I know last week's IT recollection didn't happen because there wasn't class but yesterday, Saturday I had class so I'm going to bless y'all with the activities. Here's a link to last last week's blog: Nerdy Installation. Today's blog will have a twist, but don't all my blogs do? As usual, I woke up around 10:00 A.M to go practice my hygienic routine as well as get dressed. I had my outfit already set aside for the day and my hair style chosen. Bantu knot outs, a particular hairstyle that most naturals adore. When it came time to take down my hair I noticed it was still wet, remind you I had done my Bantu knots on Thursday night and today is Saturday. Part of me felt like I should have blow dried the Bantu knots before taking them down just to be sure they were dried, the other half was like fuck it, just rock it even if it turns into a spare of the moment afro. Fluffing and stretching my hair turned into a nice chunky curl pattern that I could dig. 11:00 was sneaking up on me, I had to get ready earlier because of Student Appreciation Day. As a proud foodie, I remember just about anything that has to do with food. Although the celebration's food was Haitian food, I was for it. Don't get me wrong I love me some Haitian food. I'm Haitian, so, of course, I rep mines heavy, HOWEVER, I could get Haitian food from my mother easily. Basically, what I'm saying is this Student Appreciation Day celebration food would be redundant to me. 11:15 arrives and I have my black thigh high boots slipped up to my faux leather pants with my leather jacket pressed against my back.
11:20 I'm in the train station and I look up at the train arrival screen to see the next train arriving is a Braintree train in 3 minutes and an Ashmont train in 15 minutes. "Shit, I just missed the train." I couldn't believe the next Ashmont train would take that long to come, to me it was a force because Braintree and Ashmont trains only cross half way to their destination. After JFK, they split, why the fuck would it take fifteen minutes for the next train, my train to arrive that late? I couldn't fight it so I let it ride. The Braintree train pulls up and the paranoia side of me kicks in not sure if there was another shuttle bus fiasco waiting even though the train arrival screen mentions both train destinations. I wasn't too sure so my suspicions were up. Looking left then right, I seeing passengers get on the train, not one standing back to wait for the Ashmont train. I enter the Braintree train with the thought of 'if this bus really heads over to Braintree without needing a shuttle bus hop off at Downtown to get on the Ashmont train just like last week.' My suspicions weren't confirmed and the train stops at all the regular stops, including Downtown, thus saving me a headache but I had to walk off to the platform and wait for the Ashmont train. The train arrival screen reads five minutes and I'm like word. Because my patience runs low at an alarming rate and 15 minutes hold wouldn't suffice. As the Ashmont train pulls up I peek into the windows of each cart seeing that they were packed. My aggy bone was tingling but I calmed it down. About fifteen minutes the train enters into Ashmont. Watching my phone screen read 12:15 as I walk off the escalators and onto the Trolley platform I remind myself that I probably missed the Trolley. Just as the thought finished I see an orange and cream metal face speed down the tracks. A sigh of relief covered my face because I knew I wasn't going to be late again.
Twenty minutes later the train stops at Mattapan. Pacing myself for the oncoming buzzing traffic, I race through the maze of lights and walk a brief three minutes to my IT class. The door was open which was odd. Typically the door is unlocked, but never wide open. Inside I can hear people conversing. I walked into the front class entrance to meet a few new faces and a couple of regular classmates. The new faces seem to have known the place pretty well and from the exchanges with the Professor, it seems like they were acquaintances. The Professor and new faces unseal the aluminum foil tops that kept the dishes of food safe and warm. Each of the four dishes complimented each other. One dish was rice and beans. The other chicken drumsticks sauce with peppers and onions. Of course, there was salad, but the last dish was familiar yet unfamiliar at the same time. Pickliz. For all my Haitians we know what Pickliz is and what Pickliz can do, but to the untrained eye, it looks like coleslaw. In a way, Pickliz is coleslaw but better as I always describe it. There's no mayonnaise, and it's extremely spicy. Haitians are known for a lot of things, but when it comes to the food, spice is also a title that's attached to us. The Professor invites us to grab a plate and dig in. I get up to prepare my plate of rice, chicken sauce, salad, and pickliz. I wasn't too hungry so I kept my plate light.
