Sunday, February 9, 2014

Review: Google Glass


Key Points

  • Glass Explorer’s Program is as much a field test for the hardware as it is an effort to discover how developers & users will apply this new technology.
  • Early demos demonstrate potential for augmented reality applications, but the hardware required for useful capability is likely at least another two generations away.
  • Glass camera offers a unique perspective for content creation & delivery.
  • Ideal for displaying information that can be organized into cards.  Cards could have additional drill-down multimedia content including photos, audio, and video.
  • Potential to communicate urgent messages.

The Device

Glass is a head-mounted display, with processor, battery, & prism lens over the right eye. To interact with the device, you use voice commands combined with touch-input along the right frame. The current iteration has optional lens inserts, and with recent updates, it can now work with a range of prescription lenses.
Glass has built-in WiFi connectivity for data. Configuration and application installation is handled through the MyGlass companion application, either on the web or on a mobile device.  Glass requires a Google account.
When WiFi is not available, Glass can use Bluetooth tethering with an Android or iOS device.  When connected via Bluetooth to a device running the MyGlass application, Glass will use location information from the Smartphone, and can be used to send and receive SMS text messages.  Glass will also function as a Bluetooth headset, although audio quality is limited when not using the optional earbud (included). Without the earbud, Glass uses a bone conduction transducer.
Battery life is challenging. With all sensors enabled, moderate use resulted in approximately four hours of usable life.  With wink detection, on-head detection, and head-tilt detection disabled, moderate use resulted in a full business day (nine hours) of usable life.  Capturing, video, video conferencing, and Augmented Reality features can significantly reduce battery life.

The Experience

When activated, the Glass HUD appears to float about an arm’s length ahead of the wearer in the upper right corner of their vision.  Google documentation states the “display is the equivalent of a 25 inch high definition screen from eight feet away.” It is semi-transparent, so you can see objects behind the HUD, but when capturing images or video, focus is drawn to the camera’s full field of view.
The default interface, when activated, displays the time and activation phrase (“OK Glass”). After speaking the keywords, the user is presented with a menu of activities, based on the GlassWare applications installed on the device.
“OK Glass”   
Some commands work in off-line mode (eg: take a picture, record a video, make a call to…), while others require data connectivity to process the command. Any command with a complex speech-to-text requirement uses a data connection to process the conversion.
Pictures and video are synced to the Google cloud, but the device can be used for capture when offline.  Glass has 16GB of storage, with roughly 12GB usable.

Augmented Reality Demo: Word Lens

One of the early GlassWare applications, Word Lens, is a proof-of-concept Augmented Reality app that translates text you're looking at into your native language, in real-time.
Focus on the words you’d like translated (first image), and Word Lens will auto-zoom and translate in context (second image).
The translation engine isn't perfect, and it’s clearly demanding a lot out of the hardware, but as a demonstration of possible AR applications, it is a good indicator of what could be possible in a future iteration of the hardware.
Purpose-built AR applications could, for example, help surgeons prepare by overlaying procedural steps or key data with real-world images:
Other uses:
  • Overlay labelled wireframes over real-world images to aide techs when troubleshooting devices
  • Display key information in difficult environments, eg: push performance alerts to supervisors on the factory floor.
  • Medical transcription – Although largely replaced with electronic notes, doctors in some scenarios (particularly surgical) still dictate notes for transcription. Glass could capture and upload audio directly.
  • Plant inspections –With location information, a 5MP camera, 720p video capture and the ability to add annotations/captions to photos, Glass could streamline data collection for plant inspections and similar activities.s

Google Now Integration

For existing Android users, Google Now may already be a familiar experience.  Google Now learns your habits and scans your Gmail in an attempt to present search results before you ask for them.
For example, if you’ve booked a flight and sent the confirmation to your Gmail account, Google Now will parse the itinerary, warn you when you need to leave for the airport, give you the status of your flight, and even tell you the weather in your destination.  Glass can present data from Google Now out-of-the-box, and the card-based presentation format is ideally suited to the Glass interface.
The screen captures to the right resulted from a travel itinerary that included Charlotte, NC.  On the weather screen, the user’s current location (Raritan) takes priority, followed by the travel destination (Charlotte) and the weather at home (Flemington).
While the itinerary is active, Google Now regularly updates the status of the flights.  By tapping the top-level flight screen, the user is able to see additional details such as the boarding gate, without needing to actively search email or flight trackers for the additional information.

