Interview: Favorite Quotes

Question: “What is one of your favorite quotes?

peimei

 

Amy Casto @AdaptivaAmi

I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.

Johan Arwidmark @jarwidmark

Failure is not an option

Mike Terrill @miketerrill

Moving on, is a simple thing, what it leaves behind is hard.” – Dave Mustaine

Arnie Tomasovsky @arnietomasovsky

I have no particular one, but I quite like this one: “Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail.

Julie Andreacola @jandreacola

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together

Rod Trent  @rodtrent

The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of bigger ideas, never returns to its original size.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

Nickolaj Andersen @nickolajA

I have some time, but I’m not really a quotes guy. The only one I can think of is when it was said that “64k of RAM is enough” (or something like that) 🙂

Jon Szewczak @VBJV

IT: “Everyonee writes terrible code. We can’t help it. The goal each year is to suck a little less.

Life: “Affirmation can change the course of someone’s life.

Nicke Kallen @znackattack

Well, odd one that sticked with me for years. About 17-18 years ago we had some workplace training (perhaps a bad translation..) (still in high school then) and the mentor that was assigned to me just gave me some pretty straight forward rules – including this: “You can wait for me, but I can’t wait for you

Obviously- this was that he wouldn’t wait 5 minutes for me, but i should value his time and if getting somewhere on time meant i had to stick around for 2 hours just waiting that was OK. Great mentor that really gave the lessons that i needed to hear at the time. Met him around the industry a few times – still share a laugh every time I meet him. Realize that as I wrote this that the quote was more valuable in the context than a general quote.

Rob Stack @londonnoise

Well, I’ve always loved “Insecure people try to make you feel smaller. Confident people like to see you walk taller.” – I’ve never known who that’s from.

The other is mildly more humorous and is “Do unto others as they would do unto you …. then run like hell before the police arrive.” 😦

Me @skatterbrainzz

Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the mouth.” – Mike Tyson

You can’t reason anyone out of something they didn’t reason themselves into.” – The Great Henry Lapo

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Facebook – The New American Sofa

If you’re posting on Facebook, like I am right now, it means you’re not getting shit done. If you’re not getting shit done, it means you’re part of the problem. The more you’re not getting shit done, the bigger the problem.

I don’t count Twitter in this fight, because Twitter constrains everyone to small bites.  Facebook encourages long, rambling, mindless rants, just short of being a full blog, but definitely longer than most TV and radio commercials.  Also, comparing Twitter and Facebook, the percentage of content focused on “sharing information” (useful information) rather than fluff/politics/religion/rehashed-news/fake-news/re-faked-news etc. isn’t even in the same ball park.  Not even the same planetary system.

In one hour I get more helpful information from Twitter than an entire year on Facebook.  I have made my decision on where to spend my “not getting shit done” time.

Another Tragic Rant

I’m so tired of listening to neighbors, in-laws, relatives, even strangers at large, bash the IT community,  as being a bunch of “stupid nerds” every time their laptop gets infected with some bad stuff. The jokes. The snarky comments. The condescension (“I’ll have  you know that I have an MBA!” or “I build cranes for a living!” – so what. We have to listen to you all day) 

Even more annoying is after hearing someone jaw-jacking about us “nerds”, and then they try to put on the sad puppy face when they need help setting up their new ink jet printer from Costco, or they can’t figure out the self-configuring Wi-Fi router.
Lately, it’s about the ransomware attacks. Spora, WannaCry, and Petya. Followed by “that’s why I have a MacBook. You know, they’re *impossible* to hack“) News flash: most non-techie folks don’t need to be “hacked”. We can either guess your stupid basic password,  or read if from the sticky note on your desk, usually under the keyboard or on the back of your family photos from that Disney vacation. Geez. At least try to be creative. 

How about taking some responsibility for the stuff you buy and use? Stop clicking on stupid links and surfing porn. Update your software. Keep the OS patched. Keep your firewall turned on. Keep your anti-virus up to date, and use it often. Keep copies of your important files in the cloud. Don’t share thumb drives. Wear a condom. Look both ways when crossing a street. 

