Saying ‘Goodbye’ to a terrific mentor.

I was at a memorial service today for a great local mentor who was so important to me as my early career developed. His granddaughter Tessa read this poem by Henry Wordsworth Longfellow. I can’t remember hearing it before and I was so impressed by her reading and by Longfellow’s sentiment. Much better than the simplistic carpe diem.

A Psalm of Life

What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist.
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
   Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
   And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
   And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
   Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
   Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
   Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
   And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
   Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world’s broad field of battle,
   In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
   Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
   Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
   Heart within, and God o’erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us
   We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
   Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
   Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
   Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
   With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
   Learn to labor and to wait.
Thanks to Don for everything that you taught me and I can see that you lived by Longfellow’s message to “Act, – act in the living Present”.

Adobe Lightroom CC first impressions

I’ve been running Adobe’s new iteration of Lightroom for the last couple of weeks and I am starting to form some interesting impressions.  It would be fair to say some positive and some negative.

Lightroom has been around for years and has been the mainstay of my organising my library.  I take lots of photos or my patients at work and I also have a large number of personal photos.  There are a little over 50,000 images in my libraries and only Lightroom has enabled me to tackle organising them.  I used Lightroom 3 and then 4 for many years and extensively employed:

  • a folder based organisation structure
  • keywords
  • collections

These tools set me up for organisation but I was always in trouble when I changed devices or I wanted to use a mobile device.  I always worried about backups too and had a three layer backup plan.

The biggest change with the new Lightroom CC is moving the primary repository of all the images into the cloud.  Each device keeps a low res version of each image but overall there is less space needed and everything stays up to date.  I love that.  The App for Android, which I use, is simple but really effective.  I can take images on the phone camera and add them to my library immediately.  They are backed up, available and synced! Finally!

The new lightroom also does an awesome job with face recognition which becomes a really useful tool albeit several years after Apple implemented it.  The cloud storage also allows search using any term, not just previously applied tags.  This is terrific if I want to find photos of elephants, the beach or sunset.  It’s less awesome if I want to be able to separate photos of melanoma from squamous cell tumours.  I’ll need to tag those.

Where I feel let down is that Lightroom still feels like a work in progress, major features are missing and the product does not replicate the tools of the old desktop Lightroom 4.
Thinks like the ability to print.  To search for tag1 and tag2.  To find photos with no tag. Most editing tools are more basic too although this has little effect on me as I’m not often looking for those tools.

My advice is: enjoy it for what its is but recognise what it is not.  It not a polished piece of software yet but hopefully additions will roll out frequently!

Installing SSL was not entirely smooth

The browsers that I use regularly, particularly Google Chrome and Firefox have been becoming more and more noisy about web pages that use the http protocol.  This is the long established but insecure protocol that sends pages from server to client unencrypted.  The more more modern and in some ways more secure https is preferred.  So it became time to upgrade my website and its WordPress blog to enable https.

The first step was easy – my host was able to automatically generate an SSL certificate which is installed on the web server and which allows communications to be signed and transmitted securely encrypted.  That was done with a click of a button.  Thanks WebSiteSource.

Next, as I worked through this HowTo, was a recommendation to install a plugin called ReallySimple SSL.  Sounded good to me but for some reason I started hitting a reasonably well know WordPress problem.  I started getting blank screens in the admin area of my WordPress blog.  Fortunately there were a few guides, including this one, which helped work out which Theme or Plugin was responsible.  A bit of FTP work, following the youtube instruction was all that was necessary.

Now Really Simple SSL is playing nicely with all the other elements of my site and I have a lovely little green padlock in Firefox.

Typing tutors

As an adult who was never taught to type at school I have decided that enough is enough! It’s time to type properly. I gave been trying out a bunch of speed typing websites and here are my favourites.

EdClub has TypingClub with hundreds of pages of instruction. I rate it as my current fav.  Now on lesson 140 I’m starting to feel that I’m making progress but it still hurts to go backwards before picking up speed.

Note to self: Time to ditch WEP secured WiFi

You know how there’s a special class of thinks which sit on your list of items ‘to do’ but somehow never make it to the top and just don’t get done. Well the WiFi at home has been in that category for perhaps two years. I have an old, sprawling brick house and need three access points to provide reasonable coverage. When I set it up (in 2007, I think) WEP was already insecure and outdated but now its really an embarrassment.

What’s the problem? WEP is an antiquated standard which is easily broken allowing unknown users into your network. This tutorial show you how to reveal the holes in your WEP WiFi in three minutes.  So rather than providing security against malicious users all it does is provide a veneer of apparent security and block you family and mates from using your network.

This week it has to go….!

Is this the turning of the Australian privacy tide?

In a small step towards recognising the legitimately personal nature of metadata the Australian Privacy Commissioner has ordered telco Telstra to hand over personal metadata to journalist Ben Grubb after a two year dispute. The story is covered by ABC here.

The ruling appears to represent a different point of view to that espoused by the Abbott government which has argued that mandatory data retention laws did not retain personal information because metadata was analogous to no more than the address on an envelope (Abbott’s analogy in August 2014.)  Clearly information that records where I was, when and who I contacted is a lot more personal that that.  Also clearly, if the AFP posted an officer at my front gate to check what envelopes come into my letter box, I’d be worried.

The issue is briefly covered by Lateline reporter Margot O’Neil in a video here.

Annoyed? Google ‘citizens not suspects‘ or ‘electronic frontiers Australia‘.


Hello World

I’ve logged off, rebooted and restarted this blog to focus on my current interests of privacy, security, information management, surveillance and the role of government, all with an Australian focus. I will try to focus you attention and mine on developments occurring at home and around the globe.