Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Comments Configuration

I first setup the comments with the Blogger default to require a password and it sounds like a pain. Then I left it open for a few days and got a few more comments. Eventually I closed them again because I heard all sorts of stories about spammers & trolls. But I'm not getting a ton of traffic so I'm inclined to just open it back up again. I've done that for the purposes of getting responses to this post so anyone can reply.

Please tell me what you think - do you prefer it when you can use an account to post comments or is it too much of a pain that you would rather have them open? Thanks.


Monday, August 28, 2006

Fantasy Fashion League Begins Again

For many, clothing is a requirement, nothing more. I'm not one of those people. I like to think of fashion as wearable art. Through color, cut, texture and style, fashion can create an incredible visual effect and always makes an impression whether we like it or not. It's also interesting because the same piece can look entirely different on one person vs. the next. And it's fun to combine things the way no one else has.

I blame it on my freshman college roommate. She introduced me to fashion magazines and modeling. Then when I dabbled in the latter, I learned how to mix and match clothing and accessories (today's fashion is more about mixing) and I learned how to create a look for any occasion. Rather than being one of those people who dreads special events, I look forward to the opportunity of putting a new combination of items together. I always liked fashion as a kid, but having some education on the subject allowed me to develop into a lifelong collector.

Through my interest in fashion, I've become increasingly more in tune with designer collections, trends and fashion outlets - the Style channel, fashion magazines, online merchants, and various vendors. I don't know if I would call myself a fashionista, because I'm more concerned with lasting style than momentary trends, but I definitely follow the sport. I like to see how outfits look on people and I find it interesting who chooses to wear what.

Enter the Fantasy Fashion League, the fashion watcher's version to the fantasy football league. Each participant chooses a slate of clothing designers, accessory designers, and celebrities who they believe will get press each day, week, month and special event. It runs from the Emmys to the Oscars, starting this year with last night's 58th Annual Emmy Awards.

It was confusing to sign-up at first, because I expected more celebrity choices than designers and I also expected some sort of point scale relating to ingenues vs. established stars. Gwynneth Paltrow, for example, locked in a huge number of points last year despite being out of the spotlight, whereas Scarlett Johansson, an emerging style icon, gained less points overall. I would've assumed Johansson would have some sort of 6:1 odds vs. Gwynneth's 2:1 to encourage choosing lesser known stars.

Instead, each game "card" allows you to choose which celeb you think will amass more points and give that person a higher multiplier. Points are accrued through coverage in major fashion magazines, TV event coverage, and web sites like Women's Wear Daily's and

They have public and private game cards so you can start your own fantasy league pools with friends. I haven't attempted any private cards as I was a last minute signup, but it's a way to use the system the way office basketball pools are run. So if you're a fashion fan and want to participate, it's not too late to sign up for either type. Yesterday was just the first day. This league year runs through the 79th Annual Academy Awards held on February 25th. And if you are hosting an Oscar party, you can always run a private pool for one night only. Check it out.

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Princess Leia Turning 50 With a Smirk

I fell in love with Carrie Fisher at age 4 when "Star Wars" hit the scene. At the time, I just thought she was the coolest heroine in the universe, but over the years, I've grown to love her even more.

"When Harry Met Sally" and "Hannah and Her Sisters" showcased her evolving skills as an actor. Then gradually she began to focus on her writing more by releasing "Postcards from the Edge" and working behind the scenes of the Oscars, and that caught my attention as well. Little known are her essays and infrequent articles, but I treasure each one I find.

Today I had some good chuckles reading her piece, "Fifty -- Bring It On" in September's Harper's Bazaar (page 316). Grabbing me from the beginning as always, she uses her knack for witty sarcasm to reel me in further. "You are not aging like wine; [she says] whoever said that didn't know his or her liquor." Quotes like that are priceless.

Princess Leia turns 50 on October 21st. I heard her joke somewhere once about how a different crew member got to rip the tape off her breasts each day after shooting the first "Star Wars" film. (The tape was there to keep them in place under the white dress for fear some little kid might see jiggling.) Now I'm sure she would be the first to remark about how the tape might come in handy at 50. Aging gracefully with spunk, I highly recommend savoring her work.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Advertising promotes advertisers on individual pages as well as the home page where the blog is currently located. For advertisers interested in entering into a monthly or annual contract, please contact sairy[at]sairy[dot]com.



