One Voice Community Choir perform on a closed M6 Motorway

So yesterday I was returning from Scotland – more of that later – and traffic alerts and GPS guided me around a major motorway closure; the M6 near Stoke-on-Trent was closed due to a fatal motorcycle crash, traffic was stopped in the road for several hours whilst investigations were carried out – I believe the crash was towards 9am and the motorway was still closed well after lunch – and there were many, many motorists stuck in 27C+ temperatures on a hot road.

Another friend of mine was not so lucky – her choir was stuck in the midst of it – so they organised an impromptu concert on the motorway verge:

…aaaaaand I’m back.

Been a bit quiet here, recently.  Back now.  Normal-ish service to be resumed over the next few weeks.


What the Web used to look like: Back when I wrote/ran search engines for Sun

Kiwi (FTP archive search to Sun internally) and Ben-Nevis (AltaVista ripoff) – two of Sun’s first-ever search engines, internally facing, lashed up in Perl and with (eventually) CGI interfaces; the graphics are from a public presentation on “What the Web Does” that I did, sometime around (I think?) 1995.


So if you are on the UK Security and Payments scene: Jonathan Care / @ArashiYama is in hospital

I visited Jon last night and he was very with it, sitting in a chair and messing with his iPad, covered in spots and bruises and with a pair of cannulas (cannulae?) hanging out of him while wired to a drip.

Medically, something has gone wrong with his immune system which is now attacking his own blood platelets; this is a bad thing because without platelets your blood essentially drops out of you. From what I understand the first half of last week was very very bad indeed but as of yesterday he just looked like he’d caught measles whilst battling ninjas using mad judo skillz.

It’s some form of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura but – geeks be advised – he’s not interested in having diagnosis by google thrown at him when he has a bunch of actual doctors on hand to deal with his specific condition. They are paid more than Wikipedia editors, they can earn their salaries. 🙂

If you’d like to visit him (Camberley area) then send a message to his beloved PinkyFluff who will schedule you in – I am certain that Jon would love to see you all at once but Lilly has other ideas about that; also: be advised that she’s been doing a Herculean task of hospital visiting for the past few days and herself deserves props for massive hard work.

Jon’s also available on Twitter; and if you want to help, he needs platelets – stats: should be: 400, was: 1 – so do please go look at

Jon’s likely to be staring at the walls for several days yet.  It’s curious that Steve Lord has equally been through shit of late; and for some reason people think security is a easy profession…

A New Role for Muffett: Facebook

Back in June 2011 I joined Surevine – a company of great people whom I cannot commend highly enough* as a excellent working environment, as promoters of open source, and of people who care about software and security and about doing both right. I am pleased to have helped cause some beneficial change at Surevine – including, but not limited to, security awareness, operations architecture and obtaining ISO27001 certification.

All this said: I’ve been offered a really exciting prospect which I’ve decided to pursue.

Thus: I shall shortly be joining Facebook as a software engineer and will be working out of the London/Covent Garden office.

What happens after that will be interesting in a whole variety of ways. 🙂

* If you’re a UK-based security geek or Java developer then go look Surevine up. Send them a resume. Say that “Alec’s blog sent you”; I get no money for this, it’s just a really great company that deserves good people.

“Some of us are in the gutter. The view’s better from down here.” #wildelymisquoted


Sun Microsystems Project Blackbox T-Shirt in truck-format shrinkwrap

Do I open it?


A souvenir for any Sun Microsystems Security Geeks of a certain age

So, one year the powers that be gave us no almost budget to go to USENIX, but a huge bunch of us did anyhow; we wanted to have a Sun BoF (“beat the dutchman“) but had no signage.

So we stole the Microsoft signage, turned it back to front, covered it in cards and Post-It notes from all of the Engineers saying what they would be talking about, and had more people turn up than turned up at the Microsoft BoF.

The back of the sign is peppered with thumbtack holes.

Photo by alecmuffett • Instagram.

Craig: “Are you a libertarian or something, because I’m not sensing any clear political philosophy behind your position?”

Alec: “No, I’m not a libertarian. I’m from the Internet. I’m here to help.


Imperial Model B Typewriter, circa 1915..1919

Inherited from my maternal grandfather, eventually…

Mac keyboard for comparison.