Reflecting on 2022

To everyone who took a bit of their time to read, share my blog posts, and engage with me – thank you. While I do find plenty of satisfaction in the writing process, I accept every “like”, reply, or feedback I receive with relish as an added bonus.

My favorite post this year was exploring available write blockers for field use. It was an opportunity to examine equipment available to me and it even prompted additional questions I expect to eventually explore. My other favorite post was on using Tesseract with X-Ways Forensics. It was entertaining to Rickroll in English and Japanese. My process notes using X-Ways Forensics were of value to me because I found myself referring back to them. It appears those notes were of value to others, too. Cool.

It’s feels great to be blogging again.

I first started blogging in 2007 and intermittently continued to write through 2016. Fun fact: I credit that blog on landing my first professional job during a time when finding any role out of college was challenging.

The blog was my creative outlet and it afforded a casual stint as a media representative, which provided unique opportunities and experiences I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Blogging also introduced me to lifelong friends. However, blogging stopped after accumulating competing interests.

When I considered picking up blogging again to write about chickens and general solutions for home projects, I registered mreerie.com. I liked the domain enough to keep it for four years, but I didn’t write my first post until 2021 on my path to digital forensics. Fear not, chickens and DIY projects are still being considered.

I started blogging again for a couple of reasons:

  1. I wanted a centralized location to record my notes.
  2. Digital forensics is a collaborative discipline and I wanted to participate.

Keeping Notes

My notes are intended to preserve ideas or facts as I understood them at the time. For work, notes (hand-written or typed) are organized and stored in its appropriate location. Finding and referencing them is a simple task. In contrast, my personal notes on gardening ideas, home project plans, chickens, or digital forensic artifacts are haphazardly jotted in a Staples Steno Book. Using a Supernote A5 X has made my life easier, but the process can still improve. Blogging again was a way to organize and finalize notes with the expectation to refer back to them. It was time well spent.

Participation

I learned how to build a coop using scrap wood and process chickens for meat from YouTube videos and blogs. I picked up some fundamentals on arc welding available on forums. I think it’s quite special to learn how to do these rewarding and useful things from people I never met who share their time and information. Being a part of that again, by writing a little about what I’m learning in digital forensics, is rewarding.

I built a chicken coop mostly made of scrap wood collected from sketchy Craigslist deals in 2012.
I welded steel H-frames for an L-shaped desk in 2016.

Inspiration

Among many I’ve bookmarked, there were a few blog posts I found particularly inspirational and revisited over the years.

I really enjoyed Rob Lee’s story about how Kristinn Guðjónsson’s talents expanded timeline capabilities with log2timeline by simply reaching out for ideas and executing on them. Case in point, some of my posts started as questions in the Digital Forensics Discord Server and the X-Ways User Forum. If I didn’t have an answer, I was interested enough to figure it out. By the time I tested, validated and drafted a process, I had a satisfactory blog post to share.

Phill Moore’s tips on blogging were especially helpful. Keeping a reasonable schedule, I managed to write a post at least once a month. This pace appears to agree with my life at the moment. Consistent with Moore’s advice, I was able to write out drafts ahead of schedule. This kept my transcribed notes tidy (hooray!) and allowed me to come back to drafts without losing my initial thoughts.

Brett Shavers advises to document original content/research and put your name on it if credibility is desired. I initially started this blog with the intent to not include my name to preserve some sense of perceived anonymity. After Shavers repeated this advice again on a Saturday Zoom chat earlier this year, I recognized I had more to gain than lose and started to put my name on my words.

I also find myself referring back to a series of self-improvement posts by Maria Markstedter. Markstedter writes about finding a direction, learning a skill, and then mastering it – all in the realm of information security. On the topic of deep-work, I float between Rhythmic and Journalistic strategies as a way to balance family, work, studying, and anything not involving digital forensics.

Summary

After a hiatus from blogging, I started again this year to hedge against lost or unorganized notes, and contribute to a community of continuous learners as an active participant.

Appropriately, I drew inspiration from blog posts, including those authored by Lee, Moore, Shavers, and Markstedter. Please consider reading those posts for the first time, or read them again. Maybe you’ll find your inspiration to start your blog (or pick it up again!).

Thank you for your time and attention in 2022. Lets do it again next year.

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