Press Inquiries: email sairy[at]sairy[dot]com

Entrepreneur, June 12, 2009: "The Cost (and Payoff) of Investing in Social Media", by Lydia Dishman

The Hill, December 15, 2008: "Midday Roundup", by Michael O'Brien - PR Insider, Featured Guest, November 4, 2008: "Election PR & Communications" (Radio)

SignOnRadio - "Digital Politics", Featured Guest, September 25, 2008: "Women and the Voting Booth" (Radio), August 20, 2008: "Will the Big Tent in Denver Help Bloggers Break Through?", by Simon Owens

techPresident, July 25, 2008: "Daily Digest: Politics? One Column, Two Sentences, a Headline!", by Nancy Scola

CBS 5 News, July 17, 2008: "SF Conference Highlights Surge in Blogging Women", by Mike Sugarman (TV)

Daily Post, July 14, 2008: "Fall preview for fashionistas", by Carla Scheifly, pp. 6-7 (with photo)

Contra Costa Times, March 24, 2008: "Blogging for Bucks", by Susan Young, p. C1

San Francisco Chronicle, February 15, 2008: "At this party, politesse is sent packing", by Carolyne Zinko, Style section, front page, F1

Mercury News, February 5, 2008: "Five friends who rallied around Edwards had to make a tough second choice", by Julia Prodis Sulek

Daily Kos & John Edwards '08 Blog, October 2, 2007: "Have you heard about Elizabeth Edwards and the Mommy Bloggers?", by Tracy Russo (with photo)

The New York Times, October 1, 2007: Women, Politics and the Internet", by Katharine Q. Seeyle (quoted as 'Sarah' without last name)

ABC News - "Good Morning America", Segment Expert, March 8, 2007: "Beware of the Web" (TV)

Palo Alto Weekly, September 26, 2006: "MommyBloggers go fashionista", by Tekla Nee, pp. 36-37 (with photo)

Palo Alto Weekly, August 16, 2006: "Living in a bloggers' world", p. 3, 8 (photo only)

Cisco IQ Magazine, Sunset Publishing, Spring 2005: "Beware the Social Engineer," by David Baum

Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper, Jan. 1-7, 2004: Techsploits, "Reverse Social Engineering," by Annalee Newitz

Boing Boing, March 22, 2003: "Six Degrees of tech", by Cory Doctorow

Philadelphia Inquirer, April 4, 2002: "AOL suit highlights danger of Internet theft,"by Peter Sigal

Washington Post, Newsbytes, Jan. 16, 2002: "InstaKiss Password-Stealing Scam Sites Proliferate," by Brian McWilliams

San Jose Mercury News, July 2, 1997: Collection of interviews with local network consultants (representing NDA)

ABC News Kansas City - "Nightly News", Feature On Location, circa
1984: "Kids at Computer Camp" (TV)

(*note: too many blog and social media mentions to list)



Focused early on the intersection between technology and society, Sarah Granger's work spans from the days of the BBS to Web 2.0. Sarah is an award-winning journalist and new media strategist, she played a lead role in three technology start-ups, and she directed the launch of what Wired News called the "first true weblog to be put up by a politician," and she's an active community volunteer and organizer. Sarah has been used by leading news organizations as an expert on Internet culture, computer security, mommyblogging and more. A prolific writer, editor and speaker, Sarah covers heavy technical topics like online politics, network security, information and communications technology policy, electronic privacy, blogging, and social networks, balanced out with lighter, more personal topics like fashion, parenting, philanthropic events, performing arts and figure skating. Her new media strategy work is done under the umbrella of PublicEdge.

Her online writing credits include techPresident, The Huffington Post, Digital Landing, Security Focus, BlogHer, ChipCenter, Mindjack, Playborhood, MOMocrats, Tech Mamas, & Silicon Valley Moms Blog. Offline, Sarah's writing about technology topics can be found in academic journals like The World Summit in Reflection and Ethics in the Computer Age. In print, she has written for Bay Area Parent and Piper magazines. Sarah has edited three books on computer security: mCommerce Security: A Beginner's Guide, Biometrics: Identity Assurance in the Information Age (both published by McGraw-Hill), and PKI Trust Solutions, published by Wiley & Sons. She wrote, directed and co-produced what may have been the world's first Cyberpunk stage play, Invasion of Cyberspace in 1995.

