January 2007 Archives

*yawn* Hump Day, Finally

I keep asking myself "Is it Friday yet?" I don't know what it is about this week - maybe the colder temps (actual winter weather for a change) - but I'm just having a tough time this week. Getting up in the morning has been a chore and require a major act of willpower. Going to work out has been challenging. It's just kind of a general malaise. I'm sure I'll get back to posting something more interesting soon. Until then, sorry to disappoint the one reader I have (yeah, that'd be me).

Rest of the week looks like this:
Thursday - climb @ SportRock
Friday - flag football @ Dulles Sportsplex (allegedly)
--> backup plan: running (maybe 4.5 to make up for my abysmal run tonight)
Saturday - lift legs, maybe run PM
Sunday - SUPER BOWL!!! Oh, and tennis in the morning...

I could go on and on... droning... :)

Web 2.0 vs. Privacy & Security

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I've been thinking a lot lately about the impact of Web 2.0 on information security. I've read Tim O'Reilly's seminal "What Is Web 2.0" article that defines this new trend. I've attended Dion Hinchcliffe's Web 2.0 training. I've read (most of) The Long Tail and The World Is Flat. I get it. I understand this new surge in the Internet economy. I see myriad opportunities for monetization for anything that can be sold effectively online, for ad revenue, for social networking, and for further redefining the customer relationship experience.

In the end, I do not see how any of this changes the fundamental issues within Privacy and Security. It does, however, potentially make things worse. Here's my take on some of these fundamental issues:

A Grab Bag of Random Thoughts

A few random thoughts for the week...


  • Invest in the Arts - Ellis' current album is underway!

  • Support the Arts - Ellis' is always looking for Angels to help her out.

  • I must be getting old. I bought an NFL-sized football yesterday and played catch with P for an hour last night. This morning my back is so sore, you'd think I'd actually played a game. I can't imagine what the old pros (in their 30s) feel like every Monday morning.

  • I enjoy ice skating. Work had an employee outing at the Ashburn Ice House yesterday afternoon. The rental skates pretty much sucked, but it was still fun. Perhaps it's time to see if the Fairfax rink has open skate times, too.

  • I'm increasingly inclined toward pursuing a PhD in Psychology. I'm fascinated by the tricks our minds play on us, and wonder if we can learn to battle those tricks to better ensure success in life. I'd love to apply what I learn about the brain to peoples' perceptions of security, as well as learn how to help professionals be successful in whatever they do (sports psychology and the like).

  • It's very important to be nice to people, even if you don't feel like it, or don't feel they deserve it. Tying into the psychology point above, I'm trying to learn to control negative reactions to change, people, etc., so as to be nice.

  • There may be actual, legitimate interest in my thesis work. I think it's time to begin writing that journal article.

  • Though a bit odd, the XKCD comic is one of my favorites.

  • Beards Grow, No Trying Involved

    I've always been a fan of George Carlin (comedian) because of his witty analysis of the English language. This amusement has often caused me to evaluate words and phrases and the intended versus literal meaning. Today's example is the common question to men too lazy to shave (like I've been for a few days): "Are you trying to grow a beard?"

    The answer is 'no' I'm not "trying" to grow a beard. There's absolutely no conscious effort involved in making the beard grow. In fact, it seems to grow quite well despite any attempts I might make to stunt it.

    The correct question is "Have you decided to let a beard grow out?" Such a question would more accurately speak to the actions I am or am not taking; namely, shaving. If whiskers grow on their own, and a beard is the result of not shaving those whiskers over a certain period of time (days for me, weeks for others), then this question best addresses my intended (in)actions.

    And, in case you're wondering, I have no "plans" for a beard. I'm just feeling lazy and thought I'd give my face a break from the daily scrape. :)

    In Scott Adams' original "Dilbert Principle" he mentions that we all have idiot moments. I can certainly recollect dozens of my own. But then there are those Darwinian moments where you stop and realize "wow, some people just aren't all that bright." Take this story on CNN.com for example. Researchers found that microwaving a WET sponge for 2 minutes kills most bad things lurking about. So, what did people do? They tossed DRY sponges into their microwaves, and then had the hilarious nerve to complain to the reporting news agencies that it was their fault. If only people could read - and comprehend!

