Archive for January, 2010

Sunday Morning Snow In Wendell

Here’s my puppy Zeus playing in the snow Sunday morning.

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Jan 30, Converter Box Retailers

Converter Box Retailers. Online Retailers. Where can I buy a converter box? Converter Box Sellers. Free Converter Boxes. Order boxes from our site

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Jan 30, AccessHD DTA1080D DTV Converter Box

Features of the AccessHD DTA1080D DTV Converter Box with Analog Pass-Through. NTIA Approved CECB. Get the manual from our site at

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A friendly reminder: Make your password less hacker-friendly

password 123456

Creating and remembering online passwords can be a nuisance. In a recent Consumer Reports survey, Americans rated passwords and PINs a 6.1 on the annoyance scale, with 10.0 being most annoying. (For some reason, women found them more annoying than men by a large margin.) Here at our Yonkers, NY headquarters, the IT department reports that eighty percent of their work involves resetting forgotten or expired passwords.

That’s no excuse, however, for creating a feeble one. Passwords are security tools after all, used to protect everything from the social data on your Facebook page to the money in your bank account. If you’re one of the many people who list “123456”, “password”, or any other cipher so simple it could probably be hacked by a chimpanzee, consider this your intervention.

Dean Gallea, a senior program leader here at Consumer Reports, suggests some tips for creating strong passwords:

  • Include caps, numbers and/or symbols.
  • Make it at least 6 characters.
  • Don’t use your name, street, or phone number.
  • Don’t use common names or words.
  • Remember it. One trick is to think of a phrase you won’t forget, then gussy it up. For example, “I pledge allegiance to the flag” could be shortened to “ipattf”. Then throw in some numbers and symbols.

Write the passwords down if you have to, but don’t keep the list near the computer or in your wallet. Gallea offers this tip for writing them: Say your password is “5Consumer#9”. Write it as “5C…r#9”. You’ll remember the word “Consumer” and if you need to update your password (recommended for personal use and often required on office computers) you can simply change the numbers and/or symbols.

—Nick K. Mandle

Next Steps

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Recommended Computers

Look at the ones that we chose as the best of the best.

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Daily electronics deals

Today's electronics deals, courtesy of The Consumerist:

  • Newegg : Centon 4GB MP3 Player for $15.99 w/ Free Shipping
  • Stanley 3-in-1 Tripod LED Flashlight $15 Shipped
  • Newegg: Sony Touch Edition eBook Reader $260 Shipped
  • Newegg : LG 47" LCD 1080p Wireless HDTV for $999.99 + $29.99 Shipping
  • Amazon: Panasonic VIERA TC-L26X1 26-Inch 720p LCD HDTV w/ iPod dock $289.99 + free shipping
  • BuyDig: Samsung LN32B460 32-inch LCD HDTV $429 Shipped
  • Office Depot: Toshiba Satellite A505 16-inch Intel Core2 Duo Notebook $599.99 + free shipping
  • Amazon: Lenovo Ideapad U350 13.3-inch LED ULV Notebook $480.06 + free shipping
  • OfficeMax: HP Pavilion DM3 13.3-inch ULV Notebook $499.99 + free shipping
  • Newegg : 32 Select Xbox 360 Games Under $10 w/ Free Shipping

Related: MP3 player Ratings and buying tips; TV Ratings and buying tips; Computer Ratings and buying tips; Video game console buying tips and video: "Choosing a video game system"; Guide to e-book readers.

Neither Consumer Reports nor The Consumerist receive anything in
exchange for featuring these deals; the posts are intended to be purely
informational. These deals are often fleeting, with prices changing or
products becoming unavailable as the day progresses.

These posts are not an endorsement of the featured products or
the Web sites that sell them—though some of the sites may be included,
and recommended, in our Ratings of retailers for computers and other major electronics (both available to subscribers). Price shouldn't be your only criterion. Be wary of lower-priced deals that seem too good to be true, and check return policies for restocking fees and other gotchas.

For general buying advice for many of the products on sale above, check out our free Buying Guides.

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