Thanks for stopping by. My name is John Patrick and Attitude LLC is the name of my company. My activities include writing, speaking, and board service. I am fortunate to have quite a few affiliations and I get to work with people from whom I am constantly learning. Prior to “e-tirement”, I was vice president of Internet Technology at IBM Corporation. Nearly everything I have ever said or written is here at patrickWeb or in my book, Net Attitude. As of today, the patrickWeb blog contains 1,446 posts. I hope you enjoy reading some of them. Get the email version of patrickWeb if you prefer. Find me on Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. Follow me on twitter. You can also find me in Wikipedia.
A number of my friends have asked what I thought of the FCC voting for Net Neutrality. Many people interpret the move to regulate the Internet as a sign of government controls, more regulation, and even stifling innovation. I do not see it that way at all. I am not in favor of more government or regulation, but there are some areas where government should take a leadership role. I am not completely comfortable with the FCC and have agreed with others in the past that we would be better off without an FCC. It is highly unlikely the FCC is going to go away so what should their role be with regard to the Internet?
AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon would be happy to have less regulation except for regulation that helps them increase their hold on us, the consumer. There is not enough competition and prices for broadband are too high. Cities would like to work with Google and others to establish free WiFi as a boost to their local economies and provide more connectivity for education. The lobbyists have gone around the cities and convinced a number of states to make it illegal for a municipality to establish Internet service. In my opinion, that is not right.
Another danger area is content tie-ups. Suppose Comcast and ESPN made a deal together that provided extra fast speed for ESPN content. You could only take advantage of it if you are a Comcast subscriber. More than a third of broadband subscribers have only one choice of a provider. If such fast lanes became pervasive, it is conceivable, some say likely, that the Internet for everyone else would slow down. That would not be good for innovation and the spawning of the next Facebook. Net Neutrality is a good thing for the Internet. Sasha Segan at PC Magazine said, “This isn’t a case of federal government overreach, or of federal government reach at all.” I agree.
The board of trustees of OCLC meets at least five times per year. We usually meet in the headquarters city, which is Dublin, Ohio. Once per year we meet somewhere outside of Dublin. The last few such meetings were in Boston, Seattle, and Toronto. This year it was in Florence, Italy. My wife and I decided to go a few days early and spend some time in Rome.
The food, wine, Roman ruins, and hotel room at Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria were all great. The historical sites are amazing. I had seen them some years ago but was happy to see them again. Looking at 100 foot marble columns made 2,000+ years ago is mind boggling. The fountains all over the city deliver clear clean water with no pumps — an engineering feat to behold. The Pantheon, Colosseum, and the Roman Forum are among many other sites that make you wonder, “How they did they do that?” For transportation around the city we used Metro subway tourist passes and Uber. Uber reportedly has 200 drivers in Rome. They all used spotless Mercedes E Class cars and the rates were less than a taxi. Photos from Rome are here.
We took a train from Rome to Florence. It was a ninety minute ride and provided beautiful views of snow capped mountains. Florence is much smaller than Rome. There was no Uber service, but we could easily walk anywhere in the city. We had seen the David some years ago, and it remains a marvel. It is said that if you see the David, there is no reason to look at any other sculptures because none can equal the craftsmanship of Michelangelo’s great work. Photos from Florence are here.
A highlight of our time in Florence was the FryskLab. Bibliotheekservice Fryslân, a library organization in the Netherlands, developed FryskLab, a mobile lab facility from a former book mobile. The goal of the FryskLab is to bring digital fabrication skills to primary and secondary school students. The FryskLab bus made the long trip from the Netherlands to Italy and plans to continue on to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, and France. The bus contains three 3-D printers and a laser engraving printer along with MacBooks and iPads to facilitate learning and making things. I could not resist using Doodle3D on the iPad and printing a 3-D image of Health Attitude.
