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Publication: Internet Tutor
The Word on Passwords

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                    THE INTERNET TUTOR
                     October 12, 2006 

This week...
- Webmaster Tip: DOCTYPE
- Surfin' the Web: Project Censored
- Software Spotlight: Volumouse
- The Oddball Wall: Wordy Words
- Computer Tip: The Word on Passwords
The leaves have turned colors and will soon be lying on the 
ground awaiting nature to turn them into nutrients so they 
can be pulled back into the tree to feed new growth in the 
spring. The birds aren't singing much anymore either, having 
flown south for the winter or are quietly preparing for 
winter. The grass is finished growing for the season. Most 
of our perennials have either died out for the season or 
look like it's only a matter of days before they give up the 
Sigh...winter is coming.

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Note: In code examples I add a period after each left arrow
bracket so the code can be viewed in all e-mail programs. If 
you copy and paste, be sure to remove the periods or it won't 
Question: What is the DOCTYPE and should I be using it? My 
pages seem to work fine without it.
Simon Says: The DOCTYPE, or document type definition, tells 
the browser which standard to use in displaying your web page. 
For HTML files, the DOCTYPE is recommended, but optional. Any 
page not using a DOCTYPE, or using a DOCTYPE referring to an 
outdated standard will be rendered in what is called "quirks 
Quirks mode allows the browser to make it's best guess at what 
the author intended when it encounters coding errors. It also 
supports the old tricks and browser specific codes used as work-
arounds for display differences between brands of browsers. In 
this regard it is much more forgiving of errors and non-standard 
coding practices than a browser using current standards. The 
drawback is that it isn't compliant and some current standards 
may not be supported.
For XHTML documents the DOCTYPE is required, although one can 
use XHTML compliant code in HTML files without declaring the 
You can learn more about DOCTYPEs and which to use on your 
pages here:
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SURFIN' THE WEB - Project Censored
Project Censored is brought to you from Sonoma State University 
which tracks the news published in independent journals and 
newsletters, compiling an annual list of 25 news stories of 
social significance that have been overlooked, under-reported 
or self-censored by the country's major national news media.

See what the major media isn't telling while they are busy 
reporting on their own agenda-driven topics. I found many of 
these stories to have a pro-liberal slant, but many offer 
worthwhile things to mull over. Whether you're liberal or 
conservative (or independent like me) you have to learn about 
both sides of an issue to be well-informed. Anyone that gets 
their news from only the liberal media or only the conservative 
media and thinks they are well informed is only fooling them-


           GopherCentral's Question of the Week

              Should Dennis Hastert resign?

 Please share your opinion, visit: The Question of the Week


Volumouse provides you a quick and easy way to control the 
sound volume on your system - simply by rolling the wheel 
of your wheel mouse. You can define a set of rules for 
determining when the wheel will be used for changing the 
sound volume. For example, you can configure Volumouse to 
use your mouse wheel for volume control when the Alt key 
is held down, but if the conditions that you define are not 
satisfied, your mouse wheel will be used for the regular 
scrolling tasks, exactly as before.


Note: I do not provide support for the featured software. 
Contact the software vendor for support. No warranty is made 
or implied as to theusefulness or appropriateness of featured 

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Today features a word quiz, only instead of just any words, 
the answer is only big words of three syllables or more...
wordy words! Choose the wordy word that best matches the 
1) lacking in harmony or appropriateness
a. incongruous   b. incorrigible   c. arcadian
2) giving a false appearance of frankness
a. disingenuous   b. indifferent   c. indelible
3) so extremely old as seeming to belong to an earlier period
a. preternatural   b. antediluvian   c. transcendental
4) characterized by excessive precision and attention to 
a. discombobulation   b. persnickety   c. extraneous
5) persistently or morbidly thoughtful
a. edacious   b. incoherent   c. ruminative
6) excessively greedy and grasping
a. disconsolate   b. irascible   c. rapacious
7) come on suddenly and intensely
a. fulminate   b. andante   c. whippoorwill
8) harmful or evil in intent or effect
a. cantankerous   b. maleficent   c. raffishness
And now for a word so hard you could drive a nail with it...
9) a defamatory falsehood published for political effect
a. halation   b. cacology   c. roorback

Answers below, here's the scoring:
9 correct: Perfection!
7-8 correct: Outstanding
5-6 correct: Very Good
2-4 correct: Fairly Fair
0-1 correct: Turn the TV off
1) a. incongruous
2) a. disingenuous
3) b. antediluvian
4) b. persnickety
5) c. ruminative
6) c. rapacious
7) a. fulminate
8) b. maleficent
9) c. roorback


COMPUTER TIPS - The Word on Passwords
One reason hackers are able to break into computers so easily 
is because the user did not create a strong enough password. 
Many computer users just use their pet name, children's names, 
and easy to guess passwords like that.
For a good password, you should never choose a word that is in 
the dictionary. It only takes password cracking software a few 
minutes to crack a dictionary password.
One way to create a more effective password is to take two or 
three words and combine parts of them. For example, I enjoy 
astronomy. I could take two astronomy words to make one good 
password. By taking the first four letters of nebula and quasar, 
I could use "nebuquas" for a password. A dictionary based 
cracking tool won't find that.
To make it even better use a mixture of upper and lower case, 
such as nEBuQuaS. However, even that could be cracked in time, 
it just takes longer..
The best password that a user can create is by mixing upper and 
lower case letters with numbers, and if the application allows, 
mix in a punctuation character or two...but not all applications 
allow that.
An example of a great password might be 5rT9xJi9. This password 
would take years to crack. These types of passwords are hard to 
memorize, but are the hardest to crack. I keep a list of my 
password printed out in a file in my drawer. No problems, and if 
I suffer a hard drive failure, I'll have all my user names and 
passwords so I can get up and running again as quickly as possible. 
That includes all my software registration information. Can you 
say that?
The length of the password contributes to how hard or easy it is to
crack, too. The longer the password, the longer it takes to crack.
Here is an example of how long it takes to crack passwords:
Password Length   |   lower case   |  upper, lower, & numbers
       3              3 seconds            2 minutes
       4              1 minute             3 hours
       5              47 minutes           9 days
       6              13 hours             2 years
       7              3 months             25 years
       8              10 months            100+ years

The above assumes non-dictionary words are being used. Dictionary
words only take a few seconds to a few hours, depending on length.

Disclaimer: Advice in this column is presented as informational
and is true to the best of my knowledge. Any decisions to follow
this advice is your responsibility. Your computer, your choice.


Until next week, ponder these words Anthony J. D'Angelo: 
Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your 
own sunshine.

Have an interesting day, Simon

Questions? Comments? Email me at: tutor@gophercentral.com


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