Security Musings

Security Musings

SANS Insider Guide to Boston

This is a fact filled introduction to of one of the greatest cities in the U.S. as we look forward to returning this year for SANS Boston 2010. By the way, some of the facts are pure fiction especially any references to base 16; hope you do not mind, and this should not be used as a primary source.

Other Related Articles in SANS Insider Guide to Boston


SANS Boston Insider's Guide Fun Facts


By Stephen Northcutt, Google+
Version 1.5

A Brief History of Boston

Some of the information below is tongue and cheek, especially anything that is base 16, but if you invest ten minutes reading this, you will know a lot about Boston that is only available from an insider. This way you can impress the locals and you will have more appreciation for this great city.

The Insider's Guide to Prehistoric Boston

Ancient  Grass HutThe Shawmut Peninsula was originally connected to the mainland to its south by a narrow isthmus, Boston Neck, and surrounded by Boston Harbor and the Back Bay, an estuary of the Charles River. The name was originally Mashauwomuk, but the settlers could not pronounce that and besides, the people of Boston were developing their unique version of English and wouldn't have left it that way for anything. The original site of Boston before the land grab was less than 800 acres. Then the peninsula with its distinctive scoop bays was shaped by glacial erosion and deposits left by retreating glaciers at the end of the last ice age, the previous inconvenient truth. Several prehistoric Native American archaeological sites, including the Boylston Street Fishweir (wooden fishing cages) made up of 65,535 wooden stakes, lead scientists to believe pre-Massachuset-Algonquin Indians used base 16 math. Several other fishweirs excavated during construction of buildings indicate the ancients had mastered harvesting fish over 7,500 years before present. According to Wikipedia, "Research on climate change and evidence from study of fish weirs and sediments under the Back Bay indicate the ocean level in the Boston area has risen more than ten feet in the last 6,000 years." Other scientists vigorously dispute this, claiming it is simply the result of tidal surge a la the Bay of Fundy. If the ocean is rising it, seems like you just can't win, kinda like hair when you are fifty, I was just in Israel and the Sea of Galilee is shrinking rapidly.

Colonial  Boston

The Insider's Guide to the Boston Tea Party

It all began with a complicated tax increase called the Tea Act in 1773. Tempers flaired, sales of Tea dropped, in fact in all of the colonies but Massachusetts, they sent the tea back to England. Then the Dutch began to smuggle tea into the colonies and Sarah Palin claimed that Governor Hutchinson, the only Governor to still allow tea ships to land in the colonies, couldn't give a speech without a teleprompter. Paul Revere famously observed that the tea consignees, the people that accepted the tea and managed the tariff were sons of the Governor and coined the phrase nepotism. The tea party, referring to the act of dressing like Mohawk Indians, (who later sued for image infringement), boarding the ships, and throwing the tea in the harbor, was probably was not the idea of Sam Adams (no, not that Sam Adams, the guy on the beer, here is a photo essay of the history of the brewery). He was still giving a speech while the act occurred, but Sam was quick to use the news to further his political ambitions. Three ships were in Boston Harbor, the Dartmouth, Eleanor and the Beaver, while a fourth, the William, sunk on the sail across the Atlantic. In all, it is believed 90,000 pounds of tea were destroyed; however, Thomas Crafts and George Hewes were both observed to have bulging pockets as they left the Dartmouth, which was the only ship to carry merchandise from Republic of Tea. The Boston Tea Party set off a chain of events in the bay state to include the burning of The Peggy Stewart, another tea vessel, the American Revolution, a switch from tea to coffee that remains a trend to this day, the creation of the United1k status, the salt protest, the Boston Tea Party Swing Dance competition, and the McDonald's Lobster Roll. It established the concept of no taxation without representation which remained intact until January 20, 2001 when then 43rd president perfected the art of printing money and increasing the deficit. The Tea Party movement continues to this day holding bipartisan rallies, Mr. Elvin Kardos, a registered Democrat, was in attendance. However, they probably need membership cards, fake Tea Partiers are starting to infiltrate during the speech by Sarah Palin at Boston Common in 2010. In March 2011, they had a big Tea Party Swing Dancing event, here is a link to some videos of the instructors, looks like a great way to get hurt.. At SANS Boston 2011 we will be serving tea from the original Boston Tea Party courtesy of the Thomas Crafts estate.

