[2017] Emergency Preparedness

I am a big fan of planning for “the Big Dark”, where the power is out for more than 3 days. Analog systems, like printed and hand-written records, will be more useful. 

Remember: Emergency preparedness isn’t only for you. it is also so others can contact you when something bad happens to them.

There are drawbacks, mostly around family dynamics this article assumes are moot when emergencies happen.

Note: These are my recommendations. Your mileage may vary. I look forward to constructive input on how best to prepare in the digital age.

Keep an off-line list of emergency info & numbers with you

There was a time where people either knew important numbers and information or carried a address book – a printed out, dead tree address book – and a much of change to use a pay phone (remember those?) to call people. We need to embrace at least a subset of that.

Your health insurance information should be in here. Insurance providers, policy information, doctors information, and maybe prescriptions information should be included.

In certain countries you may need your ID number as well (though US residents should NOT carry their Social Security card or number).

How about this: keep the numbers of your family and close friends in case your phone dies. I could not call anyone except my children if my phone failed, and they don’t often answer their phones – especially from an unknown caller.

As I’m living in a foreign country I carry a card or two that I can use to get me home. In case you’re traveling, disoriented, or inebriated having a card or two to help you get home can be a life saver.

Carry a bit of cash with you, too, in your wallet.

Keep an off-line list of emergency info & numbers at home

This should be a superset of what you carry with you. Your actual cards and birth certificates and stuff (if they are not in a safe deposit box already) should be in a ready-to-carry locked fireproof box in case of emergency. Bank account information, other financial records, and whatever else needed to rebuild after a disaster should be in here.

Throw some currency in the box, too. While it is in there it isn’t working for you, gaining interest or buying food. But if the power goes out no credit or debit card will help. Having cash will help.

[iOS] Enable Emergency Bypass in iOS 10:

I’ve used the Do Not Disturb feature in iOS since it was introduced. This feature allows you to set “quiet times” when your device won’t alert you with notifications, including phone calls and text messages. It can be activated manually or set to activate at recurring times. I have my set to activate from 10:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m. each day, mainly to avoid “wrong number” calls at all hours of the night.

You have always been able to set a specific group of people you want to exclude from the Do Not Disturb settings. This can be a group you designate in your Contacts or your iPhone’s Favorites list. For years I’ve created a contacts group called “VIP” that I had excluded from Do Not Disturb that included family and a few close friends and other important numbers. While this is handy, it may not cover everyone you want to be able to reach you in the event of an urgent matter. With iOS 10, you have more granular control and can now set contacts on an individual basis to bypass the Do Not Disturb Settings.

To activate the feature select the contact card you want to exclude, edit the contact and select ringtone. At the top of the ringtone menu you’ll now see a toggle for “Emergency Bypass”.

… This is a segment of an article that first appeared in the November Issue of ScreencastsOnline Monthly Magazine. ScreenCastsOnline monthly magazine is packed with hints, tips, articles and links to streamable versions of ScreenCastsOnline tutorials and delivered monthly on the iPad. You can find out more at https://www.screencastsonline.com/membership_benefits/

(Via KatieFloyd.me)

I am not sure if Android offers a similar feature.

[Android] Use Google’s Trusted Contacts App

Trusted Contacts runs on top of a pretty simple concept, with the tap of a button an approved list of people can request your location from wherever they may be. Users will need to manually approve who can request their location, and once a request is sent, the user will have 5 minutes to approve or decline the request before the app automatically approves and sends it.

This app takes things up a notch as well by adding offline support, in a sense. If a user heads outside of active cell service and internet access, the app will report the last known location for that user 5 minutes after a request is sent. Contacts can also “walk each other home,” virtually. This essentially enables one user to keep track of another user’s location as a live feed.

… Before you can share your location, though, you first have to go through the process of adding contacts to the application…

How to add contacts:

  1. Open the Trusted Contacts application
  2. If this is the first time setting up the application, Trusted Contacts will walk you through adding contacts
  3. To set up new contacts, either tap on the Add contacts button found at the bottom of the home screen or open the menu by selecting the Menu button in the upper left-hand side of the screen and tap on the Add contacts option
  4. Here you can search through the contacts on your device and select Add next to the individual to send them an invitation to be a trusted contact

(Via 9to5google.com)

i am not sure if iOS offers a similar feature.

