Random String of thoughts

Taking a slice out of Logtar’s brain can be both difficult and confusing. I thought I would document a string of thought that I had last night and see if at the end anyone follows. I started reading The Ultimate Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. One of my coworkers, whom I went to lunch with about a month back, told me that the book was grand. I told him the movie was somewhat incoherent and at times dumb. I totally missed the British humor on that one, which by the way I love, if that is what it was. He insisted that the books were weird but still funny. He then watched the movie, after our conversation and agreed with me that it was crap. I have never said on my blog crapfully yours, which I should have. Shame on me.

A couple of weeks ago he brought the book in to work so I could borrow it, but I did not start it right away because I was in the middle of reading another book based on a movie. Which brings me to another point, the next generation Playstation PS3, might include technology that will not let you play “borrowed” games. Meaning, you would not be able to swap games with a friend or even rent them. The technology has been patented, but at this point no one knows for sure if it will be in the new system.

Today we might go see Harry Potter 4, another book based on a movie. We did not get to see it this weekend because of the Lan Party, picking up a pool table and just overall craziness of our running around life. Getting back on the train of thought, I started reading the Hitchhikers book, and what do you know it is written by the same guy that started wrote for a season of Dr. Who.(see comments) The infamous Big Orange Michael addiction. I was reading the introduction to the book written by the actual author that attempts to put some perspective on his work with the theme. The has been radio broadcast, albums, TV shows and the books, all related to the subject but different and at times contradictory. So, I get to the part where he says he was starting a series called Dr. Who. I stop dead on my tracks and think. Should I read more (almost in a computer like voice ala Starship Troopers, would you like to know more?). I have plenty of hobbies right now, and that is not counting my interests which I could not even list in one day. Dr. Who. is just something that I leave to Michael to be a geek about… but is reading this book going to wake up an interest on this show. So far this guy’s writing has been excellent and keeps me interested and entertained. He uses simile like other authors I like but in an almost too sarcastic way that keeps you smiling if not laughing while you read.

So I take a break and decide to think about it further. While it might not seem like a big decision to must of you, to read a book or not, to me it can be a life changing experience. I have seen what has done to Michael and his life. I can compare that to the other addiction that I have successfully managed to stay away from MMORPG’s. I have had a couple of friends offer me free trials for games like UO, Everquest and the growing WOW. Which btw was blamed for the Dave Chapelle disappearance. I would love those games, I know I would, but I also know that my addiction for them would leave me without a personal life. Right now my current addiction, Counter Strike, is already taking up part of my sleeping time, but it has been worth it so far. So I will stick to FPS’s for now.

Fortunately or unfortunately, that remains to be seen, I continued reading the book. And let me tell you, only the introduction and a little of the first chapter into it and I am already loving it. His style of writing is very appealing to my sense of humor and overall insanity. So that is all for today on my random string of thoughts. Feel free to comment on any of them or start a string of thoughts from it.

GuestMap

Well, I saw a really cool guestmap on someone else’s blog and signed up. I loved it and their little icons and was ready to start using it… turns out they grew too fast and now their servers are choking… but I cannot give up on the whole guestmap thing because I have wanted it for a while… so I broke down and used bravenets… so here for your signing pleasure is the guest map I present…

Logtar’s Guestmap.

The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test

Found this wacky test over at Barry’s… let me know your results!

Pure Nerd
52 % Nerd, 21% Geek, 4% Dork
For The Record:A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.

The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally
smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up
all of the traits and tendences associated with the “dork.” No-longer.
Being smart isn’t as socially crippling as it once was, and even more
so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be
replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.

Congratulations!

THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

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You scored higher than 39% on nerdiness
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You scored higher than 19% on geekosity
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You scored higher than 0% on dork points

Anime Hate it or Love it

I have been watching anime since I was a little kid. I was lucky enough to not have to differentiate between Western and Eastern animation when I grew up. One of the first cartoons I remember watching was La Abejita Maya (Maja the Honey Bee – Mitsubachi Maja no Boken) when I was probably 4 or 5. The series is very well written and always had a good message at the end of the day.

