Password advice in the wake of Heartbleed

I’ve seen a lot of bad password advice lately. Guessing passwords is just too easy for a computer to do, especially as they get more and more powerful. Formulas are bad, but unavoidable, so here’s what I recommend if you’re not going to use a password manager creating completely random passwords: Unverifiable (or difficult to … Read more

Clean your air conditioner at home

Last week I had to get an air conditioner serviced. The air conditioner was cooling fairly well, but struggling to keep up on hot days when it had kept up just fine last year. So I bit the bullet and paid $79 for a cleaning and health check. In the process I learned it’s possible to clean your air conditioner at home. And save a bundle.

I also learned is that a cleaning can make the difference between running all day and being able to maintain a comfortable temperature while cycling. So cleaning the air conditioner makes it more comfortable and more efficient, saving you money. I also learned that the most important part of the cleaning is something you can do yourself, very easily. If your air conditioner isn’t under warranty anymore, you can save the $79, which adds up.

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Rogue IT people and how to avoid hiring them

Computerworld published a scare piece on rogue IT people.

Linuxplanet countered with a piece that was about equal parts substance and hand-waving. I found myself mostly agreeing with the Linuxplanet piece, but was disappointed it didn’t go deeper into the counter-arguments.

I’ve been on both sides of this.

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Marley and Me

My wife and I watched Marley and Me tonight. Good movie. Not as good as the book, of course. But I think they did a good job of adapting it to the screen.

I guess the book and movie hit me on three levels, rather than just two. I’m a parent, I have a Labrador Retriever, and I went to school to try to be John Grogan. That last part didn’t quite work out, but that world just doesn’t seem to exist anymore, not with a major newspaper closing its doors pretty much every week now.

Fathers: Give your family a gift this Father’s Day weekend

I’m sitting here watching NBC’s tribute to Tim Russert tonight. Although he was famous for being the biggest political guru of his generation, he was also the author of two books, both about fatherhood.

He died today of a heart attack. He was only 58.

I would have liked to have asked my dad what to do to minimize the risk of heart attack. Being a doctor, he should know. But I can’t. He died of a heart attack in 1994, age 51.

The quest for BBQ in St. Louis takes me to Smokin’ Al’s

I’ve written many times before about my never-ending search for BBQ in St. Louis. It’s a lot easier to find now than it was 10 years ago. And, although it’s still not up to Kansas City standards, I do have to say it’s getting better.

This weekend’s adventure took me to Smokin’ Al’s, which is on Hampton, just north of I-44 and south of U.S. 40, within earshot of Forest Park. It’s in the city, so be sure to pack your concealed weapons.

I’m kidding. That part of St. Louis is safe, and Smokin’ Al’s seems to be popular with the police anyway. But what’s it like?

A taste of… Missouri, I guess

I have no idea how much of this stuff is available outside of St. Louis, and I don’t normally write about what I ate for dinner because it bores me to tears when other people do it, but an idea came to me as I walked down the aisles at the local grocery store, and I think it’s a pretty good one.

John Goodman once said in a Saturday Night Live skit that there are three secrets to great barbecue: You need meat, bread, and sauce. He was right.