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An upgrade. And an upsell.

I bought a new radio for my venerable 2002 Honda Civic this weekend. I want to be able to listen to security podcasts on my commute, which wasn’t practical with my factory radio. So, off to the nearest car audio shop (Custom Sounds) I went, skipping both Best Buy and Audio Express. I looked at a couple of $119 decks, then the salesman mentioned an Alpine HD radio deck for $129, and a Sony deck with Bluetooth for $149. Bluetooth didn’t really interest me much, but HD radio seemed worth the extra $10. To me, the secondary HD stations seem more interesting than the primary ones. Then again, I’m the guy who skips right past the hits on U2’s The Joshua Tree and cues up “Red Hill Mining Town.” The stuff I really like generally doesn’t do all that well on mainstream radio.

But my main motivation was to get a radio with a USB port, so I can snarf down a few hours’ worth of podcasts every week to a USB thumb drive, plug it in, and stay in touch with the security world. Total overkill for an Alpine, but like the salesman said, Alpines aren’t crazy expensive anymore like I remember them being in the early 1990s.Read More »An upgrade. And an upsell.

Step 1 to landing a security job: Become conversant in security

So last week, I wrote about the difficulty of landing a security job and promised to explore it further.

And I think the first key, and what should be the most crucial key, is being conversant in security. Having a certification is one thing, but at the end of the day, the biggest thing it means is that you passed a test. It’s possible to pass a certification test and not be able to talk intelligently about security. So in the process of interviewing, you can expect to have to answer a pile of questions, and if you don’t answer those questions well, you won’t be offered a job.Read More »Step 1 to landing a security job: Become conversant in security

“They were bored and wished they had a job.”

I was catching up on security podcasts this week, and a brief statement in one of them really grabbed me. The panel was talking about people who steal online gaming accounts, I think. The exact content isn’t terribly important–what’s very important is what this person found in the forums where the people who perform this nefarious activity hang out. What she found was that there was one common sentiment that almost everyone there expressed, frequently.

They were bored, and they wished they had a job.

There was about a 30-second exchange after that, but I don’t think it’s enough.Read More »“They were bored and wished they had a job.”

The Observation Car

I’ll argue that model railroads and toy trains are separate but related hobbies. That said, I still enjoy good model railroading material. I can still steal ideas from them and adapt their techniques.

Late last year, noted model railroaders Dave Frary, Doug Foscale, and Jimmy Deignan started a podcast called The Observation Car. If listening to three veteran modelers sit around and talk shop once a month for a little over an hour sounds interesting or useful, it’s worth bookmarking. They haven’t done their February podcast yet, but I’ll be watching for it. In the meantime, they have three podcasts up to listen to.

Spinrite 6: An overdue review

Spinrite 5 is an old friend. It got me out of some jams in the late ’90s, but as new versions of Windows that defaulted to NTFS came into my life, Spinrite 5 ceased being an option, since it only worked on FAT-formatted drives.

I’ve had occasion now to use Spinrite 6, its successor, which still runs under old-fashioned MS-DOS but now understands a multitude of filesystems. Other than that, it hasn’t changed much: It’s an obsessively thorough repair and maintenance tool for hard drives.

SSDs will eventually make Spinrite unnecessary, but there are still a lot more conventional hard drives being shipped each year than SSDs.Read More »Spinrite 6: An overdue review

The SSD Decoder Ring

I occasionally get a question about an SSD, usually when one goes on sale somewhere. Inevitably, I’ll get an e-mail message with a URL and the words “any good?” with it. Often I’ll know off the top of my head, but depending on whose name is on the drive, I may not.

But here’s a cheatsheet with all the major drives on the market, and who makes the controller in them. http://www.pcper.com/ssd
Read More »The SSD Decoder Ring