Back then I had no idea I was watching Japanese animation because to me everything was considered cartoons. Some kids experienced the same thing here with a couple of series like Astro Boy and Speed Racer, but overall Japanese animation was not really popular in the US until about 5 years ago when the market started getting saturated with some very bad anime.

Anime is a hate it or love it kind of thing for a lot of people. I don’t really see the point on totally disliking it but there are a lot of people out there that just despise it. I totally respect their point of view. Anime has been linked to the negative geek label now, but I would only put fanboys on that category. The internet makes it even worse, trying to find information about anime can leave you with a headache because most websites that follow it are poorly written and have the most obnoxious colors available in the RGB world.

There is a lot of good adult anime, that rivals in story depth with some of the best hollywood has to offer. I think Spirited Away showed anime in a different light that some people might not have expected. If you have never really experienced anime I think this is a good starting point. I would steer you away from the recommendation most anime fans give you as a start which is Akira. While the movie is excellent it is quite complicated and not in a good way.

Anime is far reaching when it comes to subjects. You can find anything from animal series that are for kids to adult geared hentai that tends to be a little too bizarre for my personal taste. Just remember that there is a lot in between. My favorite genre of anime is the post apocaliptic future Tokyo type of theme. A lot of times this series involves humanoid robots that develop a soul, in what I believe a heavy Asimov influence ala Ghost in the Shell. Or robots trying to fit into our society like the movie Armitage III of the series by the same name.

Also from growing up I hold a series dear to me, Captain Tsubasa or Supercampeones as it is knows in Spanish. This soccer fueled series falls prey of the repetitive animation and impossible physics that sometimes turns people off, but I just love it. It is a great series and there are a lot of people that still follow it today. I have most of the original series dubbed in Spanish, and have always wished that they release it here in the US. I was hoping that with the popularity of soccer in the US, they might bring the latest iteration (Road to 2002) but I was not that lucky.

The last series that I want to mention is Rurouni Kenshin, which I own the whole series on DVD. This anime has a lot of history about Japan and how the country changed when Samurai became a thing of the past. Very similar in some aspects to the recent Tom Cruise movie The Last Samurai. While it might not be actual history, it does open a window of at least interest to a time when Japan was changing from being complete feudal to become the industrialized nation it is today.

Anime has a lot of flavors and while some might be quite bitter, there are also some sweet flavors that are worth trying. I think it can be a good experience as trying ethnic food, but of course with a little guidance. I say when looking for anime try to find something that might mix something you are already interested in. My bet is that one or more of your hobbies have an anime already linked to it. Just don’t let a bad experience keep you from trying something else in the menu.

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Password Security

Every single day large numbers of people fall prey to Internet fraud. Every click on the Internet is a potential open door to having our computer attacked or even worse, having personal information stolen. There is identity theft, phishing, spyware, viruses and the list of threats continues. Innocence is what makes most people vulnerable. I hope that most of the people that are reading this article are not only aware of these dangers but have already taken steps towards protecting themselves. Personal firewalls, anti-virus, anti-spyware are all good measures but a lot of us are forget one of the basic ones, a good password.

I want to list some of the tips that I use to keep my passwords fresh. It is a combined effort between changing passwords periodically and also having different passwords for “primary” and “secondary” accounts that are not easy to guess.

Before getting into what “primary” and “secondary” accounts mean, and as you read the article you would understand why I place emphasis on the difference. You should always have a principal e-mail address. You can have as many secondary addresses as you want, but you should always keep one e-mail address as your most important one. If you only have one e-mail address then consider that your principal address. Secondary e-mail addresses you might use for junk, gaming, signing up at websites that require an e-mail address, etc.

