See ya

Back in the summer of 2019, I wrote a blog post called, “You can leave.”

When I wrote it, I was talking largely about what I was seeing happening with Google and Facebook.

Since I’ve been in virtual isolation worried about COVID-19/Coronavirus/”The Chinese Virus,” I’ve opened back up to social media, I’m leaving again.  I’ve been glancing at Facebook more often.  I’ve been reading Nextdoor, after the wholehearted endorsement by the corporate media’s Republican sweetheart, David Brooks, on the dumpster fire (all apologies to Ms. Bridget Phetasy, whose Totes-Didn’t-Used-To-Be-Evil video show is called that) that is Meet The Press.

My mistake.  But understand that I’d be okay never speaking to some of you ever again.  If I care the last about you, you’re getting muted during one of my rare visits.  If you do it repeatedly, you’re getting removed from my friends list.

That’s the kindest way to deal with it, even if it means that those people will hate me now, want to see me executed later.  I don’t care.  But, then, I am the one who’s seeing a Psychologist on the regular.

But, back to Nextdoor, the sentiments go along with the area where I live.  My neighbors are authoritarians who want to use the force of government.  Today it’s forcing businesses to close.  What is it tomorrow? When does it get to killing people who don’t behave the way you want them to?

So I’m withdrawing into myself, and praying for Senator Paul

A Moment

That’s how long it took me to realize the reason my early alarm didn’t go off was because, um, it’s Saturday, and the alarm is only scheduled for Monday through Friday.

I’m glad I didn’t wake my wife, worried that she’d be late starting her telework.

The semi-isolation for COVID-19 is ongoing.

Monday I have two medical appointments that are going to be done over the phone. The second one is a follow-up to an MRI I had at Georgetown on Friday.

That I was sedated might explain a bit better about why I didn’t fully-comprehend that today is Saturday.

For me, though the experience at Georgetown was a bit off, things have been really not all that different for me, but, as someone who works from home most of the time, that isn’t that big a surprise.

I haven’t been to my office in like three weeks. Okay. And? I’m really smoothing things over with this system I help run, as well as pointing out things that can be done to improve corporate contract performance.

This is what I can still do.

But do I still want to when I see the effects on people, including very good friends, of what’s happening?

That didn’t make a lot of sense, so maybe I ought to quit writing for now.

The temptation to write is very much there right now, and that’s one of the things that I tend to do when I’m mentally-stressed.

Sunday Night

Up late doing work. It happens. I did get a little teed-off about one of these tell-everybody-you-can-think-of emails from one of the other techs.

He said I was ignoring text messages.

Were you sending them to my old number?

Oh.

But an officious email to everybody will cover up for the problem existing between the keyboard and chair, no? PEBKAC.

Otherwise, I’ve been abusing myself by watching Chuck Todd, and, on one of his gusts’ recommendations, NextDoor.

MSNBC might well be a bigger danger to society than a politician who decries “fake news,” Upchuck.

This is somebody who’s been saying that people who don’t trust people like him are dangerous. 1, 2, 3, 4.

Because I’m a bit of a masochist, I have been trying to watch his show lately. One of his guests, the just-as-Republican-as-Bill-Weld David Brooks, mentioned Nextdoor.

Later in the afternoon, I got an email message talking about how MSNBC and change.org were working on a petition to get everyone a COVID-19 test.

Really? Seriously?

Then these old, rich, white folks were telling me exactly how I should handle the situation. No, that’s okay. I’ll let my docs at Georgetown to dictate.

Sorry if that makes me dangerous, Upchuck.

Turn Your Head and Cough

But make sure it’s into your shoulder.

I’ve been listening to podcasts about CoronavirusCOVID-19.

Obviously, this is of particular concern to me as someone with a chemically-suppressed immune system.

But at the same time, I can’t get too wound up about it, really.

I was happy to see that Wall Street had pretty much the same reaction I had to President Trump’s news conference yesterday.

I guess my question is whether the sort of cooperation among private companies would happen under a government-run system.

I’m more than a little skeptical.

One of the things I did notice about the news conference, however, was the push to do things like provide paid leave to people who really now get no benefits from their jobs.

For a long stretch, there, I had no PTO. None. Not even paid Federal holidays. Nothing.

But that’s what people had voted for.

Registering Dissent

Much as I appreciate Katherine Mangu-Ward’s argument against voting, I did go vote in the Virginia Democratic Primary this afternoon.

Why?

Because some of the candidates, two in particular, were so terribly awful I felt the need to try to contribute to their early departure.

I won’t name specifics, but I will say, “New England.”

It does, however, feed into my still-alive idea of “You Can Leave.

Two of the leading candidates, again, “New England,’ want to stop that.

Don’t like the things Google is doing with its search algorhythms?

