Tuesday, August 25, 2009

more tubes!

i have a website now!

no, i'm not moving this blog. this is for my personal rants. rogueclown.net, my new site, is a home for all of my computer and hacking projects. it'll be really nice to have a separate place for that.

so...if you're interested in that stuff, check it out! i don't have a whole lot up there, since i just brought it up today, but it should get really interesting in the coming months.

zyzzx road



"zzyzx road"
by stone sour

i don't know how else to put this
it's taken me so long to do this
i'm falling asleep and i can't see straight
my muscles feel like a melee
my body's curled in a u-shape
i put on my best but i'm still afraid

propped up by lies and promises
saving my place as life forgets
maybe its time i saw the world
i'm only here for a while
but patience is not my style
and i'm so tired that i gotta go

what am i supposed to hide now
what am I supposed to do
did you really think i wouldn't see this through
tell me i should stick around for you
tell me i could have it all
i'm still too tired to care and i gotta go

i get to go home in one week
but i'm leaving home in three weeks
they throw me a bone just to pick me dry
i'm following suit and directions
i crawl up inside for protection
i'm told what to do and i don't know why

i'm over existing in limbo
i'm over the myths and placebos
i don't really mind if i just fade away
i'm ready to live with my family
i'm ready to die in obscurity
'cause i'm so tired that i gotta go

where am i supposed to hide now
what am i supposed to do
you still don't think i'm going see this through
tell me i'm a part of history
tell me i can have it all
i'm still too tired to care and i gotta go

still too tired to care and i gotta go
still too tired to care and i gotta go
still too tired to care and i gotta go
still too tired to care and i gotta go
go home
still too tired to care and i gotta go
still too tired to care and i gotta go

Sunday, August 23, 2009

i think i found the right song.

"what you live by"
by harvey danger

meet me up on ninety-nine
beneath the marco polo sign
i’ll be the one with a box of wine
and a hundred dollar car

we could talk about the lives we’ve led
and count the reasons we’re not dead
or maybe we could talk instead
about the ways in which we are

always nothing or too much to say
only so many sides of the record to play
and the song that got stuck in my head
said you die by what you live by
you will die by what you live by
you will die by what you live by
every time

like carnivores to carnal pleasures
so will we to desperate measures
melting into stagnant puddles
beat down by the sun

i went to school
i didn’t stay
spoke right up when i had nothing good to say
and i said it to anyone who would listen

lay me down in the bed that i made
starved for sleep by the shrill serenade
singing over and over:
you die by what you live by
you will die by what you live by
you will die by what you live by
every time

you die by what you live by
you will die by what you live by
you will die by what you live by
every time

Saturday, August 22, 2009

?

it's horribly unnerving when you can't find the right song for how you feel. there's no way my amalgam of emotions is anything new or interesting, but i'm still trying to find someone else on my playlist who has felt it and vocalised it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

i <3 bad puns.

today's xkcd is amazing, although there's part of me that wonders what took them so long to make such a characteristically xkcd pun.

YEEEEEEAAAAAAHHHHHH!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

dispatches

HAR was ridiculous, and ridiculously awesome.

not much time for details now, since i'm still away (and don't want to get too sucked into the intertubes to explore Amsterdam some more!), but it suffices to say that i'm still alive, i'm still in Europe, and i really, really, really don't want to get on the plane tomorrow.

Monday, August 10, 2009

the jetset life is gonna kill you...

i'm finally recovered from defcon. that's a good thing, since i'm heading off to yet another con this week.

on tuesday morning, i fly out to new york city. i have about a day and a half to goof off with Rob...i'm not quite sure what we're going to be doing, but whatever it is, it'll be lots of fun. :)

then, wednesday afternoon, it's back to jfk to meet up with hackers on a plane and fly to europe! we get into dusseldorf on thursday morning, meet up with some german hackers, and take a bus the last hour and a half to hacking at random! i'm simultaneously excited and nervous about the trip...excited because i'm going to be meeting new places, seeing new people, and learning a lot at the con, and nervous because i haven't flown internationally in over a decade, and because i'm going to be going to countries where i don't know the language at all.

that being said, it's going to be a blast, and i'm sure i'll have plenty of crazy stories to tell when i'm back.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Friday, August 07, 2009

testing...testing...1...2...YIKES!

