25 November 2012

Travel-related tech

I recently took a trip, and here are a few notes about some of my technology-related experiences.

I knew I'd probably want Internet access at the hotel, but I figured it would be wireless, and I was hoping for some kind of VPN. In the past I've used ssh's socks proxy feature, but I've found it to be pretty slow. So I thought I'd give wonderproxy a try. You can get a VPN account for a month for around $5, and I thought it worked really well. It was fast, and it made me feel a little better about using the hotel's wireless.

I bought a Macbook Air not long ago, and I like it. So I took it with me on the trip. I took some pictures, and I used iPhoto to copy the pictures off the camera onto the laptop. Then I tried using iPhoto to upload the photos to flickr, and that didn't work well for me. iPhoto crashed at one point during an upload of a bunch a photos, and there was no obvious way to resume the upload. I was able to figure out where it quit, and then I just told it to upload the photos it missed. But many of the photos on flickr don't have the original size--the largest version of many of them is 1024x768 (there should be three larger sizes). So I have to upload those images again or just be OK with the smaller sizes on flickr. So I'm glad I hadn't told iPhoto to delete them off the camera.

I also told iPhoto to mark several of the photos as private, and they ended up as public on flickr.

So I probably won't be using iPhoto any more.

And although southwestvacations.com did a great job of booking the trip, they totally FAIL in password security. When I created the account, I used a password generator to create a long password with all four character classes, and I saved the password in my password wallet. At one point during the trip, I needed to access something in my account. But when I tried to log in, I got invalid username/password errors. I ended up using the "forgot my password" link, thinking it would send me a login token. Nope, it sent me my password. It wasn't even my original password (which is why I was having trouble logging in). The original was around 20 characters long, but what they sent me was the first 10 characters of the password I'd created. So southwestvacations.com

  • restricts password complexity (they truncated my password at 10 characters--the 11th was a percent sign, so I don't know if it was the length or the character)
  • they truncated my password without warning me
  • they store non-hashed passwords
  • and they'll send passwords by email

Otherwise, it was a lovely trip. Have a look, if you like.

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