Gamehole Con Wrap Up

This past weekend I attended the first ever GameHole gaming convention here in Madison, WI. I can’t recall how I initially found out about the event. I know I ran into Josh Hoyt, overseeing gaming for the con, when I gamed with him at GaryCon in March. He was promoting the con there at the con located in Lake Geneva.GHC-footer

I can’t even recall if Madison had a gaming convention prior to this new venture. Correct me in the comments if I’m wrong. I don’t include WisCon, or any other of the geek-related events like Odd Con, Tesla Con, Geekkon, etc. Gaming seems to take a back seat at those events. I really wanted to see GameHole to succeed. The Madison area has more gaming stores (read it folks, we have at least 5) per capita than anywhere else in the US. We’re a decent sized city, population 250k for Madison and more than 150k for the burbs an outskirts. We’re about an hour away from Milwaukee, 4 hours from the twin cities, and a couple hours from Chicago. Not a bad place for a weekend of gaming fun.

There are certainly obstacles and hurdles to having a successful gaming convention. Having 5+ gaming stores in the area makes one wonder ‘why go to a local con when I can just game at one of the stores’? Some may even prefer to game with their own group in the privacy of someone’s house.  Then there’s the cost of renting a hotel, the huge amounts of time that you have to dedicate to coordinate everything to include finding sponsors, speakers, a website, food, ecommerce, policies, marketing, and the list goes on and on. There are probably more reasons on how a con can fail than succeed. It can be a scary endeavor. Sure, many people are happy to just break even, but running in the red does nobody any favors. I gotta give these guys a lot of credit just based on the gumption to try and make it happen.

So GameCon

What can I say? I was really impressed. Continue reading Gamehole Con Wrap Up

Keeping an Eye on Your Online Identity

I was using Google’s image search this weekend. I had known about it for some time, but an IT security consultant brought it up to my attention on how you can use it to stalk people. No, I was not interested in stalking someone, but wanted to look into it…for security purposes!

Visiting, I decided to upload the image I use for many of my online avatars. Once that’s completed Google returns all the search page results where you can find that image. Because I use it in social media sites like Twitter and Google+ I found it on other accounts at those sites, but only if I commented, shared or retweeted, a post. Ok. No big deal, right?

Well, I looked further and found that my image is also on some 411 sites. Sites you need to sign up and pay for to use. My guess is that those websites are crawling the interwebs for people’s info and simply indexing it into their database to serve it up for those willing to pay their fees. Again, not a big deal since they’re probably banking on providing my image with the “is this the Sean Kelley you’re looking for?”

Then I came across the site that made me nervous. Continue reading Keeping an Eye on Your Online Identity

Recent Reads – We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency

I thoroughly enjoyed the audio book. Written by Parmy Olson, It provides you some insight into the world of 4Chan, Anonymous, LulzSec and the folks that find themselves immersed in the internet underground. Let me tell you, it’s a different world.

It starts out explaining the roots of 4Chan from 2Chan and gets into the plethora of irc chats that make up the main channel of communication throughout the underground community. It’s a place that most of us wouldn’t understand. But, as mentioned in the book, people adapt to the environment. It’s something you have to read to understand.

We are Anonymous book

While some antics may seem immature, there are plenty of people that tend to overlook the stigma that may be placed on individuals in everyday life. Gender is one such topic. Nobody cares if you’re male, female, or something else. The lingo is interesting. Using the word ‘fag’ to describe different types of people was something that someone may find offensive, but others would overlook because it’s simply used as a word to describe someone and not necessarily to attack one’s sexual orientation. Again, some simply won’t understand.

The details of the story eventually revolve around the key players that went from Anonymous to the group known as LulzSec – Topiary, Sabu, and Kayla. This is the same group that attacked the Church of Scientology, Sony Pictures, XFactor (TV show), FBI and a few others. I found the moxy of these guys to blow me away. No question there was a conscious understanding that getting caught hacking websites and breaking into networks/email accounts would be a big deal. Many measures were taken to stay ‘anonymous’ online to prevent from being tracked down; yet, there was a certain drive to wreak havoc among different groups, companies, or individuals that would eventually lead to the capture of aforementioned players. Sometimes the attacks seemed to have what could be considered a ‘noble cause’ while others did not. The reputation that many members gained is intriguing. You read a whole book thinking Kayla, conveying an online persona of a young girl, ends up being a young man residing in London.

I do find it hard to understand how the author obtains all the details to write the book, where much of the communication, again, occurs online via irc channels. Regardless, it kept my attention and sucked me into a world that may not be for everyone. There’s counter culture – even within the hacker/IT security space, dialects, ‘mob rules’ mentality and a lot of different facets that were really interesting.

Recent Reads – Of Dice and Men by David M Ewalt

I’m a big fan. I find there’s plenty of dead time that could be used for something, like driving in my car, and podcasts and audio ‘books’ do the trick.

Most recently I ‘consumed’, using ‘read’ when referring to an audio book seems weird, Of Dice and Men by David M. Ewalt. of-dice-and-men-cover

I can’t say this will be the most formal of book reviews, but a short synopsis never hurt. I’d say this is intended to cover the, “I consumed <insert title> recently.” and the standard reply to those that would ultimately ask, “what did you think?”.

