Birthdays, Summer and Lost

Okay, so I guess you could tell I was just a little bit pissed off in my last post. I had a great/awful weekend for one reason or another and works been kinda getting to me lately so it all kinda came to a head and I did some blurting out. Sorry about that – though the content’s honest, I can usually keep a lid on it, I’ve managed it for three years so a few months shouldn’t make too much difference to the game plan. I’ve just gotta kep my head in the right places.

On another note – It’s May tomorrow which is officially wicked as it’s my Birthday month! I’m off to see Bonobo and co at Jam for Bread at the Shepards Bush Empire tomorrow night which I’m well looking forward to. Then it’s off to the Synergy Centre on Friday for Cosmic Tims own Birthday Bash which I’m sure will be good fun what with the Synergy crew being a lovely bunch of people.

Come the end of the month, I’ll be wandering down to Sunrise Celebration for another Birthday-ish bash where I’ll be getting busy with Eat Static and System 7 AND The Orb plus my buddies FireFly Solar are putting on the second stage there so it’ll all be a great weekend I’m sure!

All this after I’ve started Lost Series 4 and DAMITT I’m hooked and can’t stop watching it already! I’m only on episode 3 and I want to just play them one after the other! 🙂

Suffice to say the study for my HIPS exam has kinda fallen by the wayside and I’ve rechduled to the 9th May, but I’ll see how things go and may well re-schedule again. I don’t really wanna be studying too much over my Birthday and all. I’ve noticed it’s kinda dull putting on Host based Intrusion prevention systems on hosts that aren’t even connected to the Internet or some other live network. So given that I’ll soon have my ESX server setup so I can bridge hosts through my router on Global IP addresses, I’ll probably wait till then so I can see some real nasty stuff going on. Winner.

InfoSec Europe

I wandered up to Kensington Olympia exhibition center today to spend some time at the biggest IT security event in the UK. I was a little underwhelmed to be honest. The speakers I saw in the technical arena were basically trying to pimp their warez and I wasn’t really there to be sold to. As an organisation, mine doesn’t have much to throw around and they’ve already invested in plenty of software and hardware to do the jobs they need. The speakers were really talking niche problems too.. Not real world enough for me to be hooked into their train of thought.

IT security tends to live a lot in the WOW factor of things, like for example, a new favourite story is you can freeze the memory of a laptop left in a cab, mount it into another PC which, with a package that’ll be available next week, will be able to read all the good shit out on your PC. Passwords for all your favourite websites, AD domain credentials, Cisco VPN client password hashes, etc etc. But they seem to skim over the chances that someone will be within reach of your PC geeky enough to be skilled in the above procedure in the first place, have a can of spray duster and live near enough to get the laptop to an environment to work on it, or a thermos mug of liquid nitrogen to dump the mem chip into etc. They do all require a pretty far fetched sequence of events to occur for someone to actually be able to sit there and say ‘I’ve got all your credentials’.

We all know that a PC hard disk that’s in the ‘hands’ of a hacker or cracker is compromised. You have to have a pretty incredible security policy, some VERY well trained and paid client OS build staff and a fair amount of monetary resource to be able to put up much of a fight to someone with direct access to your PC, or Server for that matter. The hackers and crackers of this world are always on the front foot, always having more time to dedicate to thinking outside the box and corporates are always playing catch up to the shouts and screams of all the security fraternity with things like the spray can story I’ve just mentioned. To top that corporate staff only work 7/8 hours a day, hacking and cracking to the discerned uber geek is a lifestyle, not a 9 to 5 job. Employees and software solutions find it very, very difficult to match that dedication.

So, I was more than a little disappointed in the Single Sign On and Web 2.0 threats talks I hung out in which were glorified sales pitches, which put me off going to any others.
I did gain a lot more though from speaking to vendors my organisation already has investment in, such as Citrix, IBM/ISS and HP particularly. The guys looking after the HP stand were really friendly and helpful, and the IBM/ISS techs were accommodating to my dumb ass questions about the kit I already look after of theirs! I did come away a little gutted that there really isn’t that much more to tell about the game I already administer and all the interesting stuff was more directed at other teams in my department. So I reckon I should stop guessing there’s more to it and squeeze more from our existing setup.

