The nature of knowledge and its validity must always be challenged.  It is known that humans have very few answers to questions that are perfect in quality or nature.  Even if we come close to being absolute, we may only have part of the answer. 

When science answers a question, there is always room for another answer or set of answers.  We only know part of what we could know and we only understand part of what is.  If we did not challenge modernity then we would not have the opportunity to inch closer to absolute truth. The post modernist might say that it is difficult to be objective and that environmental influences will interfere with our quality or state of being.  This interference may alter the approach to whatever scientific question we seek to answer.   

If we do not question the validity of the source then the nature of the initial knowledge may be skewed by the perspective of the individual gathering or looking into this knowledge.

Social Horror (Tech Spin)

For my undergrad work, I took a bunch of religious courses.   I wrote this sometime ago.   I recently found it and thought it would be an interesting post because I believe it still applies.  

One of the most important social problems of today is being alone in a crowded room.  Since the 1970’s technology has dramatically changed.   We live in the very beginning of the information age.  Changes in our society have connected us to information and disconnected us to humanity.  Children overall are unhealthy because they are not out playing.  Men and women are spending more time with their virtual friends then they are with each other.  We spend more money on high power, high quality technologies then we spend on people.  We pressure our children and ourselves with the consumption of data.  Our technological breakthroughs are moving so fast it is difficult for even the most flexible and intelligent people to keep up with it.  This problem will not stop or be solved any time soon because we don’t even naturally recognize it as a problem. This has directly impacted my life due to the nature of my job.  I work for a school division as a computer support specialist and logistics coordinator.  I see first hand how technology is implemented in our schools.  I work with and teach educators how to use technology.  Most of our teachers (even the young ones) are in the dark ages.  They have a hard time learning how to use technology and keep up with the lesson plans.  Our kids are ahead of the educators, which puts the educators in an awkward position. 

People have come to worship technology.  When I was a child I would look at a book and assume that the information that I read was true.  For many years I looked at the words without thinking about who was behind them.  Behind my words I am faceless, you might choose to believe or disbelieve what I say.  The truth is that you will have to have faith that what I say is true.   I actively choose to question what and who is behind the words in books.  This issue has manifested itself in technology.  The internet is looked at as a wealth of knowledge.  You can find the answers to almost any question you have.  What about G-d? Can you find the answers on the internet using technology to find G-d? Absolutely, there are many people in this world who have figured out ways to manipulate others using this venue.  If it is written, then it must be true.  Houselander wrote about subtle temptations that a prosperous world never ceases to propose to the individual.  How true that is.  First the television found its way into almost every home.  We had started to forget about the simple things in life.  Spending time with our children; participating in activities with our families.  We became disconnected as a society from the ones we love. The television became the babysitter and the educator.  Television would fill our minds with false hope, great love and great sadness.  When Carol O’Conner (Archie Bunker) I cried and felt that I had lost someone I knew.  I lost a character of someone’s imagination.  Fast forward from the age of television to the age of the internet. We can strike people deeper then we had ever imagined using the fundamental letters of our alphabet.  Our words that people believe are flashed before us at speeds never before seen.  We sit crouched over our keyboards before the false G-d of knowledge.  We embrace this false electronic mass and we believe what we read.   I can tell you that I am a little girl only 15 years old.  You have no idea who I am.  You will believe me because you are reading these words.  You have no way to dispute what I am saying.  I could tell you that I have seen the face of G-d and that he has told me to share my experience with you.  Of course you must send me a dollar so that I may spread the word all throughout the world.  You will be better for your donation and I will bless you as the Pontiff would bless you. You know this to be true because I am telling you so.  You have read this with your own eyes and you will believe in me and what I say.

