darrenpopham.com is my personal website expressing opinions and ideas that may amuse some, offend others, and perhaps be ignored by many. All I can promise is that I might write something that you might read. If you don’t read it then it really doesn’t matter much then does it? If you did read it then consider yourself lucky to have graduated school with a teacher who cared enough to teach you how.

I am a software engineer and director, QA director, web developer, automation engineer, systems engineer and a teacher. My resume could fuel multiple websites with content spanning years of experience ranging from the first database driven web catalog to developing an entire security release platform for product updates. One item I am particularly proud of is that I am the co-creator of the current desktop PC firewall market. Hats off to James Grant (the amazing lead developer) and Phil Attfield (founder and dreamer with a vision) - the three of us changed the Internet without even realizing it. Guess where the idea for firewalls such as the Windows Firewall, ZoneAlarm, McAfee Firewall and Symantec’s firewall all came from? We did it first and everyone else copied the idea. ConSeal PC Firewall – the first consumer firewall for Windows that was also EAL-1 certified for military use!!!! And that popup warning that occurs with every firewall that warns you of some app trying to access the Internet? My idea. Sorry about that :-)

Due to my security background I have been known to write about and dabble in Internet security from time to time. Visitors can benefit from this by browsing through the years of accumulated intruder data and maps showing where they originated. Intruders have been consistently trying to gain access to my servers since 2009. All of this data is collected and analyzed automatically and then made available in a summary form for you to browse through.

Ever wonder which country has citizens that are the most belligerent and focused on attacking Internet sites? It could have been Russia, but alas China wins the prize. You didn’t hear me express an opinion, just providing the traffic facts for almost a decade…..

Ideas and Atheism

Security though is not just limited to the Internet and takes on many forms, including security of thought and knowledge. Ever since mankind lived in caves trembling in fear of the thunder we have had the uncanny ability to make up stupid shit to make us feel better about stuff we did not understand. However when these small-minded ancient ideas continue to exist even when proven repeatedly to be outright wrong we then turn around and protect them by calling them “religion”. Is it protected to teach people that gravity is a theory and instead magic invisible fairies sit on our feet holding us down? Is it protected to teach people that when you turn on a light switch an angel lights its farts to illuminate the bulb? Those ideas are ludicrous, and so are those of a talking snake, an ark full of animals isolated from around the world and living inside a big fish.

I do not support these dumb ideas. Period. They are made up crap that have no evidence, are misleading and are potentially dangerous. Wishing on a fairy god mother that cancer goes away doesn’t make it go away. If it did, there wouldn’t be cancer. It is not up to me to blindly accept weird beliefs on “faith” just because some ancient pedophile in a book says I should, but instead it is up to these snake-oil salesmen to provide evidence for their claims. Prove it. If you think I have insulted some magic fairie then they can file an injunction in court and then show up. Not you. Them.

Alas this is never done. There is no such evidence for fart angels (and saying “it was written in [insert your favorite Goat Herder Instruction Manual here]” does not count as evidence). Instead what we get are false arguments targetting scientific theories that do offer proof. Rather than prove their outlandish stories they do nothing more than make up falsehoods against observable phenomena. There is recorded evidence of evolution. There are unimaginably many remains of transitionary species. The “Theory of Gravity” does not go away simply by believing you can fly. When you turn on your cell phone the electromagnetism used send and receive signals is not made of Angel farts carried in the wind. The scientific theories exist because they are statements based on observable and repeatable phenomena. The observed evidence is there, it doesn’t go away, it can be found by anyone and it supports the theory that best describes the evidence. When’s the last time you smelled an Angel fart?

So ideas like religion, homeopathy, psychic claims and other supernatural phenomenon are dangerous. They provide pat and incorrect answers that are easily disprovable but still appeal to simple minded people who stopped asking questions. Believing in these ideas deludes people from looking for real answers that could be helpful. I feel sorry for these people and hope that someday they can break out of their oppressive views and start asking meaningful questions.

In the meantime they keep on believing in Fairy Farts and benefit from all the science that surrunds them. Where do they think their cars came from? Must have been bigfoot engineering. Their cell phones and TVs? Aliens of course. How about their homogenized milk that prevents the deaths of uncountable children?i the tooth fairy, how could I forget. And the flu vaccine or anti-biotics? It wasn’t by someone praying very hard just to have the final solution fall out of their arse. It was a lot of hard work, trial and error, discoveries and most of all, repeatable and observable science.

If you are open minded, not trying to convince me of some ludicrous idea without providing the evidence to back it up, and you are interested in the things that interest me, then I welcome you to visit my site. If you have something to say, be patient, don’t write in all caps, be nice and try to write your messages as clear as possible.

Site Etiquette

I try to leave content alone for the most part, but realize that this is my site, not yours. If a comment is particularly unhelpful, insulting, or otherwise rude enough that you’d have your teeth caved in had you said it in public, then I will remove it, edit it, forward it to the Internet community for ridicule, or do whatever the hell I want with it without any warning whatsoever. You might think that your immaturity or moral outrage is normal Internet etiquette, but I am sorry, if you do that here then you sir are an a-hole. Keep trying to contribute in this way and I’ll blacklist you. As I said above, this is my site, not yours. I can make the site, take it down, change its colors or switch the language to Finnish if I wish. Pucker up and live with that.

The same warning goes for spam. Spam based comments are deleted automatically, often without my even noticing them, and the server that tried to post the spam is automatically blacklisted by the security software I wrote. Spammers in my opinion contribute less to society than splinters woven into cheap toilet paper. While selling hope and promise they simply lead to a rather unpleasant outcome.

I also reserve the right to remove or edit any article I have written in the past. Ideas change, new information becomes available all the time, and I couldn’t stand by if something I said in the past comes out to be inaccurate. Unlike religions, I’ll change. Take that idea and mull over it for a bit - I can change my mind when new information arrives. Provide real evidence that a flying spaghetti monster exists and drops his noodley blessings from on high then sign me up I would believe. Until then, I’ll enjoy eating the pasta on my plate.

And last but not least, and perhaps the most important of all: enjoy life.

It is after all the only one you’ve got.