Why You Should Take Time Off Work

Awhile back things got stressful with my work, which happens to everyone. However, not everyone runs their own company and needs to give a speech in two weeks. Some stress that I’ll wrap up to business politics on top of everything else made me decide to take a week off work. That may sound like a bad idea for the CEO of a company to take a week off, but I put all my ducks in a row. I had completed all work I was supposed to complete and the rest was being handled by someone else.

I decided to check my emails once or twice a day, but on the most part I didn’t touch any technology, excluding my playstation. I did write my speech on my break and take care of some small things, but for all intensive purposes I was unavailable.

Once I got back to doing work, well, it didn’t feel like work at all. I don’t do information security because it feels like work, I do it because I love it and am not a 9-5 guy. You can find me working late into the night and in the middle of the day, but it doesn’t usually feel like work. The time I took off taught me not to check my emails like crazy, because i mainly read new spam. I focus my energy where it is needed and then do other things. What’s really awesome is an amazing opportunity came available the first week I got back in the game and I worked on it like crazy. I am trying to take small breaks and encourage everyone to give theirself a breather from work, even if you don’t consider it to be work. Trust me, you’ll come back swinging home runs.

Just say NO backward compatibility for crying out loud!

Just say no to backward compatibility!
Backward compatibility is one of many banes of programmers existence. When you’re going through a program and ask “Why do you have code to support a 3-5 year old version of this software?” the answer almost always is “Because of backwards compatibility”. Sometimes you can look at the code and realize that the only way a person would run into a situation where it is needed is when they’ve updated to the newest version, in other words the code doesn’t need to exist.

Is this a pointless rant? Nope, not at all. Code that’s quite vulnerable stays in programs and isn’t removed under the guise of backwards compatibility. If you don’t know what backwards compatibility is, it’s simply supporting older versions of code that your code is dependent on. One example is PHP. The actual codebase for PHP has extremely ancient code, because if they remove it anything that’s ever used it could break.

So, if we get rid of backwards compatibility how are we supposed to stop the web from breaking when one piece of software is reliant on a language or a framework for a certain piece of code? It’s extremely simple — you deprecate the code and then give 3 months to 6 months for everyone to get their code up to date and do as many press releases that the web will break on a certain date if companies do not comply. Yes, I realize this is a tiny bit of backwards compatibility, but it’s needed to keep the web functioning. The sites that break, well, I wouldn’t want to use a site that can’t update their codebase in six months. Yes, I know certain functions are widespread like a plague across millions of lines, but you can easily search and replace all areas automatically with say grep. We should not be held hostage to other companies or users failures to understand why they shouldn’t use a certain bit of ancient code Internet Explorer 6 or IE at all for that matter.

Making backwards compatibility enables people to keep using insecure code or code that needs to be removed due to programmers thinking it does something it actually doesn’t do, like the absurd PHP function magic_quotes which I believe has been completely removed from the PHP language. The sooner we force people to update their code, the sooner we hopefully can have nice things online. Right now just a few megabytes of code will have hundreds of security holes, which I know as a fact from helping customers at planetzuda.com.

We can write slimmer code that is usable and not millions of lines long mainly due to backwards compatibility. I am not going to get into object oriented programming and what I think of it today… I’ll save that for another day and another post.

Professor Michio Kaku Is Cool

Professor Michio Kaku was doing a book tour for his book “Physics Of The Impossible” several years ago and I had to go meet him. He gave a talk which I couldn’t get into, so I waited for over an hour in the hallway. I then waited another 30 to 45 minutes in line to get my copy of “Physics Of The Impossible” signed by him. After I got my book signed I waited until almost everyone had left, so I could get a few minutes to talk to him. Why would I wait so long to get a book signed and then wait to talk to him? Well, Professor Kaku is a genius and my favorite theoretical physics author, but I really wanted to find out if one of my theoretical physic theories was sound.

Wait, You’re Into Theoretical Physics?