The only disappointment during the trip to Italy was WiFi. Nobody made it simple. One restaurant had an access point named TELECOM-67583117 and the password was trattoriadavelentino00184. Could they make it any harder? Some of the passwords were annoying and unnecessary, but at least the service was free. Not so at the wonderful Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria. To get charged $25 Euros ($28.50) per day for WiFi was an insult. I consider it gouging. They charge the high fee because they know people want it. There rationale is that WiFi is free in the public areas of the hotel and if you want it in your room, you have to pay. Making matters worse, the consistency and the speed of the WiFi service was poor. The high-speed train to Florence offered WiFi for one cent for 24 hours. We checked into the Hotel Brunelleschi in the center of Florence. WiFi there was included in the price of the room. Our last night was at the Rome Airport Hilton. They charged 20 euros for WiFi.
I have always believed WiFi should be like the other things you expect in your room: heat, a/c, electricity, TV, and water. The Cavalieri obviously sees WiFi as an incremental profit opportunity. WiFi does have a cost associated with it, but in my opinion, that should be bundled in the price of the room. It is the principle of adding on the charge after you check in that I object to. As some airports and many hotels offer free WiFi, the high charges from those who do not stand out and leave a bad taste for what otherwise may have been a good experience.
The 21st Annual Genesys Partners Venture Dinner — Genesys XXI– will take place on Monday, January 26, at the Union League Club in New York. As always, Jim Kollegger — CEO of Genesys Partners and one of the pioneers of the information industry — will be master of ceremonies. I will give a short speech after dinner. I will provide an annual update on the continued growth of the Internet, but will emphasize the transformation of the American healthcare system that is underway. I won’t be able to resist telling the audience about Health Attitude, which will be published in March.
The new element of the Genesys program this year is a conference called The Agility First! Forum. The new conference’s mission it to convene founders and CEOs of agile and advanced early and mid-stage companies with one goal: To focus on more powerful execution. I will participate on a panel on Tuesday labeled “The Uber and Airbnb Blitz: Breaking the Law or Breaking Down Barriers?” I will emphasize how the consumer-led revolution occurring in healthcare is at least as significant as what Uber and Airbnb are doing to transportation and lodging.
Health Attitude is coming soon. An open question is what the tagline should be. This is important because it affects the likelihood that someone will decide to read the book. Ten people have responded to the survey so far, and you can see the results below. For those of you who have been following the development of Health Attitude and providing feedback, you have been shaping the content of the book. If you did not weigh in on the tagline and can spare a few seconds, click here for the one-question survey. Thanks!
Tagline Votes So Far
Unraveling the mysteries of the American healthcare system: 4 votes
How attitude and technology can revolutionize our healthcare system: 2 votes
Solving America’s Healthcare Crisis: 2 votes
How to make our healthcare system better and more affordable: 1 vote
Other: How to make our healthcare system affordable and better: 1 vote
SplashData compiled a list of the worst passwords of 2014 that is instructive. The company analyzed more than three million passwords that had been stolen and then posted on the web. The reason they are called “worst” is because they are the least secure. If you ever wondered how a friend’s email account at AOL or Yahoo! got hacked into, this is the reason: weak passwords that are easy to guess.
SplashData has a line of software products and services called SplashID Safe. I use SplashID as my database to store information about family credit cards, driver licenses, passports, etc. For passwords I use 1Password. There are many password managers available; just Google “password manager” and you will find them.
Password managers allow you to have passwords like &6^%aG(@5T6r@@ that no human can remember and that are very hard to guess. The only password you need to remember is the one you use to open your password manager, and that password is stored only on your computer and smartphone, not on the Internet. A feature that many password managers offer is to show you how many passwords you have that are more than six months old, how many are duplicate, and how many are weak. Your security is important and should be treated with respect and priority. It is worth investing some time to make sure you have strong passwords.
You can read the full story about SplashData’s analysis of the stolen passwords here. You may also want to read a story I wrote about my project to change all my 400+ passwords. I called the story Password Hell.
