security. code. parenting. learning. games.

Author: Poggie

Getting in Shape Again

This post includes a lot of personal history. For me it was important to write that down as well to structure my thoughts. If you are not interested in that, just skip ahead to Situation.

How I got where I am

Way back when I was at school I did a lot of sports, more than a training / day. Given my chronic illnesses I pretty much was at peak fitness at that time. But over the course of the years at university I did build up a bit of overweight. Not enough to be a problem, but enough to not feel comfortable in my body again.

It pretty much stayed like this for several years and getting into infosec and the conferences with much food & alcohol did not really help either. But I had a rather active lifestyle, with festivals, Live-Rolplays and other physically taxing hobbies.

Four years ago, that slowly changed. A good friend and I started working out together, well as much you can work out together if you are on two different continents, and another good friend started asking me about mud runs / obstacle courses (like ToughMudder) and half-marathons.

At the same time my father was on a steady decline and slowly dying from COPD. While he did everything he could in the final stages, he did not work out or quit smoking when diagnosed, which is very important to slow down the condition. This was when I realized two things:

  1. I wanted to get back into shape so my future kids would get the most out of their dad.
  2. I was reminded of how much stress relief sports offers to me.

The motivation got even bigger when my wife got pregnant after my father’s death. I pushed myself hard in the year leading to our kids birth and during the first months after, pretty much reaching my fitness goals.

That’s when the decline started. Working out while being the primary care giver for a toddler, doing the household and job in infosec often left me lacking the energy to do the workouts. Hormonal changes (yes, men go through hormonal changes when becoming active fathers as well, probably a topic for another post) and overindulging in good food when i started cooking for the little one added to it.

Still friends kept me active. More runs, occasional workouts together, it helped keeping the overweight at bay at least.

Moving to a new home last Autumn and a lot of physical labor forced me to stop the workouts but the problem is, I never picked them up again. A Winter full of good food, a lot personal stress and a few light sicknesses added up.

When it was time to commit to fitness events, COVID happened and pretty much everything was canceled. That took away another motivation to getting back to it.

All until a few weeks ago.

Situation

Currently I’m about 6 kg overweight and about 8 kg away from where I would like to be again. My strength, endurance and agility have suffered severely since last year. My resting heart rate has gone up and my VO2max (maximum O2 uptake) has gone down. (both are still pretty average, but close to the worst measured on me)

I did get a basic checkup by the doctor to make sure nothing else is getting in the way and so far all other basic health indicators are okay. I’m just out of shape.

Four weeks ago I slowly started with a couple of workouts and runs again and two weeks ago I got back into a daily routine.

Motivation

If it has been that difficult to retain my fitness and life circumstances that won’t change that much in the near or medium term future, why do I want to get back into shape?

It is important to answer that question because there have to be internal reasons, otherwise that won’t work. External reasons like wanting to “look good” and conform to the current body shape ideal or “A good person work on their fitness” will not keep me motivated through what ideally will be an everlasting routine.

So, what is my WHY?

  • I feel bad and it is not only my depression (yes, sports can help a bit with that too, but that’s not the point here). I’m quickly out of breath, feel sluggish and out of balance. It is a bit as I’m not really in my own body anymore or that my mental model of my body differs too much from reality.
  • I want to see my kids grow up and keep up with them. Even the 2 year old sometimes manages to push me to exhaustion and with the 2nd on the way, it won’t get any better. I don’t want to just watch them do things, I want to do them with them.
  • When it is possible again, I want to get back into physically challenging hobbies, mostly mud runs and LARP. This won’t work if I don’t get into good shape again and keep that. With a busy life, I won’t have time for the intense and time consuming preparation training required otherwise.
  • I have a wonderful kid and I really want to be there for as much of her life as I can.
  • I really dislike what I see in the mirror. I do not want to be that beer belly kind of man.
  • Being out of shape had another side effect: My ability to learn and adapt has decreased. Sure, that can also be a result of stress, but I have always performed mentally better when on a regular workout schedule.

The Plan

Workout wise, there are two options. I could do two full workouts a week, starting with a warm up, then some weight work, cardio and eventually stretching. Maybe add a third day for a longer run. Or I could do smaller, daily workouts, switching the focused muscle groups around, alternating between cardio and strength.

