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2×4: An Interview with Patrick Rhone

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2×4: An Interview with Patrick Rhone

    Patrick Rhone has a gift. He takes things that seem ordinary, things that are so easily overlooked and helps you to see the opportunity in them. He doesn’t tell you how to do this. He doesn’t give you the paint by numbers. He makes you do the work, but shares how he goes about doing it himself. As I said in my review of his latest book, enough, “Rather than providing a checklist for being more mindful, it felt as if I was allowed to examine the benefits from a more mindful existence.”

    Patrick shows you the potential in the ordinary and the ability to make everything, especially yourself, better. He’s also a voice of reason for needing less rather than more stuff to achieve that better self.

    Without further ado, here’s a look at how Patrick Rhone, the creator of Minimal Mac and the thinker behind the enough book and podcast approaches his creative and productive pursuits.

    Creativity

    Have you always considered yourself a creative person?

    Yes. I come from a family of creatives. My mother is an actress and director. Her mother was a world class concert pianist. So, it is in the genetics I guess.

    What mediums and inspirations do you gravitate toward to realize your creative goals?

    Well, as a writer I’m inspired by nearly everything in life. I’m in near constant search for an interesting story to tell and those can be had almost anywhere. Example:

    The magnolias, having suffered a few years of neglect, were beginning to look more bush than tree. Renegade shoots and leaves covered the bottom blocking the sun from the other plants below. Therefore, loppers in hand, I set out to shape them back into a more beguiling form fitting their true nature.

    That is simply the beginning of a story about my yard work from this afternoon. But, I also look for the often unseen connections between the mundane and the extraordinary.

    For instance, the story of trimming a tree in order to shape it and help it grow could easily be a metaphor for our lives and a possible path to self-improvement. Trimming the excess that is sucking energy from the trunk is a pretty good idea for our lives as well.

    As for mediums? Well, I like a saying a friend recently spoke to me which is “Paper is never passive”. I find much truth in this.

    If you had to point to one thing, what specific posts or creations are you most proud of and why?

    My two books — Keeping It Straight and Enough (note: please link to these???). Mainly because, well, writing books is a very hard thing. Writing a book one is proud of and that one believes can really make a difference is even harder. These two items represent the best of my work released thus far.

    Any suggestions for those who feel they may not be creative enough to unlock their inner artist?

    Sure. Stop lying to yourself. Sit down. Do the work. Seek constant improvement. Don’t be afraid of reaching out to those in the field you admire and ask for their suggestions. Take them to heart. Put them to practice. Then, sit down and do the work.

    Creativity is not a blessing, it is a habit.

    Productivity

    Can you describe your current personal and professional responsibilities?

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    There is not enough space for this but let’s try…

    Writer.  Podcaster. Blogger. Author. Essayist. Speaker. Technology Consultant. Father (of three, two are adults). Husband. Homeowner (of 3 houses). Lover. Fighter. Buddhist.

    How do you go about balancing the personal, professional and digital?

    With great care, some skill, and not nearly as much success as I would like. This is simply life and I do the best I can.

    What tools and techniques do you find yourself counting on to get through your workload?

    Pen and paper is essential. I always have both at hand.

    OmniFocus for when things get to big for even pen and paper to manage.

    I try not to remember life before my iPhone.

    What is the best starting point for the unproductive amongst us, who are looking to get more organized?

    Quantify everything that has your attention (or deserves it), decide what you need to do about it, then do it. That is the basis of every successful productivity method ever written.

      More by this author

      2×4: An Interview with David Sparks 2×4: An Interview with Myke Hurley 2×4: An Interview With CJ Chilvers 2X4 Interviews 2×4: An Interview With Gabe Weatherhead 2×4: An Interview With Brett Kelly

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      Last Updated on November 25, 2021

      Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

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      Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

      With all of the recent online services and companies falling under attack to hackers in the past few months, it seems only fitting to talk about password creation and management. There are a lot of resources out there discussing this, but it never hurts to revisit this topic time and again because of its importance.

