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Monday, June 30, 2008

No One Wipes Blood Off Their Own Face in Movies!

Well... it's another late night for me... insomnia rules my world at times and I've spent the day working with the new video training interface and the lab exercises for the Pilot beta course (which is debuting on July 18th - check out the calendar page for details).

I am finally settling in to watch a movie (oh, and blogging...) - "The Interpreter" is on... a smarmy show with beautiful-but-quesionable-actress Nicole Kidman and amazingly-talented-but-no-one-I'd-let-stay-in-my-house Sean Penn. The scene that just played had Sean Penn grabbing a paper towel, wetting it down and wiping the blood off Nicole Kidman's face. Now why is it that in movies no one can wipe the blood off their own face or put a simple bandage on their cuts? Geez... if we acted the same way I'm sure we'd all be walking around with oozing wounds and blood-stained faces, hands and feet. Ok... Hollywood is not reality (I want you all to remember that when the "Mother of Invention" movie comes out - if it ever does).

On that note... I've received numerous queries about the film. Last week I spoke with the main writer - the script is on it's 10th rewrite. He asked me some questions (I'm Technical Consultant on the film) about Navy Seals and intercepting radio-control signals. Now what the hell does that have to do with my life? Oh, wait... I'm not supposed to talk about those jobs... Seriously folks... when the film does come out it will have little relationship to my real life (except for that diaper-packed suitcase scene - believe it or not - that is true).

So back to the Pilot labs now - it's just past 12:15 am and I have another 3 hours or so of energy and focus left. I'm excited about this new course - as excited as I am with Pilot. If you don't know about Pilot, check out CACE Technologies' website. I just saved myself about 10 hours creating a report for a customer by using Pilot.

Oh... gotta go - final scenes coming up - helicopters and all... hey, wait a minute! I didn't see any helicopters in my film script!!! Time to make some calls... someone in Hollywood's gonna need some Bandaids!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Bag Lady of TechEd...

Those quizzical looks said "don't you have a hotel room?" After dragging around a suitcase of toys (uh, er... I mean 'tools') during TechEd, I really appreciate the guy/gal who invented roller bags. The lunch session today - while only 45 minutes long - finally offered me a chance to unload the bag and share some of my favorite tools. From the hot graping tool, Pilot, to NetScanTools (my key reconnaissance/traceback tool) and the infamous SumoBots, Ironkey, the self-destructing USB stick and the Phantom Keystroker that plagued some of the CommNet stations at various points during the network - the 45-minute sessions was a 'spewfest' of fun.

If you'd like to see the list of some of my favorite tools, check out - if there are tools I should add, send an email to

This week I also created a page with some information and product discount codes over at Even if you didn't go to the show, grab the discount codes for AirPcap, NetScanTools, Pilot and the Wireshark University Courses - watch the expiration dates - don't miss your chance to save some money on these hot items.

So what about that Thursday panel? Seated between Steve Riley and Mark Russinovich - the same seating arrangement we had in Barcelona, I knew it would be a hoot. Mark Minasi and Marcus Murray rounded out the geekfest at the front of the room. Without any introductions or scripting, it was a great opportunity to just chat about the issues - unbeknownst to the audience, we rarely all get together in the same room and the same time. When we do... you have five Type A personalities butting heads and trying to one-up each other's stories... and what stories they are!

Now... it's time to relax in the hotel room - I'm totally wiped out from four breakout sessions, a panel, a lunch session, four 'fishbowl' recordings and one TechNet Edge recording (oh, yeah... and some late nights out at the hotel pool and an evening of non-stop walking around Universal Studios).

Off to the HP TechForum conference in Las Vegas - with a pre-conference training session Monday and several sessions Tuesday, it will be a busy week. After that, however, I am thrilled to enjoy the summer with minimal travel. That will give me lots of time to play with new toys and tracefiles. Wheee!


Monday, June 9, 2008

Smack That ###!

Now before you begin to get all hot and bothered by the title of this splog ("spewed blog") - let me put this in context.

Brenda and I are on an American Airlines flight from SJC to DFW (if you travel much, you'll know the acronyms - if you don't who cares - just take it that we're on a plane). We were thrilled to have been upgraded and shuffled everyone around in first class so we could sit next to each other. I have loads of prep work that I still want to get done before TechEd starts tomorrow. (In truth, we've been cracking up while devising some very juvenile interview questions for our filming this week).

I've just plugged in my AirPcap adapters and set them for scanning mode - I want to know if the flight attendant speech about "please turn off your wireless cards or if your electronic device supports airplane mode, please use that" actually works. And after all - what's the point? Really?

I've talked to tons of pilots who say the whole wireless and cellular on planes is a bunch of hooey (pilot terminology). As Brenda and I hunch over the computer cracking up at the SSIDs flashing across the screen... my heart nearly stops...

"WHAT'S THAT!?" echoes through the entire plane at a decible level that rivals the Rolls Royce engines and makes my teeth ache. Holy shrieks - what was that?

"GIMME IT!" another shriek as my ears begin to bleed and both the parties in row 4 (the ones with hearing aids) keel over (there's just enough room in first class to actually keel over - if this had happened in 'economy class' no one would know until unloading time - you'd just look like you were taking a snoozer while propped up against the seat in front of you - lack of drooling would have been a clue, however).