Google Now also learns your commuting patterns. At the beginning and end of the work day, it displays an overview of a user’s route to work or home, and warns of any delays along the way.  By tapping on this card, Glass presents the option to initiate turn-by-turn navigation.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Twelve Days Dark

Right about this time last year, I had some unplanned downtime, not the least of which was Hurricane Sandy. We just had a small "disaster reunion" gathering, and it reminded me, I'd been meaning to write a post about the event.

It's been about a year since the storm (and since my last post, apparently)...time certainly has a way of slipping out of the room when you're not looking.

I hadn't really been paying attention to the news. Certainly wasn't focused on the weather. I'd been recovering from an injury, spending most of my time watching Breaking Bad, meticulously experimenting with different OTC NSAIDs (Aleve won), learning Morse Code, and wishing I could navigate the stairs with less pain. My first extended venture downstairs in almost a month was only two days before the blackout.

Friday, October 26, I shuffled out to the garage in my then-ubiquitous sweatpants. Four more stairs. Shuffled over to my gas-powered portable generator. I hadn't started the little guy in over a year...The fuel was bound to be stale. The pull-start was a unique torture, made all the more unpleasant with the persistent lack of sustained combustion. Added some fuel stabilizer. Collapsed weakly into a nearby camp chair. Fiddled with the valves & hoses, ultimately draining off some of the stale fuel into a drywall bucket. Topped off the tank with fresh fuel and rested again. Second pull, and it sputtered back to life. I shut it down, and rolled it back into the corner, confident I wouldn't be needing it again...after all, I'd confirmed it worked. Murphy's Law virtually guaranteed we'd be in the clear.

As luck would have it, I'd had the house wired for a generator panel over the summer. No reason other than general preparedness. But I was glad it was already in place...At under a thousand dollars for the bypass circuit and breaker panel, I'll prep every future house the same way.

We didn't do much shopping in advance; I grew up in the woods, so I'm always prepared for a little stretch of post-apocalyptic conditions. I keep drinking water on hand; we have plenty of canned or dried food, I keep an extra five gallons of fuel, just in case. Nevertheless, the wife did go to the grocery store on the 27th to pick up a few extra supplies, just in case.

Photo: Empty shelves....water completely sold out due to storm prep
Water Aisle two days ahead of Sandy
You can see the water aisle over on the right...

We filled the tubs with fresh water later on that night.

Early evening on Monday, Oct 29th, the winds were picking up. The power cut out around 6:30PM, and as the wind got more aggressive, tearing shingles & flashing from the roof. I moved the family (and some Hoboken evacuees) to the basement. The fiercest winds died down quickly; we were up from the basement after only a few hours. Trees at the edge of our property were uprooted, but nothing was close enough to land on the house.

At 11PM, the rain let up enough that I could wheel the generator out of the garage. It started right up, that lawnmower-engine sound that would be reverberating in the background for the next 12 days.

The first night, the generator ran for 8 hours, 15 minutes.  It died at 7:15AM. Eight hours on five gallons of fuel. I filled it from the Jerry can, and it ran from 10AM to 8PM on the next tank. We went to refill the tank, and this was the line...

I went into engineering mode, tuning power consumption on the circuits. Ordered a low-wattage microwave from Amazon (amazingly, it was delivered the next day). Ordered some LED lanterns and a spare Jerry can. Swapped out the high-wattage incandescent bulbs on the remaining circuits with CFLs. My next 5-gallon tank ran the generator for 14 hours, 20 minutes; by the end, I'd be averaging about 2:43/gallon at peak efficiency.

The governor announced that Halloween would be delayed.

The gas lines would only get worse. We'd hear reports of fights and arrests after only a couple of days. I'd leave one day at 4:30AM, thinking I'd get the drop on the crowds, only to wait for hours in a line of cars 2 miles long. And there's always that one asshole...You know the type...they come in at a different angle & try to cut the line. "I can't wait, I'll be late for work." Since clearly everyone else in the crowd is just there for the early-morning company.

The generator keeps the fridge running; more importantly, it keeps the well pumping water. I always thought it'd be better to be on city water in a situation like this, but news stories from around the area suggest that intermediary city pumps aren't working without power, and primary sources are getting contaminated from the flood waters. Guess the well is better, as long as you can get it out of the ground.

