Musings

What Reviewers Get Very Wrong About Siri

Many years ago, I embarked on a home automation hobby that has drained my budget. Home automation is a horrifically expensive hobby (like most of them). There’s a lot of trial and error. You’ll almost always buy stuff that doesn’t work or integrate well. It’ll be expensive. You’ll want to replace it because it’s not perfect. I started off with the center of my universe on Amazon Alexa (like most people).

Playing with Forestry

I happened to see someone mention forestry.io on a Hugo forum. I’m trying it. It looks pretty nice, like what I would expect from a headless CMS where hosting isn’t necessary.

Why Is Headless CMS So Hard?

I really want to use my iPad to write code. It shouldn’t be this hard. I don’t know why, but it really is. Today, I’ve been playing with round-tripping through Working Copy and Code Editor by Panic (formerly Coda). I think I’ve almost gotten it worked out, but man is it painful. I shouldn’t have to run a webdav server on my own iPad to edit documents and save back to GitHub.

I guess the good news is that I’m able to ssh into a local copy of my git repo without leaving this window. I sure have put down a lot of money on text/code editors just to experiment and find out which ones aren’t working out.

This should be so much easier. I feel like iPadOS has been band-aided to death so that it can avoid being a Macbook when people want to use it like a Macbook.

Organically Adjusting Devsecops Processes

I’ve spent a number of years working in a few DevOps/DevSecOps roles to transform organizations into new ways of doing business. I love automation and cloud, and I particularly love infrastructure as code. DevSecOps transformation is not only about the tech, but it’s also about the people. Maybe even more so.

Apple 2019 Software Release Issues

WARNING: Unfortunately negative post.

This has been an interesting year in the Appleverse. iOS 13, iPadOS and macOS Catalina were all dropped on us. This new software “regime” has been quite the challenge for me.

iOS 13 and iPadOS haven’t been that troubling. They generally work and do what they promised to do. I did find it curious that iOS 13.1, 13.1.1 and 13.1.2 all dropped in pretty rapid succession. That’s usually a bad sign that things weren’t up to standards and had to go through some quick resolution. There were either fixes or outright removals to get things out the door. I don’t like it when that happens, but I get it. I’m glad they stay on top of things well enough.

Catalina and Apple TV on the other hand… have been a complete shitshow.

Update: I resolved the Google Chrome issue. If you’re just interested in the resolution, please go here.

Bring Me a Rock

There are two ways to progress your career in federal IT:

  • Make up work for others to do on the fly
    • Usually this involves process or procedure - these are your best weapons for this maneuver
  • Sit on meetings all day to listen as others do what you made up for them to do
    • Then make up new things to do that have nothing to do with the progress you’re trying to make

It’s the way it’s always been done. Why change?

Difficulties in the IT Business

One of the things that plagues me in this business is the rampant ADHD. You spend a lot of time taking in tasks and trying to make mental notes, but very little time actually doing the work to catch up. When you do the work, it snowballs into other work that was unforseen.

I’ve struggled with this for my entire career. It’s exhausting. I don’t know what to do about it. The best recommendation I can give is that you should find a set of apps and workflows that make sense to you and help you keep your work life in sync across all of your devices. Use do-not-disturb often. Don’t feel bad about shutting people and things out so you can get code written or actions completed.

If you have any tips on how to get through your IT life every day, I’d love to hear them. Comment below.

Dual Laptops Is for the Birds

I’m at the NAB show in Las Vegas, NV this week. I’m here to represent my project for my main customer, which is a federal agency that does space stuff. You can guess.

This is the first trip where I’ve had to accept and travel under the new DFARS requirements. I’m here to tell you, this shit is for the birds. I’m carrying two laptops. Two chargers. Two sets of cables. All because the feds thinks this somehow makes it all more secure.

The backpack is heavy. There’s maximum effort to “be secure” and minimal gain. As a matter of fact, I would warrant that this renders my setup even less secure. Now I have to keep up with two laptops - and what happens if I leave one somewhere? What happens if I leave my ID card somewhere? What happens if somehow, someone was able to take the federal laptop and my PIV card and get into the VPN?

They’d have full access to the enterprise, that’s what.

You people that think this is more secure - you’re really nuts. You’re not thinking clearly at all. On top of it, you’re making IT workers' already-difficult lives even more difficult.

2018 Life Changes and 2019 Life Goals

2018 has come to a close. It was an amazing year for me in so many ways. I don’t want to go into all of the details because I’m not (any longer) the kind of person to revisit the past. There’s no need.

But 2019 is going to be flat out amazing. I met a woman whom has, quite simply, been a dream to my life. I visited her in September of 2018 and, long story short… fell for her. Hard.

I’m going back to Philippines on January 25th to celebrate her birthday… and I’m going to make sure to do my best to give her the time of her life. :)

2019 is just going to be amazing. Simply amazing.

US Federal Government Declares War on the Matrixed Contractor Employee

DFARS.

If you don’t know what that is, look it up. I’m not going to go into it in this article. I only want to discuss the ramifications of DFARS and how it’s being interpreted/implemented.

Every federal contractor company I’ve worked for has a “matrixed” business model. This means in order to save money, they will employ you on a single federal contract - but “leverage your expertise” on other federal contracts. The end result of this is that you’ll end up working on multiple projects across multiple agencies. Because federal agencies refuse to get along and agree on standards, this means you get to go through multiple clearances and obtain multiple credentials (i.e. CAC or PIV cards and usernames/passwords).

This is a little disingenius on the part of the contractor company. It’s been my experience that they will tie you to a single contract and then matrix you to others. But if the funding lapses on the primary contract, they’ll show you the door. Valuable employees are kept but others that are lower level (but still matrixed!) will be laid off.

That’s another issue that is between you and your company.

Anyway… DFARS. The way companies and agencies are interpreting DFARS is the subject of this article. Basically, if you’re a matrixed employee, the end result is that you will end up with one laptop and one mobile device per project.

That’s right.

If you’re matrixed across three different projects, you will end up with three laptops and three different mobile devices. None of these devices will be allowed to communicate with the other agency. Your company will likely issue a company-specific laptop and mobile device as well. In my case, this could result in four separate devices to do your work.

That sounds reasonable, but it’s woefully ignorant of how a matrixed employee does business. Every agency expects the employee to be devoted to their contract, even if they are on record as having only a slice of time. The agency/customer expects that employee to be available at any time… not just during certain hours of the day.

The end result is that the matrixed employee is expected to manage multiple meeting requests across multiple devices without a single integrated view of meeting and work conflicts. This means the employee will miss meetings, emails and lort knows what else.

I predict this will be rolled back within a few years.

It’s untenable.

Me? I’m going to set “out of office” replies that notify senders that I only check my email and calendar during certain parts of the day. They’ll receive that autoreply every time they email me. Sure, I can set it to reply once a day.

I wouldn’t want to like… be annoying, or something.