People cannot rise up against social horrors because as a group people are sheep.  I speak to you one to one.  You and I sit across the table from each other and I say to you “I am great, you do not know my greatness but I am great.”  You would probably think I was a nut case.  The average man or woman would think that something is wrong with me.  I am sitting in a group of three to five people and I say the same thing, everyone has a chance to respond and speak their minds.  On average they would dispute my greatness and argue that I am no greater than they are.  We are all great, we are all individuals, and we are all unique just like everyone else.  Put me before thousands and thousands of people, your television. “I am great, you do not know my greatness but I am telling you I am great.” There are many that would follow me and ask me the questions that plague them.  I could answer them all with my visions.  I have sight beyond sight because I can look deep within myself and answer the questions that I do not have an answer to.  I can tell you what you want to hear.  This is done all the time, we all allow it.  I am as guilty as you are.  We are unwilling to challenge our social horrors because we are all children playing in the big playground.  We are children for as long as we live.  That is the answer to the unwillingness.  We might be educated with information that we have chosen to generate and consume but we still know nothing about what we really are.  We might have such faith, such passion, that we choose to kill or die for our unknown.  We consistently overlook our simplicities and we bathe in our complexity.  How could we address issues in such madness and confusion?  I submit to you that we cannot address social horrors because we cannot face or deal with what we are.

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The Ethics of Hacking | ——————————- written by Dissident

I didn’t write this but I think it is interesting. What is even more interesting is that this is at least 15 years old. Pre l33t

TES Presents

|    The Ethics of Hacking    |
written by Dissident

I went up to a college this summer to look around, see if it was where I
wanted to go and whatnot.  The guide asked me about my interests, and when I said computers, he started asking me about what systems I had, etc.  And when all that was done, the first thing he asked me was “Are you a hacker?”
Well, that question has been bugging me ever since.  Just what exactly
is a hacker?  A REAL hacker?
For those who don’t know better, the news media (and even comic strips)
have blown it way out of proportion…  A hacker, by wrong-definition, can be
anything from a computer-user to someone who destroys everything they can get their evil terminals into.
And the idiotic schmucks of the world who get a Commodore Vic-20 and a
300 baud modem (heh, and a tape drive!) for Christmas haven’t helped hackers’ reputations a damn bit.  They somehow get access to a really cool system and find some files on hacking…  Or maybe a friendly but not-too-cautious hacker helps the loser out, gives him a few numbers, etc.  The schmuck gets onto a system somewhere, lucks up and gets in to some really cool information or programs, and deletes them.  Or some of the more greedy ones capture it, delete it, and try to sell it to Libya or something.  Who gets the blame?
The true hackers…that’s who.  So what is a true hacker?
Firstly, some people may not think I am entirely qualified to say,
mainly because I don’t consider myself a hacker yet.  I’m still learning the
ropes about it, but I think I have a pretty damn good idea of what a true
hacker is.  If I’m wrong, let one correct me…

True hackers are intelligent, they have to be.  Either they do really
great in school because they have nothing better to do, or they don’t do so
good because school is terribly boring. And the ones who are bored aren’t that way because they don’t give a shit about learning anything. A true hacker wants to know everything.  They’re bored because schools teach the same dulll things over and over and over, nothing new, nothing challenging.
True hackers are curious and patient.  If you aren’t, how can you work
so very hard hacking away at a single system for even one small PEEK at what
may be on it?
A true hacker DOESN’T get into the system to kill everything or to sell
what he gets to someone else.  True hackers want to learn, or want to satisfy
their curiosity, that’s why they get into the system.  To search around inside
of a place they’ve never been, to explore all the little nooks and crannies
of a world so unlike the boring cess-pool we live in.  Why destroy something
and take away the pleasure you had from someone else?  Why bring down the
whole world on the few true hackers who aren’t cruising the phone lines with
malicious intent?
True hackers are disgusted at the way things are in this world.  All the
wonderful technology of the world costs three arms and four legs to get these
days.  It costs a fortune to call up a board in an adjoining state!  So why
pay for it?  To borrow something from a file I will name later, why pay for
what could be “dirt cheap if it wasn’t run by profiteering gluttons”?
Why be forced, due to lack of the hellacious cash flow it would require to
call all the great places, to stay around a bunch of schmuck losers in your
home town?  Calling out and entering a system you’ve never seen before are
two of the most exhilirating experiences known to man, but it is a pleasure
that could not be enjoyed were it not for the ability to phreak…
True hackers are quiet.  I don’t mean they talk at about .5 dB, I mean
they keep their mouths shut and don’t brag.  The number one killer of those
the media would have us call hackers is bragging.  You tell a friend,”or you
run your mouth on a board, and sooner or later people in power will find out
what you did, who you are, and you’re gone…

