2018 seemed to go quickly for me, which at points was good and at others I'd really have appreciated it slowing down. Here's a review of my 2018.
In January I was invited to speak at the first annual conference on Cyberforensics & Cybersecurity hosted at Canterbury Christ Church University. I'd done a guest lecture at Christ Church a couple of years ago so it was nice to be invited back, even if the prospect of speaking at a conference was somewhat daunting. I had a text from a friend at the conference earlier in the day telling me the lecture hall was packed, about 250 in attendance. That number of people was even more daunting, so my nerves started to build. As I arrived at the venue it had already started to empty (I was the last speaker of the day) and the speaker before me overran, so more people left as I got up. Nonetheless I managed to finish on time and received some truly lovely feedback afterwards (one delegate said I'd "made the most sense all day", another telling me that I "struck a chord" with him as he's in the same position and it was good to know others had the same challenges). If you'd like to see my presentation on "Safer working in local government: a layered approach", my slides are here (my presentations have come on a long way since January!).
As we headed towards March I started to really wish the year would slow down. Some of you may know I work with African Pastors Fellowship on their eVitabu project, something I'm actively blogging about. The launch conference for eVitabu was in Kampala, Uganda and there were many development pushes by me, my coding partner Mike and with contributions from my long time coding partner Adam. After many late nights, a few scaling issues and much anticipation, eVitabu was ready to be released.
Some delegates of the conference had arrived two or more days early, very eager to receive eVitabu so they could start learning using this new tool. On site preparations for the conference weren't as smooth as we'd like as there were delays in securing (4g) Internet and chairs / tables for the delegates. Slowness in Internet provision, and low IT literacy among the delegates meant I had to think on my feet, scrapping my original presentation plan and almost working one-to-one to get delegates ready to use the system.
I'm pleased to say eVitabu launched successfully to much fanfare and is still being actively used (and developed) to this day. It was a pleasure serving God and APF's partners in this way, and great sharing the experience with my family who traveled to Uganda with me.
After years of trying to make the Infosecurity Europe conference I decided to take annual leave and attend as an individual. I blogged about my time at Infosec so I won't talk too much about it here. Just before attending Infosec I resurrected this blog after a four year hiatus.
One of the things I'm keen to do is teach students the skills they need to work in the IT industry, specifically cybersecurity. I've given talks before to students as part of my work with the British Computer Society's Young Professionals' Information Security Group (YPISG for short) but normally with support of a small team. In June I was asked by Christ Church to develop a talk on penetration testing for 20 students from East Kent College. I had two hours to run a session I'd have previously taught in four, so there was some considerable re-working to be done. The session went well and I was surprised to find some of the college students had been at my talk in January.
Work restructured ICT, with a loss of zero jobs, although there was quite a shakeup. My team was largely unaffected although the network and security team now sits as part of the infrastructure department, along with the server support team. We share a common manager, a post awarded to my colleague. I had also applied and been interviewed but was unsuccessful - this hasn't been a problem as, although initially disappointed, I do respect my colleague and I'm pleased to say there's no animosity there. It'll be interesting to see what he does with the department.
After doing a lot of forensics work on behalf of the Information Commissioner's Office I attended court in September to give evidence. This involved providing guidance and answering questions from barristers and magistrates. This was an interesting experience, and I blogged about it too.
Digital Ocean hosted the fifth Hacktoberfest and I participated for the first time. I managed to find some projects to contribute to and excitedly unwrapped my Hacktoberfest goodies just after Christmas. I've still got a t-shirt to come from Microsoft (a Hacktoberfest partner) after contributing to one of their open source projects too - new year goodies I hope.
There were some family changes too this year. My niece was born early, along with our friends' daughter. It's nice to have new people in the family. Sadly we lost my grandmother although I take solace in the fact she's now with the Lord and back with Grandad again.
I'm excited to see what 2019 holds, especially with the development of eVitabu. Public speaking / lecturing seems to be becoming part of my skill set too as I've been invited to speak at 2019's conference (again hosted at Christ Church), as well as at a local technology college.