Wednesday, 26 January 2005

National Geographic: Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy

"Scientists have begun blurring the line between human and animal by producing chimeras—a hybrid creature that's part human, part animal..."

Makes me uncomfortable when I think about it for more than ten seconds. Anyone else feel the same?



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Random Stuff
Wednesday, 26 January 2005 21:31:20 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 25 January 2005

Johan van Rooyen's Really Learn Spanish weblog includes a series of MP3 podcasts geared toward people who want to learn the Spanish language in the real world. I've just subscribed.

"A series of podcasts aimed at helping you in your efforts to learn Spanish using unconventional techniques I developed during the seven years I spent in Spain teaching English and learning Spanish."

Interviews, pronunciation explanations, and suggestions for how to learn all combine to help you grow in your acquisition of the language.

Very cool use of the delivery mechanism, and great content to boot. It will be interesting to listen to this new series over time. As of the time of this writing, Johan had released three installments in the podcast series.

(via blogyourway.com)



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Random Stuff
Tuesday, 25 January 2005 22:33:46 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Mt. St. Helens continues to rumble and spew steam and ash, and Portland, Oregon radio station 1190 KEX posted a news story today with audio from the instrumentation used to monitor and listen to the mountain as it continues it's activity.



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Mt. St. Helens
Tuesday, 25 January 2005 21:58:17 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Presenting to a group? Always disable your Instant Messenger client before you start with your desktop on the projection screen. (via Mitch Ratcliffe)

Another useful tip: Never, ever use your live email client on the screen during a presentation. That XXX Porn Superstore spam email will almost certainly be the first thing on the screen when you bring it up in front of the whole company during your demo... (I know this from personal experience)



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Random Stuff
Tuesday, 25 January 2005 18:07:15 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Google has launched their Google Video Search, which lets you search through what appear to be transcripts from television shows for any terminology you woudl typically use in your Google searches.

For example, click here to search for "blogosphere" and you can click through and see where the term was used on television in recent weeks.

Cool stuff, especially if you're looking for coverage and use of key terms or names:

You get the idea.



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Tech
Tuesday, 25 January 2005 07:40:31 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 24 January 2005

I had to change one of my passwords today (good security practices and all that), and with the recent discussions around the 'net concerning using passphrases in place of passwords, I decided to go full tilt and start using passphrases on this account rather than passwords.

One of the great things about passphrases is that they can be quite long and secure, yet easy to type and remember. For example, I could use either of these as a secure passphrase that more than meets all the security requirements of a Windows standard password-complexity template:

Is this my nifty-difty passphrase?

   - or -

Wow yo thats a really cool Red Radio you have there!

Of course, I could also be more paranoid (and in real life I am) by using something like "Is this my nyftie-dyftie passphraze?" but even with the standard dictionary words, the combination of having to determine the number of words, case, punctuation, order and spacing is a pretty darn complicated task. For more information about effectiveness of passphrases and their complexity, read what Jesper Johanssen wrote on the topic.

I can included spaces and everything - they're part of the passphrase, and the fact that I am using dictionary words works in the case of a passphrase, where they don't really pass muster when using 8-character-minimum passwords.

Passphrases use multiple words or variations, can be out of place and odd, easy to remember and easy to type quickly. The only problem I have had since changing to my new passphrase is remembering that I changed my password at all - I keep typing the old one... It's like writing "2004" on checks, I guess... This, too, shall pass.

Anyhow, I can type my passphrase accurately every single time, very quickly and reliably, so I am happy with that. If I choose a phrase that means something to me at the time, it will be easy to work with until I have to change it again in several weeks. I think it's a good thing - all in all better from a user standpoint than convoluted and hard-to-type passwords.

More on passwords vs. passphrases can be found here. Also, Susan Bradley, who blogs about Small Business Server quite a bit, has some thoughts on the subject and some policy configuration information (via Adam Field).



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IT Security | Tech
Monday, 24 January 2005 21:52:42 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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