Saturday, May 17, 2003

Article Day

Today I have to crank out a couple of articles for ESM. The first, the feature for July is looking at the issue of Disaster Recovery (post September the 11th). The second is my monthly Windows column where I'll look at some of the disaster recovery things built into Win2k3. It will be an interesting day. I enjoy the challenge of writing articles for ESM!

Dave Shaw has gone back to the US. It was great to see him again - he's an amazing man. The house is quiet now that he is gone. Now back to work!

Friday, May 16, 2003

Passed Security+

And I survived a Dave Shaw course!

This has been a fun week! Dave has been teaching other MCTs about about Security, under the guise of the MOC course 2810 (and 2830, and 2800). Dave Shaw (brought in from the US at great expense), has made it a fascinating week.

Security is, as we all know, as much about people and process as about technology. So many questions about security are answered by the simple 'what ever our agreed Policy says' - it saves so much arguing later on. Dave illustrated this very well.

The best thing was passing the CompTIA Security+ exam last night. It was not cheap £166) to take the exam, but I was pleased to have passed. The exam was straightforward, although some questions were lousy (IMHO). I'd have been given a hard time by my work colleagues had I failed, so passing was even better! The exam requires a lot of rote memorisation (what post is XXX service on) as well as the Security+ nomenclature. See my security web site more more help.

Tonight, we took Dave to a local restaurant tonight. Manzanos, in Cookham Rise. What a meal! My asparagras was perfectly cooked, and the steak was very good and his attempt at a Bernaise sauce was amazing - turns out he had no tarragon, so he improvised!. The flan con nata was out of this world. I will regret it when I test my blood next but wow! Dave's Paella (or however you spell it) looked fantastic. We tasted the squid (calamari) and it was incredibly tender. Apparently the secret of calamari is to soak them in milk for 6 hours before cooking. Learn something every day!

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

A Cool Hacking Tool

We discovered a cool software toy in Dave Shaw's class this week. It's called Cain and you can download it from OXID (

It's a scanner/hacking tool/security tool. Very interesting. It's got a sniffer, ARP-spoofer, plus some interesting tools for hacking (spoofing DNS), etc. It's a toy that will be fun to play with more. And great for demonstrating in class.

Can it get worse

Dinner tonight was interesting. A long wait for service, a waiter whose command of English was not overly high. A menu that was, at the very most charitible, underwhelming, and a wine list that was only marginally better. The starter was ok, but the steak was totally overdone. It was requested as very rare, and it was well done at least. It was the first time I've had to send a steak back in a very long time. And they looked surprised. The good news is that I've worked out the broadband. Expensive, but I've managed to snag a nice Jimmy Hendrix live concert. And I've left the bit torrent window open to let others share it! I go home tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003


I'm staying in a 'new' hotel this week, the Thistle Islington. It's cheaper than the competition, and they have broadband, so I decided to try it. The good news is that the room was a 'superior' one - the manager proudly explained how he'd done this just for us. Well, if what we got was superior, I'm sure glad I did not get inferior room! The shower in the bathroom is nice, althogh 'tiny bath closet' might be more accurate. The hotel is a further walk from the center, but on nice days (like this mornng) that's not much of a problem. It could be a pain in the rain.

The room is small, with two tiny single beds. The wallpaper is peeling in places, and the window does not properly shut (or open). The voice mail does not work (I can't retreive mail) but the announcement system (you have voice mail) works incessently.

The broad band connection does not currently work - when it does, it's charged at 50p per minute (around US$ 0.75/min). The saving grace about the broad band, however, is that there's a maximum £15/day charge. FIFTEEN POUNDS A DAY? What does the hotel think - we're made of money? The worst thing about the hotel was the breakfast experience. A nice enough buffet (although I can't eat much of what was there) but the service was appalling - a long queue to get seated, then I had to nearly beg for coffee.

The experiment of the Thistle has been interesting, but I think the Holiday Inn has nothing much to be afraid of.

Monday, May 12, 2003

Wireless is Easy!

I have a Cisco access point, and a couple of wireless cards. I've been meaning to get it installed at home. My main motiviation was to enable me to use my laptop in the front room, be able to surf, and not to have a 10baseT cable strung across the floor. Looking at the manual, it all looked far too hard, so it got put on the tuit pile (that list of things I'll do when I get a round tuit).

Well yesterday, I got around to trying it - man is it easy. I just plugged it in, powered it up and it worked. No configuration - it just worked. Of course, there's no security, and anyone with a wireless device passing the front of the house could make use of it, but it is easy. The security aspects, however, are somewhat scary!

My Blog - Ready or not - First Blog Post

It seems like everyone is setting up a blog - so I thought I'd do it too. I'm not too sure what real use I'll make of this blog, but it seems a cool idea. I'm currently using to host this blog. It's free (to me) and has no ads.

I'm taking a security trainer preparation class this week - learning about security. The more I learn the scarder I get! The class is being run by Dave Shaw, a US trainer, who's doing a great job bringing the stuff to life. Dave, like me, is an MVP!