I use Synergy, the free/open source multi-platform software package to share a single mouse and keyboard among multiple computers, to control my work ThinkPad and my personal MacBook Air at the same time. The server is the Windows 7 box.

A bug in the Synergy code introduced some time ago broke the handling of the right shift key in this setup. Basically, the server ignores the right shift key when sent by the server. It is an annoying bug.

While the patch is forthcoming I reached a point where the annoyance pushed me to act. I use AutoHotKey, (AHK) so a little addition to my mouse wheel scroll script from the HowTo Geek addresses the bug with two lines:


Add the first line at the top of your script and the other line somewhere below. Exit AutoHotKey and relaunch your script.

UPDATE: If you lock your Windows 7 host that is your Synergy server, when you unlock the host you have to restart the AHK script for it to work until you lock the Synergy server’s host again. Perhaps someone else knows the fix?

Here’s my complete script. It makes scrolling match on the two laptops, too, by the way:

; Reverse Scrolling Script by How-To Geek modified by prjorgensen

#MaxHotkeysPerInterval 9999999 ; keep the alert popup from showing

#NoEnv  ; Recommended for performance and compatibility with future AutoHotkey releases.
SendMode Input  ; Recommended for new scripts due to its superior speed and reliability.
SetWorkingDir %A_ScriptDir%  ; Ensures a consistent starting directory.

 Send {WheelDown}

 Send {WheelUp}


Note: this is the first blog post I’m doing on my iPad with the onscreen keyboard only. I’ll let you know how I like it at the end.

We use SameTime instant messaging from IBM/Lotus in my organization. It’s tied into our corporate calendars, so it dynamically marks one as away during scheduled meetings. I make use of this and don’t think much about it.

I noticed that two of my peers are almost always in meetings according to their status, yet they have no more meetings and conference calls than I do. It’s an annoyance that they’re not always available in IM, but that usually means I’ll send them an email if it’s not urgent or call them on their cell phone if it is.

I was in a meeting with one of these two colleagues the other day. I can’t remember what topic we were on about but it came around to finding time for some testing. I think I said something like “I know you’ve got about as much free time for this as I do”. He said, “That’s okay. I’ll book it in my calendar”.

Scheduling certain work related things in one’s calendar is nothing new. But what my peer does is block out recurring blocks of time for certain activities. He’s in application development so finding time to test and squash bugs is really important. You need uninterrupted time, so this method is effective for him. He recommends to his team that they do the same.

My reaction was “my schedule is too hectic, too unpredictable. There’s no way I could do that”. The more I’ve thought about it the more I think that the dynamic nature of my schedule is exactly why I need to do this, too.

Back to the SameTime instant messenger, that is where this gets interesting. That tool sends the message that I don’t want interruptions but I’m around if needed when “in a meeting”. It delays low grade issues or general questions instead of me breaking focus on what does demand my attention and focus. Now all I have to do is find the blocks of time in my schedule and set them. I think I’ll start modestly, booking meetings with myself for two or three slices for email processing a day and a few more for project work a week.

I am thinking about doing something similar for my personal time, too.

This isn’t earth shattering stuff. Sometimes the effective things aren’t. They’re just new ways of using the tools you already have in a new way.

How do you manage your unstructured time? What tools to you use?

Update on posting this from my iPad: The typing experience wasn’t horrible but the corrections and edits were hard. The cursor doesn’t always go where you want it to. I also learned that the POP email integration with my WordPress doesn’t work.

Resiliency is the new secure

This is a good take on something I’ve been advocating for a long time. Wearing both the security and network manager hats as I do it’s useful to remember the concept of the C-I-A triangle from your CISSP exam. The A stands for “availability”, something a lot of security professionals forget about. To many see “confidentiality” and “integrity” as far more important. It kind of reminds me of the three branches of the US government. “Availability” is the Supreme Court of security.

The three make more of a Venn diagram, really. The sweet spot is where all are in balance is what we should strive for as security professionals.

Putting my network manager hat on, the triangle is more about performance, resilience, and value. I don’t use cost as a metric for a variety of reasons, which will make for an interesting post on it’s own. Yet again, where the three overlap is the sweet spot for network availability.

The most fascinating aspect to these in my organization is the fact that the argument for both security and network are basically the same – what do you, the customer, want to pay for insurance that your location will stay up and running through most critical events?

Interestingly, it just occurs to me that in both areas simplicity is critical to success. I’ve seen severely over-engineered network setups meant to provide redundancy only to have the actual outcome assure that the network is more vulnerable to outage. The same happens with security. Labyrinthine machinations usually keep people from doing their work and dives users to find ways around.

What do you think about resiliency and simplicity as the aspirational end-game of security and networking?