To succeed in the information security industry you have to love learning. I mean you really have to enjoy the process and the end result of knowledge seeking. I enjoy resources and tools that make this process fun and more efficient. This brings me to my 2010 list of newly discovered tools and one entertainment site.
The iPad is a great resource for reading and studying. It has a nice bright back lit display that can keep me reading into the wee hours of the morning (read more about the insomnia). I know the Kindle DX allows for reading in direct sunlight, but honestly I don’t want to take my e-reader to the beach as much as I want to be able to read at night in the dark without needing to attach an annoying book light. The iPad screen does tend toward a constant smudgy state, especially if I turn the e-page in a different spot every time, but overall this device is super useful for information digestion especially since Amazon’s Kindle application makes book retrieval instantaneous. The Kindle app gives me the ability to make notes and highlight passages as I read. This is especially useful when I finish a book and review all of my notes for clarity or I have a question at a later date. This is especially useful with technical books. The only problem I have with the iPad is the distraction that comes with Internet connectivity such as email, Twitter, and games (somehow I’ll deal).
The best learning website of the year (there is an iPhone app as well) has to be Khan Academy. A friend turned me on to the site and I was impressed. Mr. Khan has built a truly remarkable website full of information that is easily consumed. The testimonials are fun to watch and the videos are just the right length. So many brilliant mathematics professors are terrible teachers. Middle school/high school teachers also tend to fail at relating the material to students and many children become alienated from the subject altogether. Mr. Khan certainly reverses the trend. I hope Mr. Khan will cover OOL programming at some point!
Last on my list is entertainment. One word. Netflix. Direct streaming of an HD movie over WiFi is the holy grail and Netflix is doing it best. While the title selection for immediate streaming isn’t stellar, I think it will be better in the coming months. At the moment I don’t want to shell out for the new Apple TV. I like the fact that I can connect my iPad to my HDTV (iPad –>VGA connector/audio jack out–>HDMI converter box–>HDMI input–> HDTV) and stream a movie whenever I feel like (I can’t say the same about iTunes) or use my Roku box. With Blockbuster now in bankruptcy the future of HD movies is clearly instant delivery. I know the movie studios are scared to cannibalize their existing delivery channels (say bye bye to DVD and BluRay), but this future is inevitable and kudos to Netflix for making it happen in style.