June 2008


Originally uploaded by kristopherjohnson

This is Mouse, the newest member of our family. He's a twelve-week-old Yorkshire Terrier. My wife says I've been beaming with a smile ever since I first held him.

My wife and I have been talking about getting a dog for a while. We were thinking about getting something like a Boxer. We decided we should wait before getting something so big.

Last week, my wife suggested she'd like to get a Yorkshire Terrier or a Miniature Schnauzer. As luck would have it, on Friday a friend needed to stop at a pet store to get a new leash for his dog, and so I saw some yorkies and a mini schnauzer. A smart worker at the store noticed my interest, and immediately put a yorkie in my hands. It was very cute, but I was able to give it back. I sent a text to my wife telling her I'd seen them, and she texted back that I should buy one immediately. I stayed strong, and didn't buy one.

The following day, we went to the store together. Before we went in, we decided we would look at the dogs, but would have lunch before committing to anything. We played with a yorkie (who would eventually come home with us) and a schnauzer. Pebble had wanted a schnauzer before going in, but the yorkie had a lot more personality. We told the salesman we would think about it.

On the way to lunch, it was obvious we had both already decided we wanted that yorkie. Pebble came up with the name "Mouse," and from that point he was our dog. She suggested we go back right away to pick him up, before anyone else got him, but I wanted to stick to the lunch-first plan.

To my shock and horror, when we returned to the store, another customer was playing with our dog! She was clearly very interested. I was tempted to immediately shout "We want him, we'll pay right now," but decided the wiser course was to wait and see what happened.

Thankfully, the other woman wanted to think about it, so as soon as the dog was back in the pen, I pounced and told the salesman we'd take him. The other woman was crestfallen, but you know, we saw him first.

It's great to have a pet again. My wife had cats when we met, but I have severe allergies to cats, so she had to choose between me and them. Luckily, she had family members willing to take the cats. I have mild allergic reactions to dogs, but yorkies are hypo-allergenic, and I haven't had any reactions to Mouse.

The Grand Re-Passwording

I have a dirty little secret: I have used the same password for my web site accounts for a very long time. Yahoo!, Google, Hotmail, Amazon, all of them — same password, unchanged for years. I've always known this was a bad idea, but I didn't want the trouble of creating unique passwords and changing them periodically.

That has changed. After hearing the description of PasswordMaker on the stackoverflow podcast, I decided to finally take action. Unlike a lot of other "password manager" applications, PasswordMaker doesn't require you to store your passwords anywhere or synchronize them between machines. Instead, it uses a hash algorithm to generate a unique password for each site, but you don't have to store anything anywhere. It can be used with any web browser, on any platform.

So now I'm changing all my passwords on all the web sites I use. I may even change them periodically.

This American Life

This American Life has become my favorite podcast. Each week, they choose a theme and have three little stories about that theme. The "stories" are usually interviews or monologues. Occasionally they will do a single long story.

The host's voice annoyed me at first. After a few shows, though, I now look forward to hearing it.

There is also a TV series on Showtime. I like it, but prefer the audio podcast.

This American Life is produced by Chicago Public Radio. If you like the show as much as I do, send 'em a few bucks.