Posts

Missing: Code of Conduct

I have spoken about the importance of a Code of Conduct in the past. Since conversations have cropped up around several communities and events in technology regarding Codes of Conduct, I am going to discuss my experiences with them.

Over the years I have spent a lot of time in and around gaming communities. During that time I realized that community guidelines and a code of conduct are an important tool. In watching these recent conversations, I feel some people have been too focused on their practical application. So I will talk about why a community should have a code of conduct, what you stand to gain by implementing one, and address some of the common arguments against them.

I wrote a step-by-step guide to writing a code of conduct here, taken from an earlier blog post addressing another community that lacked a code of conduct.
I'm not a bad person, why do I need one? I have not read the code of conduct for most communities I have been a part of one. I also do not know the spe…

Asus Chromebook C201

One of the many things that I paid attention to as I walked the halls of Defcon nearly a month ago was the devices people used for the capture-the-flag (CTF) events. During my first walk around the contest area I noticed many people sat against walls or such with macbooks. On later passes I started taking note of the devices that other people were using and a common one was the Asus C201 chromebook.

Chromebooks are basically low-spec linux laptops designed around the use of Google Chrome. Though like many linux devices once you gain access to a terminal you often have free reign to alter the system and gain access to powerful command line tools.

About a week and a half ago I picked up an Asus C201 for about $250 CAD. I will talk about what my typical use case is, what I wanted out of the C201, what my experience was, and a walk-through of how I set mine up to meet my use case.

UPDATE:SarahJamieLewis wrote a thread on twitter adding her 2.5 years of experience to this set-up. You can re…

Anatomy of an Apology

When we were children, we were told to apologize for saying mean things to each other. We were conditioned to accept those apologies regardless of whether those apologies were honest - they never were.

I was bullied as a child and was forced to listen to false apologies often. I resented those bullies because the more of those false apologies I heard the more I realized they all managed to blame me for their actions. As I grew up I mimicked those structures to avoid admitting that I was an abusive friend.
I was never taught how to issue a real apology, but like many things in my life I was able to infer it from what I had learned. Lately, I have seen that many people accept false apologies because they have never heard a meaningful apology.
I am going to teach you what an apology looks like so that you can understand when someone is not apologizing to you. Anatomy of an Apology An apology is made up of four things: Subject of apologyAdmitting guiltThe guilty party establishing they und…

The Internet Was Never Content Neutral

Today, Cloudflare's CEO Mathew Prince made a decision to stop serving The Daily Stormer, a neo-nazi website. Gizmodo's reporting on this leads with an odd sentiment:
Internet companies typically take a hands-off approach to offensive content on their networks, erring on the side of maintaining an open internet. I find this to be an odd statement because it is categorically false.

This decision by Mathew Prince follows decisions by other companies to stop serving neo-nazi and white supremacist customers. Google and GoDaddy recently refused domain services to The Daily Stormer over the past couple of days. Paypal has been closing the accounts of neo-nazis and white supremacists for some time, according to CNN. This has sparked many conversations about whether or not internet companies should police the content on their platform, or whether the internet should remain 'content-neutral.'

This debate is a surprise to me because all companies already police the content on the…

BlackHat/DEFCON, Part 2: My experience

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This is part two of my travel blog for going to BlackHatUSA and DEF CON. Part one covered travel and first-time-attender tips in point-form, and you can read it here. In this post I am going to speak about my experience at DEF CON and, without names, the people that I met there. The post will be broken up into topics rather than chronologically.

This has been difficult to sit down and write because of a lot of interpersonal drama that happened on Twitter and in the convention halls that I, frankly, don't want to discuss again. I wanted to talk about things that did not have to do with the drama. First Impressions After I arrived at the Ceasers on Thursday, I met up with some people and had to deal with that. I had been explaining who I was to everyone that I already knew online for a couple days at BlackHatUSA and had become increasingly comfortable with the process. Approaching people, though, never got easier, but I learned to introduce myself and follow with my twitter handle. …

You Don't Understand VPNs

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Technology is created to solve a problem. All technology has been a response to a perceived problem that exists in the world. Then, a bunch of nerds (engineers) got together and worked out a solution that addresses the problem in their use case. Any time that you pick up a piece of technology you should ask yourself what problems it was designed to solve from the viewpoint of the people who were likely to have made it.

I am currently a little frustrated because people are demonstrating that they still don't understand what a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is for. So I am going to take some time to explain what a VPN was designed for, what problems it solves, and what it is not designed to do and how it doesn't solve those problems.
The Problem
In The Past, a Business decided to open a second office on the other side of town. They wanted to share their telephones since they had their telephone system all hooked up in their first office. The company made a decision to connect the…

BlackHat/DEFCON, Part 1: Travel Advice

I recently returned from a trip to Vegas to attend BlackHatUSA 2017 and DEF CON 25. While writing my travel blog I realized that I had a lot of stories, and a lot of travel advice. After working on it a little I decided it would be most useful to post the advice and stories separately. This post will contain all my advice for navigating your first DEF CON adventure. I will share stories in future posts. I am going to jump straight in because I have a lot to share here. Packing Never check bags if you can avoid it. Prevents loss, theft, or mishandling. If you check bags, keep all your valuables on you.Pack light; leave room for treasure. If you plan on collecting lots of treasure then pack an ultralight duffel in your carry-on. They pack small, you can check it on the trip home.Personal item should be a cross-body bag or backpack. Put your electronics and valuables in it.Carry-on item should be a frameless soft-bodied item. It’ll hold toiletries and clothes; all your valuables are in y…