Some things you’re not allowed to do in Peter and Paul’s Fortress

When I visited Things you’re not allowed to do in Peter and Paul’s Fortress, St.Petersburg, back in 2006, there was a list of things you weren’t allowed to do.

Can you work out what they are?

Things you're not allowed to do in Peter and Paul's Fortress, St.Petersburg
Things you’re not allowed to do in Peter and Paul’s Fortress, St.Petersburg

Who can guess your security question?

I was recently importing some legacy mail accounts of mine out of their silos on assorted free webmail sites.

In fact, I was stunned to find that some of my Hotmail addresses still had email in them and figured that it was probably worth keeping, if only for the amusement value of “this is what a phishing attack looked like in 2007″ or “this is what microsoft couldn’t work out was spam in 2005″.

Anyway, I had trouble getting into one of the accounts so I went through the password reset functionality. My security question was:

Food you’ve always liked: _______

To my surprise, I got it right first try.

I asked my flatmate if he knew the answer to this question and he got it right on first attempt too.

The answer was:

pizza

Original right?

13 year old me just got a slap across both wrists. Just think, someone could have had access to a inbox of spam and a MSN account of people I don’t like. The horrors!

This does highlight an important point though, if there’s a password reset functionality on an account, it’s just as important to audit that for weak answers as it is to audit passwords themselves.

Footnote:
Another account of mine had this gem:
Q: do i need a Security Question?
A: no i can guess my password

Happy Valentines Day – xkcd loves you!

Woo, it’s Valentines day!

(also known as “single people be lonely day“, “puke at people’s facebook status day“, “don’t try to eat out at a this evening resturant day“, “bad colour schemes day” and a plethora of other things!)

xkcd can, once again, neatly sum up my take on it:

The worst resolution to the Valentine Prisoner's Dilemma when YOU decide not to give your partner a present but your PARTNER decides to testify against you in the armed robbery case.
(c) xkcd 2012 - CC-BY-NC 2.5

This is what I was thinking again and again:

I don’t want to be a consumer tool or and Inconsiderate jerk.

Of course, once you’ve got to that point, you’ve already overthought the whole thing, panicked, and stapled your hand to your face, again. Gah. I must stop doing that!

The hysteria begins: OMG WTF SNOW!!

As my Facebook and twitter feeds are filled with people apparently trying to make sure that all of their friends are aware it has snowed, and the news networks busily rolling out stories which imply that 3 inches of snow will be the most historic event (of the last 6 months) and that this is the second most cold 4th of February since 1996, I think Charlie Brooker can put things into perspective for us a bit:

Charlie Brooker: Newswipe 2010

Reality TV for [almost] sane people: Tallafornia Swipe

I want to apologise in advance. If reality TV – even if someone is satirising it – isn’t your thing, stop reading now.

Tallafornia is Ireland’s answer to Jersey Shore. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, I suggest you save your soul, stop reading and go to a happy place right now. Tallafornia is a reality TV show that packs a load of perma-tanned, “good looking” airheads into a house, injects them with alcohol and then shows the results on national TV for “entertainment”. It’s shite-TV. Other series in the same genre include Geordie Shore and The Only Way Is Essex.

However, two talk show hosts, Peter Ganley and Chris Greene have done their own, not very complementary, commentary for Tallafornia.

Take a look:

Tallafornia Swipe

They’re promising to do every episode releasing one just four days after the show airs. Let’s how TV3 doesn’t start branding them “pirates” and issuing Youtube with takedown notices eh?

You can follow updates on their Youtube Channel (and twitter and facebook)

Hackers and Repetition

Sometimes reddit throws up some fantastic stuff about life and work.

Repetitive tasks
Repetitive tasks

This graph really highlights what’s frequently referred to as the first hacker virtue “Laziness”. Instead of being content to do a task manually, they want to sit around and do less of that, thus the second hacker virtue “Impatience” comes in to play. The hacker gets impatient with the repetitiveness of the task and thus automates it – a time vs tasks trade off. They should recieve less “tasks” in the long term but there is an upfront cost in terms of time and effort.

Of course, this is a big simplification, and I feel like I’m botching an explanation – you can read more about all that here.

Anyway, go away and automate something. If that’s not in your capabilities, consider learning.