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War Heroes, Counts, Magistrates, and Lunatics…thanks Ancestry.com! June 16, 2017

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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EHM_graveI grew up in a broken home and had little interest or knowledge of my genetic family when I was growing up.  Until recently there were few ways to trace one’s lineage with any degree of accuracy.  In 2010 I joined Ancestry.com.  it was still pretty nascent and I didn’t get much value from the limited information available.  Last week I had an epiphany and looked up the obituary of one of the grandparents with which I was familiar.  It had just enough information that I started looking.  I went back to Ancestry.com and BOOM! I was on fire!  In the 7 years I was away from Ancestry.com there were volumes of new information added!  In two days I found over 160 direct relatives.  I had always assumed my relatives had come to the US like many Irish immigrants during the Great Famine of 1845-1852.  I guessed (incorrectly) that my relatives were farming folk from Ireland.  The real story is much more interested!

The first relative I looked up was my maternal grandfather Emery Harry Montgomery.  He was a Colonel in the US Airforce (previously the Army Air Corps) and had served with distinction in WWII where he flew P-47s over Europe and was awarded 4 Air Medals and in 1944 earned a Distinguished Flying Cross!  Colonel Montgomery was the CO of the 2nd Jet squadron in the US and was killed in 1958 while flying an F80. (more…)

“You Are the Weakest Link! Or Are You”- Guest Post by Dr. Heather Mark June 7, 2017

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The incomparableYATWL Dr. Heather Mark (my wife…and compliance expert) has a new blog post…

“If you’ve been in security or compliance long enough (and by that I mean approximately a week), you’ve heard the old adage that our largest vulnerability are our people.  Firewalls don’t just randomly open ports.  Email clients don’t just decide to send proprietary and sensitive information to third parties.  These are actions, sometimes deliberate and sometimes accidental, taken by the human assets within our companies, not the technological ones. Technology is not imbued with the ability to autonomously break laws or divulge sensitive information.  Technology largely does what it’s programmed to do. People – these are the elements that cannot really be controlled or predicted.  Of course, we can implement technology to mitigate the risk presented by human nature.  But at the end of the day, a determined individual can still wreak a lot of havoc. This argument is often made just to make that point that we can’t be complacent.  And to a very large extent, it’s correct.  But I would posit that people can also be one of our biggest assets with respect to maintaining compliance and ethics programs.I watch a lot of what my husband refers to as “murder shows” – Forensic Files, 20/20, and the like.  My favorite, though, is Dateline when the story is presented by Keith Morrison.  He has a way of telling a story.  Don’t believe me?  I give you proof.”…Click here for more from Dr. Heather Mark’s Blog!

The “Deep Web” in Tactics & Preparedness Magazine May 15, 2017

Posted by Chris Mark in cybersecurity, Uncategorized.
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TacticsPrepDeepweb_smallDeveloped by the Naval Research Laboratory in 1994, The Onion Routing (TOR) protocol was originally designed to allow spies to communicate securely.  It is this protocol that ushered in the “Deep Web” which enabled Edward Snowden to bypass the NSA using an operating system called TAILS.  If you want to know more about the Deep web and how to gain access, please read my latest article in Tactics & Preparedness magazine.

Denver – Putting Illegal Criminals Ahead of the Lives of its Own Citizens February 20, 2017

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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ever_valles_facebookOn January 30th, 2017 Denver’s Democratic Mayor Michael Hancock proudly proclaimed” “If being a sanctuary city means that we value taking care of one another, and welcoming refugees and immigrants, then I welcome the title,”8 days later, two known gang members (and illegal immigrants) who had been arrested…and released…by the Denver police killed a man.  On February 7th, 2017 Ever Valles (in Facebook pic to left..still up) and Nathan Valdez attempted to rob and ultimately murdered 32 year old Tim Cruz at a light rail station.  So why do I care?  According to reports: “Ever Andres Valles, 19, a citizen of Mexico, was encountered by ICE via the Criminal Alien Program following his arrest on local charges in October 2016,” According to ICE: “At the time of his arrest, ICE placed a detainer with the Denver County Jail. The detainer wasn’t honored, and he was released by the jail Dec. 20, 2016, without notification to ICE. Valles is a known gang member whose gang history is documented in the Colorado gang database. Due to his criminal history and gang affiliation, Valles is an ICE immigration enforcement priority.”  So what was the Denver Police Department’s response? They claim that they did, indeed notify ICE prior to releasing Valles.  Is this true?  Possibly, in a technical manner.  If  you look at the Fax (yes Fax) produced by the Denver PD as ‘proof’ of their efforts  you will notice that the Fax was sent at 11:35 PM on December, 20th, 2016.  According to ICE, Mr. Valles was released on December 20th, 2016.  So…the Denver PD FAXED a document to ICE 25 minutes before midnight to inform them that a dangerous felon was about to be put back on the streets.  In defense of their actions the Sheriff’s department did defiantly add: “We are part of the criminal justice system and do not hold people on civil matters,”…I am sure that helps Mr. Cruz’ family sleep better at night.  It is this ignorant, self serving attitude that ultimately cost the life of Mr. Cruz.  If you are so inclined, you can contact Mr. Hancock here:

