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Escher in Melbourne with Sam

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Sam clicks

Escher with legs

Escher with legs and a hat

Art or sam?

Not Escher

Leaving Cigital/Synopsys After 23 Years

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After 23 years at the same company, much of which I was a senior executive and member of the Board of Directors, I am leaving Synopsys on January 4th. Here is the message I sent to staff on November 9th after deciding to leave in September.

Please note that my email address is now gem@garymcgraw.com (change in all places).  Learn more at http://garymcgraw.com.

hi everyone,

After 23 years of working for the same company in various forms, I will be departing Synopsys in January. Synopsys has turned out to be a good home for Cigital. I am pleased with the progress SIG has made since the acquisition two years ago and its direct impact on the growth of software security as a field. Business is booming, cranks are cranking, and the field is exploding. All of that notwithstanding, the time has come for me to move on.

Pardon me as I wax nostalgic for a few lines. Here are seven things that stand out in my mind when I think back over the last twenty or so years I spent with you guys. I had a blast:

  • Taking on Sun, Netscape, and Microsoft directly during the Java Security years (1996-1998)
  • Releasing of ITS4 (It’s the Software Stupid Security Scanner) in 2000 — the world’s first code scanner for security
  • Publishing “Building Secure Software” in 2001 (the first book in the world on software security)
  • Licensing the DARPA-sponsored Cigital technology behind Fortify to Kleiner Perkins in 2004
  • Launching Silver Bullet in 2005
  • Creating the BSIMM measurement tool with Sammy and Brian Chess in 2009
  • Selling Cigital to Synopsys in 2016

All of these things required a cast of hundreds of dedicated people. We built the field of software security together. Over the years I have had the distinct pleasure of watching as the ideas behind software security became a reality. Thanks for that.

What will I do next? I will remain a fiercely independent participant in the software security conversation. I will serve as a Technical Advisor and Board member to forward-thinking firms. I will continue to collect data, make measurements, and do science. And I will dust off my machine learning and AI chops and see what happens when those fields intersect software security.

I am not disappearing from the planet, so keep in touch. My website http://garymcgraw.com will stay up to date. My preferred email is now gem@garymcgraw.com

gem

Day Trip to Stradbroke Island (aka Straddie)

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Part of the fun of the Yow Conference circuit in Australia is the days in between sessions. We were slated to sail a huge catamaran in the ocean, but the seas were too high. So we refactored with a visit to Stradbroke Island.

Here’s how that went.

Ferry from the mainland to the island on a bus!

A picnic lunch with the fellow geeks and beer.

A walk on the Point Lookout trail

Spectacular cliffs (and a couple of sharks)

Kangaroos in the wild

Gelato in “town,” followed by a dip in the (pretty damn cold) ocean. The swim was wild.

Beaches

Water taxi back to mainland.

The seas were rough on the way back as the sun was setting.

Amy, leader of geeks made us all get wet!

Instigator

A warm shower back at the hotel was welcome indeed!

The Blue Mountains: Katoomba, Australia

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A two hour train ride outside of Sydney, you can find the tourist hamlet of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. Tourists have been coming here since the turn of the century (1900). Katoomba itself reminds me of West Virginia in its old coal town turned bust turned tourist vibe. You can now find hipsters and artists in residence.

We took the train out in the morning and spent several hours walking from the train station to a trailhead, down the cliff face, and back up again.

Highlights on the mountain visit include the three sisters, the giant stairway (976 steps!), waterfalls, and the steepest railroad in Australia.

We started our morning at Sydney central

The two hour train ride is a little long. The tourist center by the train station is well worth a visit. That is where we finalized our plan.

8things cafe. Great food and super service

Cassiopia coffee (recommended)

We walked from the station to Echo point (2.3 km).

The Echo Point visitors center

This is where we first caught sight of the famed three sisters. Which we saw many times throughout the day.

Three sisters from Echo Point visitor center

Three sisters from the echo point trail

Three sisters from the trail

Three sisters from just above

Honeycomb cave (at the three sisters)

Three sisters from below on the Federal trail

Three sisters from Scenic World gondola

Here’s what happened in between. After honeycomb cave, we entered the giant stairway. Lots of stairs down (976 in fact). Amy did not do them all.

This is an alternative way to get down the stairs (not recommended by our attorney)

Not here

Here

Flowers and bromiliads

Amy

AMY

A tiny fiddlehead against the mountains

Down

Flowers on the mountain

Looking down 500 feet

The blue mountains

Amy contemplates

Cliff hangers

Amy takes the stairs with a monk

Cliff hangers and rare species

Eventually, we entered the rain forrest at the bottom of the cliff.

The giant stairway is well named. It has been there a while.

Rainforest ecology

Amy rounds the bend

Ferns and trail. The rainforest shift is striking

A very big tree indeed

Katoomba Creek falls

After the falls, we were back in what passes as civilization. Scenic world was first contemplated by coal miners. Just take the train thingy up.

