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Ask Mr. Modem: How to pick a smart password

I know passwords are important, but do you have any suggestions for creating a good password that’s also easy to remember?

A good password should be at least eight characters, include at least one number, one special character (if permitted), and upper- and lower-case letters. AardVark419!, for example, would meet these recommended criteria and serve as an excellent password. But good luck remembering it.

When creating passwords, avoid using personal information in isolation, such as birthdays, children’s names, your address, a phone number, your partner’s name, etc. That being said, combining personal information by using two non sequitur (unrelated) pieces of information can result in an easy-to-remember yet difficult-to-crack password.

For example, use your middle name and your pet’s name with an exclamation mark in between, such as Rufus!Muffy, or combine your birth date and your best friend’s name, such as 0615!Gomer — you get the idea. If you stick with the same format, you will create a super-strong password that you shouldn’t have any difficulty remembering.

Security “experts” tell us not to use the same password for multiple applications. Who are they kidding? When it comes to passwords, I believe there are two standards to consider: what’s ideal and what’s practical. I’ll opt for the practical approach every time. Rather than attempt to use a unique password for every application, I use five or six password/username combinations. I’m sure that would render some security experts apoplectic, but it works for me.

I’ve been hearing about QR code technology and have a vague understanding of what it is but was wondering if you could explain it — and more importantly, where should I go to create a QR code that I can use on my website, business cards, etc?

QR (quick response) codes are a spin-off of technology originally created by Toyota and used to organize and classify auto parts. (Fascinating, isn’t it?) Today, QR codes are used by businesses and individuals to provide product and service information to prospective customers or other interested parties.

QR codes consist of black elements arranged in a square pattern on a white background that is easily scanned by a smartphone or other device, which then provides access to information. To view QR codes in action, visit http://tinyurl.com/MrM-QRCode.

Getting started with QR codes is easy: Begin by downloading a reader (scanner) application to your phone. Both the Apple and Android app stores have several. After obtaining your scanner app, you can use one of the many free QR code generators to construct your first code.

For additional information, read How to Create a QR Code for the iPhone at http://tinyurl.com/MrM-How2iPhone or How to create a QR Code for Android at http://tinyurl.com/MrM-How2Android.

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