11
Apr
16

Still ENFP after all these years…

According to 16Personalities.com, “…the four-letter naming model is now shared by a number of diverse theories and approaches, such as Socionics, Keirsey Temperament Sorter, Linda Berens’ Interaction Styles and many others. However, it is important to remember that while these acronyms may be identical or very similar, their meanings do not always overlap.”

I think my first ENFP result came from a Keirsey test, back in the 90’s. People say you change over time, and this can affect your four-letter designator. So I thought I’d take another test. This time, it was the one mentioned in the previous paragraph, and not Keirsey, so I wasn’t sure if I’d get the same letters. But I did.

So glad I don’t need to change the name of my blog.

enfp-personality-type-header

07
Feb
16

Customer Support via Twitter is NOT a Myth

I posted this after re-starting my Roku for about the 10th time in a month.

I was so happy to get a response!

Thank you to Roku for conducting an entire customer support session via Twitter!

In less than 24 hours.

And on a weekend even.

22
Jan
16

Snowzilla Watch/Read List

Since DC is supposed to be snowed in all weekend (and beyond?) I thought I would start a running tally of all the things I watch and/or read throughout the storm, which the Washington Post has dubbed #Snowzilla as they provide live video of the weather from their roof. (By the way, their paywall is down for the duration of the storm, so happy reading!)

If you’re not interested in my watch list, you can go check out my Instagram posts with periodic photos of the snow accumulation.

08
Dec
15

Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar 2015

For the second year in a row, I’m posting photos of my Lego Star Wars Advent calendar on Instagram.

Day 1: Jabba’s Sail Barge
Day 2: Sarlacc Pit
Day 3: LIN-V8K, demolitionmech droid used for mining operations
Day 4: Jawa Minifigure
Day 5: Sandcrawler
Day 6: (Mostly) Ewok Weapons Rack
Day 7: (Tiny) Ewok Village
Day 8: Ewok Minifigure
Day 9: Ewok Catapult
Day 10: Stormtrooper
Day 11: Star Destroyer
Day 12: (yet another) Weapon Rack
Day 13: Assassin Droid
Day 14: Millennium Falcon (FAVORITE SO FAR)
Day 15: Imperial Turbolaser Turret
Day 16: A-wing Starfighter
Day 17: Hoth Rebel Trooper
Day 18: AT-AT
Day 19: v-150 Ion Cannon
Day 20: Imperial Probe Droid
Day 21: Hoth Command Post
Day 22: R2D2 Reindeer
Day 23: Light Saber Sleigh
Day 24: Santa 3PO  (plus random fun)

There are other people and groups writing a whole blog post for each day. I thought it would be useful to make a list of them, both for myself and others who might be interested.

Here they are, in order of snarky to… whatever the opposite of snarky is:

FBTB  (From Bricks to Bothans started in 1999 with one goal in mind: to be the number one resource for all things LEGO Star Wars)

The Home of Dan Bergstein

Jay’s Brick Blog (A blog about LEGO bricks)

Nerdversity 101 Podcasts (The official blogspot page for the Nerdversity 101 podcasts)

 

 

08
Dec
15

Maker Musician

Over the weekend, I went to Artomatic 2015 because my photographer friend Rahul is participating in the event. I was able to convince my friend Chris to come along as well, but only if I agreed to check out his artist of choice after visiting Rahul’s exhibit.

His artist of choice was a band called Zero Mercury. The band was a three-man affair with a guitarist, bassist, and drummer. They are self-described as “epic space rock.”  In case you’re not aware, Artomatic can be like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get. Because of this, I sat down at Stage 2 with relatively low expectations. That said, I like rock. I love space. And I’m okay with epic. So bring on the band!

I’m happy to say, my pessimism was unfounded; the band was talented and entertaining. Their kids were also very entertaining. One of them was running around with his hands on his ears, and the other one kept creeping closer and closer to the stage to get a better look at Daddy playing guitar.

IMG_6179 IMG_6181

During a break, one of the audience members (whose name turned out to be Val) asked if they’d be interesting in jamming later. They showed some interest, so he went out to his car to get his instruments. He returned with a Dumbek and a bunch of PVC pipe. I thought perhaps the pipes were some sort of drum accessories until he started connecting them all together. As he was finishing up his assembly, I realized they resembled a didgeridoo. The band was also quite intrigued by his activity and asked him for a demonstration of his instrument.

Once they heard it, they knew they wanted to bring him up on stage. The guitarist (whose name was Andrew Eade, I believe) posited based on what he had just heard that the didgeridoo was in the key of D. (As a non-musician I was impressed that he could pick the key out of thin air. Is this an easy thing to do? Maybe for musicians.) The band discussed which of their songs would work best with his sound, and they ended up choosing one that wasn’t even on their play list for the evening. I was very happy to be able to capture their collaboration using my iPhone.

I enjoyed the whole show that evening, but this was definitely the highlight. I hope you enjoy it too.

10
Jun
15

No More O-PHISH-AL Email, Please…

Dear US Government, you are making me tired.