Sarah has been quoted and mentioned by ABC News, the Washington Post, San Jose Mercury News, Mtv Japan, Daily Kos, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The New York Times. Her articles on social engineering are required reading in computer security courses at universities and in IT organizations around the country and her seasonal fashion trends lists are some of the most popular on the web. She has been a speaker and panelist at international conferences on topics related to technology, policy, politics, and blogging, and she was recently on "Good Morning America" as an expert on Internet privacy.

During the 2004 U.S. presidential campaign, Sarah directed Internet strategy and operations for former Senator Gary Hart's presidential exploratory "testing the waters" organization (Gary Hart News). Her team pre-empted the historic Dean campaign by presenting the first candidate blog written by the candidate fully open to comments. She also built and managed teams for the web site, netroots, e-mail, content, IT and database, and trained over 100 key volunteers. The Gary Hart News Blog became one of the most popular blogs in the world. Sarah has worked with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Emerge America, The Innovation Funders Network, and Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility as well as national, statewide and local candidates. She still advises candidates and causes as Managing Director for FutureCampaigns.

She previously worked as a network security consultant for a variety of technology companies. Clients and employers included Symantec, Phoenix Technologies, Liquid Audio, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). Her three high-tech startups to date include, an online ergonomics tool for businesses, Artloop, an online art database for merchants and museums and Net Daemons Associates, a network and system administration consulting business (acquired by Interliant).

A long time member of USACM, the U.S. Association for Computing Machinery Public Policy Committee, Sarah has served on the privacy subcommittee and helped draft issue position statements. She currently sits on the Junior Leagues of California State Public Affairs Committee (SPAC) and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Junior League of Palo Alto/Mid-Peninsula, and she previously served on the City of Menlo Park Environmental Quality Commission. Sarah was a delegate to the World Summit on the Information Society at the U.N. in 2003 and she represented the State of Kansas in a student delegation to the U.S.S.R. in 1989. Sarah is a graduate of the Emerge California women's political leadership training program and she was featured on the front page of the White House Project's site.

Sarah earned an interdisciplinary Bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan with a major in "Technology and Society." She served as President of the College of Engineering student government and was the recipient of numerous leadership awards, including the Arlen R. Hellwarth Prize. She also chaired the student ACM chapter at UofM and held board positions in two leadership honor societies. She minored in creative writing, including screenwriting, playwriting, TV writing, short stories and poetry.

Born in the midwest and transplanted to California in 1995, Sarah has traveled to over 30 countries. She dabbles in speaking Russian and French, and she briefly resided in London. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

For more about Sarah Granger, see her site at, which includes a portfolio of her writing.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Gaming for Girls

I read a BBC News article entitled "Games industry is 'failing women'" today about how there aren't enough computer games for women. This isn't really news. But what is interesting is that they are making broad generalizations like "just boys saw Star Wars multiple times" which I can attest is not true. I saw it multiple times.

They say girls like The Sims. Girls also like puzzle games like Tetris. Yes, that's true but we also do like some of the girly fashion games that aren't bland. And we like the more typically masculine games too sometimes. There are plenty of girls out there playing role playing shoot-em-up games.

But you have to also examine the trends of the latest video game markets - they have tended toward more character-driven, reality-type, action games because that's where the money is and animation drives interest. Gone are the days of Frogger and Apple Panic where I always felt computer games were more gender-neutral.

They say four of the 11 creative teams Electronic Arts has are headed by women, but that doesn't matter if the teams are largely comprised by men. Then there's the competitive factor too - gaming companies have to one-up each other by coming up with the next, newest, more realistic games to go head-to-head with the other guys.

Just putting women in charge isn't going to necessarily do it. It must be the right women, and the teams need to include women, and these women need to represent a broad range of gamer types. From what I know of gaming companies, the environment is largely male computer geeks who spend their time coding, playing video games or watching porn. (Yes, I'm generalizing here too, but I have friends who worked in these companies and they told me that's what they did.) That's a far cry from the social female demographic they are talking about trying to reach here.

