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So You Want to Be A Dungeon Master?

As someone who loves Dungeons & Dragons (& all sorts of tabletop RPGs) and has a decent amount of experience under my belt, I'm often asked by new or prospective DMs (Dungeon Masters) for advice.

I hope I can start to compile that advice into a series of blog posts but that this one will stand well on its own!

This is a decently long post, and the links I have may have many hours of content, but don't get intimidated, thinking you need to know everything before you start, I sure didn't!

Instead gather some friends (ideally 3-5, any more can be overwhelming), make characters together, and start playing! (Check out this character sheet, I prefer it to the official one). You'll learn as you go and probably make mistakes, but that's fine, just have fun!

 So You Want to Be A Dungeon Master series Table of Contents
Intro PostLinks to other advice giversLinks to rules resources

So for this first post, I thought I'd share where I got DM advice from, and some gen…

Alohomora: Simple Security for Muggles and Wizards alike

Two years ago, I wrote a post specifically about passwords.
However, these days there are a few more things that one should be doing to protect themselves so I will be going over a few digital security topics in this post.

Wait! Don't be scared, I know security can sound hard but it doesn't have to be. I'd like this guide to be easy to follow so even someone without an interest in security can quickly start being secure online.

Passwords I've covered this before but I'll summarize the post here.

Password Setup Steps:
Create two very strong, but easy to remember passwords for you password manager and email.
You can do this by:Rolling some dice to create a Diceware Passphrase
Easy creation site (use 6 words minimum!) and EFF's explanation on how/whyUse the Schneier SchemeWrite down these passwords and put them in a safe place.
This may sound odd, but even Bruce Shneier has said:
If you can't remember your passwords, write them down and put the paper in your wall…

The Keymaker: Simplifying Your Personal SSH Key Management

If you are like myself, and ssh into multiple remote machines, or even simply use Github over ssh this is for you.

The Problem
SSH has a lot of settings you can use, but when you're a relatively new developer you're not going to go mucking around in a config file you don't need to when there's work to be done! There are also security concerns with some settings, and issues if you have a lot of ssh keys. Also typing long username@domain strings can be annoying.

The Solution
The Keymakero——m, a small script (fewer than 250 lines) to help create ssh keys for remote machines.

What does it do?
First it helps you create a config file. If one exists already it will rename it with the suffix ".BACKUP".

By default all ssh connections will show a randomart image (VisualHostKey yes) based on the public key provided by the host. This randomart image can be used to visually identify the host's key. This is much easier than trying to identify something like 16:27:ac:a5…

Variety Show: Small Updates #1

Greetings Readers!

It has been a while since I posted anything so I feel I should do a quick write-up with a few small things.

Virtual Reality I have been very excited about Virtual Reality (VR) since I worked with the Oculus Dev Kit 1 and consumer VR is just around the bend! The consumer Oculus Rift ships March 28th, with pre-orders backed up until the summer. (June/July last I checked). The Vive, created by an HTC/Valve partnership, ships starting in May. And finally, Playstation VR (PSVR) ships in October.
I had pre-orders for both the Rift and the Vive for a while, while I waited for more news, and to decide which one I would buy at launch (as I can't afford both, nor would I gain much from owning both). PSVR also looks promising and I will decide if I want to purchase a bundle closer to launch, as right now it's too far off to make an informed decision.
I have finally decided to purchase the Vive. It was a very difficult decision, but I think it was the smart choice for …

It's Time - Pebble Time Review

Background Info I backed the Pebble Time Kickstarter and got the black watch. I waited a few months to write this review as wearable tech (and phones) often requires more than a week to understand how you actually use it once it loses it's "shiny new toy" status.

Before owning a smartwatch (smartch?) I would wear an analogue watch (A Timex Weekender Central Park specifically)  with off and on regularity.

The Pebble Time is however, my first smart watch. I had debated the original Pebble, but the clunky form factor turned me off and the Moto 360 had mixed reviews at the start. I also didn't watch to spend that much money on a Moto 360 for the first generation and will see what v2 will have to offer.

Several of my friends do have Moto 360s so I have seen them a bit for reference. I have seen an Apple Watch in-person once and heard a lot about them on the podcast I listen to weekly.

As you may know from my other posts I use an Android phone, so this review is based on…

Words on Password Security

UPDATED January 18, 2019 - 1Password uses a monthly pricing model primarily now. I've started using 1Password instead of Keepass due to family sharing, their Watchtower service (powered by, and the amazing ease of use on all platforms.

previous update March 18, 2017
- LastPass has changed their business model and the mobile app does not require a subscription. I have also become aware of the Diceware passphrase generation technique. This post has been updated to reflect that.

Two years I wrote an article about an Offline Password Creator inspired the xkcd comic "Password 
Strength". Many things have changed in those two years. Most notably are the hacker tools that now take into account this xkcd comic.

In early 2014, Bruce Schneier wrote an article on choosing secure passwords and specifically stated the xkcd correcthorsebatterystaple method of generating passwords in no longer good advice.

Skip forward to present day, 2015. A friend of mine on Facebo…

Nexus 9 - A Review of My First Tablet

Background InformationEver since tablets had become popular I wanted one. The iPad looked great, but I wanted something running Android. The Nexus 10 was out of my price range at the time, and the Nexus 7 was too small of a screen, I wanted something closer to 10" for watching videos.
Having set aside money for a tablet, the Nexus 9's release was perfectly timed for me. After using it for a few months I felt it was time to post a full review.
I own an Android phone (HTC One m7), a desktop computer (using Chrome), and a Chromecast already and I am a regular user of Google's services, which may affect my views on the Nexus 9.

The Nexus 9 I purchased was pre-ordered from the Google Play Store and is a Black, Wi-Fi only, 32GB model, shipped to Canada.

Use Cases I knew I wanted something I could easily watch videos on, I also wanted something to browse the web, read PDFs without awkwardly zoom/panning and play video games on. I wasn't entirely sure how my use would evolve, but …