    The irony of No Child Left Behind: the parents of the children are already long lost. :)

    Is Politics Always SSDD?

    I did not watch the State of the Disillusioned Union last night. It's too painful. I mean, come on, seriously. Since when did eloquent speaking get thrown out, only to be replaced by mindless, mind-numbing applause after every 1-3 sentences? Nauseating.

    So, here's what I'm wondering, having read the highlights...

    When Experience Overcomes Compensation

    I must be getting old. Or maybe I'm just finally in a good place career-wise. At any rate, I did a very interesting thing today. I turned down an offer that would have increased my base pay by 20-25%, would have gotten me a security clearance, and would have given me entry into the wonderful world of federal sector contracting. Therein lies the rub, of course.

    So, it's bye-bye new opportunities, hello double-down. I've re-committed myself to my current employer and now eagerly anticipate the return of my project manager in February to take that load back, freeing me to go do interesting things. W00t!

    Finally - Major Web Upgrade Completed!

    Well, it's taken me many months, but it's done, once and for all! All those travel pictures from the last 2.5+ years are now processed and put into web form. Woohoo!! At the same time, I have also taken the steps of creating a small constellation of web sites:

    This Blog: www.secureconsulting.net
    My personal space: falcon.secureconsulting.net
    My photos: photos.secureconsulting.net
    My future consulting space: consulting.secureconsulting.net

    The next major stage of web site revision (once I get my 2nd wind) will be to completely overall my personal and consulting pages to provide more useful information, leverage a more dynamic feel, and so on. The static front page of the photos site should be adequate for now, though I'll probably play with colors and formatting over time.

    Why I find iPod and iPhone Interesting

    The thought has occurred to me that the truly interesting aspect of the Apple's iPod, and now the iPhone in particular, is that this demonstrates quite distinctly that they have an embedded Mac OS capability. Microsoft has had an embedded version of Windows for several years, and Linux and UNIX have been likewise been used in embedded devices for a long time. While the iPhone itself is not particularly innovative, it does signal a potential evolution in embedded operating systems. This is something worth watching.

    I had a reasonably good workout with P this morning, with a continued focus on legs. It's becoming clear that I need to add at least one other lifting day per week with a mix of upper and lower body exercises. One thing I learned is that I'm probably not consuming enough protein. Per P, 0.8g per pound is necessary to maintain, with most people rounding up to 1g/lb. No wonder I have trouble adding mass! This will be particularly important for upper body, for which I would really like to grow arms with some noticeable size. Anyway...

    Getting ready to start flag football with the guys in a couple weeks (we think). The team coach (and my friend and other trainer), M, has been guilt-tripping me heavily for the past week to start doing speed and agility drills. Since it was too cold to do them outside today, I went back after lifting and eating lunch to run on the treadmill. The treadmills max out at 12mph, which is a bit slow for a true wind-sprint workout, but was good enough. Definitely sped up the 3 miles I normally run! :) Well, it did until I broke the machine...

    I've just completed an excellent book titled Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. The subject matter amounts to the tricks the mind plays on itself through use of the imagination. While it covers quite a bit of solid scientific ground, it is written in a particularly accessible and engaging manner. Gilbert's humor helps infuse the otherwise intriguing subject with an extra snappiness that you won't find in textbooks. Highly recommended!

    Oops, Wrong Iron - Get Your Own Fire

    I was greatly amused yesterday. I received an email allegedly from a consultant in Dallas desperately trying to find an AV engineer in St. Paul. Being that I work in infosec, at first I thought AV meant Anti-Virus, at least until I read the job description. Instead, they were seeking an experienced Audio/Visual engineer, preferably with a BSEE. Hehe! My theory is that I perhaps reference AV (antivirus) in my resume online. My friend thinks it's the AV in my last name. Either way, someone needs to learn how to use better search terms... :)

    A colleague recently posted a link to the "EDUCAUSE/Internet2 Computer and Network Security Task Force and the National Cyber Security Alliance" Computer Security Awareness Video Contest. Some of these videos are absolutely hilarious. My favorite is the 3rd place video featuring the McCumber Cube. I took a class from McCumber at GWU and have kept in touch with him since then. Worth a look! :)

    Irons in the Fire

    Anybody who knows me, knows that I intentionally keep lines of communication open, sniffing about for new opportunities that might provide that next step in my career. I've been in my current role for a little over three years, am generally satisfied, but am also ready for something different, even if just by making some changes internally.

