Chris Onstad’s Holiday Greeting

“Awesome” A Blog.: Happy New Year 2007.

But lets not dwell on the bad stuff. You’ll never see it. UPS took it back. My little girl is almost two. Those who are parents know well enough how that feels. The scaffolding of language, the surprise when imagination shows up out of nowhere. Those who aren’t parents can sit around in their smoky apartments and drink corporate beer; I wont act better than you. You can wear your pants and talk about cable television shows with your single friends. Thats good, thats fine. You’re hardcore, you spent $63 on vodka tonics last night. I have a kid, and I walk around in running shoes and jeans. My t-shirt often has the name of her pre-school on the front. Do I look soft? You bet. Am I soft? Charge past me the next time I’m trying to enter a crosswalk with my stroller. I WILL flip your Saab 9-3 like a turtle. You think I care if a car is upside down? Watch me buy a bagel, from your upside-down car. Watch me eat the bagel, and share some with my kid. A guy with a stroller wants nothing more than to flip cars with his bare hands. Bonus if there are people inside. Lets move on. I can also flip your Saab lengthwise if the timing is right.

Generate Password

I am terrible with passwords. I probably have less than a half dozen passwords in total for all the various site memberships and stuff in my life. (That’s not counting work stuff — I keep work passwords completely separate from personal passwords.)

There’s one particular “not very secure” password that’s a variation of an ancient unix password dating from the early 90s which I use for any random two-bit messageboard I sign up to, and then there’s a slightly more secure password for more serious stuff, and a couple extras for situations where those don’t apply for some reason.

It’s a crappy system and I use it only because I am too lazy to do it right. I suspect a lot of people are like that.

Well, some brilliant dude came up with an easy way to do it a lot closer to “right.”

Here’s the scheme: you think up one decent “master” password. You never use that password directly for anything. When you need a new password for a site, you plug that “master” password plus the domain name of the site into a nifty little javascript program which uses the two of them to generate a unique small password (like ‘tf8d83458’), which you don’t have to remember. You don’t have to remember it because that password is made out of the domain name + your master password, you you can recreate it at any moment by plugging the two of those into an appropriate program.

All you have to do is remember your master password, and you can recover your site password instantly whenever you need to, for any site. And nobody has your master password but you.

All the hard work is done for you by the Password Generator, with an easy to use bookmark option. Password Composer is a somewhat slicker version of the same algorithm, with a bookmarklet version, and for Firefox users, a Greasemonkey script and a Firefox Extension version. The two are compatible with each other.

Highly recommended. I’ve begun changing all my passwords to these versions.

Lessig On The New Congress And IP Law

Lawrence Lessig

So is there any hope for such reform from the Democrats? Word from Washington so far: Fat chance. As reported in the LA Times two weeks ago… the crucial House IP subcommittee will be chaired by Hollywood Howard (Berman) — among the most extreme of the IP warriors. It is this committee that largely determines what reform Congress considers. It is the Chairman who picks what voices get heard. And while Berman is a brilliant man — whose brilliance could really have been used in the problems facing the mid-east — his brilliance has not yet been directed towards working out the problems of IP and the Net with any view beyond the narrowest of special interests.This is like making a Congressman from Detroit head of a Automobile Safety sub-committee, or a Senator from Texas head of a Global Warming sub-committee. Are you kidding, Dems? The choice signals clearly the party’s view about the issues, and its view of the “solution”: more of the same. This war — no more successful than President Bush’s war — will continue.

No doubt, there are Net issues beyond copyright — surveillance, net neutrality, etc. But I suggest this choice is an important signal about this party (and I’m afraid, any party). I once asked a senior staffer of a brilliant Senator why the Senator didn’t take a stronger position in favor of Net Neutrality. “No Senator remains a Senator opposing an industry with that much money” was his answer.

And so too here. The Dems have looked at the potential “return” from the activists on the Net. They’ve considered the kids being sued by the industry (including the kids running MySpace, and maybe soon, YouTube), and the kids creating amazing new (but presumptively illegal) mashups and remixes, and they have compared that value to the party with the value promised by Hollywood. Result: the 20th Century continues to rule.

Dems to the Net: “Thanks for the blogs. And please continue to get outraged by MoveOn messages. But don’t think for a second we’re interested in hearing anything beyond the charming wisdom of Jack Valenti. We appreciate your support. We appreciate your money. But come on — you’re all criminals. Don’t expect your criminal ways to be taken seriously by an institution as respected as the US Congress.”

Yeah.  The Democrats may be on the good side of a lot of issues but so far on technological and creative issues they’re pretty much corporate whores.  Disappointing.  There are really no good guys in power on these issues.

As Lessig points out, the irony is that the Democrats have been very well served by the disruptive technologies that they’re lining up to fight.

Seductively Easy, Payday Loans Often Snowball – New York Times

Seductively Easy, Payday Loans Often Snowball – New York Times:

Apparently these are a huge problem in New Mexico. They’re legal around here, and I think it’s a fair gauge of the economic deterioration of a community — the more payday loan places you see in the strip malls, the deeper trouble that neighborhood is in.