And stop blaming Microsoft, when there is proof they released a patch months or years before. You were too lazy, or drunk, to be bothered with maintaining another contraption. As if your car takes care of itself forever. Don’t have time to patch and reboot? Then you’ll have plenty of time while paying bitcoin to get your files back. And wait til it locks you out of your bank, email, Facebook and Instagram. 

To quote Jamie Fox, from Jarhead: “Fuck. ..  that.”

To all the consumer folk that don’t bash their IT brethren, this isn’t aimed at you. This is aimed at the douchey makers of snarky comments, and the media that fosters that puke-flavored view. 

Stop blaming “nerds” for getting hacked while you were clicking on yet another link like “5 ways to grow your penis!”,  or “You’ll never guess what this TV actor looks like now!”. You do know what click bait means? 

If you don’t know how it works, get some help. If you can’t learn to use it, maybe you shouldn’t be using it. Regardless, whatever your profession or unemployment status may be, stick to what you know and we’ll stick to what we know.  

We’re always glad to help, but please be professional about it. And if that doesn’t work, we’ll be glad to plant some kiddie porn on your device and notify Chris Hansen. 

Thank you 🙂 

IT Security Methods by Industry

After years (okay, decades,… okay, okay, centuries…..  damn it… alright! alright already, eons… are you happy now?  yes.  I’m THAT freaking old.  I still remember coal-fired computers and horse-drawn airplanes and shit.  My birthday cake is a slice of tree trunk of matching rings, but the table can’t hold the weight anymore.  sheesh!)

What was I saying?  …. (eyes wandering left and right…. … . . .          …  .         …. . .      .   .  )

oh yeah!  I’ve amassed a data set that accurately summarizes the predominant security practices or strategic “methods” leveraged by each major US industry. I warn you: this is highly scientific information.  It may require additional consumption of various questionable substances just to remain conscious while trying to read it all. Here goes.

Idiocracy-LB-1

Banking

Method: Place sufficient restrictions on the adoption of new technologies, so as to (A) mitigate unknown vulnerabilities and exploits, (B) insure that those with knowledge of older, proven exploits have died from old age, and (C) keep certain aging consultants employed (because they’re married into your family).  And besides, what’s wrong with COBOL?

Insurance

Method:  Never leave important IT decisions up to any one person, ever.  In fact, the more people involved, the greater insurance that the decision will eventually be reliable, maybe.  Larger companies focus on perfecting multi-role hyper-proliferated subterfuge logic branching and coalescing processes.  In layman’s terms: they foster greater variety among responses to decision inquiries.  Many have invested heavily in processes which depend entirely on custom hand-stitched, stone-carved, natural leather encased software, usually written by someone who left or died long ago.

Defense Manufacturing

Method: Implement dozens of stop-gap procedures to insure every motion of IT is slowed to the lowest possible, almost un-measurable, velocity.  Think of a Japanese rock garden, only slower.  Where the sand is executive processes and the stones are IT staff, now simply add quick-set cement to the sand mix and sprinkle some water on it.  This insures that even the bad stuff will take forever to make headway, and by that time, the entire system will have been eventually decommissioned.  Forget penetration attempts, even social engineering-based, because they’re often project-oriented, not departmental, so most people have no clue what that next cube is working on.  In fact, they probably don’t use the same network, computers or operating systems.

Legal

Method: Relegate “IT” to whomever answers the Craig’s List ad for an “IT Expert”.  Critical skills include: printer management, thumb drives, recovering lost files and emails, and using Excel databases” (that’s not a typo).  Must also have experience with Macs and Windows XP, particularly with kids games.

If they have any in-house “IT” capacity at all, it’s often enough shock to send a consultant into cardiac arrest.  Due to possible legal implications, it’s best to never change passwords for critical user accounts and never, I mean NEVER, delete anything.  Keep everything forever, or as long as you can afford somewhere to store it.

