Weekly update, May 26th, 2020
Howdy and welcome, internet friend!
Hi there internet friend, and welcome back to my blog. Once again in this weekly wrap up I want to share what I was able to accomplish last week both professionally and personally. As usual, I’ll be sure to put really big headings on which is which, so you can see what you are interested in. I’d hate for people coming here for professional content to be bored with my musing on Animal Crossing, so the headings will make it really easy to jump around and find your interests. So without any further adieu, let’s get started!
Last week was a pretty good week for me professionally. This is my last week on a six month project which has given me my first exposure to management, which itself has been a very eye opening experience. I’ve got two ideas for upcoming blog posts, one to share some of the things I’ve learned in my roughly three years of consulting and another to discuss what I learned in my first project management role. So keep an eye on future blog posts, including one on the importance of the consultant as trusted advisor. So keep a lookout for those posts some time in the near future.
As far as my weekly goals, as I mentioned last week I am putting the CSS fix for this website on the backburner. When I get a little more time I am going to redesign the theme and make the source available. It’s part of my larger goal of making my work more available to the larger community and hopefully starting small with something managable, at least at first.
Additionally, last weekend I was fortunate enough to spend a few hours working on Hack the Box with my great friend Acetolyne. As usual, I learned a few new tricks and had a great time chatting with an awesome friend. If you are feeling stuck or frustrated in your security training, I’d recommend working on a box with a friend. This gives you a chance to be exposed to others methodology, which in turn can make you a better operator. When I was first starting in offensive security I used to hang out with Acetolyne every week and I think it did more to quickly improve my skills than anything else I was doing at the time. This forces you to explain your work flow and gives you the opportunity to optimise it. There are even more benefits to working with someone else, but if you’ve never considered it before, I would highly suggest you give it a try. Working with Acetolyne has helped me improve in all areas of my computer skills and has been really fun to boot! So while I can easily keep ranting about the benefits of working with a friend, I will quickly move on. However, it is worth repeating one final time that there is tremendous benefit to working with someone. Skilling up together can happen faster and is much more fun (at least for me) than hacking alone. There’s an old proverb that my son learned in school, which goes something like this. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Regarding my other two focuses this week, I was once again able to find success. I’ve made more progess on my MUD architecture document, and I’m getting closer and closer to completing my course on Go. I’ve decided on an additional project in Go once I’m finished with the course - a subdomain enumeration tool. I’ve used dirb, GoBuster, and dirbuster, and I have some ideas on how to improve those tools. Like with the theme I mentioned earlier, once I am finished with even a beta version of the subdomain enumeration tool I’m going to make it available through my Gitlab page. If you are tired of the subdomain enumeration tools and are looking for something new, keep an eye on this space. It’ll surely take me a month or two for the first version to become publicly available, but I’ll be sure to announce it both here and on Twitter.
Finally, as I’ve mentioned a few times above, I’m getting much closer to finishing my course on Go. So far I’ve found the course very valuable, and it’s done a great job of explaining concepts I was previously confused about. However, there is one topic that is still hazy to me and I’m hoping to get a better understanding of the topic. That topic is interfaces and once I’ve got a better handle on them, you can expect to see a specific blog post about it in the near future. Acetolyne mentioned to me that he also struggled with interfaces at first, and since he is the best programmer I know, it dawns on me that others might have difficulty understanding interfaces as well. I also watched a few YouTube videos last week that still didn’t clarify enough for me, so I think there will be some benefit in a post on interfaces in the near future. So that’s another topic you should keep a lookout for, if that’s something you are interested in.
As with last week, I’ve decided that the best bet is to keep focusing on finishing the Go course and updating the MUD architecture document this week. Once I finish the course I’ll do a review post and share links, so if you’ve been intrigued by the things I’ve been writing about the course you can check it out for yourself.