The first option works very well if I would go to a gym. But a) I don’t have the time for a full workout on most days b) I hate gyms and the atmosphere there.

While I can reserve half an hour to an hour for workouts pretty much everyday, getting 2+ hours is hard. Especially with the second kid joining us soon and my wife getting back to work after the COVID situation is resolved or she is out of parental leave.

So I’m going with the daily workouts, which has served me well in the past too.

Long term I want to pick up a group sport again, with maybe one weekly or bi-weekly training. Mostly for socializing and further continuous motivation. But given the current situation, I’m going to schedule that for next year / next summer.

But being realistically, I might improve my fitness by working out but I won’t loose weight. Only a deficit in calories can do that and as much the daily workouts can exhaust me, they burn maybe 200-300 calories if I’m lucky. At the same time I know my appetite rises when doing regular workouts, so I most likely will take in more that that in additional calories.

That means I will also need a diet, at least until I reach the weight where I want to be.

Workouts

I’m a big fan of Darebee. It is a free, donation funded site for workouts and body weight (as in using your body weight) programs. I will be alternating between cardio based programs and adding in an occasional session with my sling trainer / pull-up bar and strengths based programs and mixing in a few runs.

Currently I’m half way through their 30 days of Change program and working with the sling trainer on the pure cardio days. I have chosen this program because I have done it twice in the past and rather positive memories of it. That helped getting me motivated.

Diet

When I started to get back into shape 4 years ago, I quickly picked up intermittent fasting, more specifically the 5:2 version of it, where you eat 5 days normally and limit yourself to about 600 calories on the other days.

It worked really well for me and gave me a slow, healthy decline in weight over the time. When I had reached my target weight, I reduced it to one fasting day and kept it.

That changed when the kid went from eating mash to full meals. Now I had to cook a full meal every day and it was nearly impossible to just cook for her and not for myself too.

I’m not sure it will work this time but should be doable at least while my wife is still at home. So I will start that again tomorrow.

Why no other diet? They make me rather unhappy. Because of medical conditions I had to follow certain diets in my life and it always pulled down my mood significantly. This was the first time a diet actually improved it, so I’m kinda biased and willing to give it another go before resorting to alternatives.

Outlook

I will monitor the progress rather closely, both in terms of performance indicators but also with a mood diary to make sure it does not have a negative impact on me.

There probably will be more post coming to update this as it evolves.

Calming Chores or just Procrastination?

For some reason doing chores helps me to calm down in exceptional stressful times. That might be because it are tasks that don’t require thinking and allow for the brain to “turn off” and move the processing of the stressful things into a background task. But it very much also could be the quick Dopamin kick of getting something done.

Sure, having a way to deal with stressful times in life and getting stuff done can be very valuable. But where is the line where it becomes just procrastination? How do I notice if what I am doing is actually helpful or if I am just putting another, anxiety inducing task aside by doing the chores?

I struggle with this quite a bit. While things not done in the household create a sense of failure and guilt (“What a bad dad are you that you can’t even handle a kid, job and the chores?”) but sometimes other things are just more important (like taxes).

To accommodate for that I’m trying to alternate between other (dreadful) tasks and my typical chores. Like bring out the trash and clean the can, then write the invoices before emptying the dishwasher.

Another way for me to find out where my mind stands is asking myself if I would prefer to play games instead of the chore. If the chores win, they are a factor in what is creating my stress, and should be done. If the games win, well, everything seems normal and i should do either work or the chores. But if I’m feeling indifferent, then I’m pretty sure it is procrastination and my mind just wants to get away from another task.

Tired, so tired …

So tired today, not even running could uplift my spirits. This basically is me hoping things will get better soon.

At least the list of writing topics is growing, just the focus is lacking to put them into posts.

Nothing to say

Something painful, bad, not entirely unexpected but still sudden happened today. All my thoughts circle around it but I can’t public talk about it. I will most likely write about it in the coming days, but I also did not want to break the daily writing habit right on the second day.

The embrace of a two year old, her few words, can make the pain worse and sooth it at the same time.

About the Notebook

The notebook is inspired by Rixx daily writing practice (https://ramble.rixx.de/) and David MacIver‘s Daily Writing Guide.

The notebook here will by may attempt to establish a similar daily writing practice. These will be rather raw and barely edited posts about all kind of topics. Some will most likely be NSFW but tagged as such.