With the 'Stare of Death' that my kids have feared since birth, I looked across to the nightmare sitting in 6B - with my eyes I try to send a signal of 'you should not be on this plane - and potentially, you should never breed'. I turn to Brenda with a simple question - "Why don't I hear any slapping?"
You see - I'm not wasting my 'Stare of Death' on the little boy who has the lung power to rival Pavarotti (before he died, of course) - the stare is for the mother who is oblivious to her son's inappropriate shrieking - hmmm.... perhaps the woman is deaf? If not, she will be soon. Hmmm.... are those earplugs in her ears? Really! This is a pet peeve of mine - parents who don't teach their kids manners until the kids reach the ripe old (too old for teaching manners) age of 13 or so.

What's wrong with saying to little Jimmy, "no, sweetie - we don't stand on the table at restaurants" or "no, honey, we don't give the cat a haircut using a butcher knife"? Geez - can't you get that kid a video game to play - laptops are cheap - get him Grand Theft Auto - that' oughta hold his attention - especially if his favorite color is red.

So... back to the wireless traffic - here's a list of the SSID's being requested by the various laptops on this flight (notice the lack of querying for WSU? I listen to those aero-cops big time now with the recent Call-Ahead-to-have-a-Passenger-Arrested-if-They-Don't-Wait-for-the-Beverage-Cart-to-Pass-Before-You-Want-to-Go-to-the-Bathroom law.

GlobalSuite Wireless
InternetIvy Room - (97)
Regents Park
Space Park #1
Westin-Aruba (this is just wrong - in Aruba hitting the wireless?)


After a bathroom break (I'll talk about the Coffe-Pack-in-the-Bathroom-Issue in another splog), I asked the flight attendants who were up in the front galley hiding away from the noise... "What's the deal with wireless communications on the plane? What happens if a laptop is turned on with wireless enabled?" In tandem, as if they'd practiced this response one thousand times (hmmm... mind-control training of flight attendants - that explains a LOT!) they synced "It interferes with the instrument panel!" I did mention that we must have lots of laptops on this plane with their wireless turned on - "How come we aren't plummeting to the ground by now?" Ok... wrong question. It took a bit of time to ensure them I wasn't interested in parking the plane over a corn field and I finally snuck back to my seat.

I reviewed the results of my wireless scan - systems desparately seeking 45 different SSIDs! Whoa! Doesn't anyone care about the dangers of wireless transmissions on the plane? Hey folks - our plane's instrument panel is probably popping outta the dash the and pilots are using hand-signals before turning! YOU'RE RISKING MY LIFE HERE, BUBBA! I feel like doing a 'puter smack-down of the systems on the plane, but feel that is likely to land me in Club Fed long before I'm ready... I sit down and pick up some SMB2 specs to review...

Now considering that TechEd starts tomorrow and we're on a flight from the Silicon Valley - I'm quite certain some of these yapping systems are headed for the conference center. It's kind of like meeting people ahead of time. When we get there, we'll check for some of the same SSID requests and who knows... we might find we're surrounded by friends before the conference even starts.

Uh oh... gotta go - landing time "Please turn off and stow all electronic devices..." Hmm.... maybe it would be interesting to see if people turn off their laptops during landing...

p.s. Visit the new page! Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

TechEd or Jail... Packing Light

With only a few days to go before the TechEd IT Pro conference, I've begun the packing process.

I had some nagging feeling as I carefully entombed my three competition SumoBots and the Annoy-a-tron circuit board in my carry-on bag. Let's see... where can I fit the webcam rocket launcher? What about that 7' antenna I wanted to bring... it'll have to stay home for this show.

I had hoped to have some form of the Digital Dress to bring out, but it's just been delayed again - wouldn't that have made a splash at the show? Of course getting that dress through airport security would be.... OH WAIT A MINUTE! AIRPORT SECURITY!

Mouth agape as I looked through the bag I'd planned to tote onto the plan... when the TSA (Transporation Security Administration) scans this bag, they're just going to throw me in a holding cell as a precaution. The gears, wires and circuitboards of the SumoBots alone will likely have me cuffed face-down in the security line - my nose on par with the putrid unclad feet of the traveling masses.


So... the other suitcase was recovered from the back of the storage shed as I tearfully said 'goodbye' to my favorite toys that would set off even the most dense of TSA agents. How do you describe the purpose of bringing a full-sized keyboard in your over-sized 'purse' (he he... if 'man purses' were a bit more accepted, you'd be stuffing everything in there too, guys!)?

"OH THAT? IT'S ACTUALLY A KEYLOGGING KEYBOARD TO STEAL PASSWORDS AND USER NAMES. No Worries." Don't fret about me, Ms. TSA-woman-with-a-bad-attitude-because-she-is-an-AOL-user. I wouldn't hurt a fly...

I will certainly be in a funk if my SumoBots and flying monkey slingshot get re-routed to Sao Paulo - perhaps it's time to print up some "Baggage Handlers Do It Gently" or "I [heart] Baggage Handlers" or "Chairwoman: Baggage Handlers Union" stickers for my luggage...

As a side note - some of the materials being discussed at TechEd have made me consider teaching a hands-on course - something I haven't done in about 16 months, 2 days and 5 hours (not that anyone is counting). Check out for the survey on the possible course. Or visit and let me know your thoughts.

Now back to packing... goodbye little BillyBot... goodbye little BushBot... goodbye little BallmerBot... (did you see the BallmerBot video yet?)... sob...

Proud parent of three aggressive SumoBots
Fan of Baggage Handlers everywhere!