Sunday, August 30, 2009

Why must I be Unnerved? (#25 from Brand You 50)

About 18 Months Ago I blogged about a conversation I had with a friend and how we both were stuck in an 18 month job cycle. Several months ago (besides worrying that my 18 month clock was ticking, and for those that follow my personal twitter feed, know the egg timer rang and I'm starting a new job tomorrow) I ordered another copy of the must have Brand You 50 and started reading it again.

This was something I hadn't done for a while, but something I highly recommend.

So tonight I read #27 (TO STEER ME INC THROUGH THE WHITE WATER OF CHANGE IS TO DARE, DAILY) contained some clues to decipher my (and I assume, others) 18 month curse.

From the T.T.D. at the end of the chapter, I ran across the question "does my current project scare me shitless?" and I think Tom is really on to something here. Believe it or not I think it is possible to be confident on your abilities and experience, yet still be unnerved about the leap you are taking. If you aren't a little bit scared about what is before you, how could you possibly grow from the experiences around the corner. I can definitely remember this anxiety about various projects at past employers and unfortunately this often occurs only in the beginning of the job. Near the middle and the end things become repetitive and it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain a steep learning curve.

I'll return to the topic in 18 months to see where I'm at!

NOTE: This topic is not unrelated to the survey a month or so back that One in Two Security Pros are Unhappy in Their Job tp which my wife cynically responded that this is only because the security job market is so strong and you can bounce around...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Some Gems (however heavy) from Peter Rollins

I'll take slice and dice some memorable statements from ‘Why Do I Do What I Do’, or ‘The Horror of Relationships’ (focusing more on the why do I do what I do what I do, than the relationship part, although my wife and I just celebrated our 16th anniversary this weekend) from the end:
It is today very common to see reason opposed to faith in popular literature (with reason or faith being the better depending on which side the apologist sits). The point is not that they are opposed but rather that reason is saturated with faith. In other words, all real decisions, no matter how reasonable, involve a faith act. Neither the facile liberal nor the crude fundamentalist examples mentioned above allow for the anxiety of making a real decision about love, politics or prayer. While the former only ever minimally commits (not making a full blooded decision), the latter knows what to commit to in advance of doing it (thus not making a real decision, as one can only ever make a decision when one does not know what needs to be done – thus making a choice).
Which is teed up near the beginning

The question ‘Why do I do what I do’ disturbs the smooth running of our lives because it involves a certain amount of anxiety. Yet, far from seeing its manifestation as a minor disturbance in our ongoing life, perhaps we should see it as a site of truth. As a moment in which the foundations of our decisions are momentarily manifested to us in their underlying contingency.

Most of us do not feel the full force of this question either because we never fully commit to a cause (choosing to travel through life without real investment – allowing the TV we watch and papers we read to experience life on our behalf) or because we attempt to ground our theological/philosophical/political projects, or romantic ones, in some absolute (God, Reason, Destiny, Historical Necessity etc.). In the former we never truly make a radical commitment to some cause, while in the latter we never experience the fear and trembling which such a commitment should engender.

Yep, "sites of truth." I like it.

Lessons from Netflix Culture: The 9 Behaviors & Skills

While some folks were making a big deal about the fact that Netflix doesn't have a formal vacation/time off program (and I've actually worked at a place like that before) what caught me eye from the presentation was the 9 behaviors and skills.

Notice they don't use the term "values," probably because values seem to imply things that you just have (or are) vs. things you can learn or be taught.

The 9 values they define are judgment, communication, impact, curiosity, innovation, courage, passion, honesty, and selflessness.

I really encourage you to drill down and look at the bullet points. I'm sure you'll find some you do well at and others where you need some work. I know I did.

I picked 9 of the ones I found the most interesting and important. And folks that have worked with me before know that some of these I'm pretty good at, while others continue to be a work in progress:

  • You exhibit bias-to-action, and avoid analysis paralysis.
  • You listen well, instead of reacting fast, so you can better understand.
  • You make tough decisions without excessive agonizing.
  • You say what you think even if it is controversial.
  • You contribute effectively outside your specialty.
  • You smartly separate what must be done well now, and what can be improved later.
  • You make time to help colleagues.
  • You think strategically, and can articulate, what you are, and are not, trying to do
  • You treat people with respect independently of their status or disagreement with you.

  • Yep, there are some tough ones in there and there is a lot more gold these 128 slides that reinforced by my experience in small and large companies alike.

    (NOTE: If you register for a slideshare account you can download a .pptx version and print them out for you cube/office wall like I did.)

    Wednesday, August 05, 2009

    CyberSpies: They are back (and we have the logs to show it!)

    From Cyber attacks at U.S. energy companies.

    From the Loglogic Department of Statistics

    “Ever since cyberspies hacked the U.S. electrical grid earlier this year, businesses have become increasingly aware that a security breach at an energy company that results in a major blackout has the potential to wreak havoc,” said Pat Sueltz, CEO at LogLogic. “We talked to leading information security professionals in the energy sector to find out how they determine the level of risk they carry and architect their security infrastructures to fortify against both internal and external attacks.”

    The study surveyed information security professionals from a broad spectrum of energy corporations and government organizations ranging from less than $99 million to more than $1 billion in annual revenue. Of the respondents, two-thirds field more than 75 serious security vulnerabilities each week, with half resolving more than 150 attacks per week.

    How can someone use the phrase, "Ever since cyberspies hacked the U.S. electrical grid earlier" without cracking up?

    Who doesn't have 75 severe vulnerabilities a week? 75 seems a bit low, actually?

    What does "resolving 150 attacks a week" even mean?

    Loglogic gets the award for this one.

    (CAVEAT: Loglogic is sort of a competitor of my employer, but this has nothing to do with that)

    Choose Civility?

    Once in Austin we had a Great Horned Owl in the large Elm in our back yard. As I was watching it, my wife walked up behind me and scared me. We have a running joke about being scared of owls and birds of prey carrying off pets and small children. So last night during supper when I saw the flash of large wings through the side window and I rushed outside and brought our overweight Boston Terrier inside to spare her from this unknown bird of prey.

    On our front lawn all of us (including Sam, our 20 mo old) watched as a large vulture tore up an unidentified creature into pieces no larger than a small child's fist.

    It turned out to be a possum. I and the two oldest walked over to investigate, or as close as the flies would let us.

    Then we went to Rita's to wash the taste of buzzard out of our mouth.

    Choose Civility

    Tuesday, August 04, 2009

    Best firmware choice for WGR614L?

    So my WGR614L arrived yesterday and I have it running with the built-in firmware but I'd obviously let to get something new on on there that gives me a command line. I used OpenWRT a while back and definitely liked the ipkg's but am wondering what the best/most actively maintained Broadcom distro that runs well on the WGR614L these days?