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
About a year ago, I added to PassLok and its derivatives a very secure algorithm for image steganography. It was presented at the ForenSecure 2017 conference on cybersecurity and forensics, but I just dawned on me that I didn’t post anything about it on this blog, for those who may not have attended that conference. I believe that, one year later, this method is still the reigning world champion for image steganography. This article explains how it works, hopefully in a form that is easy to understand, and includes a sample program and some sample results. Read More
You’ve been hearing seemingly forever that electric cars are the future, that they are inevitable because they solve so many problems, and probably feel guilty to be driving an old, dirty, gasoline vehicle. Leaving aside the fact that there is a quite high-tech combustion technology coming down the pike, this article hopefully will help put things in context and filter out much of the propaganda you’re being bombarded with by considering some physical facts that anyone has access to. Read More
Let’s face it, a lot of chords on the guitar are quite hard. Take, for instance F on the guitar, equivalent to Bb on the ukulele, which requires a barre and a lot of pressure on all strings. What’s worse, F is a very frequent chord in the very common keys of C and F. In this post, I tell you a trick that professionals use (well, at least the Beatles did) but don’t talk much about. Read More