30 April 2017

I spent two awesome days attending BSidesCharm this weekend (not an HTTPS link, odd for a security conference, eh?). I was there from morning keynote through final talk both days, and I learned something from every speaker. So, big win. If you’re in (or interested in) InfoSec, and you’re local to the Baltimore/DC area, you really should be going to this conference. The tickets sell out fast, so keep your eye on things for next year.

That said, I got absolutely nothing else done this weekend. As it should be. Catching up should be fun… NOT!

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Our condolences to the families and friends of these fallen warriors:

  • Sgt. Joshua P. Rodgers, 22, of Bloomington, Illinois, died on April 27 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, as a result of small arms fire while engaged in dismounted operations.
  •  Sgt. Cameron H. Thomas, 23, of Kettering, Ohio, died on April 27 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, as a result of small arms fire while engaged in dismounted operations.
  • 1st Lt. Weston C. Lee, 25, of Bluffton, Georgia, died on April 29, in Mosul, Iraq, from injuries while conducting security as part of advise and assist support to partnered forces.

 

28 Apr 2017

Ubuntu upgrade news:

I upgraded a Kubuntu 16.10 workstation to 17.04 this week. I ran into just one big issue. I’d previously been running the open source nouveau driver for the nVidia card in that system. After the upgrade, I could not keep the desktop running for more than about 5 minutes before the screen would freeze. After a bit of search-engine foo, I found that the recommended solution was to use the nVidia binary driver instead. As sad as that makes RMS, I went back down that rabbit hole. A brief visit via remote connection (unaffected by the frozen GUI):

apt install nvidia-375 nvidia-settings
sync
sync
shutdown -r now

Poof, the problems were solved. I have other issues with fonts now, in the terminal windows, but that’s minor stuff, easily fixed.

*      *      *

In other computer-related news, I’ll be at the BSidesCharm security conference this weekend. See you there?

16 April 2017

Oh, first: Release your tax info, President Trump. Note: No one paid me to say that. Just do the right thing, please. Just this once…

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Here’s a happy dog:

Lexi relaxing on my lap

Lexi relaxing on my lap

This dog had to deal with Marcia’s trip, immediately followed by mine. About 16 hours after Marcia got home, Saturday last, I hopped onto a plane headed for Denver. There, I spent a week in a Red Hat Automation with Ansible class, wrapping up with a brutal four hour practical exam. I learned a bunch of stuff, and I passed the exam. That also extended my RHCE/RHCSA certs into 2020, which is good.

The weekend was full of chores. I’m full of tired.

*      *      *

Our condolences to the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, 37, of Edgewood, Maryland, who died on April 8 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire during combat operations.

27 March 2017

Whelp. Another week gone. A good work-week with an informative, day-long VMUG event smack in the middle. Wood working on the weekend. I’m making progress on that closet system. All the parts are fabricated and first sanding is done. Next, sealer, resanding, stain, and poly. A couple of weeks should see it done.

*      *      *

Our condolences to the families and friends of these fallen warriors:

  • Sgt. 1st Class Robert R. Boniface, 34, of San Luis Obispo, California, died March 19, in Logar Province, Afghanistan, from a non-combat related incident.
  • Staff Sgt. Alexandria Mae Morrow, 25, of Dansville, NY, died March 22, in Southwest Asia, while performing maintenance duties in support of combat operations.

12 March 2017

Wednesday, I attended an Ansible Automates event downtown. I’ve been making use of Ansible for configuration management for nearly three years now, but the rate of change and new capabilities since the project was purchased by Red Hat about 18 months ago is stunning. There’s a lot I have to learn to find out what else I should be automating with this tool.

A good weekend: got assorted things done, including roasting some delicious-smelling Tanzania Mbozi – Iwezya Station beans from Sweet Maria’s. We (mostly Marcia) cooked a lovely salmon supper followed by a blueberry pie for dessert last night. I had one responsibility: the garlic bread. It was all gone, so i guess I did my part okay, too.

Up next: Getting my Hugo nominations in, that closes on Friday, so I’d better be getting to that… Done. And I got my driver’s license renewed for another seven years.

*      *      *

No new casualties were reported by DoD in the last few days. Ciao!

7 Feb 2017

Wow. Am I a slacker, or what? I’ve been really busy. Work is keeping me on my toes, and (wonderfully), we’re finally cooking with gas!

Cooking with gas: Our new KitchenAid Dual Fuel range

Cooking with gas

We got a KitchenAid Dual Fuel range – a natural gas range (that could be converted to LP if needed) with two electric ovens. Yay! Getting the range was Marcia’s birthday present, and she got the gasfitter to run the line for Valentine’s Day. No massacres yet!

*      *      *

On the professional front, I’m working on the options for extending my Red Hat Certified Engineer status. I’m probably going down the automation path, with Ansible, for a variety of reasons. So I’ve got to spend a fair bit of time building test environments and building my skill set with the range of capabilities that Ansible offers today. I’ve been using it for a few years now, but not taking advantage of all that the tool suite has to offer. Should be fun.

*      *      *

Books: I finally finished reading Leviathan Wakes – Book One of The Expanse by James S. A. Corey. Wonderful space opera set believably in our solar system (so, no light speed drives required to move the action along). Miller and Holden. Holy cow. If you’ve not read, you should. I’ll be reading the books before I start watching the series, which I hear is also seriously awesome. Next up, Born To Run, by the Boss.