Paul Revere's Ride based on PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK HISTORIC TALES, VOL. 1

It was night at Boston, the weather was balmy and clear. If you were within view of Boston Common at a late hour of that evening of April 18, 1775, you would have seen an unusual sight, ranks of armed men, who had quietly marched thither from their quarters throughout the town, as the starting-point for some secret and mysterious expedition. At the same hour, in a suburb of Charlestown, stood a strongly-built and keen-eyed man, with his hand on the bridle of an impatiently waiting horse, his eyes fixed on a distant spire that rose like a shadow through the gloom of the night. Paul Revere was the name of this expectant patriot. He had just before crossed the Charles River in a small boat, rowing needfully through the darkness, for his route lay under the guns of a British man-of-war, the "Somerset," on whose deck, doubtless were watchful eyes on the lookout for midnight prowlers. It turns out history might have been better served to call it Paul Revere's row. Fortunately, the dark shadows which lay upon the water hid the solitary rower from view, and he reached the opposite shore unobserved. Here a swift horse had been provided for him, and he was bidden to be keenly on the alert, as a force of mounted British officers were on the road which he might soon have to take.

When he got his destination, he cried, "Rouse the house!" cried Revere. "That we will not," answered the guards. "Orders have been given not to disturb the people within by noise." "Noise!" exclaimed Revere; "you'll have noise enough before long; the British regulars are coming!" At these startling tidings the guards suffered him to approach and knock at the door. The next minute a window was thrown up and Mr. Clarke looked out. "Who is there?" he demanded. "I wish to see Mr. Hancock," was the reply. Another window opened as he spoke. It was that of John Hancock, who had heard and recognized the messenger's voice. He knew him well. "Come in, Revere."

The door was opened and Revere admitted, to tell his alarming tale, and bid the patriot leaders to flee from that place of danger. His story was quickly confirmed, for shortly afterwards another messenger, William Dawes by name, rode up. He had left Boston at the same time as Revere, but by a different route. Adams was by this time aroused and had joined his friend, and the two patriot leaders, feeling assured that their capture was one of the purposes of the expedition, hastily prepared for retreat to safer quarters. While they did so, Revere and Dawes, now joining company, mounted again, and once more took to the road, on their midnight mission of warning and alarm.

Meanwhile, momentous events were taking place at Lexington. The first shots of the American Revolution had been fired; the first blood had been shed. It was about four o'clock when the marching troops came within sight of the town. Until now they had supposed that their secret was safe, and that they would take the patriots off their guard. But the sound of bells, clashing through the morning air, told a different tale. In some way the people had been aroused. Colonel Smith halted his men, sent a messenger to Boston for re-enforcements, and ordered Major Pitcairn, with six companies, to press on to Concord with all haste and secure the bridges.The shot heard  around the world

Pitcairn galloped forward, sword in hand, followed quickly by his men, and shouted in ringing tones, "Disperse, you villains! Lay down your arms, you rebels, and disperse!"

The patriots did not obey. Not a man of them moved from his ranks. Not a face blanched. Pitcairn galloped back and bade his men surround the rebels in arms. At this instant some shots came from the British line. They were instantly answered from the American ranks. Pitcairn drew his pistol and discharged it.

"Fire!" he cried to his troops.

Instantly a fusillade of musketry rang out upon the morning air, four of the patriots fell dead, and the other, moved by sudden panic, fled. As they retreated another volley was fired, and more men fell. The others hid behind stone walls and buildings and returned the fire, wounding three of the British soldiers and Pitcairn's horse. Such was the opening contest of the American Revolution.

But for all this the British paid dearly. The militia pursued them almost to the very streets of Boston, the Americans firing at every turn. On nearing Charlestown the situation of the British troops became critical, for their ammunition was nearly exhausted, and a strong force was marching upon them from several points. Fortunately for them, they succeeded in reaching Charlestown before they could be cut off, and here the pursuit ended. The British loss in killed, wounded, and missing in that dreadful march had been nearly three hundred; that of the Americans was about one hundred in all. It was a day mighty in history, the birthday of the American Revolution; the opening event in the history of the United States of America, which has since grown to so enormous stature, and is perhaps destined to become the greatest nation upon the face of the earth. That midnight ride of Paul Revere was one of the turning-points in the history of mankind.