Because of this, they will not be shown in the feed or front page of the (much neglected) main blog. If you want to subscribe in an RSS reader the notebook category has it’s own feed though.

Why is it on this blog and not it’s own place? Mostly because this was the fastest way of getting everything set up. I love tech and can get lost in setting a site up, choosing theme, editing it, optimizing it ….. I would get it done eventually and it would be better than a hidden category but the point is starting the practice and this should get it done.

Uninstalling Preinstalled Android Apps without root

On my Moto G6 every Update seems to re-enable the Outlook and linked-in in apps I disabled on purpose. You can not uninstall apps that have been installed by the manufacturer via the play store or app settings, only disable them.

So far I have been disabling them after each update but I have gotten quite annoyed by it and did a little bit of research to find out how to fully uninstall them.

Prerequisites

What you need is the Android Developer Bridge (ADB) on your computer and you need to enable USB debugging on the phone.

I have used Windows in this guide but there is a great guide on how to set everything up in Windows, Mac & Linux over at XDA-Developers that walks you through the process.

USB Debugging on the Phone

If you haven’t enabled the Developer Mode on your phone yet, you have to navigate to Settings, then System -> About and scroll down to the buid number. Tap this 7 times to enable Developer mode.

Then You will find the Developer Settings in the Systems Settings menu. Go there and enable USB debugging.

ADB on Windows

Setting up ADB on Windows is straight forward. Download the latest ADB version, extract the files in the zip and navigate in Powershell to the extracted folder.

Tipp: You can hold down SHIFT when right-clicking in Explorer and use “Open Powershell here”

From here you can run the adb commands. Since we did not add the folder to the PATH we will have to preface the command with .\ to make it use the adb.exe in this folder.

If you follow this guide on a different OS or have ADB in your PATH you don’t have to use the .\

Connecting the Phone

Connect the phone via USB and double check that USB debugging is enabled.

Then you check for connected devices

.\adb devices                                  

This starts up the ADB service and lists connected devices

* daemon not running; starting now at tcp:5037
* daemon started successfully
List of devices attached
ZY322XXXX      unauthorized

On your phone you should get a pop-up asking you to confirm the ADB connection to the computer. After accepting it

.\adb devices                                  

Should list your device now not as unauthorized anymore.

List of devices attached
ZY322XXXX      device

Listing the Apps

.\adb shell pm list packages

Prints out a long list of all installed apps. You can use this list to find the full name of the apps you want to uninstall.

...
package:com.google.android.apps.inputmethod.zhuyin
package:com.microsoft.office.outlook
package:com.google.zxing.client.android
package:com.qualcomm.qti.dynamicddsservice
package:com.google.android.setupwizard
package:eu.siacs.conversations.legacy
package:com.qualcomm.qcrilmsgtunnel
...
package:com.keylesspalace.tusky
package:com.motorola.msimsettings
package:com.android.bookmarkprovider
package:com.linkedin.android
package:com.android.settings
package:com.motorola.arselfie
package:com.qualcomm.qti.lpa
package:com.qualcomm.qti.uim
package:com.google.android.inputmethod.pinyin
...

While you can uninstall most apps like linkedin and outlook you should be more careful with system apps.

Uninstalling the App

.\adb shell pm uninstall --user 0 [Package Name]

Will uninstall the app. So in my case I just had to issue

.\adb shell pm uninstall --user 0 com.microsoft.office.outlook

and

.\adb shell pm uninstall --user 0 com.linkedin.android

Once ADB returns with Success you can unplug your device and are done.

Remember to disable USB Debugging again in your Developer Settings.

Goals: April 2019

I’m usually not a huge fan of making resolutions because I get far too easy into the habit of letting them slip. Because everyone does, right?

But on the other hand, having no goals is not a good thing either. So I’m going to put a bit of pressure on myself by publicly declaring my (non work related) goals for the month.

Blog Stuff

Both as in blogging stuff as well as doing blog related stuff. So what exactly?

  • at least 2 more blog posts
  • make sure everything is GDPR compliant
  • write an about page
  • a few minor tweaks

Reading

I want to finish at least one book on my reading list and make progress on the others:

My reading List in a picture

The Go Programming Language – Donovan & Kernighan

A basic, but rather technical introduction to Go for people who already know how to program in other languages.