I’ve never publicly written about it, but yeah I am. I mainly write about security research. So, as I left off I waited until almost everyone left, which took a very long time and then told Professor Kaku my theory that I stumbled onto while reading two physic books at the same time. When I say I read books at the same time, I mean I have both books open and am reading pages from both books at the same time. Anyways my theory had to do with theoretical Calibi-Yau blackholes in another dimension, which according to string theory would have low energy vibration patterns. I theorized that these vibrations would affect our 3 dimensional universe.

When I finally had a chance to ask Professor Kaku if I was right he was very polite and nice. He quickly did the math in his head while moving his hand around like he was writing on a whiteboard and then said “yes”. I was ecstatic. Sure, I know that figuring that out won’t change anything in science, but I’ve never attended theoretical physics class. I only read theoretical physic books and papers on theoretical physics.

I was impressed by how smart he is, yet he isn’t stuck on himself. It’d be awesome to meet him again and discuss a much more complicated theoretical physics theory I’ve come up with. I am not saying what it is here, because I’d like to know if I am anywhere close to being right before talking about theoretical physics. Anyways, Profesor Kaku is really cool.

I would also highly recommend that you read his latest book “The Future Of The Mind“.

A Merry Christmas Adam

Christmas Adam is the day before Christmas Eve. On Christmas Adam I always write things I appreciate about people I know. This year I am extending it to people I don’t know in person, but have communicated and or worked with remotely. You’ve probably never heard of Christmas Adam due to the fact that I created it several years ago. I never say anything I don’t mean nor do I ever thank anyone that doesn’t deserved to be thanked on Christmas Adam.

The first person I want to thank is a Googler. I don’t have permission to name this Googler, but that’s okay. If I get permission I will put their name. This Googler was one of the people who helped explain Net Neutrality to me when I was confused about it several years ago via Twitter. Now that I understand net neutrality I fight to protect it every chance I get. This Googler has also let me see a unique side of Google. Whenever I find a major privacy problem I report it to this Googler and they always make sure it is fixed. That isn’t normal for most tech companies, so I really appreciate it.

The next person I want to thank is Casey John Ellis the co-founder of Bugcrowd. While his company is great for researchers he has also helped me understand why proper disclosure is important and has proven that it can work. He also helped me improve how I report security bugs. Now he is very busy, but I was one of the early adopters of Bugcrowd, so early that I believe the only people working at Bugcrowd were the founders.

This list would be incomplete without thanking Marisa Fagan. Whenever I had a problem I could not solve I contacted Marisa, because she was always very nice and helped me out or pointed me in the right direction when I was confused about something.

Also, thanks to her help I now see that proper disclosure may be able to work the way it is supposed to on companies that are giants and not part of the tech community. Even if it doesn’t work, I really appreciate all her help on a quest of mine to fix some major security holes in a non-tech industry. I am still working on the giant proof of concept that as far as I know no else has ever attempted to do before.

Jonathan Cran who works at bugcrowd and has always been very polite, nice and has helped me out multiple times, which includes another giant project I am working on.

I also want to thank Professor Bowne for being another person in the security community who has helped me out. I am sure he hadn’t heard of me until I asked him for help with a company. He replied by helping me out and showing me the correct people to contact in companies to try and get anything done. He also helped answer some questions I had about proper disclosure and when it should be broken or if it is even the right choice.

If every community collaborated the way people have shown me the security community collaborates we would have a much, much better world. I will be adding to this list all day and possibly until the end of the year, like I always do.

Why Discrimination, Racism, Sexism, Etc. Should End

I rarely blog over here, but somethings have happened that have compelled me to do so. The death of Eric Garner, an innocent African American man who was killed by a cop choking him to death. This is all on camera, yet the only person in jail is the person who recorded Mr. Garner being killed. I see discrimination against people who are the slightest bit different all the time and it makes me sick in the stomach. If you knew me you would know I don’t stand idly by, I get involved and try to rectify the situation. It isn’t always possible, but I can usually at least get the person who is discriminating against the person to stop while I am around.