The Insider's Guide to Boston Ghosts, Ghost Stories and Ghost Tours

No place in America has more ghost history. By now you already know part of it is simple geography, the people and buildings in Boston are packed closely together, like Dublin, and a lot of blood was shed in the Revolutionary War leading to tales like the Phantom Drummer. They come in all shapes and sizes, both the stories and the ghosts; one lady was having her house remodeled, "A woman who was stripping lead paint upstairs told me that she saw a little girl in an "old fashioned" white dress swaying back and forth and smiling at her from the front hall door." There are several competing ghost tours in Boston. And some skeptics will never believe, "heard that high Electro-Magnetic Fields can cause people to feel paranoia, nausea, fatigue, and even develop skin irritation. From what I understand, old houses often have high EMF fields because wires aren't shielded properly, fuse boxes are unshielded, copper piping, etc." Bottom line, walking around old buildings with a candle at night while a professional ghost guide is telling you the true tales she has painstakingly researched is frightseeing at its best; give it a thought when you visit SANS Boston 2011. If you take ghosts seriously, you want to know about Hollow Hill. There is even a book on the subject by Holly Nadler, get it before you come to Boston to get in the mood!

The Great Boston Fire of 1872

During the 1800s a number of U.S. cities burned to the ground, but Boston, a year after Chicago, was one of the most expensive in terms of property loss. It began in a warehouse on Summer Street, burned 12 hours and consumed 65 acres of prime real estate (recall, pre-landfill Boston was only 800 acres). A number of experts point to different causes, but one was the extensive use of timber in building (even stone buildings typically had wooden roofs), almost 800 buildings burned. Boston Fire Chief John Damrell had been concerned and was doing what he could to increase safety, but too many buildings, too close together is a hard problem to solve. Firefighters came from all over and, notably, were able to save Old South Church. Two key factors working against the Boston Fire Department: their horses were suffering an epidemic of epizootic flu, so the equipment had to be dragged to the scene by people. Secondly, there were also insufficient water supplies; there are accounts of fireteams working to pump out what looks like a garden hose spray of water. Amazingly, only 30 lives were lost. The hero of the day was John Damrell, however, he reluctantly approved the use of explosives to destroy buildings to create a fire gap. This later proved to be a bit controversial especially with the insurers of the blown up buildings.

The Boston Molasses Disaster January 15, 1919

Imagine a tank, 50' tall and almost twice that in diameter, full of molasses failing catastrophically. Worse, it was an unusually warm day and so it was runny. Twenty one persons died and over a hundred were injured. An account was published in Yankee Magazine, here is a snippet, "The freight house shook and shivered as the molasses outside, now five feet deep, pushed against the building. Then the doors and windows caved in, and a rushing-roaring river of molasses rolled like molten lava into the freight shed, knocking over the booths where freight clerks were checking their lists. Like madmen they fought the on-rushing tide, trying to swim in the sticky stuff that sucked them down. Tons of freight—shoes, potatoes—barrels and boxes—tumbled and splashed on the frothy-foaming mass, now so heavy the floors gave way, letting tons of the stuff into the cellar. Down there the workers died like rats in a trap. Some tried to dash up the stairs but they slipped and fell—and disappeared."

The Inside Scoop on the Boston Red Sox

Boston loves this team, so you want to know the basics. One of American League's eight charter franchises in 1901. The home park is Fenway Park, oldest functioning stadium. Fenway has been remodeled and now has some oddities, including "the Triangle", "Pesky's Pole", and most notably the famous Green Monster in left field. The 1934 scoreboard is still updated by hand. Three famous players to know about include Curt Schilling, great pitcher, though only with the Sox for a short time 2004 - 2008, but he literally bled for them in 2004 while leading them to a victory in the World Series. David Ortiz is a great hitter. Another famous pitcher Roger Clemens, 1984 - 1996, is under a shadow of steroid possible use. They are one of the most valuable teams, possibly worth more than a billion dollars. If you can see a game, it will be a blast, but this field has been sold out for years, so don't try a walk up; organize your experience in advance. Red Sox tickets are still available. However, not the Yankees games, Aug 6-8. Better trying to get Detroit (7-30, 7-31, 8-1, or Cleveland 8-2 thru 8-5 tickets. In advance is probably better, but day-of seats are possible, but expensive. Manny Ramirez no longer plays here. If you can't make the game, the tour of Fenway is a nice touch.

