Half Dooced

March 20, 2004

Previously on this site I have written about using secure shell and port forwarding to access the internet without exposing the details of my actions to network monitoring. Originally it was an expression of my curiosity; using ssh was something new, it was exposure to the Unix underbelly of my Macintosh, as well as the workings of TCP/IP, firewalls, and networks.

I have always wanted to know how things worked, and that curiosity has largely driven my career. From my very first exposure to computers in the middle 1970's I have been more interested in how the programs and protocols worked than in actually using the applications created with them. I chose to be a programmer because it focused on the bits and bytes behind the scenes.

Network administration at my client recently closed the open proxy that was being used by many people to access instant messaging and the internet. I was sorry to see the easy access path taken away, and my curiosity got the better of me. I started looking around to see if there was another way to gain access.

I drew two kinds of attention to myself. First, I explored and poked around the network infrastructure at my client. I was curious and I wanted to know more about how it all worked. Second, and I think more damning in the end, I wrote about my discoveries here, on this web site. Explaining about secure shell and port forwarding was done out of the joy of learning something new and wanting to share my knowledge. Exploring how I felt when the access opening was closed was just another in a long line of postings I have made about my internal emotional and intellectual processes.

The net effect of my curiosity, and my penchant for recording my thoughts here, was the termination of my contract by my client. To lose my job as a result of my actions is something I can live with. Presented with the same or similar circumstances again I would in all likelihood make the same actions. I am intensely curious by nature and driven to understand how things work. To deny that part of my makeup would be to lie to myself about my truth.

I stand by my actions and I accept full responsibility for them. I have always tried to live with the understanding that my actions have consequences and that I alone am responsible for them. What I am having a harder time grasping and accepting is the reaction to entries I made on this web site. In particular the posting about losing my access was sited during the conversation that resulted in my termination.

I debated for a long time about making that access denied posting, but in the end my need to share my thoughts and emotions as a part of my growth in this life led me to publish that article. Was that the sole reason for my termination? No. Was it a contributing factor? It appears so. I am not the first ( do a Google search on 'dooced' ), nor will I be the last person who in some way, shape or form, has her or his employment status altered because of self publishing on the internet.

Groucho Marx once said that he wouldn't want to be a part of any organization that would have him. I'm relived to no longer be a part of an organization that doesn't want all that I am, feel, or think.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.