Site News
  • October was a busy month for me and as a result, mostly unproductive in terms of content for the site. I do have a substantial piece on Threat Modeling in the works so stay tuned!
Shellsharks Community
  • Once again, I recently served as a SANS virtual TA (vTA) for SEC503. This was, and has remained, my favorite SANS course - I learn a lot each time I take this training. Being able to help out other students along the way definitely helps reinforce the concepts as well!
The Shellsharks Podcast
  • For now, I plan on doing the show monthly (given the wild assortment of other responsibilities and projects I have underway right now). I’ll also add that taking the time to consistently find guests for the podcast is not something I had properly allocated time and mental cycles for.
What I’m Learning
  • One of my areas of professional growth lately has been in the realm of manual code review. I’ve been using this resource as a means to help propel that learning. My experience prior to now has really been more in manually reviewing SAST results, which is certainly different than pure manual review.
Gadgets

Definitely a good month for gadget-ing…

  • I recently picked up a pair of Hue Play Light Bars to add some additional lighting behind my upper monitor. Getting these at the proper angle to cast the light on the wall proved too annoying however so they have been mounted somewhat parallel to the wall instead. Though I might not get the best wall coverage this way, I really just need them to brighten up the space at night and in other dim lighting conditions (early morning and late afternoon).

  • In addition to the Play Bars, I also picked up the very unique Dyson Lightcycle Morph Floor Light in the Black/Brass finish. I’ve written a small review of the product as I have quite a few thoughts on it. TL;DR is I really like the lamp.

  • When I ordered the Lightcycle Morph, I also ordered the previous-gen Lightcycle, the Task Light. In my quest to brighten up my workspace I wanted to try a few things and I always thought the original Lightcycle looked really cool. I was hesitant in getting a desk lamp since though I have quite a large desk (it is actually a dining room table), I want as little objects on top of it as possible in order to reduce overall clutter. With that said, I thought the Task Light would look cool enough such that I wouldn’t care. Fast forwarding a bit, I took delivery of the light and after setting it up on my desk I decided that I was going to return it. Let me explain why. First, it did inevitably take up more space on the desk than I was comfortable with. Second, It interfered (being on the left side of my desk) with my podcasting mic’s boom arm. Third, I really didn’t like the way it looked as much as I thought I would, especially when compared with the Morph light, which I really like. As I have explained in my mini-review, the Morph has a lot of utility that the Task Light simply doesn’t have. I’m even considering getting the desktop version of the Morph to try out! More to come on that if it every comes back in stock =(.

  • Apple announced their entirely new series of M1-laden MacBook Pro’s. I’m not currently in the market for a new laptop but I’m keeping my eye on what’s happening with Apple Silicon. Seeing the overall performance and efficiency improvements in computers using these chips it’s plain to see that this is the future of Apple (and computing in general!). As much as I wanted to invest in an Intel-based Mac Pro, I’m thinking more and more that a desktop-class, M1-based Mac may be what is really in store for me in the future.

  • I picked up the new Apple Watch Series 7. Coming from a Series 4, I really haven’t noticed that much practical difference. Sure, the screen is technically bigger but the main watch face I use doesn’t take full advantage of this increase in size. There are a few new sensors onboard but I really won’t use them with any meaningful frequency. It being a new device, the battery should be pretty fresh but honestly my Series 4 battery was still very good. The real improvement for me has to be the overall snappiness of the interface. This allows me to navigate around, fire off Shortcuts and generally use the watch with greater ease. For those who have a Series 4 through Series 6, I’d recommend on holding off on this upgrade unless theres a particular feature that has been introduced in the last couple years that is particularly compelling to you.

Fitness
TV
  • I’ve been enjoying the second season of The Morning Show. It’s not blowing my mind or anything but it’s not the genre of show that really could anyways.

  • Dune however… was REALLY good! I really want to watch the original movie and can’t wait for whatever sequels are being cooked up.

  • What We Do In The Shadows is hilarious. Only a few episodes in so far…

Gaming
Investing
  • TSLA to the moon! No, to Mars!!!! Thanks Hertz.
Life
  • Went on a Fall-sightseeing trip to ME, RI and NH. Lobster is expensive…

  • Did the Big Schloss hike and saw some really impressive Autumn-ey-ness. I found the hike using the site Hiking Upward which has a great search function which can help you find hikes given a number of different criteria including length, views, location, etc… Definitely check it out if you are in MD, NC, PA, VA or WV!


