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.

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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.

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Filed under: engineering, team, technology

The faces of Excelsior Days

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It’s no secret that we have a soft spot for classic cafes – our CEO has collected some of Glasgow’s finest – and The Excelsior on Cowley Road in Oxford stands as a model of the greasy spoon institution. Photographer Kirk Ellingham was a regular visitor for two years, stopping in to document the cafe’s familiar faces. When The Excelsior closed last year, he decided to print his photographs in a 40-page digital tabloid homage, Excelsior Days, using the cafe menu as a cover and the price list as the back page.

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Excelsior Days is part documentary and part journal, candid portraits alongside observations and overheard conversations – a monochrome capsule of a particular, somewhat gloomy, time and place. The newspaper is dedicated to a waiter named Kosta, who first gave Kirk permission to photograph The Excelsior.

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Kirk put up a guerrilla exhibition of his work shortly after the closure, plastering sheets from his newspaper on the facade of the shuttered cafe. A few days later, he reports, most of the pages had been taken down – a fleeting tribute soon gone the way of the The Excelsior itself.

But there’s hope yet: Excelsior Days is for sale in The Newsagent for £8.50.

The art of translation with Peirene Press

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Peirene was a Greek nymph who, as the myth goes, morphed into a spring and provided a stream of inspiration for the thirsty poets of Corinth. She’s the Muse-in-residence at Peirene Press, a rare gem of a publishing house and likewise a source of literary inspiration.

They publish only three titles a year and under exceptional specifications: each book must be under 200 pages long and be translated for the first time into English. The Times Literary Supplement describes their editions as ‘two-hour books to be devoured in a single sitting: literary cinema for those fatigued by film.’

Since 2012 they’ve supplemented their beautiful paperbacks with a classic tabloid publication. They’ve just printed their third issue, featuring interviews with film makers and authors, extracts of forthcoming books, and insight into the art of translation. Editor Clara Ministral tells us more:

Peirene is much more than a publisher. We are committed to spreading the passion for translated fiction in the English-speaking world (and its notoriously Anglocentric literary landscape) and to create a cohesive community of readers and booklovers. That’s why we run regular events where readers and writers can meet, such as supper clubs, literary salons, book clubs and pop-up stalls at outdoor markets and other unusual locations, and also why we publish our free literary newspaper.

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The first issue of the annual Peirene newspaper was published in 2012 and it was not much more than a catalogue of our books. Two editions later, it has gone on to become a beautifully designed and carefully edited 32-page publication about foreign fiction featuring articles, interviews, book extracts, details about our titles and events, and interesting insights into the world of literature and translation and the inner workings of a small publishing house.

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The newspaper is sent to bookshops, libraries, book bloggers and reviewers, Peirene readers and subscribers and many others, but most of the print run is distributed outside London Underground stations twice a month during the rush hour. We want to reach a wide audience and make foreign literature part of the everyday lives of London commuters, so come rain or shine, two Peirene Ladies stand outside tube stations on Monday mornings and make sure that people receive an unusual and thought-provoking read to accompany them on their journey to work!

If you missed the rush hour handouts, the latest issue of the Peirene newspaper is available online. Happy reading!

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Filed under: case studies, classic tabloid

Which Mushroom is This?

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It’s risky business handling mushrooms, but you can safely examine deadly Amanita phalloides in the pages of Justus Gelberg‘s digital tabloid publication. Like amateur foragers, we were drawn to his mushroom illustrations without understanding their purpose (the text is all in German). It turns out the paper is exactly what it looks like, a field guide to fungus identification. Justus is a student at HFG Offenbach and created the newspaper for a book design project. He tells us more:

 Silberlöffel & Zwiebel was conceived as part of a seminar by Professor Sascha Lobe on book redesign. The book Welcher Pilz ist das? (Which Mushroom is This?) was used as the basis for my design project.

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This nature guide presents mushrooms from the whole of Europe and describes the criteria with which their species can accurately be determined; one receives detailed knowledge directly from the pictures. The basis book shows each mushroom species with a text, photos or illustrations in various formats.

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The realisation of my redesign is concentrated on the category of poisonous mushrooms, which especially fascinate me. I replaced the photos with sketch-like illustrations, but retained the texts of the basis book which concerned themselves with poisonous mushrooms, their categorization and description, and their symptoms.

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To contrast with typical nature guides, I chose the atypical format of 375 x 520 mm to demonstrate the aesthetic quality and beauty of poisonous mushrooms.

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The decision to print the nature-guide on newspaper was also atypical. The paper and low grammage dissolve the classical book character and transportable nature characteristic of nature-guides. Typographically I decided to use the clear and simple typography “Maison Neue.”

Newspaper field guides may be slightly impractical, but such clean and bold illustration looks wonderful on newsprint. A publication for the armchair mushroom hunter, then. Thanks for printing with us, Justus!

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Filed under: case studies, digital tabloid, illustration

A visit to The Printing Museum in Houston, Texas

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Texas has a peculiar place in the history of print. Since the 1950s, over a million coin-operated newspaper racks (including distinctively television-like USA Today dispensers) have been manufactured by Kaspar Wire Works in the town of Shiner. Today printmaking thrives in Texas so it’s unsurprising that one of the largest print museums in the United States is in Houston. The Printing Museum was founded in 1979, and houses a collection of beautiful machines and documents charting the history of printmaking from papyrus to Xerox.

