Hello, I’m Khürt L. Williams. I’m an information security professional, web developer, avid photographer, and technology geek. I’m also a craft ale and coffee fanatic. This weblog is where I share my incoherent and random thoughts and rants about technology and photography geekery, coffee, craft ale, diabetes, and life. That’s me in the image above, enjoying a sunrise near Carnegie Lake, Princeton, New Jersey.
I am the sole employee – Managing Director and Principal Consultant – of Monkey Hill, LLC, an information security consultancy specializing in technical assurance and the architecture of information systems and security controls. I formed my LLC in 2013 after 10 years with the same employer. It was an amicable breakup. I had lost interest in the work for some time and was already planning my exit strategy. Previous to those 10 years, I worked in multimedia R&D and developed web applications in Perl. Although I have degrees in electrical engineering, a quarter of my career has been in consulting with half of that in information security. I am enjoying this second wind of my career and quite frankly I may never become “employed” again.
My first computer was a Commodore VIC 20, followed by an upgrade to the Commodore 64. I learned BASIC programming and loved developing my own games which I attempted to sell to my friends. Sales were dismal. In the mid-eighties to the early 1990s, I used mostly DOS and early Windows computers, most of which I built myself. Those were the lost years. In the mid-eighties, I started using more *NIX when I went off to graduate school and still afterward when I got my first few jobs in R&D. I built my first Linux machine in 1994 when someone brought a copy of Slackware to the office. From then on until 1997, I was a *NIX convert. From 1997 to 2005, I became a fan of Windows and Bill Gates, when I started working in the financial services industry. *NIX was something to be used on the backend servers in a terminal window and Windows ruled the desktop. I had a foot in two worlds. Things started to change in 2005 when I bought my first Mac, a Mac mini, and fell in love with OS X; a *NIX with a world-class GUI. Soon after buying that first Mac, I bought a second Mac, a white MacBook, then an iPad Touch, then an iMac. Then the iPad was released in 2010 and I had to have one. Then I bought my first iPhone a year later and then an Apple TV. Ok, now I’m firmly in the Cult of Apple. The iPad Air is my go to a computer but I use my iMac heavily for photo editing. I’m an app junky and you can find many iOS and OS app reviews on this blog. I also do interesting projects with the Raspberry Pi. It’s the smallest and cheapest Linux server I have ever owned. I also have a used Dell Blade running Ubuntu Linux.
Although that’s not reflected on the content in this blog, I love science fiction especially cyberpunk and Japanese animation and superhero graphic novels and dystopian futures and … yeah, I love science fiction. The name of the blog, Island in the Net, is based on a cyberpunk novel, Islands in the Net, written in 1988 by science fiction author, Bruce Sterling. My favorite sci-fi novels are classics – 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the center of the Earth, Robots and Empire, Childhood’s End, Dune.
I’m not a professional1 photographer. I started on my photography journey thirty years ago but still know very little about photography; I just know more about it than most people do. I’m an avid photographer who is occasionally paid to shoot events and real estate. If the weather suits me, I spend my free time increasing my knowledge of photography. I take a camera bag and tripod with me nearly everywhere. I prefer natural light and outdoor photography but I’m comfortable shooting anything that interests me. This blog is filled with images I’ve taken in and around the woods and streets of Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon, and Somerset Counties. I do almost all of my editing and exporting from my iMac. As far as gear goes, I use two different cameras: my iPhone and my Nikon D5100. I use many different lenses. My lenses aren’t super expensive lenses but they’re extremely versatile when it comes to general photography. Probably 90% of the photos I take are with one of two lenses – an AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G DX, AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G, and Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X116 Pro DX II. I also shoot with my iPhone. I enjoy this kind of casual photography, snapping things and sharing them with my friends and family, and playing around with various filters and editing apps such as VSCO Cam and Photogene on my iPhone. Read about what’s in my iPhone Camera Bag.
In 2006, I was diagnosed with Type 1 (LADA) diabetes. I’m learning to live with it. I use an ACCU-CHEK Spirit Combo insulin pump and Dexcom G4 CGMS to help me manage my diabetes. I occasionally post articles about my diabetes tech and diabetes challenges.