As I ate in silence I listened in on conversations of other students around me. A couple of them were recapping their week. The Professor approved the food as he scarfed it down. His wife and daughter were fully elated about the catered meal. Three more students entered the class to find the buffet like set up of the class. No monitor on the table, no open cases, no keyboards, just a think plastic tablecloth with utensils and heaping amounts of delicious smelling food that lingered across the hall. The professor invites them to grab a plate and to take as much as they want. The professor is honest and generous like that. Through eavesdropping I find out that most people know the Professor outside of class, they have a personal relationship with him. Maybe not family but more like a friend of the family. He knows mothers, aunties, and nieces, brothers, cousins etc which lead me to believe that he's a pillar of the community not only as an IT professional, businessman, and a reverend but a down to earth person.
Thirty minutes have gone by and at this point, many of us are full or satisfied. The professor turns to the new faces to ask them to introduce themselves. They stand up causing the rest of the students to do so. I stand because it would be awkward if I didn't though I was completely fine just sitting my pretty ass down. The three new faces state their name and their position on the board. They weren't students but former students who now oversee what's going on with the IT school. This prompted us the real students to state our names. I'm not going to lie, I probably know three or four out of eighteen student's name. The professor walks by the table pausing at this big white box. He opens the box and asks for help taking out the surprise. Apparently it was one of the board member's birthdays and the professor didn't know and to make up for the belated recognition, he provided him with a birthday cake. Haitian cake! Haitian cake for those of you who don't know is divine. It has the typical ingredients found in any cake but Haitian cake has other Haitian ingredients like essence also known as extract. The cake is heavier but light at the same time. I was game for cake even though I don't have a thing for flour goods. The class sang the birthday man Happy Birthday as he bashfully acknowledged people's well wishes. With a sharp knife in his hand, the birthday man cuts into the Haitian cake offering people slices. Those who tasted the cake enjoyed it and those who didn't eventually decided to take a small slice. The professor informs us we have fifteen minutes for the dessert and then class will start. In my chair to his right I asked him if he was able to pull some information regarding how I should go about legitimizing my business of selling my book MEMOIRS OF A FORGOTTEN CHILD. He said he was still in the process of collecting resources and that I should speak to him later after class.
The festivities came to an end and the remainder of the food was relocated to another section of the building. As quickly as we started the party it ended just as fast. The board members spoke their last words and a woman who is the aunt to a student strongly suggests to us that we read the book. She even shares that when she took the test she regretted that she didn't read more. The book is 900 pages and to be honest, it's not a difficult read just unusual wording and introductions to multiple devices that might trip you up as a newbie but overall it's basic. The one problem for most including me is time. We peeled off the think plastic red tablecloth and throw it away revealing a silver mat on top of the table. The professor shifts our direction to Networking. Networking consists of two types peer to peer and client to server. The professor educates us on Verizon's FiOS that the cables that create FiOS technology weren't actually Verizon's invention but they lease the technology from it's British owner. This includes the Verizon towers and poles we see in the streets. AT&T according to the professor are the pioneers of the internet because they were able to secure connections through cables, long cables that run underground that were set by some company and AT&T took over them to send its technology through the cables. The Professor and his Pro-Blackness and conspiracies keep most of us on our toes while learning about IT. This day wouldn't be any different.
The latest is the see-through technology that certain companies like Sony and the government have. I know we all know about going through those body scanners at the airport and how invasive those are but what Sony has is something like goggles and when you wear them they can see your body. I don't know if they can see through your bones like body scanners and what the government has or if they can see the color of your areolas, but from what I understand, it's pretty serious. The government could send a seemingly ordinary plane over your home and it can see everything going on inside your home. This was kind of spooky to us in the class listening to the Professor. The Professor finishes by saying, "But it's for our protection." Someone remarks, "Yeah, ayight." I remark, "Umm no. I'm good." This invasion of privacy to keep you safe bull is tired and ridiculous, what it really comes down to is the government wants to keep us civilians in check by checking our moves. It has nothing to do with terror that they cause. If I were to believe everything was due to terrorism then why doesn't the U.S. stop interfering with other country's politics? Who made the U.S. the utmost judge when it comes to other's affairs especially since U.S. STILL has a race issue. Why doesn't the U.S. stop making enemies by bullying other countries and maybe just maybe we wouldn't be so hated, but of course that's not going to happen. There's too much money to be made in destruction.