Thanks for following progress toward the launch of Health Attitude. We are getting very close. The book cover design is entering the second round next week. Marketing copy for the Amazon website is underway. “Advance Praise” blurbs are coming in from reviewers. I will continue to edit and make Health Attitude as good as possible. The feedback from many of you has been incredibly helpful. Another round or two and the draft, cover, and marketing copy will all come together to make Health Attitude a reality. The target is still March, but it may be earlier for the Kindle version. I will keep you posted. Thanks again for your support. Your feedback is always welcomed! Feel free to post a comment on my Facebook page, at LinkedIn, Google+, my Twitter feed, or drop a mail to email@example.com. One other thing: I am considering different taglines for the cover of Health Attitude. If you can spare 30 seconds, click here for a one-question survey. Thanks!
I wish happy holidays for all, and I want to thank those who have been giving me feedback on the draft of Health Attitude. If you are not on the reviewer list, but would like to be, please drop a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The purpose of this post is to provide an update on plans for the new book. I started writing it in July, and finished chapter 16, the last one, just before Christmas. I have engaged CreateSpace to design the book cover, and I have secured an ISBN. The target publish date will be in March. The feedback has been invaluable, ranging from “nice read” to “here is a list of 99 things you need to edit”. Like software, a 300-page book will have bugs to fix, and words and phrases to improve. No one is happy about the American healthcare system, and my goal for Health Attitude is to make the system and solutions understandable, and hopefully, help providers, payers, policy makers, and politicians to see the system as the rest of us do.
The other thing underway is a new website, attitudellc.org. Attitude LLC is my company and it will be the publisher of Health Attitude. The new website will include two sets of stories: Health Attitude will be posts about healthcare and the book. Net Attitude will be posts about the things I have been writing about in patrickWeb for more than 20 years: the Internet, motorcycles, music, technology, travels, and e-business. If you receive emails with my periodic posts, you will continue to receive them, but they will come from attitudellc.org beginning in January. No action is required on your part. If you are a reviewer of Health Attitude and also a subscriber to patrickWeb, you may receive a few duplicates until the transition is complete. In January, visits to patrickWeb.com will automatically be redirected to attitudellc.org. Thank you very much for reading my posts and for your feedback. Happy New Year! John
Health Attitude is coming soon! No one is happy about the American healthcare system. Millions have no health insurance. Millions more have it but cannot afford it. Primary care physicians feel over worked. Specialist physicians feel the payers are squeezing them. Hospitals are under huge pressure from Medicare to lower their costs and improve their quality of outcomes. Tax payers are not happy about the increase in their taxes to support the healthcare system. Thousands of people die each year because of errors in the healthcare delivery system. The list goes on. The topic is complex and there is no simple solution, but there are multiple solutions, and good things are underway. Health Attitude will unravel the mysteries of healthcare, make the problems understandable and, more important, will make the solutions understandable. It all revolves around attitude. Consumers need to take more responsibility for their health. Physicians need to put the consumer in the center of health care. Hospitals need to do a better job of coordinating care across the community. Political leaders need to focus more on the needs of citizens and a bit less on the wants of health insurance companies and big pharma.
I had put off the task long enough — it was time to clean up my passwords. I began using the Internet in the early 1990s and started to accumulate web logins and passwords. The first site I recall using was Weather Underground, which went live in 1993. As of August 2014, when I embarked on my cleanup project, I had more than 600 logins and passwords. I use 1Password to store these credentials — it is a truly great piece of software. The app runs nicely on the Mac, iPhone, MacBook, and iPad. The password database is securely stored in Dropbox and kept in sync for use on any of the devices. 1Password doesn’t just store your ids and passwords and automatically log you in to the corresponding website, it also provides a real-time analysis of the quality of your passwords. It shows how many are duplicates — not a good idea because if someone breaks into a site and gets your password, they could be able to use it at other sites. 1Password shows you how many of your sites are vulnerable to heartbleed, a serious security vulnerability, and it shows you which of your passwords are weak, how many are 3 years old, and how many are one-to-three years old. I confess my profile was not pretty.