Hey ho, it’s off to work I go!

New Mission

Your mission should you choose to accept it, is to stick a stone and half on in lean muscle mass.

It’s been a week since the Flora London Marathon now. My foots well on it’s way to recovery, the pain is now isolated to just the tendon and the swelling is all but gone. I started back at the gym on Wednesday and I’ve been mostly cracking out 30/40 minute sessions on the cycling machine and then doing 20/30 minutes of strength training on various bits of my body.

I’ll be looking to spend the next week getting back into the swing of weights by doing some casual training at lunchtime maybe topped up with some more of the same, or some cardiovascular work in the evenings. Then, in a weeks time, I’ll stick a proper 3/4 day cyclic routine down for 6 day a training week and get on the Cyclone to kick start the weight and strength gain. I’ve already got a tub and a half of Cyclone kicking around from earlier this year, so it’s dumb not to use it.
All things being equal, I should be able to gain the weight I want by about February next year. It’ll be good fun being able to eat all the time again and appreciate the weight gain, rather than eat ferociously and watch the weight drop off as you do when you’re Marathon training.

At the end of May, I’ll have monitored my food intake and weight gain and I’ll post my weekly diet so you can see how much I have to eat a week to get by!

Bring on the Beefcake!

Life with a knackered foot

I went back to the scene of the crime today. I was up at London Docklands for a meeting with an ISP and walked the streets that saw me triumph against them, yet kindly gave me all this pain in return. I think I can almost photographically remember the entire route, around every corner I was looking for somewhere to collapse out of sight and get the weight off my foot!

I’m back at the gym now too even though I’m not doing anything with my feet, I’m just getting a few weeks of muscle stimulation out the way before I start weight training properly. Whilst doing some barbell curls I noticed how much my right calf has wasted or just reduced in size from the lack of use. It’s noticeable even standing 10ft away so I’m dead keen for that to stop as I don’t want a weedy leg! I’ve convinced myself it’s only from the direct lack of use over the past 10 days or so and the way I’ve been limping and not bending my ankle. Give it a couple of days of normal use and a weights session and it’ll return to shape and not look out of place.

Thanks again for everyone that sponsored me for Sunday and supported the cause!

Final CCSP Exam

I’ve started the last piece of the CCSP puzzle this week. Whilst I’ve got elephantiasis of the foot from the Marathon I can’t really do much so I’ve started reading Cisco Security Agent and Advanced Host Intrusion Prevention with CSA which are the two kinda reading material requirements for the exam as well as deploying the CSA software in a test environment which’ll be my next step sometime next week when I’ve ploughed through the both of these epics.

I’ve just noticed that Cisco have now made available the 642-591CANAC Implementing Cisco NAC Appliance as a final option for me to gain CCSP status, though I think I’ve less resources for studying that. I’ve been preparing to study for the HIPS exam gathering documentation and evaluation software for a while so it seems dumb to go for the CANAC exam at the last minute, even though it’d be slightly more beneficial in my job.

So with all that said, I should hope within the next month to have climbed the heady heights and gained a Cisco Professional level certification which’ll be chuffin great!

I’m still alive!

As of yesterday at 13:36 I was an official Flora London Marathon finisher!

It was a day of ups and downs as ever a Marathon could be, but especially so because of the extent of the injury I was carrying. I hadn’t run for about a week when I turned up for the race and the first I knew about how much pain I was going to have to deal with was taking those first few hundred limping steps away from the start line.
I very almost gave up in the first mile. The thought of carrying that amount of pain for the coming four hours or so was frankly daunting and I was so very close to just stepping out and making my way via shuttle bus to the finish line. I had a few words with myself and got my head together and worked out ways of distracting myself from the pain, and by the time I got to mile 2 the kids wanting the high 5’s on the way past and the general high spirits of the crowds kept my mind away from the dark corner of giving up.

