I typically don’t remember my dreams, but Tuesday night I had a doozy of a stress dream. You could say my brain was smacking me for making light of other people’s anxieties in the run up to Black Hat, DEF CON and BSidesLV. Every year at this time I start to hear people worrying aloud about their Vegas schedules, which is understandable. I used to create detailed schedules but threw out the script a few…  [Read More]

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This video of a man being choked to death by police is getting a lot of attention lately: Even The New York Times covered the incident. This sort of thing is normally New York Post territory. Of course, the video does come from the Post. You can hear people in the background talking about police bullying an innocent man whose only crime was trying to break up a fight. Police claim he was initially approached…  [Read More]

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The Battle of Market Basket

by Bill Brenner July 22, 2014 Food

Several people have asked what I think of the Market Basket drama, including the boycotts and empty shelves as employees fight for the reinstatement of recently canned CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. Here’s my answer. Mood music: Many people worry about what will become of a supermarket chain that, up to this point, has been the cheapest on the block. If this chain goes bye-bye, a lot of people in financial distress worry they’ll have more trouble putting food…  [Read More]

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You Call It Selfish, I Call It Survival

by Bill Brenner July 21, 2014 Work-life balance

A friend once lamented that she tries to make everyone around her happy. She’s a self-described people pleaser, and it’s led to a world of hurt. She wanted to know how I got past it and was able to out myself. Here’s my attempt to answer the question. Mood music: I used to be a people pleaser. I probably still am to some extent. But nothing like how I used to be. I wanted desperately to make every boss happy, and I…  [Read More]

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Bad Customer Service Is a Mental Health Threat

by Bill Brenner July 17, 2014 Mental health

There’s a reason the recorded call with a belligerent Comcast employee went viral. It wasn’t for sheer entertainment value, though some will undoubtedly find it amusing. It’s because practically every Comcast customer has suffered one of those dreadful service calls. For Erin and me, the last such experience was a couple weeks ago, when we called for repairs to our Internet service. Mood music: In the case making news, a customer service rep gave one…  [Read More]

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The Blogger with the Self-Destruct Button

by Bill Brenner July 16, 2014 OCD

I’ve been an obsessively prolific writer over the years, and, frankly, I’ve had to take stock in what I’m doing. Overkill is an art for those of us with OCD, and it’s hard to say no when someone asks me to do something new. I have two new ongoing projects. I’m doing a new podcast in addition to my Akamai Security Podcast. I’ve also started blogging for the Liquidmatrix Security Digest. But I’m still going…  [Read More]

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Carter Center Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism

by Bill Brenner July 15, 2014 Mental health

People love to pick on the presidency of Jimmy Carter. To be sure, there’s much to criticize. But Carter has done awesome deeds since leaving Washington 33 years ago. One such deed: working to break the stigma around mental illness. Mood music: Being a journalist, I know how important it is for skilled writers to lift the veil off the scourge so the masses can understand. I never tackled such a beat as a reporter,…  [Read More]

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Johnny Depp Visits Revere Beach

by Bill Brenner July 14, 2014 Dealing with life

Filming for the movie based on the book Black Mass is taking place around Massachusetts. Last week, they did some scenes on the beach I walked daily as a kid. I was young when Whitey Bulger was enjoying his reign of terror on Boston and the surrounding communities, and I don’t remember much about it other than a couple news reports from the 1980s. I was busy walking Revere Beach every day. It was often…  [Read More]

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Tools to Fight Your Demons at #Defcon, #BlackHat and More

by Bill Brenner July 11, 2014 security drama

This isn’t a post about how I think you should behave at DEF CON. I’ve already said my bit about the drama aspect and shared my experiences being a sober guy at security cons. This isn’t an anti-drinking tirade or a lecture about the treatment of women at these events. It IS a resource for those who have demons they’d like to control during our so-called Security Summer Camp. Mood music: There’s been some talk…  [Read More]

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Sleep or Exercise: Which Matters More?

by Bill Brenner July 10, 2014 Well-Being

I’ve been trying hard of late to get my exercise regimen back on track. But I keep hitting the same wall: sleep. Specifically, I can’t get my ass out of bed at the appointed time so I keep missing my workout window. Mood music: For a guy who used to obsessively walk 3.5 miles a day no matter the weather or amount of rest, this is baffling. True, I am pushing my mid-40s. But really,…  [Read More]

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