A Change In Tactics

It looks like the Emperor Of All Maladies (EOAM) has changed tactics. Instead of full frontal assaults, which have been successfully repelled to date by the bi-weekly Opdivo infusions, the clever bastid has tasked his forces with executing several small, simultaneous, surgical strikes. In the short span of approximately one month, here’s what has happened:

  • A skyrocketing TSH level in my blood indicates a dying thyroid ==> Time for some Synthroid!
  • A blood CK level 10x higher than the recommended max indicates some form of muscle damage==> Time to stop taking pravastatin and start taking some prednisone!
  • Some swelling has been detected in my brain in the same location on 2 consecutive MRI scans ==> Time to start taking some decadron!

Whoo hoo, bring on those ‘roids and all the wonderful side effects that come along for “free”!

Categories: Cancer

Before And After

Categories: Cancer

And How Are You Doing Today?

April 18, 2018 7 comments

Ok, so, who am I, and what should I do next? Out of curiosity, did you you ever ask those questions to yourself, especially the zen-like, first question? (The comments section is open, if you’d like to share πŸ™‚

My last substantive blog post was on 11/17/17. In that delightful and uplifting post, I announced to the world that I was diagnosed with Stage 3B, Non-Small Cell, Lung Cancer (NSCLC). Phew, that’s a mouthful, but that’s the way it is in the world of cancer-speak.

Shortly after my world-shaking announcement, my oncologist declared that I had “advanced” to stage 4 – which meant that the cancer had migrated from its original source, my right lung, to elsewhere in the body. That “elsewhere“, ended up being my brain. After complaining about a painless, but noticeable, limp in my right leg due to an unexplained numbness, a full body MRI showed that 4 new tumors had popped up in my brain. Delightful!

After having each one of those little brain-shits blasted with radiation from Cyberknife technology, and having the four original tumors in my right lung assaulted with Opdivo immunotherapy infusions, I’m doing pretty damn good. And this is 2 years after the fact! How are you doing today? πŸ™‚


So, as of today, 4/18/18, I’m doing fairly well, both physically and mentally, for a stage four cancer patient. At this stage of the game, the mental battle is extracting a greater toll from me than the physical battle.

I don’t know what, or when, or how often, I’ll be blogging about some topic in the future, but I’ll bet it will be about my experiences battling with the emperor of all maladies, the king of all diseases…. Cancer.

Categories: Cancer


November 29, 2017 Leave a comment

In one year, Bitcoin has risen 10X. An incredible, unprecedented event in the history of investment. A substantial price pullback seems in the cards, but the world has never seen a financial innovation like Bitcoin.

Categories: bitcoin

Coming Clean….

November 17, 2017 16 comments

Just in case you were wondering why I haven’t been blogging about Bitcoin, C++ programming, and/or dysfunctional management behaviors. I’ve decided to come clean….

In late February 2016, I was diagnosed with Stage 3B, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC).

There, it took almost two fuckin’ years to get the courage to do so, but I’ve said it. Any kestions?

Yes, I’m serious; Yahoo Serious!

Categories: Cancer

The State Of Bitcoin

May 23, 2017 2 comments

Well, that’s all fine and dandy for us bitcoiners. What most people that have recently “seen the light” don’t know is that the brutal scaling war going on behind the scenes can tear the price in half (at least) in the near future.

Categories: bitcoin

Encrypting/Decrypting For Confidentiality

May 20, 2017 1 comment

Depending on how they’re designed, there are up to 5 services that a cryptographic system can provide to its users:

In my last post, Hashing For Integrity, we used the Poco.Crypto library to demonstrate how one-way hash functions can provide for message integrity over unsecured communication channels. In this post, we’ll use the library to “Encrypt/Decrypt For Confidentiality“.

The figure below shows how a matched symmetric key/cipher pair provides the service of “confidentiality” to system users. Since they are “symmetric“, the encryption key is the same as the decryption key. Anyone with the key and matching cipher can decrypt a message (or file) that was encrypted with the same key/cipher pair.

The gnarly issue with symmetric key cryptographic sytems is how to securely distribute copies of the key to those, and only those, users who should get the key. Even out-of-band key transfers (via e-mail, snail mail, telephone call, etc) are vulnerable to being intercepted by “bad guys“. The solution to the “secure key distribution” problem is to use asymmetric key cryptography in conjunction with symmetric key cryptography, but that is for a future blog post.

To experiment with symmetric key encryption/decryption using the Poco.Crypto library, we have added a MyCrypto class to the bulldozer00/PocoCryptoExample GitHub repository.

The design of the Poco.Crypto library requires users to create a CipherKey object directly, and then load the key into a Cipher acquired through a CipherFactory singleton.

The MyCipher class data members and associated constructor code are shown below:

After the MyCipher constructor has finished executing, the following CipherKey characteristics appear in the console:

Note that for human readability, the 256 bit key value is printed out as a series of 64, 4 bit hex nibbles.

So, where did we get the “aes-256-cbc” key name from, and are there different key generation algorithms that we could’ve used instead? We got the key name from the openssl library by entering “openssh -h” at the command line:

Using “des-ede” as the key name, we get the following console output after the constructor has finished executing:

The number of bits in a CipherKey is important. The larger the number of bits, the harder it is for the bad guys to crack the system.

So, now that we have a matched CipherKey and Cipher object pair, let’s put them to use to encrypt/decrypt a ClearText message. As you can see below, the Poco.Crypto library makes the implementation of the MyCipher::encryptClearTextMsg() and MyCipher::decryptCipherTextMsg()Β  member functions trivially simple.

The unit test code that ensures that the ClearText message can be encrypted/decrypted is present in theΒ  MyCipherTest.cpp file:

The console output after running the test is as anticipated:

So, there you have it. In this post we employed the Poco.Crypto library to learn how to use and test the facilities provided by the library to simulate a crypto system that provides its users with confidentiality using encryption/decryption. I hope this post was useful to those C++ programmers who are interested in cryptographic systems and want to get started coding with the Poco.Crypto library.

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