Then there's the possibility that maybe girls or women in general just aren't into computer or video games as a concept. Maybe they would rather be at the mall with their friends than on the computer no matter how perfect the game is for them. It's just not their scene.

As to whether the gaming industry is really "failing" women? I don't really hear my female friends complaining, "gee, there aren't enough good games I like" but then again, most of them weren't playing computer games and video games like I was as a kid. Am I complaining? Mmmm... maybe. I suppose I'd prefer more games that interested me, but honestly, when I've had the time to play computer games, I've typically chosen to do other things. (Now if someone would come up with some good games for my cell phone for the doctor's office waiting room, now we're talking!) Even when I was the age that they're talking about targeting (roughly 15-25 yr-olds) I still had other things I wanted to do with my time. Like hanging out with my friends playing live role playing games instead.

So who cares if only 40% of teenage girls play video games vs. 90% of teenage boys? Probably only the gaming companies.

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Spying on Citizens Ruled Unconstitutional - No, Really?

This week's ACLU win over the NSA should not be a shock except that it is - a welcome one. U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor has my vote as the first person to slap down the Bush administration's NSA program. What I don't get is how it takes so long to say "no no, that's bad" to programs like this and how they get away with doing these things in the first place.

Here are the meaty quotes from the ruling -- "The irreparable injury necessary to warrant injunctive relief is clear, as the First and Fourth Amendment rights of Plaintiffs are violated..." And [the program is] "... in contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [FISA] and Title III ...[and]... violates the separation of powers doctrine, the Administrative Procedures Act, the First and Fourth amendments to the United States Constitution, the FISA and Title III."

Read my comment on BlogHer about the ruling. Also see the judge's opinion.

"Hit the road, Jack, and don't ya come back no more, no more, no more, no more..." - Ray Charles

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Silicon Valley Moms in PA Weekly

The Silicon Valley Moms Blog is featured in yesterday's Palo Alto Weekly -
"Living in a bloggers' world". It's a good article about some of the local bloggers - mostly VentureBlog. I'm in the group photo but I'm not mentioned in the article, and the photo wasn't printed in the print version. It's a long story - literally - which is why I guess they didn't print the photo there.

I now have my own column on the SV Moms Blog - My SV Life: Sarah. Latest posts include: "This is Not Wisteria Lane", "Tales from Voicemail Hell", "Dumb Smart Homes" and "The Politics of Parenting". Check it out and let me know what you think.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A Ceres of Planets

A giant asteroid named Ceres is being considered for initiation in the most exclusive club in the Solar System: the Planets.

If your astronomy's a little rusty, here's a refresher: there's an asteroid belt in between Mars and Jupiter - in essence, a bunch of rocks. The predominant theory for the asteroid belt is when the inner planets were forming, there were some pieces of matter on the outskirts that didn't have enough gravity to pull them into a larger planet - thus the asteroid belt.

Composition-wise, Ceres has been called an "embryonic planet" meaning it's still in a form similar to where Earth was 4 billion years ago. What's cool about Ceres is its mantle (the part surrounding the core) may hold more fresh water-made ice than we have on Earth. I can just picture Evian and Crystal Geyser harvesting the water from Ceres in the next milennium.

Why a planet? Because it's big enough to hold its own in relation to the Sun's gravitational pull. Anything with a mass greater than 500,000,000,000,000,000,000 kilograms and a diameter over 800 kilometers (497 miles) will now be a member of the club. Ceres is the biggest of over 10,000 rocks and it holds about 25 percent of the mass of all of the asteroids comprising the belt (which in total is less than the Moon's mass).

Ceres is roughly 1/14th the size of Pluto, but by the new planetary definitions, it would make the cut. Ceres has a diameter roughly the equivalent of Texas. As if Texans needed this to boost their egos - now they can claim not only to be big enough to be their own country, but they can claim to be big enough to be their own planet.

2500 astronomers who comprise the International Astronomical Union will vote on August 24th as to whether Ceres gets admitted into the club. If so, it will be one of twelve members.


Monday, August 14, 2006

Splunking AOL, Orwell Awards & Hello Kitty

Paul Boutin has a great feature on Slate that illuminates users and search based on parsing data from the AOL logs with Splunk. It's called "You Are What You Search" and defines 7 ways people search the web. It's a must-read. I'm an 'Omnivore'. (The Pat Benetar reference hit a little too close to home.)