Travel

Method:  Agents need to be flexible and mobile.  Everything is done on laptops.  Everything remains on laptops.  No time for that silly, trendy, cloud stuff.  No backups, no cloud sync, but OMFG do NOT let anything happen to that precious data on those roaming laptops!  Thumb drives are forgotten like Matt Damon in Interstellar, waiting for someone to give them a hug, only to have their face shield cracked open and their chip tossed away.  Shit.  Did I give away the plot?

Advertising / Marketing

Method: Hire someone quick, and get back to the conference before the food runs out.

Transportation

If it’s airlines, use railroad standards.  If railroads, use airlines standards.  Either way, the older the technology the better.  It’s like a cast-iron frying pan, after years of seasoning, or a vintage wine.

 

Municipal

Method: Deny all requests for pay increases for five (5) years, reduce promotions from once every five (5) years to once every ten (10) years, discontinue any training programs, and for God’s sake: deny all requests for stupid things like newer software and hardware  It worked in 1995, so it should still work!  Hire a consultant to blame internal staff for every deficiency, terminate and reassign to avoid audit trails and blame the contractor afterwards.

Federal Agencies

Method: Same as municipal, but on a much larger scale.  Every four (4) years, change direction from in-sourcing to out-sourcing, and blame the opposite for any failures that remain.  If conservatives win, out-source to private contractors, where expertise and trust are premium values, after all, when has anyone ever heard of a private contractor doing something wrong in a government position?  Then blame liberals.  If liberals win, open up the job requisition flood gates and hire at will.  However, keep GS-rating pay scales at 1995 levels to avoid asking for tax increases.  This helps insure only the highest-quality employees are onboarded from their previous positions as private contractors or foreign exchange students.  Then blame conservatives for any failures.  Think of it as seasonable employment.

Medical/Dental Practices

Method: Hire the first contracting IT firm that actually shows up.  If they wear those spiffy-looking polo shirts with a slick company logo, they might be too expensive.  Ask if your cousin’s friend graduated tech school yet.  You know, the one who puked all over your sofa when he brought her to crash in your apartment while you were out of town.  That one.  If she’s not available, what about that kid that asked you about spark plugs while you were trying to inflate your car tires that day.

 

Summary

See if you can guess which of these most closely matches the photo above.

Top 10 Reasons Your Job Might be Automated

10. Machines don’t give a shit about your favorite sports team, movie, TV or streaming series, cars, food, drinks, types of women or men, tasteless jokes, what you did last night or over the weekend, or what programming language you think is the best.
9. Machines don’t need restroom, smoke, vape, or lunch breaks
8. Machines don’t need to get their kid from the school nurse
7. Machines don’t ask for a raise or better benefits
6. Machines don’t need to rest
5. Machines work faster than you
4. Machines can do the work of more than one of you
3. Machines are better at analytical processes than you’ll ever be
2. Machines don’t horde information about their job
1. Machines don’t sue their employer

Even funnier, is that most people are convinced that THEIR job could never be automated.  No matter what profession they’re in.  Let’s list off some of the folks who were convinced of this as well:

  • Telephone operators
  • Mail sorters
  • Grocery store clerks (in many places)
  • Surveillance aircraft pilots
  • Security guards
  • Punch card handlers
  • Carpet weavers
  • Stock market traders
  • Food and drink vendors
  • Waiters (in many places)
  • Newspaper deliverers
  • Gas station attendants (in most places)
  • Librarians (in most places)
  • Milk delivery (in most places)
  • Movie set demolition experts
  • Camera Film Developers
  • Data center rack engineers (I already hear that giant sucking sound Mr. Perot mentioned)

Interview: Christopher DeCarlo

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Preface

I first met Chris while working for another consulting firm.  I was thrown ass-first into leading a software “packaging team”, for a municipal government customer strung out on crack (the customer, not Chris or I).  Well, actually, it was pretty good for the first three years.  And then the crack ran out, and a new dealer rode into town with chain-fed, water-cooled douche cannon, and the story turned tragic.

