Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Time Changes

Still don't know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets and
Every time I thought I'd got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I'm much too fast to take that test


The stereotypical way sitcoms portray scenes occurring the past was to blur the current scene and transition to the past. I recall an episode of the Odd Couple where Oscar physically blurred Murray’s face as he started to tell a tale.

I started thinking about this today because I’ve been reading Michele’s A Big Victory has been looking back at her considerable blogging past and recalling posts from a now defunct blog(s) she authored by using archive.org (a/k/a WayBackMachine). And I imagined the scene at my desktop becoming blurry as I went back in time, so much so I decided to play with the WayBackMachine on my own website efforts.

I used to have a very open, fairly personal website. One that included my whole resume (in ASCII, Word, and PDF formats, you know just in case), which given the fact it is still accessible, worries me somewhat. Looking back, I had forgotten that in 1994 I had an article printed in an insurance trade publication touting how a certain multicurrency financial application could be adapted for the re-insurance industry.

When I decided to give blogging a try, I went anonymous, since I did nearly all of it at the office. Back in those days, I had completed about 80% of my work day tasks in the first 3 hours I was at the office, leaving a lot of idle time on my hands. Plus, it was before I had broadband, so other than e-mail I didn’t do that much online at home.

WayBackMachine does provide the actual templates in use back in the day so it is interesting to see what this humble blog looked like 6 years (egads! That long?). In some ways, I can see a big difference in my style and in others it’s like I could have posted it yesterday.

Over the years I’ve found bits of time to wax on whatever was on my mind, going through various stages of merely reposting others work (with due credit, of course), of starting debates with those I didn’t agree with (a/k/a picking fights) , and then I matured (or at least I hope I had) to the point where I was presenting my arguments for or against whatever topic crossed my mind.

In 2004, of course, I became heavily involved in blogging about the Election – to much greater degree than I have so far this year

I’ve resisted what appears to be a trend in making this into a Daddy Blog – not that there’s anything wrong with them – because I wanted to be able to blog about whatever I wanted and not just a narrow set of topics (that and my well-documented need/want/desire for anonymity).

The vast majority of my posts have always originated at the office because I have certain tasks that require mostly oversight and reaction at certain thresholds being crossed (Enterprise Monitoring) and other tasks that require oversight of a Help Desk that really isn’t that terribly busy to begin with. Otherwise, I blog at night, when my much-better-half and the kids are asleep; life is often too busy to do more than keep up on my e-mail during other times.

Along the way at the office I use a personal USB drive to store a few applications that make my day go smoother, among them a remote desktop application that allows me to access my home PC from the office. This innovation allows me to do quite a lot on my own wire (as opposed to the company’s network) and not have to worry about anyone innocently noticing what I am doing. Additionally, I have use of two networks at my desk: one corporate and one for testing purposes. The test wire had been separate in our office (which is remote from the Corp HQ) and required ostensibly for a specific task that is unique to our specific project. As such, it was never regulated / monitored by any of the Corp IT staff. This was the bane of the Corp IT group but a definite benefit to our group.

The use of KVM switch (keyboard/video/mouse) meant we had one keyboard, monitor and mouse that was shared by the 2 PCs. Who could ask for much more?

And yet more than once in the last 8 months I’ve pondered whether I still have an interest in being online as much as I have been. Facebook and Twitter leave me nonplussed. Blogging is still an outlet for my thoughts and attempts at humor, but from time to time leave me wondering if I’m still getting the charge I used to from doing it.

Well, now I may just find out if there’s still a desire to continue updating this humble journal.
Recently, several changes occurred in the office which have direct impact on my blog reading/writing, and none for the good. The story goes like this: an SA used his personal USB drive on the Corp network. Being an SA, he had a variety of password cracking tools on his USB drive (that he had such cracking tools isn’t exactly unusual for an SA to possess).

Almost immediately, the Corp antivirus/spyware app chirped, identifying a potential threat stored on his USB drive. Figuring he was only going to transfer a file and be done with it, he ignored the pop-up. And then he ignored it again. And a third time.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone who is even remotely familiar with the inner workings of a Corp IT group that you can generally ignore warnings twice, but never three times.

So our remote office was visited by the Corp IT Group who instantly confiscated the SA’s personal USB drive for analysis - which is tech-speak meaning it was scanned for viruses, immediately reformatted and returned to him blank (which begs the question: why scan it for viruses at all?).

So now Corp IT is working feverishly to gain control of a wire they’ve not had access to for about 4 years now. And they’re not going to quit. Effective immediately, any USB caught on either network will be confiscated and analyzed as above (which makes it awfully hard to take work home for review/editing purposes).

This means my ability to do what I’ve grown accustomed to these last few years has also been restrained. I suppose I’ve gotten spoiled at the relative freedom I’ve enjoyed here, but the logcial side of me says this time really should come a long time ago. I could offer my reasons to protest this restriction, but in light of the conflagration 3 weeks ago, I am really in no position to present my reasoning to my Project Lead. I suppose I can just wait for him to call me on a weekend again, asking about my efforts on project document. That should get the message across to him nicely

Right off the bat, my Google Reader list will be slashed down to the bare blogs I always read, the ones I make a habit of reading daily, and the essential ones I keep up with during the week. I suppose I could write posts and either mail them to Blogger or home for later posting.
It is just frustrating that a division (the one I work at) that has performed so well (this last month not withstanding) that we’ve gotten our contract renewals with little effort should be hit with Draconian security measures.

I realize that in the big, corporate picture it makes sense.

But it doesn’t mean I have to like it.



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