Incite 7/13/2011: The King of the HouseBy Mike Rothman
With the two girls at sleepaway camp, the Boss and I weren’t sure how the Boy would handle it. After all, he’s pretty much always surrounded by someone. Having a twin sister will do that to you. If he’s not at school, with his buddies, or doing an activity, he’s usually playing with one of his sisters. In fact, we think his ability to tune out almost everything directly correlates to always being around people.
But don’t think the summer is only fun and games. I described Mommy Food Camp last week, and he’s doing well. He eats hot dogs now (“I don’t like them, but I’ll eat them”), and I even got him to eat a hamburger (“It was horrible!”). He’s now thinking of becoming a vegetarian (like his Dad), and tried to convince me that there’s no meat in Chicken Nuggets. He may actually be right, but that’s another story.
We were also hoping he would become a bit more assertive, as he tends to be pretty quiet. We learned this was a non-issue when he had a tantrum at day camp when he wasn’t in a group with his buddies. Suffice it to say, the situation was rectified immediately, and we didn’t have to get involved. Of course, we’d like him to deal with things without crying and screaming, but he has friends who were put in the wrong group and didn’t say a word for days. We’ll take Mr. Assertive any day of the week.
Truth be told, I think he likes the peace and quiet. We joke that the only time he had any peace was the minute after his sister was born, while he was waiting his turn. We do let him play on one of the iPads a bit and maybe watch a little TV, but nothing crazy. We’re glad he’s enjoying the few weeks he’s flying solo because the plan is to send him to sleepaway camp next year.
Even though he maintains that he doesn’t miss his sisters, we make him write letters to them anyway. It’s as much to keep him writing as anything else, though we know the girls love to hear from him. He wrote a nice letter, telling them what’s he’s been up to, who he’s been hanging out with, and that he just lost another tooth and is awaiting the Tooth Fairy’s visit.
At one point in the letter, he wrote: “I’m the King of the House.” We wondered whether we should pull that out, since it might make the girls feel bad, but decided to leave it in. Mostly because it was so damn cute. But when we dug a bit deeper, clearly the Boy does get overshadowed by his strong-willed sisters. With them not around (for a little while anyway), he assumes the mantle of the King.
Of course, I don’t have the heart to burst his bubble. He’s no more the King of the House than I am. But that didn’t stop us from asking the King to clean up his dishes and get ready for bed. Even royalty needs beauty sleep.
Photo credits: “KING CLUB” originally uploaded by oknovokght
Incite 4 U
The Daily Breach: Given the challenges of traditional media, it’s surprising that none of the tech books have launched a Daily Breach newsletter. It’s not like there’s no inventory. I mean, check out this screen grab of my SC Magazine newsletter this AM. 4 latest news stories, and 4 breaches. And that doesn’t even include the Booz Allen breach. Folks, this is the new reality. Breaches happen. Breaches are disclosed. Customers are pissed. Some folks would use a data point like this as an excuse to be grumpy or to do nothing. But there has always been a Daily Breach. You just didn’t know about them before. So now the spotlight is on us. Guess we should have been careful what we wished for. – MR
Just do the work, or hire crap: Let’s look at A List Apart’s recent post on “RFPs: The Least Creative Way to Hire People”. You don’t need to be creative to hire people – you want to hire creative people (whether or not you yourself are). I have seen just as many bad creative hiring methods as bad conventional ones – both unwittingly filter due to the process. Have I even mentioned the time I was interviewed by 115 people for a VP of Engineering Job? Only two interviewers actually understood the skills needed for the job, and one interviewer wanted a bad candidate to ensure there was no challenge for her fiefdom. However it’s done, you just need to put in the time to understand what you are hiring for and adequately screen the sea of resumes. It’s the latter point that people don’t want – or know how – to do. So they create, effectively, giant lists of screening questions to filter the resumes. But here is a hint: PEOPLE LIE. Liars get through, and honest people don’t. Forget all the other fancy nonsense, put in the time, and do the work. – AL
Know thyself: Managing your identity online is more than merely controlling your credentials and avoiding keyboard-mediated tourettes (something I should probably work on). In the real world our lives are naturally compartmentalized. There’s work, home, hobbies, groups, and all sorts of social circles. The online world isn’t really set up like this, and when we use work email accounts for personal communications, or tie our identities to our jobs, or link in everyone on the same social media platforms, we blur lines in ways we cannot always anticipate. That’s why Jeff Jones’ article on how he’s segregating his identities really resonated with me. I did something similar a while ago – Twitter is fully public, Facebook is now for (mostly) non-work friends and family only, and I’ve switched more personal email off Securosis, despite being a partner in the company. Think about your online personae, and it makes perfect sense to segregate the services out even though some people may get offended. – RM
Following the money to spear phishing: Cybercrime is all about economics. Pure and simple. When I was in the spam business years ago, lots of customers asked why criminals continue to send billions of pieces of spam. On the surface this seems to be a simple function of the near-zero incremental cost of sending spam. But that’s not it. Spam has long been a profitable business, enabled by its low cost. And until it becomes less profitable we’ll continue to see the same old, same old. It appears that time is finally upon us, according toa survey by the Cisco IronPort folks. Targeted attacks (spear phishing) are more profitable than bulk spam, so you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure out where the bad guys are focusing. In this new world, your spam gateway/service is less important than your egress filtering and user awareness activities, which must prepare employees for the inevitable targeted attacks. – MR
The impossible dream: Kelly Jackson Higgins’ post on Five Steps To Help Repel The ‘Lulz’ is the Lulz. Actually, it’s really good advice for small and mid-sized firms without a lot of budget or infrastructure. It’s also the kind of post that gives Lulz to the Lulz. Consider this: You have 35 web sites using 10 million lines of custom code, sitting on top of 90 million lines of 3rd-party code, using 47 thousand database queries – many generated dynamically. Asking a company like Sony to adhere to rule three – Eliminate all SQL injection, XSS, and other common web site flaws – is about as realistic as asking them to travel backward in time, and only slightly easier than creating two identical snowflakes. We have lots of lists and best practices and stuff you should be doing, but with application security the sheer backlog of work needed to secure applications just from the OWASP Top Ten would take years (for larger firms, decades). In some cases alternative security measures must be employed. – AL
Game the users: I’m a big fan of gaming, not that I get to do much of it any more. From an educational standpoint you are far more likely to learn something if it’s entertaining than from rote work. If you can educate with actual games, so much the better. Now what defines a game? In my mind there’s an achievement objective, a chance for failure, and skill challenges along the way. Thus Zynga turning their privayc policy into a game is pure awesomeness. Now instead of reading confusing legalese, you can understand what they are doing with your information in a clear (animated!) way. I may not be a fan of giving up my personal info or my friends’ to play online games, but I respect the transparency. And remember – if you don’t feed your privacy a bundle of carrots every hour, Zynga will sell it to the Russian mafia. – RM