was planned when mom was turning 70 back in January. She wanted all of us to gather around her for that event, that big birthday event. But being the bad daughter I am I flat out refused to set foot in Maine in January. I told her I would gladly come in July, gladly, but January was out of the question.

My aunt (mom’s sister), who hails from points south as well, was very happy to back me up in my refusal to freeze my ass off in Maine in the winter, and so she quickly got excited about a July trip as well.

And so we did it, she and I. We flew to Boston, spent a night, and then drove 5 hours north the next day.

And I knew before I even got to Boston on the plane that I had badly mis-calculated which clothes I should bring. Socks, forgot about socks, forgot that people wear socks to keep their feet warm…plumb forgot. I did actually bring some socks, because I run, and I run in socks, so I had socks, I had just forgotten socks for heat’s sake.

And pants. I GREW UP in New Hampshire, I know the weather up there in New England. I went to college in Massachusetts (see, I can even spell it), I know what July is like up there. But pants, forgot about pants. I somehow thought that I would get by with a mini-shirt and a few pair of shorts. I did bring a pair of sweatpants, for running, and only because they were clean and my favorite shorts were dirty when I was packing. And I did bring ONE pair of jeans, a pair I wear about 7 times a year in Cancun. And I wore those jeans everyday that I was there, and when I wasn’t wearing those jeans I was wearing the sweatpants, even in BED!

And long-sleeve shirts, well, I DON’T OWN ANY! And so I didn’t accidentally bring any, despite myself. But I did bring 2 sweaters. And I tell you, I wore them and wore them and wore them. Man was I cold.

But I managed to survive by drinking generous amounts of hot green tea with honey, and running a lot. And of course it was great to be there, and see the family, and see the lovely land. Below are some photos I took which I liked:

Maine Flowers - July 2007
Flowers from Mom’s crazy garden which needs some serious cutting back.

Red Squirrel Eating Bird Seed
A Red Squirrel which was caught in a Have-A-Heart trap moments after this photo was taken and was then relocated across the river…only to be replaced by another Red Squirrel within an hour who was BETTER at raiding the bird feeder.

Maine Flowers - July 2007
More flowers from Mom’s unruly flower garden.

My Sister's Cat - July 2007
This is one of my sister’s very fat and very cute cats.

Maine Flowers - July 2007
This flower was grown by my bro-in-law, my sister’s husband, and for his birthday I gave him even more of these flowers.

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