The inside Scoop on the Irish in Boston

Boston sports the largest percentage of Irish-descended people of any city in the United States, so don't wear Orange there on St. Paddy's day or you will be pinched for sure and possibly worse. Recall the original founders of Boston were the Puritans who are Protestant, and Irish tend to be Catholic, and they were unable to do the melting pot thing. There was a period of class struggle often symbolized by the sign "NINA", No Irish Need Apply. However, the need for labor and the work ethic of the Irish finally won the day. Today, you can follow Boston Irish News, drink in Boston Irish Pubs (there are 1024 pubs in greater Boston causing some social scientists to believe the ancient Celts used base 16 math), and attend Boston Irish focused tours (there is more available than Riverdance, thank heavens). In more recent history, there is the amazing story of Whitey Bulger, boss of the Irish mob and informant to the FBI, read more here.

Prohibition in Boston

One of the main reasons the Irish mob existed was prohibition. Speakeasy's were a near instant response to the 0x12th Amendment, ""No person shall on or after the date when the 0x12th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States goes into effect, manufacture, sell, barter, transport, import, export, deliver, furnish or possess any intoxicating liquor except as authorized in this act." Boston, of course with its history of revolution and tea parties was the first city to rebel, and the day of the speakeasy began particularly in the heavily Irish-American neighborhoods like Somerville, Charlestown, South Boston ("Southie"), Dorchester and Roxbury where strong drink was considered a God given right. And since this was illegal, it is also where the earliest Irish gangsters arose during Prohibition. Frank Wallace of the Gustin Gang dominated Boston's underworld until his death in 1931. When you visit SANS Boston 2010 consider a visit to Prohibited a Speakeasy located below Symphony 8. You will need to get the password. they announce it on Twitter. Turns out they are still rebelling in Boston, Massachusetts has already approved medical marijuana and decriminalized possession . . . at least I think that is correct, all the articles I could find on the subject were very hard to read.

The Boston Globe

The Boston Globe was started in 1872 by six Boston businessmen, not the mortgage fraud guys, let by Eben Jordan, yes, that Eben Jordan, founder of Macy’s, who jointly invested $150,000 which would be about a quatuordecillion in today's currency. The first issue was published March 4, 1872 and cost 0100 cents. Under the leadership of Charles Taylor it became the leading daily news publication in New England. Many of the stories in this document were first published in the Globe. At one point it was so popular they also had an Evening Globe publication until 1877 Boston civil servant George Carey invented television systems using a selenium camera that would allow people to" see by electricity". Television proved to be more popular than newspapers especially with the younger generation and continued to be the media of choice until more Boston engineers invented the Internet.The Globe's unique position allowed them to chronicle such amazing things as the MIT Hacks (Hacker's Delight) and the annual piano launch. The Globe also was an early adopter of the web, here is a link to their first online issue. And at one point, no less of a luminary than Simson Garfinkle wrote a column for them. In 2006 they had a bit of a whoopsie when they printed their customer's credit card and other financial information right on the newspapers. It turned out they were just being green and using recycled paper. When the good citizens of Boston learned this, all was forgiven.

