Eryan Cobham

Thinker-tinker. Web Developer.

Tech Tips

This is going to be an ongoing series of posts (I’m starting to get a lot of those already, aren’t I?) with random tidbits I’ve picked up during my wanderings across the interwebs. Today I’ve got two things for you:

The first is one most people know, for switching between programs on your computer. Instead of going down to the menu and clicking on whichever program you want (among the ones you have open) hold down the “Alt” key and hit the “Tab” key. This allows you to quickly switch back and forth. If you have more than 2 windows open, you can keep hitting “Tab” to rotate between them. To move in the opposite direction, hold down “Shift” in addition to “Alt.” When you find the window you want, let go of “Alt” (and “Shift”).

The second is something I picked up at and is for those of you that are tired of having to remember (but eventually forgetting) passwords to stuff you sign up for. Instead of writing your passwords down, or using the same password for everything (dangerous, because if someone finds out that password they can get into all of your accounts) you can do this. First, come up with a 4 or 5 digit code (best if it’s letters and numbers, but it can be all letters or all numbers if you want), I’ll use “12345” for this example. Now, you alternate the digits of that code with the first 4 or 5 letters out the name of the website you’re on in order to come up with your password. For example, your password for myspace would be 1m2y3s4p5a. Your password for gmail would be 1g2m3a4i5l, etc. You can do the first five letters of the website, the last five, the middle five, it doesn’t really matter, as long as you’re consistent. Then, instead of remembering all those passwords, you only need to remember your code and the fact that you use the first 5 letters in the website’s name. Much easier, and your password for every website is still different, so if one is compromised you don’t have to worry about changing the rest. It’s also usually a much better password than what most people choose, which is a name, regular word, or birthday. You can still use the name, just now use it as your code.
A couple of caveats with doing things this way:

  1. Yes, at first it will definitely take you a few seconds longer to type in your passwords, because you’ll have to pause for a sec and think about it. But, that goes away once you get used to your code. And it’s worth it, not having to worry about your bank account just because someone managed to get into your myspace account

  2. If someone gets your passwords to at least 2 different sites, they can easily figure out your code and get into the rest (it’s still better for you than if you use the same password everywhere though, then they only need one site).

  3. Obviously, you still have to remember your code, but you’re smart, I think you can manage that

That website has a lot of different tricks like that to simplify things, most with a technological bent. Check it out if you’re into that sort of thing.