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Chris Johnson
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Chris Johnson

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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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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:  http://world.std.com/~reinhold/diceware.html

I'd sleep a lot easier if mediocre password schemes started finding their way to the dust bin of history.
The Diceware Passphrase Home Page. This page offers a better way to create a strong, yet easy to remember passphrase for use with encryption and security programs. Weak passwords and passphrases are one of the most common flaws in computer security. Take a few minutes and learn how to do it ...
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Looks highly practical and effective.
Making toast doesn’t sound very complicated — until someone asks you to draw the process, step by step. Tom Wujec loves asking people and teams to draw how they make toast, because the process reveals unexpected truths about how we can solve our biggest, most complicated problems at work. Learn how to run this exercise yourself, and hear Wujec’s surprising insights from watching thousands of people draw toast.
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Our highways are breaking down; we have built a system we can't afford. The current proposed solution?  Supersize it.  That wouldn't end well.
Our transportation system is breaking down. In Idaho, we would need an additional $262 million a year to maintain our existing approach. Nationally, it would...
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quote: If not for serial budget cuts to the National Institutes of Health, we would probably have an Ebola vaccine and we would certainly have better treatment, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins tells the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein. This comes on the heels of reporting that the Centers for Disease Control’s prevention budget has been cut by half since 2006, and new revelations about how botched protocols at the Dallas hospital that turned away Thomas Eric Duncan and then failed to treat him effectively also led to the infection of one of Duncan’s caregivers.

Yet most of the media coverage of the politics of Ebola to date has centered on whether President Obama has adequately and/or honestly dealt with the disease. “I remain concerned that we don’t see sufficient seriousness on the part of the federal government about protecting the American public,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told reporters. Cruz is probably the wrong guy to talk about seriousness: his government shutdown forced the NIH to delay clinical trials and made the CDC cut back on disease outbreak detection programs this time last year.

I find myself wondering: When, if ever, will the political debate over Ebola center on the way the right-wing libertarian approach to government has made us less safe?
It's time to admit the truth: People who cut health funding and don't like government have not helped this crisis
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Chris Johnson

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Go see about the #bees#twincities !  Free #pollinators   Party, Thursday, July 24, 5-8pm, Lyndale Park Gardens (just east of Lake Harriet), 1300 West 42nd Street,   #minneapolis , MN 55409.
Click image for larger view, or visit this link.
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Chris Johnson

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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 (http://cave-vin.net) -- 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 (http://www.pizzerialola.com)

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

  @ 54th St. West and Penn Ave. South:
5.  Cafe Maude at 5411 Penn (http://cafemaude.com/) -- see and be seen, great food, delicious Mojitos and occasional live music.
6.  Red Wagon Pizza at 5416 Penn (http://www.redwagon-mpls.com) -- 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.
"A Southwest Minneapolis neighborhood gem, Cave Vin is one of the best-kept secrets in the city. A family-owned local restaurant where you'll feel like family too. Let us win you over with an award-winning wine list along with new-American flavors." Learn More ...
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Yes, indeed.
 
Bookstores and breweries point to a successful model for local economies: true differentiation.
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Outside of a beer, a book is a man's best friend.
Inside of a beer, the pages get all soggy...
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These nuances are lost when the top-down approach invades our planning. It's expensive and gives us a low return on investment. It's the type of system that would spend $50 million without realizing that they were trying to solve the wrong problem.
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Dear @Apple: I never buy anything from iTunes unless it is an app I absolutely must have (which is very rare).  Why?  Because it's way too damn difficult, because your security mechanisms SUCK.

Just now -- well, 15 minutes ago -- I decided I'd download the new U2 album, which is FREE.

iTunes demanded my Apple ID password, but at the same time told me my account was locked for security reasons.  Virtually every time I attempt to use the iTunes store, this is what it tells me.  The primary reason for it being locked is that ANYONE on the Internet can attempt to sign in (and fail) as me, and likewise attempt to reset my password (and fail -- since my email is still securely mine).  But apparently any or only a few such attempts results in the account being locked.

Ok, so now I want to go unlock my account.  First, I think I'll just answer the security questions.  But I cannot remember what "birthday" I gave Apple.  You see, I value my privacy and security, so I never give websites my real birthday as part of my "security" data.  I try to always give the same bogus birthdate so that I can remember it, but you can easily see the flaw here if I've been doing this for 15+ years on possibly hundreds of websites.  Since it's not my real birthday, I sometimes misremember exactly which bogus day to use.

So then I choose to go the email route.  I don't want to change my password YET AGAIN, having been forced to do so several times this year and NOT being allowed to ever re-use a password (no matter how good it was, nor having ever had it compromised -- or at least, not that Apple has admitted publicly, eh?).  So I choose the option to sign-in to reset my account, versus generate another new password.  But wait!  I use SuperGenPass's Javascript applet for passwords, and I never write them down or memorize them.  I copy/paste them.

Except Apple, in their absolutely fucking stupidity, have decided that pasting a password is Verboten.  So now I have to paste it someplace where I can see it and then type it into Apple's form.

So now my account is unlocked and I can go back to iTunes and PASTE my password into the password field there.  Eureka!  I'm in.

BUT WAIT! There's still more Apple stupidity!

I click the download button for the FREE album, and now iTunes insists I must log in again, but this time to the "Billing" interface, and "Verify" my billing information -- for a FREE album.

So I go there.  I click on the NONE button next to the various credit cards presented and click on the finish button.

Now I can finally download the album.

After 10+ minutes of screwing around, I can finally get the music I want.  And fortunately, this was on a laptop (MacBook Pro), and not on my iPhone where the tiny screen and touch interface would have made this ten times harder and more frustrating.

WTF, Apple.  None of this BS increases actual security.  It just pisses people off, and pissed off people don't BUY as much product.
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This is Brilliant!
With US politics swimming in so much corporate money that it's pretty much an oligarchy, it can be hard to keep track of all the corruption. Luckily, there's an app for that.
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Get it here:  http://allaregreen.us
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Subtle.  Even though I try to resist it, I now suspect I'm influenced.
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Have him in circles
68 people
Mishell Baker's profile photo
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John Robinson's profile photo
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software technology geek and crème brûlée connoisseur
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Traveler and seeker of wisdom
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build software
The "Google User" who gave this place one star and complained about his rental truck not being available was writing about the wrong place. Baker Road Service does not rent trucks. There is a business across the street on the north side of Excelsior which does rent trucks. Perhaps the writer was confused.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
4 reviews
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