Divine patterns in nature – I took this shot while walking in the neighborhood yesterday.  Mother Nature is a Master of Design.

The intricate spiral patterns displayed in cacti and other plants often encode the famous Fibonacci sequence of numbers: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, … , in which each element is the sum of the two preceding numbers.

The round head of a cactus is covered with small bumps, each containing one pointy spike, or “sticker.” For some cacti, you can start at the center and “connect the dots” from each sticker to the nearest neighbor to create a spiral pattern containing 3, 5, or 8 branches. These are three consecutive numbers from the Fibonacci sequence. Other cacti, sunflowers, and pinecones display this or other triples of Fibonacci numbers.

Dragonfly Serenity

Horseshoe Lake, Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve, Palo Alto, CA

Photo of Spunk, “the great bed usurper”, strikes again.  It is so easy to lose my place in the bed to Spunk, especially when the temperatures are cooler.  He is a heat-seeking missile moving to a warm spot in the blink of an eye.

Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve


Yesterday, April 3rd, I took a break from my heavy work schedule and headed out to the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve.  After braving the windy mountain roads on a weekend, narrowly surviving the throngs of car clubs (I was run off the road by a pack of six Porsches), motorcycle clubs, cyclists and solo sports car drivers out to show off their imagined driving prowess, I was greeted by some truly spectacular views:

The wildflowers aren’t at their peak yet in this area, but I still found a few:

I plan to go back in 2-3 weeks hoping to catch the meadows in full bloom.  Will definitely go on a weekday though.  I do NOT, plan on participating in the weekend mountain road circus again.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”

~Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Fast Paced Photo Montage

I had forgotten about this test I did with Pummelvision pulling images from my Flickr account.  Sadly Pummelvision is no longer available.  I haven’t found a comparable service that showcases a large number of photos synced to fast-paced music.

Redwoods Dancing in the Wind

Stormfront moving into my area, preceded by some very high wind gusts.  These large, majestic redwoods are dancing to the rhythm of the wind.

Online Security: Strong Passwords are a First Line Defense

Image Credit: www.elbpresse.de

A client asked me recently why anyone would want to attack his “little website”. Most attacks aren’t personal, they are typically not after your website, they are after the computing power of the server your site is hosted on. The usual motivation behind these attacks is sadly the most common of all, profit and greed. The majority of hacking attempts are an automated activity. Other hacked websites are running code to try to automate the process of hacking yours if you’re vulnerable.

Everyone is at risk and needs to take steps to secure their websites and online accounts. A strong password is an important part of a strong defense. Last week in the Wall Street Journal, the president implored Americans to go beyond simple passwords and start using two-factor authentication or cell-phone sign in.  I also suggest using a strong and reliable password manager like LastPass or 1password. Nothing online is 100% secure, but users can help keep their accounts and websites secure by using strong passwords and changing them several times a year.

If your website is running on WordPress, you will find the following information released today by Wordfence of interest.  One of the things they monitor is the number of brute force attacks on WordPress sites.  Brute force attacks are password guessing attacks, where an attacker tries to sign in as you by guessing your password. Over a 16 hour window, they gathered information on brute force attacks on sites using their services. According to this blog post, Wordfence says;

“We saw a total of 6,611,909 attacks targeting 72,532 individual websites. We saw attacks during this time from 8,941 unique IP addresses and the average number of attacks per victim website was 6.26.”

Be proactive and build a strong defense.  Use strong passwords, and change them frequently (see this article on the risks of re-using passwords). Consider using two-factor authentication, see here for a list of sites that support two-factor authentication.  The Google Authenticator app can be used to secure more than just your Google account.

If you have a WordPress site there are several other steps to making your site more secure.  Contact me for information on my Security Audit and Lockdown service.