All posts by john


Log: 08/16/2020

Here we are. Sunday night. Everyone’s asleep but me (and everyone playing videos, but they should go to sleep).

I bought a new laptop recently. I’m not going to say it is the fastest in the world, but it is faster than the one listed as the fastest in the world by several (no doubt branded articles) 2 months ago. It does have more cores than any laptop in the market.

I’ve not been able to do any serious development for many months as my other laptop is 1) old enough to start showing signs of keeping up with my need for processing power and 2) damaged enough that it no longer charges a battery so it’s basically an underpowered desktop. I’ll probably repurpose it as a server.

Anyways, I have so many projects to try to catch up on now. First of which is a rewrite of my task-management software. I built a version that is SUPER insecure, but the purpose was two-fold; to learn how to program in a new language and to also create a rocking task manager. I accomplished both, but I was not following any security conventions when I wrote it. Now that I work in security, when I look at it my skin crawls.

I’m rewriting to a version others can use as well. So, if you’re interested, drop my a line and I’ll add you to a beta-users list.

Once I’m done that, next “Johnny Renaissance Project” is a t-shirt store that I’ve started (on paper at least, plus some domain purchasing, etc). Trying to generate a little passive income. I have a few projects passed that but they are written in my journal which isn’t in my hand at the moment and I wrote them down so I wouldn’t have to remember them. 🙂

I am toying with the idea of working in 10 day chunks. You can follow the Decaday category for the updates.

PS. RV life rocks.


How to deal with all “this”

There are so many things going on in the world today: riots, protests, racism, pandemics, entitlement, righteousness (from damn near every segment).

I’d like to suggest a framework that might help you deal with all the constant deluge of information. So many ways you’re suppose to think and feel otherwise you are wrong and will be blasted across the internet as someone who doesn’t think the right way. But not any 2 groups can agree on how to think.

The framework is…

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Journey to the CISSP

I’ve started a new journey.

Actually, this journey was started when I attended a March 2020 CISSP bootcamp. They were clear during the bootcamp that in-and-of-itself, the bootcamp was not enough to get you a passing score on the CISSP exam.

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Biz ops to solve climate change

I seriously don’t like the term climate change. Because lets face it, if we get it moving in the right direction, it’s still changing, right?

Change isn’t bad.

We need to rename this.

All that aside, any problem presents opportunity.

Here’s a quick article about opportunities in the climate “change” industries.

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Starting in Cybersecurity

So you want to get into cybersecurity??

I mean, it’s all the rage, right? Cyberwarriors are the new soldier!

But where to start?

I’ll make this short and sweet, much like myself.

There are two components to getting into anything digital. Only two components. If you want to write programs, create graphics, run projects, or get paid to hack.

The two components are:

  1. Learn
  2. Do

Easy, right? Well, ya. Seriously, you can try to do either one of these, but if you only focus on learning and you never test your knowledge or who your skills by doing, then you’re an academic and people can smell them a mile away. The people who “know” everything but can’t actually get anything done because they really don’t know how to do the do.

You can focus on doing. A lot of people get ahead by doing. That’s because most people don’t do. They sit on their asses and want.

But only doing and not enhancing your skills with knowledge beyond your pragmatic day-to-day crumpets of do causes you to lose out on a significant amount of progress and headway.

You have to do both if you want to break into a new digital industry.

The greatest thing about the digital industry, though, is that learning and doing can by super cheap and even free.

To learn, look for free or super cheap resources. Udemy is cheap. Khan academy is free (I think it is, in part at least). Youtube is free. Google is free (except the parts of you they sell, but we don’t talk about that).

There are so many free resources for learning what you want to learn that it’s not even worth trying to give an exhaustive list.

The next part is doing. If you want to learn cybersecurity, nothing really beats setting up an environment and trying to hack it. Environments are free. Virtualbox is free. Linux is free. Hacking tools are free. Sample vulnerable apps are free. Download these things, set them up, and start hacking away.

It’s going to be so painful at first. Everything is when you have to learn an entirely new skillset. But you have to start somewhere.


and Learn.

If you don’t stop, you will eventually know.


Let’s. Get. Serious.

If you didn’t read that in Darkwing Duck’s voice, shame on you.

Anyways, I’m taking my education to the next level (or really, the first level). Of course, when I signed up for this course (Stanford University: Machine Learning via, I didn’t realize it was a timed course. I was thinking Udemy, you know? Work at your own speed?

Cause I kind of already started an AWS Certified Solutions Architect prep course, which was pretty heavy.

But then I got an email from Coursera telling me that my assignments are due.

