Tag Archives: memory

More on Passwords

In my previous entry about passwords, I didn’t say how hard it would be to crack my passwords. Beats me. I didn’t even say how many bits of entropy they represent, which is apparently what all the cool crypto cats do.

(The first number I cited, 3 × 1 million3, has 62 bits(!) of entropy. That’s a tough nut to crack. My least-secure option I said was from a pool of 425 million passwords. That’s only 29 bits, which is still about twice as secure as the passwords people suggest you use, things like Tr0ub4dor&3.)

The reason I didn’t cite bits of entropy is (first, that I don’t know math, but secondly) because I’m more interested in the size of the password pool. That is, if you knew the set of common words I’m using (you don’t, but you could start here), how many different separators I use, and the rules for combining them, there are that many possible outcomes.

My pool-size numbers are conservative, because a cracker doesn’t know (for sure) if I’m using only legal words, much less common ones. For all the would-be cracker knows, my dictionary could be full of gibberish like you get from pwgen(1):

iquifeer  nosubiek  iungeime
eighaeka  aqueejas  oaxepohb
aequahsa  raingaej  azeefeep
johphaec  fahtieda  aihaimif
aduyoowe  airahbop  iedeibae

I might even be using pwgen’s “hard” settings:

jjfidv7B  8ZbBAEMP  9zR5PBPn
8f45kjMB  bWZiOF6j  3P7t4FLY
Y1iZKeYA  z8k0nv1T  WD3yQcW8
nDyVSe5o  k42muCy2  F7W43IFD
u2pGNV8F  fQ0CvvT7  k7awERR1

I wouldn’t do that, because those passwords would be hard for me to remember. But how does the cracker know that?

Godfather’s Pizza

Earlier this week, Politico posted an article about Godfather’s Pizza, presumably as a way to knock down Herman Cain. It was a sad little hit-piece, as you might expect. Cain hasn’t been at Godfather’s since the mid-90s, and even if he were, this “blind taste test” simply brings to mind the Reagan’s observation that “there’s a difference between the critics and the box office.” Regardless what some food critics think about the pizza, nobody can dispute that Cain led the company back to profitability.

When I was in college, Albuquerque was where we went for fun, and most of the time, our evenings began at Godfather’s Pizza. One of my friends (Joel) could calculate everyone’s portion of the bill in his head between the cash register and the table, including tip and tax, and accounting for different drink purchases. And despite that, he was a mediocre student in the math classes. I hear he works at a bank these days, although he doesn’t use Facebook or LinkedIn so I can’t be sure.

Another friend (Kevin) used to tick me off because he was a quicker eater than me. Suppose you have a three people sharing an eight-slice pizza. Everyone gets two slices, and then they have an argument about who doesn’t get a third, right? Not with Kevin at the table. He’d eat three slices as quickly as the rest would eat two. Then he’d look at that last slice sitting all by itself, and ask if anybody else wanted it. And we’d say, no, shucks, we’re not greedy, you go ahead eat it, Kevin.

I don’t say these things to slam my friends. Well, I do, but that’s not my point. After all, I’m sure if you checked their memories, they might have some less than 100% flattering memories of me, too.

What’s interesting to me is that we always ate at Godfather’s. It wasn’t even a question. We just did. The pizza was good enough, I suppose, but nothing special. My guess is that, since that Socorro had a Pizza Hut, when we went to Albuquerque, we wanted something different.

After college, I moved to Albuquerque and learned about Nunzio’s Pizza, which I liked a lot better than Godfather’s. You could purchase by the slice, so there, Kevin. And if you asked for anchovies, they wouldn’t lie to you and say “we’re all out, sorry,” the way most pizza places do. Sadly, Nunzio’s went out of business sometime in the late 80’s or early 90’s. I’m happy to see the family has started over with a new pizzeria called Saggio.