I’ve been actively studying for the CISSP certification exam (a requirement for my job) over the last couple of weeks. So, I’ve spent a significant amount of time reading on the fifth floor (nobody goes up there) of UCF’s main campus library. There really is something magical to be said about an educational atmosphere… I’m not speaking of a high school environment where disgruntled teenagers are stuck in an algebra class all day. I’m referring to a self imposed educational setting where literature is absorbed, friendly debates are convened, knowledge and information are in constant exchange, and people are truly eager to learn. It’s the kind of setting you feel lingering in the air on college campuses around the globe. It’s a conversation in the student union, a study session at the campus library, or two cents over breakfast at the cafeteria. Information is continuously swapped from mind to mind. The aura is contagious, and it shoots a stimulating sensation through your entire body. Just being there, surrounded by people engrossed in expanding their personal knowledge base… it feels so damn healthy. When you’re an undergrad in college you take it all for granted. Then, after you’ve graduated to the next step, you rapidly forget how invigorating education can be. Education is a form of self expansion. It should be an on-going, assiduous process… something many people seem to forget once they achieve their diploma. I’m guilty as charged. But now I realize what I’m missing, and I intend to learn from this oversight. Once I get the CISSP certification under my belt, I will begin to map out my next move.
Angel and I are getting married next March. We have been diligently saving money with the best intention of purchasing a home of our own. The overlying goal is to relocate in or around the Downtown Orlando area. We’re in our mid twenties with no children, so we think it would be nice to set up shop a little closer to the social scene and night life. So what’s the problem? The problem rests with the real estate insanity that has sky-rocketed the house/condo prices straight through the damn stratosphere! I mean for gawds sake, we are both professionals and together we make just under 100K a year! Yet somehow the only housing we can afford is a 600 square foot, one bedroom, pre-construction condo… or a freaking house in the ghetto that was built in 1960. Oh, and there’s hardly anything decent to rent because they converted every apartment complex into a condo complex. This is absolutely preposterous! I mean, this isn’t downtown Manhattan. The per-capita income in Orlando is still pretty low. Sure, there has been a ton of job growth, but most of the growth is in the service industry. Waitresses, bartenders… they work downtown, but they can’t live there. It seems like Downtown Orlando appeals to a younger professional crowd, yet we’re priced right out. The crazy thing is that 2 years ago we could have purchased 2 homes. WTF!?
In an age when almost every single business requires their employees to use at least a 6 character password consisting of both alphabetical and numeric characters, how the hell does the US financial industry get away with requiring only a four digit numeric PIN? Don’t get me wrong, certainly I understand the concept of two factor authentication… First the bank customer must provide a valid ATM card, and second they must provide a valid PIN. Undoubtedly, this two tier combination, in conjunction with an account lock-out after multiple erroneous login attempts, makes the whole financial system seem more secure. But the real question is: How many numskulls use that same PIN number as a password for their computer accounts where an administrator isn’t actively enforcing strong password restrictions. The point here is that while the common financial PIN number is certainly lacking in many areas of modern day security, there is a bigger picture. The association of the PIN number with the idea that the financial industry must be utilizing strong computer account security measures could easily lead to a disastrous misconception in the average computer user’s mind. “Well if four digits is good enough for my bank account, it must be good enough for my e-mail account.”
Oh, by the way, Angel hacked my PIN number last night… and she hacked your PIN number too. It appears in the list below:
0000 0001 0002 0003 0004 0005 0006 0007 0008 0009
0010 0011 0012 0013 0014 0015 0016 0017 0018 0019
0020 0021 0022 0023 0024 0025 0026 0027 0028 0029
0030 0031 0032 0033 0034 0035 0036 0037 0038 0039
0040 0041 0042 0043 0044 0045 0046 0047 0048 0049
0050 0051 0052 0053 0054 0055 0056 0057 0058 0059
0060 0061 0062 0063 0064 0065 0066 0067 0068 0069
0070 0071 0072 0073 0074 0075 0076 0077 0078 0079
0080 0081 0082 0083 0084 0085 0086 0087 0088 0089
0090 0091 0092 0093 0094 0095 0096 0097 0098 0099
0100 0101 0102 0103 0104 0105 0106 0107 0108 0109
Here’s a really deep thought for you guys. It’s the type of abstract thinking that stimulates the mind’s neurological receptors… thus forcing one to reflect upon the significance of their daily role. Or not…
Progression really is somewhat of a marvel. Everyone strives for some means to an end, yet most of us play it just safe enough to the point where we never exactly have the opportunity to snag the whole pot of gold. Certainly we acquire some of the gold along the way, but we never really thought the whole pot was a realistic option. We seem to be looking forward to the next step, but equally afraid of the risk or change that may result from the required actions. It’s the notion of knowing exactly what needs to be done, but lacking the nerve to do it; the apprehension to your aspirations. As I ramble on… I’m not explicitly referring to any one specific situation in this present moment. I just realize that Angel and I have so many objectives we desire to achieve. Some short term, some long term, and some of which are more complex than others. The end result will never be an issue of whether or not it was possible. The real question is: Are we prepared to get out from under the covers and step into the dark?