i love jokes with long, elaborate setup.

i love when Black Hat does mischievous things.

for these reasons, i declare today's xkcd to be full of win. <3

Wings

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

shame on you, North Carolina.

recently, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a law mandating that Governor's School charge a $500 per student tuition.

this makes me extremely sad.

if there had been tuition for Governor's School in 1998, i would not have been able to go. it was that simple. when i was in high school, my family didn't have money. they would not have been able to drop $500 for something so seemingly frivolous as sending me to summer camp. since it was completely state-sponsored, however, i got the chance to go.

and, it was far from frivolous. in fact, it was the best experience of my high school years.

my Area I class was choral music...and, when else was i going to get the chance to sing so much avant-garde music? it was unlike anything i had ever sung before, and i still hear bits and pieces of "when david heard" and "funeral ikos" pop into my head eleven years later. when else were we going to face the question as to whether it was artistic or unpatriotic to sing a bitonal arrangement of The Star-Spangled Banner at a minor league baseball game? from the environment of my hometown and my high school? i say, nowhere else was i going to experience any of that. Area II discussed philosophy, and Area III discussed psychology...two topics that were hardly even alluded to in my home high school. yet there, at Governor's School, i got the chance to read and discuss writings about how the mind worked, and how we fit into society as a whole, with students from all over the state, with students in all different Area I concentrations...something i would not have otherwise been given the chance to do until several years later, in college.

still, the academic level is nowhere near the whole story.

i learned a lot in my classes, but it was also so much more than that. at my home high school, i was very much a loner. i didn't get along with the vast majority of my classmates, and didn't feel like i had very much in common with them. Governor's School opened my eyes to the previously absurd idea that there may be people floating around with whom i had something in common. it was nothing short of life-affirming to spend a summer around four hundred unabashedly intelligent peers. those six weeks were about the only time in my entire high school career that i spent my evenings socializing instead of writing horrendously emo poetry about how much my life sucked and how little i fit in. of course, not all academically gifted students were as alienated or socially inept as i was in high school, but many are. and, there is no way that i'm the only student whose eyes were opened in this way thanks to Governor's School.

and now, students whose parents can't afford an extra $500 out of a tight budget are getting locked out of this experience.

it's so strange that in the same paragraph of the law that authorizes this tuition, free public schools are mentioned several times. Governor's School is an extension and an enrichment of that service. it is a chance for academically gifted students to meet other academically gifted students from all over the state. the whole point of Governor's School is that only your talent and your intelligence mattered for getting in...it didn't matter if you were from a small town or a big city, and it didn't matter if you were from a rich family or a poor one. eight hundred students a year got the opportunity to leave town for the summer and find a home, without regard to the socioeconomic barriers that blocked access to just about any other summer opportunity for talented students.

in short, Governor's School was the most valuable six weeks of my free public education in North Carolina, and it's a shame that students in my position nowadays will not be able to have the opportunity i had eleven years ago.

how to go to vegas without gambling a cent...

wow, it's been a while. but, then again, that's become my modus operandi here, right? it seems the more i get into computers, the less i blog. chew on that for a while...

anyway, i'm just now getting to the point of having recovered from defcon. that was last weekend, and i was in vegas from tuesday, july 28 until monday, august 3. it was a madcap week of con after con...defcon went on from thursday through sunday, but there was also security b-sides/neighborcon vegas as well as black hat going on wednesday and thursday. those first few days were extra-madcap since i was staying at the riviera (where defcon was happening), and it involved lots of random cab rides, car rides, and general finagling to get out to the sites where everything was going on.

all in all, it was a fabulous weekend. :) both of the talks i was involved with went really well.

the first was a panel i was on during b-sides, a discussion of women in the information security industry. i was a little nervous at first to do the panel...since even though i have a lot to say as far as feminism is concerned, i'm not exactly in the information security industry yet. (yes, i would like to end up there, but i'm only in the stage of basic planning for my first computer job.) however, i ended up fitting right in, and both the pre-panel discussion that we had the night before as well as the panel itself ended up being fantastic discussions. what made it so interesting is that we all had a common goal of increased respect of and participation by women in information security, but we each had different opinions as to how best the goal would be achieved. the panel was videotaped...so, as soon as it's up online, i'll link it here.

