12/6/2013 - 4:58 pm
The one thing I would add to that article today is this:
7 – Make your passwords as long as allowed.
Password guessing tools are getting smarter and faster all the time. Too many websites don’t defend against “brute force” attacks (where a hacker can guess thousands of passwords a minute and only has to be right once).
Now, keep in mind, that first post was from 2010. One of the articles referenced was from 2008. The other one doesn’t even exist any more. So, surely by now, things have improved, right? People have finally learned how to secure their web identity, right?!
Well, as it turns out, no. Not at all.
Just this week, it came out that some two million passwords were recently stolen, including some from Facebook, Twitter, and Google (GMail and G+). So, change your passwords today! Seriously!! (I just did.)
What’s worse is what we learned from the stolen data. Passwords are just as stupid and weak now as they were five years ago! Of the two million passwords stolen, over 15,000 of them were “123456″… ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! The article goes on to compare password strength from the new data to password data from 2006 and it shows that passwords are getting worse, not better.
Back in 2006 the top ten most common passwords comprised only 0.9% of the total count. Today, in 2013, they add up to 2.4%.
I know this blog is usually funny and far from serious and that is my goal. But in all seriousness, please be smart about your passwords. The internet is a truly awesome tool. But if not used correctly, intelligently, and carefully, it can ruin your finances, your relationships, and, even your health and well-being.
[Wow. That got way to serious for a minute there.]
And remember to incorporate either “fart” or “poop” in your passwords at all times.
[There. That's better.]
It’s beginning to look a lot like Life Day! (#HashTag #JokesForNerds)
And in that spirit, here’s this week’s white board quip:
If Steven Spielberg wasn’t a Jew, he’d be a Baptist putting on a Christmas pageant. – RandyPants
As I write this, it’s Saturday morning; the Saturday after “Black Friday” 2013. It’s very quiet in the house. Tammy is working on her 12th hour of sleep. I could only manage nine.
Yesterday, I woke up at 2:50 AM, ten minutes before the alarm went off. (I know! Madness!) What, on God’s green Earth, could get me out of bed at such an ungodly hour? Free stuff, of course!
Cabela’s, the outdoor “big-box” store, had a pretty nifty Black Friday deal. (And it really was Black Friday!! Not Gray Thursday. *grumble*) The first 600 people in the store (which opened at 5 AM) would get one free gift. Some (probably most) would get gift cards or a few other low value trinkets. But a few (probably one per store) would get a new GoPro camera! So was that my reason for breaking the universal laws of sleep? Well, no. Not really.
I knew my chances were slim. (I consider the lottery a tax on people who are bad at math.) More than the chance for free booty, my motivation was memories. We have a few really good Black Friday stories that we still tell years later. (Particularly the time I “bumped into” the kid stealing quarters from the mall fountain, giving him and his expensive sneakers a bath he’ll never forget.)
Tammy loves the excitement of Black Friday. We both also loves to quietly mock the crazed loons who lose all perspective of reality when offered a 10% discount on some junk TV that, for the other 364 days a year, they wouldn’t give a second look.
“Wait, what? Say that again? 10%? No way, man! My uncle camped out for two days to get that wicked awesome big screen. He saved over $300!”
Really?! Well, I’ve got some really painful questions for your uncle. What was the real regular price on that “awesome” TV? Do you know? Really? I’m guessing not.
Let’s have a look, shall we?
Best Buy’s big deal yesterday was this Samsung 55″ TV. I’m confident that link won’t work in a day or so, so here’s what it looks like:
“You save” $300. That’s pretty sweet. Not nearly sweet enough for me to camp out in a mall parking lot. But still.
So here’s what I did. I took the model number from that ad and put it in Google. You won’t believe what I found. Target sells the same TV and has a Black Friday deal on it. Target is a whopping two dollars cheaper, But, through some mathematical magic, at Target, you “save” $702. Huh?!
What the what?! You have to look close, but if you do, you’ll see that Target’s “regular price” is $1599.99, a full $400 more. Do you really think that Target regularly sells the exact same TV for $400 more than Best Buy? I don’t think so. But wait. It gets better. Check out Walmart’s massive Black Friday deal… for the exact same TV.
WOW! “You save $1102!” Talk about rolling back prices! Now, I will confess, I myself would camp out in a mall parking lot for a thousand dollars! But it’s the exact same TV!! I scroll a little further down my Google search results and find this same TV listed at CDW. It’s important to note that CDW does not have a Black Friday sale on this TV. This is the really and true “regular price.”
Yep. That’s right. $990. Which means that all three of the huge Black Friday deals above are exactly 10% off. And for $90, the price of a tank of gas and a nice dinner, people will camp out, fight, scratch, claw, and commit various felonies. For $90. Are you kidding me?!
It turns out that, other than a few loss leaders (Don’t know what that is?! You need to learn!), the “big deals” on Black Friday are minimal discounts on items that don’t sell well throughout the year. And in the mean time, the stores quietly raise prices on everything else. Once they have you in the store for the 10% off TV, they stick you with 20% increases on the other stuff you planned to buy anyway. Again, don’t believe me? See for yourself:
What you’re looking at here is the profit margins of the top ten US retailers. The black bar is the profit margin during the holidays. The lighter bar is the profit margin for rest of the year. In other words, this is how much all average prices go up beginning just before Black Friday. Macy’s prices nearly double! Maybe the Santa at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade should be wearing a a burglar’s mask!!
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, we didn’t get the GoPro at Cabela’s. There were probably 1000 people ahead of us in line. We did buy some .22 ammo (a definite loss leader) and paid full price for knife I already had on my Christmas list. The bulk of our Black Friday spending was at Home Depot. (I was pleased to see that their prices actually come down for the holidays.) I bought some batteries for my cordless tools that only go on sale once a year. (I know because I check all year long.) I got them for half price. Seriously!
Tick, tock, tick, tock… 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, NOW!!
There! Congratulations! You have experienced the penultimate sequential date of this century!! Isn’t that exciting? No? Really? Just me, huh? Oh well. You should know how I feel about these things after so many similar posts.
And I’m sure there are more, but I don’t have TIME to find them.
But just think! Next year, on 12/13/14 it will be the LAST ONE… unless I and this blog live to see 1/2/3, 2103 that is. Oh Lord, please don’t make me live that long!
And the first person who comments that I should have posted at 8:9:10 11/12/13… shut up. It’s already bothering me. But I was driving to work and I *NEVER* blog and drive!