Labor Day

First, an apology for my absence.  Transitioning from regular print to Web, coinciding with certain other transitions, has made for a bit of rough going, especially since my musings aren’t so much bringing in the cheese like they used to.  But that’s another story.

Also, a thank you for all the kind reader comments.  The posting will resume a more regular rhythm now, and once I clear my in-box of the 50,000 spam messages, I’m sure I’ll have some actual insight to share.

There was also a certain amount of weather-dodging recently, as my travels took me down to the LandWarNet conference in Fort Lauderdale–just in time to encounter Tropical Storm Fay as it Roomba’d across Florida for several days, soaking every inch of real estate and leaving me looking like, well, a wet rat as I dragged my gear to a conference hotel.  Lesson learned: when in Florida in late summer, rent a car.

Rat lesson #2: In next life, go into the convention business.  WiFi was $15 a day at the Broward County Convention Center.  Also, as the Rat’s former colleagues found out: apparently, when you rent a booth at such events, that pricing does not include:

  • carpeting.
  • a pad for the carpeting (additional cost
  • a table for the booth, or chairs, or anything else for that matter.

But such is life.

The Army’s technorati and the rest of the DOD information tech apparatchiks speaking at LandWarNet sounded one thing loud and clear:  play time for those using the NIPrNet to get to the Web will soon be over, because the risks involved in free browsing are apparently at least partially responsible for a chain of data “exfiltrations” from the DOD’s unclassified but sensitive network.  General-rank officers’ personnel records, a number of health records, and other sorts of info covered under a host of regulatory protections have all managed to dance their way off the NIPrNet into unknown hands.

Around the same time, word started to spread that the Air Force was applying air brakes to the launch of its Cyber Command.  That’s likely because (1) Air Force CIO Lt. Gen. Peterson is retiring, (2)It’s rumored that AFCYBER commander Lt. Gen Lord is up for the DISA directorship, and  (3) his deputy just got reassigned.   Oh, plus the Air Force has some other problems.

The Rat (me…I have issues with the third person still, forgive me) dried out just in time to catch the beginning of the Democratic convention in Denver.  There’s something…ironic? about the Democrats having their convention in Denver, in the center of  a deep red state, and the Republicans having their convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, the home of great Republicans like John Anderson. But in any case, the Dem convention, in all its well-staged pageantry, was merely a distant rumbling for the Rat household, where the family was beginning to agitate for the cyberodent to actually do something with his time other than indexing his papers for his unpresidential library–like, actual manual labor.

So, as the din of the convention faded into background, the wirebiter broke out the weed whacker and hedge trimmer.   Apparently, he wasn’t the only one facing some weedy problems, given the troubles the “government”–a broad general term used frequently to conceal the tangle of agencies involved–is having with the so-called “terrorist watch list”.  The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is leading some weeding of what has become a briarpatch of unlinked database tables, making searches a painful process.

“Use the wrong tool for the job, and you end up short a digit,” the Rat always says–especially after having to take eldest ratling to the emergency after nearly dropping a digit of his own to the hedge trimmer.  Another Rat lesson learned: teenagers and power tools in the yard, even when supervised, are trouble.  Much like defense contractors left unattended with tanker contracts.