This is a personal homepage in the truest sense. It is actually hosted directly from my home, which is currently Savannah, Georgia, USA. And it's essentially all about me, things that I like, my opinion, and stuff I find around the web. I post frequent updates in the Notes section, which is sort of like my blog where I publish short interest pieces. Visit the bottom of this page for some answers to frequently asked questions.
Precisely what I predicted and planned for happened; on 8 October 2016, Coastal Georgia was hit by a category 3 hurricane (weakened to a category 2 while it was passing). Initially we planned to bug-in. A few days prior to the hurricane I pulled out my gear and checked everything over to make sure it was good to go (PCI). The day before the hurricane I did another quick check (PCC). I also loaded some gear into the trunk of the car we would be using as a bug-out vehicle should the need arise.
And then it happened. A mandatory evacuation order was issued. Since everything was already prepared, we simple jumped in the bug-out vehicle and evacuated to our pre-determined location. Low stress. Everything was smooth and easy. We even beat the evacuation traffic.
This was my first time having to evacuate or implement various levels of preparedness. It really opened my eyes to the importance of being prepared, rehearsing, and conducting checks and inspections of your gear and your plan. This also helped us avoid the effect of "paralysis by analysis". We had already decided if event A happens, we will execute plan 1, etc.
Do not wait to be told what to do. Make your plan and be prepared to execute it.
If you are an OpenPGP user, you need to seriously consider creating a revocation certificate. This is particularly important if you have a key that never expires and that is published to a key server. In this situation, if you were to lose your key, it would permanently float around in the ether. At best, this would confuse other people looking for your public key. As worst, an adversary with access to your private key could impersonate you.
A revocation certificate acts as a thermite grenade should your master key pair be lost or compromised. It is also useful for neutralizing a key for which you have forgotten the pasword. The easiest way to create a revocation certificate is from the command line; replace $KEYID with your 8 or 16 digit hexadecimal key ID:
gpg --gen-revoke $KEYID > $KEYID.revoke.asc
Store your revocation certificate in a safe place. When you need to destroy your master key pair, simply import the revocation certificate. Often this is as easy as double clicking on the revocation certificate file, but you can also do it from the command line:
gpg --import $KEYID.revoke.asc
I can't say I'm much of a prepper, but I like the idea of being prepared for an emergency situation. So I've been giving some thought to my minimal preps given that we are reaching the peak of a hurricane season. Using military wargaming analysis and course of action development as a lens, I've tried to determine what threats exist that would affect civil services.
Living on the east coast in the low country of the deep south, everywhere is a flood plain. For a Category 4 or stronger storm, evacuation would be absolutely necessary. We need to be prepared for the effects of lower category storms as well as have the capability to "bug out" and evacuate. The most likely scenario, however, is a "bug-in" situation where we will be without power for a few short days.
Most Likely - Strong Category 3 Hurricane makes landfall over Savannah, GA resulting in a catastrophic shutdown of power, primary communications, and emergency services.
Contingency - Category 5 Hurricane requiring mandatory evacuation.
Most Dangerous - Cyber attack on the United States resulting in a catastrophic shutdown of power, primary communications, and banking services.
Contingency - Submarine landslide in the Atlantic resulting in a major tsunami.
The fragility of the US power grid combined with our reliance on access to power is a huge problem. The power grid is threatened not just by natural disasters, but by cyber attackers. A sudden, catastrophic attack on the grid, even if limited in geographic scope, can lead to panic and civil disorder. While significantly unlikely, this situation would be incredibly dangerous, and therefore requires at least some level of planning and mitigation.
In any emergency situation I see seven major categories that should be prepared. Water, food, lights, communications, defense, transportation, and therapeutic. Making sure you are prepared in each of these categories will give you the supplies you need to live until things get back to normal.
Bug Out Considerations:
I'm switching to Linux. Full time. I'm a unix user at heart. I grew up using Unix and switched to OS X shortly after it came out. I was very happy with Apple and the OS X platform, becoming the perfect Apple fanboy. But once we lost Steve Jobs, Apple seemed to lose its magic. So, impressed with the idea of a hybrid tablet/desktop, I switched to Windows a couple years ago.
It didn't work out the way I had hoped. My first windows tablet, a Dell Venue 8 Pro, lasted just over a year before giving me problems. I bought a Surface 3 to replace it, and that was just a bad idea. The performance is tepid and Windows 10 is already becoming bloated and convoluted.
So I'm done. I've explored the world and I am coming home. I sold my Surface 3 on Amazon and purchased a refurbished Lenovo X201 from NewEgg. It's packing an older Core i7, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM, and a plethora of ports to work with. And since it comes packed in an older frame, it's modular, which means I can maintenance it and upgrade it myself when the time is right. I'm hoping to push it for about five years with a dual boot of Ubuntu LTS releases and Kali.
