I have been pwned!

Yesterday a friend came to me in a rather vehement state of frenzy because people were getting spam from his email account. A quick trip to haveibeenpwned confirmed that, indeed, his email address was listed in recently discovered breaches. Fortunately, his password had not been compromised so the damage was relatively minor. But when I checked my own “low security” password that I still use in a number of places, the test was positive. This means that a hacker could just waltz into those accounts and order ukuleles that I don’t want, or impersonate me in some forgotten forum that nevertheless still has followers (including the FBI), and get me into a heap of trouble. So I decided to change all of those passwords and get it over with. Read on if you’re curious as to what happened. The picture should give you a hint. Read More

PassLok Chat for All

For quite a while now PassLok Chat has been one of the ways you can set up a real-secure real-time online meeting. This was done through the Chat option in PassLok, which generated an encrypted link to PassLok Chat. But now you can also enjoy PassLok Chat without the encryption step. This little app will generate a new chat link every time you click its “Make Chat” button, without asking you for any  passwords or accounts of any kind. Share the link to enjoy free, unlimited, direct peer-to-peer conferencing without any accounts or servers in-between.

Here’s the link again: https://passlok.com/chat Read More

VideoSkip.org is live!

VideoSkip, my video-editing app written during the COVID-19 lockdown, was in need of a nice domain for a while, especially now that it’s gaining some popularity. Because it is based on a not-for-profit community effort, I thought a .org domain was most appropriate. But, alas, videoskip.org was already taken, so I had to make it do with videoskip.net. This is no longer necessary because the previous owner of videoskip.org, Jeremy Plsek, has been kind enough to transfer it to us at no cost, since he’s wasn’t using it. Here’s a big thanks to Jeremy, on the right, the first donor to the VideoSkip effort. And there’s more to it; read on if you want to know. Read More

Fastest way to learn the ukulele

If you have been following this blog, you certainly know that I’ve been kind of crazy about the ukulele for the last three years (though perhaps not as much as George Harrison, in the picture). Now, locked up at home because of the coronavirus pandemic and with more ukuleles within reach than cats in the home of a British spinster (no relation to George), I’ve finally sort of put it together, perhaps for your enjoyment and even moderate edification. The result is no less than what I believe to be the fastest route to learning to play an instrument at a mature age. It may come in handy for the many folks who, perhaps because they comb white hairs already, are in no hurry to leave their hiding holes and breathe the (arguably pathogen-laden) fresh air. Read More

How “high” is your ukulele?

Well-known fact: the standard-tuned ukulele is pitched higher than a guitar. In fact, one of the ways you can get a ukulele of sorts from a guitar is by putting a capo on the 5th fret (and avoiding strings 5 and 6). But did you know that there are other ukulele tunings, some of which are higher, while others are lower? In this article, I try to put some order in this mess, coming along the way with a number that might help you decide how to tune your ukulele. Read More

Using PassLok with video meeting apps

Like many of you, I’ve spent several weeks locked up “working” from home, which I’m putting in quotes because it does feel quite a bit different. One of my favorite helpers is Zoom meetings, because it’s so easy to use. But apparently it’s not so secure when it comes to holding confidential meetings and conversations. I’ve researched a few alternatives, and in this post I show you how you can combine them with my own PassLok in order to achieve a moderately secure connection. I actually started writing this before updating PassLok Chat to version 2 (this is the real-time conferencing solution built into PassLok and compatible apps), so I had no particular interest in promoting one method over another, including PassLok’s built-in conferencing. Read More

PassLok Chat version 2 released

These days, lots of people are communicating with each other via video conferencing, but it seems a number of popular video conferencing services are less than secure. Zoom, in particular, has come under a lot of fire recently because of the ease with which interlopers can get into ongoing meetings. You probably know that PassLok has had its own way to create secure chats for quite a while, but now it has been completely redesigned for version 2. This version works more reliably than before, and now includes the option to initiate Jitsi chats. Read More