Anyhow, I interviewed Chris (I think, but it might have been someone else) and it was one of those moments like “oh shit, this isn’t a rock!  It’s a diamond-encrusted Dilithium Crystal, filled with Kryptonite and free food!!!”  Yes.  Chris is one of those rare folks who seems like a 50 year sage in a 20-something package.  Can find the bugs in things like AdminStudio.  Shit, the young man bought a house to fix up, while most goobs his age are blowing it on cheap car rims, flavored lite beer, and Call of Duty tattoos.

An infrastructure whiz-kid. Technical wunderkind.  Says he’s not a developer, but has all the good traits of one.  Figures shit out like MacGyver on IBM Watson juice.  Have I hyperboled-him too much?  Sorry.  If he knocks on your door, hire him.  You won’t regret it.  Let’s go…

Name: Christopher DeCarlo

Job Title: Implementation Engineer

1. Describe what you do for a living – to someone who has no idea what it means.

So, I get paid to stare at a screen for hours, sometimes during ungodly hours, implementing and improving automated stalking systems to learn everything I can about people and the devices they use.  I then openly share this information to those I deem worthy.  I also hit buttons loudly and occasionally I yell while hitting said buttons.

Or, I work with Config Manager in all aspects and also come up with creative solutions to gather new information from a PC or user accounts based on management directives.

2. How did you get into this type of work?

While in High School I was taking every computer class available.  Immediately afterwards the same school system I graduated from was doing a migration away from Novell on to AD and Windows XP at the time.  From then on I was involved in enterprise management systems and automation of those systems.

3. What area or aspect of technology are you most excited about?

Robotics.  And not just robots themselves but even robotic prosthetic limbs and nanorobotics.

4. What gives you the most satisfaction today?

Knowing that all my countless hours of hard work and sweat will be erased of all evidence in about 3-5 years……… oh, you said satisfaction, um… honestly, the act of taking something that is completely broken and fixing it.  You get that bit of satisfaction that us IT people understand when you resolve a major glitch or identify a bug.

[edit: my fault.  I accidentally curmudgeoned him with that “3-5 years” doomsday view. My apologies]

5. Name the 3 most inspiring people in your life or career?

My parents would be #1 as they’ve shown me what hard work truly is, and to have the pride not only in your work but in how you do that work.

#2 would probably be this character I met named Dave Stein.  I can honestly say that, intentional or unintentionally, he helped me not only realize my potential but also the potential in others with his rare ability to teach without talking down to people and his constant humbleness.

#3 would have to be Neil DeGrasse Tyson, his infectious charisma and honest love of what he does…… should inspire us all to do what we love.

[edit: I swear on a stack of plastic, wood-burning hotel Bibles – I didn’t add that or bribe him… yet.  He makes me sound like a decent person].

6. If I hadn’t gone into this field, I’d probably be… ?

A woodworker.  My earliest memories are always the smell of freshly cut wood as my dad would be building a deck, a fence, or even a garage.  The idea that even after 50 years the things that you can build would still be remaining and can probably even illict [sic] great memories from people such as a handmade crib that multiple generations have been raised in, or a favorite chair of a passed away relative.  Those are things that very few fields can truly capture.

7. Favorite place to travel?

When I’m trying to completely zone out to gather my thoughts I like to load up Google Maps and drop the little street view yellow guy in random spots.  One such spot which is always beautiful no matter where I drop him is Iceland.  So I’d like to travel to Iceland one day.

8. What 3 books, movies or other works have influenced you most in life?

Enders Game by Orson Scott Card (Book, though the movie was good too).  The Imitation Game (movie).  Band Of Brothers (Series).

9. There’s never enough … 

time.

10. There’s way too much … 

Politics.

11. What’s your favorite sound?

Thunder.  It’s such a powerful sound from nature and yet also beautiful.

