This is a story about my son reading “The Martian”, and wanting a t-shirt commemorating his favorite line… and not finding it. So we designed one.

We have an agreement at Unicorn Manor (yes, that’s the name of my house) that you must always be reading. In this case, my son was diligently devouring “The Martian” by Andy Weir. And every day he’d share another delectable phrase spoken by the irascible Mark Watney. This time, it was when he wanted to “go Iron Man” during the final climax. …


KUKA Robot programmed to write in script. Photo (CC BY 2.0) by Mirko Tobias Schäfer.

Below is a short story written by OpenAI, the artificial intelligence system founded by (among others) Elon Musk. The story is the output from Talk to Transformer, set up by Adam King as an example interface to the GPT-2 version of the OpenAI system. And it all started by simply entering the first sentence. Enjoy!

There were only a handful of things that I needed to know before starting the journey down the path to my final goal. Most of which, I figured out pretty quickly after running my first marathon last year.

I wanted to run the race. I…


We start thinking about Halloween early, and when I asked Griffin what he wanted to be back in August, he immediately said that he’d seen a “Stilts Spirit” costume on YouTube that he wanted to build. So, that’s what we did (and we’re glad that we started as early as we did… since we just barely finished it the weekend before Halloween). Check out the video below for a quick overview, and read through how we made it.

Once he had the basic idea, Griffin found a few other YouTube videos about folks who made something similar. From there…


My experience trying to help small business owners respond to their Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) self-assessment questionnaires.

Photo Credit: Torange

Recently a few friends who run small businesses asked for help understanding PCI compliance requirements. They are all brick-and-mortar stores, selling merchandise or services (or both). When looking at the material they’ve been provided, I was shocked at how poorly the self-assessment questionnaires are written. There’s no way that a typical small business owner can be expected to parse the questions full of unfamiliar terms and acronyms, let alone understand how to answer correctly (and honestly).

After a dozen…


Solving security issues you can’t tackle yourself, or hire a vendor to do it for you.

As Director of the Ecosystem Security team at PayPal, I’m often asked what we do. Basically, the team was founded by Michael Barrett in 2009 with the understanding that there are security issues that can only be addressed as a community. Essentially, we recognize there are security gaps that can’t be filled by a company on its own, or hiring a vendor to lock them down for you. With that in mind, the mission of the team is to tackle Internet security issues with…


How I fell into being an associate producer for a sci-fi feature film.

UPDATE: “Norman” is now available for streaming on Amazon (and other VOD providers)!

Writer and director Joel Guelzo had already been working on “Norman”, his sci-fi indie film, for at least three years before it came to my attention. In January, 2014, I was perusing Kickstarter (as I often do) and stumbled across his project. He was looking to raise US$7,000 for what was essentially completion funding. What initially caught my eye was the story since I’m a sucker for clever time travel films like Primer, Looper


As part of an article written about my being in Star Wars: The Force Awakens in a technical trade magazine, I was asked why the story has continued to resonate over all these years, especially with technologists. I thought that it’d be worth sharing why it seems so powerful (at least to me).

A photo of us on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, provided by Bad Robot.

Star Wars seems to speak to people who are striving to understand their place in the universe. It’s centered on someone who feels totally insignificant and unable to follow his dreams, yet was somehow special. So when the first film was released, many of us who felt…


Another important milestone was recently achieved for Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC), one of the PayPal Ecosystem Security team’s major undertakings in making the internet a safer, more secure place.

After several years of collaboration with the email security community, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) included recommendations for supporting DMARC in NIST’s SP 800–177, Trustworthy Email. SP 800–177 was released in September and is intended to give recommendation and guidelines for enhancing trust in email. While the audience for NIST publications is typically US federal agencies, its guidance does tend to influence other global…


The PayPal Product and Ecosystem Security Team is pleased to announce that on March 18, 2015, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) published RFC 7489 for Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC).

Starting in 2009, PayPal began work with several major mailbox providers to explore the effectiveness of combining common email authentication technologies in order to improve their effectiveness. Soon, other companies sharing our need to secure email as a trusted channel of communication joined the collaboration. In 2011, the experimental solution was proven effective at combatting spoofed domain email attacks, those types of attacks where the malicious actor…

J. Trent Adams

Working at the intersection of online identity, security, & privacy. - My opinions are my own. -

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