In 2011 and 2014 you published memos that said the following:

Then in June of 2015, we find out there’s been a data breach at the Office of Personnel Management, “resulting in the theft of approximately 4 million personnel records handled by the office.”  Federal employees everywhere were told to be patient, more information would be forthcoming. Just watch for an email from the OPM CIO, they were told.  When the email finally came, was it from Donna.Seymour@opm.gov (or even CIO@OPM.gov) and digitally signed using HSPD-12, as one would expect?

No.

Because it wasn’t, countless recipients assumed the email was fraudulent. (I applaud them! Because it’s clear they paid attention to their annual cyber security training.) Here’s a copy of the email, which looks almost like a textbook phishing example:

o-PHISH-alThe first thing we notice is who sent the email. It says OPM CIO, but then the email address is opmcio@csid.com. Why would a government agency have a .com email address? Hmmm… phishy.

Before we even get to the salutation, we see two long, ugly URLs full of gibberish. Never a good sign. Need I say it? Phishy.

The salutation is innocuous enough, but immediately after that, we are given a PIN and another long, ugly URL with the words ENROLL NOW in all caps — the Internet equivalent of yelling. If I were a hacker, I would hope that at least a few victims phish  recipients, would take the bait and click on the URL with their new PIN ready to go.

For those that aren’t as quick to bite, I would include some faux explanatory text. Which is exactly what you’ll find next in the email. The first sentence is scary: “…may have exposed your personal information.” That should hook a few more, right?

The email ends with lots of official sounding information about Homeland Security, personal information, and a promise of $1M worth of identity theft insurance.

one_millionApparently the reader is required to infer that the PIN at the top of the email is provided in order to take advantage of said insurance. It never actually gives specific instructions, however. (If you visit the OPM website, which ends in .gov, as one would expect, you’ll find more complete information is available at this (less phishy-looking) URL >> http://www.csid.com/opm.)

enroll_nowHindsight being 20/20, we know that the email was perfectly legit. But did it really need to look exactly like the emails people are trained to report to their security offices?  How many man hours (i.e., dollars) were spent on June 8th drafting, reviewing, and approving “Phishing Threat Advisory” emails about the above? Shortly thereafter, how many man hours (i.e., dollars) were spent drafting, reviewing, and approving the retractions of those advisories?

How much will it cost the government to re-send the emails with personalized PINs to all the people who deleted them thinking they were fraudulent? (Because they were following their training, which instructs people to permanently delete phishing emails after reporting them.)  As Facebook commenter Matney Wyatt said, “…the ‘pin’ is needed to access the CSID services that were contracted by OPM. The original email has the ‘pin’ and everyone who received the ‘pin’ has deleted the email. It’s a gamble to assume that this email was ‘left in the delete folder.'”

As a taxpayer, I knew the aftermath of the OPM data breach was going to cost the government a lot of money. Thanks to the email above, however, the aftermath of the aftermath is going to cost even more. If everybody could just follow the policies that are already in place, the “Government efficiency” they promise might actually come to fruition.

27
May
15

GI Film Festival 2015

For the third year in a row, I attended as much of the GI Film Festival as I could. There were simultaneous screenings on some days, though, so as much as I would have liked to, I couldn’t see every single film. That said, I’d like to share with you the films I did see!

Of the GIFF 2015 award winners, I saw the following:

Veteran Filmmaker Award (Short): Day One

Best International Film: Who’s Afraid of the Big Black Wolf

Best Short-Short: Beautiful Sunset

Best Documentary Short: The Next Part and Climb

Best Narrative Short: Birthday

Best Documentary Feature: The Millionaire’s Unit

Best Action Feature: War Pigs

Best Narrative Feature: Kajaki

American Heroes Channel Award Winner: The MIAs on Tiger Mountain

Founder’s Choice Award: Battle Scars (tie)

————

I didn’t get to see these award winners, but will watch them as soon as I can — especially Drone, since it features Michael Trucco from Battlestar Galactica:

Veteran Filmmaker Award (Feature): Haebangchon

Best Student Film: Drone (festival page)

Founder’s Choice Award: Nomadic Veterans (tie)

————

And of course, nobody got to see this award winner, because it hasn’t been filmed yet:

Best Screenplay: Text Messages to God

————

With over 65 films showing at this year’s festival, obviously not everybody could win an award. I’m happy to report that even those that didn’t win are still very much worth watching. I will continue to add links to these films as I have time. (Many of them, unfortunately, are not available on streaming services or the open Internet, so some links will only lead to trailers, rather than the complete film.)

  • First and foremost, there is my friend Peter Carruther’s third GI Film Festival narrative short submission: Unload, a film that aims to improve global understanding and quality of therapy for veterans. (Trailer only)
  • If you prefer to put away your tissues and screen an upbeat GI Film Festival piece, try this one about searching for and refurbishing downed WWII aircraft. I missed it during the festival because I was in the other theater watching a simultaneous film block. Happily, the filmmaker was able to send me a link, which I am now sharing with you: Resurrecting Warbirds
  • I’ve been a fan of StoryCorps since I saw their Ron McNair animation, so I was really excited when this one came on the screen during the Saturday awards ceremony: The Last Viewing



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