Remember the old days of Angelfire, Geocities, and AOL Pages? Remember when people had a personal homepage you could visit, something they created with their own hands and used to tell stories from their own perspective? Remember when joining webrings was the best way to get found and find other people online?
I miss the days before the firehose of social media took the personality out of personal lives. So today I am announcing Parch.press, a place to publish your story, speak to the world, and craft your personal homepage. It's free in so many ways.
I carry a gun everywhere I go. I'm not scared of anything, and nobody is coming after me (as far as I know). But I carry a gun everywhere I go because I take personal responsibility for my safety.
Yes, I trust and support the police. But let's be reasonable. When you need the support of the police there is a significantly delay in response time; a delay that can easily result in the loss of life during a life or death scenario. And the police are human too, not superhuman. They're looking out for themselves first, and each other second. You might come in third on the list, maybe.
No, I do not want to shoot anyone or kill anyone. Nor do I want to be shot and killed by anyone. I believe in the non-agression principle. But I refuse to be nothing more than an easy target, an innocent bystander, or a victim.
And no, I do not have a hero complex. I'm not looking to be a vigilante. In fact, I do not believe I have any repsonsibility for the safety of anyone except myself and my family (but I do recongnize that the safety of me and my family increases with the relative safety and security of the community). If you are not prepared to defend yourself I probably will not intervene on your behalf unless there is a risk to my own safety.
To maintain our freedom we must be capable of defending our freedom, otherwise we only have the limited rights afforded to us by those in power, which is nothing more than tyranny in disguise.
While it is nearly impossible to avoid being tracked at all, there are at least a couple of different ways we can protect ourselves from invasive tracking and advertising.
The Network Advertising Initiative is a self-regulating association of third-party digital advertisers. From the NAI website you can easily opt-out of invasive tracking. However, the opt-out preference is set using volatile cookies on a per-browser basis. That means you'll have to visit the website and opt-out with each browser that you use, and every time you clear your browser's cookies. A nifty feature, though, is the website will show you what companies are currently tracking your browser's activity across the web (if you use IceCat you do not need to worry about this). I find this handy for the browsers I use at work since I cannot use IceCat.
I've been putting some thought lately into the value of privacy. It is something I have strong opinions about. To me, privacy is all about dignity and respect. That is to say that human dignity, with its inherent quality of respect, is the legal precedence upon which the right to privacy is established.
When the founding fathers framed the constitution, the idea of being watched or monitored in your own home was unseemly. Even today one's home is recognized as their castle, an idea intrinsic to the concept of liberty. Privacy is not a matter of whether or not we have something to hide, but rather a guarantor against the threat of coercion, judgment, criticism, and creativity.
Many people are not concerned about their privacy because they view themselves as innocent, good, and patriotic civilians that have nothing to hide. They trust and believe that the people in power will not abuse their power. And that is a good thing that in America we can trust our elected leaders. But what if that changes? What if the people in power become corrupt and begin to use the vast amounts of information they have on file against you? Patterns you previously left behind now implicate you in newly declared crimes. Your once innocent acts now damn you to your fate. Thus the reason privacy even under benevolence is so critical to the human status.
Finally, a lack of privacy is information terrorism. If you fear that you are always being watched, then you fear that you are always doing something wrong. Ultimate information grants ultimate authority, and ultimate authority is tyranny. Dignity requires liberty, and liberty requires security without intrusion.
Full Circle [http://fullcirclemagazine.org/] | A free, independent, community-driven magazine for the Ubuntu Linux community. Anyone can submit an article to be considered for publication.
Linux Format [http://linuxformat.com/] | General Linux magazine based in the United Kingdom.
Ask Ubuntu [https://www.orbital-apps.com/] | Community based technical support. Search for answers to previously asked questions or ask something new.
Official Ubuntu Documentation [https://help.ubuntu.com/] | Official documentation published by Canonical.
Mostly I wanted to have my own website, created by me from scratch, hosted on my own server that I ultimately control, and that respects the privacy of my visitors. But also because it's the web the way it was meant to be; an unorganized mesh of people linked together only by their shared interests. Honesty is the only thing you will find on my site. What you won't find are client-side scripts, invasive trackers, cookies, dynamically generated content, or anything that would violate the rights of the user. I've stripped away everything but pure HTML and CSS; and I know exactly what's in the code, because I wrote and reviewed it myself. When you visit my site, you are electronically visiting Savannah, GA and nowhere else.
Yes and no. I use Parch.press. It's a simple web publishing platform that I wrote myself, so I know what's in it. And it's free for everyone, so you can create a personal homepage too. Pages are written in Markdown and published as simple, pure, static HTML.
In our modern age of mass digital surveillance I prefer to use secure communication. If you send me an email, please use GPG (aka PGP) with a strong Diceware password to encrypt the message. Here's How on Windows and Mac.
SHA1 Checksum: cb714fec885464a579a42b63cbe347f29f6dfaa2
My email address is email@example.com.
As this content is primarily a statement of opinion, it is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Copyright 2016, Justin M. Sloan