You can leave.

But the politicians have a problem with that.

That freedom is the thing that candidates are trying to end.

I’m not.

That might well make me a bad person.

But I don’t care.

Between Two Ferns

The final talk headed in to the closing.

These, plus discussions I had with friends afterward, kind of left me scratching my head.

A few things.

Bruce repeatedly implored people to try to get women and young people involved in the Infosec industry.

I think there was another instance where I really railed against predetermining outcomes in populations.

This is one of the areas where my frequent consumption of the Ancaps comes in. There’s no way to determine what the future IT labor force should look like.

Even more, it’s a waste of time to try.

Unfortunately, we’ve got this model that’s completely incapable of responding to whatever comes along.

I came from an industry, broadcasting, that’s nearly dead today. How many Boomers ended up in print journalism because they were really enamored with what Woodward and Berstein did with Watergate?

I knew a few of those folks when I was still in radio. They were making a career transition as the print media started dying. Most of them were ending up in sales.

Those lasted until the broadcast industry died, too.

A cynic might say, well, maybe it’s those people. No, I’m not going to go there. They’re good folk. But the audiences have changed, and they don’t have the stranglehold on the consumers the way that they used ot.

Higher education has a similar problem. I’ve talked about it, myself. I’m one of the last folks in Generation X. There weren’t very many of us to begin with, and with everyone worried about AIDS when we were reaching sexual maturity, we didn’t accidentally many babby.

So, those kids we didn’t have are filling up colleges. OK, Boomer, you’ve got tenure, and are planning on charging $100K for a BA in something?

Or how about a crash-course that lets you pass the minesweeper match to get letters after your name?

I also think of friends and acquaintanceship who paid a ton of money to buy a vendor’s certification.

I recall picking up a dated box from my old employer, and having a coworker absolutely amazed that it served as an email host for something like six domains without an expensive Microsoft license.

Uh, it runs FreeBSD, Exim, and Courier IMAP.

So you’re not running Exchange??!?

Uh, no.

I worry that pushing people towards security careers might be akin to pushing them towards careers in print journalism in 1996.

Would establishment higher even be able to produce people who can just pass multiple choice test, people who’ve the ability to adapt to whatever changes arrive on the scene?

I’m even more skeptical about that than I am about the idea that sparking interest in a particular part of an industry will increase the current interest in it, and entrench it for the future.

I was on the air when the millennium flipped with CBS Radio over a phone couplet.

I was ready to stay live if the communications failed when the clock flipped to 2000.

You might think that the experience I had, and the education I was recieving at the time would have me set up for life.

Yeah, about that.

The market will dictate demand. Whether or not that demand is met is not something that can be planned ahead of time.

So, there’s not a ton of young people terribly interested in locking down Windows servers.

Give me a minute to find the fuck I’m not giving. The company that employs me now have moved all that sort of stuff “to the cloud.”

So everyone who paid a ton of money to “obtain those skills” is now unemployable, in a ton of debt.

I got in a pretty passionate conversation for a few minutes, there.

But things are not designed the way they were in 2005. Or 2010. Or 2015.

Security is a part of everything.

The days of a squadron of firemen there to deal with problems introduced by designers not the least bit concerned about security isn’t a problem now, or in the future.

So why are we worried about the kids being interested?

About as interested as my millennial wife was when I showed her how to queue both a 45 and a 33 so they’d start cleanly. Just hit the triangle icon on the app you’re using.


Apologies for the rant. I did enjoy my time at Shmoocon.

I enjoyed being able to support a student’s attendance.

I enjoyed my time alone in the hotel where I could collect some of my thoughts and write.

Since I’m kind of beyond the point where I can really get around comfortably, I may just watch the stream next year, and write.

We’ll see.

Searching Your Jank

First Sunday talk.

Quite a bit of discussion about Russian botnet influence in 2016 election.

I posted something in the Slack channel about her being unhinged at one point.

Nobody has provided any evidence that what the Russian botnets did changed a single vote.

Wired had the best synopsis of what Muller’s indictments included, but even that doesn’t show that anyone was convinced not to vote for Hillary.

The majority of people who voted in the 2016 election voted for someone other than Hillary (including me; no, I didn’t support the President, but I definitely voted against Mrs. Clinton.)

She also had an implicit contention that the rash of stories about evidence of governments being agencies being afflicted with ransomware induced people to not vote.

Wait, what?

The local water department got hacked, so I’m not going to vote.

Lots of skepticism, there.

The third thing was a forceful encouragement to go vote.

While I normally do vote, for most of my life, I’ve gone specifically to vote against a particular candidate (see 2016, where I went to vote against Hillary and Trump).

I’ve also heard Katherine Mangu-Ward make several compelling arguments against voting. She wrote about this back in 2012.

