That didn't take long

18 hours after the 7-year old landed in France, she says:  "what? another church?"

Interestingly Structured Deal on Amazon Kindle DX

If you've been eyeing the Kindle DX (the large e-ink one), Amazon is running a weird deal until Father's day.  The Kindle DX by itself is $379, but if you buy it with the official Kindle cover, the price drops to $299.

I find this kind of deals fascinatingly innumerate -- why would any one buy the Kindle by itself? Why doesn't Amazon simply give a discount on the device instead of applying the discount only if you also buy the cover? Don't they essentially lose money on the covers?  It can't be advertising for the cover (the razor-blade analogy) because most people buy a cover only once.

Of course, Amazon is probably not doing this without a reason -- it's probably a price discrimination scheme. But what does the scheme discriminate for? People in a hurry vs. cautious buyers? People who read the product page vs. people who don't? People who can do math vs. people who can't? People who are willing to throw away a cover they need vs. people who won't want to waste it?

Change your password. Now.

LinkedIn's hashed set of passwords has leaked (6.5 million of them) and apparently they were doing Mickey-Mouse stuff in terms of password security (full details here).

So, public service message:
  1. Change your password for your email, online banking, and Facebook.
  2. Use three different passwords for each of the above.  You don't want to use the same password for each.
  3. An easy-to-remember, very secure password scheme is explained in this XKCD cartoon.
  4. Reuse a fourth, easy-to-remember password (abcd1234) for all the other junk, like newspaper subscriptions.
Some explanations:
  1. I think we all understand why your bank password should be secure. Your email should be even more secure because anyone who gets into your email can reset any password they please.  Why Facebook? So that people don't get into your social network and send letters claiming you are stuck in Madrid. You know that old aunt of yours might fall for that one. Protect her by choosing a secure Facebook password.
  2. Why use different passwords? So that a leak of one password, like the one on LinkedIn, does not compromise your other accounts.
  3. Passwords should be easy for a human to remember and hard for a computer to guess. One option is to create a catch phrase, rather than letters.  So, for example, a very secure password for Facebook would be  DontWorryImNot./Madrid  (I am using the Unix dot-slash instead of the word in).  The length of this password, along with the use of symbols makes it extremely secure.