Tankless electric water heaters are more efficient, and I'd previously considered switching to one. Fortunately, I didn't want to spend the money for the upgrade...An electric heater would be rough to power from the generator. With a gas water heater, we were able to take hot showers throughout the whole ordeal. One more lesson learned...and fortunately not the hard way.  We're on gas heat, too, and the furnace only takes a little power to ignite & run the fans...the generator barely kicks when the furnace kicks on, and with two zones, I can easily heat the downstairs during the day, and the upstairs at night.

The governor announced that Halloween was cancelled.

We're pooling resources with our neighbors now...Huge pot-luck meals built on whatever had thawed the most that day, plenty of wine & beer...Neighbors come over in the day to shower, and send their kids over at night to sleep in the warm guest room.

By Nov 3 (day 5), I've received a number of Jerry cans, but NJ has implemented gas rationing. Even numbered plates can fill up on one day, odd numbered plates on the other. I have odd numbered plates on both cars, and the neighbors have two cars with even plates. We pool's an Odd day, so we load up all of the empty cans in our SUV & head back to the only gas station in the area with power to their pumps.

Their tanks are dry.

The next gas station with power is 15 miles away, so we give it a shot.  Wait our time in the line.  Unload eight five-gallon Jerry, and we're told it's limited to 10 gallons per customer.  Fill our two tanks, back in the car, head to the next station.  They'll fill our other cans, but they're only taking cash.  Good enough; we head back home with an SUV packed with 40 gallons of loose petroleum sloshing around in cheap red plastic containers.

I am the pinnacle of safety.

Perhaps most surprising is the connectivity.  The wife and I are on separate mobile providers. It costs a little more, not having the family plan, but in a case like this, there's a better chance that one of us has a working connection. Her data capability is offline for a little while at the beginning; mine held strong throughout.  So here we are, a week off the grid, but we can sit on the couch and post Facebook updates and Instagram photos describing our experiences, wirelessly communicating with people around the world. I'm keeping my generator logs on Google Docs, updating from a 2-pound tablet that remains stubbornly connected to the Internet, delivering our news updates & power company predictions, while the TV sits brooding and powerless in the armoire.

It is surreal; how can this be the same world into which I was born?

Somewhere around the first week, we hear stories of generators getting hauled off in the night. My favorite story -- unsubstantiated, but repeated with a variety of subtle variations -- is of a police officer in NYC waking to find that someone stole his generator in the night, and left a running lawn mower in its place, so he wouldn't hear the sound cut out.

I go to Home Depot & buy heavy chain. Old guy working the chain station there, comments he's sold more chain in the past few days than in the last year. "News of all these thefts has folks in a panic, I guess. But y'know what's funny," he comments..."We ain't sold even a single bolt cutter."

I tapped out one of my favorite posts on Instagram on Day 9...

Day 9 without power. Sponge seems to be keeping his spirits up, but I know inside, he's as worn out as I am. Still, he's my only companion in this uncharted, deserted house. Unless you count my family and the occasional neighbor families who stop in to warm up by the generator and ask why I'm digging out twitter updates in 20-foot burning letters in the lawn. I know there must be wild FedExes in this cul de sac, I see their tell-tale square droppings around my garage. Today I've devised a trap to catch one.

On Day 10 we were hearing that our lights might not be back on until Thanksgiving. This was not good news. We were in a good rhythm, but maintaining a gasoline-powered generator for another three weeks didn't sound particularly exciting. The neighbors have scavenged generators of their own by now, so the cul-de-sac is quite cacophonous. Fortunately, shops in the area were mostly up and running...gasoline & groceries were stocked and accessible. The wait for fuel was nearly back to normal. Schools were open, and most people were back at work.

On the plus side, by this time, I'd all but forgotten about my injury.

At 5PM on November 10, the power came back on. Twelve days.  It would be another day or two before I'd remember I didn't need to carry a flashlight everywhere. During the outage, I ran my generator for 245 hours...Three oil changes and nearly 90 gallons of gas.

Lessons learned?

It turns out I'm happy to have well water, and the dual-zone gas heat has benefits beyond the obvious.

Lamps are important. Low-wattage plug-in appliances are a plus. Energy efficiency makes a crazy difference, if I can see double the run time on a generator, and it makes me think we should focus more on efficiency in the day-to-day. We were able to run the wash machine, but not the dryer, which normally wouldn't be a problem...unless you happen to have a newborn. Disposable dishes can sometimes be a necessary evil.