Now we can move on and define a “Primary” account is. Any OS password, bank account, paypal, or any login that would have a financial impact if broken into should be considered primary. If you are a web admin or had a weblog I would also consider any of those accounts to be primary for the simple reason that if someone deletes all the content, you would lose both time and money recreating it not to mention sentimental value. Last but not least I also include your principal e-mail password in this primary group.

“Secondary” systems are various secondary e-mail addresses, logins for signing up at websites, message boards, e-mail lists passwords are all less likely to need as much attention as your primary accounts.

Now that you are confused, lets start with the “Secondary” systems passwords. I would recommend that you get a very hard to break password and just stick to it for all of the secondary accounts. Most of them you are seldom going to use and you do not want to make them hard to remember by having a stream of unimportant emails. We need your time and effort dedicated to primary accounts. So once you have come up with a general “Secondary” account password stick to it and just keep on using it. Besides if it is ever broken you do not use it for anything of much importance.

Your “Primary” accounts passwords are the most important. For them to be secure they should be changed periodically and they also has to be hard to break. This poses the first problem. How am I going to change my password all the time and not remember it? Most people don’t change their passwords as often as they should because of this reason, fear of forgetting the password. Some people have never changed their password from their original one used. Here are some simple tips on building passwords that are not easy to break and you can always remember them.

Never use personal information. The first trap many people fall into is using their child’s name, or their pet’s name. Worse is to use someone’s birthday. If someone wants to guess your password, this is exactly where someone is going to go for information. Most of the time when someone is trying to obtain a password they go to personal information right after they have exhausted commonly used passwords such as secret, password, love, god, or a four-letter word. Also never use number only streams, 1234 or your phone number, all of which are not good passwords.

The first step in building a good password is to go ahead and use your favorite things, but in a slightly different way. Lets take your favorite number. I know I just said not to use number streams but we are going to mix numbers and letters to build better passwords so just stay with me. So let’s say that your favorite number is 1. Use that number but in combination with others. For example, the password at your work has to be changed every month. Use your favorite number and add it to the month of the year, so now you have a variation in your arsenal for building the password. You will always be able to remember your favorite number and the current month. Another thing besides adding it is just using it, so for this month you could use 7 or 16.

The second pieces of the puzzle are your word streams. Here is where it gets fun. Use your guilty pleasures, like that movie that you love secretly but are too embarrassed to tell others. Things like this will make awesome password character streams. Other useful words to mix into your streams are trivial things like that pop bottle that sits on your desk all the time. For different websites your trivial word can also be related to the action, so for your bank your trivial word could be penny or the first word that comes to your mind when you hear the word bank. So if I were to change my password this month I would have used rounders7pop for a password as an example. It is not excellent, but it is a lot better than some of the passwords that some people use.

Third step is to use numbers for letter replacement. Some simple ones are Zero for O, 3 for E and 4 for A. Using this method you make your passwords a little stronger, my password for the moth just became r0und3rs7p0p. You can always take this method further and make the replacement your own, like you always replace P with 2 no logical reason for it.

Fourth step in our strategy is to use capital letters mixed in. Some systems do not allow it but if they do use it. I like using capital letters in the place of spaces would go, also at the beginning and ending of the stream. So my password is now R0und3rs7PoP. A little bit harder to crack, easy to remember and probably not as simple as the ones that you already might have used before. To me, coming up with passwords is fun, something I enjoy. There are random password generators out there that you can also use to come up with even better passwords, the problem I have with them is that most people do not memorize them but rather write them down which in most environments defeats the purpose of having a password.

My last tip is to use special characters when the system allows it, and & * or % can go a long way into making a password. The two most important things to remember is to make it something that no one can guess, and of course something you will not forget!

Disclaimer, these are only tips and I am not at all responsible for your security. You are free to use the ideas contained in this guide, as you see fit. I am just trying to help people that might not change their passwords out, not trying to tell people what to do.

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