I embarked on the cleanup project, and it took a chunk of my summer. I had several goals. First was to eliminate passwords for sites I no longer use or that no longer exist. Some sites were defunct, some had been acquired. I emailed sites and asked them to delete my account. Most sites responded quickly to the requests. The second goal was to eliminate any duplicate passwords, of which I confess I had many. It seemed like a good idea way back but clearly is no longer appropriate. The third goal was to make my passwords un-rememerable. I decided that a good password would be 20 characters long, contain upper and lower case letters, 3 special characters, and 3 digits. An example would be MRbUJ,6t4uz,>6FsaPmJ. Fortunately, 1Password can remember such a password. I used to know all my passwords, and now I can’t remember any of them. Any human or software would have a tough time guessing them.
The project was quite revealing about the many websites that I use. Most sites allowed the 20 character password with upper case, lower case, 3 digits, and 3 of any special character. Some sites had hard to believe password policies. Following are some examples of what I encountered.
Most all sites require that you enter your password twice to make sure you get it right. A copy from 1Password and then a paste makes this quite easy. However, TurboTax, Costco, and Quest Diagnostics require you to type in the second field. I cannot think of a rationale for such a policy.
Woodbury Products requires you to buy something before you can login. Their IT department said they outsourced their website and they don’t know anything about it.
My bank limits your password to 8 numbers and letters with no special characters. You would think all banks would love long ugly passwords
The security monitoring company at my house allows no special characters.
1Password generates long ugly passwords for you and you can easily configure how many special characters and numbers you want. The New York Times and a number of other sites allow only periods, underscores, or hyphens. This is the worst password policies.
JC Penney does not allow special characters, but did not say so in their rules
Southwest Airlines: no special characters
CVS accepts up to a password length of 25 characters, but you have to type it in: twice
Surprising that some very sophisticated organizations such as the World Community Grid allowed maximum password length of 15 and no special characters.
BestWestern Hotels sends your password in the clear, and there is no way to change it.
PC Magazine site is cluttered with so much advertising that no password link could be found. It took multiple emails and days to connect with them.
Progressive Insurance does not allow customers to change their password online. You have to fill out an online form to get password reset instructions.
Stop and Shop asks for a secret question but then truncates your answer to 16 characters without telling you so it would never work.
A number of sites require you to enter your password to change your password. This is after you have already logged in.
WSJ requires you to enter your secret question answer before you can change your password. Secret questions are a farce. The classic one is your mother’s maiden name. Do you enter mary jones, Mary Jones, Mary M. Jones, Mary M Jones, etc.? You answer a question and then a year later you have to remember if you used upper or lower case.
Microsoft says minimum length is 8, but they don’t tell you the maximum length is 16. They do accept all special symbols.
AT&T.com finally introduced the idea of allowing a user to have the same login credentials for both your wired and wireless accounts. They introduced the idea of having one set of credentials for one company as though it is a breakthrough. The site requires the secret questions from a short list of their (not your) favorite questions. One of them was “Who was your first employer?”. My answer was ibm. “Invalid answer. It must have at least four characters”. Duh. So much for people whose first job was at IBM, GM, ABC, AOL, NBC, FOX, or ATT. And, your favorite color can’t be red. What were they thinking?
At the end of the project, my password database went from 627 to 354, and they are mostly long and not rememberable. Using 1Password on the iPhone is great. The app opens with your Touch ID fingerprint and then you simply copy the desired password. The interface is elegant. As I finish this post, I note that 1Password shows that I have 14 passwords that need attention, so the project is never over. Investing a small amount of time on a regular basis is a good investment of time for security’s sake.