It reminded me of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms by Ethan Gilsdorf, where the author reminisces about his gaming past and then rediscovers it. I can relate to this. It may have happened to many of us. There is fictional pieces, done from the perspective a rpg party member, it’s actually narrated in the audio book outside the normal prose. I didn’t care much for that. It’s kind of like hearing about someone’s character. It broke up things a bit too much for me.

The history of TSR and Dungeons and Dragons was the interesting part for me. Much of it was known, but I did enjoy much of the background. I actually didn’t realize the limited contributions that Arneson played in the overall scheme of D&D. I’m sure this could be debated, but nonetheless, it’s no secret how much Gygax had to do with the game and TSR. I was also amazed at the shooting star that was TSR and how they utterly f’ed it all up. I mean, we’re talking 4000% growth at one point, $16M company gone to crap. Amazing.

Later in the book the author did a pilgrimage to Lake Geneva and Gary Con. Nice touch. Again, I can relate. And then there was a chapter on LARP. Great, but nothing that appealed to me. Seemed like it was filler since it didn’t relate to TSR, D&D, or Wizards of the Coast – current owner of the D&D properties. Hell, someone could have thrown in World Of Warcraft or something similar.

In the end it’s a decent listen, but set your expectations medium to low. If you aim them too high you will come across disappointed.

Recent Advice to a IT Support Specialist

Sometimes I get pinged from IT pros seeking to land an full time employment position in their respected field. This is one person that has a support background.  Here was my email response to him.

Thanks for contacting me. Unfortunately, I have moved out of recruiting and into IT Security. I’d be more than happy to help, but many of our support openings, re: help desk, reside in Waverly, IA, and doesn’t often include relocation to the candidate. I’d start networking pretty heavily. If you’re not on LinkedIn, get a profile. Join a few groups there and start telling people about your skills and weighing in on some discussions. I know you had worked for staffing firms too. I’d ping many of them to get some temp assignments, do awesome at those assignments and ask your interim supervisor if it’s ok to connect to them on LinkedIn and that your ultimate goal is to get FTE work.
It might even be a good thing to start a tech blog on or blogger. It’s free and will start showing off your knowledge beyond the resume. Then put that blog url on your resume. It’s showing your passion for IT support and your diligence on the blog. Make sure you update it consistently, that’s the key! A blog with articles every few months is not all that impressive.
I hope this helps. Good luck!

Leaving Facebook

I had a long post about Facebook and why I was deleting my account. The original post elaborated a bit about my beginning, middle, and end experiences with the social network. I read it over and over, made changes and edits, and realized that I was beginning to sound pretty dumb about the whole thing. I can just say this, “it’s not a place that I want to frequent any longer.” It’s nothing personal, really.

You can still contact me via Twitter or Google+. I know it’s crazy, but you can also call me: 608.616.0775. (this is a Google Voice number, so as long as that doesn’t go bye bye, you should be good)

Recruiter Turned IT Guy

1014431.largeToday was my last day as a corporate recruiter. I’ve been given the opportunity to join our IT Security team. Yes, I’ll be staying with my current employer so my email and phone number won’t be changing.

The  past week was filled with treat days, lunches with my peers, and getting my recruiting stuff in order so the interim person has an easier time managing the staffing needs of Shared Services as he also tries to find my replacement. Guess who has quite an incentive to fill my position? <let me know if you have a recruiting background and are interested in the position. 🙂 >

As I’ve mentioned to many people throughout my last 2 plus years, I never thought I’d be in a position in Human Resources. It wasn’t that I was opposed to it, I simply thought I’d be an IT guy doing server administration, penetration testing, coding, networking, whatever. I’m just glad that I was a member of THIS HR team. I’ve been employed in many companies, and worked with many different people, I never had a bad experience with any person in our entire HR organization.

One chapter ends, another begins.

Continue reading Recruiter Turned IT Guy

Open Door Recruiter Event – Friday August 30


Friday, August 30th, 2013


8a-noon, @Barriques, 1901 Cayuga St, Middleton, WI 

1p-4p, @Panera Bread, 2960 Cahill Main, Fitchburg, WI


Click here for FAQ.

Last Open Door Recruiter!

I have been given the opportunity to join the client base that I’ve enjoyed supporting for the last 2+ years. That’s right, I’m turning in my staffing/corporate recruiting/HR card to join information technology. So if you’re interested in finally meeting to talk, put a face with a name, get insight into our company, get resume/interview tips to help you with your job search, stop out!

People Just Want To Be Wanted

As recruiters, we need to remember that people want to be wanted. That’s why performance management seems contrary to that. That’s why recruiters need to understand the sensitivity behind breaking the news to someone that did not get a job, especially to internal staff. I don’t doubt that people leave their jobs because they don’t feel appreciated, they don’t feel wanted.

Think about it for a second.

When you get the news of not getting a job, how does it make you feel? Many times there is little to no feedback. What are you supposed to think? I mean, your qualifications fit the bill, right?

When handling internal staff it’s vitally important to let them know, that despite the circumstances, you need them in the organization. If you don’t want them in the org, well, that’s a different story. While some in the industry may say that performance plans are HR’s method to exit someone from the company, it should really be looked at from the ‘we value you as an employee and want to get you on the track for success’ perspective.  The same goes with getting turned down for promotion or another position. ‘You do some things very well, and you can get there. The areas to concentrate on developing are… is that a path you want to pursue?’ The person may be responsible for their own career development, but the manager should be there to help and guide.

I’m in the people business, it’s important to know how to handle people.