07 Jan 2017, 21:15

Blogging is scary

You may have noticed that there’s not too much content here recently. At best, I have one article that’s in draft state and nothing else. Maybe some ideas for articles, but that’s about it right now. According to the last item here, the last piece published was 7-8 months ago. So, 2 articles per year is not exactly a great number.

The truth is that I’m afraid.

Blogging - like other forms of writing and expression - is very personal. You’re putting something out there with the hopes that others will a.) see it, and b.) like it. So, not only do you have a chance to fail, but you have a chance to fail twice. People can not even take the time to see it, or they can see it and find all of the flaws in it and let you know. And in the wonderful world of comments, they can let you know in the most delightful ways.

Side note: I have no plans to allow comments. Despite my idealism, I’m very disheartened by the current state of Internet commentary. I’m not sure how to deal with the fact that it gives a megaphone to the lowest of the low that doesn’t even people others should exist. I’m not going to be a part of that here.

I’m not too worried about the first failure. I’d like to make some joke about “Schrodinger’s anonymous: it’s both read an unread until you actually write it so people can choose to read it or not” but can’t say if that’s really accurate. What is accurate is that if I don’t write it, then I’ll fail to be read by default.

It’s the latter that is more a problem for me. I don’t like to be wrong. I don’t like to write something and have it there forever that I was wrong. It’s like that hastily written 3AM tweet that someone caught a screen cap of, or that’s already on the Internet Archive (which is a very good thing to have in this world) and you can’t simply dismiss it as if it never existed.

I have ego. It is fragile.

This has an easy fix - just make sure that everything I every do is perfect. See, easy.

No, it’s not a single thing that will fix this. Sometimes, it is taking the time and being maticulous with what I have expressed. Sometimes, it is going ahead thinking it’s right and not seeing what’s wrong. Sometimes, it is looking back and being willing to admit it was wrong. Sometimes, it is as simple as putting it out there and saying:

Here. I did this thing. It's got these good parts, and it's got these bad
parts. Does anyone else see anything that's good or bad with it?

But, as with other areas that I’m just really good at procrastinating, it’s about saying “let me start here, and then just keep starting.” I accept that I will fail at times, and that I will not want to. And that’s okay. I just can’t do that all of the time.

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear--not absence of fear. Except
a creature be part coward, it is not a compliment to say he is brave; it is
merely a loose misapplication of the word.
     - Twain, "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar"s

23 Aug 2014, 21:24

Why do I do DefCon?

For some reason, I’m in a reflective mode, so this entry is going to be a bit on the narcissistic and cathartic side. Feel free to pass on this one as it’s mostly for me.

Just spent the last few weeks doing a bit of conferences and running around. This is that fine time of year for me where I’m away more than I’m present. It definitely takes its toll, both physically and mentally. A lot of the time, I don’t get to see talks, I don’t end up at parties (my choice), I don’t end up passed out drunk (only so much when you limit yourself to frufru drinks), and I don’t end up with anything interesting to show of it. At the same time, I put up with some assholes, and some people who aren’t too sure what they’re doing (to put it nicely).

So why do I do it?

I have to admit that I started it just to be a part of it. To be able to say that I was big and badass. I’ve always like the CyberPunk motif and to be a part of it is such a feeling. It’s not necessarily the best reason, but I have to admit to myself and others as to why.

As I said, I’m not really in it for the parties, or the debauchery (well, I could be talked into that one ;)), or the interaction with thousands of people, or the purposeful trolling.

For me, the best reason I think of is that it’s really about the doing. Seeing what you can accomplish. Digging under the surface and seeing more than what others see. Finding out. Exploring. Basically, a bunch of the fun stuff that people ascribe to the “hacker ethos.” I consider myself a lifetime learner and tinkerer, and this reinforces it. From the world class expert telling the world what she knows, to the newbie who is just there to find out why he can find, it’s all there.

I think I finally heard it this year. Not sure why it took me this long, but there’s a focus on The Community. DefCon is a conference that is better because of the attendees. If you show up, there’s a good chance that you’re going to be participating, and not just watching. If you’re just watching, you’re watching the other attendees as much as any organizer. As organizers, we’re there to create the space so that you can give all you want to give.

We want you to have fun.

I want to have fun. And I have fun by doing. So, that’s why I do DefCon.

I think one of the big things for me to work on over the coming years is to be more a part of The Community, and the family. Not sure how to make that happen, but something about the first step being recognize it.

One last call out. To my fellow goons, those that I know and those that I don’t, I salute you. Everyone of you impress me and inspire me to be a better goon.