    Embarking on Fitness Mini-Campaign

    I'm undertaking a fitness mini-campaign today. My goal is to sport climb for 90 minutes, run 3 miles, do 2 core workouts, and make up a legs workout that I completely bombed on Saturday. The plan is start at noon with climbing (SportRock Sterling), conclude that workout with abs, then go get some food and rehydrate. Next, depending on how the legs feel, hope to hit the gym and get lifting in. Then get some protein and rehydrate. Last, do an outdoor run with the wife, then get some Endurox and rehydrate. I'll post updates here as I complete things, as well as note how I feel over the next couple days. :)

    Update 1 (2:25pm): 90 minutes of sport climbing completed. Next up: 3 miles running, abs and pushups.

    Update 2 (3:30pm): 3 mile run completed (~28 min), 3x20 crunches, 3x10 pushups. Next up: lower body weight workout @ WSC.

    Update 3 (5:15pm): Lifting is finished. Almost didn't finish the hack squats, but all's well that ends well. Also did another set of abs, including some cable-weight exercises focusing on obliques. On to dinner!

    Update 4 (6:45pm): Mmmmm... meat good! Went to Malibu Grill Steakhouse and gorged myself on meat, with some potatoes and rice thrown in for good measure. All told, I've had a very high protein day! :) We'll see how I feel in another couple days.

    Total amount of fitness time today: ~3 hours. A good all-around workout day. A luxury I can only have on holidays like today. Feeling good tonight, but I bet I'm sore the next couple days... :)

    Hiking Through the Peaks and Valleys

    Most people are familiar with the concept of Circadian rhythm, but I would argue that this is too shortsighted a view of human rhythms. After having a generally positive, upbeat week, I'm finding today is more down. Not down in the sense of depressed or negative, but just lacking in energy. I've had good workouts all week, but today my lifting frankly sucked rocks. It's definitely normal to have negative workouts like this -- you can't always be at peak energy -- but it's nonetheless frustrating.

    What I really wonder is why we rarely seem to see studies about these mid-tier cycles? I've read about life rhythms matching with the seasons, and have also of course read of Circadian rhythm, but there seem to be regular sine waves in between that should also be considered. Anyway, just food for thought.

    The good news is that this weekend promises to have some of the best football we've seen all season. Maybe that will help restore my energy. Of course, as for the aches and creaks, it's hard to say. :)

    TGIF (and a side of potassium)

    Well, thank goodness, Friday is here, and leading into a 3-day weekend at that. It's been one of those weeks... marked by extremes... one minute things are going swimmingly, and the next I'm under water, flailing to get to the surface. Take yesterday, for example. I had a good workout, longer than normal, but reasonably successful. I ran 2 miles in 17 minutes, then did some core work, pullups, and pushups, then came back and ran a third mile on wobbly legs in about 10 minutes. Not too shabby, all things considered.

    Then I got home. First, Hanna was hungry and fighting a headache. I should have showered right away and gotten her food. Instead, I jumped right into the last blog entry. An hour later, she interrupted and was not happy, to say the least. There goes the running high, here comes an unjustified flash a mad for the interruption. I showered, got her food frumpily, and then returned to writing. Not before my legs began to cramp, though.

    Funny how the mind goes blank...

    User Friendly has been running a series of comics about people creating blogs, getting that first entry out there, and then being completely brain-dead. Ironically, it seems to be happening to me, too. It strikes me that part of the problem is the realization that publishing thoughts to this blog means saying things out loud, in a public forum. That can be daunting and scary. For one thing, what about privacy?

    Well, anyway, here's another post. My next post will likely deal with figuring out how to get MT plugins like StyleCatcher to work through "system-wide configuration." I also need to figure out why the contextual help files are inaccessible.

    First Official Post

    I've decided it's time to get into this whole "blog" thing. :) Actually, I've felt lately like I've had things to say and no place to say them. So, here's where I'll give it a shot. We'll see what happens from here.

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