One (7/20)

Description of what I’m doing, and why

I’m writing every day until 20 August.

Why?  To get back into the swing of writing.

This is something I’ve done for the past few years.  It’s kind of a summer version of National Journal Writers’ Month.

I’m plunking away on this while I’m rewatching training videos for the fourth time.  Most of these have multiple-choice tests where they’ll show you which ones you missed.  This one, however, doesn’t.

It’s frustrating.  Both that I have to spend so much time on this, and that I have to keep watching it until I manage to pick the right tile in the Minesweeper game.

It does make me happy, however, that I’m no longer in Norfolk, where, professionally, your ability to buy chances to play Minesweeper determines your career potential.

But, hey, Virginia Beach actually topped a list!  Negative Equity

So, got sidetracked writing this.  It may be something very positive.  The ability to use the phrase, “make the magic smoke come out,: says a lot.

We’ll see what happens, I suppose.

To quote Forrest Gump, “and that’s all I have to say about that.”

So.  Back to the writing.  No, I’m not going to post my prompts ahead of time.  I have many of them, already.

On Writing

I’ve been picking through past writings.  Words used to come so easily;  my diary would show that, if you could read all of it.  (And, no, even if you’ve got an account there, you can’t.  Much of it is only for my own consumption.)

I’m trying to remember how easily this stuff used to come to me.  Perhaps my inability to really read many things stops the thought flows.  Who knows?

I listen to lots of podcasts.  I’ve not dug out my radio from where our stuff is stored.  I do listen to some things that are broadcast, but much of it is Intertubes-only.

I also might not have as much time to think as I’d like.

Getting closer on my work setup in the temporary landing spot.  Maybe I’ll get it finished soon.  *shrug*

Reading old entries, I have to wonder if I actually could handle law school now.

Yes, I can’t see worth a damn.  My speech is even slower than ti twas before they know what was wrong with me.  But I can still listen.  I can still write.  Could I be lawyerly?

Timid Wave

Pretty much how I roll these days.

I do need to figure out where all my archives are, and get them properly restored.

In many ways, I’m rebuilding from scratch.

This started this spring when my wife moved to pursue her new job.

About a month and a half later, I got laid off from the hell I was in.  Our lease was expiring at the end of May, so off to join her.

I had a job lined up before I left.  They were in the midst of a contract recompete.  I would move, get settled, and travel to the company’s headquarters on the sinister coast for training.

I barely heard from them on the recompete progress, so I started looking at  for other things.

I landed one pretty quickly, and agreed to take the gig.  It paid slightly more than the thing that’d gone silent, anyway.  I wasn’t thrilled with the location or work situation (no telecommute at all, versus full telecommute after the training week), but money was starting to get tighter than I’d like.

The final week of May I spent throwing darts trying to find something, anything, that’d let me back out of the thing to which I’d agreed.

I finally heard back from the thing with the west coast folks — they lost the contract, but still really wanted me for the role with the new company.

Um.

But they weren’t moving quickly at all, so I started the new job.  People were nice, and I think I was trying to figure out what it was they wanted me to do.  They, themselves, didn’t really have a firm grasp about what they were supposed to be doing.  That I had some familiarity with what they were getting into helped, but I didn’t have a firm grasp.

Last week went okay, and I think I was doing some good work piecing things together.

Then Monday.  Let’s do this day-by-day…

Monday:  

I heard back from the recruiter for the left coast thing.  They’re on Pacific Times, so it must have been about 1030 Eastern.

The message was along the lines of, “I’m not supposed to be talking to you, but email this guy who’s handling things for the folks who won.”

As I was composing an email to him, he phoned.

I had an offer letter by about 1330.

I start Friday.  I guess some of the folks with the company that had lost the recompete, and had signed on with the winner,  were really excited to get me on the team, still.

I told my supervisor, who’d told me that I needed to tell him if anything was going on, that I would discuss with my wife, and decide.

She gave the greenlight, so I accepted.

I SMS’d the HR manager where I’d been working that I needed to speak to him.

I’m resigning.  Please work to figure out my last day.

Tuesday:

I got into the office a couple of minutes late.  It’s almost as there was some sort of event going on in the District that rich white folks really wanted to see.  After settling in, and getting coffee, I told my boss that I’d decided to accept the position.  The HR folks still hadn’t told me when my last day would be.  So this is probably about 0900.  The HR people didn’t get back to me until probably 1330.

Oh, he can go now if there’s really not a lot for him to do.  So a bit of tidying up, turning things back in, and I was out the door at 1600.

