Next-gen Ethical Hacking

This morning I was amused to find comment spam advertising the services of a hacker for hire for ‘ethical hacks, school upgrade, money transfer, blank a.t.m’s, clear your credit score’. Well, that’s an unexpected view of what constitutes ethical hacking. (If you’re not sure what I’m getting at, read the above as ‘falsify your grades’, ‘be tricked into buying an ATM card that’s supposed to allow you to fraudulently draw unlimited funds’, and so on.)

No, it wasn’t on this blog, but I bet if I put the word ‘hacker’ or ‘hacking’ into the title of this article, something similar will turn up. Of course, if it does, you’ll have to take my word for it, since I’m not going to approve it.

David Harley

Bored* of All I Survey

Dear Conference Organizers

If you want me to respond to a survey, it’s probably a good idea not to address me as ‘Dear madame’… I realize I’m not particularly famous, but I have spoken at your conference many times and I’m even on this year’s programme committee, so you should have some idea of my gender. (My connection with the programme committee also means that I have some idea of how well attended the conference is really likely to be, so let’s not big it up too much.)

Oh, and I don’t really need the email in triplicate.

Excuse me while I wipe the brick dust from my forehead before I consider whether there’s any point in answering your questions.

David Harley

*The quote I’m parodying from Cowper’s The Solitude of Alexander Selkirk is actually ‘I AM monarch of all I survey’, but it’s misquoted so often as ‘Lord of all I survey’ that I’m happy to go with the popular misconception on this occasion. Besides, I can’t think of a suitable word to rhyme with monarch.

 

More Flattening than Flattering

Jude finally found something useful to do with a couple of my author’s copies: specifically, two volumes of a very bulky, heavy and expensive book for which I wrote a couple of chapters a few years ago. That is, for flattening photographs that have spent the past few years rolled up in a cardboard tube.

flattening

However, she also put this up in my studio. I’m hoping she isn’t implying that I’m too loud and a bit dozy.

dreamers

David Harley

Travelling Hopefully…*

Ralph Waldo Emerson is often credited with saying that ‘Life is a journey, not a destination’ though I’ve also seen it attributed to the Buddha. Which suggests that an article is long overdue about the flakiness of sites about who said what. Right now, though, I’m wondering why so much marketing takes the quote so literally.

Perhaps it’s me, but I can’t imagine that many people plan their holidays or business trips so as to stay in a specific hotel or – even weirder – use a specific shuttle service from/to the airport. So why do I get so much marketing mail that assumes I do? Do people really go to specific places so that they can stay in a specific airport hotel? (But yes, I do understand that you might want to use a specific hotel or shuttle service if it does happen to fit with your travel plans.)

By the way, Emerson certainly said ‘A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.’ He forgot to mention copy editors. But that’s probably another rant for another day.

*To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive – Robert Louis Stephenson, in ‘El Dorado

David Harley

Midsummer Madness

Had it not been for Facebook, I might never have realized that so many people regard summer as starting around Midsummer. I suppose astronomical summer (as opposed to meteorological summer) explains why Springwatch feels so late in the season.

In a way, it’s very English to centre summer on the available daylight rather than meteorological patterns, since we’re usually pleasantly surprised by days on which it doesn’t rain. Though I suppose warmer rain has its advantages.

Having only troubled to look into this so late in life, I’m now wondering whether to celebrate the start of summer (again), regret the imminence of the solstice (light-wise, it’s all downhill from here), or wait a few days to wish you a happy St John’s Day (and maybe even St Peter’s Day a few days after). Or maybe I’ll just go back to not thinking about it at all. However, being in Cornwall at the time of Golowan probably makes the latter course of action impractical. I’m already in danger of extreme fascination with this world of Obby Oss (I’d love to have reproduced Charles Causley’s poem here, but you can find it in his ‘I had a little cat’ collection) and Obby’s connections with Old Penglaze and the Mari Lwyd. Not to mention Mirk of Lilleshall and his description of how St John’s Day turned from devotion to gluttony and sin. I think I’ll just leave that there.

David Harley