Nudge Cards

From our “obvious in retrospect” department, Iʼll share this bright idea I shouldʼve had years ago.

If, like me, you find yourself in the position of having to create or reset someone elseʼs password every now and again, you may also have been tempted to grab any conveniently-sized piece of paper within reach. The main problem with these brightly-coloured scraps is that, due to the small amount of adhesive on the back, those carefully pseudorandom passwords invariably end up in places like this:

How not to generate passwords

A vendor of ours recently outgrew their “startup mentality,” and started using a support panel for their customer requests. As a consequence, all existing customers whoʼd just call in or send an e-mail before, were mass-enrolled in their new system.

This isnʼt an uncommon phenomenon on the internet: an account is created by the system owner, and you get a confirmation e-mail with a random password. No biggie.

This particular e-mail, however, first made me frown, then giggle like an idiot, then cry, then feeling sorry for humanity.

So crazy, it might work

Itʼs hard to watch this monthʼs news coverage on the destruction of this yearʼs hurricanes (weʼre up to Otis now) and not think about man-made climate change.

For those who remain defiantly unconvinced, or those rusty on the details, hereʼs the quickest summary I can make.

  • In an ideal world, plants, trees, and some algae use the energy in sunlight to convert atmospheric CO₂ into complex molecules.
  • Us larger animals and most bacteria burn those complex molecules (either in our fireplace or our gastrointestinal tract) and convert them back to CO₂, to be reabsorbed by plants again. This is called the carbon cycle, since apart from the energy we get from the sun itʼs largely a closed system.

Go Team!

Iʼve been watching the past weekʼs U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee hearings with abject fascination. The level of nonchalance with which they attempt to unravel a conspiracy by a foreign power with ties to some of the highest offices in the land - if not the very highest - is beyond me. James Comey has been added to my list of people with whom Iʼd like to have a beer someday. Heck, after last Thursdayʼs performance, Iʼm buying.

The thing I noticed, though, is that there was a strong correlation in the quality of the questions the various senators asked¹, and whether or not there was an (R) on their nameplate. It is in this light that Iʼd like to share a formative experience I had some years ago.

I need either more friends or a better microphone.

I remember us getting our first sound card in '96. We spent countless hours recording our own radio shows, or soundtracks of movies we invented (picture to be added later), or DJʼing with the standard sound files Windows 3.11 and 95 had to offer. Good times were had by all.

A few days ago I discovered my shitty USB sound card had its own microphone, so I decided to revive that once-favourite pastime and spend a few hours dicking around. After a lot of humming and whistling, this is what I ended up with. It is quite possibly my greatest creation this week.