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Chris Johnson
Quantum Byte Industries
Quantum Byte Industries

Chris's posts

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"We cannot have a strong nation without strong, fiscally stable cities, towns, and places, and we cannot have these without understanding what creates productive growth and improves the wealth of a place over time. That's what the Strong Towns movement is about."

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The DMCA's anti-circumvention rules are broken beyond repair, the time to end #DRM is now #endDRM

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Lots of good business, design and life advice in this blog posting by the founder of ZURB.

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Good ideas from a successful writer.

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The basic economic problem facing virtually every American city today.  It's like we inherited a mansion but the heating bill is many times our salary.

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There's a lot of really fine dining in the Twin Cities.  Of course, downtown Minneapolis has a number of great places, and there are others scattered around.  But what's really amazing to me is that in the southwest corner of Minneapolis, in what's mostly a vast residential area with some small businesses nodes left from decades ago, there are an amazing number of restaurants that are literally top notch.

A not comprehensive list, but a good survey starting with those that I can personally vouch for as being great.

  @ 56th St. West and Xerxes Ave. South:
1.  Cavé Vin at 5555 Xerxes ( -- very French and the best garlic pommes frittes (real french fries) in the state.
2.  Pizza Lola at 5557 Xerxes (yup, next door) -- fantastic adventurous pizza and many local brews (

  @ 50th St. West and Penn Ave. South (the Broder family empire!):
3.  Terzo at 2221 50th ( -- great food and a huge wine selection, both by the glass and bottles.
4.  Broder's Pasta Bar at 5000 Penn (

  @ 54th St. West and Penn Ave. South:
5.  Cafe Maude at 5411 Penn ( -- see and be seen, great food, delicious Mojitos and occasional live music.
6.  Red Wagon Pizza at 5416 Penn ( -- family friendly gourmet pizza.  I'll bet their patio is popular this summer.

I've heard, but cannot personally verify, that Red Cow at 3624 W. 50th St. is very good as well, and has a pretty large collection of craft beers.

And that's just the top tier dining.  There's a bunch of great other restaurants, too, like Broder's Cucina Italiana ("Italian kitchen") also at the corner of 50th and Penn with their other 2 restaurants.  It's a casual eat-in / carry-out deli kind of place, Michaelangelo's pizza (best delivered pizza in the area), Arezzo at 5057 France Ave. S. (top-notch traditional Italian but maybe not quite up to Broder's top-end stuff), and several more that I've not visited.

Best of all, I can walk to all of these places, and they seem to exist and do thriving business despite the competition from the vast sea of retail and food that is the Southdale area, and the busy Uptown area just to the north.

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I've frequently complained about stupid password policies and schemes, widely used by websites everywhere, including those of banks, financial institutions and tech companies (+Apple, I'm looking at you) that ought to know better.

Often, those policies will require that a password contain certain characters, for example at least one number, or at least one symbol.  This is wrong-headed and of no real value.  Here are two reasons why.

First, remembering passwords with cryptic symbols within them is hard for humans, although easy for machines.  This results in the humans using the shortest legal password (in order to remember it more easily) or writing it down (so as to not forget it).  

It also means that password generator and storage applications cannot be configured once for all of a user's passwords, because one website will have one stupid set of requirements and another will have another, incompatible with the first, stupid set of requirements.  

The net result is generally less security.  But this is just the social argument, so to speak.  Let's get on to the hard math argument.

The second reason these all-too-common password schemes is because mathematically they're effectively useless.  They were chosen because the people deciding on the password policy of requiring (not just allowing) numbers and symbols is because they are trying to increase the entropy, the randomness or lack of predictability, of the passwords.

However, there's a lot more to password strength than entropy.  Entropy is about uncertainty -- which doesn't necessarily translate to more security. For example:

The entropy of "akj@!0aj" is 2.5, while the entropy of "password" is 2.75.  (larger is better)

Most people can easily tell that using "password" as a password is a very bad idea.  But the cryptic string "akj@!0aj" is actually worse on an entropy basis.  If someone were trying to crack the above 2 passwords using randomly-generated brute force of trying combinations of valid characters, the "akj@!0aj" password has a larger chance of being found!

All too often, these same fools who impose such cryptic password policies upon users, at the same limit the length of acceptable passwords to 8 or 10 characters!  In 2012, a 25-GPU computer demonstrated cracking every single 8 character password in about 6 hours.  Such short length limits also preclude using truly secure passwords, such as a series of 5, 6, 7 or more short words randomly generated, as described Arnold Reinhold in his Diceware passphrase generator:

I'd sleep a lot easier if mediocre password schemes started finding their way to the dust bin of history.

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Yes, indeed.
Bookstores and breweries point to a successful model for local economies: true differentiation.
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