William Wharton, 1925-2008

As a commenter noted on my previous post, William Wharton, Author, Dies at 82:

William Wharton, a successful impressionist painter who at 53 published his first novel, “Birdy,” which won a National Book Award, became a critically acclaimed movie and led to a dozen more books, died Wednesday in Encinitas, Calif. He was 82.

Phillip and I are saddened to learn about this, that we won’t be reading anything new from him. You learn a lot about him and his family through his books, and he seemed to be someone you’d want to hang around with.

I’m going to reread Houseboat on the Seine: it’s a celebration of his life. Highly recommended. It’ll make you laugh and make you cry. I enjoyed ALL his books.

William Wharton was an accomplished painter but I never saw much of his work until Phillip found this YouTube video of his paintings:

Phillip and I were coincidentally discussing an old interview of Wharton the day before we heard of his death: Reasons for Life: A conversation with William Wharton.

I believe that we constantly have to keep our ear to the ground, our ground, and all the rest of it, in order to know what seems to fit the morality and the persona of what we usually call “God”. But the very word “God” is meaningless. The word itself does not mean anything to me, I do not care for the word itself, it is just the word “dog” spelled backwards.

He talks about influences in his life including painters. An interesting interview.

Now go read one of his excellent books.

Update: An informative obituary of Wharton from The Guardian.

How Long To Figure Out Your Password?

Password Brute Force Calculator provides an estimate on how long a computer would take to figure out (i.e. crack).

Your password is 13 characters long and has 367,034,448,698,777,600 combinations.
It takes 7,121,405.58 hours or 296,725.23 days to crack your password on computer that tries 25,769,803,776 passwords per hour.

Try your bank PIN!

(via LifeHacker)

Skype – an early review

I have a few friends living overseas. Calling them long-distance ain’t cheap. So I installed Skype today. And guess what? It works. I talked to a friend of mine in France and although there was a slight delay in the signal, it was negligible. We started with a regular audio call, no video feed. The sound was just as good as any telephone and there was no delay. The slight delay only kicked in after we switched to video.

For those not-in-the-know, here’s the Wikipedia entry for Skype:

Skype is software that allows users to make telephone calls over the Internet. Calls to other users of the service and to free-of-charge numbers are free, while calls to other landlines and mobile phones can be made for a fee. Additional features include instant messaging, file transfer and video conferencing.

Continue reading Skype – an early review