I honestly don’t know what purpose this file will serve, maybe someone
somewhere will read it, and know the truth about hackers.  Not the lies that
the ignorant spread.  To the true hackers out there, I hope I am portraying
what you are in this file…  If I am not, then I at least am saying what I
think a true hacker should be.  And to those wanna-be’s out there who like
the label of “HACKER” being tacked onto them, grow up, would ya?

Oh yeah, the file I quoted from…  It has been done (at least) two
times.  “The Hacker’s Manifesto” or “Conscience of a Hacker” are the two
names I’ve seen it given.  (A file by itself, and part of an issue of Phrack)
Either way, it was written by The Mentor, and it is absolutely the best thing
ever written on the subject of hackers.  Read it, it could change your life.

Spread it around, but don’t change anything please. . .

Another file downloaded from:                     The NIRVANAnet(tm) Seven

“Raw Data for Raw Nerves”

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EA What Happened?

Enterprise Architectures..

I have been working around EA and EA tools for the last 6 years, it has been interesting to say the least.   I know that EA can cover a broad spectrum of areas so I will for the sake of this blog just stick with the DoD stuff.  The DoD has a framework that is uses called DODAF.  The DODAF or Department of Defense Architecture Framework is essentially guidance for military architects.   The area that I have spent most of my time working in is in the tools that architects use and the data that they create.   The idea that you capture a moment in time in an operational scenario or technical views and express these in images, documents or spreadsheets that are common is what these architectures are for.    Sure it is more complicated then that but for the sake of this writing I can leave it at that.

When I started working on EA in the DoD it was all about the products.  The products are used for analysis or review or to help make decisions, there are a number of reasons to have architecture products.  There is no doubt that we need military architectures.  Almost all organizations have architectures, as a matter of reference,  I don’t know of any organization without them.   The need is there.   I can’t talk about the organization I worked for so I will talk around it.

To build architecture products you require components, almost like when you are writing a book you need words.  Some of these components could be used in multiple products.   The idea was to become data centric and decouple the data from the products.    This is the beginning of the rabbit hole.   When you decouple data from the products you lose context.   Even if you create data mappings across products the context of the product may not travel across the mapping.

The result of this idea was an increased cost in technology.  You need more advanced tools, more data storage, more labor, more services, etc.   All in the name of making things easier.   What happened is that we spent more and spend more in EA than we need to.   We created a vehicle for vendors to make money by fueling the EA tool concept.  Data centric, net centric, SOA, service enabled, etc.

The idea that we can create common data repositories that are normalized for architecture creation is a good idea.  The idea that we can consume data from multiple repositories and carry the context is costly and will continue to be costly.   I have put a lot of thought to this and what I have come up with is follow the KISS principle.  Get back to the basics.  A friend of mine told me once that most products are based on lists.  It is really that simple.   Now that I have come full circle, I can see he was right.  We need to get back to simple.  More to come on that later….

There is nothing wrong with Anon

I was on my way home from work and heard an interesting discussion on NPR.   A caller dialed in and started talking about how frustrated he is with the local newspapers accepting online submissions of comments from people who are anonymous.   It was interesting because not long after that call another person called in to say that someone he knew was fired for posting something on a newspaper web site.    Being an “anonymous coward” as some web sites would call unnamed users allows people to freely speak their minds.

Of course there is right and wrong on what people should say, but that shouldn’t impact what people could say.

