Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What's Your Password

What makes up a good password, easy to remember and yet difficult for a hacker to break? I hope you aren't using a child's name, your anniversary, or your school mascot. Personal information relating to you, and easily discovered with little research, offers would be hackers little challenge breaking into your account.

What about generating a random set of characters, including numerals and punctuation? Not so good either, since several of us would leave that password on a post-it note near the computer in a secret hiding spot because we can't remember. How secure is that going to be? Toss the sticky, yet we'd forget the password.

One author's advice, Thomas Baekdal from an article "The Usability of Passwords", writes to use a phrase you can remember. Something like "thisisfun". He offers mathematical justifications for using phrases rather than single words, as computer algorithms can crack open any single word much faster than a phrase.

A few rules for your passwords you may want to consider:
  1. Use a phrase you can remember, at least 3 words in length
  2. Don't write it on the post-it note
  3. Change your password every so often
  4. Probably not a good idea to use the same password for every single account
  5. Don't use easy to key keystrokes like "asdfg"
  6. Substitute in punctuation or numerals for letters like "thisi$fun"
Not only should we practice these protocols, we need to be teaching these protocols to our students.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Visual Tweets

Use Visual Tweets to stream twitter feeds to your classroom. The best part is you can monitor the actual Tweet as Accept or Reject before it is displayed.

Start by creating your account and verifying in email. Then connect your your Visual Tweet with your twitter account. Once done provide a Search Term and then click "accept or reject" on tweets you want posted. There is particular URL you can sh
are or post maintaining the display of Tweet feeds, all while you control the management aspect on your computer.

Use this in the classroom to sit in on current event discussions happening around the world.

Iphone and IPad apps coming soon.

An alternative to Visual Tweets is Visible Tweets. Visible Tweets does not require a login, but does not allow you to preview the tweet stream either. It's clean, clutter free, no over head, and as the saying goes "you get what you get and don't throw a fit". Very easy to use, just type in your keyword search and watch the stream.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


How would you like to create a drawing, using online tools, but you also need collaborative help? Now you can with CoSketch, and no account needed for the basics. Click on the Start Here Button, and begin exploring. Send the URL of the drawing window to another user for collaboration.

You can add pens, arrows, shapes, text, and images to your drawing. You can interface with Google Maps. There is even a chat window for all those in your drawing session. The finished sketch can be embedded to other entities such as blog posts or webpages.