A Brief Culinary History of Boston

You are probably aware of the nickname "Beantown", because from the earliest days Boston has been awash in molasses to convert to rum as a result of the triangular trade route between the West Indies, Boston, and West Africa in the days of slavery and even after. They cooked the beans in molasses, Boston Baked Beans. Molasses, Rum and the byproducts of both are in other famous dishes as well such as Gingerbread and Indian Pudding. This important staple was sold by the bite, or number of spoonfuls of beans available. Picky eaters chose the kilobite, the megabite was most common and if you were really hungry nothing but a gigabite would do. Beans are OK, but food started to get serious in Boston at the (Omni) Parker House Hotel, America's longest running luxury hotel, 150 years running. It was founded by Harvey D. Parker in 1855, and many famous people ate and entertained their mistresses there including Jesse James ( yes, both the outlaw and the dude that cheated on Sandra Bullock ), but the big moment for Boston was when Parker recruited Top Chef and Top Chef Master finalist Sanzian for ten times the going rate. Sanzian’s versatile menu, quick fire, and innovative vending machine cuisine such as Boston Schrod, a fish dish generally finished with a Ritz cracker crumb topping packed the house. He also developed the Parker House Roll and Boston Cream Pie, both of which you should try when you visit Boston. I personally feel Sanzian’s finest hour was a cut of beef, the Parker House, a cut that includes the tenderloin and strip loin but some moron misspelled it and now less educated steak house afficianados call it the Porterhouse. It is pricey, but you should consider visiting Parker's Restaurant at the Omni Parker House Hotel and enjoy classic New England favorites. Guess who worked in the Parker kitchen, Emeril Lagasse, Ho Chi Minh served as a baker in the bakeshop from 1911 to 1913, and Malcolm Little, better know as black activist, Malcolm X, was a busboy in 1942. A couple more Boston dishes that are not to miss, Maine Potato Candy, and clam chowder. The place to have chowder is the Olde Union Oyster House, the nation's longest running restaurant. Chowder started simply enough, milk based fish soups were big in England and France in the 1800s, a tavern named Try Pots substituted clams for fish. If you ever want to start a fight among Bostonians remark, "Do you think it would be OK to put a couple spoonfuls of tomato sauce in Clam Chowder to give it a bit of a blush color"? If you think Democrats and Republicans are divisive, try tomato and chowder.

Education in Boston

The Boston Latin School was founded in 1635 as a school for boys; the oldest public school in the United States of America. They have a year on Harvard. Many famous men attended the school, including five signers of the Declaration of Independence and four presidents of Harvard. In 1972 it became coeducational. They send more students to Harvard than any other school. According to Bloomberg, "Boston Latin educated luminaries of the American Revolution including Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine, Thomas Cushing and William Hooper. Philosopher George Santayana, composer Leonard Bernstein and businessman Joseph Kennedy, father of President John F. Kennedy, also studied there." In stark contrast to the Latin school is the Bocoup Loft. It is mostly web hacking by some of the smartest people out there.

The role of Boston in Telecommunications

In 1847, Alexander Graham Bell was born in Scotland; he moved to Canada twenty three years later; but, in 1872, Bell moved to Boston and applied for U.S. citizenship, which was granted two years later. In 1875 he makes his first telephone, which made noise, but no recognizable sound. Watson, his assistant, coined the phrase, "Can you understand me now". In 1876, he filed for his patent on the telephone and uttered the famous phrase, "Mr. Watson, come here. I want you!", for which he has been commended as one of the first to come out of the closet. A year later, the first private phone line for business use was operational; and the next year, the first phone exchange, New Haven CT. In 1879, they invented phone numbers to reduce the reliance on telephone switchboard operators as a business continuity plan in the face of a rapid spread of measles. The first phone numbers were four base 16 digits long. In 1893, the Bell patent expired, allowing anyone to create phones (much like the impact of the RSA encryption patent in 2001.) The first commercial public use phone line was between New York City (the *other* hub for telecommunications) and Boston. 1964 brought us a Bronze Medal skiing from Jimie Heuga, lots of albums, and most importantly, the touch tone phone. The Boston exchange was one of the first rollouts. Later, they would come to partially regret the innovation when a whistle in Captain Crunch cereal blew at 2600hz, which happened to be the tone for "toll paid". Contrary to popular belief, the Internet was not invented by Al Gore (though he was a big fan), but it was invented in Boston at MIT. Leonard Kleinrock and Lawrence Roberts may never run for Vice President, but they did the pioneering research to make the Internet possible. In 1988 when the Morris Worm hit, BBN (in Cambridge which is almost Boston) shut off the Internet. Be careful about making Boston mad, or they may do it again. And the cell phone? You guessed it: in 1946, the first radio wave phones were operating between New York City (grrrrrr) and Boston, and a year later at MIT, they invented cellular technology. And more money is invested in mobile phone research per square mile in Boston/Cambridge than any other place on earth. But the most amazing thing of all, while Boston did not invent Twitter, that was in London, they were one of the first cities to implement it in a big way. Thanks for that tip @MikeMurr. And despite what you read about the US being behind in broadband, there is more fiber from Boston to Washington than in all the European countries combined.