The conversation shifted to hackers. No lie, before I even got into IT I thought about being a hacker. I didn't know how to start or if that was a real thing people did outside of espionage or terrorism but whatever the case was to me it was and still is cool. Not hacking me of course, but hacking someone else like I don't know, the credit bereau and making sure everyone has a credit score of 900. That would be great, wipe off these student loans for me, fucking fantastic. Deposit some wall street papes in my account, you fucking God. I remember last year there was some expo of some soft in Boston where they invited the public to come and try to hack the system, maybe the MBTA? I'm not sure but if a person was able to do so, cudos to you. I asked the Professor if he was going to see the Snowden movie. He was surprised that they made a movie on him and I had to correct him saying the trailer is out. The movie is coming soon. Nigerian brother man backs me up by saying the trailer is good and that he should see it. The Professor visually excited as I was when I saw the trailer tells the class that Snowden was a Russian spy. He was very smart but when he was able to penetrate the CIA the things he was exposed to changed his perspective and someone within the agency told other higher rankings to keep an eye on him but they were smitten by his intellect not taking heed to the warning. For those who know something something about the Wiki Leaks, I don't need to tell you what happened next.
The conversation opened up all types of hacker questions and insider hacker tactics like attacking wifi signals. As much as we love wifi, especially unlocked free wifi but this might cost you if a hacker wanted your information. Just an app download or some hacker technology, they could read everything that you've sent or received on your computer including social security numbers, credit card information, email addresses etc. The only secure internet connection is from a cable like an RJ 45 or a CAT 5e or CAT 6 that's connected to a switch. Anything up in the air like wifi carries bits of information that anyone can swipe but even though this might be scary to most people, it's still safer than going into a store to pay in person. Why? Because you have to trust some twenty-something-year-old making nine bucks an hour won't download an app or swipe your card number and go on a shopping trip. The revelation the Professor dropped on was flabbergasting. I heard of people stealing information. I heard of hacking. I knew people could steal information by swiping a device near your bag and picking up your card information but never sitting outside in a van and collecting wifi information. I was worried. I believe my credit is shitty due to student loans but I hoped no one stole my information to buy a sky scraper in midtown or something. The professor went deeper and rehashed the housing crisis that many hackers were able to steal people's social security and by buy properties in their name. The professor recounted a story about a nun who got caught up in the scam when she found out that her name was being dragged through the credit score mud. She confirmed that she knew she had bad credit but she didn't know that she had two properties in different states in her name. The Professor added that his company hacks for the government and they can hack just about anyone, however, he doesn't. For any business, he can make sure their servers are un-hackable with a price but most small businesses can't afford that and for select small businesses he provides the un-hackable service pro bono. For the nun, however, she had to reiterate that she lives a meager life that the properties were not something she personally purchased. The class fell silent, awe covered our lips.
What are the many ways hackers hack? Let me run them down. In one infamous case, a person impersonated a judge. The person knocked on the door of some person in the standard judicial robe to hack a server. In bigger and more extreme cases, a person can pay another person several thousands of dollars to create a scenario to precisely eliminate any interruptions to gain access to hack. This occurred when a couple of people stole a firefighter truck and pulled an alarm at a location several miles away cause the fire station to rush to the location. While there, they found out that there isn't a fire. The hackers were able to steal the server while the chaos of people running around to get to safety. When the firefighters made their way back to the station they realize they too have been hacked and one of their trucks were left in the middle of a busy street like it was trash. In two states Massachusetts and New York the sewage or water system was hacked. The CIA ended up sending close to a million and a half to a hacker to hack a terrorist's iPhone. On the less expensive scale, some people try old fashion charm by saying things like you're cute. The Professor personally experienced this with some young woman. He replied, "I'm 54 years old. I'm not cute, I'm old." We laughed. He expounded, many men would be like yeah. I look good. I still got it but no. They're tricking you." He said this with his arm flexing and his chest bursting out his crispy white shirt.
