Topic number one – PASSWORDS

We all have them, we all use them, most of us don’t like them very much. Those of us who work in technology have even more complex relationships with them.

My opinion is that we’ve not handled passwords very well. And, that their value as security mechanism is continuing to diminish.

All sorts of “worst password” lists are compiled annually. Here’s a link to one that I do NOT vouch for or control the content on –

Passwords I still see at least once a month being used for something technology related –

– password
– password123
– default
– letmein
– football
– 123456789

If you utilize any of these passwords for any of your devices, accounts, email addresses, etc. I implore you to stop. It’s not even a speck of security.

Without trying (and absolutely failing) to explain mathematical principles like entrophy, I can offer this MOST important piece of advise about passwords –

“The longer the password the better/more secure it is”

There are obviously exceptions to this. An 18 character password that is all the character x is NOT secure, for example. Common phrases or well know quotes will be easy to break.

But, if you choose 4 or 5 words that are not normally associated with each other AND are easy for you to remember then you have a MUCH more secure password. Here’s a visual aid from the excellent online comic xkcd –

Other suggestions are to include things like words from another language, portions of an old locker combination, etc. Avoid public data like SSN, date of birth, high school graduation year, and so on.

We could talk for days about passwords. Usage, theory, how often to change, how to store, etc. This article is meant to provide a basic starting point for people to understand how to choose good passwords to protect things, people, and resources.

Remember – Longer is better and something unique that you can remember!


Technology Times, They Are A Changin’


Everybody doing ok? I know the answer. Not all of us are OK. Not all of us are going to be OK. The world and all of our lives is changing at an incomprehensible pace right now. I’m not sure what to do, or where to be, or how to act, or what to say.

Some of us have kids, all of us have people we love and who love us. I’m a 46 year old, bald, overweight husband and father of 4 boys. I’m lucky. I know others who are not as fortunate as I am. So, I’m going to do what I can to help.

I’ve been paid to deal with technology since 1997. Half my life officially. I know a VERY small slice of this world and some of it not very well. But I know people I can ask, and I’ve ALWAYS liked asking questions.

So, I’m going to start taking about basics in technology. Passwords, wifi, online shopping, security, etc. These are important topics to understand at a basic level in order to protect you, your money/assets, and your family. The current resources I am aware of are boring, outdated, and generally dis interesting to me.

I’m not sure how often I’ll post about things, but I’ll do as many topics as I can. And I promise to do the best job I can in explaining things.

I’m going to leave comments off for now on these posts, but may consider turning them on if I have time and energy to deal with them.

If you have suggestions for topics, questions about posts, or other information I may be able to provide, please contact me via email at the following address:

Thanks, stay safe, and be good to each other!

A letter to the United States Legislative Branch

Attn: Congress members,

The mass shootings will not stop until the means to perpetrate them is 
removed. There are no excuses, no explanations, and no rights that supersede.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, 
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, 
that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Your inaction violates all of these Rights.  The necessity of legislation 
to control the manufacture, sale, possession, and usage of weapons that 
allow for rapid mass destruction of human life has existed for decades. 
This change in governance is not light or transient.  It is necessary and 

Each congressional member who fails to take action to stem this bloody 
tide is complicit with the murder of every innocent person. Get to Washington and immediately pass legislation that prohibits possession of these weapons of mass destruction that daily kill our mothers, fathers, siblings, and children.

You were each elected to protect the Rights of all of your constituents. Do your job, or you will be replaced with someone who will.

We’ve all been telling lies

This afternoon, I spent almost two full hours at a meeting for a local information security group.

The group is composed of an entirely suspected group of people. Almost everyone over 35 years of age was White and Male. Almost everyone under 35 years of age was Male and Not White. There were four women out of approximately 30 people.

Information security staff members from the two largest privately owned companies in the United States were there. Students, a teacher (although I don’t think any of his students will ever learn anything), non profits, under and unemployed, the military.

I realized that for all of the years I’ve worked in information technology or with computers we have all been telling lies.

The conversations are the same, the problems are the same, the answers are the same.

We have been telling lies.

Extant lies for empty purposes. To support our technology myths and fairy tales.

Technology is not magic. Devices are not bewitched and we are not gurus or wizards or profits. Most of us are barely adept at supporting an ever expanding shell that is not of significant self to shore from the impending crash.