I am all for equality. Genders should be viewed as equal by everyone, no one should discriminate against those who are gay. I am not gay. Why am I writing all of this? Because of things happening in the world, because of the way I see people being treated, because how people fear for their jobs and their lives over their race or what gender they love. This is wrong. This is so wrong. I am all about equality. t I want to make it very clear on my personal blog how I personally feel about these topics. I will not stand for the acts I listed above. I fight for equal rights against genders and try to get sexism to stop. I actually destroyed being part of a project I pretty much started, because I told someone to stop being sexist. I haven’t heard from that project for quite awhile, but I would do what I did again. I knew when I stood up against the person that it most likely was the end of the project for me but I always stand up for what I believe in.

Bitcoin Crash 2014

The bitcoin 2014 crash shortly after August was predictable, since I did predict it. Bitcoin fell in August, but was a little slower then my original prediction, even though the $300 mark was only for a few minutes. I then predicted on Twitter that it was going to crash again and keep going lower. Again, I was right. It hit the high $200 mark. Now I am predicting that there will be a small spike in bitcoin during December. Of course, when the stock market pops, bitcoin will have a rocky time as well.

How did you predict the bitcoin crash of 2014?

It is pretty simple. One major factor in the price of bitcoin is the amount of buying and selling transactions occuring on bitcoin exchanges. Bitcoin is also tied to the economy, so since people usually buy more in December, bitcoin should go up. If the stock market pops, bitcoin should go down, because it affects the economy as a whole.

Bitcoin predictions — 1 BTC $300 or below by mid August 2014

A lot of people believe bitcoin is unpredictable, but most people don’t analyze bitcoin. I firmly believe it will be at $300 per bitcoin by mid-august 2014 or below that mark. $300 is a very liberal number, meaning based on the data available, I believe it should be below $300 by mid-august.

What bitcoin data are you using?

I know my prediction sounds crazy, but here is how I’ve come to this conclusion. August 1st, 2013 bitcoin was worth $97 and as of today it is worth $569. That seems like a huge jump and that things should keep going up, but the chart at coinbase begs to differ. Bitcoin hit a peak of $1,113 per bitcoin on December 1st, but ever since then it has been going downhill with occasional small spikes that are to be expected in any market. We are currently on one of those spikes, which is why one bitcoin is worth $569 dollars right now, but you can tell that this spike shouldn’t last long, since it has already dipped from being worth $600 and continues to go downwards. If you look over the entire market, you’ll see this pattern is very common.

Some companies have announced that they plan to accept bitcoin, like Dish, but they have not started accepting bitcoin yet. Also, it is important to ask yourself, how many people will pay their dish bill with bitcoin? Most likely not enough to cause a huge spike in the market, at least not by mid August 2014.

So, if you’re upset that bitcoin didn’t go up like you expected in mid- August 2014, just read my prediction. If I am wrong, then I am wrong. Bitcoin is fickle, but based on the data currently available it should go downwards, not upwards.

Doing Voice Overs For Podcasts

Doing voice overs for podcasts is entirely different than doing voice overs for animation. I would know, since I do both. I am still available to hire my voice overs for animation, but I am also on a podcast. I don’t get paid for doing the podcast, but it is still fun.

what’s the difference between voice overs for animation and a podcast

In Animation you have to bring a character to life, yet in a podcast you have to bring the topic to life. Bringing a topic to life can be more of a challenge than a character, so it really helps improve your voice over skills. What is really cool about doing a podcast after doing animated voices is that you can throw in a silly voice once in awhile to get people’s attention. Animation and podcasting are entirely different in some aspects, but you still are bringing something to life. Sure, most podcasts don’t bring a mutant bacon super hero to life, in fact I’ve never heard of one that has… but that doesn’t mean they aren’t cool. I’ll write more about Voice overs in the near future.