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I visited the museum recently, where I met longtime artist-in-residence Charles Criner. He showed me how to operate their remarkable facsimile of a Gutenberg Press and let me turn the lever on a 19th-century iron handpress to produce a sheet of the United States Constitution. He fired up a grand, whirring offset press to demonstrate how freshly-printed newspapers would fall onto the creaking wooden racks. I got to tap on a linotype keyboard and feed iron slugs into the machine. It was brilliant.

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Mr. Criner showed me through to his workshop and we chatted about his lithography work. Here he is with a favorite print of chicken farmer, a looming figure from his childhood in Athens, Texas. (His mother warned that the farmer would barbecue him if he got too close.)

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A huge sweep of printing experience in the space of a couple hours. The Printing Museum is a very special place should you find yourself in the Bayou City.

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For more printing museums, have a look through our ever-growing collection on Pinterest.

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Filed under: field trip, museum, Newspaper Stories, team

Behold the Shattered Dogs

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Sorry canine lovers, but Behold the Shattered Dogs isn’t really about dogs. The collaboration between illustrator Bill Rebholz and writer Elberto Mueller, based out of Minneapolis and Oakland respectively, is rather a collection of offbeat poetry touching on subjects from homesickness to lost love to stolen sushi. Elberto’s poems are paired with Bill’s imaginative drawings and the result is a wonderfully synergetic digital tabloid zine. So how’d it come about? Bill says:

Both of us enjoy aimless doodling, and Elberto would always share his writing with me, so eventually we kind of put it together that we should collaborate on something together. The drawings were definitely informed by the poems, some of them reflecting subject matter in the poems, and some slightly abstracted from any real meaning.​

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Three cheers for aimless doodling! Bill still has a few copies of the zine left for sale on his website, so snap them up while you can. You can also follow the excellent adventures of Bill and Elberto on Instagram.

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Filed under: case studies, digital tabloid, illustration, poetry, zines

Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food & Wine

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We printed a prismatic classic tabloid  programme for the third annual Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine. The festival, which brings together chefs, authors, gardeners, wine experts, and educators to celebrate culinary writing, is taking place the weekend of May 15 – 17 at a rather idyllic farm in County Cork.

The programme is being distributed around the food scene in Ireland and parts of the UK. You can also explore the programme online. There’s a great line-up of guests like Alice Waters and David Leibowitz. (If you can’t get over to the festival, the Chez Panisse almond tart is a good consolation project.)

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Filed under: case studies, classic tabloid, event, food, programme

Yeah! Furniture

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Hailing from Los Angeles, YEAH! Furniture crafts mid-century inspired pieces with California vibes. They’ve just launched a new collection and called on the design team at Project M Plus for the branding, which includes a very stylish classic tabloid catalogue. Drawing on Matisse-style organic cut-outs and the California desert landscape, they came up with a playful and artful newsprint look book to represent the collection. YEAH! Furniture is currently hosting a pop-up shop with a gang of other LA-based creatives and you can pick up a copy of the newspaper there this weekend. Thanks for printing with us!

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Filed under: branding, case studies, classic tabloid

Nazim Hikmet: The Tree With Blue Eyes

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In the much earlier days of Newspaper Club we wrote about the joy of being ‘exposed to some of this stuff‘ – to the uncommon and interesting things that we put onto newsprint. The phrase came to mind recently when we were exposed to the relatively obscure Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet through The Tree with Blue Eyes. Hikmet’s work was a lovely discovery, and we have Ozan Karakoç to thank for bringing it to light. He compiled a 24-page digital broadsheet of Hikmet’s poetry and shares the inspiration behind his publication:

Nazim Hikmet has always been a true inspiration for me. His life story, his ideas, his humanity, and his incredibly realistic and touching poems.

He loved his country more than anyone else but he was called ‘the traitor’ because he criticised the government for the risk of losing economic independence. They judged him, they arrested him and he lived more than 12 years of his life in prison, only because of his thoughts and poems.

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In such a desperate situation, what would I do if I were him? My answer to that question would be a very sad story. He, however, chose to live as if nothing happened and life was going on. ‘However and wherever we are, we must live as if we will never die,’ he writes in one of his most inspirational poems ‘On Living’.

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He loved this life so much that he also wrote in the same poem:

‘This earth will grow cold one day,
not like a block of ice
or a dead cloud even
but like an empty walnut it will roll along
in pitch-black space …
You must grieve for this right now
for the world must be loved this much
if you’re going to say ‘I lived’ …’

Grieving for the fact that the earth will grow cold millions of years later… This is true inspiration.

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This is the very reason why I chose to dedicate something I create, to his respectful memory. And I wanted to introduce him and his work to people who don’t know him and that’s why I made the newspaper in English.

It’s a rare and beautiful project. Thank you for sharing it with us, Ozan!

You can learn more about Nazim Hikmet at Poets.org.

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Filed under: case studies, digital broadsheet, exposed to some of this stuff, poetry

New life for old newspapers

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Photo from Nifty Thrifty Things

We tend to end up with a good deal of spare newsprint and have been thinking about how to repurpose it. Pinterest came to the rescue and we’ve added a board with some creatives ideas for recycling newspaper. If you have some old dailies piling up, why not try your hand at this clever woven basket? (Or if you’re feeling more ambition, how about a newsprint dress?)

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Filed under: newspaper crafts, Newspaper Stories, Pinterest

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