This may not be for every amateur musician out there, but I’m sure there are some that have felt quite frustrated over the apparent inability to have a guitar or uke that will sound like anything else (for a reasonable budget) and still be playable. Sure, you can always add a Fishman or Roland Midi pickup to an electric guitar for a lot of dough, only to find that they work well only for fingerpicking but not for strumming (the essence of uke playing) because of lag or inability to pick up every single string. Well, I think I finally licked it, and quite inexpensively. You can see it at right. The yellow tape on the “strings,” which is quite optional, is a simple tactile aid so I can use only strings 1 through 4 for ukulele playing. Read More
The old chicken and egg problem, with music. Chances are you already knew that the ukulele, that little guitar that people use for accompanying Hawaiian and pop music, as well as a lot of pieces from the Tin Pan Alley era, was born in the late XIX century, when some Portuguese luthiers landed in Hawaii. So obviously the ukulele derives from the guitar. But did you know that before guitar existed there was an instrument that looked very, very much like a ukulele? See what the angel in the picture is playing. Read More
I’ve written six songs within the last week or so, keeping a full-time job and living an otherwise fairly normal life. I don’t claim they are any good, only that they were surprisingly easy to make. In this article I give you a blow by blow account of how this happened, the tools I used, and the process I followed. Maybe you’ll find something that will uncork your own creativity. Read More
I’m not Australian, but I can’t help putting in my two (US) cents’ worth on the current debate over the “Assistance and Access Bill.” My point is that the bill has no teeth since it is possible for any citizen (terrorist or not) to use encryption that the bill will never be able to control. It has been possible for years and will remain so for the foreseeable future. So might as well drop the bill and do some productive business. Read More
They say that “high tension” strings pull harder on the neck of a guitar than “normal” or “light” tension. You have tested tension with your fingers and indeed some strings seem to have more tension than others, but how much, exactly? How can I tell whether the tension of one of my strings is too high or too low? I’ve run into this sort of discussion in several forums (like this one, or this other one, or still this one) and nobody seems to have the answer, yet you know that “your fingers tell you.” In this article, I translate that qualitative method into one that will give you a pretty accurate number, and explain the math behind it. Read More
They say that the formula for Coca-Cola is split among the company’s executives, so that a certain number of them have to get together in order to reconstruct it. The same is true of the nuclear launch codes, which require several persons to agree. I just ran into a clever way to do this with pencil and paper, and couldn’t resist improving on it. Read More
This post is motivated by Aaron Toponce’s comment on my previous article on the release of SynthPass. Rather than giving a short reply, I decided this was the opportunity to explain certain features of my recently released SynthPass password generator. In essence, the comment said that password generators will never be appealing to consumers because of certain flaws emanating from their very nature, which are aptly described in this article, entitled “4 fatal flaws in deterministic password managers,” published November 2016 in Tony Arcieri’s blog.
PassLok Privacy, PassLok for Email, SeeOnce, and URSA, both in their standalone and extension versions, have all been updated. Besides the usual bug squashing, there are two more significant enhancements:
- Fewer errors, which now cause the programs to return to the user rather than interrupt execution. A subtle but maybe important difference, especially for the extensions.
- Enhanced password/Key entry. The “Show” checkbox is gone, replaced by a standard “eye” icon on the right of the box. There is also a mnemonic “Hashili” word accompanying the strength score, so users can be reassured that they typed their password or Key correctly.
Read more for a fuller description of Hashili. Read More
September 2018. You see your user ID listed as having its login compromised in a recent hack. You know you need to change your password but don’t don’t want to (or just can’t) remember yet another different one. Everybody is talking about password managers as the way to go, but you also heard about password generators, which make passwords on the fly rather than store them. You suspect that’s better than a conventional password manager. Read More
Chances are you, like me, have a collection of logins, each with their separate requirements for password strength and lifetime, user ID, and so forth, and your memory has already reached the saturation point. Since writing them on a piece of paper is a no-no, you may have resorted to a password manager. There are many good ones, even free ones, but you still wonder if things could be a little easier. If you are thinking this, SynthPass is for you. It does not work like the other password managers, which store your logins more or less securely, but rather gets around the whole problem by not storing your passwords.
Intrigued? Read on… Read More