Paul's an Orwell fan (it's his cat's name) so I thought it only fitting to mention Arianna Huffington's Orwell Awards for "truth and lies in our political discourse." It's not nearly as good a read as Paul's article, but if you're following Connecticut politics and the Bush regime's response, it's amusing.

In other news, BoingBoing showcased the Hello Kitty Platinum Plus Visa. We've ordered one for Julia. With that and a pink iPod, she'll be set.

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Infant Formula Bombs

With the new security rules, nearly every liquid is banned. Moms and dads will be happy to know this does not include liquid infant formula as long as a baby is in tow. However, powder infant formula is allowed, which is a bit risky.

Powdered infant formula contains crystallized components that can be faked, meaning someone could carry bomb-making agents that look similar. These powders also often contain high concentrations of metals that make it difficult to detect real formula from fake formula - including with the X-ray machines used in airports. It would be necessary, however, for this material to be mixed with another bomb-making agent in order for it to be detonated.

Theft of formulas and black market formula creation and sales is on the rise. Resulting from the high price in infant formulas, some fringe groups are actually profiting from these black market sales - potentially even terrorist groups. And in 1994, a bomb was hidden inside a can of infant formula that exploded in a church in Baghdad.

It is inconvenient to not be able to carry formula or electronics and to have our children scanned, but these are legitimate threats. Not only could a detonator be devised to look like a cell phone, but it could be hidden inside a working phone as well. And terrorists won't always keep these items on their own person - they could sneak them into our carry-on bags in a tight security line. Be careful.

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Friday, August 11, 2006


CPSR, the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, a nonprofit comprised primarily of computer scientists and technology professionals, has been struggling the past several years to stay afloat and find a fresh vision. In the past couple weeks they announced a new board, new board leadership, and a new office in San Francisco, as part of a community technology nonprofit hub.

CPSR began as an anti-nuke organization that later did a lot of work in the areas of electronic privacy (spawning EPIC, the Electronic Privacy Information Center), surveillance, and participatory design. CPSR also launched the first CFP (Computer, Freedom and Privacy) conference. More recently, CPSR participated in WSIS, the World Summit on the Information Society and worked on key electronic voting issues.

I've been a member on and off over the years but just renewed as a life member to support the organization's new direction. I also worked for them under a Ford Foundation grant a few years ago, helping launch their (not so new now) web site among other things. It was a challenging time, but I think they are making some good progress.

Check out CPSR, and if you have any questions, let me know and I'll try to direct you to the right person. It's inexpensive to join and it's a great group of people, now expanding internationally. The new office party is tonight in SF at 1370 Mission Street. I can't go (still recovering), unfortunately, but if you can, I highly recommend it - should be fun.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006


I recall hearing at some point that it's the longest word in the dictionary, but I can't confirm that. All I can say is it fits Joe Lieberman's actions this week.

A lot of woo-hooing is going on about Lamont beating Lieberman in Connecticut - Lieberman lost with 48% of the vote. What I don't get is how he got that many votes in the first place. There's all this controversy over Dems backing Lamont now. Like they're supposed to bail on the guy who legitimately won their primary? I'm sure Joe Lieberman is a good guy and all, but if he really thinks he can run as an Independent and win, he's been smoking some pretty strong stuff.

Meanwhile, what's up with that whole bit about the Lamont campaign hacking into Lieberman's site? It's certainly possible, but nobody would condone that sort of thing. And from what I know of campaign databases, most of the information that might be useful to an opposing team would not be located on the campaign web site's server anyway. As far as a DOS (Denial-of-Service) attack goes, he has no proof - why is the first assumption to think that if his site's down, it's because of a hacker? These campaigns are always so cheap, it's more likely the server just couldn't handle the election day load.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Skillet Lickers

It cracks me up every time I hear of bands that give themselves long, convoluted names, like everything else has been done so they have to come up with something raunchy with multiple meanings to get attention. That said, some of them are pretty good.

For those of you not hooked into the San Francisco jazz scene, you probably haven't heard of Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers. But if you're around here and like the idea of edgy, "provocative" big band, go to Union Square tomorrow night, August 10th, from 6-7:30. For more information, check out the San Francisco Jazz Festival - Union Square Series.

