One Password to Rule Them All

Password security, while not the most glamorous topic in the world, is a massive issue for everybody. Companies with a distributed team sharing accounts (Twitter, Instagram, etc) face extra issues, some of which we’ve come up against here at Newspaper Club.

Our team is spread all over the world – London, Glasgow, Birmingham, Leipzig, and Boston – and until recently there’s always been a question over how best to centralise and share passwords for group accounts.

We recently did an audit (and produced a very pretty map) of all of our systems and services. This quickly established that we have lots of them – each requiring secure passwords, multiple accounts for different staff members, and the ability to be easily updated. Personally, I have more than 70 Newspaper Club logins and there’s no way to remember them all, let alone make sure they’re all secure.

So what do we do? The most sensible option: use a password manager.

The principle is pretty simple. Every account you use has login details stored in a heavily encrypted file (often called a Vault) which you unlock with a master password. Using a browser plugin, your details are entered automatically each time you log in to a different system. Amazing, right?

Even better, password managers automatically generate complex, secure passwords and store them in the Vault for the next time you need them. You can identify weak passwords from your dark past and easily replace them with new, shiny, secure ones. Still amazing, right?

There are many password manager options (LastPass, Keeper, Mitro, 1Password, etc) but at Newspaper Club we settled on 1Password. I’ve been using it for years and would argue it still has the strongest feature set for our purposes, plus it’s also friendly to use for non-technical users . It uses a a local file-based vault (meaning the encrypted file is stored on a device we own) rather than a cloud-based vault at the mercy of a big service outage or overnight bankruptcy.

With a password manager, your master password will become the most important password in your life and, if you use your password manager properly, it’s the only password you need ever remember. It needs to be secure and memorable.


It may be surprising to learn that a password doesn’t need to be complex to be secure. The trick is to think of your password as a phrase rather than a word. To borrow an example from the always brilliant XKCD, the password ‘correcthorsebatterystaple’ (four random but common words) has 44 bits of entropy. The password ‘Tr0ub4dor&3’ looks better right? You’d expect it to be more difficult to guess? But that’s not the case –  from a computer’s perspective it’s actually far easier to guess, with only 22 bits of entropy.

Basically, you’re best off picking a phrase from a book, jumbling up the words, and using that as your One Password To Rule Them All. Change it regularly, check it’s strong, generate all your other passwords, and your local friendly CTO will be a happy man.

Posted by David | Comments (1)

Filed under: engineering, team, technology

Newspaper of the Month: The Weekly Push

The Weekly Push, a digital tabloid newspaper for Facebook's engineering team

Our Newspaper of the Month for March is The Weekly Pusha collection of articles posted each week in Facebook‘s engineering offices around the world.

“The Weekly Push” is what the Facebook team calls the process of pushing out updates on their production site. Think of it as an advice column for software engineers.

The Weekly Push, a digital tabloid newspaper for Facebook's engineering team

The 28-page digital tabloid addresses specific challenges on Facebook’s codebase, with contributions from Facebook employees and help from the Facebook Analog Research Laboratory.

The first issue collects more than a year’s worth of issues tackled by the Facebook team – it’s valuable advice condensed for the company’s staff and an interesting look at the day-to day-challenges faced by a technology office.

The Weekly Push, a digital tabloid newspaper for Facebook's engineering team

The content is put together by Editor-in-Chief Roy McElmurry. “The Weekly Push started out humbly in the Seattle office,” he tells us, “where its content and simple format was well received. Then a visitor from Menlo Park spotted an article in Seattle and inquired about getting these articles posted in California.”

“Since then we’ve added several offices are are currently publishing in Seattle, Menlo Park, New York, Boston, Vancouver, London, and Tel Aviv.”

The Weekly Push, a digital tabloid newspaper for Facebook's engineering team“The topics for the articles were initially chosen largely for their impact in the author’s daily work experience, but topic choice shortly branched out to include employee requests and submissions.”

Today, articles are often suggested and written by teams that wish to spread the word about some best practice or little known product or feature.

The Weekly Push, a digital tabloid newspaper for Facebook's engineering team

Designer Tim Belonax lays out the content with a mind for sparking visual interest in The Weekly Push. “Each subject is illustrated using its title, providing a creative constraint as well as a consistent voice,” Belonax says. “Since the Push is always up around our offices a re-imagining of its presentation was necessary to draw people into something that is familiar.”

Flip through The Weekly Push in The Newsagent to see what Facebook’s engineers have been up to lately. Thanks for printing with us!

About Newspaper of the Month

Every month, we give a £100 Newspaper Club voucher to one paper shared in The Newsagent. If you’ve printed a paper with us, share your paper (through the settings in your account) for a chance to win.

Posted by Sarah | Comments Off on Newspaper of the Month: The Weekly Push

Filed under: digital tabloid, engineering, Newspaper of the Month, stories, The Newsagent

Newspaper Photo Filters

all-pagesBefore a recent trip to Berlin I wanted to experiment with printing a newspaper to use as photo filters. I printed a single copy of a digital tabloid with a shape, pattern or colour on each page.


The pages then work as filters. To do this, I expose each photo twice: the first exposure with my camera pointed at the thing I want to photograph and the second exposure pointing at the newspaper. This can be done with any SLR/DSLR or a smartphone (may require an app).


The newspaper is ideal for a portable set of filters – light and easy to fold into a pocket. Plus, the texture of the newsprint adds to the charm of the overall effect.


It’s easier to shoot the subject first and the newspaper second. Anything white on the newspaper page will be obscured in the final image, with detail appearing in the dark areas.



I tried to remain experimental with these photos, not anticipating the effect the filter would have on the image and enjoying unexpected results.



As an experiment it worked well. On the next paper I’m going to keep the patterns to a minimum and use simpler shapes and colours.

Posted by Ralph | Comments Off on Newspaper Photo Filters

Filed under: digital tabloid, engineering, print's not dead, stories

These are the posts from the Newspaper Club Blog filed under engineering.

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