This all gave way at about mile 5 when I honestly had a tear in my eye and was limping badly when I saw my buddy Stuart in the distance, being the 7ft behemoth that he is, it wasn’t hard, and that honestly lifted my spirits no end. The next time I remember feeling conscious was around the 10k mark when all the pain and effort was starting to mould into one. I was very surprised with the time on the banners at 43mins which is a respectable 10k time without an injury let alone limping and struggling through!

Then came the sideways hail and rain. There was one thing keeping me going now, knowing that I’d be more cold than I already was if I stopped. It was horrible, this all came to an end as we closed on Canary Wharf though and the shelter of the buildings and the more closely packed crowed was all a welcome sight.

I didn’t find the cramps coming on as bad as ’07 though they were definitely coming and should I have done anything wrong I would have started cramping up for sure.

I was so happy when I reached the 25 mile marker and I was on 3:38:51 which meant I had 22 minutes to finish the last mile and happily wander across the line with injury in under 4 hours.

So 3:51:54 came round and I happily finished in one piece and without the physio which I needed after finishing last year.

I’m paying for the running already though, I’ve an ankle which is badly bruised and swollen, though I’m going to be treating it with all due respect rather than trying to nail 26miles on it again anytime soon.

Thanks everyone for all your support and sponsorship – in case you haven’t and you want to

Big Love
Mr B

Slave to the Marathon

No, not the impending Flora London Marathon that’s coming up Sunday and causing me so much grief, I’m talking an ’07 Speciaized Epic Marathon I’m basically a bit fed up with my Pace RC40 forks on my current ’03 Epic. I thought the RC40’s would be great, but after a few years of owning them and putting up with looking at the lush carbon forklegs and their complete lack of smooth travel, I’ve decided that I really really woulda been better off owning a pair of Fox Float RC’s.
So in the true dramatic fashion, instead of getting a new pair of forks I figured It’d be better to upgrade to the new Brain Fade rear shock and the new M5 frame design by getting a whole new – second hand – bike. Especially if I end up deciding to re-align my cardiovascular efforts in the direction of a few Cross Country mountain bike races this year, it all makes perfect sense and I’ve justified any expense perfectly – In my head!

We’ll see how I get on Ebay fiending over the next week and see if I’ve anything shiny and black with two wheels attached come then. 🙂

Wyse Thin Clients

I’m now the owner of a couple of second hand Wyse thin client hardware devices.

I’ve bought an S10 and an S90 which are differentiated by the fact that the S10 is super lightweight as it only runs Wyse’s own ‘WTOS’ Wyse Thin Operating System, supports RDP and ICA connections straight off the hardware and the S90 which has Windows XPe installed on it for rich local experience support, video, browser, java etc.

I’ve got them in on a whim as I don’t feel we’re moving fast enough at my work to get towards a meaner leaner greener IT infrastructure. These boxes only use 4watts of power each so compare that to an HP small form factor PC like the ones we’ve deployed in my organisation which has a 240watt PSU and you’re making a 98% power saving per person by using them. Now don’t get me wrong, these aren’t for everyone. The likes of me, a network admin, for example may struggle to get by on one, though to be honest the only good reason I can come up with right now is I’ll lose my DVD burner.. Hmm.. but anyhow, there’s power users that’ll require more than your average Email Client, Office suite and PDF reader which is a perfect fit for Wyse hardware and they’ll need to keep their desktops or something of that kin.
But even so, if 75% of a 300 user organisation moved to 4watt power consumption, that’s 54Kw power drain reduced down to 900watts. Serious figures huh.
Now I’ve not talked about the back end infrastructure that’ll be needed to supply the thin client experience to the users, that’s for another post. Suffice to say, I’m very happy my manager has just bought us a HP Bladesystem to power our VMware Infrastructure which means there’s lots of very efficient power to do all that.

Peace and out