Fred Avolio's Musings

musings on security and other topics topics archives
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
most recent headlines other links, other blogs  

Wed, 17 Sep 2008
Hawaiian Shirts

My observation… not just for Fridays anymore.

Comment on this.
[/misc/] permanent link

Tue, 26 Aug 2008
Social Networks

I’m relatively new to FaceBook. I got a FaceBook account a few months ago in order to be able to download a song from a friend’s band. (I had a Myspace account briefly for the same reason, but abandoned it after I started to get friend invitations from girls who only had first names.) Yeah, I felt that maybe I was too old for FaceBook.

I was, and am, surprised at what a time sync it can be. But, I generally check it out once or twice a day (early morning and then evening). And I am trying not to obsess with following every potential link to every comment or tag in a photo. On the other hand, it’s an easy way to keep tabs on “friends” and I have found that some people prefer writing on “Walls” (which are pubic) to sending private email. I wonder if it is the feeling of community: we’re all sitting around in the same coffee shop or family room and overhearing each other’s conversations, etc.

I was thinking of these things when something from writer Kevin Kelly came up on my radar (news aggregator) screen. He talks about something he calls ” Friendability.” (I think there must be a better word. I’m trying to think of one that doesn’t cause hurt feelings or insult.) He’s asking the question, “Are all these ‘friends’ really friends?” Here’s his breakdown:

  • Friend: Most of the people that Facebook calls “friends” I call Acquaintances.
  • Actual Friend: Someone whom I’ve had a meal with, or has visited my home.
  • Real Friend: Someone who would drive me to the airport at 6 am.
  • True Friend: Someone who would get me out of jail.

This all reminds me of a song or two from my formative years. The first, is a Simon and Garfunkel song, “Old Friends” (you can look up the lyrics in the Internet), about the old men they saw in NYC neighborhood parks. The song ends, “Old friends. Memory brushes the same years. Silently sharing the same fears.”

It also reminds me of Harry Chapin’s song, “Let Time Go Lightly,” that has the bridge, “Old friends, they mean much more to me than the new friends, Cause they can see where you are, and they know where you’ve been.”

I have some old friends.

And, finally, I am reminded of the unattributed quote, “A good friend will help you move. A really good friend will help you move a body.”

I actually have a few really good friends. And they know who they are.

A friend commented:

After reading your post, I first took the opportunity to invite you on Facebook. Then I wondered which type of “friends” we may be.

We never met, never had a phone talk, exchanged a few emails, chatted a few times, … but we’ve been knowing each other for 15 years. We first became aware of each other back in the early 1990s, at the FWTK, Gauntlet and TIS days. Or let’s say, that I learnt your name thanks to comments in the FWTK code and some of your security talks or presentations.

As of today,

  • are we “Friends”? yes for Facebook, but I agree that a better word is “Acquaintances”
  • are we “Actual Friends”? no, as we’ve neither had a meal together, nor has visited each other’s home.
  • are we “Real Friends”? yes, according to the definition: I would be happy to drive you somewhere even at 6AM if you happen to come to visit Europe! I’d wake up even earlier, just for being able to meet you and chat.
  • are we “True Friends”? yes, according to the definition: I would be happy to do my best to get you out of jail (even though I hope you’ll never be in such a situation)!

As I believe you expected me to say “no” to the 2 last questions, maybe a 5th category is missing. I am grateful for what you did, and your added value to the Internet and security communities.

So let’s call that 5th category “fans” or “aficionados”. Best regards,

Well, Olivier, maybe “friends” is sufficient. 🙂

Comment on this.
[/misc/] permanent link

Fri, 18 Jul 2008

I like to write. I journal. I blog. I don’t do either enough. I write, sometimes, for my day job. (But, writing for government contract deliverables—and who else even talks like that?—is something completely different, and can be life-sucking to a writer. But, I digress.) I just can’t seem to schedule a regular time to write, and this bugs me. So, I need to find a way.

All that to point to an excellent column by Kurt Vonnegut. If I read this correctly, he wrote it in 1999. It popped up on a newsreader and I am pointing it out to you. It is How to Write With Style.

If you write, please read it (it is very short). His summary:

  1. Find a subject you care about
  2. Do not ramble, though
  3. Keep it simple
  4. Have guts to cut
  5. Sound like yourself
  6. Say what you mean
  7. Pity the readers

Comment on this.
[/misc/] permanent link

Wed, 02 Jul 2008
Other Cocktails

As I have previously mentioned, a gin Martini is my drink of choice, “up,” with an olive. I prefer Gordon’s, not because it is Bond’s gin of choice (and anyway, the Gordon’s of the original novel’s time was a higher proof), but because I like the taste. I do enjoy other cocktails at times.

Another favorite is a gin Gimlet, a very nice cocktail, made with 2 oz. of gin and 3/4 oz. of Rose’s Lime Juice. There are sweeter versions, but this is the ratio I prefer. (In Raymond Chandlers The Long Goodbye,Terry Lenox tells Philip Marlowe A real Gimlet is half gin and half Roses Lime Juice…”) Again, very cold, up with a lime quarter.

And when I am in a very quiet, contemplative mood, it’s a Vesper. In the novel Casino Royale, Bond ordered thusly:

“Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.

Alas, you can’t get Kina Lillet anymore and that’s arguably a lot of booze.

I go with the recipe in my signed hardcover copy of Cocktail: The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century.

  • 2 oz. Gordon’s gin
  • 1 oz vodka (I don’t care what kind)
  • 1/2 oz. Lillet blanc
  • a dash of bitters (to simulate the Kina Lillet and to give a light pink glow)

Comment on this.
[/misc/] permanent link

Tue, 01 Jul 2008
More on Big Bang Mark2

Right, not really. Previously, I blogged about ‘Big Bang’ project put off to 2008. Well, holy moley, it is 2008 and time is running out! So, I was amused by Some fear debut of powerful atom-smasher. (“Atom-smasher.” I like it.) “Obviously, the world will not end when the LHC switches on,” said project leader Lyn Evans.

But, what really got me laughing is:

David Francis, a physicist on the collider’s huge ATLAS particle detector, smiled when asked whether he worried about black holes and hypothetical killer particles known as strangelets.

“If I thought that this was going to happen, I would be well away from here,” he said.

Well, really how far away could one get from the Earth being swallowed by Switzerland? (And no, I don’t really think CERN will cause a black hole. Just the same, imagine the insurance they have to carry!)

Comment on this.
[/misc/] permanent link