*      *      *

Lazy lookout guard - Lexi has to rest her head

Lazy lookout guard

Lexi had her annual check-up last weekend, and flew through with flying colors. The nail trimming and first round of shots didn’t make her very happy, though. She’ll be even less happy when she goes back for two more shots in a couple of weeks. The rabies vaccine booster was part of this year’s regimen, so the vet likes to split up the shots when there are a bunch, for a little dog like Lexi.

*      *      *

Our condolences to the family and friends of Pfc. Brian. P. Odiorne, 21, of Ware, Massachusetts, who died on Feb. 20, in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident.

12 Feb 2017

A quiet weekend around here. A haircut, some shopping, a few dog walks. Ooooh, yeah: I got my BSidesCharm 2017 tickets tonight. Yay. It’s a superb, impactful, (mostly) defensive security conference. I’ve enjoyed the first two years of this con, and the third year’s program looks like it will be a worthy continuation. The first round of badges has already sold out. The second half of the tix go on sale 26 February. Keep an eye on @BSidesCharm on twit that day. You may need to be quick…

*      *      *

This Republican Administration continues to disappoint, to no one’s great surprise.

*      *      *

DoD reported no new casualties in the last week. Ciao!

3 Feb 2017

Another interesting week near the heart of power. Well, when I say “heart”, I mean corroded hunk of radioactive tin encased in an orange waste of skin. Ah, well. One does what one can while watching the wreck of trains, above and below.

In the meantime, I managed to get Kubuntu installed on my old Mac Air (2011). The install was fairly trivial, just a couple of trips to the search engines to get me over the occasional install hump. Everything but the thunderbolt port works flawlessly, and here it sits next to it’s new big brother:

AirBuntu next to the new-ish MPB

AirBuntu next to the new-ish MPB

The primary failing of the Air was one of battery life – it had a semi-useful 2 hours worth, which sucked when I found myself stranded in Columbus without a power brick last Fall. The other main issue is the screen. In the last 6 years, my eyes appear to have aged about 10, and with the amount of information I like to keep on screen, the larger, higher resolution MBP is just better. Let’s be clear: compared to the Air, the Retina screen on the MacBook Pro is glorious. Oh, and a much faster processor doesn’t hurt at all either. The air will serve well as a conference laptop. The MBP is a superb work machine for me. All I have to do is get used to floating my palms off that bloody huge touchpad.

4 Dec 2016

We had a lovely supper tonight at Seasons 52 in Columbia – a holiday dinner with my co-workers and plus ones. I had half a chicken, Marcia had some seared cow, both were delicious. Dessert: tiny, delicious, and overpriced. Still, we’ll go there again: Recommended.

Marcia continues to make great progress in her hip replacement recovery. She’s been driving for a week now, and spending a fair bit of time standing, walking, and working on stuff in the house each day. Huzzah!

The week was weird. I took a couple of vacation days on Thursday and Friday. Got a few things done around the house, but mostly relaxed and tried to unwind a bit. I roasted a pound of an Ethiopian SO, cleaned the roaster, etc. It’s almost time to build something in the woodshop – I’m getting that familiar itch.

I’m also getting used to my early Festivus present: an Apple Watch. I like it very much, and it’s hugely more comfortable to wear (as well as much better for my eyes) than the FitBit Charge it replaced. But it doesn’t replace all of that functionality – the biggest lack for me: no sleep tracking, which I really appreciated on the FitBit. That said, I’m provisionally happy with the change, and getting used to the features and integration of this device.

Also from the week past, as posted on teh twitters, where I can be found as @bilborg: Best thing I read in November, BTW: Sarah Tolmie’s The Dancer on the Stairs, in @strangehorizons. Support speculative fiction mags, authors Please do visit Strange Horizons, read, enjoy, and support them if you can.

And with that, and no casualties reported by DoD in the last few days, Ciao!

13 Nov 2016

Friday the thirteenth falls on a Sunday this month. And it’s nigh unto first “supermoon” (the concurrence of the moon’s orbital perigee and the sun/earth/moon syzygy) in 68 years (although the moon won’t be actually full until tomorrow at around 9AM EST). We have a nice view of that large, bright moon on this cloudless evening – very cool.

Meantime, when I’m not actively taking care of Marcia in her hip-replacement recovery routine, Lexi is filling in – keeping chairs warm, for example:

Lexi the chair warmer

Lexi the chair warmer

I managed several hours at work this week, and I have also been making progress on a Django-based project, in and around keeping up with the chores, etc here at the homestead.

*      *      *

RIP – Leonard Cohen. Turns out I haven’t listened to NEARLY enough of his work. Here’s a good snippet of a recent interview (From September 2016): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4PqY-VgSsI.

*      *      *

Our condolences to the families and friends of these fallen warriors:

  • Capt. Andrew D. Byers, 30, of Rolesville, North Carolina, died Nov. 3 in Kunduz, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained while engaging enemy forces.
  • Sgt. 1st Class Ryan A. Gloyer, 34, of Greenville, Pennsylvania, died Nov. 3 in Kunduz, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained while engaging enemy forces.
  • Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Lewellen, 27, of Lawrence, Kansas, died Nov. 4 in Jafr, Jordan, of wounds sustained when his convoy came under fire entering a Jordanian military base.
  • Staff Sgt. Kevin J. McEnroe, 30, of Tucson, Arizona, died Nov. 4 in Jafr, Jordan, of wounds sustained when his convoy came under fire entering a Jordanian military base.
  • Staff Sgt. James F. Moriarty, 27, of Kerrville, Texas. died Nov. 4 in Jafr, Jordan, of wounds sustained when his convoy came under fire entering a Jordanian military base.
  • Ronald L. Murray Jr., of Bowie, Maryland, died Nov. 10, in Kuwait in a non-combat related incident.