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How to build a Strong Password

What’s a decently strong password where I don’t have to sprain my hand typing it out? This is something my wife usually leans over to ask me, as she signs up for a new online marketplace..

A good time to share some practices. My cheatsheet (do pick 4 to 5 ideas to combine):
. shape
. colour
. thing
. animal
. place
. phrase
. number (3-7 digits)
. date (numeric or event name)
. memory hook
. bible verse
. historical (thing, event, memory etc)
. wishlist
. pet (include friends pets, imaginary, and peeves)
. Add your own thing to your list

Write your choice of word ideas on a piece of paper. Now the most important part. Filterize it. That is,
– abbreviate it or take first letters (e.g. wiifm)
– pinyin variant (xiaogui for little ghost)
– special chars (e.g. use [ ] for “square” and separate this across the password)
– special num (use shifts for numbers)
– l33t the words (e.g. 4L3rt for “alert”)
– rhyming misspells (e.g. “kompair” for “compare”)
– drop some vowels

Your final password should be 12-16 characters in length or longer. Finally, test the strength of it here:

If the results show that it’ll take many years to brute-force crack it, it’s probably good enough for your shopping platform.

Remember to keep that piece of paper safely, or burn it.

What’s a Commonplace Book?

The most commercial form of the Commonplace Book is the collection of book summaries with different degrees of depth and reflection.

Other Commonplace Books may collect quotations, art snippets or even sound bites.

What’s the right title for people who write commonplace books? Authors? Editors? Curators? or Collectors? Or simply, writers?

That’s also the beauty in this difference. Because from this title, the writer reveals and reflects different aspects of the books they read. And share it in a personal way. And with different genres and disciplines, different styles of sharing will hold up better.

As I think of putting together my own commonplace book, one very real question is that, while this book is for me and what I’ve learned, who else can rapidly read and benefit from it?

Ambitiously, I’d have these headings:

  • Summary and essence
  • Target reader
  • Mindset
  • Key takeaways
  • Actions and directives
  • Quotes
  • Concepts
  • Gaps
  • Review
  • Re-reads

My next question will be how do I continue my reading style of 3-5 books at a time and stay sane (and disciplined) to take notes and review them?

No, I probably won’t answer this so soon.

I’m strongly influenced by Samuel T. Davies and his book summaries. And you can buy his Commonplace Book (which compiles it all and more) too.

The habit of the Commonplace Book

Have you ever gone “Hey, I know something about that – now where did I read that before?”

Or “Argh! There are 4 things i need in this process and I can only remember 3 – where do i find it again?”

And also “there’s a quote that’s worded just right for this – why can’t Google find it exactly for me?”

I’m a reader. I have this unusual habit of having 3-5 books opened at the same time, all in various stages of completion. While there are times when the flow of the book takes over and I dive through that one book. There are more times when the contents of the opened books just percolate together in my mind, and then I go:

  • This is a great idea for that project
  • Oh, I can do this at my workplace, or
  • I should work this into how I run meetings
  • I see where I fumbled on that relationship handling..

and then nothing much else happens.. Until of course, I scratch my head with the opening questions on this post.

I need a place to capture the various essences of each book I’ve read, into my own commonplace book.

A new habit to start.

We can remember it for you

The phrase which launched a movie (plus a remake) titled “Total Recall”, was first penned as a short story by Phillip Dick. As a 2-liner synopsis, in the future it will be possible to capture and record anyone’s life and experiences and you will be able to rent that memory and play it back. The 2nd line becomes the plot of the whole action movie – are you living your life, or your memory, or someone else’s memory?

I’m not sure where or when that trail pivoted, but the concept of the Second Brain was formed, and with that, I believe the area of personal knowledge management leapfrogged many steps.

Tiago Forte shares that you cannot afford to keep everything in your head (aka First Brain). You have way too much to remember, too much to think about, and too much to do. Our First Brain is geared more for experiences, analysis, consulting and thinking, and we would gradually shed learnings into the background of our mind. And they fall off eventually.

This is actually good! Because it frees us to see things anew, breath in and take in new experiences. The bad is that we forget or drop off necessary learnings which we have yet to integrate into our daily selves, either as values or habits. Capture it before it gets lost.

The Second Brain has a few activities to make it work. And this will be one of the ways I’m activating this.

I’ll let this blog remember it for me.

Paul’s First Post

Hello World!

I’m Paul Tan and I write about things I ponder and muse over, stuff that I’ve read and learned, from others and from experiences. I’ll also use this space to formulate new ideas and processes and connections of circles, work and people.

I’ve read that keeping a personal blog is an investment into myself. Not only do I see this as a knowledge legacy for later, it’s also to help me find my true voice, and in that search, some new directions may form.

You’re welcome to stay for the ride, and even comment along. Let’s see how this develops as it moves forward day by day.