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Using AWS Lambda as Proxy

AWS Lambdas are some of the original “serverless computing” implementations. These little bits of code run when you hit an API endpoint, taking whatever inputs you provide and returning the output. They can be written in many programming languages, including my favorite: Python 3. So I wondered - could I use this to build a simple little proxy at a URL? Why not, right? They can run any Python code… If I wanted to, I could use the result to evade perimeter firewalls that might be blocking many arbitrary destination hosts, but not AWS assets.…

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Creating a Roku Channel

I’ve been a Roku user for years. They were one of the original streaming boxes you could plug into your TV. Before I became one I debated over Mac Mini vs dedicated device… As a programmer - I love the ability to have complete (-ish) control over a device that’s outputting to a device so central to the home as a TV. As a person who pays an energy bill - I love something that sips less electricity in-general, like a more-dedicated device.…

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Ten Dimensions of Cyber Threat

Dr. Kamal Jabbour and Dr. Erich Devendorf have characterized the cyber threat the DoD faces. They describe threats as having these ten characteristics:

  • Highly educated on the science of information assurance
  • Doctrinally trained on the art of cyber warfare
  • Adequately resourced in talent, time, and treasure
  • Thoroughly briefed on target missions and systems
  • Mathematically specialized in architectural properties
  • Superiorly skilled in byzantine failure analysis
  • Intricately involved in protocol specification and analysis
  • Critically embedded in the supply chain
  • Strategically postured in command and control
  • Conveniently situated for access and persistence

The paper uses these points to demonstrate how an adversary thinks about attacking our systems. However, I see a lot of ways in which these should coerce the DoD to make serious changes in how we build and maintain our cyber professional workforce.

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Switching to My Own Cloud

Google Music is disappearing - it’s time to find a new way to host music in the cloud. Google wants folks to move to YouTube Music as their music locker, but I’m tired of being jerked around.

To get away from Google Music I needed the following capabilities:

  • Cloud-based method of storing music
  • Browser-based method for listening to that music
  • Android app for listening to music, with method for downloading some music to device storage
Judge Judy saying 'next', with a confused look on her face.

Nextcloud hosted on Dreamhost with Dreamobjects is the solution I chose. This post will talk about how I settled on this, and how I made it work well.

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Reflections on Teaching Intro to Programming

Over the last semester I had the pleasure of teaching programming as an adjunct professor at a local major university. I sought out this opportunity because I genuinely enjoy teaching, I knew I’d have a little extra time on my hands, and I think it’s valuable to my current assignment to be in the community putting a face to the Air Force. I cold-called the computer science department and asked around just prior to the fall semester, and they were interested in bringing me on for the spring semester. More than that - they wanted someone to turn their existing Intro to Programming (in Python) course into an Internet-based course. Python is my jam, so this sounded good.

Python code on a computer screen, from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Python_image.jpg

Python lookin sharp.

I learned a lot while teaching this class: about teaching, about students, about learning Python, and about learning programming in-general. I wanted to put my thoughts down because they’ve been bubbling around in my head. I think this would be a great talk topic for some nerd conference too, so it makes sense to take the notes while they’re fresh.

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Alfa AC1200 WiFi in Debian

I recently built a new desktop computer, and wanted a WiFi adapter that worked well for all kinds of Linux-y things… I’m not normally able to plug the desktop in over Ethernet, so WiFi is a simple choice. After my first purchase on Amazon got delayed and screwed up, I went with the USB Alfa Network AC1200 - full model number AWUS036ACH. This is reviewed pretty well, and folks say the drivers are capable of all kinds of things.…

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Change Leads to Grieving

I’m listening to a webinar Air University is putting on called “Managing Traumatic Transitions” with Dr. Allen. She is actually talking about managing any type of transition, because all kinds of transition are traumatic to people.

She asked:

How many of us consider how individuals will grieve when we introduce change?

It’s clear that some people do better with change than other people. Any type of change. But grieving?

A man in a business suit clearly disappointed about something.  Source: https://images.theconversation.com/files/172723/original/file-20170607-11305-yeecef.jpg

Other sources agree, ‘change at work can trigger loss and grief’

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One-File Tools

Many of us use computers that are locked-down by some corporate policy. The restrictions prevent you from downloading software, or running anything that’s not pre-approved. Most of us have used workarounds of some type - Excel spreadsheets created by that one guy in the office, Word documents with macros, Sharepoint sites, maybe even the occasional Powershell script…

One-File Tools are open-source self-contained one-file utilities implemented as a webpage. These are easily shared, easily used, their saved versions may contain your user data. They don’t require an Internet connection.

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Scope: Not Just Mouthwash

I’m teaching a Python class which acts as an introduction to programming, for most of the students there. This is an awesome experience - for me personally because I enjoy this, and for my resume. I hope to do this full-time someday, but today I’ve just got 3 sections of the same class. We’re doing a lot of cool things that I should write about some other time - one of them is using a free, open source textbook called, Runestone - How to Think Like a Computer Scientist.…

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