This is a static archive of, as it looked from February 2002 to August 2010.

Fallingwater panoramas and Photosynth

Posted Saturday, August 7th, 2010 at 9:36 pm

I also visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater home and made these panorama images and Photosynths. (Original Images)

Fallingwater front panorama

Fallingwater front by Frank Lloyd Wright (pano 2)

Fallingwater living room panorama

Fallingwater living room by Frank Lloyd Wright (pano 5)

Fallingwater patio panorama

Fallingwater patio by Frank Lloyd Wright (pano 6)

Fallingwater view panorama

Fallingwater view by Frank Lloyd Wright (pano 10)

Fallingwater front photosynth

Fallingwater living room photosynth

Fallingwater patio photosynth

Kentuck Knob panoramas and Photosynth

Posted Saturday, August 7th, 2010 at 9:26 pm

I visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s Kentuck Knob home a few weeks ago and made these panorama images and Photosynths. (Original Images)

Kentuck Knob carport panorama

Kentuck Knob front 2 pano

Kentuck Knob patio panorama

Kentuck Knob back patio pano

Kentuck Knob backyard panorama

Kentuck Knob back yard pano

Kentuck Knob carport photosynth

Kentuck Knob patio photosynth

Deducing purpose where there is none

Posted Thursday, July 8th, 2010 at 8:38 pm

There is so much that I respect and admire about the American astronomer Carl Sagan. I have enjoyed a few of his science books and absolutely loved his 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which he narrated and co-wrote.

Carl Sagan: A Universe Not Made For Us

I recently discovered this 10-minute video of him contemplating our views of the universe and how we’ve historically relied on religion to provide understanding. In particular, I like his closing words:

“There is in this universe much of what seems to be designed. But instead, we repeatedly discover that natural processes — collisional selection of worlds, say, or natural selection of gene pools, or even the convection pattern in a pot of boiling water — can extract order out of chaos and decieve us into deducing purpose where there is none.

The significance of our lives, and our fragile planet, is then determined only by our own wisdom and courage. We are the custodians of life’s meaning. We long for a parent to care for us, to forgive us our errors, to save us from our childish mistakes. But knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable. If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal.”

Carl Sagan: Pale Blue Dot,

The above video reminded me of another that I’d like to share.

WSUS Update Classifications

Posted Tuesday, July 6th, 2010 at 9:32 am

For some reason, I have a difficult time finding the brief descriptions of the nine update classifications that you can use to filter the updates you get from Microsoft Updates, so I thought I’d list them here. The source is Microsoft’s “Using the WSUS 3.0 SP2 Configuration Wizard” TechNet article:

Critical Updates: Broadly released fixes for specific problems addressing critical, non-security related bugs.

Definition Updates: Updates to virus or other definition files.

Drivers: Software components designed to support new hardware.

Feature Packs: New feature releases, usually rolled into products at the next release.

Security Updates: Broadly released fixes for specific products, addressing security issues.

Service Packs: Cumulative sets of all hotfixes, security updates, critical updates, and updates created since the release of the product. Service packs might also contain a limited number of customer-requested design changes or features.

Tools: Utilities or features that aid in accomplishing a task or set of tasks.

Update Rollups: Cumulative sets of hotfixes, security updates, critical updates, and updates packaged together for easy deployment. A rollup generally targets a specific area, such as security, or a specific component, such as Internet Information Services (IIS).

Updates: Broadly released fixes for specific problems addressing non-critical, non-security related bugs.

How strong is your password?

Posted Wednesday, June 30th, 2010 at 3:59 pm

For about a month, someone has been regularly attempting to hack my personal Google account. I can’t do anything to prevent them from trying to hack my Google account. My only defense is to have a good password.

To help me select a strong password, I found a handy website that estimates how long it would take for an average desktop computer to crack a password. It’s called

How Secure is my Password

How secure is my password?

I’m a system administrator and have a habit of maintaining strong passwords. Checking the strength of my Google password, I found it would take 238 quadrillion years for the average desktop computer to crack. Take that you nefarious Google-account hacker!

How secure are most user passwords?

Curious, I decided to running some tests on other passwords using this tool. These tests slowly increased complexity and length.

  • 0.0456976 seconds to crack “easy” (4 characters)
  • 10 seconds to crack “12340987” (8 numeric characters)
  • 13 minutes to crack “abcdefg” (8 lowercase characters)
  • 61 days to crack “AbcdEfgh” (8 mixed-case characters)
  • 252 days to crack “Abcd1234” (8 mixed-case alphanumeric characters)
  • 3 years to crack “Abc123!@” (8 C0mp!ex characters)
  • 17 thousand years to crack “Abcd1234!@” (10 C0mp!ex characters)
  • 100 million years to crack “Abcd1234!@#$” (12 C0mp!ex characters)
  • 42 trillion years to crack “Abcde12345!@#$%” (15 C0mp!ex characters)

Length Matters (at little cost)

Although complex characters help, password length provides the most value at very little cost (the time it takes for me to type a few more characters).

Let’s say that my password is 15 characters long, that I type 240 characters a minute (4 characters per second), and that I type my password 10 times a day. Knowing this, I can calculate that …

  • An 8 character C0mp!ex password would require 20 seconds of my time per day and would take 3 years to crack
  • A 12 character C0mp!ex password would require 30 seconds of my time per day and would take 100 million years to crack
  • A 16 character C0mp!ex password would require 40 seconds of my time per day and would take 3 quadrillion years to crack

Increasing a 15-character password to 16 characters would require 2.99800 × 1015 more years to crack.

How easy is it to crack most user passwords?

It’s rather easy if you have physical access to their computer. Tools like Ophcrack come as a live Linux CD with prepopulated rainbow tables and can crack user passwords without even installing any software.


Add some complexity and length to your password to greatly improve its strength and the security of the systems your password is designed to protect.