As comically seen on xkcd, a password’s length is more important than its complexity. What we should take away from the comic is that short but hard to remember passwords are easiest to crack while long and easy to remember passwords are harder to crack.
Try for yourself with my online password cracking calculator.
As an example, we will compare two passwords: “Tr0ub4dor&3” and “correct horse battery staple”. We will assume that a brute-force machine that can theoretically do 200,000,000 guesses per second, which is more pessimistic than a machine with four ATI HD 5970s at 22,400,000 guesses per second. It would take such a machine about 242,243,228 days to guess “Tr0ub4dor&3”. It would take the latter password 9.62×10^41 days to guess.
While the default Dell Studio XPS 1640 is fast and is a decent work laptop, it needed to do one extra thing, run virtual machines (VMs). I spend a lot of my time debugging, hacking and otherwise trying to make software behave in ways that the developers had not intended.
Tools like VirtualBox, VMWare, Xen and QEMU make this job less tedious. The problem is that with the Intel T7350 CPU, I cannot run 64 bit VMs. Turns out that T7250 is a 64 capable chip, but without the VT-x extension which allows for hardware assisted virtualization.