Wednesday, May 23, 2012

List of Worst Passwords---Is yours on it?

     In these days of increasing threats of identity theft, due in some part to the pilfering of one's passwords to various accounts, I found a recent article by Sid Kirchheimer to be very interesting. His top three suggestions for making passwords harder to crack and easier to remember:

  • Go long. Use at least 12 keystrokes.
  • Mix it up. Use upper and lower case letters, spaces, underscores and symbols like @.
  • Finesse your favorites. Base your passwords on foods, TV shows, songs, etc. that you like, but tweak with aforementioned symbols and casing.

Here's Sid's list of the 25 worst passwords (easiest to guess and steal.)

1.  password          11. baseball          21. 654321
2.  123456              12. 111111            22. superman
3.  12345678           13. iloveyou          23. qzawsx
4.  qwerty              14. master            24. michael
5.  abc123              15. sunshine          25. football
6.  monkey             16. ashley             
7.  1234567             17. bailey            
8.  letmein             18. passwOrd          
9.  trustno1             19. shadow
10. dragon              20. 123123

     Well, thanks for that, Sid. I may have to buy your book, "Scam-Proof Your Life," At the very least, I think I will change my favorite password to:


Not really.

So don't try it.
*Information gleaned from the article "Worst Passwords" by Sid Kirchheimer. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Leon Petite: In His Own Words

Once upon a time in the world of local television news, a group of people came together under one newsroom roof and something akin to magic happened.

We became family.

We lived together in the 'house' known as WKRG-TV. Like many families, some members came and went-- always leaving their handprint on our hearts. Others were in the mix for the long haul--committed to not only covering local news with integrity, responsibility and hard work---but also with a lot of fun! Laughter was a staple in 'our house.'

One of those long-haul, and most beloved, family members was a somewhat shy, breathtakingly honest, highly-principled, all-around-good-guy named Leon Petite. I've been writing a lot about Leon in recent days, because not only was he special to his WKRG family, he became special to thousands of people in south Alabama and beyond, as he covered news in their communities with compassion, ethics, and quite often with his unique down-home humor.

There's nothing funny about the battle Leon finds himself in today. Like too many others, he is fighting the beast we know as "Cancer." His surgery for osteosarcoma was last week. Before his surgery he sat down with me to share his thoughts on his diagnosis, his outlook for the future, his concern for others with this disease, and his faith in God. This is the first part of that conversation.

I hear that, as corporate America marches on, the "newsroom magic" that the WKRG gang of the 1980's and 1990's experienced doesn't happen too often these days. It makes what we had, and the people who became, and forever will be, a part of our lives even more cherished.

Leon is one of those people. He had something important to say back then. He has something important to say today. Please listen, and say a prayer for Leon.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Latest on Leon

My good friend and yours, Leon Petite is out of surgery and in recovery. The surgeon told Leon's wife, Jennifer, that Leon did very well throughout the procedure. He should be headed to ICU in a bit, where he will remain for some time. Please pause and say a prayer of thanksgiving for this positive outcome and step in the right direction.

It will be a tough few days (or longer) ahead for Leon, his wife and their awesome children. I know they will appreciate your continued thoughts and prayers. 

Many of you came to know Leon from his 20 years as a reporter, especially during the time he spent covering Baldwin County, Al--- from top to bottom and every community in-between! His easy manner, likable approach and honest journalism made him a local favorite. We need more reporters like Leon. He is still missed on the airwaves, some 5 years or so since he decided to say goodbye to the world of TV news.

This past weekend, I was honored to be able to turn the microphone, so to speak, on Leon.  He wanted to share his story, and his faith, with you. Tomorrow, I will begin sharing with you video clips of that "interview," as he prepared for this bend in the road. You will be touched by that faith, as well as by his strength, his love for his family and friends, and his desire to encourage others rather than to focus on his own difficult situation. It's Leon Petite, at his finest!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Be Strong

     "Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength."~Corrie Ten Boom.
     Be strong.  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Prayer for Leon

     It's the call no one wants to receive. The call that informs us that a dear friend has been diagnosed with cancer. A friend, who also happens to be one of the best all-around people you've ever had the good fortune to meet.

     The call came to me late last week.

Leon Petite
     My friend's name is Leon Petite.

     Many of you know Leon---even though you may not have actually met him. He delivered the news to Alabama, Florida and Mississippi viewers on the Gulf Coast for 20 years. He also has coached Little League baseball, videotaped many a little girl's dance recital, emceed charity events, been active in faith-based groups, volunteered at community fundraisers, raised money for charities, and in general--- has been a really good friend to the communities in South Alabama, Northwest Florida, and South Mississippi... and the people who live in them.

Leon with newborn Trey
     About a dozen years ago, many of you met "Leon's Little Boy." That was the name of the series that aired on the local television station where Leon worked at the time as a reporter. Leon's little boy, Trey, had been diagnosed with cancer, not long after his 1st birthday. News viewers followed Trey and his family's journey from diagnosis, through surgery and treatment, and to eventual remission. To date, Trey remains cancer free.
Leon and Trey today
     In fact, Trey's annual checkup at St. Jude Hospital this year falls on the exact day that his dad, Leon, is scheduled for surgery to remove the cancer from his jawbone. It's a rare form of bone cancer which requires swift and aggressive action. 

     Leon is a man of great faith. He is upbeat, positive and strong. He told me in our conversation last week that he has turned his circumstances over to God.  He also asked for prayer.

      Leon has given so much support and joy to the people and communities in this area throughout the years. Now is our opportunity to give back to him. On his behalf, and with his permission, I am sharing his story with you and asking you to pray for him and his sweet family.

      Several years ago, I began lighting a candle in my office when there is a special prayer need. Everytime I look at the candle, it serves as a reminder to whisper a prayer for the person who needs it.

     My candle is burning.

     James 5:16 ..."pray for one another."  Please join me in praying for Leon Petite---my friend and yours.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Taking a Walk

     "We gain insight when we listen to those who have gone before and who know more than we do- insight we miss when our pride stands in the way. We're able to learn from others when we humble ourselves and acknowledge how little we know. Willingness to learn is a mark of those who are truly wise."~David H. Roper

     I read this quote today, and found it an appropriate reminder as I come off of the 'high' of completing the first leg of my journey back to college. As you may know, on Sunday my youngest daughter and I walked the commencement stage together and received our Associate of Arts degrees. We are both now heading to separate universities to continue our studies, with the goal of earning our bachelor's and master's degrees.

     Following a 32 year 'break' from the classroom, I have discovered that I love being in school. I look forward to my classes.. yes, even math. I enjoy the mental calisthenics my brain is encouraged to undertake; the give-and-take with the younger students renews my enthusiasm for life; and the interaction with the instructors who may-- or may not be-- my generational peers, reminds me of just how much there is to learn during my walk on this planet we call Earth.

     When I took the plunge and returned to school last summer, I vowed to to make every day's walk a learning experience.. to spend every day learning SOMETHING I did not know before. In addition, every week I try to DO something I've never done before. 

     That's a lot of learning and doing in 12 months... and the walk has been awesome. I highly recommend it.

     A structured classroom setting may not be your cup of tea. But, there are are so many ways to add to your learning experience- with books, concerts, art exhibits, church services and small groups, workshops, lectures, simple conversations with people you know, and people you don't .. and if all else fails...there's always Google!

     Re-reading the quote at the beginning of the blog entry leads me to promise to never become too old, stubborn or unwilling to learn, but rather to embrace what I "don't" know... to study and learn...and most importantly, to share what I learn with others in order to help with their journey through life.

     Wanna' walk with me?