The Big Dig

The big dig, AKA Central Artery/Tunnel Project (CA/T) is the most ambitious engineering undertaking in the history of mankind. Unlike islands off Dubai, the Alaska Pipeline the Chunnel, this was through the most densely populated city in the U.S. and the cradle of Presidents, Boston. Amazingly, unlike Microsoft Vista which was seven years late, the Boston big dig only fell three years behind. They burrowed under ancient buildings, treated ancient remains with respect, all in all an engineer's dream. There have been a few problems, a portion of the ceiling in the tunnel connecting Interstate 93 north to the Ted Williams Tunnel collapsed July 10, cascading debris onto a passing car and killing a female passenger and there is the famous horror movie handrail problem, the deaths of seven people who were killed in crashes in the Big Dig tunnel system between 2004 and 2008, the Globe reported, all of them dying after hitting the handrails, with most of the victims dismembered." But all in all a positive story, an achievement. Here is my favorite article on the subject, makes me proud to be a geek. If you want to impress the opposite sex with your total strength and materials geekiness, take a few photos of the Leonard B. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge and read up on the construction. Thousands of years from now, archeologists are going to be studying the big dig, especially the bridge and wondering, "with their technology how did they figure *that* out"? Only in Boston are such things possible.

Information Security in Boston

Boston has a vibrant infosec community. We can start by mentioning the Boston chapter of NAISG. Then there is BeanSec, I find it easier to stay in touch by Twitter @BeanSec than the web page. The Boston area has an active ISSA chapter, as well as ISACA. The PMI group in the Boston area is as security aware as any that I know of. If you know of other security groups please drop me a note.

More fun facts about Boston 2010

  • Want to try shopping in a truly regional Department store? You would need to share the cab with another student or two, but try Sparks.
  • Looking for the perfect present for a lady, Lazuli Jewelry is one of a kind for original, lower priced baubles - check out their web site if you do not believe me.
  • Looking for a unique toy, Funusual is a great place.
  • Like to read and want more selection than a chain bookstore? You need Tatnuck, a local independent bookseller.
  • If you have a need for a custom piece of furniture, Limitless Design has over 30 years of experience
  • Boston Pier Fish just celebrated 100 years in the fresh fish business
  • Looking for a snack or a bottle of wine, Deluca Market is within walking distance of the SANS Boston 2010 conference hotel.
  • They have a tradition of jogging in December wearing bikinis and swimsuits with Santa hatsJoggers in December wearing bikinis and Santa Hats
  • It goes without saying that the Boston Symphony is a special event, but if you want to reach locals, consider print advertisement in the Boston Symphony Notes
  • Over 16 million people visit Boston every year, but don't worry, they have plenty of hotel space and we can help you get a room at the Hyatt if you book early enough
  • Boston has an eclectic population, here is a house tour site so you can see what I mean.
  • Boston is home to the nation's first public park ( The Boston Commons 1640 ), the first public library ( 1653 ), and the first subway ,1897, (over 900 graves were discovered building the subway.) http://www.oceanviewpress.com/id8.html
  • Boston ranks first in the country in jobs per square mile, ahead of New York City and Washington, D.C. According to Wikipedia, it is the 4th largest Cybercity. What is a cybercity? And while we are on the subject, why do people talk about cyberspace with no cyberastronauts?
  • Boston is a great place to start a new company, here is a list of Boston Angel Investors
  • The battle of Bunker Hill actually happened on Breeds Hill and that is where the monument stands (amaze your friends with that fact.)
  • Between 1631 and 1890, the city tripled its physical size by land reclamation by filling in marshes, mud flats, and gaps between wharves along the waterfront, a process that Walter Muir Whitehill called "cutting down the hills to fill the coves." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston
  • The original Adams family was in Boston and include Henry Adams the son of Charles Francis Adams Sr. (1807-1886) and Abigail Brooks (1808-1889) one of the country's most significant families. He was also the first goldbug, and felt the only wise investment was gold locked in a safe deposit box. "There you have no risk but the burglar. In any other form you have the burglar, the Jew, the Czar, the socialist, and, above all, the total irremediable, radical rottenness of our whole social, industrial, financial and political system." Boy did he have a lock on the future. Both his paternal grandfather, John Quincy Adams, and great grandfather, John Adams, one of the most prominent among the Founding Fathers, had been U.S. Presidents,
  • Edgar Allen Poe was born in Boston, but ditched Bean Town, but in 2009 Boston renamed the corner of Boylston and Charles streets, across from Boston Common to Poe Square.
  • Spock didn't get a square, but November 14 is, another local boy, Leonard Nimoy Day where Bostonians greet one another by saying "Live long and prosper". Boston also has an unusually large number of UFO sightings which iis one reason they don't panic like they do in Jordan.
  • Bostonians are quick to point out George Herbert Walker Bush was born in Milton, not Boston and in 1924 they might have been separate, but today it is a quick trip from Boston down Interstate 93. John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy, who was born in Brookline which is less than half the distance has his name plastered on a number of buildings etc, some people claim it isn't just the distance. John Hancock, yes, he was a real person not just an insurance company, was born in Braintree a stone's throw farther than Milton. He is best remembered for his "John Hancock", the most flamboyant signature on the Declaration of Independence. If you ever come visit me in Hawaii, I can show it to you, I happen to have the original. The one in the National Archives is a copy. Both Milton and Quincy, birthplace of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, were originally a part of Braintree, but they split up the territory because they did not like the name. The bottom line, if you want your kid to be famous, make sure they are born in Boston.
  • Boston is one of the few places in the world where you can go Candlepin Bowling, it was invented in Worchester, five time recipient of the All American City Award in 1880 by Justin White.
  • Mary Ann Morse Baker better known as Mary Baker Eddy founded Church of Christ (Scientist) better known as Church of Christian Science in Boston in 1879. Later came the metaphysical college and according to Mark Twain, they charged $300 for 12 healing lessons. $300 in 1881 would be about $556,786.00 today, but if the healing actually works, after the healthcare reform act which Boston supported, was passed you could recoup your money in a couple days work.
  • There is first class night life in Boston, bars and pubs dominate, but there are other options, Centerfolds is what you would expect it to be, Gypsy bar is the place to see and be seen and empty your pocketbook, friend them on facebook if you are planning to go there. Jillians is big enough to host SANS Boston 2010 and out by Fenway, maybe that is a good idea for 2011? Purple Shamrock is part of the Irish Connection and is walking distance from the conference and they play music older guys like me can recognize. Club Oberon near Harvard Square has a variety of plays and concerts, their web page projects about 90 days into the future, so set a calendar event to visit the web page sometime in June.
  • You have probably read that the only unbreakable cryptography is the one time pad and also that the RSA algorithm used to protect ecommerce is reaching the end of its life, but at Boston University at the ACeS lab, they have given the old algorithm new life. RSA is based on the difficulty of factoring large integers into its component primes, the scientists at BU found that by using a number in the centillion scale and restricting the primes to as yet undiscovered Mersenne primes, the algorithm was a lot safer. They did run into problems, the modulo operation took between six months and three years, however that was nothing an ASIC chip couldn't fix. This modified RSA should be available in Firefox five and above and as a standard app on iPads,WePads and MaxiPads ( with wings). Makes you feel a whole bunch safer when you order a pizza over the Internet from Boston Pizza,