I'm happy we have good neighbors. I'm glad we know them well; in our last place, we lived there for many years and were only moderately confident that one of them might have been named Frank something-or-other...

And while we were relatively well prepared, I hadn't thought through all the variables. I'd failed to plan for fuel rationing. It was only by luck I'd properly wired the house in time, and hadn't upgraded the gas appliances to something I wouldn't be able to sustain on a gas generator. I didn't have enough D batteries, and I was surprised to learn my gas oven won't run on the unstable oscillation of a generator without an inverter. I was able to correct for some of these misses because Amazon was still delivering, and FedEx could still make the last mile.

We could have survived without any of those things, of course. Our house had no structural damage. We never had to drink from the bathtubs. We didn't have to huddle for warmth. Hell, we never even had to touch the box with the real emergency supplies. And I hope it never comes to that....Because I can't help but think, what if it was bigger than a few minor inconveniences...what would happen if the gas supply didn't come back, or the grocery stores weren't restocked...

But I don't really worry about what I would do. That's why I have that other box.

I think about the people buying water at the last minute, the people starting fights in the gas line, the ones who fuel the stories about the stolen generators...And nothing good can come from opening that box.

I do not like dried eggs and spam.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

scratching the Surface...

I recently had a few days to play with a Microsoft Surface tablet...And...well...let's just say it won't be on my Christmas list.

Now, as the hardware goes, it's actually pretty nice. Good, solid feel. I like the metal. I like the kickstand. The magnetic snap-in keyboard-cover combo is pretty slick...but if I were picking one out for myself, I'd get the Type Cover instead of the Touch Cover; I can easily out-type the Touch Cover, and that's just not something I was expecting from a Windows device that appeared to have a regular keyboard. Nice, bright screen, but the aspect ratio is a little weird...fairly responsive touch panel...And the whole thing easily fits in the PadPocket of any of my numerous SCOTTEVEST jackets.

But then we get to the software. And that moves us a bit below the Surface. Now we're really talking about the next iteration of Windows.

You know, in moderation, I like the Metro tiles. Fundamentally, I can appreciate the guiding principles behind the design. And on the Windows phone, I think it works well. But on a larger interface, it can be a bit much. "Glanceable" information only works if you can take everything in with a glance...Look at Ambient Devices for a few good examples.

And hey, Windows 8 does include some good features...The easier migration, the click-to-reset option that preserves user data, deep integration of touch...all great ideas for a desktop operating system. But...I'd have rather seen such features added as utilities on the Windows 7 interface.

Many of us have worked with Windows Operating Systems for years; there are basic things we now expect. The search-and-run box, the program menu, the control panel, the ability to do almost everything from the command prompt...These were great, prominent features...and I know, for the most part, they're kinda in there...But they're buried deep.

Look, fundamentally, when my iPad or my Android isn't "enough" for the task at hand...which, for me, happens frequently...I go to my more powerful Windows system. The simplified interfaces of these consumer devices may be enough for a big population of the users, but there's still a decent crowd of us who want the Windows OS to be the complicated mess of arcane registry keys and hidden command line operations that have helped us draw the lines between casual computer users and hardcore computer geeks for the better part of the Information Age...That's why those of us in the latter category aren't replacing our Windows machines, we're just adding more devices to our arsenals.

When it comes to Windows OS upgrades, I'm historically an early adopter. I'm usually one of the people trying to figure out how to make a game run on the newer version of DirectX, or rebooting 118 times while trying to force in a compatibility shim for a productivity product that won't have a formal fix until months have passed. With Windows 8, unless they release a "Windows 8 Ultimate CompSci Geek" edition, this is shaping up to be the first time in over two decades I'll be holding on to my down-level Windows Operating System until I'm compelled to move by external forces.

I think you broke it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Shadowrun Online: all kinds of interesting complexity

Okay, I admit it.  I have a bit of a Kickstarter addiction.  I love the idea...If you're not familiar and want the quick summary, it's an all-or-nothing social funding system...A project creator gets to both raise money and gauge interest for a proposed project before sinking valuable resources into full production development.

I've personally contributed to about a dozen projects, half of them in the Video Games of which is Shadowrun Online...This one caught my attention before I even looked at the mock-ups or prototype gameplay footage...What interests me here is the unexpected mash-up of business models...and it all started with the Kickstarter-based funding.

