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.


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