Grandpa’s Navigation

When I was little, I thought my grandpa had installed an advanced navigational system in his car. This was crazy, as it was the 70's. Not only did we not have computers, we didn't even have LED screens. Heck, even the radio was a twist-dial that only got AM! Nevertheless, when GPS was developed a... Continue Reading →

I was just sitting there …

As an IT manager, I'm constantly summoned to coworkers' desks when things unexpectedly go wrong. Roughly 90% of the time, their saga begins with, "I was just sitting there and all of a sudden it did this ..." I usually sigh, give them a long look, and remind myself that they  believe this is true.... Continue Reading →

Pretty, sexy, and smart

One misstep of modern feminism is that we keep trying to make women choose between being smart and being pretty; we've all but stopped acknowledging that someone can be both. I'd like to present a new role model for today's young ladies: Hedy Lamarr. If you're under 50, you've probably never heard of her, but... Continue Reading →

Loving the Enigma

It's not like I'm pro-Nazi, please understand, but I am an unabashed supporter of their Enigma machine. It should have worked. It would have been infallible, if only ... The Enigma was their name for the message-encoding device that they created, and it was a cryptographer's dream - slick, fast, and mesmerizingly complex. Anyone who... Continue Reading →

Digital Languages

I like to tell people that I'm semi-fluent in several languages (Hang on, don't be too impressed - the sentence isn't finished yet), if you count computer codes. I lost you there, didn't I? I've never been able to convince anyone that "speaking" a computer language is the same as any other. My Spanish IV... Continue Reading →

The Electric Donut

Long after all the other 80s phrases (your "gag me"s, your "tubular"s) have faded from my vernacular, there is one innately 80s saying that I still try to inject into conversation: "I've got my quarter up." Guys within 5 years above or below my age will give me a sly grin of recognition; from everyone... Continue Reading →

Spam and Gouda, part 2

Monty Python doesn't get much credit for their contribution to technology, but geeks have always loved the Flying Circus. Beyond their help in christening e-mail spam, they (or, rather, the game developers who adored them) also took the first steps to anti-pirating software. Today when you buy a new game (assuming you're still purchasing DVDs... Continue Reading →

Spam and Gouda, part 1

I often hear people ask why unwanted e-mail is called spam. Nobody ever gives the right answer to this. How do I know? Because I was there, kiddies. I remember. Pull up a chair and I'll tell you a story ... a story of a lamer time, when many of us had heard of this... Continue Reading →

Creative Passwords

Swordfish was never clever. Nor was "ABC123" or "LetMeIn." I've talked about the common pitfalls most people fall into when making passwords, and the need to keep just a few distinct passwords going at any time. Now let's talk about creativity. With the need for stronger passwords, we are now forced to use combinations of... Continue Reading →

Spam Prank

I live for April Fool's Day. I make a vow each and every year to find a new way to mess with my coworkers. Sometimes it's way too easy. This isn't strictly an April Fool's prank, but I thought I'd share it. Remember how I told you not to trust IT people? I've known some... Continue Reading →

4 Levels of Passwords

As an IT manager, I store other people's passwords the way a more social person might remember birthdays or phone numbers. This affords me a bit of notoriety as a computer genius whenever the people I work with forget their passwords and have to call me to help them log in once again. Truthfully, though,... Continue Reading →

Password Studies

I collect passwords. After 20-some years in IT, I am fascinated by the passwords people choose. Contrary to most mystery novels who use this device, people almost never have the password written on their desk. But if you know a few details about them, it's not a leap to figure out what they've used. A... Continue Reading →

When Yahoo! Began

This is one of those sentences that makes me sound like an old geezer, but ... Back in my day, Yahoo! was only a few dozen pages. Yep, back in the mid-90s there was no Google, no Bing. Before they came around, Yahoo! and AOL were the starting point for anything on the internet. And... Continue Reading →

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