Set up lock screen emergency information

This is a old tip but still useful.

Basically take a picture of contact information and make it your device’s lock screen. Tailor the content to provide what is needed without going overboard. Imagine you are passed out on the sidewalk and the only thing people can get to is your phone’s lock screen. What is the critical information you can provide on there that doesn’t open you up to identity theft?

I find this more useful than the login banner message most devices support. One doesn’t have to wait for the message to scroll, where almost all users put the contact email or phone number.

What else?

What other things, simple and inexpensive and effective, that folks should do?

The Japan Migration Continues

I got my Japan laptop this week. I did little with it until yesterday with work and home stuff demanding my attention.

I got email and instant messaging and a whack of other apps going. I also converted my US work phone to get my Japan emails and such. Switching the iPhone was not intuitive or brief.

Today I finally made some time to start customizing my laptop.

I don’t think I properly conveyed to management here how important having proper Japan focused tools are to me and my doing well. Lesson learned.

Fun fact: the Japanese keyboard layout is different from the US layout in significant ways. The cool bits are that the changes, for the most part, don’t interfere with US typing habits and when they do – they make sense!

When typing emails, how great would it be if the @ is an unshifted key? SPOILER ALERT – pretty awesome.

How about taking a page from the old Blackberry, where the $ is an unshifted key? Boom! The ¥ key is direct type – no shift required.
and ^ are first key unshifted, too.

Yes. My typing is a bit impaired right now, mostly with the @ and ‘ for contractions (now shift-7).

Letting Go to Go Forward

I’ve always been a self starter. Give me a knotty problem to untie and I’ll dive in. Give me a multitasking tool and I’ll bend it to my will.

I can’t do this any more.

I missed important information while I was tied up troubleshooting access, delayed further by the fact the text was 95% Japanese. Previous tweaks to glean a marginal improvement in process caused problems when I needed to switch accounts and contexts.

Tinkering won’t do. I need to either bullet-proof-ish my work or get an assistant. Or both.

(Away from) Home for the Holidays

2016 will be the first time I’m away from the U.S. for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.

Many years ago I spent both Canadian Thanksgiving and U.S. Thanksgiving around Toronto. Another year I think I was in Austria and Germany at the end of November.

Regular readers and PVC Security podcast listeners know I moved to Tokyo this month.

I don’t particularly care I’ll miss Christmas and New Year’s. I could do without both. Christmas to me means traffic jams and hypo-consumerism. New Year’s is mostly an opportunity to screw up one’s sleep schedule. Unless the calendar is forgiving, all too soon one returns to work.

I used to volunteer to work those holidays, I liked them so little. I won’t miss them here.

Thanksgiving? Well, that’s another thing entirely.

I love the weather in New England and Michigan this time of year. I love well cooked turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, rolls, green beans, etc. I love pumpkin beer (though it’s creep earlier and earlier reduces the draw for me). I love watching football.

Most of all, I love spending it with my family. It can be just me and the kids. It can be the whole clan or something inbetween.

I wonder how I’ll do that day here. Some of my colleagues and friends here have already volunteered to take my mind off of it.

Stay tuned!

And so it begins … in Tokyo

How to follow me on my adventures in Tokyo.

I’m finally here.

The partner leading my consulting practice asked me about moving to Tokyo in December of ’15. I remember I was in my Brussels hotel room just before Christmas when he floated the notion. By February it was more than a mere notion. By April I would be starting “Any Day Now”.

It’s November, week 45 of 2016, and I’m at long last on the ground with all (most all) of my things.

I’m documenting my Tokyo experience, at least the personal side of things, in a few new places.

On Instagram I’m TokyoGringo.

On Twitter, I’m also @TokyoGringo.

On YouTube, I’m not TokyoGringo. I’m just plain old me: pjorgensen.

Follow and comment if you’re so inclined.

T minus 4 days

I’m supposed to be in packing mode. My flight to Tokyo is Wednesday. I need to cram my stuff into 5 bags or less in the next 4 days.