Dyson Lightcycle Morph Floor Light Review

I recently took delivery of and set up the Dyson Lightcycle Morph Floor Light in the Black/Brass finish. This light had been on my radar for a while now as I thought it was a really unique and cool looking gadget. Of course at 849.99, the price was certainly a bit steep for what, at the end of the day, is just a lamp. Below I cover the good and the bad of this lamp from my perspective…

The Good

  • The physical setup of the light is dead simple. You need only get it out of the box, attach the pole to the base and then plug it in! Connecting the light to the app is a little more involved (it requires Bluetooth), but still relatively easy.

  • I really love the design of the lamp.

  • The light can get really bright, up to 850 lumens and can range from a very energizing, cool light (6500K) to a really relaxing warm light (2700K).

  • The lamp is very adjustable (hence the name: “Morph”) as you can angle it in any direction from straight up/down to a full 360 rotation. Couple this with the lighting modes described above and you can see this light is immensely versatile. I can illuminate the surface of my desk if I am reading, shine it directly at an adjacent wall to generally brighten up my space, dim the lights to provide a more relaxed mood, etc… The scenes that can be set are pretty endless!

  • A really cool feature of the light is you can rotate the light such that it points directly down into the stem of the lamp. Here the light will illuminate the perforated stem and create a very cool ambient light mode where you just have a glowing pillar. Very cool for chilling out!

  • The Dyson Link app offers a sync mode where the lamp will adjust it’s warmth and intensity based on the ambient light in the room and the time of day. This allows the light to adjust automatically based on the current settings of the room. Modern HomeKit lights have a very similar feature (Adaptive Lighting) so in this way they can all stay relatively in sync!

  • Since this lamp is a floor lamp rather than a desk lamp, it keeps my desk from accumulating additional clutter. I like having a clean desk where possible so this is great!

  • Returning a Dyson product is a very simple process. The team responsible for returns are very prompt, provide free returns and will notify you of the status all along the way. (I ordered a Task Light and did not end up keeping it.)

The Bad

  • The price. ~$850 for a lamp is rough.

  • Buggy connection over Bluetooth. When attempting to interact with the light using the mobile app, I often have to force-quit the app and restart it for the Bluetooth connection to work such that I can control the light remotely. Also, since the connection is over Bluetooth, I am unable to control the light when out of Bluetooth range.

  • No HomeKit integration. The rest of the lighting in my desk setup is controllable over HomeKit. This isn’t a huge deal but it does add an extra step when trying to get my lighting scene set at any given time.

  • There are some touch controls on the lamp arm. These are a little difficult to control as the arm itself is very sensitive and will rotate with very little force applied. This means you need to hold the arm in place while you adjust the settings, otherwise the arm will rotate. The metal portion of the lamp arm closest to the light bulb will actually get pretty hot, so if you attempt to hold the lamp arm in place you run the risk of potential light burns (or at least experience some discomfort). The touch-based controls nearest the light (on the black plastic portion of the arm) are very sensitive, so if you accidentally brush these, you may change the setting on the light. This makes adjusting the light settings a very delicate operation as there is only a small part of the lamp arm that you can touch without accidentally changing something or (very slightly) burning yourself.

  • The lamp sports a movement sensor, the purpose of which is to turn on when movement is detected and turn off after a certain period of time when movement is not detected. In theory this is a cool feature but in reality, when sitting at your desk for long periods of time, the light will turn off even though you are still sitting there. This feature is easily disabled.

  • When I first set the lamp up, I believed there was an issue with the device so I initiated a call to Dyson’s customer support. Their (presumably Tier 1) customer support associate was truly dreadful to speak to. They were overly invasive in the information they needed from me in order to help troubleshoot my issue, they were not knowledgeable at all about the product in question, and they took forever to respond. Further, I opened the support session directly via the app which is incredibly fragile in actually keeping the session alive. If you navigate away from the page or close the app, the session is ended and you lose all your progress (you’re lucky if you actually make any progress with that support team though).

Ultimately, the good outweighed the bad for me and I intend on keeping the light!