I guess what I am saying is that just because you don’t like what you are reading doesn’t mean that someone shouldn’t be able to post what they feel in a comfortable way to them.   The thing that is really ironic is that unless you know how to spoof your ip and other identifying factors, you can be found anyway.  If someone who really wants to post without being identified they could create an alternate identity.  The thing that struck me though was how angry this first caller was at the newspaper.  Honestly, it speaks to “the dumb” of some people.

One thing anonymous could do is help businesses by allowing staff to openly and honestly say anything.  Wouldn’t you rather hear the cold hard truth?  I know that I may not like what I hear but I would want to hear it.  I think the same can be said for businesses.  I think “Anon” can be helpful.   What do you think?

Pay your Invoice

Years ago when I first started to work for myself I found out quickly that a lot of people want your work but when it comes to paying they either take their time, forget or consistently try to renegotiate. Of course old ladies were the worst in the area of retweeking the deal. At the time I really had a hard time saying "no" and that was very costly to me. There were days that I actually wondered where my next meal was going to from. I was told that I am a "nice guy" or my favorite was when people would call me "friend" in person and their "computer guy" to their real friends. Back then I thought that getting paid was like pulling teeth. Today I think it is worse. I am not dealing with old ladies anymore but professional businessmen that simply forget to pay or refuse to pay their invoices on time. Not paying is costly to all parties, it also makes me a lot less likely to do business with you in the future. A few years ago, I worked a legal case for a lawyer, we discussed a retainer and at the time I agreed to simply work out estimated hours and invoice after the case was finished. It took me over a year and a half to get the lawyer to pay. That won’t happen again.

Not long ago, I worked for a reputable organization. I have a really great relationship with the leadership and so I found myself trusting again. It was a net 30 invoice and we are now going towards four months and I still haven’t received payment. Working for yourself is hard enough but chasing after payments is work within itself. I know it just isn’t me. This past week a friend of mine on one of the social networks complained of the very same thing. If you want people to perform work in good faith, be prepared to pay in good time. I read an article from Micheal Hyatt that talks about the "The total customer experience" I think these same concepts can be applied to consultants.

  1. Appreciate the value of your consultants’ time. Yes, I am working for you. But, I have other people to work for and I have other things to do. I want to do the best I can for you but I am only me and my time is of value.
  2. Don’t make your consultants wait. If you know that you need me to work for you, have an idea of what you need me to do. If you don’t know what you want, I am not going to know what to do once I get there. If the task is figuring out what you need and want then let me know as I we are engaging so that I can plan for this early on.
  3. Keep me updated on your progress. I definitely want feedback on my work and on progress of the project even if I am no longer currently involved. If for some reason you need me back keeping me up to date will also allow me to have a rolling start back to work.
  4. Give me an incentive to come back. Pay me. It seems too simple but it isn’t. I work for you.. you pay me.. that is incentive for me to come back. If for some reason you have to push back payment see step 4.
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56 Page ITunes Agreement

The other day, I went to update my Audible app and was presented with a 56 page agreement.   It was 56 touch size pages but I still think that Apple is going beyond reasonable.   Agreement here One of the things that it says on the itouch is that if I click “agree” I am electronically signing this legal document.   It also says somewhere buried deep that I have to be 13 or older.  Oh yeah that is like 20 pages in or if you are looking at the agreement page over halfway down the page.  Does this mean that if my 5 year old son who knows how to use the itouch could put me in legal jeopardy by signing an agreement electronically?  It sure seems like it.   This kind of agreement is one way.  It doesn’t protect the consumer it protects Apple.   In fact it really doesn’t “protect” Apple it just gives Apple permission to go after us legally if it deems we did something wrong with the device that we purchased.
It almost seems today that vendors when selling us a product are really selling us a license to use the product and not the product itself.  If that is the case and Apple wants me to sign this agreement that is longer than the contract that I had to sign to buy my house, then they should just GIVE me the Ipad or Itouch or Iphone and I will buy licenses to use the products or services.  That is what this model supports.
What happens if you don’t sign it?  Well, you don’t get the applications.  The funny thing is that Apple isn’t even developing the apps that I want.  Consider this when you are buying any of these devices.