https://twitter.com/MayorHancock

https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/mayors-office/contact-the-mayor.html

*for those wondering why I changed the title…in reflection it occurs to me that this does not occur in a vacuum.  The Mayor alone did not create this situation.  As such, it is Denver’ government and not solely the mayor…

Yamaha FZ09 Review – WOW!..Awesome bike! January 27, 2017

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fz09_25Those who know me know I love motorcycles.  I have had everything from Ninjas to Buell’s to Harleys to Enduros…after my son was born I sold my highly modified and beloved (and fast) XB9SX (at right).  xb9_25

A few weeks ago I decided to buy another motorcycle.  After a lot of online research I decided upon Yamaha’s FZ09.  Since I am a speed junkie I figured a 900cc (well..850) streetfighter would be sane enough for me to ride without too much temptation to speed.  The price was right and the bike looked cool, as well.  I found one in Austin, TX and headed out to pick it up.  After 3 weeks on the bike (and over 400 miles) here is my review.

  • Power/Engine?  Yamaha claims about 115HP at the crank and roughly 70ftlbs of torque at 11,500 rpm. Stock Rear wheel is about 105HP.  With a full race exhaust and ECU tune, most are getting about 115hp at the rear wheel.  The bike is geared short for street riding and, as such, it has a ton of low end power.  The power curve is linear from below 2K all the way to the 12,500 RPM.  The power is smooth, and controllable.  It is aided by a 3 setting engine control setting.  A- max power or “track mode”, B- is a lower powered mode used for rain and around town.  Std Mode is good for street riding and around town.  You can switch modes on the fly.
  • Fun Factor?  That thing is FAST!…That motorcycle absolutely rips from 0-120!  Claimed 2.7 second 0-60 and 7 seconds from 0-100.  The upside?  Wheelies…wheelies everywhere!  Wheelies when you want them…wheelies when you don’t…grab too much throttle?  Wheelies.  I did  not realize the acceleration when I bought the bike.  The flat plane crank triple has tons of torque and makes this bike rip.  This bike is the most fun I have had on a motorcycle.  It sounds awesome, as well!  Here is a great video of a rider pulling a wheelie on his FZ09 at 100mph.

  • Handling? At only 414lbs in stock form and wet the bike is light, nimble, and well balanced.  It is very easy to flick this bike through traffic and keep a line around corners.  Yamaha claims a 51 degree lean angle.  While I have not yet scraped a peg on the bike, I can say it does lean tightly.  With an upgraded exhaust and some other changes my bike weighs in at less than 400lbs dry.  It is very narrow due to the 3 cylinder engine and flicks well through twisties.  Unfortunately, the suspension is not great and the front end tends to dive in hard braking.  The rebound and damping are limited, as well.
  • Beginner’s bike?  It is NOT a beginner’s bike!  Read #1.  While only about $8K new, it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  This bike will punish you if you are not careful.  I would NOT advise a new rider to get an FZ09.  If you are not careful on the throttle or you dump the clutch you may find yourself bouncing down the road on your rear end with the bike on top of you.  In a corner, too much throttle and you may find yourself sliding out in a low side (if you are lucky) or being launched through the air from a high side if you are unlucky.  As a writer from RevZilla said: “It’s the best thing ever!”…“It’s absolutely incredible and blows everything else like it out of the water, and that’s before you factor in price. It’s also basically un-rideable and feels like it could be trying to kill me.” (Video below is a high side by not an FZ)

  • Safety? – The 2017 FZ09 comes with Anti-Lock Breaks and Traction Control which should improve the nasty tendencies.  I have never ridden with ABS or TC so I don’t think I am missing much but for less experienced riders, I have little doubt that the additions will help in the safety department.

Overall impression?  Most fun I have ever had on a bike.  Best bang for the buck and an amazing motorcycle.  Yamaha hit it out of the park with the FZ family.

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