To learn about the band, go to To hear some of their music, go to

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I Still Use Pine

I graduated a few years ago to Pine from Mail. Yup - Mail, the UNIX program used from the prompt level with no bells or whistles, little UI and zero graphics. Sometimes it's called Mailx but it's essentially the same thing. Pine, based on the Pico editor, was a major step up for me - actual folders, hot keys, highlighted text, and scrolling features.

Most people I knew in college were already on Pine, or were using Eudora but I didn't see the need to change my system for a long time. It was a question of volume that finally drove me to do it - volume and spam. Now I get hundreds of messages a day and I want to be able to control them better. But I digress.

I'm old school - I like checking my e-mail on the server and leaving it there where I can get it from elsewhere if necessary at a later time. I like knowing that if I open the wrong message, I won't immediately get a virus installed on my machine. And I suppose starting out with the command line just makes me feel more comfortable, like I'm closer to the source.

I'm not really sure why I'm waxing nostalgic this week since I have nothing to prove in the geek department, but one thing is certain: I hate webmail. I didn't jump on the gmail band wagon because I hate webmail. Every time I've tried a webmail system, it's been slow and buggy. I'm used to typing d 1-1000 and deleting a thousand messages instantly or just holding the 'd' key and watching them die. Cheap entertainment, I know, but it's just so fulfilling to watch it all disappear. With webmail, you check a box, you wait, you check another one, you wait. Then you click an icon and you wait some more. This is supposed to be more efficient how?

I do like HTML mail - to an extent. I read my enclosures in Eudora or Thunderbird (when I'm not busy cursing the bugs) and anything with a lot of HTML or images like eVites or newsletters. Sometimes I don't read them at all because I just don't feel like dealing with all of the graphics. I like text. I'm not a luddite, I swear. I have an iPod, I was early on Orkut, I send 6000 text messages a month on my Treo and I have a wireless network at home. I just like to be efficient and the Inbox is one of those places where efficiency is key.

My system is certainly no better or worse than anybody else's - it just happens to work for me. My friend, Ben Gross, is writing his dissertation on "how individuals manage complex social lives with multiple online identifiers using email, instant messaging and on mobile devices." He interviewed me while doing his research and we had an interesting discussion about how people can use so many different systems to achieve their goals. I look forward to seeing his final results. Maybe he can convince me to graduate to the next generation technology for e-mail. A new version of Pine?


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Lamenting the Loss of the BBS

I've posted to three blogs today so far (including this one), and commented on two. Slowly but surely I'm becoming a part of these online communities and feeling more comfortable in my own blogging skin. Eventually perhaps I'll come to match usernames with personalities and develop online relationships. Perhaps.

It wasn't always this way. In a former life, I was part of a very special online community. Back in the day ("the day" being 1987), I wandered onto my first BBS. Bulletin Board Systems were to the late 80's what web sites are today. Discussion groups were the precursors to blogs. I was one of approx. 40 people in Kansas City who were a part of the BBS community and we had a lot of fun together. We visited each other's BBS's, posted in discussions, chatted with each other, and occasionally gathered in person. Some of those people - you know who you are - I still consider close friends. Others disappeared into the ether (and are probably somewhere on the net), never to be seen or heard from again.

Ah the innocent days of youth, staring without a care in the world at my Amiga monitor writing about Nietzsche to some guy I'd never met. As a fourteen year-old, my parents were scared stiff of my meeting nameless, faceless people from the other side of town. My dad insisted upon accompanying me on my first physical outing to meet the people with whom I'd conversed to the wee hours on my computer. Once he saw how harmless and geeky they were, he decided to stay at home the next time. (Don't get me wrong - there were a couple of sleazy people in the group - but it became a fun sport to avoid them rather than a daunting chore (i.e. spam).)

My BBS had a theme, like most, and nearly everyone who visited became a role player within the theme. Each new visitor-caller I greeted with a chat invitation and a kind word. We discussed technology, art and science. We weren't all tech-savvy; some people just happened to own computers with modems.

Running a BBS taught me many things. It taught me how to meet new people. It taught me that the digital environment is a great equalizer. It taught me to be responsible for an online system and it taught me how to design a site. I learned how to write, and I learned that text can be easily misconstrued.