I’m using a lot tools written in Go for work and for a curious mind like me this leads to me wanting a better understanding of the language. Usually my brain is pretty roasted after taking care of the baby and work, so I don’t expect to make much progress in this one.

How to solve it – Polya

This is a classic and recommended read for everyone in scientific field or teachers.

Funnily enough it was recommended to me by my math teacher, the math professor while studying chemical biology and my math professor at the computer science classes. But the first two of them were so unlikable that I discarded pretty much everything they recommended. Not to my benefit.

I did read it in my first year of CS at the university and it is a great book. I’m rereading it with two goals in mind:

  • Getting a better grasp of English math terms (reading it in English now, not German as before)
  • Being reminded of the lessons for teachers, so I can explain things better once my daughter is old enough

New solutions for Cybersecurity – Shrobe, Shrier, Pentland

This is a collections of articles about Cybersecurity. I haven’t read anything in it yet, despite buying it close to the release early last year. It got mentioned quite positively in many security podcasts and conversations with colleagues.

There is not even a good reason why I have not read it yet, other than not finding the time for it.

Tribe of hackers – Carey, Jin

Here we have a interview collection with well known Hackers. I’m only in a few but so far it has been very interesting. Each interview is rather short so it fits my short time slots when the baby is busy rather well.

Kindle

Mostly for reading along SciFi audio books. I’m currently at Ryk Browns Frontier sage. But of course an occasional smut book sneaks on there as well.

Wrap up Gaming side projects

I won’t go into details here but I have a rather high number of unfinished gaming related side projects. From updated websites to Star Citizen training modules. I really have to consolidate my commitments in that area. It is getting too much for my currently available free time.

Of course finishing things takes time, but if it goes well, I should have more free time again next month.

Fitness & Diet

I used to work out & train every day as kid and young adult, then dropped the habit when I went to university. It was not exactly a healthy life since about 3 years ago when I started regular workouts again.

But in the last 2 month, since my wife is back at work and I’m alone with the baby, I both lack opportunity and motivation for workouts. In addition I picked up some unhealthy eating habits.

I tried 5 min HIIT workouts last month but being sick for a week got me off track again. So, one more try this month!

Since I added about 3kg of extra weight in the last 2 month, I’ll also put myself on an intermittent fasting once more. It already served me well when getting back into shape 3 years ago.

Will it work?

I have no clue, but it does not seem unrealistic at least. I do need more focus on my goals in my life so this is a start. I’ll tell you in a month how it went.

Poggie

Dusting off the Blog

Photo by Steven Depolo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/3283663724/

Gosh has it been a while since I started this blog and I only made it to two, now rather outdated posts. Not exactly what I had in mind back then but this is where it is now.

Every time a WordPress update came along or other maintenance tasks had to be done I wanted if I should just get rid of it, but that never felt right. I might return to writing some day.

I guess that day has come!

Writing has always been a way to structure my mind. There probably are several dozen of draft blog posts on my harddrive and while I never got to touching them up well enough for publication, they all served their purose at the time of writing: They allowed me to reflect on the topic and get my thoughts in order.

Writing has always been a way to structure my mind. There probably are several dozen of draft blog posts on my hard drive and while I never got to touching them up well enough for publication, they all served their purpose at the time of writing: They allowed me to reflect on the topic and get my thoughts in order.

What to expect

The tagline of the blog used to be

security. code. games. learning

That described my goals pretty well but like I said, it never really something from it. Life has changed quite a bit so I adjusted that as well.

security. code. parenting. learning. games.

Security

Eventually I want to get back to some non-NDA security research in my free time, so this stays there for now, even if I don’t expect much security posts to come this year. With changing projects, I’m pretty sure it will change as well.

Code

Like with security, there probably won’t be that many coding related posts in the near future, but security and code to me pretty much go hand in hand. Since I have a few side projects in mind for the next months, there might be something ending up here.

Parenting

We have a 11 month old daughter and I am her main caretaker. So naturally a lot of the stuff on my mind is related to her and how to be a good parent. I don’t intend to post everyday stories but discuss overarching themes and struggles.

Learning

Technically I’m still a computer science student and while I might not be very active at the university right now, this year I’m aiming for a lot of self improvement. Not really sure how much will be worth articles, but sometimes things just are easier understood when written down for others.