12. What would you say to those who insist that technology has only made life worse?

I probably wouldn’t say anything.  Technology is everything, the wheels on your car is a technology.  The “invention” of fire is technology in use.  There is no escaping it.

13. How do you feel about the importance of college degrees, and certifications as it pertains to IT careers?  Do those credentials mean as much, or more, than they use to?

My opinion is to do what you feel is best for your path.  Getting a degree in the Liberal Arts is not going to help you in IT, you were better off saving your money and getting a few certifications and spending your time in a job gaining experience.  Also, certifications can be a good tool to show your knowledge if your just starting out and don’t have much experience (or money for college).  While I was in high school I had my MCP in Windows 2000 and MCDST in Windows XP, they both showed employers that even without experience I have the ability and potential.  As you start to get 10+ years of experience then certifications don’t matter as greatly as you have the years of experience that companies look for.  BUT you should still be getting a few that are relevant to your path as they can separate you from other candidates that have similar experience as you.  And you might actually learn something while studying.

14. You’ve crashed on a remote island along with 4 other engineers, and 5 sales people.  There’s only enough food for five people total to last a week. What do you do?

Meh, they all taste the same so why bother complicating things with rationing the supplies, drawing straws, or figuring out a pecking order.

15. If you could go back in time and change one piece of technology to end up better today,  what would it be, and why?

Batteries.  A power source that is more efficient, more powerful, smaller, cheaper, and quick to charge should already exist today and would have dramatically changed all the technology we see now.  Battery powered cars would be old news by now.  Society as a whole would be much better off as well (think countries with limited to no access to a reliable power source).

Shameless plug – I have a site PushDeploy.com that I use as a sort of note-taking/article dump to remind myself how I fixed something when I run into the same issue again.  Check it out.

Thank you!

NTP and DateTime and Space Colonies

I just finished up migrating a customer from Windows Server 2008 R2 to 2016 Active Directory.  Thankfully, it was only a single AD forest and domain; nothing too complex in that regard.  I also migrated their DFS namespace from 2000 to 2008 mode.  Afterwards, we gently wrapped their 2008 R2 domain controllers (virtual machines) in duct tape, smothered them in imaginary rags soaked in ether, and carefully loaded them onto little imaginary rafts to paddle out into the river, where they’d be sunk with an imaginary RPG round.

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During the process, we ran through the usual checklists of things; DNS, replication, and of course time.  Time, as in NTP.  w32tm, and all that.  Aside from having spent a lot of time on the micro- implications of time back in the early 2000’s, getting immersed in the concepts of NTP stratum, drifts, huff-n-puff, and intervals, I still think about the macro- implications today.  This is particularly apropos with the increased talk about SpaceX, Blue Origin, and so on, and all the talk about Mars expeditions.

That got me to thinking about time on Earth.  Julian dates, 24-hour time, leap years, and so forth.  These Earth-bound notions of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, seasons/quarters, years, decades, centuries, and millennia.  And, in turn, that got me into thinking about meetings.  After all, time and meetings go together like politicians and eggs, or ham and drugs, or one of those.  And, for the record, meetings are most closely associated with the time construct we refer to as an “eon“.

Imagine this:

50 or 100 years from now, we may have a colony on another moon or planet.  And that moon or planet is very likely NOT going to share the same cyclical frequency of rotations and revolutions as Earth.  In other words, the relative time from one day to the next, or one orbit around the Sun (or host planet), won’t be the same as that of Earth.  Their local “day” may be only a few hours of that on Earth, or may be much, much longer.

That said, will the concepts of an hour, a week, or a month, be relevant?

What if this imaginary colony rests on a planet that has a pattern of daylight that equates to 48 hours on Earth?  Or it orbits the Sun (or again, host planet) once every 3.5 months of Earth time?  What if one “year” on that remote place equates to less or more than a year on Earth?