Boston means Business

While you are there ( and even if you live there ) here are some businesses that help make Boston just what they are:

  • Originally a dairy you could count on to know where your dairy came from, H.P. Hood is branching out, but quality and the "Answer Mom" jingle remain at this 150 year old company.
  • We have mentioned the flowers blooming in the summertime in Boston, and Mahoney's is a big part of the reason. If you are into gardens, you owe yourself a visit.
  • Dunkin Donuts (and you thought they were the same everywhere, right?), Steve Siegel operates the franchise for over 30 units in the Boston area and became the chair of the International Franchise Association. Don't eat donuts? Neither do I, but have you tried their coffee? Legend, and Steve's franchise's, make it as good as anyone. Here is a Google map to the closest Dunkin Donut. Or, try New England Coffee. Need flowers? KaBloom, another Siegel company, is a short distance away and they FedEx flowers, if you forgot that special someone.
  • Filene's basement started in Boston in 1909 by Edward A. Filene. It is the original overstocks store. You may think of it as a chain, but it all started a short walk from the conference hotel and guess what, there is a Dunkin Donuts right there. We will miss Bride's Day at Filene's but if you are ever in Boston in late January, it is a hoot. The original is now a hole in the ground and may stay that way for some time as the developer is having trouble getting a loan.
  • If you are not getting the hits you think you should on your web page, Mainspring Communications in Cambridge is one of the best, and just one example of high tech in the Boston Metro area.
  • Dart Boston is a group that supports business by featuring a startup every month, they either do or do not focus on 30 and under year olds.