Fucking weird.

I’m writing this now just after noon on Wednesday.

I am supposed to start the new job Friday morning.

A grand total of six days on the job.

What is this, I can’t even…

But details on the new thing:

  1. I don’t have to travel to train, get support, anything else.  The new overlords are within easy Lyft/Uber distance, but my role is still almost entirely telecommute.
  2. Yes, it pays a bit less than the short-term thing.  But I also get paid time off, and paid Federal holidays.  I also don’t have to spend $30 a day in ride fare.
  3. I’m somewhat excited by the company.  It’s one of the fragments of one of the bigger companies that disinter-grated over the past few years.

On that last thing, maybe I shouldn’t be.  In 2016, one of the major parties’ candidates railed against the “gig economy.”  (Yes, that might have been the candidate who won all of Virginia’s electoral votes, even though the majority voted against….)

Nobody works for a company for thirty years anymore.

Things like health insurance maybe shouldn’t be tied to your very unstable employment?

But don’t mind me.  My brain’s scarred, and I’m missing my treatment scheduled for today because I moved….

Reflective

I’d say this would pair nicely with Matt Sharp’s Thoughts From A Slow Train, but that’s not available on YouTube…..

Sunday afternoon, we were watching some of Bourdain’s Parts Unknown best-of episode. He had some interesting things from Detroit last season. Much has been made of the deterioration of Detroit, but little seems focused on how to actually bring it back. I have my own ideas about how to revive urban life, but they’d require changes even the politicians who run on CHANGE are unwilling to consider.

Still, it’s not just the industrial-era bastions of American might that are collapsing. There’s plenty of nasty suburbia that people have let die the last couple of decades. Who’s overseen that? Your kids are busy occupying Wall Street, when you’re grinning mightily at how your 401k is doing.

Rest comfortable in that, y’all. Thinking of what you’ve let slide into ruin might give you a headache. No, you can’t have your Aleve back. Not yours, desipite whatever the commercial on NBC Nightly News says. Oh, but the 1964 World’s Fair was so neat! yeah, about that.

Taking the time to investigate why things are the way they are is too tough. Better break out the Tylenol, again; you switched to that today, remember?  Cluetick:  it’s not the CEOs.  Yes, they’re getting incredibly rich.  Why?  You own the shares, and every time they tick up a penny unexpectedly, they get paid — outrageously, in some cases.

Do I really have a point with this? Yes, but I don’t think most people would care. Oh well. So, I’ll just go away, and leave whoever’s reading with this…..

image

Heartbleed

I saw this on the full disclosure list Tuesday, but didn’t think much of it.

Yes, a lot of sites are affected. Yes, there’s potential for account hijack. Do you need to panic, as is HuffPo’s advicepanic? No. (And I’ll spare teh soliquily about how their operation make MSNBC and Fox look like bastions of crediblity….)

My understanding is that this was a bug that popped up sometime in the past couple of years. Surprisingly, if you’re running old stuff (or Microsoft nonsense) server-side, you’re unaffected.

It’s something that unless the sites were using the vulnerable version, and you changed your password while they were using the buggy version, and someone happened to be hijacking your session when you changed your password, then you might be vulnerable.

Do the math on the probabilities.

I’ll spare the schadenfreude about the commercial sekurity products affected because they used a buggy verison of OpenSSL, though *cough*McAfee*cough*Barracuda*cough* the temptation is tough to completely pass up.

Not-so-lazy Sunday

I’ve been looking around, applying for work, and so on. It’s Sunday, I’m by myself. And maybe that’s why I’m mildly amused that my CMS tells me, “howdy.” (It’s a bit like it sent me a smiley. I LOVE smileys.)

Part of what I’m working through in figuring out what I want work-wise, is health care. Part of my frustration recently has been dealing with having to change insurers as I involuntarily change employers. Because I was sick of paying an incredible amount for COBRA from the last company’s plan, I bought private insurance. So far, I’m happy with it. I don’t have to go on whatever “employer-sponsored” program whenever I do find a gig.

I also looked at private plans on the individual market, and ones offered through my auto and property insurance company. I ended up choosing something else due to local ubiquity, and, ultimately, cost. (To speak to that, the plans I ultimately ended up choosing for health, dental, and vision were cheaper than just health and dental from my auto and property insurance company.)