Games

Games have been my passion ever since. Tabletop RPGs, Board Games, Poker, LARP (Live Action Roleplay), Computer Games (esp. shooter & MMOs).

How could I not write on occasion about them?

Other Stuff

I’m sure I have forgotten some things, but this is my personal blog, so expect some random stuff as well 😉

Quick Introduction

So who am I?

In a nutshell I’m a IT-Security consultant, have a 11 month old daughter, am married for 4 years now but together with my wife for 16 years. I love games, science and metal, enjoy sports and generally speaking challenges.

And that’s it for now, I’ll eventually put a proper about me section onto the page.

Learning to Draw

So, I decided to learn how to draw.  How did that happen?

I recently updated my amazon wishlist for a friend who wanted some ideas for my birthday. Among a few other things I realized that Betty Edwards’ “Drawing on the right side of the brain” was still on there.

A few years back I put it on there because it was repeatedly referenced in Andy Hunt’s “Refactor Your Wetware. Pragmatic Thinking and Learning” and I was intrigued by the neuro-psychological approach.

It is targeted to people who believe they can not draw and never will be able to. That pretty much is me. I kept it on the list and promised myself, if I get it, I will learn to draw.

Well, I got it. Here I am, learning to draw.

Motivation

Expression

There are a few reasons why I actually want to learn how to draw but certainly the most important is that I want to be able to express my thoughts. In my life there have been several moments where I was not able to express my ideas in an easy to understand way where a short sketch would have made all the difference. If I knew how to draw one.

Want a recent example? Okay, I’ll embarrass myself.

ShirtSketch

This is a sketch on my whiteboard where I tried to explain my wife a design for a new top she should create. She knows me quite well so she got what I had in mind but it took time.

It is meant to be a tight fitting shirt / blouse with a transparent cutout in feather / wings optics and a repetition of the theme on the sleeves. You can get the concept from the sketch but in my mind it looks quite different.

Creative outlet

While I was never good at drawing, I always had creative outlets in my life. From (artistic) circus shows to storytelling in role-play games over cooking to writing and of course coding.

I am not in the shape for artistic shows anymore (something I eventually want to change again). Being burned out a little on writing, coding and role-playing, I want to give drawing a chance. Do I want to become an artist? No. I will leave that to talents like Harlequin But it might be something for every now and then, when the other ways to express my creativity don’t work.

Where do I go from here?

I just finished drawing the first three ‘images’. They are part of the pre-course preparations to be able to compare them to the results after reading and working through the book. I won’t publish them now but most likely once I’m done to show the before – after comparison.

I won’t be reading or drawing every day and more importantly I probably won’t post about it that often. Only important milestones or when I feel like writing 😉

Windows Commandline Tools

Since I am usually doing most development on my Linux Laptop a decent commandline interface is something I want on windows as well. Most of this setup is inspired by this totally tooling tip.

The windows powershell on its own is quite powerful already but can be enhanced quite a bit.

Setting powershell up

Most enhancements to powershell come as modules. With PSGet you they can be managed easily. But to be able to run modules, the execution policy has to be set to allows external modules.

Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

After that the command from PSGet installs the module manager.

(new-object Net.WebClient).DownloadString("http://psget.net/GetPsGet.ps1") | iex

Microsoft has a Knowlagebase article about the execution policy

Setting powershell up

Most enhancements to powershell come as modules. With PSGet you they can be managed easily. But to be able to run modules, the execution policy has to be set to allows external modules.

Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

After that the command from PSGet installs the module manager.

(new-object Net.WebClient).DownloadString("http://psget.net/GetPsGet.ps1") | iex

Microsoft has a Knowlagebase article about the execution policy

Git integration

Posh provides comandline integration for my favorite version control system and can be installed with:

Install-Module posh-git

Now powershell provides tap completion for git and a custom prompt once in a folder with a git repository.

SSH

My Servers usually run on Unix as well so I have to connect to them via SSH. In the past I used putty on windows but it has grown a bit old.

While Microsoft is planing SSH support for Powershell for the future, I wanted it now and there is a module for that too: POSH-SSH

Again it is installed with a one liner that you copy from their page.

The modules Author has written a nice article about how to use it.

Cmder

A really nice collection of powershell modules, skins and a way to have taps, split the window in multiple consoles and so on is cmder. The draw back is that their modules are not signed and you have to lower the rules of the execution policy even further.

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