And, why not? Try the cable car too.

We walked back from scenic world (another 2.5km). All told we may have hiked around 5 miles. We deserved a beer.

After a long day hiking, it was high time for a beer!

The 2 hour train ride back to Sydney was slightly too long.

Living Art: The Remarkable Little Paradise Art Lodge. New Zealand

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Highway to Paradise

There are magic places in the world, created under intensity so focused that nature absorbs and reflects the power of the creator. The Little Paradise Art Lodge is one of those places.

Put together over 26 years by a Swiss artist who is both intense and incredibly human at the same time, the grounds are nothing short of remarkable.

We were not able to stay during this trip due to a birthday (paradox) conflict. But we will be back for sure. Even a short visit is highly recommended. We stayed for about an hour, enchanted the entire time.

You’ll be caught in the web little tourist

Enter the property

The lodge itself is hand built in such a quirky and delightful and natural way, it is hard to describe. Primitive, and yet so very planet earth.

Bedroom

Bathroom full of skipping rocks

Hand carved headboard

Living table

A couch fashioned from one piece of poplar

Though the lodge is a sight to see, the six acres of curated gardens are astonishing in their willy-nilly natural order.

We have always talked about a tree house like this

Lawnmower

The artist, touched

Fin

How to Milford Sound: Adventure Day in New Zealand

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New Zealand is a wilderness paradise, and Milford Sound is the best of the best.  We set out to do some water-based adventure on one of our days.  It went something like this.

Milford Sound

We started way early.  So early, in fact, that the only person who had breakfast was me.  The morning rendezvous at the water’s edge was set for 8:00am.   The boat that Descend runs is pulled out of the water to load and unload which is kind of interesting.

The sand flies were out in force in the early morning (and repellent, natural or otherwise, just failed to work).  Nevertheless, we tried on our 8 mil wet suits just by the boat on a tarp laid out over the dusty gravel and hopped on the boat while it was still in the parking lot.  Besides the 4 of us, there were two other divers, one of whom was completing a dry suit certification, and 3 crew members. This was Jack’s first dive!

The water in Milford Sound is cold, so three layers on the torso is mandatory.  We looked like a family of space people.

Underwater, Milford Sound is interesting and unique. Many of the species you can see above 22 meters are usually only found much deeper. Because of the ecology of the sound which includes lots of brackish fresh water from the glaciers, black coral has been thriving for centuries and is a sight to behold.

We completed a first dive near seal rock. I had real trouble with my bouyancy and was (as usual) the first diver up. 8 mil suits are floaty and sinky at the same time and the saw tooth was too much for me to control. Eli spent another 15 minutes below.

Amy and Gary underwater

Eli is the only diver with great form in our family

Next, Jack did an assisted dive.

Then we moved on to a second dive location. Eli dove with the dry suit crowd. I did an assisted dive with an instructor that was just incredible. Nothing like worrying about nothing to preserve air.

We passed by the Stirling waterfall on our way in.

Stirling Falls

Family dive

We just had time for a touristy lunch at the Milford Cafe and a walk by the water before it was time to Sea Kayak. We were a bit concerned about the wind, but in the end showed up to don more “gear belonging to other people.” Our guide Ben was a talkative, high energy guy.

Not our usual clothing

Rosco’s sea kayaks take you out on a power boat and you paddle back home. Our crew included two french canadians. We started just past the waterfall at the “usual spot,” and were soon back at the Stirling Falls with time to kayak under them.

Oh, and all of this happened on Thanksgiving day. Our “turkey” dinner was postponed until 10pm when we had lemon, butter, and garlic chicken at Knobs Flat.

Hiroya Tsukamoto Plays the Barns of Rose Hill

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I first met Hiroya when he opened a sold out show for the Bitter Liberals in January 2018. We were frankly honored to have Hiro open for us. He was outstanding both in terms of technique and showmanship.

Hiro’s music tells a layered story soaked with emotional significance. Here are some pictures and videos from a recent show at the Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville, VA 10.19.18.

Visit Hiro’s website here.

The most remarkable piece of the evening was an improvisation that Hiro put together during the second set. Influences of Eno, Fripp, Japan, and banjo are all evident and are masterfully woven into a beautiful piece.

Gemini Bridge is a core piece of Hiro repertoire. If you like how this sounds, you should buy a copy of the CD Heartland.

Hiro plays one guitar with a set of electronics used for balancing and layering with a sampler. He is a master of his technology (more than can be said for most musicians), and his use of sampling is both subtle and seamless. Masterful.

This song about fire was inspired by peaceful campfires with family in Japan.

I am always in awe of musicians who perform and tour full time and are not associated with a huge corporate act with a small support army. Make sure to go see Hiroya play if you ever get a chance.

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