Wireless Security Revisited

Last year, I wrote an article for ComputorEdge about the dangers of leaving a wireless network unsecured. A reader, calling himself “Anonymous San Diego Criminal” responded to the article in a letter to the editor, complaining about how I was advocating wireless security and limiting the dispensation of free Internet access. He also said the article implied that anyone who used unsecured wireless networks without permission was committing a crime, hence the name he chose to identify himself with.

Today, I saw a news article (no longer online, from what I can tell) from a Portland, Oregon television station website, describing how a man had been arrested for persistent unauthorized use of a coffee shop’s wireless Internet connection. According to the story, the man was also a level 1 sex offender. Though the story doesn’t say what destinations his Internet packets visited, the fact that he is a sex offender and used someone else’s bandwidth for his Internet access seems suspect.

No, Mr. Anonymous San Diego Criminal, I don’t think most people intend to misuse unsecured wireless networks. But doesn’t it make sense to lock down the networks to keep out those who do misuse them?

The Forest for the Trees

The picture below was taken from an elevated walkway leading to an office building in Marietta, Georgia. I’m amazed at how tall and lush the forests here are, and how they maintain their density, even in the city.

Tall Trees
In Colorado, trees don’t grow anywhere close to this height, especially deciduous trees like these. Due to the lack of moisture and low air density, trees simply can’t grow this tall up there. To me, Georgia seems humid, though not unbearably so; everything’s green and vibrant. The people here, though, are desperate for rain, so this must be a comparatively dry Georgia summer.

Meanwhile, it looks like Colorado is going to have another tinderbox year, with several spring fires already torching thousands of acres.

Yesterday was the summer solstice, as my wonderful wife pointed out to me in an e-card this morning. Unfortunately, that means my home state is just beginning to reach its hot season.

That kind of gives a depressing meaning to the words “keep the home fires burning.”

Missing in Atlanta

Missing in Atlanta
(A Sonnette)

These Georgia pines obscure the waning moon,
Reminding me how far away from you
I am.  I wonder how I’ll make it through
The next ten days before the end of June.

I curl up on the edge of this king bed,
A pillow crackles underneath my head.
I clutch another, wish for you instead.

— Stace Johnson, 2006

Southwest By South

I never learn.

I keep hoping that I will find a good Mexican food restaurant in the South, and I keep being disappointed.

The last time I did this, I went to a no-name restaurant in Olive Branch, Mississippi. I had hoped that I would get some authentic Mexican food if I steered clear of major chains, but it was not to be.

When my food arrived, I was shocked. The “enchilada sauce” was basically thin ketchup, the gound beef had no seasoning, and the cheese on the taco was mozzarella. It was a huge disappointment.

Today, I’m in Atlanta, and I had lunch at a restaurant called Frontera Mex-Mex Grill. The atmosphere is not bad, the Diet Coke is perfectly balanced (I am in Atlanta, after all, the home of Coca-Cola), and the salsas are not bad, if a little bland for my taste.


Mexican food -- sort of

Now the bad news. Once again, the cheese on the taco and enchilada is mozzarella (or some non-Mexican white cheese.) However, the ground beef tastes pretty good, and the enchilada sauce is … okay, I guess. The real disappointment is the blob in the upper left corner, with the flag sticking out of it. Believe it or not, that’s not a dumpling sitting on a pool of hollandaise, though it appears to be. It’s actually supposed to be a chile relleno. Yes, there is a paper-thin piece of green chile under the deep-fried skin; I checked.

Don’t let this happen to you. If you are from the Southwest, like me, do yourself a favor and avoid Mexican food restaurants in the South. Go get some good ribs, or jambalaya, or something that the South is famous for. Your stomach will thank you.

Blowing the Dust Off

It looks like it’s time to blow the dust off this blog again. Was the last entry really in November 2005? That doesn’t seem that long ago, but according to my calendar, it was about eight months ago. My, how time flies.

A number of things have come to pass since then, including gainful employment with IBM. In addition, I have a few more ComputorEdge articles under my belt, Keith and Logan are out of school for the year, and I have another writing opportunity taking shape behind this curtain over here.

But the most significant thing to happen in the last few months involves my wife, Lannette. She has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS), a recognized disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. FMS is an often misunderstood malady, and some doctors don’t even recognize it as a valid disorder. Personally, I think they would recognize its validity if they had to deal with it from day to day.

I don’t have FMS, but I am familiar with it. I recognize it from when my brother had Fibromyalgia as a corrollary to Sjogren’s Syndrome. Lannette’s situation is a bit different, because FMS is her primary diagnosis; it is the source of unpredictable pain that moves all over her body from day to day. Living with FMS is a crap shoot for her. She just returned from a trip to visit family in the Pacific Northwest, and even though it was supposed to be a relaxing, renewing trip, it wore her out. She was exhausted when she arrived at DIA, and is taking it easy for a few days.

I’m constantly amazed by my wife. She’s the strongest survivor I’ve ever known. She was two blocks away from the Murrah Buiding in Oklahoma City when Timothy McVeigh blew it up on April 19th, 1995. She has been physically abused in ways that would stagger anyone, yet she still had the strength to fight back from all of that to start and administer an Internet newsgroup for women who have survived domestic violence.

I know that she will find her way through this challenge, find her “new normal.” She always has, always will.