Although not unique, it's certainly still an emerging method.  So start with Kickstarter to ramp up your project, and then move on to the game model itself...It's a massive online multiplayer...Plenty of those, sure.  But they're planning to run on PCs, Macs, iPads (v2 or higher), and Android (Galaxy Tab 10.1 or better), in a Web Browser, and as a traditional stand-alone game client, with (softer) plans to support Linux.  To top it off, they're going for the ultimate in cross-platform by mixing media and including a campaign expansion for the Shadowrun 4th Edition tabletop game.

But wait!  There's more...

[dead image removed 2013.may.02]

As if it wasn't already complex enough, they're taking a hybrid approach to the ongoing "persistent" part of the gameplay.  Out of the gate, there's plans for a Free-to-Play model, with cashflow provided through micro-transactions for in-game items or premium subscriptions.  They're also planning for a Buy-to-Play model, where you buy the primary game, plus pay for additional modules with no ongoing subscription costs (similar to Guild Wars). You own the game for as long as the servers are still up & running. On servers that follow that model, you won't be able to use real money to buy items in-game.  The graphic on the side illustrates the differences...

That's biting off quite a bit.

So I hope Cliffhanger Productions gathers enough pledges to fund this project...I'll be really interested to see how this all plays out. Oh...And if you decide to back the project yourself, please, tell 'em TrackZero sent you so I can get the free tabletop miniature.


hoi, chummer

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

favorite malware message o' the day...

Just received this (with a little malware zip hanging on for the ride) and it made me laugh.

[some headers clipped]

Received-SPF: softfail ( best guess record for domain of transitioning does not designate as permitted sender) client-ip=;
Return-path: <>
Received: from [] by; Tue, 10 Jul 2012 09:54:50 -0500

From: Logistics Express <>
To: me
Subject: You have urgent work
Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2012 09:54:50 -0500

Hi, track

We got today a letter from tax dpeartment they writing that we have not paid all needed taxes. You must urgent clear this shit other way they are freeze our bank accuonts.

I have scanned the letter for you, you will find it in attach. Clear this situtaion and write me back.

Of course, the headers weren't visible...

But seriously, even without the headers, how does this kind of thing ever work?

Even if I ignore the bad grammar & spelling, and expect that most end users wouldn't check the headers & wonder why EmilyVulich@comcast would have sent a message as accountservices@ups through a channel that doesn't conform to the Sender Policy Framework...Okay, I get that there's only a handful of us that even know how to look at things like that...So ignoring all of that...why would I ever believe that an error paying taxes on my part would lead to UPS having their bank accounts frozen?

Good stuff. Thanks, Anonymous Malware Spammer, for the laugh.

this guy seems legit.

Friday, June 15, 2012

not-so-secret questions...

You want to know something that drives me nuts?

Password reset questions.  Yeah, I know, I'm not the only one, and it's certainly not an original or new complaint...But hey, it's the first time I've complained about it (in this forum, at any rate).

As anyone in InfoSec can attest, password-based authentication systems are frequently flawed...But when your only interaction with your customers is an impersonal remote connection -- via a seemingly-infinite variety of potential computing devices -- password-based systems are easy to implement & manage.

As an end user with little visibility to the protections implemented by a given website, the only sure way to mitigate risks associated with potential weaknesses is to take matters into your own hands...Use strong passwords...Rotate them on occasion...Don't use the same password for multiple sites.  If you hang out with any InfoSec geeks, I'm sure you've heard this all before.

Analog Password Manager
And unless you have an eidetic memory (or an office that looks like a scene out of Conspiracy Theory), keeping track of your passwords when following such a practice can get rather complicated...So, to my friends & family, I usually recommend a password manager like LastPass (there are others, but I prefer LastPass because it supports a variety of multi-factor options).  And for my coworkers, I usually hand them a page from my notebook (pictured).

So you do everything right. You get yourself a password manager. You set long, meaningless passwords with letters, numbers, symbols...maybe even the occasional umlaut (otherwise known as "röck döts,")...And then one day, you log in to your bank, and they ask you to provide answers to some secret questions, in case you ever need to reset your password.

Seems like a good idea, right?  I mean, I'd hate to lose access to my online account.  Because then I'd have to go interact with a teller face-to-face. And honestly, I don't exactly remember how that works....there was...something on the news...about wearing not nylons on your head...Anyway, not that it matters -- I'm pretty sure the closest physical office for my bank is roughly 1300 miles from my home.

