Don’t overextend antennas

Older antennas

27.145 MHz antenna here. These older ones are useful as sticks if a remote control vehicle gets caught somewhere hard to reach, as happened to me yesterday when a gust of wind caught my little foam plane. Newer antennas use 2.4 GHz microwaves and are little.

SAMSUNG

Don’t overextend unnecessarily. Every step taken strains the antenna, and there’s a lot of running around. I paid less than $50 @ Kmart, but I don’t recommend it. I glued and duct taped the nose when it snapped. The wing-tips snapped off, too. I recommend the $15 indoor helicopter @ Kmart. This foamie has four channels – throttle, yaw, pitch and roll, all using a total of four propellers. Nice concept, poor implementation.

Perhaps radio towers should be retractable, for when storms strike.

How to encrypt passwords

  1. Put all the passwords and usernames into a document file, e.g. using Windows Notepad. Save the document.
  2. Install 7-Zip, an open-source archive manager whose reliability can be independently verified.
  3. Make 7-Zip the default .zip manager and ensure it shows up in the context menu when archives are right-clicked. Open 7-Zip File Manager and select Tools \rightarrow Options… \rightarrow Select all \rightarrow OK. Then go back to Options… \rightarrow 7-Zip, and check both both primary boxes are ticked. Click OK and close the file manager.
  4. Right-click on the document and select 7-Zip \rightarrow Add to archive…
  5. Create Archive.zip as per screenshot below, with a strong passphrase using AES-256 encryption method. This is the primary passphrase and if forgotten, the passwords are permanently lost. Memories must be trained.
  6. Secure delete the original document, as well as all other sensitive files which aren’t encrypted. This ensures they can never be recovered. Furthermore, clear the clipboard.
  7. Backup the primary passphrase with a secondary strong passphrase.
test

This is what 7-Zip looks like. Type a passphrase with about 32 numbers, letters and capitals. Don’t leave it lying around on paper or text files, that’s exactly what a thief or police officer would look for. Don’t even leave it in a locked safe, it must be memorised perfectly.

Notes:

  • Windows can list all files within an encrypted .zip, but not file contents. File names can all be seen without decryption – hence they should be innocuous.
  • Don’t add or remove files within an encrypted archive. Unfortunately 7-Zip doesn’t handle this well – there may be bugs.
  • Furthermore, don’t add or remove files within an archive within an archive – trust me.
  • To change internal file structure, e.g. to also encrypt a bitcoin wallet and PGP key – extract all, make the changes, then re-encrypt and secure delete everything else.
  • Text files within an archive can be updated with new info, safely. After saving in Notepad, 7-Zip asks if the archive is to be updated.

Don’t dart a wall

Mount a towel or sheets, if nothing else, before hanging up a dartboard. Then actually press a dart hard into the backing to make sure it doesn't leave an imprint.

Mount a towel or sheets, if nothing else, before hanging up a dartboard. Duct tape works, but use a lot. Then actually press a dart hard into the backing to make sure it doesn’t leave an imprint behind. The dartboard and towel are around $10 @ Kmart.

Do a jigsaw

The Orient Express. Above is the Westminster House, to the right a French consulate and to the bottom right the Hagia Sophia.

The Orient Express. On top is the Westminster Palace, to the right a consulate and to the bottom right the Hagia Sophia. Is the bottom-left photo from Greece? The puzzle cost me $16 off eBay, and 70 mL of glue cost $10. I used a paint roller to glue the thousand pieces together. Clear tape (more reliable) and blu-tack can be used to mount it to a wall.

This sort of puzzle teaches attention to detail. I recommend doing physio while searching for pieces. First sort according to colour, and put edge and corner pieces aside. Try work from the edges inwards, and identify patterns. This took me about a week, last month.

Both Germany (WWI) and France (WWII) surrendered in Orient Express carriages. The service was used by arms dealers and spies. The route went from London to Constantinople (my namesake) and also Athens. The English channel was crossed by boat.

Update (21 Dec): Dedicate a table to the jigsaw – not the dinner table because it could take months. It’s hard. Keep the back straight as much as possible, i.e. sit and stand tall, even if it means having to use a magnifying glass. The back kinks easily, over several hours. Some pieces should be fitted by brute force, especially the final pieces – it’s easier than mental gymnastics.