Loneliest Human

The xkcd “What if?” blog has a great analysis of the people most eligible for the title of Loneliest Human.  Not that I ever thought I had even come close, but it makes my whole “6 miles from the nearest light bulb” (at Philmont Scout Ranch) thing seem way less impressive.

Passwords Done Wrong

I recently changed a password at Citibank, and was greeted with this absurd guidance.

citicards_password_rules

Where to start? A 6-character password is ridiculously insecure, so that’s not great.  But the “must not” section is what amuses me.  The first and second bullets are perfectly fine.  The fourth one is very disturbing — how secure can a password really be if you eliminate 26 characters that I might otherwise use? More importantly, this implies that perhaps passwords aren’t being stored in a secure manner, in the first place — if they are properly hashing their passwords,  it is impossible to tell if a password is an “almost” match, except for capitalization. You have to wonder how they are storing the passwords.

It’s the third rule that convinced me we are in never-never land.  Your password must not “[h]ave any spaces before, in the middle of, or following any characters.” Leave aside that they already told me that my password must not “[c]ontain any spaces,” so this whole point is redundant.  What in the world does it mean to say that I can’t have any spaces “in the middle of… any characters?”  Bizarre.

This whole thing made me think of this truly excellent comic from xkcd and this post about it, complete with passphrase generator.  Personally, I strongly recommend using KeePass and letting it generate and store ridiculously strong passwords for you.

I Sold My Truck

I sold my truck today. I had it barely a year, but have barely used it in the last couple of months. Now that Sarah and I work at the same place, we commute together. So I had only driven the truck maybe three times in the last two months, and then only because I felt like it.

In short, I had a truck that I couldn’t part in the garage (or even the driveway) at home, couldn’t park in the garage at work, and basically never drove. I’ll miss having a truck, but it just didn’t make sense to keep it.

Site Rebuild

I learned last night that this site was hacked somehow. I don’t know if it was due to a vulnerability in WordPress or a WordPress plugin or, more likely, a vulnerability in the many, many other scripts and add-ons that I had accumulated here over the last 14 years of running this site. As a precaution, I nuked everything and rebuilt my WordPress installation from scratch, with only the bare essentials.

Many features of this site may be temporarily or permanently unavailable. For example, the PCB’99 directory feature and the K9 blacklist are gone and probably will not return. If there is something that you are looking for and cannot find, please let me know.

Logos

I am a huge fan of Logos Bible Software.  For those who aren’t familiar with them, Logos makes the leading software for reading and analyzing the Bible, along with hundreds of other materials, including ancient texts, commentaries, and more.

I was fortunate enough to obtain a copy of the Scholar’s Library — dozens of resources, worth thousands of dollars in print versions — more than a decade ago.  Sadly, somewhere in the past few years, my installation broke, and I could never get it to work properly on the last couple of computers I have owned, nor would it recognize the many resources that came with the Scholar’s Library.  Logos has gone through many versions since then, and the latest versions didn’t even recognize my license key.

Thanks to a very helpful Logos staffer named Hunter Clagett, I now have access to all of these materials again, and could not be happier about it.  Thanks, Hunter, and thanks, Logos!

If you are experiencing similar difficulties, this link may be helpful.

Fascinating New Brain Research

Researchers have observed never-before-detected brain activity in deep coma states.  This has obvious implications for end-of-life decisions, but also (as the article points out) for trauma patients who are placed into comas for medical reasons.  Very interesting stuff.

How to Move Your Contacts from an iPhone to Exchange

When I changed jobs, I found myself with a lot of legacy contacts that were on my iPhone but not in Outlook at work. If you find yourself in a similar situation, you can use an app called Orbi Tools to move contacts from the “On my iPhone” group to Exchange.  I did this, and it worked perfectly, although you should be aware that any photos associated with your contacts on your phone will likely not make the move to Exchange, because of how Outlook stores image information.  Also, if you have a few hundred contacts or more, you may want to plug in your phone before starting the move — it can take quite a while to move all of the contacts, depending on the speeds of your internet connection, your Exchange server, and other factors.

Hat tip: The Sysadmins

Last Day of Biglaw

Today was my last day as an associate at BakerHostetler. I have really enjoyed getting to know the wonderful people there over the last year and change.

Tomorrow, I will be starting in my new position as a staff attorney at the Texas First Court of Appeals, here in Houston. I am looking forward to the new and different challenges and opportunities there.

Make Yourself Happier

I love mind-hacking and ways to improve my life without doing anything radical, and this post from the Buffer blog is right in line with that: 10 simple things you can do today that will make you happier, backed by science  I can testify from personal experience that many of these work; I’ll have to try the others!

musings of a conservative Texas attorney on law, faith, politics, technology, and life