Some would argue that their relative (local) perception wouldn’t be significant.  But that’s assuming they wouldn’t have seasons either.  Seasons are what give weight and meaning to relative dates and times on Earth.  Cold and Hot.  Crops grow or whither.  Animals graze or migrate.  You get the idea.  So, seasons have a HUGE impact on the significance of “annual” cycles, because they dictate much of the things on which human life depends.

Just because Earth has seasons, and the only remote places we’ve seen (Moon, Mars, Jupiter, etc.) don’t appear to have any reference of a “season”, doesn’t mean that in 50-100 years we wouldn’t have landed on (and colonized) another place that does have such a phenomena.

Will the locals of those colonies still insist on marking “time” and “date” in Earth units?  If so, why?  And for how long?

Keep in mind that even on Earth, we differ from one region to another on a great many things.  This includes social/civil things, like marriage, drinking, voting, enlisting for armed services, driving, and so on.  We also differ on time.  Some places recognized Daylight Saving Time, and some do not.  While others impose a half-hour offset, rather than a full-hour.  The basic point here is that even on this one ball of dirt and water, we don’t have uniform rules.

Now, add to that, our history of colonization and divestiture.  By that, I mean colonies that fought hard to win their independence (a-hem, cough-cough, no names please).  Some of those fared better than others of course, but, the takeaway is that many of the rules imposed by the former overlord were replaced or banished by the new management.

So, getting back to the plotted course of this diatribe, even if the initial colonization were established with strict Earth-centric rules, there’s nothing to prove, or even expect, that with enough time, the colonists might decide those rules make no sense and would therefore be replaced.

Now comes the fun part.

Imagine, during this interim period, being between the era in which the colonists follow the same rules (minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years) as on Earth, and the time before they revolt and declare full independence from Earth-mandated taxes, fees and regulations (akin to 1604-1776, let’s say).

There would likely be some business interests that exist on the colonized planet or moon which remain in contact with their Earth counterparts.  I would assume these would be contractors who are initially part of the expedition, much like those who are embedded with today’s exploration and military engagements (you can guess their names I’m sure).  Probably related to things like telecommunications, mineral extraction, human support (medical, subsistence, housing, entertainment, etc.)

At some point, one of the project teams on Earth will be scheduling a meeting with their counterparts on the remote colony.  They’ll click “Friday, April 23, 2117” and “9:00 AM EDT” and when it arrives in the inbox on the other end, what will that mean?

Pick up the voice comm…

(crackling sound)… “Hey!  How are you guys doing?”

“Great!  You sound pretty clear and your video feed is clear as well.  How are you?”

“Not bad. Not bad.  Say…. We were wondering if you guys are available next Tuesday, say…. around 9:00 AM our time?  That would be like 14:35 AM your time, tomorrow.”

“Hold on.  That’s actually around 14:55 AM, but yeah, we should be good.”

“What’s it like there ?  I mean…. how do you sleep and work and all that?”

“Oh yeah.  So, an hour for us, is like 4.25 hours for you, but 4 days for you is like 0.99 days for us.  So our sleep patterns are very different from yours.”

You get the idea.

I think like this all the time.  Like whenever I see a Sci-Fi movie and the aliens are always humanoid (a head, 2 arms, 2 legs, etc.)  I think “what if we can’t even imagine other life forms?”  Even the Star Wars bar scenes are filled with loose variations of this bi-pedal form, with other (Earth-centric) animal features glued onto various parts of the body.

What if they look like a coffee cup?

What if they “talk” in a way that, to humans, sounds like farting?

What if they think extending a hand for shaking is a gesture for sexual activity?

What if a Asian-protocol bow of formality, is seen as a request to be attacked or eaten?

What if?

So, all digression digestion aside, back to the time and date thing.  How will computers will be configured?  How much Y2K-ish work will become heavily in-demand, in order to handle such date/time offsets, especially across more than one remote colony?

I’m guess too, that AI/ML will be so commonplace by then, that we won’t even be aware of the translations that occur in the background.  It’ll be something that we’re taught in school as a “just-in-case the machines crash” scenario, and then will be forgotten.

Date and Time.