It has been a little over a month since I started my new job and the transition was a little bumpy at first. I knew that moving to a new company after most of a decade was going to be challenging, but I wasn’t completely prepared for the new environment.

One of the biggest challenges was just getting my workspace setup. Most companies issue laptops to employees, however I’m not a member of the Cult of Mac and my preference for Linux is unrealized by most. I find it incredibly ironic that everything runs on Linux, but when it comes to the desktop it is almost unheard of for Linux to be supported. The second challenge is that 14″ laptops seems to be the current standard among enterprise and I find those to be too small.


getting the job

I followed the advice in “interviewing with autism” and it worked! When I wrote that article I was speaking from a point of self-analysis, now I speak from experience. I followed my own advice and landed a new job!


remailer relaying

Secure relay capability has been added to the Phantom Remailer. This feature allows a masquerading user to send messages through the remailer without needing to use a login and password. This is achieved through the use of a secret token that is known to the users of the remailer (if you choose to share it). This feature is described in the associated Github issue:


remailer authentication

Adding anti-SPAM and abuse protection to the Phantom Remailer is the focus of my most recent commits. I created the Phantom Remailer for personal use, but when you release a piece of software to a wider audience it becomes your responsibility to ensure it is secure and robust.

The Phantom Remailer uses the Reply-To header to encode necessary meta information about the sender — while this information was encoded it was not authenticated. The design of the Phantom Remailer does not rely on storing any information about the sender or recipient on the server running the remailer so it was vulnerable to attack by crafting compatible To headers in messages addressed to the remailer.


interviewing with autism

Being on the Autism Spectrum and being told “You are not a good cultural fit” is really difficult to process. I didn’t know I was on the spectrum when the recruiter delivered that line, but it’s what kicked off my journey of self-introspection. I interviewed with a larger social media company and thought it would be a blank canvas, some place I could do my best work and learn. What I learned is that many companies screen for people who will fit into their cliques and toe the line.

I never had a clue that I was living with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) until I started my job search. I am well into my career and have worked for a lot of different companies but have recently started looking for new opportunities. I exhibit a number of ASD traits that make interviewing difficult, which is amusing to me because until this point I’ve had a nearly 100% success rate at interviewing to offer. Jumping into a different pool, interviewing at BIG corporations instead of small companies has been an adjustment.

Here are some of the challenges I’ve had and how I’ve learned to counter them. I’ve had a number of interviews since that first BIG interview and each has been part of an iterative process — I can say with some small confidence that it wasn’t my ASD that influenced the outcome of recent interviews.


the phantom remailer

The Phantom Remailer is a pseudonymous single-blind remailer that runs as a delivery agent on a mail server. It was designed for use with Sendmail and other mail transfer agents that support the Sendmail standard. This remailer implements fully SPF and DKIM compatible mail forwarding with a low Spamassassin score.

The remailer works as a transparent forwarder for incoming emails and an anonymizing remailer for outgoing emails. This means you get the full benefit of Multipart/MIME email messages as an incoming address and a stripped down text/plain experience for outgoing messages, even when your reply contains a Multipart message.



I started The Phantom Coder as a place for me to share pseudonymous insights but then I realized there may be other people like me who would like to share their knowledge or stories with similar anonymity.

I am inviting contributors to anonymously write for The Phantom Coder and scratch an itch to be an author. If you are interested, please read our Code of Conduct and if you agree, send a DM to @DerPhantomCoder.


The Perks of NOT Being An Employee

The value of my time as a consultant is not a sunk cost.

This was years ago, and the company in question no longer exists as an ongoing entity, but… my client’s top management, in its infinite wisdom, decided that they needed to have an “all hands on deck” meeting. Literally, everyone in the company, from the CEO down to the receptionist at the front desk, was expected to attend. This meeting started at 9 a.m. and lasted till 11 a.m. EVERY DAY. For SIX MONTHS. Not kidding.


Your UPS Needs A Service Contract. Seriously.

“Maintaining” the 50,000 kVA UPS system that keeps your 24/7/365 production floor running (and generating millions a day in revenue) by replacing the batteries as they fail is not a “best practice”.



Login name: notabro
In real life: Ghost In The Shell
On since 1978 on pts/0 from
0 seconds Idle Time
Unread mail since Thu Jan 1 00:22:52 1981

Old man from the mountain, yelling at clouds

             |                |
    .-._     |-.            ./
   /''  `.   |  `-._.--._.-' |  .-.
   |:.    `-./               |.`  .)
   \ `-._    `---..__..----._/   .'
    '-.._'-`-.-._    _..----.__.'
         `-.-..-.`--`   .-.  \
           'o/o`\  /     >)) /
           `-..-.( \    `-' |
   .----._.-`     .'     _).-.
  (           ) .`      _)/   `.
   `-._--._ -'.`    .-._).      \
        (_.-._)    / |  |        \
       (_          /_|   \        |
      (_           / |    `._/     \
     (_           _/ \      |      |
    (_           _)   |     /      |
    (_           _)    \    |      \
   (_            _)     `._ \      |
  (_           _)        |@ /_..--'
 (_           _)         |@  |   |
(_            _)         \   / ..\_
 (_           _)           .'_ '`. `-.
  (_        _)            (_/ ) \\\ \ \
    (_    _)                 (_/ /| /\_)
     (_.-_) LGB               (_/(_/

I once had a beard almost this long, and wore a 
black leather cowboy hat to work.

I'm here to talk about sysadmin, and grumble about
how you could once run an entire graphical
operating system in 512k of memory, including a
web browser, but today, it takes over a gig of
ram just to display a single web page. You want
the truth? You can't HANDLE the truth: it's a 
gorram fraking miracle that our society continues
to function as well as it does, considering how
little skill or effort it would take to "crash"
it (and no, I'm not going to go into the details 
of how that might be done). Log4j is a recent 
and highly visible demonstration of this. You
really don't want to know how the sausage is
made. Really.