Thursday, November 14, 2013

Zombocalypse Now!
well, actually, really only just Thursday afternoon

Info and Links for High School Reading Club, November 14

World War Z  by Max Brooks

Max Brooks is the son of Mel Brooks and Ann Bancroft. He is also the author of  The Zombie Survival Guide.   WWZ is a sequel of sorts to the survival guide.

Max Brooks' website.

(ps -- he was only kidding)


Zombie Pandemic -- CDC's Zombocalypse Preparedness Graphic Novel!!
  • Follow Todd, Julie, and their dog Max as a strange new disease begins spreading, turning ordinary people into zombies. Stick around to the end for a surprising twist that will drive home the importance of being prepared for any emergency.

Max Brooks talks about the history and types of zombies
and how to survive in the event of a zombie pandemic.

World War Z official movie trailer - nothing like the book, stars Brad Pitt

Everything Wrong with World War Z In 6 Minutes or Less - by CinemaSins

Music & culture references 

Iron Maiden - The Trooper (Charge of the Light Brigade) - Battle of Yonkers
Redgum - I Was Only Nineteen (Vietnam, mentioned twice by 2 different characters) -
The Smiths - How Soon Is Now - creepy documentary soundtrack
Free to Be You and Me Babies & song (soldiers act out skit & sing) -
Johnny Clegg - Asimbonanga - ("have you seen him?" 2nd interview with T. Sean Collins)

Short film - Alice Jacobs is Dead

More Zombies in the Library

Discussion --
We talked about the role of women, how some people seemed to have gone crazy (the feral girl, Redeker/Xolelwa Azania, the downed female aviator who may or may not have communicated with someone in the bush who saved her).
Some were let down by the lack of a huge narrative arc (conflict, crisis, resolution) while others liked piecing together the action from the separate interviews. 
Some were frustrated by the fact that we never know exactly what happened to the boy in China to start the pandemic -- we talked about the parallels with the spread of H1N1/swine flu in 2009, the exact origins of which we can only guess.
We jumped off of some of the questions in this blog post.

Next Time
We're reading Beautiful Ruins  by Jess Walter.   Meeting will be on Thursday, January 9.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Guard Your Online Info with a Strong Password

Earlier this fall I mentioned that I'd spent part of the summer reading all the detective/mystery novels by Michael Connelly. One of the novels, The Scarecrow (borrowed from the DeKalb Public Library's ebook collection), features a very, very bad guy who is also a computer security expert.   I was alarmed at how easily this bad guy was able to break into various characters' email and bank accounts, destroying their finances and careers by altering and deleting vital information.   My passwords have been reasonably ok, but since The Scarecrow, I've been going through and upgrading all my passwords, starting with email, and anything that has financial information involved (bank, PayPal,, mortgage company, iTunes, etc etc).

 AARGH!! How can anybody come up with strong, unique passwords for every single dad-blamed website (because, of course, you have to have a username and password for EVERYTHING, from PiBites to updating your directory information, all on different platforms with different accounts.)

Fortunately, Gwyneth Jones, The Daring Librarian, has come up with a nifty comic tutorial encapsulating all the sage advice on creating unique, strong AND rememberable* passwords for all your sites.  In a nutshell:
  • 1. Make your password at least 12 characters long.
  • 2. Make it complex -- use a phrase (not just a dictionary word) with special characters,
    numbers and both upper and lower case letters
  • 3. Add to your main passphrase characters that make it unique for each site (for instance, the
  • first three letters of the site name, backwards) so you have to remember only one complicated phrase, and the site reminds you of the rest.
Can you guess the passphrase in this post's title? It's  f0rP3+3sS@k#!  (for petes sake!).  Vowels are from the number line, spaces are brackets }, and the "t" was replaced by a plus sign.  It looks completely random, but you and I know the secret to remembering it.

The complete tutorial is in the graphic below, and you can download a higher-resolution printing copy of the file from Gwyneth's Flickr site. Post it on your office bulletin board or next to the computer  -- but f0r}P3+3]sS@k#! don't write your passphrase on it!

Of course, you also have to figure out all the zillion sites where you've had to set up accounts over the years, but I can't help you with that.

Check out the rest of The Daring Librarian's 10 Super Geeky Tips for the New Year on her blog.

Are you using lame passwords?  Do you have any additional password tips?  Share in the comments!

* "memorable" is for dates and fabulous novels. "Rememberable" -- able to be remembered -- is a much better for this purpose :-)