the second was a talk i gave on my own at defcon about legal considerations of starting a hackerspace. i was a lot more nervous going into this than i was the panel...since at the panel, it was a smaller crowd, and it was in the form of a discussion with a bunch of people. the talk was fifty minutes of just me talking, plus a question and answer session afterwards...so i was afraid that i'd either forget what i was saying, become too dependent on my notes, have my talk run far too short, have my talk run far too long, or come off like an idiot when someone asked me something i had no idea about in the question and answer session. turns out, absolutely none of that happened. despite the fact that my notes were meticulously marked and highlighted, i hardly referred to them. i didn't lose my place while i was talking--i had my slides up to guide the way, and what was on the slide was just enough to jog my memory about what topic i needed to flesh out. i had a fifty-minute slot, and my talk clocked in at 47 or 48 minutes. i knew how to attack all of the questions i was asked...i wasn't broadsided by anything, or accosted by some tinfoil-hat type who wanted to ask me about stuff that didn't pertain to hackerspaces at all. in other words, everything went as well as i could have hoped for ! this talk was also videotaped...and i'll put a link up here as soon as they post it.

of course, the talks were a pretty small part of the weekend, timewise. i went to a handful of interesting talks both at b-sides/neighborcon and at defcon. (i made it into black hat for a while thanks to a certain awesome attendee lending me his badge, although i didn't end up going into any talks...i attended the hallway track there instead.)

i participated in a couple of contests at defcon, including scavenger hunt, gringo warrior, and 10,000 cent hacker pyramid. i didn't win either, but did some fun stuff anyway. i think my favourite item of the scavenger hunt that i did was the one that just said "a cannonball". i think they wanted a metal cannonball, but i put on my swimsuit, did a cannonball into the hotel pool, and then we submitted the video to the judges. it wasn't what they expected...but they laughed and gave us the points. :) the "shotgun a can of brawndo" item was also pretty entertaining...i showed my ineptitude at shotgunning, and covered myself in fluorescent green, but it was funny. gringo warrior was weird since the blow-up guard had been popped before i got the chance to do my run--and i can't quite be as brutal to a real-life person as i normally am to a blow-up doll. however, i did have my best score to date, 455 points. :) as for hacker pyramid, i only did the first round, since it conflicted with hacker jeopardy, and i was signed up to do that. however, the first round was awesome, and me and my "celebrity partner" (none other than the awesome Deviant Ollam) kicked ass. we got ten points in the first round...four for "what's in a name", and six for "hacker kryptonite." i'm really sad that it overlapped with jeopardy--and, in retrospect, i really should have stayed at hacker pyramid, since i had a lot more fun there.

i went to parties just about every night, as well, and of course some were more awesome than others. the black hat speakers party in the Caesars Palace penthouse was fabulous, as well as the IOActive freak show party on saturday night and the EFF shindig on Thursday...i think those were my three favourite parties of the weekend. all three of those parties had completely different vibes, but were all ones i'll gladly attend again if they are thrown next year. on the other hand, the Ninja Party was a total debacle...it was overly crowded both right outside the bounds of the party and inside them, and the douchebag at the door wasn't allowing +1s. (that was, of course, a problem...since Rob had a badge to get in the party, and i was his +1.) i will, however, say that those Ninja Party badges were the coolest party badges all con, and i'm kind of sad i didn't end up getting one.

speaking of parties, there was no pool party after the con like there usually is. why? BEES. LOTS OF BEES.



yep, you read that right. all those bee references on twitter on Sunday evening were not a joke--sunday evening there was a bee infestation at the riviera's pool deck, and they closed down the entire pool area, and put security guards to block all the doors to enter it. that was really sad, since i had been looking forward to the telephreak pool party all con. i ended up at the ad hoc room-party-with-lots-of-telephreak-people instead, which was a lot of fun...but it still was not a pool party. :( stupid bees...

of course, the best part of this week was the same as the best part of every other con i've been to--the chance to hang out with everyone. Rob got into town on tuesday night and was there through monday, so it was awesome to spend a week with him. <3 i also had plenty of other fun social shenanigans like going to Zumanity (the sexy cirque du soleil show!) with Rob and Tiffany, a saturday night hotel room pillow fight with Tottenkoph and Tyger...i had a blast, and i'm already looking forward to defcon 18.