Thursday, September 5, 2013

RFC: Sans Alternatives pt. 2

It's been a while since I posed the question in my last post, "What's an ethical outlet for legitimate technical activism?" Now that we've all had some time to gather our notes on the subject, let's continue. At the time, my thoughts were leaning toward the Code for America and civic hacking opportunities I'd been exposed to while working in Chicago, as well as SANS' own Dshield firewall log-sharing program. And while these are well and good, they lack a certain romance and scope that the more chaotic good alternatives offer. I was even starting to lean toward suggesting the training programs around the government's cybersecurity recruiting push might fit the bill. But in the wake of revelations that the NSA has subverted many internet encryption implementations, allowing it to intrude broadly on privacy of communications, security expert Bruce Schneier has presented a really compelling argument that the purest form of hacktivism would be for the engineers of the internet to reclaim it and re-engineer it robustly and securely and openly. He's offering the huge pool of talented and disenchanted hackers out there the opportunity to respond to abuse by building up, rather than tearing down, and I think it's a terribly welcome sentiment.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

RFC: Sans Alternatives

Just emerging from the disorientation and exhilaration of SANSFire 2011, a huge computer security training event with weekend and weeklong courses, vender demos, and some really cool one-off presentations. (My highlight – a unified “lessons learned” assessment of the Tōhoku earthquake/tsunami, the Fukushima meltdown and the Sony Hack by Japanese security analyst Tomohisa Ishikawa.)

One of the traditional special events is the annual State of the Internet roundtable, where the Internet Storm Center handlers take questions on the year’s internet security events. Topics include big attack vectors and stories, the tech media, and – this being D.C. – politics and the military. I asked a pretty spontaneous question, inspired by a previous one about getting involved in computer security that hadn’t really been answered terribly broadly (“become a consultant”).

This isn't really my millieu. At the time, I didn’t really have any answers in mind to my question (I have some ideas now), and it seemed to catch the panel off guard as well, with most of their answers overlooking the activism aspect. (To be fair, their focus is tech analysis, not activism, and my question was a bit off topic.) So, I turn to you, my scattering of dedicated readers, for your thoughts:

Anonymous and Lulzsec and other popular “hacking” groups in the media right now seem to exist in a miasma of criminality and pranksterism, but also genuine activism. Who do you see out there right now providing a positive outlet for legitimate technical activism?

I’ll follow up with my own ideas later, but I want to hear from you, first.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Taking the baby blog out of mothballs...

Annie and I are proud to announce the relaunch of Like we invented it and Project: Baby. Oh, also, we're pregnant.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Better than the real thing

Wired's article on this very cool 360° panoramic photo of the Philosophical Hall at Strahov Monastery in Prague reminds me of our trip there in October 2008, while we were teachers in Slovakia. (Can it really have been that long ago?) And Wired's assertion that “viewing Martin’s web-based panorama might actually be better than an actual visit,” is actually quite accurate. While the Wunderkammer/natural history museum that opens onto the library is quite fascinating, there's nothing sadder than being that close to such a marvel of a library and being unable to browse.

While we were not allowed to take photos in the Philosophical Hall (I forget if it was against the rules, or if there was a photo fee), we did get some great, moody shots from the restaurant beneath the monastery. (As well as fantastic pork knuckle.) Positioned as it is deep in the Premonstratensian Order's former wine cellar, this cool little restaurant is named Peklo, which is Czech for inferno. Perfect place to grab lunch on Halloween, no?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sad literary news

Very sad to hear of the passing of Diana Wynne Jones, author of the Chrestomanci Series, Dogsbody, The Ogre Downstairs, and Howl's Moving Castle, among others.

Her rich, familiar characters and effortless world-building sold fantastic, reality-crossing plots. All were crafted with sophistication and her respect for an ostensibly young adult audience won her plenty of fans of all ages, including Neil Gaiman. I never knew, until today, that she studied under CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien at Oxford.

Wynne Jones was never hugely famous*, even after Howl's was made into a movie. When Annie found out I was a fan, it was like discovering we shared membership in a secret society. Along with John Bellairs, Diana Wynne Jones was a literary titan of my youth, and her work set the standard for so much of what I love in fiction today. With dead-tree bookstores and public libraries shutting down by the drove, one wonders how anyone will get their hands on these sorts of magical, secret authors in the future. But I'm confident that, as long as there are kids who read until they've run out of books, who'd rather stretch up to an author than be talked down to, someone will find these treasures, in whatever format, and share them with their friends.

* Even though she deserves to be; Annie points out that Harry Potter pales considerably next to Jones' far more satisfying Witch Week.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Recipe: Bacon Turkey

We here at Team Edison-Albright try to be health conscious, try take care of ourselves, so I’ve been on the lookout for turkey breast at the local market ever since Mom and Dad E-S dropped off our new roasting pan a couple weeks back (from their market’s incentive stamp program.) Nice healthy lunch option, but I wanted to add a bit of a smoky flavor and didn’t have a grill available, so I slid a couple slices of bacon under the skin while cooking. When I removed both skin and bacon to apply my glaze, I discovered I had unwittingly created a chimerical abomination I like to call “bacon turkey,” pictured here.

The God-fearing human in me confesses shamefully to trying a bite slice; meanwhile my inner scientist is licking his fingers and muttering something about “reproducible results.” Needless to say, this one is not going to be featured on ReciPants.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Is it just me

Or has Google Reader been demoted to the "More" tab in the Gmail menu for everybody else, too? Eric Schmidt hands over the reins and everything goes to heck!