Instead I’m at the Tremont Tavern in Chattanooga while my sister and 67% of her kids attend a birthday party at a park around the corner.

I’m excited by the move, frustrated it’s taken so long, and a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing. It stands to reason I have these mixed emotions.

While I’m packing or not, let me know your big moment ennui. Or toss me some motivational stuff.

Week ending 092516

Quick hits as I re-ramp up my Week Ending posts.

  • Holidays in Japan while I’m back in the States.
  • Great feedback from the client about our work.
  • Wish I’d attended @Derbycon.
  • I’ve been back in Detroit on my return from Tokyo. Spent time with my kids, fun time talking about Tokyo and getting sushi (their idea) and my impending move.
  • A great guest joined us on @pvcsec – Marcelle Lee.
  • Professionally I connected with some new folk and a bunch of friends & colleagues.

Journalism & Ethics

Note: This is a total knee jerk reaction to the tweets & post from The Verge that Chris Ziegler was simultaneously a new Apple employee and an existing The Verge editor covering Apple.

Working for two employers at once isn’t new. It happens all the time.

But you can’t report about company B for company A while also an employee for company B. It’s Journalism 101, a class I took. I know famous corporate blogs and sites occasionally like to blur journalistic lines. This violation, if true, is clear.

Assuming Tim Cook didn’t appear apropos of nothing on Chris Ziegler’s doorstep the day his dual employment began, and nothing in what I’ve read so far indicates an immaculate hiring, The Verge should at least brand every article Chris wrote for the past 6 months as suspect. His motives aren’t known. We can only speculate when Mr. Ziegler entered into discussion and ultimately received the offer to join Apple.

Apple should dismiss Mr. Ziegler if the accusations are true. If he was duplicitous to The Verge management, co-workers, and readers it stands to reason he will be duplicitous to Apple as well. His ethics, at least, are questionable.

If someone I hired knowingly still worked in such a conflict of interest I would fire them for cause. I’d be curious to learn of environments where such action wouldn’t be the norm.

Again, I don’t know all the details or all the facts. If correct, the course for Apple and The Verge is clear.

My latest Thursday, 20160908

It’s a rainy, hurricane #Tokyo today. Yesterday was earthquake Tokyo.
@edgarr0jas and I recorded @pvcsec #EP78. I edited and uploaded #EP77 but the show notes are slow going. Someone deleted last week’s run sheet. No @timothydeblock or @cmaddalena or @infosecsherpa, sadly.
I’ve been diving into #blockchain and #fintech during breaks working on a client deliverable.
I can’t help but chime in on the @apple announcement: I’m glad I bought my iPhone 6s+ a few weeks ago. I think there might be a run on them (https://apple.news/AtodeT67IQiKYmKB2s3fvvA).
Big security day today, product and provider oriented. @Dell finished their @EMCcorp acquisition ( http://www.wsj.com/articles/dell-closes-60-billion-merger-with-emc-1473252540), @HPE sold their enterprise software to @MicroFocus (whomever they are; http://reut.rs/2ckMx4c), and @Intel spun off @McAfee Security (http://www.wsj.com/articles/intel-nears-deal-to-sell-mcafee-security-unit-to-tpg-1473277803).
Oh, and I’m playing around with http://www.dayoneapp.com.

A Bit of Travel

On my way to Tokyo as I write this, taking a break from a lengthy client report due in a few weeks.

I’m appreciative of some things:

Economy+ (or less an exit or lesser a bulkhead seat) makes a big difference for me when on a flight longer than two hours. Detroit to Tokyo and the return make it mandatory for me.

An unoccupied middle seat is wonderful.

A friendly and smaller than me person in the aisle seat makes getting out of my window seat (needed for potential naps, elbow protection, and no cart pummeling) outright delightful.

The 747: my favorite airplane. The 787 and 380 are swell and all. For my money there is nothing like flying this beautiful double-decker. I will fly the lower and upper decks in business/first class before they’re retired.

My new travel kit bag pleases me. Tom Bihn’s customer service is matched by the quality of their products.

Audible books and podcasts on @pocketcasts make the trip entertaining and educational while I write.