Internet Defense League

Friday, February 15, 2013

Coming up with a topic

As a part of my degree, I am supposed to write a dissertation. I had always assumed that writing a 100+ page document would be the hardest part. I have learned that I am way off. For me, the most difficult part is coming up with a relative, interesting topic.

I've had a couple of ideas that I have gone through without much success. Perhaps it has to do with my initial lack of understand of what a dissertation is. A little research brings me to Purdue's definition (somewhat paraphrased):
A dissertation is a lengthy formal document that argues in defense of a hypothesis. The research performed must be original and substantial and that its essence is critical thinking and not experimental data. Every statement in a dissertation must be supported by either a reference to published scientific literature or by original work. Each statement must be correct and defensible in a logical and scientific sense.
Before I started talking with professors, I had the grand idea of writing an application that would data mine publicly available social networking sites and develop a somewhat intricate picture of the person a forensics team was evaluating. However, that is just software development. It's not moving the science of forensics ahead, so the school's advisers shut that topic down.

The I realized that children of today are getting on the internet at progressively earlier ages. However, parents and schools are frequently not equipped to engage children and explain to them the dangers that could lurk on various websites. However, what Purdue's document doesn't mention is that completing a dissertation is frequently a lock into a specific career field. And I don't want to be the guy that teaches Facebook to elementary school for the next 30 years. That topic even came up indirectly with a former professor of mine:

Now the goal is to identify a topic that I can write about, enjoy, and make money on during the next 30+ years of my working life. Ideas?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Getting fit

My initial post alluded to my goal to get fit. There are a few impetuses bringing about my change of heart, so to speak. During spring of 2012, I went to a Frederick Keys baseball game with some friends and family. Dean posted a picture on Facebook that included me. Yes, the pic to the right. Damn I looked dumpy, but even that wasn't enough to get me motivated, though I did get a haircut.

Two of my close friends, Christopher and EJ, started fitness routines. Both have dropped a tremendous amount of weight (100 pounds between the two of them), are feeling better, and are looking good. That got me thinking that I should do something for myself. I tried to get myself psyched. I went to the gym once, ran a couple of times, and then found excuses to sit on my ass. Nothing changed.

The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back was my fat ass. I was tying my shoes when I found myself breathing heavy. From tying shoes. Do me a favor and read those last couple of sentences again. It wasn't the cardiovascular effort involved in tying shoes, but that my fat, bulbous stomach was getting in the way. Wow! That's when I realized that a complete change was needed.

I started watching my eating and am going back to the gym. As can be seen on the chart above, cutting carbs resulted in a massive drop in weight and then a somewhat extensive plateau. However, there were a multitude of reasons for that including an unexpected, impromptu mini-vacation as well as a long-term (6-weeks) visitor. Now that I am back at the gym combining a lifting routine and cardio exercises, I am confident that my weight will drop like a rock.

Today's workout:

Exercise Repetitions
Dips 4x10
Dumbbell Bench Press 10@40 10@50 10@60 8@60
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 10@40 10@50 2x10@60
Dumbbell Flys 3x10@50
Decline Dumbbell Bench Press 10@40 10@50 2x10@60
Tricep Press Downs 10@30 10@40 10@50
Run 30 min @ 5 MPH

Friday, February 1, 2013

Tragedy nearby

A lot has been weighing on my mind lately. However, this morning I heard about a tragedy not too far from home. A home caught fire causing two children to die so early in life. At ages 6 and 3, they had barely begun to live.

Thinking about my children, ages 10 and 7, I could not imagine the pain that these parents are enduring. When my two come home from school this afternoon, there will be no play dates. At least not until I have the opportunity to give them likely the tightest hugs I can imagine.

From Facebook
Following that, I am going to ensure that all of our emergency plans are up to date. Do the kids know what to do in the event of an emergency? Are the batteries still good in our smoke detectors? I have never even checked to see whether our fire extinguishers are good.

I don't know what caused this fire nor am I aware whether the parents could have prevented the lifetime of pain they will surely sustain, but you can bet that we will be as prepared as possible.

What can you do to help the family?

  • A drive has been established for the family of the victims. Their home was a total loss, so they are starting from ground zero. All household items are needed as well as clothes size 6-months and size 8 (children's). Other sizes can be found on the Frederick News-Post page listed below. Donations can be brought to:
  • Chick-fil-A on 5501 Urbana Pike will be holding a fundraiser on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 from 4 PM - 8 PM. 25% of all proceeds will be donated to the family.
  • Frederick County Bank has created the Lillard Family Recovery Fund.
  • Donate through Give Forward.
  • Attend PicStamatic's photo fundraiser. 100% of all money will be donated to the Lillard family.
What can you do to help your family?
  • Ensure you have smoke alarms installed. See Home Depot's site for guidance.
  • Check to ensure you have a fire extinguisher and that you know how to use it.
  • Speak with your family, especially your kids on an emergency action plan.
From Facebook


Posting by CCMPCS -

So many related things have been floating through my head, but this is where I will leave off.

Good night and love your family.