Archive for January, 2006

Squidoo

http://www.squidoo.com/

Here’s a site where people can sign up for a “lens”. Each lens is a page about a topic and the content is added to that page by the “lensmaster”. The site give you a bunch of tools for formatting and creating the content. As well, if your lens is popular, you get a share of the ad revenue and you actually get paid.

If you’re not sure about how to build a great lens, maybe you should attend SquidU (http://www.squidu.com/), a online elearning site that teaches you about how you can put your thoughts together.

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Political Capital

It seems whenever someone gets elected, especially if it’s for a high office like Prime Minister or President, that they feel that they have this mysterious substance called “political capital.” Now, you can see or touch it so it’s hard to say if it really exists. It’s certainly not written down anywhere. Stephen Harper hasn’t told us what this political capital really is, he just says he has it. Sort of like an imaginary friend.

The purpose of inventing the imaginary “political capital” is to have someone/something to blame for going against the wishes of the majority. It’s interesting that less than 40% of Canadians voted for the Conservative party, yet somehow Stephen Harper seems ready to do what he feels is right and claim it is part of his “political capital.”

The truth is voting doesn’t happen often enough. We should be voting more and I don’t mean we need more elections. We should be voting on bills and laws. Not referendums but a sort of popular double-check on all the important stuff that politicians do. If we voted on whether we were going to go into Iraq or not for example, politicians wouldn’t have to make the big decisions and spend their political capital.

I’m suggesting that in order to vote more often we don’t need to go to polls more often. What if there were a group of citizens, let’s say 1000, picked at random based on income tax returns, that would vote on Canadian’s behalf. It would be like jury duty and these citizens would do their job for one month and be paid for it. Their job would be to read the legislation, ask questions if needed, and vote on it. If they like the legislation, it gets to be put in place. If they don’t like it, politicians take it back to the drawing board.

Just a thought…

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American take on Canadian Election

The following link is from a writer from the Nation magazine.

http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0126-23.htm

Basically, while the American media salivates over the prospect of a “right-wing” prime minister, Canadians didn’t really vote in a Conservative as much as they voted out a Liberal.

For a different take on the same subject, the following article is from a progressive online magazine in British Columbia.

http://thetyee.ca/Views/2006/01/25/NotSoBadEh/

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How to Choose a Secure Password

Choosing a secure password is a matter of creating unlikely letter and number combinations. The more obscure your password, the tougher it will be to crack.

Steps

  1. Do NOT use words or phrases that have personal significance.
  2. Mix letters, numbers and symbols, and use case sensitivity. With pseudo-random alpha-numeric combination, it is almost impossible to “crack” somebody’s password. (i.e. instead of “password,” try “pAsS34%(6*2woRd,” etc.)
  3. Try to memorize the password, and avoid writing it down. Somebody could very easily find the slip of paper that the password is written on.
  4. The longer the better. Don’t make a password that’s less than 6-8 characters. Anything less can be deduced from brute force software.
  5. Do not use the same password for everything. If someone finds this password, they would have access to everything. At the very least, make at least one password for sensitive things (i.e. online banking, etc.) and one for everything else (AIM, email, etc.).
  6. Do not try to follow all the above “rules”, combined. They are simply contradicting, not practical and you will end up in the mad house. Choose one or two and follow them with a critical mind.
  7. Let us suppose you have 5 email accounts, 3 Operating system passwords, 3 bank accounts (each with username, password, extra security pin), 10 internet forum user/passes, 1 cellular phone (uses 2 to 4 pins), should? (if you are a programmer or db administrator, multiply the total by 3). Say for each of one you chose a variation of “pAsS34%(6*2woRd,”. Try to memorize 20 of those gibberish sequences! Ohhh very easy. Do not write them anywhere! the longer the better! try 15 chars long to be safe! do not use the same for 2 purposes!
  8. Use a password manager (PM). It is a utility that creates an encrypted file where your passwords are stored. To open the file you need ONE password. Once open, you don’t even need to know the pass. Just click copy my pass, and paste it in your browser. Find a PM that’s freeware and open source so you dont have to pay for every new version, and if your good you can play with the source and create your variation. Find one that does not need to be installed in your system (will work just by copying the executable to any folder, any pc, any storage medium: cdrom, hard disk, usb flash stick). An example is PIN http://www.mirekw.com/winfreeware/pins.html.

Tips

  • If possible, try to use “nonsense words.” Combine these with numbers to make memorable, secure passwords. For example, “brickbeak9468.”
  • If possible, try to create an algorithm that is unique for each site. This way all you have to memorize is the algorithm, yet the password will be different for each site. Make sure the algorithm is sufficiently difficult to decipher if someone were to find one of your passwords.
  • If you are so inclined, scripture references make good passwords. Choose a passage you can remember and use the reference for your password. An example would if you chose The Beattitudes, your password could be Matt5:1-12.

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Welcome

Alright, I’ve tried writing blogs before and inevitably, they fall apart on me. I usually get too busy and forget about it. However, I’m going to try to approach this differently this time. When I get too busy, that’s precisely when I should be writing stuff down.

You see, there are people out there that I care about that sometimes I just don’t have enough time to talk with or see. Since they care about me as well, I feel that when I’m busy, that’s when I should let them know that I’m alright. By alerting them about this blog, that’s what I’ll be doing.

Now, what’s this going to be about. Just about everything.

Here are some of my current interests so you can get a sense of some of the stuff that will be mentioned here.

  • My work: SALEient, Conflux, Sloan Consulting, BuildPlaces, Real Macaroni
  • My friends and family: Notes and news as they come up.
  • My politics: Progressive politics (left wing and proud of it), Alberta NDP, Federal NDP
  • My home: I’m trying to make an old home in Sherwood Park, Alberta, and make it a bit more environmentally friendly. I hope to save some money on bills too.
  • Technology: I work with technology, I play with technology, I blog about technology
  • Other stuff too.

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