Hacked

sony

Sony issued a memo to all of its current and former employees and dependents:

Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) experienced a significant system disruption on Monday, November 24, 2014. SPE has determined that the cause of the disruption was a brazen cyber attack. After identifying the disruption, SPE took prompt action to contain the cyber attack, engaged recognized security consultants and contacted law enforcement.

SPE learned on December 1, 2014, that the security of certain personally identifiable information about its current and former employees, and their dependents that participated in SPE health plans and other benefits, may have been compromised. Also on December 1, 2014, SPE began the process of notifying employees that it would be providing identity theft protection services to them and to their dependents. SPE has continued to engage in an effort to reach out to potentially impacted individuals with notification about this situation, to offer identity protection services and to provide them with information about how to protect themselves from identity theft and other potential loss.

On the surface, it seemed to be another all too familiar security breach. And then it became evident that there is a far darker side to this story.

Kevin Mandria’s memo to Sony Pictures CEO, Michael Lynton, starts to paint that picture:

Dear Michael,

As our team continues to aid Sony Pictures’ response to the recent cyber-attack against your employees and operations, I wanted to take a moment to provide you with some initial thoughts on the situation.

This attack is unprecedented in nature. The malware was undetectable by industry standard antivirus software and was damaging and unique enough to cause the FBI to release a flash alert to warn other organizations of this critical threat.

In fact, the scope of this attack differs from any we have responded to in the past, as its purpose was to both destroy property and release confidential information to the public. The bottom line is that this was an unparalleled and well planned crime, carried out by an organized group, for which neither SPE nor other companies could have been fully prepared.

We are aggressively responding to this incident and we will continue to coordinate closely with your staff as new facts emerge from our investigation.

Sincerely,
Kevin Mandia

Kevin is the CEO of Mandiant, a cybersecurity firm.

The security incident suggests an unparalleled and well planned crime. And here is where things start to get dark.

A group calling itself the Guardians of Peace issued this “peaceful” email:

Warning

We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places “The Interview” be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to. Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment. All the world will denounce the SONY.

And, predictably, there has been a reaction. Although the Department of Homeland Security says it has not yet discovered evidence of an active plot against U.S. theaters planning to show The Interview, a number of cancellations took hold.

The New York premiere of The Interview was canceled although the The West Coast premiere of the movie took place without incident in Los Angeles on Dec. 11.

Seth Rogen and James Franco, the stars of the move, canceled all upcoming media appearances leading up to the release of the film.

Cineplex Canada removed showtimes from its website. And two chains in the States have removed the movie from their lineups.

FireEye maintains a Cyber Threat Map. These threats are a constant danger with an untold number taking place every single day. That said, few of them attain this level of profile: sufficient to create enough fear to stop showing a comedy film.

Cyber-terrorism or retaliation for making a movie about Kim Jong-un?

Ottawa

We spent the weekend in Ottawa. The Christmas Lights Across Canada program was certainly out in full force on Parliament Hill.

I took the camera out to take some photos and, upon our return to the hotel room, my hands were so frozen that I dropped my camera.

Oh my.

The camera body seems fine. The really expensive 12-40mm f2.8 Olympus lens, well, not so much.

Here are a few photos that I was able to take before the camera’s fall. Click on an image for a larger photo.

Christmas Lights Across Canada

Christmas Lights Across Canada

Christmas Lights Across Canada

Christmas Lights Across Canada

Christmas Lights Across Canada

Office Party

Well, the past few weeks have been a total blur. Totally overloaded. But I can see a bit of a break coming up in another week.

Thankfully.

All good though. Lots of fun events sprinkled in during that time. Including my office party a few nights back. We shared our love of music to my team at work with a house concert. The band was mostly from my company with a few special guests to round things out.

I don’t have any photos from the actual event but I do have a few pictures of how we transformed the studio into a small concert room before the office party.

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Stuck In Customs

stuckincustoms

Waiting.

I did some upgrades to the studio in January of 2014. One of those upgrades replaced a 24-channel control surface. Unfortunately, at the time that I made the change, I could only get the main unit, an 8-channel module.

maindc8

 

Not the end of the world as the control surface supports the use of VCAs and spills. After more than 12 years with a 24-channel control surface, I really missed those extra sixteen channels. I was expecting to source a 16-channel fader pack like this one earlier in the year. And by earlier, I thought February.

dcommandfaders

I could not find one anywhere. Until last week. A seller in Los Angeles pulled a nearly new unit off lease from NBC Studios. I was able to settle on a good price for the unit and it started making its way to Canada on the 21st.

It has been stalled for several days awaiting clearance from Canada Customs. When I chatted with the broker to get the clearance arranged, they thought it might clear today or tomorrow. Or perhaps next week.

Well, I’ve waited almost a year. Another few days won’t matter.

I will be installing the full console into my Argosy desk. The Argosy desk will fit the longer console without any major modifications. And that desk still looks great after 12 years.

mystudio

 

Colnago Master

The Master X-Light was a superbike in the eighties. The bike geometry is so different from the designs of today: both head and seat angles are very sharp, an extremely shallow head tube and straight-bladed forks. Certainly an aggressive design.

Colnago recreated the frameset in 2013 to mark the 30th anniversary of the X-Light.

This video reveals some of the craftsmanship inherent in the design. The star shaped tubing is custom drawn. The lugs and fork are finished in chrome. The frame is made by a master frame builder at Colnago. And the incredible airbrushing and masking. All done in Italy.

Santa Claus Parade

We were on the Rogers Media float again this year. Rob, Abby, Josh, Matthew and myself. We played Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree and Jingle Bell Rock over and over.

Thousands of people lined the streets of downtown Kingston. A very enthusiastic audience. A treat to be part of the event.

Although not as cold as last year — wind chills were minus 12 at the 2013 parade — there were plenty of challenges for the guitar player this year.

I used a Line 6 Pod HD500 modeller straight into the PA. No guitar amp. The Line 6 unit is a  pedalboard design. I had it wrapped in clear plastic to hold off any rain. Much easier setup than trying to mic a guitar amp on a moving flatbed truck.

We rented a bass amp and a drumset for Josh and Matthew. Bass amp worked well. And the drumset was fine except every now and then a gust of wind would come through and blow the ride cymbal over. Matthew became quite adept at catching the cymbal in time. He never missed a beat.

I took out my American Fat Strat. Somewhat reluctantly I might add. I was going to use my Squier Telecaster — a Chinese-built student guitar — but the thing was buzzing like crazy so I left it behind.

Fortunately the weather stayed fairly clear. A bit of rain at the front of the parade and that made playing interesting. Fingers really slide on wet guitar strings. A first for me to play a soaking wet guitar.

Fingers were not quite as numb as last year. Still tricky to play outdoors in near freezing temperatures.

That said, the event was an incredible experience. So much fun.