Write Down Your Passwords - The Right Way

Hm. Bruce Schneier and Microsoft's Jesper Johansson tell us to write down our passwords.

That may sound like a stupid idea, and many years lots of security-minded people tried to educate users not to do that. But I think they have a point. Someone who uses the Internet regularly accumulates a whole bunch of accounts and passwords for all sorts of sites, servers etc. It's simply too hard to remember all of them. Thus far I agree.

But, I don't think writing down passwords on small pieces of paper and carrying those around in your wallet is a particularly good idea. It happens too easy that you lose your wallet, it gets stolen, or you lose the pieces of paper. Not to mention all kinds of social engineering activities, which are simplified a lot by this approach...

I do propose to write your passwords down. But do it in a computer file on a box where you're the only one with an account (your home PC or laptop). Encrypt that file with GnuPG and your're reasonably safe. Every time you need a password, decrypt the file, read and use the password, then wipe the decrypted plain-text file.

No more pieces of paper - help save the environment.

Comments Broken

I somehow managed to break the comment submission feature, i.e. nobody could post comments here. Should be fixed again now. If you posted a comment and it didn't appear on the site until now, it was lost. Please resubmit.

Sorry for the mess.

Free Software and Motivation

Thomas Breitner has released his (German) thesis "Freie Software - Motivation und Engagement" which examines the motives of Free Software developers for working on Free Software.

It features a good historical introduction of the Free Software movement in general and discusses topics such as geeks, nerds, hacking etc. The main part is about the social aspects, though, especially motivation and commitment in the Free Software community.

The results of four interviews with famous Free Software developers are a major part of the thesis. There developers are:

I'm through half of the thesis now and really recommend reading it, as it gives some interesting insights into the social aspects of Free Software development.

(via Harald Welte's blog)

Holy Cow!

# apt-get update && apt-get install cowsay

# cowsay "Cowsay is a pretty funny program. I mean,
it generates talking cows -- how could it get any cooler?"
 ________________________________________
/ Cowsay is a pretty funny program. I    \
| mean, it generates talking cows -- how |
\ could it get any cooler?               /
 ----------------------------------------
        \   ^__^
         \  (oo)\_______
            (__)\       )\/\
                ||----w |
                ||     ||

# cowsay -p "OK. A paranoid cow would be cooler."
 _____________________________________
< OK. A paranoid cow would be cooler. >
 -------------------------------------
        \   ^__^
         \  (@@)\_______
            (__)\       )\/\
                ||----w |
                ||     ||

# cowsay -f bunny "Did you know there's lots of other animals
you can draw with cowsay? Have a look at /usr/share/cowsay/cows
and use the -f option. There are even web frontends and a Wikipedia
article for cowsay..."
 ________________________________________
/ Did you know there's lots of other     \
| animals you can draw with cowsay? Have |
| a look at /usr/share/cowsay/cows and   |
| use the -f option. There are even web  |
| frontends and a Wikipedia article for  |
\ cowsay...                              /
 ----------------------------------------
  \
   \   \
        \ /\
        ( )
      .( o ).

# cowsay -f dragon-and-cow 'OK sucker, now stop drawing cows and get some work done!'
 ______________________________________
/ OK sucker, now stop drawing cows and \
\ get some work done!                  /
 --------------------------------------
                       \                    ^    /^
                        \                  / \  // \
                         \   |\___/|      /   \//  .\
                          \  /O  O  \__  /    //  | \ \           *----*
                            /     /  \/_/    //   |  \  \          \   |
                            @___@`    \/_   //    |   \   \         \/\ \
                           0/0/|       \/_ //     |    \    \         \  \
                       0/0/0/0/|        \///      |     \     \       |  |
                    0/0/0/0/0/_|_ /   (  //       |      \     _\     |  /
                 0/0/0/0/0/0/`/,_ _ _/  ) ; -.    |    _ _\.-~       /   /
                             ,-}        _      *-.|.-~-.           .~    ~
            \     \__/        `/\      /                 ~-. _ .-~      /
             \____(oo)           *.   }            {                   /
             (    (--)          .----~-.\        \-`                 .~
             //__\\  \__ Ack!   ///.----..<        \             _ -~
            //    \\               ///-._ _ _ _ _ _ _{^ - - - - ~
(a web frontend, another web frontend, Wikipedia article)

Six Steps to a Good Guinness

Guinness
Cup of Coffee

Alan Clinton's Guide For The Un-Initated To Buying Guinness In An Irish Pub lists six essential steps for enjoying a good Guinness.

Unfortunately (as it's past midnight), I haven't got a pint of Guinness at my disposal right now, so I'll have to content myself with a cup of coffee, I guess... At the moment, caffeine is probably better than alcohol anyways, as I'm into some serious hacking this night...

(via del.icio.us)

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