Shmoo Keynote Reax

Disclaimer: I nodded off, and missed the first fifteen minutes of it.

With that said, I have doubts about whether it could have been much better than what I actually did see. Maybe somebody will tell me what amazing things I could have seen there that I failed to see in the last 45.

Major take-aways:

  • Most applications use insecure communications
  • Edward Snowden figured out that TOR isn’t sekur
  • TPM is infiltrated
  • A brower makes it harder to use a self-signed cert than it is for someone malicious to get a signed cert that the browser won’t complain about
  • Hardware manufacturers are lazy
  • Fuck you, right? Okay?

Yes, the last one is snark pure and simple, but it is one of my pet peeves. No, actually it isn’t right, and what you said doesn’t get smart just because you asked me if it was right after you said it.

My two major points:
1. Not all communications need to be secure, even if many endpoint devices have the muscle to support that. There’s a reason SIP uses UDP. There’s also a reason your mother uses http:// when she watches that cute cat video for the eightieth time.
2. It’s completely unrealistic to expect vendors to change to meet your amazing idea about the way things ought to be done.

Early Shmoocon Thoughts

I’m kind of hanging back in the room until the keynote, after watching the opening.

A single thought comes to mind — maybe the thing was better last year just because the “break it” track was gone?

One of the things that really bothered me a couple of years ago was the focus on destruction. To me, so much emphasis is placed on building these monolights that destruction becomes job number one

Maybe in the past it was smart to worry about how to get rid of things, keep them from prying eyes. I really wonder now if that’s true.

Thinking about my own gear I have with me. I get hacked, and…? Congratulations, you got some of my music library, and endless revisions of my resume.

Getting the former might entice you to go see them play a show. Getting the latter might entice you to call me for an interview. And?

The keynote appears to be about what steps you, as an individual, can take to prevent getting pwned. Guess what — you can’t completely avoid it, short of moving to a cabin somehwere in Montana. If the speaker focuses on what strategies are most effective, it’ll be a worthwhile talk.

I’m not holding my breath, intentionally, at least. (My diaphragm does its own thing from time to time.) I’d like to see something where someone actually does the research to quantify the risks and effectiveness.

So, your endpoint device is locked down tight? Give me a minute to find the fuck I’m not giving since nothing important is stored there these days.

Sunday Discontent

I’m not sure why I write more on Sundays. Football is on right now, but I really don’t care; I will root for whoever the AFC sends. Was disappointed in the Saints yesterday, but…. I will say this: Harbaugh and Steve Smith manage to make the Seachickens look downright classy.

Perhaps I write because I have time to reflect on what happened the week before. I marvel at some people’s commitment to doing the wrong thing, despite being shown what the right thing is. (And rant about willful ignorance redacted. I haven’t bought enough professional certifications to make my observations relevant. My experience is unimportant.)

Perhaps I’m fretting about the week to come.

Take your pick.

Feelin’ Kinda Sunday

About to go out to brunch. Have enjoyed my time off, but still have a few more days. Am I recharged? I don’t know.

One of my colleagues posted this drivel about how one of the keys to success was not even looking at your email while you’re “off.” Along with working out, physically, during your lunch hour.

The corollary? If you can take more than a couple of days’ break without your input being missed, your input probably wasn’t that important in the first place. Just a hunch.

I do look at my email. I do answer the telephone. If that’ll make me unsuccessful in my career at a big company, I’m okay with that. I care more about being a good person able to look at himself in the mirror than I do about a fancy resume.

I also care a lot about putting out quality work — that makes me a liability; I’m pushing back.

But enough of that for now. There’s football I need to watch. The Failcons are doing what they do at halftime. Pfft.

Out of sync

I am when it comes to writing. It’s a combination of a paucity of available time, combined with unfamiliarity with my new tools. If I was getting paid to write, I’d probably be more attentive to it, but….

Money does enter the equation. I will never be satisfied delivering something that is of poor quality just so that I can get paid, especially when I do understand what good quality is. I will deliver something that’s not up to my standards if it meets the needs of those to whom it’s actually delivered.

Splitting hairs, perhaps. Maybe there’s some letters after my name I could buy that’d teach me to get over it.

On a somewhat related note, big media is reporting that RSA took payment to keep inferior products insecure. But it costs a lot so it must be goot! *sigh*


What can you say? Better products and methods are out there, but they don’t buy the colored shirts with white collars, pay the rental note from the bank, etc..

And God forbid someone actually spend the time and money engineering something different, better. Can’t have that.

“You’re pushing back.”

Saturday musings

This, like the past several, has been a rather trying week.

Previously, I’ve written copiously about how doing the wrong thing faster doesn’t suddenly make it the right thing.

I’m still seeing a lot of that. But buying additional letters after the doers’ names makes it more better, right?

I really don’t think there’s a way to fix this situation cleanly. I do admire some of the dedication I’ve seen with people I’m working with; others aren’t worth the C-4 it’d take to blow them up. It is what it is.

Speaking of that, in light of this evening’s game, Go Army!

Other stuff….

HR Geeks bordered on epic failure with the movement to Norfolk. I did like the food at Belmont, and would have spent more, but they didn’t have any lids for the growler of beer I ordered. *sigh*

My wife is registered for classes during the spring semester at ODU. Was kind of strange being at the transfer orientation in among a bunch of parents, many of whom were worried about their kids gettin’ it on (both voluntarily and involuntarily), snooping on grades, etc. I think I may have been the only spouse in the crowd.

