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gnat (29)

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Journal of gnat (29)

Monday August 18, 2003
06:12 PM


[ #14191 ]
A quick catch-up in Nat's life. Allison has (wonderfully) taken up the reins (reigns?) of the Perl Foundation and freed that portion of my life for ... you guessed it, more editorial work.

I'm now heading up PHP and Security and Gaming at O'Reilly. I just drew up a plan for PHP world domination, which I'll be executing in the next few weeks. That's right folks, at O'Reilly we execute our way to the top. It's like a purge only from the bottom up instead of the top down.

Anyhoo, Security is the real big one on my plate. PHP is easy to get your head around--it's like Perl only without namespaces, CPAN, and maintainability. :-) Security, on the other hand, was a black hole. I mean, I'm a programmer--I'm part of the problem, what the hell do I know about the solution? So I went to DEF CON and the Usenix Security Symposium to learn.

It turns out that DEF CON is a big party. Sure, I'd heard people say that before, but it doesn't sink in until you're there. Thousands of people, drinking by the pool, packed into the exhibit hall, not packed into the sessions (the fire marshal was being bolshie this year and rooms that could have held 500 were limited to the seated space of 250), and r00ting each other's boxes. The swag/expo hall was great ... t-shirt: "I rooted your girlfriend's box and I didn't use a trojan"; bumper sticker: "I need a girlfriend whose name doesn't end in .jpg".

At DEF CON I hooked up with some of our authors. It turns out they're all part of a giant cabal known as The Shmoo Group. I had a fantastic time drinking^W talking with them, and we hooked up again in D.C. for Usenix (D.C. is the stomping ground for the Shmoos I shmoozed).

Outcome of the conversations and the sessions and the reading was that I now have Security in my head, and I'm ready to create a master plan for that space. I will, of course, draw heavily upon Shmoos to implement parts of that plan.

How cool are these people? Ok, so one guy looks like Dr Gonzo and is head of incident response for AOL. One guy is young, bald, and occupies a vaguely-named position in the DOD (yeah, it does scare the crap out of me to get mail from a address). One is Ben Laurie from OpenSSL, who most disturbingly looks and sounds like Peter Cook. Two others look enough alike to have confused the crap out of me for two days, then once I got their faces straight I realized that I wanted them to quit their jobs and write for me full-time for two years. I'll settle for one book at a time, though. And then there's John, who's already written two (three?) books and for some reason wants to keep writing more. Ok! I can publish that!

Along the way I:

  • bought a drink for the Addison-Wesley security editor, Jessica. I like to expense drinks for the competition, it helps me feel like The Man (that's you, Tim) doesn't own all of me.
  • drank heavily with Shmoos
  • kept a notebook of things to remember because of a failing brain (see previous note about drinking)
  • attempted to decipher said notebook because after a few pints (see earlier note about drinking) my handwriting looked worse than William's

How bad was the note taking? Let's see ...

  • divorce, half-royalties?
  • scarface, hookers + midgets -- Viega's fantasy
  • "I'm not into the goats" -- Viega
    "Ask Crispin--he's into the goats" -- Pravir
  • "Mightville" -- Viega
  • Pravir = Dr Gonzo
  • Pirates of the Caribbean, Johnny Depp going for Keith Richards impression
  • Don't sniff the ether
    "goat's anus of truth" -- Pravir
  • Queen's Day, Amsterdam, April. Ask John V.
  • Pravir lived in Scotland, Edinburgh.
  • Mail Pravir info on Father Ted.
  • There once was a man from Nantucket
    Who took a pig in a thicket to fuck it
    The pig said "You queer!
    Stay away from my rear!
    Come around to my face and I'll suck it!"
  • Nokia 3650 phone

That's a sequential series of entries from near the height of the drinking. Those at the height are illegible.

Following up on all these leads, getting books signed, and herding the existing books into production, is consuming all my hours. Hence little blogging. Sorry.

Ob. Perl content: Python code that puts the "pseudo" back into "executable pseudocode".


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