Passwords

Passwords

Remembering passwords is a pain in the… However, for the near term, passwords are necessary, so we need to adopt a proficient way to generate secure passwords.  I read an article last week where passwords were referred to by some in the technology world as “…the barking dog of technology.”  That reference was comparing the likelihood of a burglar invading a home with a loud and large barking dog versus a home without a potentially vicious dog.  It’s just easier and safer to move on to a quieter home.

Considering a large barking dog as a metaphor for your choice of passwords might not be a bad exercise.  If your password and other security precautions are rather complex, then it’s likely a hacker will simply move on to the next target.

So here are a few easy tools you can use to help you remember, and generate, your passwords:

  • Use a good password manager.  I use LastPass, but there are other good password tools in the marketplace.  1Password is another good password manager, as it Roboform.
  • It’s probably best to just let these online tools generate the passwords for you because they create relatively complex passwords.  But be sure to keep a backup file of the passwords in the event something happens to your password manager.

Out in the distant future passwords will become extinct.  Fingerprint detection is already being used in smartphone technology, and voice recognition is another possible password replacement tool. Facial recognition is another consideration for password replacement security.  Yes, you look at your computer or other device, and it looks back at you to create your personal facial recognition grid.  Brainwave recognition technology is also being studied as a password replacement tool.

But for now, consider using the simple and reliable tools I wrote about above.  They might not be a perfect solution, but these tools are probably better than your current password security strategy.

Jeff Bernard

Jeff@CherryCreek.CC

The New Era of Higher Education

Our collective throng of universities and colleges in the United States, the massive institutions that were built to deliver formal education to young students, must learn to adapt to our changing society.  The old social order at our universities is in the process of being usurped.  Crowd sourcing, open source technology, and a much more diverse student demographic, conjoined with a more connected world, via the internet, will eliminate the current “business as usual” conduct at our institutions of higher education.

 Historically, universities have been the venue and the catalyst of societal change.  Young students that populated a university campus transformed the buildings and classrooms into a collective community of people who were able and willing to be trained in order to contribute knowledge and labors to an established society.  But societies around the globe are now in the midst of change, and the changes might be more cataclysmic than many anticipate. Which begs the question: Are universities equipped to train people to meet these new challenges?

 

So, are we are about to witness the creative destruction of these hallowed halls and ivory towers of learning?  Will these institutions be creatively destroyed and rebuilt? Could we be experiencing a transformative era of educational change?

 Author, and professor at City University of New York, Jeff Jarvis, recently stated: “We spew it from a lectern; we expect it to be spewed back in a test. That kind of education does not produce the innovators who would invent Google. The real need for education in the economy will be re-education.”  Jarvis is a technology journalist and an educator; therefore his thoughts and words on this important matter should be strongly contemplated by university administrators and regents.

 We now see the confluence of older students who are retraining, and thus preparing for an emerging new economy.  Indeed, they are studying along side of the traditional younger student body. It is an interesting sight to see. So, will this increase in generational cognitive diversity result in the creation of new and innovative learning?  One must hope that this dynamic will bring wisdom and youthful enthusiasm together, but is this rather new academic mix enough to promote positive and effective change?

 

Consider the numerous types of diversity that is spreading across the academic landscape: In and around these university campuses we hear a profusion of global languages fill the air; we witness a wide array of differential skin color, as well as diverse sexual orientation.  The change is taking place, and it is ubiquitous.  It is generating a new, creative class of students.  Perhaps somewhat of a microcosm of a creative city that was so skillfully described by Richard Florida in his timeless book: The Rise of the Creative Class.

Therefore, the college campus of today should promote a much different culture than the one most educators and school administrators experienced when they attended a university. College campuses today should be crying out for new forms of communities; a new ethos of cognitive and social diversity that are united with new technologies and online social platforms.  A convergence of older student’s wisdom; the new and innovative ideas of younger students; and the cultural experiences of a contingent of global students must fuel this educational creative destruction and promote an emergence of educational innovation.  And all institutional education must fully embrace new technologies.