I’ve long speculated that the PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) aka “Obamacare” (what a terrible abbreviation, and nickname, by the way) would ultimately result in the death of “employer-sponsored” coverage. This implies that’s already happening. So, my calculation is to find a company paying into a private exchange that offers my insurer, or pay out-of-pocket until I can choose a plan offered in an exchange whoever I’m working for that week pays in to.

In the meantime, if I land on with a company that doesn’t pay into an exchange that offers my plan, or retains an old-school setup, I’ll have to try to see if I can get some sort of salary increase to support my decision not to use their benefits.

Also, if there’s something where I don’t need to work full-time, the employer can pay in proportionally based upon how much I’m working. (If I’m only working half-time, the employer only contributes half of what they’d normally contribute….)

Decisions, decisions.

What else have I been doing? Learning about Linux KVM, and trying to decide how to address this site, and HR Geeks.

Speaking of which, I should go put up the meeting info on 757.org.

So Much This

It’s pretty rare when you run across a sekurity mastar who gets it. But, this is one of the best things I’ve read in a long time.

(Hattip to Drew, who told me about the FD reboot.)

I guess my sense of amazement at the pitiful state of the industry should wane over time. It hasn’t. The mastars keep getting more letters after their names, and bigger salaries. (I’ll set aside the fact that I have met CISSPs who are unable to parse, much less write, a script to manually patch and secure a Windows box….) Meanwhile, various vendors’ products render many solutions nearly unusable.

This one is along the lines of what I’d planned to speak on at Shmoocon 2013. I was writing my CFP response, and got to counter arguments I didn’t think I could easily refute. Are you really securing things if you have to increase the attack vector to use a tool? Are things more secure if you have to install Java and Flash for a tool to work? How about .NET?

It’s wrong of me to think such things; I should just shuttup, and improve my Minesweeper skills.

Narrowcasting

This thing about Firefox’s CEO and OK Cupid came up on a friend’s Facebook feed. Longer, testier, description of the nontroversy here.

Most of my searching shows that Firefox is somewhere shy of 20% market share.

“If a tree falls in the woods, and there’s nobody there to hear it, does it make a sound?”

(Setting aside for a moment that unless you’re in a vacuum, it always makes a sound. I had a slickieboy BD guy look at me quizzically when I refuted his “perception is reality” assertion by asking if that tree ever failed to make a sound… “PERCEPTION IS REALITY!!!1!”)

So, of those eighteen percent of people browsing with Firefox, how many will visit OK Cupid? Of that fraction of a fraction (Sup, dawg?), how many will be outraged by what this guy gave money to?

I’m reminded of William & Mary’s most famous alumnus (since Darren Sharper figured out that, unlike Spanish Fly, roofies actually work….) on Crossfire years ago. In a country with more than 300,000,000 people, how can a show with average viewership of less than 500,000 be hurting America? Nobody’s watching.

Headdesk

LMGTFY for those of you who don’t know……

I said snidely this morning that for some, your LinkedIn connections are the second most important factor in determining your competence (after the number of store-bought Minesweeper certification initials following your name).

This evening I got a message from a recruiter saying that based on my LinkedIn profile, I’d be a perfect match for an open position she’s trying to fill.

What’s the position?
1. It’s a four-to-six month contract, and;
2. It’s in Saudi Arabia, and;
3. It’s a JANITOR job.

What. The. Actual. Fuck?

I asked Barbie, as obsequiously as possible, to let me know what in my profile made me a fit for her slot. So I don’t show up like that in any other search. Perhaps there’s some disjointed phrase I could use to make people think i’m an empty-suit no-talent suck up.

But I really don’t look that sharp in a tie.

Instead, I’ll keep busy messing with my embedded Linux stuff to replace the wheezing PCs I have, and lower my electric bills.

*sigh*

What's Old Is New

In technology, perhaps, certainly not with me.
I’ve been plunking around with some old hardware and software as of late. I have absolutely no idea where the Pentium D board I had is. I can’t remember if I gave it away. Maybe I’ve just misplaced it.
So I’m messing with QEMU/KVM stuff on this other incredibly old setup. It’s not working as well as I’d like, but if I can get it close enough to do what I came to do…
I think I unsubscribed from all the NetBSD mailing lists I’d been tracking. With the decision to use something else for users, there’s no need, I guess. I still do like NetBSD an awful lot. As I’ve said many times, when I first used it, my response was, “Is this all there is?” Yeah, that’s all there is. And it’s everything you need. It behaves exactly the same way, regardless of the hardware you’re using.
I also find myself missing Usenet today. Don’t know why I have a hankering to mess with INN. Bleh.