I have no idea how long I’ve been with SC Magazine. It seems like forever that I have been answering that question with “25 years” and I think that’s pretty close. That would make it 1992 when I first started writing for the magazine and I don’t think that we were yet part of Haymarket Media back then. It’s been a very long time in any event. Back in those days I was freelancing for such industry-shaping publications as “InfoWorld”, “Byte”, “Government Computer News” and quite a few more that have slipped into the archives of my memory. I wrote everything from reviews to opinion pieces and book reviews. Now, it’s time to retire and move on.
I once asked Wayne Rash, a well-known IT security columnist of the day (and Pulitzer Prize nominated columnist today), what the most important thing he had to teach me was. His answer was unequivocal: “Don’t miss deadlines”. Nothing about writing, accuracy, imagination and creativity – those things were assumed. Just don’t miss the deadlines.
In my quest to become a writer, I asked Dr. Jerry Pournelle, famed science fiction author and iconic “Byte” columnist (remember “Chaos Manor”? It really was chaotic.) what he liked about writing. He too, was unequivocal: “Having written.” I didn’t know Jerry well, but I knew him – sadly, I just found that he died back in September… the technology world lost a great mind that day – so I put his and Wayne’s advice together and, after writing or contributing to 20 books and who knows how many articles and papers, I still think they were the best pieces of advice I ever received. Jerry never knew it, I don’t think, but he was the largest influence on my reviewing style over the course of my career and Wayne taught me how to write books (we did a few together – mostly on deadline).
Over the past several years – since about 2005, I think – I have worked with and become friends with Illena here at SC focusing on reviews. We made a lot of changes together and won a lot of awards. But the biggest award I ever received was your respect as a review and test lab. SC has become the sine qua non of IT Security review sources. My sidekick Judy is going on to help the new team settle in and keep the legacy going. I could not have done it without her, my son Mike who wrote a lot of reviews in years past and went on to distinguish himself in the Detroit Public Schools data center, my late son John who kept our own level of chaos at a minimum, as well as other reviewers such as Mike Lipinski, the late Justin Peltier who had more certs than I thought existed at the time, and Rob Cote who will be taking over for me (that’s the “hail” part of this column – Welcome aboard, Rob). And I never could go without a shout-out to Doug and, a while back, Greg. Not every writer likes his or her editors – I absolutely do. Thanks, guys. You made me a better writer.
So, is it over for me? Certainly not. I will renew my blog at my own website, continue research in forensic threat hunting in my lab (The Cyber Crime Research Lab) and continue work on another PhD (Law). The PhD will complete (I hope) in 2021 or 2022 so I’ll be on the scene at least until then. If you get a moment, stop by the new site and never, never, never forget that if it’s important to you as an IT security professional there is only one publication worth reading: “SC Magazine”.
That’s it for me, but it has been, as they say, one heck of a ride. I would not have missed it for anything!! But those deadlines? I bequeath them to the younger writers with my own admonition: remember Wayne’s advice. And, now, just as Jerry predicted over 30 years ago when we sat in Chaos Manor and shared a bottle of his Champaign, I’m enjoying having written.