 So, has the time come to rethink process of university entrance and acceptance.  Are the entrance exams that have been used as a screening process still relevant?  Is the archaic lecture format no longer the preeminent primary source of dispensing information?  Are the old ways of testing and tricking a student no longer relevant?  Perhaps the answers to those questions might still be yes to some limited extent.  But the processes of teaching and learning needs to evolve and keep pace with our changing world or it will no longer provide society with the utility that is so necessary for continued societal progress.

Jeff Bernard

Denver, CO

Educational Creative Destruction

My son and I meet quite often in downtown Denver, and during those meetings we enjoy sundry conversation about many of our favorite topics. Over tea, we might exchange recommendations about our favorite smart phone apps; assess the state of the State of Colorado, the USA and the world; and we often engage in a detailed discussion about the economy. These conversations are never dull moments of idle chat.

 His ability to advance our discussions into avant-garde dialogue is something I’ve learned to expect and enjoy. Last week he, once again, guided the discussion into uncharted territory.

 As he rationalized his future, he talked about careers, graduate school, government, financial institutions, and travel. He presented me with his notion that immediately enrolling in graduate school might not be a prudent choice, given our evolving economy and changing society. He talked of Joseph Schumpeter’s theory of the effects of creative destruction within the world economies, and how it might affect a rapidly changing workplace; and more importantly, how it might change our global societies.

 What quickly grabbed my attention was his concern that the current curriculum in graduate schools might not be relevant in the near future as our economy continues to change.  He said (and I paraphrase): “Careers in business finance, law, economics, or medicine might look quite different within a few short years, given the rapidly changing world of software, genetics, biomedical advances, and, of course, the foundation of all of this change, the internet. So I need to determine if spending several thousand dollars on more education and advanced training is my best option right now.” He was clearly disappointed that our national and global institutions of government, finance, and education were simply not highly functional, and perhaps too dysfunctional; that maybe our current institutions are incapable bodies of power and influence.

I’m a strong believer in the merits of higher education. However, I fully understand that an undergraduate level education is meant to teach fundamental skills in select disciplines. It proves that one can sustain diverse moments of divergent education. But graduate school suggests a much more skill specific based education awaits a graduate. A master’s degree is thought be an avenue to “master” a specific educational discipline. The doctorate level results in an even greater mastery of skills. The notion that graduate level education will make one a lifelong learner is a given, but one does expect to emerge from this intense and expensive educational setting with very precise skills that prepare a person with specific performance potential, with knowledge based tools sufficiently honed for the task of mastering an advanced career. So is that educational goal sustainable during times of economic creative destruction? I doubt anyone could know the answer to that question as of the date of our conversation.

 At that moment I began to consider the career path of my father versus myself. My father’s generation worked for an entire adult lifetime in a specific career, usually under one employer, and then retired. My generation might often change jobs, but seldom changed entire career disciplines. But my father’s generation lived in a post Depression era where changes were present—but not exponential changes like we face today. Career seekers my son’s age are facing a possible extended period of social and technological tectonic change. But what might this future change become?

 Joseph Schumpeter’s theory of creative destruction included expectations that we let go of our current and all too familiar economy and the associated supporting institutions, and embrace new innovation and creativity.  The time for change has come within our collective world economies and societies—and come it will. Resolutely curious people often possess the gift of creativity. Couple unbridled creativity with the innate ability to innovate, and the world as we know it can quickly change. But where do we find these agile minds that will usher in this change?

We will find them using the power of crowdsourcing to make widespread technological and institutional changes. Although many of our “leaders” might not accept these near term and long term changes in our government, financial, and educational institutions, they have no choice but to move aside and witness the future taking place. The next generation of social leaders will not live in a world where people are satisfied with the momentum of mediocrity.  And I see this change coming much sooner than later if the spirit of dissatisfaction that is present in my son is widespread throughout the world. I believe it is present and ubiquitous.

This next generation is resolute and smart. And they are very pissed off. The world they reside in as citizens is not working, so, as new leaders, they will first destroy the old institutions and create a new world order.

Jeff Bernard

Denver, CO