      Password management isn’t necessarily a difficult thing to do, yet it does seem like a bit of an annoyance to most people. When it comes to password management, you will hear the famous line, “I don’t really care about changing my passwords regularly. I have nothing important online anyways.” Let’s see if you have nothing important online when your PayPal account gets taken over because you thought the password “password” was good enough.

      In my opinion, it is an “internet user’s” responsibility to make sure that they keep secure passwords and update them on a regular basis. In this article we will discuss how to make your online presence more secure and keep it secure.

      The easy fundamentals

      First thing is first; creating a strong password.

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      A strong password is a mixture of alpha-numeric characters and symbols, has a good length (hopefully 15 characters or longer), and doesn’t necessarily represent some word or phrase. If the service you are signing up for doesn’t allow passwords over a certain length, like 8 characters, always use the maximum length.

      Here are some examples of strong passwords:
      * i1?,2,2\1′(:-%Y
      * ZQ5t0466VC44PmJ
      * mp]K{ dCFKVplGe]PBm1mKdinLSOoa (30 characters)

      And not so good examples
      * sammy1234
      * password123
      * christopher

      You can check out PC Tools Password Generator here. This is a great way to make up some very strong passwords. Of course the more random passwords are harder to remember, but that is where password management comes into play.

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      Managing your passwords

      I know some people that keep their passwords in an unencrypted text file. That’s not a good idea. I suppose that if you aren’t doing much online and are decent at avoiding viruses and such, it could be OK, but I would never recommend it.

      So, where do you keep your strong passwords for all the services that you visit on a daily basis?

      There are a ton of password safes out there including KeePass, RoboForm, Passpack, Password Safe, LastPass, and 1Password. If and when I recommend any of these I always count on LastPass and 1Password.

      Both LastPass and 1Password offer different entry types for online services logins (PayPal, Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, etc.), credit cards and bank accounts, online identities, and other types of sensitive information. Both have excellent reviews and only differ in a few subtle ways. One of the ways that is more notable is that LastPass keeps your encrypted password Vault online where 1Password allows you to keep it locally or shared through Dropbox. Either way, you are the holder of the encryption keys and both ways are very secure.

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      LastPass and 1Password both offer cross-platform support as well as support for Android and iOS (LastPass even has BlackBerry support). 1Password is a little pricey ($39.99 for either Windows or Mac) where LastPass has free options as well as premium upgrades that allow for mobile syncing.

      Upkeep

      You should probably change your passwords for your “important” accounts at least every 6 weeks. When I say “important” accounts I am referring to ones that you just couldn’t imagine losing access to. For me that would be Gmail, PayPal, eBay, Amazon, all my FTP accounts and hosting accounts, Namecheap, etc. Basically these include any account where financial information could be lost or accessed as well as accounts that could be totally screwed up (like my webserver).

      There is no hard and fast rule to how often you should change your passwords, but 6 to 8 weeks should be pretty good.

      Alternatives

      You may think that all of this is just too much to manage on a daily basis. I will admit it is kind of annoying to have to change your passwords and use a password manager on a daily basis. For those people out there that don’t want to go through all of the hub-bub of super-secure, encrypted, password management, here are a few tips to keep you safe:

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      1. Create a unique and hard to guess “base password” and then a pattern to use for each site you logon onto. For instance a base password could be “Ih2BaSwAa” (this stands for “I have two brothers and sisters who are annoying”). Then you would add something “site specific” to the end of it. For Twitter Ih2BaSwAaTWTTR, Facebook Ih2BaSwAaFCBK, etc. This is sort of unsecure, but probably more secure than 99% of the passwords out there.
      2. Don’t write your passwords down in public places. If you want to keep track of passwords on something written, keep it on you at least. The problem is that if you get your wallet stolen you are still out of luck.
      3. Don’t use the same passwords for every service. I’m not even going to explain this; just don’t do it.

      These are just a few things that can be done rather than keeping your passwords in a management system. Personally, with over 100 entries in my password management system, I couldn’t even dream of doing any other way. But those out there with only a few passwords, having a simpler system may be beneficial.

      So, if you want to be a “responsible internet citizen” or you just don’t want to lose your precious account data, then creating and maintaining strong passwords for your online accounts is a must.

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