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eThinker Newsletter January 2018 

    A lifetime ago, there was a sci-fi TV series called Knight Rider, about a crimefighter whose sidekick was a talking car named KITT. The premise was not quite as silly as the plot of My Mother the Car, and now, thanks to a cooperative effort between Amazon and Panasonic, you'll soon be able to experience something like that. Only you'll be addressing Alexa, not KITT.
     Alexa, of course, is the voice-activated digital assistant currently used to send out for a pizza, play music on demand, order something on-line, and turn down the thermostat a notch. Its only limitation, so far, is that you have to be in the house or office for it to hear you.
     Not anymore, according to what potential Alexa Riders learned at a recent convention in Las Vegas sponsored by the Consumer Technology Association. Panasonic said the company is working with Amazon to offer Alexa access to your car. Using only your spoken word, it will be able to find the nearest gas station, tell you how to get there, dial up your office, adjust your home settings so the house will be warm (or cool) when you get there, and even order a meal that will arrive roughly the same time you do.
     How did people survive in the old pioneering days when they had to inch up to the drive-through window to pick up a bucket of chicken?
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     There are other ways to go high-tech, like installing premium business software on fast dependable servers and computers. And the new year is as good a time as any to review your inventory and decide on what you need to move ahead in business and in life. Give MicroComputer Resources a call. Like Alexa, we'll answer and we'll deliver.


Paul Fountas
MicroComputer Resources, Inc.
The 20 Worst Passwords of 2017:
Did Yours Make the List?
    This is really not the sort of honor that you want to aspire to. SplashData, Inc., which completed its annual review of the 5 million passwords that were leaked in 2017, compiled a list of the 20 passwords that were used the most and were the easiest to crack. Top of the list, for the fourth year in a row, were "123456" and "password." Really!
     Then there were the minor variations, like "123456789" and "passw0rd." A new contender was "starwars," but guess what? Hackers also watch pop cult movies, so of course they're going to try that one out.
     The complete list of most hackable passwords are: 123456, password, 12345678, qwerty, 12345, 123456789, letmein, 1234567, football, iloveyou, admin, welcome, monkey, login, abc123, starwars, 123123, dragon, passw0rd, and master.
    If your password is on the list, change it immediately. And even if it is not, see if it's even close, like maybe a contender for the top 40 list. We recommend using phrases of 12 characters or more, with mixed types of characters including upper and lower cases. Also, change them out periodically, and don't use the same one for different sites.

Jupiter Is a Giant Galactic Lava Lamp

    NASA’s Juno spacecraft is hovering over the Solar System's largest planet for the purpose of gathering scientific data, but it's also been sending us a treat for the eyes. If God were a hippie, the planet Jupiter would be the lava lamp in his living room.
     Since arriving at Jupiter, Juno has been sending back some of the most jaw-dropping pictures. Cruising high above the massive, swirling cloud tops, it shot a photo in December that is more like a painting than a planet. The violent storms raging on the planet's surface resemble a cauldron of milky liquid.
     Check out this site for a brief video of the Jupiter fly-by.

In This Issue
The 20 Worst Passwords of 2017

Jupiter Is Giant Galactic Lava Lamp

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Tips and Tricks
Do you need to clear your desktop in a hurry? One way is to right click on the task bar, and select Show the Desktop from the menu. Or you could just press [Windows Key-D]. Another handy keyboard shortcut is the [Alt-Tab], which lets you switch between open apps.
Just for Fun
Screensavers aren't needed anymore, but we miss them just the same. Remember running through the rat maze--which included a rat? The flying toasters? The never-ending space warp through the star field? Sometimes a moment of watching a randomly generated pattern was just what you needed to take a break from the computer. Enjoy a trip down memory lane with this review of Classic Windows screensavers from Windows 1.0 to Windows 98.
Quotable Quote
"Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny."

Free advice is the kind that costs you nothing unless you act on it.

Don't worry if you are a kleptomaniac….You can always take something for it.

-- All by the Prolific Anonymous