Do you spend hours reading computer displays each day? Does this tire your eyes? Me too. So I’m on a mission to find a device on which I can read anything. Ideally, it should be:
as easy on my eyes as a paperback book
as portable and convenient as a paperback book
simple to read for any kind of format
simple and free to get reading material onto the device
I tried reading anything on a second generation Kindle. The e-ink screen is easy on my eyes and Kindles are great for reading novels. But the software has many shortcomings for reading other material such as PDFs or long articles on the web. I devoted considerable effort to making my Kindle overcome these shortcomings, but in the end decided to try a more flexible device lacking an E-ink display.
Enter the iPod touch, 4th generation (or iPhone 4), with double the screen resolution of prior models. Reading with the “Retina Display” is easy on my eyes and the software makes reading a breeze for a surprisingly wide range of reading material.
The iPod touch 4G works well for reading. It works so well for me that I stopped using my Kindle and sold it. Read on for details, including many tips along the way for using an iPod for reading.
Last year I wrote about the five most popular browsers, and how keeping your browser up to date helps speed, security, reliability, and compatibility (here). My order of preference in 2009 was Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer (IE), Chrome, and Safari.
NOTE: In 2015 I posted a more current comparison of the latest browser versions, Best Browsers . . .
In 2010, the same five browsers continue to dominate the market, but my order of preference has changed. Why?
On May 21, 2010, Skyrock informed users of their social network and blogging platform to change passwords (mots de passe), because of an intrusion detected on May 19. Skyrock does not know what the intruder accomplished. If the password list was stolen, then the passwords of all 32 million users were compromised because they were stored as plaintext.
What should you do if you are a Skyrock user? What should you do if you are not a Skyrock user?
If you’re like most home computer users, you use the same 2 or 3 passwords for your various accounts and your passwords are easy to crack. As you keep reading news reports about hacked accounts and stolen identities, you think you should do something about your passwords, but you keep putting it off.
Like personal security, password management is something most people don’t think much about until after something bad happens. Unfortunately, the Internet is not secure. Just as you need to be “street wise” when venturing onto streets, you need to be “net wise” – especially with passwords – when venturing onto the Internet. Because, like it or not, your passwords are currently the main barrier between you and the bad guys.
Most password management advice seems designed to torture you as opposed to help you. For the average Joe with average security needs, password management advice needs to be simple and usable, not just secure. Luckily, there is a reasonably secure form of password management that is simple and usable. Here it is:
There are dozens of password managers, including some built into browsers. Many of them do the basic job you need, which is to use a master password and strong encryption to securely store your passwords. More important than selecting the “best” password manager is to use such software wisely. I describe how to use a password manager here (basics and index to password series) and here (tips).
If you’re already using and liking a password manager not mentioned in this post, by all means keep using it so long as it offers master password protection in combination with strong encryption. While most password managers offer password import and export functions, the actual practice of switching password managers and learning a new one is cumbersome.
However, if you’re selecting a password manager for the first time or dissatisfied with your current password manager, you may as well benefit from my efforts to identify the best password managers for individuals. My efforts included extensive use of two password managers and poring through hundreds of reviews, forums, and comments about many others.
In the first post of this series, I describe four steps to secure your passwords with a password manager. This post describes a number of additional tips for using your password manager software most effectively. The “Tips for Standard Use” section is for everyone. The “Tips for Extra Password Security” section is for those who need additional security, with less regard for convenience.
I’ve read dozens of tutorials and guides on how to manage passwords. I dislike most of them for the simple reason that they are far too cumbersome to implement and have you memorize a dozen or more rules without telling you why. The only way an average person will use secure passwords is if it doesn’t take up too much time and attention. Here are a few pieces of advice on password management dissected and dismissed:
Many people don’t understand how easy it is for attackers to take advantage of weak passwords, and therefore don’t use a password manager or other means to make their passwords stronger. This post describes 9 common ways passwords get captured, roughly ordered from most to least common. Proper use of a password manager can thwart some of these attacks and limit damages from most other types of attacks.
According to various studies, most people use the same few passwords for all of their accounts, most of these passwords are weak, and many people don’t realize how weak their passwords are. Using the same 2 or 3 passwords for many accounts is analogous to storing all of your keys under the outside doormat of your locked front door – it doesn’t take much effort for a thief to have access to everything.
In this post, I describe the typical home user system for managing passwords and how attackers exploit this system.