About

My name is Dave Farquhar. I’m a computer security professional and occasional author, and this is my blog. I’ve been blogging since sometime in October 1999. My earliest content is lost to the ages, but my more recent stuff is better anyway.

You can expect to find a mix of material about technology, home improvement, and hobbies here. I’m a security professional by day. I worked my way up from desktop support to system administration before moving to security, and spentso sometimes I write non-security computer stuff too. My wife and I manage some rental properties, so sometimes I write about that. My non-technical hobby, which helps keep me sane, is vintage electric trains. My O gauge layout, which I built for Christmas in 2003, expanded and became permanent.

My biography

I won’t tell you everything about my life, but I was born and raised in the midwest. I learned about computers in grade school and I was 10 when my family got its first computer, a Commodore 64. By the time I was 12 or 13, I could take apart a Commodore and do some simple repairs. By my late teens, I was actually repairing Commodore 8-bits, Amigas, and PCs for pay. I built up a lot of experience with retro computing before the machines were retro. I first built a PC in 1994. I wasn’t a pioneer in that game, but I got in pretty early.

I attended the University of Missouri to study journalism, hoping to someday edit a computer magazine. Those don’t exist anymore. Fortunately for me, I got a job doing desktop support as a junior in college, and by my senior year they’d promoted me to network administrator. I went ahead and finished my journalism degree, but I’ve been an IT professional for well over 20 years.

I wrote a book in 1999. I may or may not have another one in me. By 2006, I was primarily pushing patches for a living. I estimate I patched about 800,000 vulnerabilities between 2002 and 2009. That helped me transition to security in 2009. I passed the CISSP in 2012, and soon after that I discovered the field of Threat and Vulnerability Management, which fit well with my experience pushing patches. Professionally, I worked in higher education, a nonprofit, small and large companies, and government contracting before I took a job with a security vendor in 2016. While working for a vulnerability management vendor, I learned the need firsthand for companies to run vulnerability management programs, rather than just sell you the software. So in 2018, I moved into the managed services space.

I’m married and have two children. I won’t tell you their ages to protect them.

My wife and I bought our first investment property in 2010, and spent seven years fixing up and managing rental properties. We no longer manage properties ourselves but I still write about the experience occasionally. Our formula, which is to provide safe places to live and raise a family that balance a timeless look with low maintenance, is a time-tested formula for long term success.

My advertising policy

I do accept advertising on this site. This can present a conflict of interest. A good professional publication deals with this by putting advertising and editorial staffs on separate floors. Some don’t even let them use the same elevators. I can’t afford an ad person, so I let third parties handle my advertising. They give me some code to put on the page, they populate my ad spaces, and at the end of the month they send me a little money. I also use affiliate links via Viglink. If I recommend a product, you click on a link and buy it, I may get a small commission.

When I review products, it’s something that I paid for, or possibly someone I was working for paid for. Based on my experience with the product, I write a review, and I call it as I see it. If I find something wrong with it, there’s no reason for me not to tell you. If I say I like it, it’s because I really do like it, and would buy the product again. You don’t have to worry about the prospect of a vendor sending me a box of hardware next month coloring my view. If someone sends me a box of hardware next month, it’ll be because I ordered and paid for it.

Why “Silicon Underground?”

I’ve always been a fan of underdog computers, the stuff nobody else talks about, and that inspired the name. For a long time, I wrote mostly about technology. I’ve drifted into other topics since then, but I kept the name. It’s fairly easy to remember and a lot easier to spell than my last name.

I normally try to post something every weekday. At various times I’ve experimented with posting every day, twice every weekday, or keeping no set schedule at all. I’ve found posting once every weekday works best for me and it seems to work best for my readership.

Whether this is your first visit, or you’re someone who’s been with me since 1999, I appreciate you stopping by, and hope you’ll be back soon.

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