Monthly Archives: July 2012

How to Create a Strong Password That You’ll Remember

Password Examples

Image Credit: paul.orear

When it comes to picking a password, what system do you use for creating one that will be difficult to guess, but easy for you to remember?

For many people, the trend is to pick a word they’ll remember, like the name of their child or pet, and then add some easy to remember numbers after it, like a birth date. Somewhere along the way, you may have even been taught to substitute common letters for numbers, such as using a 3 in place of an E or a 0 (zero) for O.

While this is good practice in theory, the reality is that adding special characters to your password doesn’t make it any stronger. In fact, passwords like this are still very easy to crack.

The reason for this has to do with entropy, and a complicated math formula used to determine how long it would take for a password like this to be figured out. A seemingly complicated password such as Tr0ub4dor&3 has approximately 28 bits of entropy, which would take approximately 3 days to guess, at 1,000 guesses per second. Click here to read more about the concept of entropy.

It is because of entropy that the way we have been taught to create passwords is all wrong. Using conventional methods we may think that we’re picking a complex password, when in reality we’re just creating something that is easy for computers to figure out, but difficult for humans to remember.

Does this mean we’re doomed to having easy to crack passwords? Not necessarily. There is a better way to create a password that is more difficult for a computer to crack, but easier for you to remember.

The better way to create a password is to string four words together which may seem random, but which have some meaning to you. For example, a password created using the words correct, horse, battery, and staple (which would look like correcthorsebatterystaple) could be easy for you to remember, but would difficult to crack because it contains 44 bits of entropy, which would take 550 years to guess, at 1,000 guesses per second.

So the next time you are creating a password, take a moment and see if there are four seemingly random words you can remember, and use those to create your password. You’ll not only create something you can easily remember later, but you’re creating a password that is much more difficult for computers to crack, making for a more secure password in the long run.

Do you have a good trick to creating a good password? Leave us a comment and let us know how you create passwords.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who wants to help you be smarter than the machines. Email: [email protected].

The Benefits of Flat-Rate IT Services


Image Credit: 401(K) 2012

One of the things that makes TechQuility different from other IT providers is our mission — to bring enterprise level technology solutions to small businesses so that they can increase their overall productivity and efficiency without having to incur

a huge expense.

That’s why we offer true Flat-Rate IT services, so that small businesses can utilize the solutions they need, at a price they can afford.

What is Flat-Rate IT?

Flat-Rate IT is a predictable, reliable, and budgetable way to provide monitoring, maintenance, and services to small businesses for an affordable monthly fee.

How is Flat-Rate IT Different?

The traditional IT model is called break-fix. That is, the IT company is only profitable when their client’s systems are broken and need fixing. This means there is no incentive to keep the client’s computers up and running properly.

With Flat-Rate IT, we are only profitable when you are up and running smoothly. It is in our best interest to ensure that your IT solutions are working properly, the way they should be, so that your business is always productive. In this way, our goals are aligned with your goals, instead of the other way around.


Since it is in our best interest to keep your business up and running, we monitor your systems and network which allows us to be aware of any possible issues and predict major problems before they occur. This means we can often fix major problems before they grind your business to a halt, and we can do so after hours, so that it doesn’t impact your productivity.


Aside from monitoring services, with Flat-Rate IT we also provide routine maintenance, so that your systems are always running at their best. We optimize your solutions for your business, so that you’ll always know what to expect from your computers.


Flat-Rate IT services allow you to reduce the stress and burden of worrying about your IT bill. With a set monthly fee, you’ll always know what to expect, making your IT expenses manageable and budgetable. You don’t have to worry about being nickled-and-dimed, or about how much extra your support calls will cost. It’s all covered with Flat-Rate IT.

If you are tired of being at the mercy of your technology, contact us today. We can show you how your business can take advantage of the many benefits of true Flat-Rate IT services.

Do You Feel Phantom Phone Vibrations?

Cell Phone Anxiety

Image Credit: TRF_Mr_Hyde

Your phone buzzes in your pocket, signaling that a call or a message is coming in, but after looking at your phone you discover there was no call, no message, and no missed calls either. This false buzzing doesn’t indicate that you are going crazy, only that you are a victim to your biological impulses.

This phenomenon of feeling your phone buzzing when it’s not is known as Phantom Phone Vibration or vibranxiety, and studies are showing that not only are a wide variety of individuals affected, but that this phenomenon is only growing as we become more dependent on technology.

So, what causes the phantom vibrations in the first place? While the verdict is still out, scientifically speaking, many speculate that this is one of the signs of tech anxiety.

As Larry Rosen, professor of psychology at California State University, and author of the book iDisorder, puts it:

Our body is always in waiting to anticipate any kind of technological interaction, which usually comes from a smartphone. With that anticipatory anxiety, if we get any neurological stimulation, our pants rubbing against our leg for example, you might interpret that through the veil of anxiety, as “Oh, my phone is vibrating.”

The more dependent you are on your technology, the worse this “anticipatory anxiety” tends to be, making you to be more likely to experience phantom vibrations. Other common connections between users with vibranxiety include:

  • A tendency to be more technologically or socially anxious; being so dialed in that you are almost afraid to miss a call or message.
  • Reacting emotionally to social stimuli; reacting strongly to texts and emails.
  • High technology use.

Additionally, the older you are, the more likely you’ll be bothered by the phantom vibrations and attempt to stop them. Younger technology users do not appear as disturbed by this phenomenon.

So how do you avoid falling victim to Phantom Phone Vibration symptoms? Reduce your dependency on your smart phone, and similar devices. Make sure you take at least a 10 – 15 minute break (or more) for every hour you use your device. Put away your devices in social situations, like when you’re out for dinner with friends, and spend more time connected and engaged in actual conversation and human interaction.

Do you experience phantom phone vibrations? How does it affect your life? Leave us a comment and share your experiences.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who enjoys helping you find a balance with your technology. Email: [email protected].