Monthly, 02/23

I’ve recently taken to the diary-esque posts some people in my anti-social-social-network (aka “sites whose RSS-feed I have added to my newsreader”) publish. And while my life isn’t nearly as interesting enough to warrant doing this on a weekly basis, I felt like trying a similar format for the past month. So, without further ado, my February went like this:

I have a somewhat elaborate talk upcoming at the end of March, however I didn’t even manage to get started on turning research notes and a pile of interesting links into the first couple of slides. Other things interfered at work, and quite frankly - this month sucked, the amount of interesting stuff I got to work on paled in comparison to exhausting paperwork and the staple of wasting time, meetings. However, at the “professional” front (as in technical stuff and projects), I fared a bit better.

  • Finally got to the point where upgrades for are painless. That removes a lot of stress for me.
  • I had to sunset Datenkommune for personal reasons. it sucks, I enjoyed working on it a lot, and I learned plenty of things.
  • Fixed an annoying bug in my deployment script and finally, after procrastinating on the issue for an eternity, adding tags to my blog. Hopefully this will motivate me to get cracking on the half a dozen drafts that are in various states of decay.
  • Switching over to Obsidian for taking notes is, so far, working out well. I created a template for my daily notes, which has somehow greatly improved my willingness to actually use it for quick notes as well.
  • Accidentally followed the impulse to spend money, bought a boxed set of the latest release for Warhammer 40.000: Kill Team. Speedpainted it in pretty much a week, because I had hoped to get a friend over for a game, because it would be the last chance before they were busy with motherhood for quite a while. Unfortunately someone decided to interfere because they wanted to be born early, so .. that didn’t happen. But hey, I now have painted plastic crack in deep storage. Yay, I guess.

I managed to read:

  • “This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race” by Nicole Perlroth; I’m am unable to decide if I liked it or not. The content was written in an engaging manner, and the author went to great lengths to make the connections between different actors, events and technical details understandable. But the book claims to tell the story of the cyberweapons market, yet only dedicated 20% of the actual pages to that. The rest of the time it’s about Russian computer network operations, the dragnet surveillance uncovered by Edward Snowden and the business side of commercial spyware developers.

  • “Cybersecurity for Small Networks: A Guide for the Reasonably Paranoid” by Seth Enoka; I read this one more out of curiosity about what the author is going to talk about rather than with the intention of learning something. And as with most books from Nostarch, it’s a good book. But: 40$ is a lot of money for something that’s pretty much nothing more than a couple of not-all-that-much-effort blog posts. And as much as the content of the book that is actually there is good, it’s just not enough for me to justify the price tag.

  • “Putin’s Wars: From Chechnya to Ukraine” by Mark Galeotti; Galeotti is one of the few authors where announcements about new books from them get me at least a bit excited. His book about the vory v zakone, the group that is most often referred to as “the Russian mafia” is one of the few books on the subject that does not engage in sensationalism, instead doing a deep-dive on underlying issues and looking at angles that are otherwise often overlooked. The same goes for this book, I’d highly recommend it to anyone interested in getting an excellent overview on Russian military history as well as plenty of starting points for more in-depth research.

I started “The Politics of Cybersecurity in the Middle East” by James Shires and got a few sites of “Man without a face” by Markus Wolf done, but all in all this hasn’t been a very “productive” month when it comes to reading.

Album of the month: That’s a tricky one for this month, since Bandcamp Friday happened and I got carried away by all the excellent stuff I discovered. If you’d force me to pick three albums, I’d probably pick:

  • Khruangbin - Texas Moon - An incredibly smooth mix of Soul and Funk, with a touch of 80ies experimentation. Look, I don’t dance, but even I unconsciously started moving while the songs played.

  • [Franz Kirmann - Franz Kirmann] - This is one of those albums that’s hard to describe, calling it “Ambient” (which it is) doesn’t do the sound justice. The artist says that they want to “explore buried emotions of longing and loss”, which is pretty much what this album does. I listened to it actively. I listened to it passively. I loved it both ways.

  • [Team Avantgarde - Erwartungen] - It’s not an album I newly discovered, but one I had pretty much forgotten about. Which is a shame, really, because if somebody asked me about what the essence of Hip-Hop truly was, I would simply show them this collection of tracks. Excellent mixture of beats that get your heads to bop with lyrics that are food for a lot of thought.