Do I have a point with this entry? Not really, but then my blog sucks. I just need to get back into the swing of writing; it’s always been something cathartic for me.


I have been since the end of NoJoMo. Perhaps I’m spent. Who knows?

I think one thing I have learned as I get older is that you don’t want to get caught pontificating about things you don’t understand. This is especially true when you’re dealing with people who are more knowledgable than you.

Do I judge/ Yes. Do I change my mind? Yes, if new evidence comes to light.

Maybe I don’t have the salesman’s flair to persist in being wrong.

Personality flaw, I suppose.

Day 30

Last one of these. It’s sometimes nice when things come to an end. Not so nice? That my friends at the market across the street are probably calling it quits.

I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes. I’ve also had a fair share of successes. I try not to dwell on either too much. But I am cognizant of them whenever I’m doing something new.

Too many people I see focus only on successes, minimize failures, and learn from neither. If there’s something you did, professionally, that was a colossal failure, don’t do the same things again. Even the ones that “worked,” just because they “worked.” No, you failed.

Even worse than that is not wanting to know.

Maybe there’s a Minesweeper-style quiz I can buy that’ll tell me how to avoid knowing, and some snazzy extra letters I can put after my name.

I’d rather spend my money on things for me or those I care about.

If that makes me a problem, so be it.

Name 5 moments in your life so far that you think you will remember into your old age.
1. My early times with the woman I’d end up marrying. Our initial meeting. Our first date. First kiss.
2. Seeing the Redskins pull defeat from the jaws of victory against the eventual Super Bowl champion Saints. Walking back to the Metro stop in our Saints’ gear, having a Redskins’ fan tell us we were nice, and not at all like Eagles’ fans.
3. There’s a concert, but I’m not going to write too much about it. November 22, 2002. Black Cat in Washington, DC.
4. Driving through the snow on I-94 in June. I think that trip helped stop what was a flare (though I didn’t know it at the time). Way too much caffeine and nicotine. And making it from Spokane to Newport News solo in something like 55 hours. I was young, stupid, etc.. Nobody likes you when you’re 23.
5. My dad’s death. Next Sunday is three years. Pfft.
6. Taking the Crescent in to New Orleans for our honeymoon. We had to rent a car, drive to National Airport, then take the Metro to Union Station. The lady who was our car attendant was great. WE had to drive to DC to board because the train from Newport News was cancelled.

And I’m spent. Another year done. Another NoJoMo complete. Have I gotten anything from this? I don’t know. But I did it again.

Day 29

Thanksgiving came and went. I misunderstood my mom; I thought she was planning on doing dinner at her house Saturday, so we went to my wife’s parents’ place.


Listening to the shock on TV news about the incredibly slow “Black Friday” sales. It’s almost as if the economy in Tidewater really is in the toilet.

One for three on the picks in yesterday’s games. *sigh*

What is the most expensive thing you have ever bought for yourself?

That would be my car, which is still for sale…..

Day 28

I was kind of dreading this entry, and there the prompt is, staring at me…..

I took yesterday off, too, kind of unplanned. I think I’d been all that I can be, so what was the point? I have the time off, why not burn it?

Walked across the street, talked to Em a bit.

Emailed a few folks. (And I’m still not entirely comfortable with the fact that the style guides have taken the hyphen out of that…..)

Went through a box of old computer stuff. If anyone wants some 25-pin RS-232 cables, or ST fiber jumpers, hit me up before they go on eBay….

Talked to my brother, etc.

Sarah and I are doing okay, overall. Our marriage is great. I’m happy I married my best friend.

I’m thankful for a lot, but things are certainly not bright right now. Had I known this time last year what I know people knew, I might have behaved a bit differently. But, at the time, they were leeching me every few days to see what the new drugs were doing to me. (Despite numerous hits over the past four years, I still don’t take well to venous puncture. I’m fine with a shot, but hit a vein, all bets are off.)

Write about 5 things you are thankful for and why you are thankful for them.
1. Tecfidera. Because it means I’m not sticking myself thrice-weekly, anymore, dealing with the monster that is Rebif. We will see if it’s working next time the docs send me on a tube cruise.
2. Professional Football. The NCAA is a disaster, and I didn’t got to a D1 school, so, there’s not a fuck I could give about the SEC, BSCS, etc. The Failcons are out of the playoffs, and the Saints could very well win their division. For today’s games, I’m rooting for: a tie between the Peckers and Schwartzes (Dear Mr. Ford, I really don’t hate your city, company, or team. Your coach, and much of your current roster, on the other hand…), the Raiders, and the Ravens.
3. The Norfolk Amtrak stop. If I can somehow score a Shmoocon ticket on Monday… How the writers/producers modernized Atlas Shrugged for the movie trilogy is quite interesting, indeed. Getting around the US by train is tough if you want to go somewhere outside the Northeast, but it’s become my preferred mode of travel. Once I get where I want to go, public transportation or a taxi are fine.
4. I could go with the Franklin misquote about beer, but I’ll pass. I will say that I do enjoy partaking of fermented, sometimes distilled, drinks. Lately, especially the Belgian varieties. Stupid Flanders.
5. Quiet confidence that I still do have skills, and that my work situation will change for the better sooner rather than later. People do know who I am, what I’ve done. They’re seeing what I can still do. Maybe there’s not a ton of store-bought letters after my name proving how adept I am at taking multiple-choice tests, but….

With that knocked out, time to go nap a little more, trim November facial hair growth, shower, then off to the in-laws’ for round one of excessive eating.