Uh oh.

3 Days later I’ve caught up from last week. Hoping to be caught up for this week by Monday (when I’m supposed to be done this week). That way, I’ll have all of week 3 to work on week 3 stuff.

And now I have to redo my plan for the AWS prep class since I had a daily goal listed out.

Anyways, I love me some maths. I haven’t mathed for years and this course definitely doesn’t skimp on the math. Loving it so far. Honestly, my only “upgrade” for this ML course would be to have quite a few more exercises to solidify the lessons. Right now it’s about 1 question per concept; basically to make sure you understood. But I like taking the vehicle around the block to make sure I know how to work the stick, ya know?

Here’s to learning me some ML and AI so I can learn how to attack. Cause that’s the goal, ya know? I mean, other than the fact I’m in AppSec, I want to know how to beat the machines when SkyNet rises.



Freemasonry: A Spectator’s Sport

Why exactly don’t people stay in our lodges?

It’s actually a simple answer. It’s boring. And, being bored, members do not perceive the lodge’s value. Now, I am part of a lodge that has quite a few active members and even more active line officers. But that is because we, “play the game.”

But what exactly does that mean?

If we look at sports as an analogy for our current situation, we can see very easily what the situation and problem is. Our country loves their sports. And I don’t mean our country as in the 20 people that happen to be on the field at a time, I mean the millions that sit and watch. Because, for all intents and purposes, sports are a spectator sport. We’re not expected to actively play; we’re expected to sit and watch.

People did not leave the comfort of their houses to go out to a lodge and become Master Masons only so they can sit on the sidelines and watch. They could have stayed home and done that with sports that were much more interesting. Our officers are the players that enjoy the activity. Everyone else is a spectator. We make them builders and give them nothing to build.

For those of you who have a trade under your belt, you know you don’t want to sit around and wait for a job to ply your trade, you want to go out and work.

So what is the solution? We need to build something . That’s the end all be all of it. While officers build new Masons, the new Masons must also be taught how and what to build.

What do we build then?

We have many options. We can build our lodges by repairing old ones and creating new buildings. We can build our appendant bodies by upkeeping their buildings as well as running programs and fundraisers to help their causes.

But these two are still limited because a Master Mason cannot build, they can only act as an Entered Apprentice or Fellow Craft during this work, that, in the end, would be directed by the Worshipful Master and the Line Officers.

What else is there to build? Our communities. I have been contemplating this idea for almost a year now, the idea of being a builder of the community. In May, 2015, my grandfather passed away. At that time, I found out that in 2007 he was awarded the Community Builder honor in my hometown. I had to look it up as I thought of this phrase near the beginning of this year and so the phrasing struck a chord with me. The honor is given to those who have made significant contributions to their community. I was taken with the coincidence of my grandfather receiving an honor that I had been contemplating creating.

So, how do we build the community? By creating organizations and groups. Do you have leftover food from your events? Deliver it to homeless camps. The organizations that exists will not take your food and pass it on, so you must do it yourselves.

Do you have adults who can’t read? Create an organization to teach them. But, you say, they already have a group to help adults with literacy. That’s great! Find where your community is lacking and build an organization to satisfy that.

You can also build buildings. I’m sure there are other groups out there that need homes. There are youth groups, senior groups, community groups, and many of them are looking for a home. And you can provide that. Or perhaps you want to help expand your local college or university.

Or you can build youth programs. We have Masonic youth groups that have mixed backing. I’ve personally helped our local chapter of DeMolay start and they have an incredible amount of backing. As well, our Rainbow Girls assembly, while fledgling, is also growing!

But what exactly is a group? It just a flock of people who gather for similar interests. But, the youth groups need help with special interest programs. Would your youth organization be served by having more special interest programs?

What about a science and technology program? What about a literature program? They need help building these programs. Would they not be much more interesting to prospects if your group offered these programs?

But they can’t have special interest groups without people willing to back them and help run them. We are not limited masonic youth organizations. What if we create programs outside, such as science and technology
competitions where scholarships are awarded? Or a “Community Builder of the Future,” competition? Every external program that we create is branding for our masonic youth organizations. It’s free advertisement.
In the end it’s simply a matter of work. Our organization will continue to see numbers falter as long as we hang a sign that says, “Seeking builders, no work at this time,” on the outside of our lodge. As long as Freemasonry remains a spectator sport, numbers will dwindle. To solve this, we need the coaches and team leaders to come out and direct the work of new and weathered members of our lodge. It’s only through building that we can be builders. It’s only through the act of masonry that we can be Masons.

Brother John Tsangaris, 32°