Every Server Is A Kind Of Honeypot

Jun 12, 2017

I was going to write something different, but last night I created a DigitalOcean droplet for an experiment, and didn’t finish. So tonight I came back to it and happened to look at the /var/log/auth.log which seemed somewhat large for a newly created droplet.

There were 98 ip addresses that attempted to log into the server. I don’t know if these were purely random or the ip was known as something else formerly. From the logs it was obvious that these were not legitimate attempts.

In any case I ran the collection through the tool at InfoByIp.com and got an interesting mix of domains and countries.

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Experiments in Artificial Life Part 1

May 31, 2017

Around the time of the dot-com collapse I talked with a local Computer Science professor about going back to school and getting a PhD in CS but after some discussion he dissuaded me from trying, basically he said schools didn’t want students as old as I was (early 40’s) and that the market for CS professors was limited. Of course this was before Google and others started hiring PhD’s in droves. Oh well.

After graduating from college with a BS in Chemistry I had been accepted for a PhD in Chemistry but declined as I didn’t want to go to school forever. Two chances not taken sadly.

What I wanted to study in CS was artificial biological systems, ways of constructing biological environments entirely in software to study how natural systems may have come about. Part of this area is often called artificial life, although that seems to have become less popular these days as AI and machine learning have become more interesting to study. In any case I’ve decide to play around with this despite my lack of time—sometimes you have to work on something completely unrelated to work so as not to get stuck in a technological rut.

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Too Much Work, Not Enough Energy

May 24, 2017

It’s not like I haven’t wanted to write more in this blog, but this all consuming project of the past 16 months has taken all of my time and energy. So far this year I have worked most of the days including weekends until recently.

Yes I wrote I wouldn’t do that. But there isn’t much choice given the high profile nature of the project, the complexity of everything, and especially that the team I work for being the lead team for something with more zeroes in any budget I have ever seen. Despite the grandiose budget our team is usually tasked with more work and less money given a budgetary process that makes no sense to me, and we all tend to get it done anyway despite whatever is expected of us.

Also they pay me a whole lot which makes it more palatable.

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The Biggest Difference Between Coding Today and When I Started in the 80’s

Mar 20, 2017

I’m a lot older.

But seriously, the biggest skill back then was invention, creativity, imagination, whatever you would like to call it; unlike today there was no Google, no Stackoverflow, no open source at your fingertips, rarely even someone to email to ask for help. You were basically programming on an island, and anything you needed to figure out or solve, you had to do it yourself. Sometimes you might go to a library and search books and journals, or maybe you could ask someone at a user group or conference, or if you were lucky someone you knew was a programmer. Generally though no matter what you wanted to do it was on your shoulders to come up with it. Even if someone else in the world was solving some similar problem, you probably had no way to know about it.

What you need today is searching, understanding and evaluation. You have access to the world’s smartest (and sometimes dumbest) people. The chances that something you need hasn’t been done elsewhere is rare and the real skill is in finding it, relating it to what you need, deciding if it is useful or adaptable, and if it is of a decent quality.

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The Six Goals Of Every Programming Project

Mar 13, 2017

When I shipped my first app in 1987, Trapeze, I had no idea how many more things I would be shipping over the next 30 years. In all that time I have been working to reach the same end goals for each project release.

None of these have changed from that first product to today: what has changed is that there are many more ways to get there, or not.

Although some of these might not be relevant to every type of programming, if they are relevant you need to be successful with all of them; it isn’t useful to do some of them well and suck at the rest. Assuming you are honest in evaluating how your project or team wound up these are goals which cover most of where you want to end up.

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