Opinion: Fingerprints Make Bad Passwords

Fingerprints make bad passwords

We all know passwords are rubbish. We pick short ones, simple ones, easy ones; we never change them,  we use our birthdays, childrens’ names, pets’s names, postcodes; and then we write them down on post-it notes and stick them to the screen. We think we’re clever when we use a password manager – right up to the point that gets hacked and all our passwords get published to FacePoke in one fell swoop.

What we need is something unique to us that we don’t have to remember or write down, that is always on our person and that will never change. Like a fingerprint. Lots of phones and laptops now have fingerprint scanners. That must be better. Except that’s worse. Continue reading

How-to: Computer Networking Primer Part I

Networking Part I#

The perils of being the ‘knowledgeable friend.’ At this time of year, this means family and friends acquire all sorts of shiny new tech kit, then ask someone with half a brain to help set up their home network. This often means me. Down the phone line. From a different country.

So here we go; network-y-type things you need to understand. I’m sure any network managers reading this will think I’m an idiot. That’s fine. Go play with your  cable crimpers, boys, this isn’t for you. Continue reading

How-to: Understand GSM and CDMA (phones)

Vector - Smartphone collection - iconshock.com CC 3.0You would think, by now, we’d have one global standard for mobile telecoms. But no. Depending on your country of residence, you may have a bewildering choice of cellphone standards. You want to buy a piece of technology to make your life better and easier: instead you end up in acronym hell.

In the UAE, for example, you can buy a phone to run on any network on the planet, using any protocol available. In the United States, AT&T and T-Mobile are GSM networks; Sprint and Verizon are CDMA and don’t use SIM cards. So what should you get? And what’s the difference anyway? Continue reading

How-to: Choose FAT, exFAT or NTFS file systems [Guest Post]

No, it’s not the latest diet fad. The story goes like this; I started to migrate a Windows Vista machine to Windows 7 (not for myself, I should add). When I plugged in an external drive for ‘Easy Transfer’  (this is Vista, so ‘easy’ is a relative term), the program decided it couldn’t cope with a FAT32 format drive.

I know; how long has that FAT32 drive sat around? Never mind. My choices to reformat are: exFAT or NTFS. What do I use? I’m no digital storage expert, but here goes… Continue reading

How-to: Diagnose an SD Card that’s stopped working

SD Memory Card from Open ImagebankIt never ceases to amaze me how resilient is the humble SD card. They take heat, cold, damp, weight, an infeasible amount of weight, bending and mistreatment. And, unlike most of your other electronic gadgets, magnets and magnetism don’t affect SD cards; the amount of electro-magnetism it takes to corrupt the bits on EPROM flash memory just doesn’t exist in the average home or office.

Continue reading