Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Why I play the ukulele

About two years ago I decided to order a ukulele.  My wife plays the piano, my dad the guitar, and several of my friends can play multitple musical instruments. Up until then the only thing I could do was tap along to songs on myn steering wheel.  I wanted more.  But I'm also a dad, I work full time, and I wanted something I could get up to speed and enjoy quickly.

I have a guitar from my father-in-law.  My dad plays it when he's in town.  I tried to learn and play but i couldn't get my fingers to co-operate.  I didn't find it fun so I stopped.  Yes this is a lack of willpower, but at this point I had no intentions of going pro and I wanted this as something fun to kill time and mess around.

I needed something easier, something relatively inexpensive, and something i could be up and running in a few hours of playing time.  Enter my first purchase:

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Bare Necessities - Ukulele Chords

I've been playing the ukulele for about a two years now.  One of first songs I learned was The Bare Necessities from the Jungle Book.  Its a fun song and plays very well on a ukulele.  I watched several videos and read chords around the internet and finally made my own hybrid version that I find very playable.  I've made a PDF of the chords available HERE for your download.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Two Factor Authentication

The recent public discussions about the FBI and Apple and iPhone security has caused many people to ask themselves more serious questions about privacy.  Who has access to our correspondence and what can they do with that knowledge? Along those lines we also need to consider security.  This post will not be about whether or not I side with Apple or the FBI, or my thoughts on encryption.  Instead I want to talk about something more important: securing your online accounts. And the best way to do that is two factor authentication.

What is two factor authentication? It is a system that requires you to have two pieces of information in order to log into an account. In general, it’s “something you have, and something you know.” For example, when I log into a Google Account I put in my user name and password as usual. However if it is the first time I’m logging into my account from a computer (say at a hotel, or a friend’s house) I then get a text message sent to my phone with a six digit number I need to enter. If someone has my user name and password, they still can’t log into my account unless they also have my cell phone and are able to unlock it as well. 

Something I have: my cell phone
Something I know: my password

This is a strong means of securing a system. I've been using it for several years and it is neither time consuming, nor confusing.  It does however give me much stronger piece of mind about my accounts,.

Many businesses use two factor authentication, especially in the world of national defense. Employees are issues access cards and a PIN. Its not good enough to just know the PIN without also having the card. Some other business use a rotating access number and give you a hardware FOB (often like a key chain), others may send an email to confirm you are who you say you are.

Many common email providers now offer two factor authentication, including GMail, Outlook, and Yahoo! mail. When you consider that your email address is the means you reset passwords for banks and credit card accounts, your email needs to be as secure as possible.

For a more complete and updated list of providers of two factor authentication, please see this website: https://twofactorauth.org/