As someone with views that don’t neatly-align with either of the two major parties, I appreciate it more these days.

It leads me to give credence to the Ancaps’ argument that maybe we’d all be better off with less government.

I worry a lot about what’s going to happen to me, personally, if on eof the Medicaid For All (yes, I know they call it Medicare, but it’ll be Medicaid). People like me will just not be treated, aside from palliative care.

Solu-metrol is cheap. So are various oral analgesics. Add in anti-depressants, and all is good. Worry less about the long-term effects; maybe we’ll die sooner, and save money.

Any publicity is good publicity

Next up was this one.

I was thinking about it as I listened to some of the systems engineers go back and forth about application of statistical analysis over my cube wall.

I did do this sort of thing previously.

I know that I’ve avoided some companies that have paid big settlements due to data leaks/breeches.

In so many instances, there’s settlements — you’ll get free credit monitoring for 24 months!

But what does one of these incidents do to a company’s share price?

NOT MUCH.

Completely counter-intuitive, really.

I was wondering afterwards whether there might be some sort of window where there’d be a chance to make money on a short.

As I’ve considered that more, however, I don’t care. There’s no quick way where I could make a buck and feel okay with it.

Last of the night

Watched the panel my Twitter friend moderated.

I had three main takeaways from the talk, two of which are the same thing.

  1. There was a strong contention that information shared with the media prior to the polls closing negatively affected voter turnout, and;
  2. The contention that information problems in other parts of government negatively affected voter turnout.

To reference my fellow CNU alumnus, https://i2.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/medium/000/001/865/wikipedian_protester.png

I can see how that it might be commonly-thought that this is true, but where is the evidence to substantiate it?

Find me five people who are dissuaded from voting because the water utility’s shit got caught up in ransomware hell. I’ll be waiting.

The idea about media surpression, of course, is a flashback to Florida in 2000, where the media outlets were reporting, before the polls closed in East Alabama, that Gore had won the state.

Except, of course, that doesn’t really fit the narrative, considering how Republican the voters there are. So if the media had said Gore had won, Bush would have won by less?

(I kid about East Alabama. My wife was downloaded in the panhandle, I along the Space Coast. Neither of us would ever willing claim any Florida heritage.)

The third one I took issue with was the never-ending “go vote” mantra.

Listen, for some people It doesn’t matter in the least based on where they live.

I write this from Washington, DC; when’s anything other than a Democrat ever going to win here?

Never.

I will admit that my views on this have been greatly influenced by another DC resident, Katherine Mangu-Ward. Essentially, she said that if government is legitimate because it has the consent of the governed, if you refuse to provide consent by not voting, it isn’t okay for that government to exercise power over you.

So, yeah, I was gesticulating wildly in the back.

Hillary lost. It wasn’t because of the Russians. It wasn’t because of suppression efforts. She lost because she was a horrible candidate.

Nothing can be done that will change that fact, and any attempts made to remedy a problem that doesn’t really exist, will only serve to make elections worse.

Even More Moose than ever

I did blast off earlier about the nonsense I head with the DNS over HTTPS (somewhat appropriately initialized as “DOH.”)

The speaker summed it up pretty well in a Tweet response.

But on to today since we’re on a lunch break.

I’m going to go in reverse order since I have my notes on the last one up and in front of me. First up, since it’s freshest in my mind is this.

I did speak to the speaker following the address. My comments in the Slack channel were met with both bemusement and curiosity.

She got to the point of complete derangement toward the end. My initial question to her was whether the Russian disinformation campaign strategy she outlined actually makes a compelling argument agains “experience” candidates.

Though I didn’t vote for him in 2016, I find President Trump’s path to the White House fascinating.

Yet there’s a school of thought that says that he wouldn’t be there if the Russians hadn’t meddled.

Yes, that’s Sister Rachel The Woke’s line almost every single night on MSNBC.

There’s not a single thing that she, Chuck Todd, or anyone in the tech heads cabal can do to change that.

A magical meeting with Zuckerberg, et. al. won’t make sure the establishment’s anointed candidate is the plurality winner next time, either.

I could go on for hours about this, but what’s the point?

None of these be-all, end-all solutions is going to convince people that writing down passwords is a really bad idea, or that you would never get an email telling you where to change your password.

Immediately before that, I checked in to the hotel, and took a nap. I’m running on fumes. Maybe I should eat something. Or something.

But before check-in and nap, I watched this. Perhaps that influenced my thinking in the later one.

So much of what’s going on is conventional approaches to new problems.

Harkens back to one of Mouse’s presentations a few years ago about the Maginot Line.

Stop doing what you’ve always done, and be reactive in defense based on what the situation presents.

That is all for now. Off to watch more. More writing tonight, I’m sure.