So, yes, it seems like it'd be good to have a backup plan, in case I forget my password.

But... mother's maiden name?  I'm from a small town; how hard can that be to figure out?  Name of my first pet??  I'd give that info up during a casual conversation without even thinking about the risk.  Father's middle name?  That's gotta be statistically easy to extrapolate.

A decade ago, before social networks became all the rage, there may have been a few questions in the pool that would have felt a little difficult to guess.  But today, there are Facebook apps trying to build out your family tree.  Your favorite book/movie/food/hamburger-topping/band/band-name-that's-also-a-city/breed-of-fish/etc is all potentially published right there at the top of your profile.  Seven-hundred-thirty-six of your closest friends, most of whom wouldn't know your name if you ran into them on the street, are wishing you a happy birthday on your wall.

And we thought password-based systems were weak before this.

Sure, you can take some basic precautions to help your own children...Name your pet something uncommon, perhaps with a hyphen or apostrophe. But nothing stops them unraveling your careful work by posting an update on Twitter, "Taking my new pet, O'Fluffy-the-Kitteh, to Grandma MomsMaidenName's house where she grew up, in Bumbletucky, for my birthday next Tuesday."

My guidance to end users? Don't answer those password reset questions accurately. If the site is "high value," (your bank, or something that could be used to order & ship expensive koala meat), create random strings of text & store your answers in the notes section of your password manager.

And my guidance to companies implementing such practices?  Look, single-factor password systems were weak before...maybe it's time to move forward?  Look at how Google implemented 2-step verification, or look at how LastPass enables multifactor with the Google Authenticator. If you're a retail site, and I forget my password, I don't mind if you lock my transaction history & force me to reset any stored payment methods (I'd actually prefer it).  If you're running a low-sensitivity comment forum, I probably don't need anything more than email confirmation for the reset.  Just...don't further compromise your whole system just to save a couple bucks on customer support....It won't save you anything, in the long run.

and +B!ng(0) was his name-o

Monday, June 11, 2012

and now, a word from our author...

Let's kick off this new blog with a bit of an introduction...

First, a bit about my nom de plume...I've been operating online as TrackZero since the Dark Times, when Prodigy & CompuServe were still real, squelching things you could summon through arcane portals, opened by the ancient, wailing incantation of modem-song.  The alias is a reference to the old CHS method for addressing locations on a hard drive. Track0 contained the partition table (layout information for the rest of the disk) and the bootstrap code required to fire up the operating system...So without Track Zero, all the other bits were basically meaningless.

Perhaps, in the very beginning, I thought to use the alias as a veil for my real-life identity...but after a cursory glance at the echos left by simply participating as a consumer of modern conveniences, the illusion of potential anonymity in a tech-centric world was quickly dispelled.

TrackZero is now, for all practical purposes, my always-on persona.  I've done little to firewall the pseudonym from my real-world identity.  I've lived in states that freely published their DMV records (with SSN!), I've gone to schools that blindly published fully-populated, anonymously-accessible CSOPhonebooks, and I've received data-breach notices from more institutions than I care to recount...So if you're a skiddie and you want to show me how fast I can be doxxed, you'll understand why I don't seem shocked or impressed.

Well, that's the name...origin of the brand, if you will.  And the guy behind it?  I'm a hacker, and have been since well before it took on any lawless connotation.  Many had rightly identified me as a geek, at a time when the less-technical local villagers would have considered such a title to be a derogatory term. My peers were often perplexed as to why I would accept --if not happily wear -- such insult so proudly; I like to think it's because I knew what was coming next.

Throughout my career, I've built a broad range of expertise across many Information Technology disciplines. I started as a COBOL programmer, but I quickly moved to infrastructure engineering.  My niche areas include Information Security, Client/End-User, Systems Management, and Identity & Directory services.  Other strengths include Windows Server, messaging, and many aspects of network engineering & operations.  I published or contributed to a handful of technical books back in the days when they still made 'em out of dead trees.  I'm a CISSP, but don't hold that against me...I've known this stuff since well before anyone started peddling certifications.  Sometimes you just need the right acronym to get 'em to open the door.

In Real Life, I can fake a fairly respectable corporate persona.  Enough so that I've been in mid-level management for Fortune 50 companies for the last ten years.  This is the Management Track, as it were, and I can keep him out there for years on end, when I need to. always feels a bit like holding my breath.

And eventually, I've gotta breathe.