Letters: Fall/Winter 2012

On Nov. 23, 1965, I took possession of a 1966 Pontiac GTO hardtop in Rolla, Mo. I was a college graduating senior. I had no job. I had, as yet, no firm job offer. Nonetheless, the dealer offered a financing deal:  my old 1958 Hillman Minx, no payments for 30 days, the first year’s insurance was included in the purchase price and the first three payments were $25.00. The deal was closed in less than 30 minutes. The dealer gave me the keys and told me to drive it off of the show room floor, which I did. I bought the car with every intention of keeping it forever. So far so good.

The week of July 4, 2012, the National GTO Convention was held in Loveland, Colo. I entered my Goat in the unrestored (or factory original) category. I received a plaque certifying that I am the original owner.
The car (not me) received a Concours Bronze Award (as did about 10 other cars). I missed silver by only 13 points. And, the crowning glory – Best of Show for Factory Original.

I am thrilled to have received these awards. I just had to share this with you.

Dave Bufalo, CE’66
Denver

**

I really enjoyed the recent Summer 2012 issue of Missouri S&T Magazine. I am also a car enthusiast. This is a photo of my 1932 Ford Roadster. Best regards.

Raymond Lasmanis, GGph’63,
Ranier, Wash.

**

For years, Internet security has been a pet peeve of mine. Specifically, the absurd belief that replacing password characters with black dots somehow makes the whole process secure.

Typing any complex series of characters, often from a very small keyboard, is difficult and fraught with errors. Many Internet users select a simple, easy-to-remember (and type) password to avoid the inconvenience of dealing with a strong password. Worse yet, they use that same password universally. As they type their dog’s name, for example, seeing each character being replaced by a black dot, they mistakenly believe their account on the ‘secure’ website they are entering is, in fact, secure. Laughable, to put it bluntly.

And those website design experts who espouse that the black dots prevent someone at a web café from stealing your password by looking over your shoulder must live in ‘la-la’ land. Most password hackers today simply put a piece of software on your computer to record and transmit your password to a file of their choice. Anyone who uses an insecure web portal for any important activity is literally exposing their data to the world.

My procedure for insuring the security of all the websites I visit requiring a password on the internet is as follows:

A java program generates 10-position passwords using random character selection from some 75 possible characters from the ascii code.

A separate password is selected from this list of randomly generated passwords for each website usage requiring a logon process.

The website name (URL), logon name and logon password are kept in a spreadsheet file, which is itself protected by a password.

During the logon process the logon name and password are copied and pasted into the logon screen from that spreadsheet file thus avoiding the potential typing errors and using an incredibly strong password unique for each website.

Except for the annoying dialog screen that often appears during this pasting operation warning me that pasting a password is discouraged, this procedure works extremely well, providing very strong, unique 10-position passwords for some 80 websites currently on my active website file.

Your research on the FREEDM project might consider this simple and secure technique for real website security. If users on the smart grid are challenged with the black-dot password entry you can be sure that their mother’s middle name will be used as a password then as often as it is today. How secure will the grid be then?

Just a thought!

Don Laughlin, Math’64
Colorado Springs, Colo.

**

I am not the only one who smiles when the hard copy of your magazine is delivered to me in my hometown in Shiraz, Iran, by the mailman. The mailman himself, a young man in this case, sees this as a sign that his job is going to stay for the time being, so he delivers the magazines to me with special care and honor.

Ghassem Takmil, ChE’77
Shiraz, Iran

**

I very much enjoyed reading the latest magazine – particularly the article on the two young rally competitors.

Back in the day, there were other alumni who did well in this sport. Mike Muenter, CSci’81, was an accomplished co-driver, winning mid-divisional championships in 1985 and 1986.

After getting prescription glasses, I was Southwest Division driver champion in ’88, ‘89, ‘92 and ‘94. Mike and I shared great times. He changed to the driver’s seat and we had matching paint jobs for a season or two.

Many, many miles and many chocolate chip cookies with beer. Great times. We still get together when I am back in Missouri.

Dave Thomas, ME’81
Waxahachie, Texas

**

Zeno’s Motel and Steakhouse closed down shortly after Homecoming 2011. The establishment was founded in 1957 on what was then U.S. Highway 66 by the Zeno Scheffer family. It featured a first-class restaurant, cocktail lounge, renowned gift shop, 50 rooms of lodging, banquet rooms and indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Over the past 54 years, it played a part in the lives of many students and alumni during Homecoming and St. Pat’s celebrations, fraternity party weekends and other functions. Mike and Tracey Scheffer operated the facility through 2011. It was a living tribute to a lifestyle that seems to be sadly fading and will be missed by many old alumni.

Jim Toutz, ME’54
Dodd City, Texas

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