The Cupcake Diet

By Dr. Jonathan E. Westfall

(Totally a real Dr… Just not a Medical one…)

Cupcakes Are Your Savior

So you’re fat. How do I know that? Well because you’re reading a diet book. Well, I guess you might just want something interesting to read while on vacation, or perhaps you know me personally and are curious about this whole Diet book thing.

But I’d like to think you’re fat, because I’m fat, and we all know from pop culture that fat people are losers who like to hang out together because somehow that makes us feel better. At least skinny people think that, and we shouldn’t burst their bubble.

So seriously, we’re all fat here, and we want to lose some weight for some reason or another. Maybe we want to look better, or be able to do more, or we don’t want to die 2-4 years earlier than our skinny friends (Because some amazing things are sure to happen to us in those last 2-4 years. Presidential Elections, senior discounts, advances in fiber sciences, etc…). And at one point or another, fat people want to find something that works when it comes to weight loss. Well friends, I’m here to share an amazing secret with you – the answer is, seriously, cupcakes. Continue reading “The Cupcake Diet”

Geek Thrills: My DD-WRT Router Kicks Your Linksys’ Butt!

This is a long geeky story that starts with pure ENVY. Yes it’s a deadly sin, and yet it’s one of those that I sometimes engage in, despite no deathwish. My envious feelings are a bit different than most so.

This all starts when Karey & I moved into our new apartment last month. The first night we were here, I took a quick peek at the SSID list – after all, apartment buildings provide a number of interesting entries. I saw quite a number of entries that looked like this:

And was intrigued. Who was this Rick Ray, and why was he running a guest network? Was he some sort of “those without internet” savior? So I hooked up to his network (a deadly sin in and of itself, but hey, maybe I’m the sort of guest he wants) and saw this:

Yep – a guest access splash page with a Cisco logo on it. Knowing Rick Ray probably wasn’t a network tech with an industrial grade router at home, I realized that Cisco/Linksys must be adding this as a pretty logical feature on their newer APs / Routers. And here I was with just a regular old WPA-protected network that I told people the password to as they needed it. This put my Geek card in real jeopardy. Read on to hear how I fixed this the only way I know how: Overkill! Continue reading “Geek Thrills: My DD-WRT Router Kicks Your Linksys’ Butt!”

What Are “Natural Highs”?

A friend of mine is an engineer, who, in addition to making and blogging about tasty meals, also often posts about her technological triumphs at work. She uses the term “nerd-boner” to describe that exhilarating feeling one gets when they are able to overcome a technological problem or challenge. As someone who has felt these “natural highs” over both technology-related and psychology-related challenges, I find it interesting how different victories in different domains can trigger the same reliable high feeling. And what exactly is that high feeling anyway?

Excitement © by joncandy

The Esteemed Dr. Wik E Pedia tells us that Natural Highs are simply “a feeling of high without the use of drugs“. Highs come in different forms depending on the drug used to induce them, from alcohol highs to cocaine highs. Stimulant highs, though, are probably the closest thing we have to the “natural high” state. And biologically, this should come from elevated dopamine activity. Interestingly enough, elevated dopamine has also been linked to that feeling of flexibility we experience when we solve a problem (that “Eureka” moment – where new possibilities open up from the confusion of the problem state).

And perhaps that’s the difference between the “nerd-boners” that my friend describes and regular old chemical highs. The problem solver doesn’t just get a jolt of dopamine, they get a new perspective partially powered by the dopamine rush. It’s having your cake and eating it too, neurologically speaking. Reward facilitates new exploration.

Please Please Please Start Using A Password Manager

It isn’t often that I preach on my blog (Or in general). I like to respect other people’s opinions, views, rants, and freedoms. But I cannot simply sit by without at least trying to get people to use better passwords and preferably a password manager. My preference is Lastpass, which honestly is worth its free pricetag and the $12 a year for premium. 90% of my friends would do just fine with Free, so please – if you haven’t tried out something like Lastpass yet, try it now.

Otherwise you’ll end up like these people (Names have been changed to protect the victims):

1. The school official I knew who was reprimanded after a student saw her password scrawled on a post-it inside her desk drawer. Said student changed his grades, got caught, and was going to get expelled until he worked out a sweet deal: Give me a suspension and I’ll tell you how I ‘hacked’ the school database. Turns out his hack was simply a good memory.

2. The many individuals whom I’ve personally ‘busted’ after they’ve used an insecure password on one of my systems (every so often I run a password audit, where I let an extremely powerful machine use all of it’s idle time cracking my own users’ passwords. I give it 3 weeks, and whatever it cracks, I ask the user to change).

3. The friends I know who have, in a pinch, revealed a password to me – only to have it be extremely embarrassing (“Uh yea… my password is just ‘password’ – but I put a capital P in there and a zero for the o – that’s good right?”)

These 3 stories are of those who got away easy – some people aren’t so lucky. You wouldn’t use the same key for every lock you have, and then give copies of that key to every company you have a relationship with, would you?

So Please, Please, Please – Start using a password manager and strong passwords. If you asked me what most of my passwords are, I’d smile and tell you I don’t know – I know 1 complex password that unlocks the rest. I can look my passwords up anytime I need them on my phone, my tablet, or my computers. It’s that easy. Do it for me, do it for the world, and ultimately, do it for yourself!