Okay, yes, I couldn't think of a sufficiently witty title so I just recycled an old one (Hello, World!) in a different language. BUT in my defence, it does bear some relevance to this little update, as you'll soon see! Just to recap, these "sam4k" posts are just an informal chat/roundup of my last month or so; as well as a lowkey celebration of surviving another month of blogging.
Let's Get (Meta)physical!
So let's blog about the blog. This month started out strong but honestly, as I'll talk about later, I've been fairly busy and that took a toll on the motivation for some of the later posts; particularly the roundups (Month in Security/Linux).
I think this really was the product of a lack of preparation, as I ended up doing the months perusing for content in a sitting or two, rather than taking note as and when they come. I'm still contemplating whether or not to continue featuring these series, as I never want the blog to feel like a chore, just a channel for my interests.
On the other hand, I'm pretty excited about my little Linux Internals project: the aptly named Linternals. You can find out more in my introduction post here. Seeing at the blog is actually becoming a thing I should get around to tweaking this theme at least a little, make it more me.
The Great Outdoors
These days, with lockdown lifted and the vaccine rollout, things are beginning to resemble something of the days before pandemics and isolation. This month I've actually found myself out an about quite often: travelling to London to see my first live performance in what seems like forever (Frankie Boyle - hilarious!) and eat as much food as possible, as well as a trip to the countryside to see my family and enjoy some nice walks.
Hopefully this trend will only continue, as I mentioned in my last update, I'm eager to travel beyond the county and country borders to explore more of the world (and it's food).
Some New Hobbies
Seguing nicely on from travel, while I only recently discovered my wanderlust after having the option taken away from me by the pandemic, I've long had an interest in languages (nope, not just programming languages).
During uni I took the time to learn Dutch, despite a couple of my friends being the handful of people who spoke it, it was a fun experience. My girlfriend spent some time in China growing up and speaks some Mandarin, so I attempted picking that up for a while but quickly dropped off - whether it was multiple tones and scary characters, Hanzi, or just life getting in the way I'm not sure.
It wasn't long before I was itching to pick something else up and considering Japan is definitely on the cards for our next international trip and I consume some Japanese media via games/TV, I thought this would be a good challenge.
This'll be gibberish to some, but for those that are interested, currently I'm comfortable with my Hiragana & Katakana thanks to Tofugu's mnemonic system which literally took just over a day to get a hang of. Since then I've been doing a combo of WaniKani's free trial for Kanji (also using mnemonics, run by the Tofugu lot), DuoLingo and Teach Yourself Japanese - nothing too wild.
While I may have spent more time outside lately, I've still been spending a considerable indoors and working at the computer. Like many, I've some posture and neck/wrist pain issues, no doubt due to amount of time spent watching TV, using the computer, playing games, browsing my phone etc. etc.
While I go the gym fairly regularly for weight training and have been to the physio, I have neglected the softer touch care for my poor body. Lately I've picked up yoga, after a suggestion from my girlfriend, and have been enjoying it. Nothing crazy, a 20 minute session each morning, specifically for the wrists and neck, has been a boon.
While certainly not the most graceful or precise yogee (is the a term??), it's been a nice start to the morning and I feel like there's been some visible benefits, with parts getting easier and starting my day fresh and invigorated. Hopefully this is something I keep up with and continue to progress, moving beyond the wrist and neck sensitive sessions and onto broader, more advanced moves (is it moves??).
And Some Old Ones
I've always loved a good CTF, in fact it was fun little pwn challenges that got me interested in cyber security in the first place. Well, that and the Hacking: The Art of Exploitation, I was absolutely enamoured at the time. The process of developing an understanding of a system's inner workings and then using this find a way to achieve an unintended goal - yes please!
Lately I've found myself working my way through Hack The Box's (HTB) pwn challenges; yes, I've really slept on HTB. I'd completed the Old Bridge challenge 6 months ago after a friend of mine had mentioned they were struggling on it, so my curiosity was peaked. It was actually good fun and a decent challenge, however life got in the way, as it usually does, and my HTB aspirations were shelved.
Until now! I decided to actually make an effort to work my way through the pwn challenges (my favourite!) and warmed up on You know 0xDiablos and followed that up with Sick ROP and Cosy Casino - all of which were good fun. I'm currently working on Kernel Adventures: Part 1, which will be my first "Insane" difficulty challenge, ooh!
Moving onto more conventional forms of entertainment, I picked up a few new games this month that I was pretty hyped about. On the PC I grabbed Amplitude's new "magnum opus" 4X game, HUMANKIND. I think it's good fun and I've enjoyed the new spin on the genre, although I'd not quite put it at magnum opus level personally.
On the PS5 front (yes, I have a dirty console too, but the PS5's Orbis OS is based on FreeBSD, a Unix-like OS, just like Linux? See, it's okay ... right?) I've been spoilt. Towards the end of August the PS5 enhanced edition of Ghosts of Tsushima dropped - just like my jaw did as soon as I started playing. I went into it with minimal prior knowledge and a Sekiro snob, ready to look down on the normy combat mechanics but oooh was I wrong! What a beautiful, charming game with a engaging story to back up strong gameplay.
A couple of days ago I picked up Deathloop on a whim as I've been a fan of their previous game and have also been pleasantly surprised. It's a cool story with a some unique gameplay blends of roguelite/hitman/dishonoured vibes. I've also really enjoyed the pvp mode, where you souls-like invade another players world as the antagonist of the plot.
Okay, okay, one last thing! I'm a big fan of fiction, although I can be pretty picky about what I spend my time reading - usually it's limited to fantasy authors that check my arbitrary boxes (Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Mark Lawrence etc.) however I'd heard such good things about Dune and with the movie coming up, I thought it'd be rude not to give it a go; especially considering I love scifi in movies and shows.
So this month my girlfriend and I have been making our way through a shared copy of Dune (yikes!), hopefully on track to finish before the movie. It took a little for me to get into it, but it's scifi jargon wasn't too far of a departure from the magical I'm used to, and now I'm hooked! On top of that, I've been eyeing up the Dune boardgame for a while now and feel like having that extra context will make it that more enjoyable.