The Renderlab: January to June, 2011. A summary


So I had'nt updated the site in 7 months. I'd thought about it many times, but never got to it. I am not a blogger, nor do I feel the need to share irrelevent minutia of my daily life with the internet at large. However, it is important to show I am still alive and working.

In short, the last 7 months have been a combination of work, travel and panic

Conference gigs in Victoria, Toronto, St. Johns, Kaninaskis, and Halifax, as well as Edmonton, have had me getting far to familiar with airports around Canada. I must say that for the most part, Canada's CATSA security people are so much nicer to deal with than other countries. They're oblivious to real threats, but at least they're nice.

I did some consulting work at a major institution in Edmonton and now know far more than I ever thought possible about full disk encryption, which was knowledge that came in very userful later.

On major complication this past few months was on my trip to St. Johns, Newfoundland. Started with a broken plane, so they had to get a new one (3 hour delay taking off). Connection through Ottawa arrived in Halifax to late to get a flight to St. Johns. Crappy hotel for the night with no luggage since Air Canada never bothered to even put it on the plane in Edmonton. Next morning got to St. Johns, stepped into a cab, then straight onto stage to give my opening keynote. 20 hours of travel.

The real kicker was what happened after the talk. As usual, I packed up my gear and retreated to the hall outside the conference room to answer questions from the audience. In the space of about an hour, I had my back turned on my laptop and travel bag, only a few feet away to have some #$%^&*(&^%$ steal them out from under me. All my wireless gear, my laptop and all my travel gear, about $5K of stuff and years of accumulation of one off and unique tools, all gone to some oppourtunist who probobly pitched most of it in a dumpster. I had backups of most everything, so that was not an issue. The laptop was running an encrypted LVM so no worries on someone making off with client data. The only reason St. Johns was not set on fire and burned to the ground that day was because I had the thing fully encrypted. So if anyone in St. Johns finds a Thinkpad T43 in a pawnshop or a Defcon bag full of wierd tools, let me know, or if you happen to know who may have swiped my gear, let me know too because it's never a good idea to steal from a hacker.

All I know is that my trip to St. Johns had me leaving in day old clothes and just the contents of my pockets (my luggage never showed up before I had to go home). Not a fun flight home.

Right after my ill fated trip and theft of my bags, I headed to Kracow, Poland for CONfidence. First time I'd been in Europe in a warm season, all previous trips had been in winter. Freaking amazing place and with the warm weather it was beutiful. Definatly somewhere I want to go back to on a personal holiday. For a guy who grew up in the Canadian praries, it was very cool to see a place with such a rich history and be able to do so without shivering and worrying about frostbite. Great beer too.

After all the travel, it's nice to stay home for a while and work on some projects. I'm also taking the oppourtunity of my gear getting swiped to rebuild and retool my arsenal and my gear bags. I've already found some awesome bags and solutions to long term problems I'd had with my frequent travels. I'll hopefully document everything once I get everything together.

Defcon is the next event I'll be at. This one, I'm activly taking steps to not be involved in everything I usually am so I can actually try some new things and see friends I rarely get time with at cons. That said, make yourself know to me, I love meeting new people.

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