But we have continued to tell lies. We tell them to convince money we can win a war. We plan them to believe we will adjust quickly enough to counter even the basest of failure or ignorance. We create them to fill the absolute void between zero and one. We theorize singularities of perfect purpose. We check boxes and build straw kingdoms for a statistic impossibility of survival.

This is not a war we can win. No defense or plan will succeed. In this fight there is not a winning outcome. We are due to realize that there will be compromise. We can stop the wheel or let it fall off or be gone before we see it fail.

We should focus on learning to fix things again. Of building with materials that will last or serve their purpose and be reworked into a resource for the next compromise.

My musical year in review – 2016

Yes, 2015 was hard to beat.

I certainly didn’t do that on the concert attendance front.

But I DID start broadcasting again, something I’ve sincerely missed.

Utilizing the categories from last year, here’s what I enjoyed during my musical journeys in 2016:

Best Discoveries

I listened to a LOT of pop music this year. As a child, I didn’t have a lot of musical diversity in my life. Lots of hymns and classical music. My continuing appreciation of pop music is perhaps an attempt to stay connected to the wonderment I had in my late teens and early twenties as I discovered so much.

Carly Rae Jepsen keeps pumping out catchy, well-crafted, body-movin’ tracks. I particularly enjoyed this one during 2016:

This track by Bridgit Mendler was also a favourite:

On the flip side of pop tarts…

“Tenderness on the Block” is a song I first heard on Shawn Colvin’s 1994 album Cover Girl. I’ve long considered Shawn a premier arbiter of cover songs. This particular song on this particular album fell flat on my ears. I think Shawn does an admirable job with her version, but I never really liked it all that much.

I don’t remember what spurred me towards listening to the original. I’m also not sure I ever made the connection that Warren Zevon wrote it. My most significant recollection of Warren is him playing on the Letterman show during the final months of his life. Warren and Dave combined into something very poignant and moving. I miss them both terribly.

Maybe it’s the piano part or the Jackson Browne harmonies in the original that makes me love it.

Best Covers

Kacey Musgraves and Buddy Miller provided my best covers pick this year. From the Cayamo Sessions At Sea – Buddy Miller and Friends album. This is LIVE folks:

If I Were Cooler…

I took a wonderful sidetrack into the electric blues this year. There is so much about this music that I don’t know. A very rich and complex history.

I’d never heard of Freddy King until I found this song:

This song is a masterpiece. Produced by the great Leon Russell who was taken from us by the monster that will be forever known as 2016.

I also listened to many tracks from the Tedeschi Trucks Band. I love the vibe and culture that Susan and Derek are creating and fostering with their studio and production efforts. I hope to be able to support them by seeing them live as soon as I can.

Their NPR Small Desk Concert is a rough, brilliant gem:

Best Concert Experience

In March of 2016 I got to realize a dream and see two AMAZING musical acts. The Suffers and Lake Street Dive played First Avenue in Minneapolis, MN. Some of my favorite musical acts (Low, The Replacements, Hüsker Dü) made their stars in this venue.

And Prince.

I was standing in line to enter and I found myself right next to his star on the outside of the building (it was still white then). I looked at it and considered that I should take a picture. But I didn’t, the line moved, and then Prince died.

I’m probably about 15 feet to the right of where this video was shot. It was a great way to end a great concert.


I started broadcasting again in 2016.

In the summer before my Junior year in high school, I started with an hour long newscast (Newton At Noon) on KBCU FM 88.1

It took me about 5 minutes to realize that I loved the medium and the capability of radio. It was one of the primary reasons I came back home to attend Bethel College and I did my best to continue the tradition of the station during my educational career there.

This year, I did my first streaming show. I’m not sure if this is “radio” or not, but I structured my shows this year in the same manner I’ve almost always done them. Loose, free; playing what I want when I want to. My initial shows were on (I’ve linked to show archives). Now, I’ve built my own streaming audio server and broadcast HERE.

Sometimes it doesn’t work, but I’m usually on live from 9pm Central for 1 hour.

I can’t let 2016 be ANYTHING but pure Purple. Amazing, bicycle-loving, Epoch DEFINING, elemental; singular – Prince . prince

Sometimes it DOES snow in April;

May we all live peacefully,
to see another.