Ashok Argent-Katwala

I am Ashok Argent-Katwala. I lived, studied and worked in London for 12 years. The summer before last I moved to Toronto – another great, global city. I enjoy building things which work, so I am slightly more engineer than scientist. I believe in a lot of things, especially that there's usually a right thing to do. More about me.

Since I get most of my best thinking done in decent cafés & pubs, I publish my recommendations on The List.

Simple/complicated passwords

XKCD this week had a wonderful piece of commentary about the way we choose passwords.

Four randomly chosen common English words make for a remarkably good password. Randall Monroe's example uses a word-list about 2,000 words long (11 bits per word). The beauty of this suggestion is that you can choose any 2,000 different words you like and even assume that the attacker knows your word list and it will still have about 44 bits of randomness in. And 2 to the 44 is a pretty damn big number.

This is very similar suggestion to one made by Thomas Baekdal a few years ago that:

"this is fun" is 10 times more secure than "J4fS!2"

I'm pretty sure that's wrong, but in a slightly subtle way.

Tagged: Technology, Security, Social

Posted at 07:46 EDT, 12th August 2011.

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#voteTO: voting for something

Tomorrow night, I expect the fine city I'm now calling home will have a mayor who doesn't just fail to win the popular vote, but for whom there is a preferred candidate for most voters.

Losing the popular vote is pretty much par for the course with FPP, but this election looks especially clear we can do better.

I think we should all vote for something; and a preferential voting system would naturally discourage the mudslinging that has characterised this campaign.

Tagged: Rants, Politics, Social

Posted at 18:17 EDT, 24th October 2010.

No comments.

Hashplus and Hashminus

Twitter's a pretty handy way to vent about something good or bad that's happening.

Here's a really simple way to flag that:

  • #+
  • #-

They're just hashtags. They're as short as can be, but I think their meaning is pretty clear.

Tagged: Technology, Upbeat, Social, Web

Posted at 06:48 EDT, 21st September 2010.

No comments.

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Ashok Katwala
My name before marriage. I've also been Ash Katwala or Ash Argent-Katwala at times – when both syllables of Ashok have been too much.
ArsDigita London
I was employee #3 in London for aD.
Department of Computing, Imperial College London
Where I did my undergraduate degree, followed by a PhD in performance modelling, after which I did some teaching and research on software engineering and performance analysis.
Westcliff High School for Boys (WHSB) in Essex
My high school, where I was a pupil 1988–95.