Last week was pretty good for me personally. My boy and I are reading through the “Chronicles of Narnia” series and last week we started book #5. I read the series when I was a kid, but it’s been great going through and reading the stories with him. My Dad used to read to me every night, and it was because of him that I developed my love of reading and ultimately probably a large part of what encouraged me to study history academically. My goal with my son has always been to teach him “reading as an art form” - as described by Paul Goodman. We’ve also tried to never use baby talk with the boy and instead to talk to him like an adult. This might be why he was using words like abomination at age four, and using the context correctly to boot! He learned that word from a mini-book on the Incredible Hulk.
We spent a bunch of time last weekend playing video games as a family, which is always great fun. The boy is getting really good at Fortnite! Not only is he the highest level of anyone in the house, but he also regularly outperforms me in every category of the game. From accuracy, to headshots, to kills, the boy is devastating! What makes him really dangerous is that he loves Minecraft and he spends heaps of time in the creative mode of Fortnite. So he’s accurate, great at building, and comes up with all types of excellent strategy - he isn’t held down by what he thinks will work or won’t work, he just goes for it! I’ve seen him discover at least two strategies to the game that are brilliant and something I would never have considered.
So while I could keep talking about the boy and how great he is at video games, I will move on quickly to share what I did in Animal Crossing this week. Before I do, I want to add one more thing about the benefit of giving the boy a Nintendo Switch for Christmas. Previously, he had been struggling with reading. Perhaps part of the problem was that he didn’t understand the benefits. However, since getting his Switch we have seen a dramatic improvement in his reading abilities. Just yesterday he saw that he had 30 minutes left in game time and he said, “I have 30 minutes left.” It would only have been possible for him to know that by reading, and the time was on the screen for around five seconds, so he had to read it quickly.
For all those parents who always said video games were bad, that they rot your brain and never do anything good for anyone, I just want to politely let them know they are wrong. Video games have helped my son improve his hand-eye coordination, his reading skills, he is wearing his glasses without being asked, and there are a number of other tasks involving and requiring critical thinking skills, which he has also improved. So please don’t be so hasty in assuming that kids will get no benefit whatever from video games. My experience has been the exact opposite of that conculsion, but your mileage may vary.
Last week was also great in Animal Crossing. My wife had the cheaper turnip prices on her island (92 bells/turnip) and I bought 3,000. We really lucked out on Thursday of last week when the price of turnips shot up on her island to 362 bells/turnip. I (should have) learned a valuable lesson and sold all my turnips. However, I was greedy. I thought to myself, “dude, if they go higher, I’ll be burned!” So rather than selling all 3,000 turnips at 362 I only sold 2,000 of them and took a bath on the other thousand (selling them for 57 bells/turnip). So while I managed to almost triple my money and pay off a good chunk of my house, I could have made more by not being greedy. So I suppose the lesson here is to sell if ever it goes over 300 bells/turnip and just avoid Timmy and Tommy until the end of the week. Ignorance is bliss, right?
However, I doubt I learned my lesson. Sunday I bought 4,000 turnips at 101, so check back next week to see how my 400,000 bell investment turns out. I’m also charting the prices all week to enter them in one of those websites that helps predict prices. I will be sure to follow up about what (if anything) was learned from that experience, so keep an eye out for that next week, if you are interested.
Final thoughts and Twitter suggestions
You may have noticed that the posts here are getting longer. I’m doing my best to provide more content, and to break it up. Whateversauce.com has gone through a few changes over the years, from web comic to blog. One thing that I wanted to keep was the sense of fun and whimsy. I hope this never becomes just a boring old tech blog. My goal is to always keep it fun and interesting! I hope you like it, but if there is something you feel I could improve, please don’t hesitate to reach out and send me a DM on Twitter. I’m always open to hearing what people think and willing to listen to new ideas. Last, I want to thank you once again for taking the time to read this blog. There’s ton of stuff you can do on the internet, and I appreciate you taking a few minutes to read this page. I hope you have an excellent day!
Dan - I met Dan when he came to a talk I gave last year. He’s a cool dude and I recommend giving him a follow!
@cetolyne - great friend, awesome programmer, super helpful!
@blenster - cool maker, very positive, well worth a follow!
@GWeessies - very smart person doing interesting research!
Marley - first place champ! Marley is one of the best on Twitter!
Null Coder - another awesome person to keep an eye on!