We’ve all seen how nasty the Internet can be. Scroll Facebook, Twitter or any number of blogs on a given day and you’ll see people going out of their way to rip each other apart in the most cowardly way possible — hidden in the shadows. Many of us have stories about being attacked online. Usually, it’s because we offered an opinion people disagreed with. But Amanda Nickerson has been living with something a lot more…  [Read More]

This is the second in a series of posts about navigating through the unexpected. It’s based on experiences I’ve had since my father’s death last year. A lot of legal paper pushing, hand-holding and arguing has gone into managing the building my late father left in my care. I’ve never dealt with lawyers so much in my life. Sorting out the various trusts, deeds, real-estate negotiations and environmental cleanup tasks has been a full-time job on…  [Read More]

A few years ago, I used to do a bunch of lists of security people to follow on Twitter every Friday. For a while I did a separate one on “women in security.” That is, until one of my peers called me out on it. Essentially, my friend, Wendy Nather, said that I was contributing to sexism in the industry by separating the women from the men. That’s how I took it, anyway. She was…  [Read More]

This Wasn’t Part of the Plan

by Bill Brenner July 26, 2016 Dealing with life

This is the first in a series of posts about navigating through the unexpected. It’s based on experiences I’ve had since my father’s death last year. I’ve tried to follow the words of Winston Churchill, who once said, “If you’re going through Hell, keep going.” I’ve had shitty years before — 1984, when my brother died, the year following my best friend’s suicide in 1997, and 2004, when another close friend died and I came closest to an emotional…  [Read More]

Vote Your Conscience and Get Off My Lawn

by Bill Brenner June 23, 2016 Political discourse

I’ve been mostly silent about this year’s presidential contest. Since I’ve been pretty opinionated about such things in the past, this has worried some of my loved ones. And so, for this one post, I will tell you what I think. Mood music: My worldview is much different than it was in my younger years. I used to think the fate of humanity hinged on each election. If the candidate I supported was in a…  [Read More]

To the Self-Righteous People Who Need a Pat on the Back

by Bill Brenner June 21, 2016 Communication skills for the crazy

I’ve mentioned before that kids today are addicted to accolades, that being told how awesome they are has become more important than actually achieving anything. It’s time to be fair to the kids and admit it’s not just them. We adults are just as bad — maybe even worse. Mood music: Armed with Facebook and Twitter accounts, we adults have the power to communicate like no other time in the past. And a lot of us use them…  [Read More]

Living in the Precious Present (If You Can Find It)

by Bill Brenner June 6, 2016 Communication skills for the crazy

One of the basic traits of someone with OCD is an inability to live in the moment. Learning to do so is one of my big projects at the moment.   I’m better at living in the precious present than I used to be. I can remember being a kid, always daydreaming about the future: what I’d look like and how cool my life would be if I were thinner, the clothes I would wear,…  [Read More]

Where I’m Going and What I’m Leaving Behind

by Bill Brenner May 16, 2016 Infosec

Last week I announced my impending move from Akamai to encryption company PKWARE, where I’ll be senior content strategist. This post is for those who have asked why. It’s also a tribute to the company I’m leaving behind. Mood music: I’m leaving because I’m ready for a new adventure, the next step of my professional evolution. After several conversations with the folks at PKWARE, it became clear that I could make a mark there and have…  [Read More]

My Impostor Syndrome Is Showing

by Bill Brenner May 2, 2016 Dealing with life

Saturday was one of those days where everything was getting to me: the myriad tasks that need doing on the family building we’re leasing out, the adjustments I need to make to my health regimen, and the general lack of downtime. As the day went on, though, I realized my inner turmoil was more about my career than my personal life. I’m suffering from a brutal bout of impostor syndrome. Mood music: I’ve been focusing…  [Read More]

After “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother” Post, A Dramatic Turnaround

by Bill Brenner April 25, 2016 Children's issues

After the December 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, when 20 children and several educators were murdered by 20-year-old shooter Adam Lanza, a distressed mom wrote a blog post called “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother.” The mental distress Lanza reportedly lived with was something Liza Long saw in her own son, Eric Walton. Sunday morning I heard a report on NPR in which Long and Walton opened up about the turn their lives took after that blog post went viral. And it’s…  [Read More]