Another method is simply carelessness. If a company hires some security guard with no training, he could let anyone walk into the building and if he sees a person on a regular basis, there's a chance he may not ask for ID. Since all Black men look alike it's easy for the security guard to confuse him and another Black guy. The Professor uses himself and the Hands On Helper (previous blogs will explain) as the example. We laughed because we know the stereotypes plus it's true. You see someone long enough you probably will let your guard down and if that person has ulterior motives they can manipulate your kindness. Spies are more dubious, though, they'll go into the fine details like Snowden and ask to intern out the clear blue sky for free. Who doesn't like free, chiefly free labor? That's what America was founded on right? The spy will pretend to not know anything about IT. You, the company will run their social and background check. Everything will come back a clean because all their information is fake. By day two the spy is gone with all your sever's information. This is how major corporations like Target got hacked. Home Depot got hacked. Sears got hacked. I actually remembered when eBay got hacked and they sent me an email summarizing a corporate formulated letter advising me to change my eBay password and to not share any information with anyone. When I saw the email notice, I acted on it by logging into my account to see if it was real. It was, I changed my information then and there. Thank GOD I wasn't one of the people who got hacked but you know . . .
The professor advises us to change up our passwords and whatnot periodically because nothing is truly safe. Anything can get hacked especially if you're using the same password for everything. The only company that hasn't been hacked is google, but as the conspiracies go, google is the feds. The professor questions us on how many of us showed up last week to practice IT work with him one on one. One person raised their hand. Honestly, I was going to meet up with him last week but something came up, something always does so I had to cancel those plans but I did make an effort to reach out to him. He responded dead late and by that time something else consumed by time. The Professor warns us to graduate we need 32 hours of hands-on practice. CompTia A+ is looking for that and we need to be absolutely sure what we're doing before taking the test. Hands On Helper asks the question about vouchers. The Professor answers that yes the voucher provides half off the test but that's when we are ready to take it. When the time comes his wife will be the one to set it up. After getting a voucher CompTia provides soon to be IT professionals practice tests on their website for free. The professor suggests we get at least an 80% before signing up to take the real test. In a year, we have all the time we need to practice for the test. The class runs for three months but to actually take the test we have a year. He sincerely tells us CompTia wants us to pass, they don't want us to fail and they'll even restate a question in a different manner if they see you're struggling. Diddy asks (see previous blogs) about other lists of classes on a door and if the school provides them all.
The professor points out that there are more classes on his wall if we're interested. His wife chimes in and says depending on the season is when the classes are available. The professor explains that though he went over networking, networking isn't something we need to worry about because ITs don't really need to focus on that, but in another class that he teachs called Networking, that's the bulk of their subject matter. Diddy turns to the T-Pain (again previous blog) to vocalize his plans on getting all the classes available. The class packs up to leave but we weren't off the hook yet. The Professor's wife writes on the board our homework assignment. What is it you ask? Something that shouldn't take anyone longer than ten minutes. Go into our Gmail. When inside your account access the drive. Inside the drive select new. Choose a template and create a template about anything. Just change up the template's prewritten information and add whatever we want but we need to use a template. Easy right? When we're done we're supposed to send it to her. After writing her instructions down, the class disappears out the door. Before I make my way out I stopped in the office of the Professor to ask him about the resources because you know, I need this book to pop off on the best sellers list so I can finally live my dream of speaking my truth and healing. Baby girl is tryina come up in the game. No more, alls my life I hads ta fight! The Professor asks am I his Facebook friend which I replied "No." I did look him up and found him once but I didn't friend request him. Probably because I felt awkward about it as well as a little stalker-ish. He advocates for me to do so and he took down my email address. He affirms my request by regurgitating that I want information on starting a business and what are the best way to go about it being an author. I agreed but threw in if he knew any editors or anyone in publishing that would be great. His resources would be greatly appreciated. He shares with me that he knows of a woman editor but it'll probably cost me a lot. It would, editors charge crazy amounts of money but they can because ultimately they got the juice. The expression on my face must have read disappointment because he then proposes that she might be able to do it pro bono. I couldn't tell you how quickly my facial expression drastically changed. I thanked him.
Be Entertained. Be Enlightened. Be Loved. ✌