Now that I'm a new parent, as I think of my daughter's future I can't help but wonder: what will online life be like for her? I shudder to think. Will I be downloading new anti-spam software on a weekly basis? Will I be demanding an AIM chat with every new "guy" she meets? Installing keystroke logging devices to track her conversations just in case? At least she won't always be meeting these people in person, but is that a good thing?

I miss the days of the BBS. I miss the innocence and the wonder of it all. Even when I was a system administrator with root access to major government networks, it didn't have the same thrill. I miss walking past my desk at night, seeing the flashing lights on the modem and wondering who I might meet in chat mode. Each day brought a new surprise. Now as I surf the web for some sense of geography for mapping out the places I want to see, I still picture each site in my mind the way I formerly visualized BBS's - a living, breathing matrix of intelligent creatures trying to connect. I crave that close sense of community. Blogging in Silicon Valley has provided some of it, but there's no going back to the days of youth. Long live the 64th Dimension!

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Recent Writing

For a writer, there's nothing like that first time you see your own byline. I've had that opportunity online and in print magazines, but I had yet to see it in a book until recently. One of my articles, "Social Engineering Fundamentals," has attracted a lot of attention over the past few years and an editor in India asked to publish it in a new book - Ethical Hacking - An Introduction. Mine is the third article, part one of the series - "Hacker Tactics." Here's one place you can buy it - It doesn't affect my pocketbook, but it's a good compilation. Mostly, it's a great motivator to get me back to work on my book proposal. ;)

A few months ago, while still in the postpardum haze, I wrote a followup piece for Security Focus - "Social Engineering Reloaded" - to continue where I left off in the original series. It was fun revisiting the topic, particularly in light of how much has changed during that time.

As of yesterday, I'm now blogging for the Silicon Valley Moms Blog. My first post, Apple's Next Generation Challenge, looks at why Apple Computer doesn't have an educational discount for kids before college. The SV Moms Blog is a really interesting collection of women and I'm proud to be associated with them.

I've updated dotblog with Julia's URL and a photo so people at the March of Dimes', who were following the latter days of my pregnancy can see how well she is doing. I may begin using that blog again as a place to vent my frustrations about recovering, rather than posting that here. For anyone facing preterm labor and preemie problems, is a comforting community.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Expert Blogging Tips

If you run your own website or blog you need to have good and reliable email hosting, something that many people find quite useful is exchange email outsourcing. You can explore different options and learn about exchange server hosting and how a Microsoft exchange server works.

I was planning to post a meaty entry today commenting on the latest Diebold voting machines' backdoor hype, but after I sent e-mail to friends and colleagues announcing this blog, one of the respondents was Cory Doctorow, co-author of Essential Blogging, whose advice I thought was more apropos:

Date: Wed, 2 Aug 2006 15:46:33 -0700
From: Cory Doctorow

> Any sage blogging advice for a newbie?

* Write clear headlines, not funny headlines
* Write clear ledes
* Put the fulltext in RSS
* Use your blog as a memex and put everything interesting you want to refer to later on it
* Don't feed the trolls

Thanks Cory!


Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Welcome to segmented. Since blogs typically include segments of news, ideas, thoughts and information, that's where I came up with the name. It also happens that s-e-g are my initials.

This isn't my first time blogging, but it's the first weblog I've created on my own, so it is an experiment of sorts. I was knee deep in the blogosphere when the hype began but didn't see the pull to start my own at the time - I knew the time commitment involved and wanted to wait for the right moment.

As to the content, I outlined this blog to focus on technology, politics, culture and arts but I will most certainly cover other topics. I designed my own degree program entitled "Technology & Society" where I studied technology policy, politics, economics and culture. My career, including BBS development, network consulting, computer security, web startups, Internet campaigns and online activism, has been centered around that. However, I wear many other hats - writer, parent, volunteer, world traveler, philanthropist, activist, musician, figure skater - but I prefer not to be defined by any particular role. These are all a part of who I am.

I may be able to hack a kernel, sing an aria and land an axel, but I can't make this blog successful without fresh ideas and participation from others. So I welcome your thoughts and comments as I embark on this new venture. Appreciez!

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