Personal, Weekly Round-Ups

Writing The Weekly Round-Up While I Try Not To Melt…

It is very hot today. The BBC says London could hit 33 degrees. I am not good with heat in general; my windows are all open from March-November, and as soon as it hits about 16 I start to feel too warm. I can’t help it, I’m from Scotland.

So today’s heat is a bit of a pain to begin with, and then there’s the added annoyance of the fact that I’m not allowed to drink water until 6pm.

Continue reading “Writing The Weekly Round-Up While I Try Not To Melt…”

Personal, Weekly Round-Ups

The Return of the Weekly Round-Up

As we all know, I’ve been offline a lot lately, and work hasn’t exactly been as busy as it normally is, due to my organs rebelling against their allocated tasks and rising up in a kind of painful internal revolution.

I’m not blogging as often either, mainly because my brain feels like it’s made of cotton wool that’s been drenched in chloroform. But it’s looking like this whole situation is going to be dragging on for fucking ages, and so I’ve decided to return to doing a round-up post once a week on this blog, for four reasons:

  1. There’s generally one day a week when I feel vaguely alive.
  2. I’d like to keep some kind of blog activity going.
  3. While I’m not able to do anywhere near as much as usual, I am still getting some stuff done. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that because of the amount of time I’m currently spending lying on the sofa watching Netflix, but I think it’d be good to reassure myself that I am still living my life, albeit in slo-mo.
  4. People keep asking me for updates on how I am and what condition my health is in, and it’s exhausting to have the same conversation 46 times, so if you want updates, you now know where to get them.

So, without further ado, the round-up of the last week or so.

Continue reading “The Return of the Weekly Round-Up”

Personal

Why I haven’t been online much recently

I am an intensely private person. As any of my close friends will tell you, I hate sharing information about myself, dislike being asked the most basic of personal questions, and prefer to keep copious diaries (on actual paper, like it’s the 1800s or something) rather than talking to people about what’s going on in my life.

It’s therefore a bit weird that I’m also a blogger, and that I sometimes blog about really quite personal topics. I started blogging back in 2007, because it was a requirement of the job I had then, and I also joined social media for that reason.

I think if my life hadn’t taken that specific turn, I’d probably be some kind of technological troglodyte, holed up in a cave filled with books… but wait. I pretty much live in a cave filled with books anyway. So maybe my life wouldn’t have been so different, and anyway whatifs are futile.

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Uncategorized

The Future Of Image Authentication

Last week I caught up with David Spreadborough from Amped Software about image authentication in digital forensics.

David, can you tell us a bit about your role and what it involves?

I’m the international trainer for Amped Software. First of all, Amped Software is a digital image and video company and everything that we do has a forensic and scientific backing. It’s very easy to deal with an image or a video, but to deal with an image or a video forensically, with a scientific backing, requires a product to guarantee that everything a user does is forensically sound.

My history is that I was a police officer for 24 years; the last 12 years were spent purely doing CCTV and image investigations, mainly from CCTV. I left in 2015, upon the closure of the Forensic Imaging Unit.

Because I’d been aware of Amped Software, and I’d been aware of some of their products, I’d started assisting them with some ideas in order to help users. Then they offered me a job as their international trainer. I not only go around the world teaching other people to use the software, but I also do the research and development of ideas; getting ideas from users when I’m delivering training and working out how we’re going to put that into the software. I also do private analysis work, so if there are any challenges while I am conducting an investigation, we can solve these problems and then build the solution into the software as well.

Read the full interview on Forensic Focus

Books

The Girls by Emma Cline

A few months ago, I read an article – I think it was in Vogue magazine – about this person who’d written a debut novel and managed to get an unprecedented advance for it. She sounded interesting, and the novel sounded like it’d be right up my street, mainly because the article said it was about growing up in a cult, which I did.

And then a couple of weeks ago, a copy of a book dropped through my letterbox and I started reading it. I didn’t make the connection until I was a few chapters in, and then I thought, Wait a minute. This is that book. 

Continue reading “The Girls by Emma Cline”

Investigation

How Do Criminals Communicate Online?

Flashpoint, a business intelligence agency specialising in the deep and dark web, recently published a report on the economy of criminal networks online. The report looks not only at where criminals go to communicate on the internet, but also how their communications are structured, and the ways in which online communication has changed the criminal landscape.

Far from the kind of jack-of-all-trades portrayed in TV dramas, today’s cybercriminals structure their operations much like a business, each person having their own specialisms and reporting to the people above them. This helps to ensure that every member of the network takes on tasks that don’t overwhelm them, and often also ensures that the level of communication is kept to a minimum. Each party is only in contact with the level directly above, thus decreasing the likelihood of breaking up the entire network if a single individual’s identity is uncovered by law enforcement.

Read the full article on ForensicFocus

Books

Uncorked by Paul Shore

When I first offered to review Uncorked, I did so because I thought it was a book about wine. The author replied that this wasn’t the case, and that he didn’t want me to get my hopes up and end up reading something I didn’t enjoy.

I thought I’d give it a go anyway, because it sounded like an interesting memoir. And it was.

The book begins with Shore moving to Saint-Paul de Vence, a small town in Provence where Marc Chagall created many of his most famous paintings.

When he moved to France for work, Shore wanted to live in a place that wasn’t too popular with tourists or other expats. Like many people who move abroad, he wanted to truly experience French culture and understand what life in Provence is like as a local.

And he managed to do just that.

Read the full review on ExpatFocus.