Monday, November 16, 2009


Got my Wave invitation. Now I have to figure out what to do with it. Any idaas?

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Series of Fortunate Events

It's a bit dark in the mornings these days to break out the camera and provide visual evidence of how gorgeous it is. Not that that's anything new to the huge number of readers I have the pleasure of counting as my audience. I have really nice camera, but I just can't seem to stop myself while riding long enough to take pictures. Maybe one day I'll learn to slow down and enjoy the views a bit more. Maybe some day I'll come up with a safe way to store the camera so that it's easily accessible.

Until then, my flowery language will have to suffice.

At better than 60°F this morning, cloudy and just slightly damp, it was a truly spectacular 5 mile ride in to work.

I couldn't have driven even if I'd wanted to, as my car is in the shop getting it's transmission and fuel system flushed, a tire repaired, and some drying and cracking belt that apparently runs lots of really important systems replaced.

Would I have driven? Maybe. I might have driven and brought with me a week's worth of clothes so I didn't have to pack each day. Then I would have driven again on Friday to take it all back home. This is an odd week, though... Nov. 11th is a holiday, and I have an early morning meeting on the 12th I have to drive in for. It'd be a weird week anyway. So I probably would have just packed the three days I'll be riding and called it good.

What's the real point of this post though? Even though my car is in the shop, I was able to easily make it to work without relying directly on anyone else, using skills and techniques that I've developed myself. We won't get into the hair splitting exercise that I do, in fact, rely on countless people, including bike manufacturers, road crews, clothing designers and manufacturers, programmers, etc. We'll just leave it with the idea that this morning, I got here on my own power.

In the end, I'm fortunate in that I don't require my car at work today, but I'm prepared in that I don't require my car to get to work. The gorgeous weather just adds icing to an already fortunately well-prepared day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pay-As-You-Go Auto Insurance

Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner of California released regulations permitting and authorizing mileage verification for pay-as-you-drive. The idea being that Californians won't drive as much if they pay-per-mile.

Spokesmen from a few Insurance companies, including State Farm and Allstate, have stated that they are considering pay-per-mile auto insurance but haven't decided whether or not it'll actually become a reality.

With the economy being the way it is, getting a...

Read More
Is it just me, or would this be of great benefit to those of us who ride our bikes as much as, if not more than, we drive?

I can hear the detractors now, though... "Pay your fair share of the road costs! Register your bike so you have a right to the road just like we do!" Bah. As if insurance payments go to road maintenance.

I wonder if, after a year on a pay-as-you-go plan, they'd be willing to go the same route as utility companies who offer "Budget Billing" rates based on the average of your last 12 months?

Yay! Another Car Story — But Much Happier!

"Hi Readers — When you get right down to it, a lot of Free-Range Kids ends up being a plea for more community. More helping each other, more trusting each other, even more hanging out with each other. And here is a story of just that: A brief glimpse of how nice it is when [...]
When zero-discretion policies and accurate risk calculus collide we have... common sense. This story is remarkable by the very fact that it's unremarkable.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mental Password Algorithms

Security rule #1 regarding passwords is to not write them down. But we all have too many passwords to possibly remember. Here is a way to safely write down passwords.

All that's needed is a way to make the password you write down NOT be your real password, but be the input to a simple algorithm or mapping you can do in your head.

For example, your personal algorithm could be "remove all vowels and tack on the last 4 digits of my parent's phone number". When you sign up for a new account on some web site, you would create a password like "Rnbws8004" but what you write down is "Rainbows". Or your algorithm could be, "interleave the digits 4 2 0 3 between the consonants, eliminate the vowels, and put x's on the front and back", in which case you would set up the real password to be "xR4ain2b0ow3sx", but (as before) you would write down Rainbows.

You can't memorize 100 passwords, but you can remember one algorithm. If you never write down the algorithm, it is safe to write down the "seed" for the algorithm as if it is the password.

The key to doing this securely is to have an algorithm that's complex / odd enough no one can guess it or discover it by random testing. E.g. if your algorithm is "put 123 on the end", it's not safe.