Year In Review (2020)

Year In Review (2020)

Happy New Year 2021! As we usher in a brand new year, I wish all my friends a better year ahead filled with health and happiness.

I ran into problems updating Gadgetreactor’s server recently, when trying to upgrade MySQL server as part of the Ubuntu Dist upgrade to 20.04.

2020-12-28T13:40:28.312976Z 0 [ERROR] [MY-000067] [Server] unknown variable 'query_cache_limit=1M'.
2020-12-28T13:40:28.313554Z 0 [ERROR] [MY-010119] [Server] Aborting

The original config file had a field that was deprecated, resulting in an error. As I was hunting down the problematic line in the logs, it struck me. The config file was created almost 9 years ago! A long time, and hey, this site is still up.

Looking back, it’s been a fun ride. The stats say that there have been over 1,386,907 views, and I estimate over 200 product reviews, beyond just the traditional phones and tablets. It was fun to experience new devices that I would otherwise not have the opportunity to.

2020 has been a turbulent and dramatic year. I had my share of ups and downs, but am grateful that on a personal note, that things have been mostly peaceful. On the technology front, these were the two main areas that had captured my attention.

Dabbling in Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies joins mainstream as more institutions came onboard this investment platform in 2020. There have been a whole influx of investments into Bitcoin and altcoins, and overall, the market sentiment has been strongly positive. There’s still risk though – I was holding a small position in XRP (then, the thirdbiggest cryptocurrency by market value) when it started crashing due to the SEC lawsuit and will only likely continue its downward spiral. It’s a reminder of the risks involved, but bad apples do exist everywhere, not just in crypto. The mantra don’t put all your eggs in one basket holds.

What’s next for 2021? I’m probably more risk adverse at the moment, and am holding it in mainly in BUSD, bar for some alts in DOT, ETH and BNB. On hindsight, it has been a really bad move, but compared to other saving platforms in Singapore, the promise of 8-15% per annum seems really attractive. The weakening of the USD is a bummer but I think it should still hold strong at the 1.3 mark. I guess my strategy for next year will be to pick up more ETH at around the $600-$700 mark. Two things going for it could be ETH 2.0 and more new launches are expected in 2021. ETH is the primary altcoin and traditionally, we saw ETH reached its ATH of ~$1,400 after bitcoin reached its peak then. Of course, in recent months, bitcoin has been breaking new peaks rather consistently.

Clearing my OSCP Exam

This must have been one of the toughest course I’ve taken. Looking back, I probably spent over 100 hours working on the labs and exercises. Thankful for the dedicated study days, and well, also, squeezing time out after the kids sleep.

The exam itself was just as crazy, 24 hours to compromise 5 machines, and 24 hours after that to submit your report. 70 out 100 to pass. But it was fun. I couldn’t do the 25 pointer machine. I actually had all the clues through enumeration but was too caught up on one approach to recognize how I could chain it all together. The “eureka” moment only struck me post-exam after I submitted the report, and I setup a local environment to prove my hypothesis. It worked, just two days late.

The overall experience is similar to HackTheBox, which I attempted a couple of boxes back during Circuit Breaker. I probably will continue to practice there.

What’s Next for 2021?

I want to use this section as a !remindme, to check back in June 2021, to see how I’m progressing.

I will want to continue learning. In 2020, besides OSCP, I dabbled in Pandas, which is an open source data analysis and manipulation tool, and Flask, instead of my usual go-to preferred platform Django. So in 2021, I will want to continue this trend – maybe learn Go or see what other interesting libraries are available. Maybe something related to Home Automation but that project has always been rather stop-go for a few years now.

I will want to review my overall finances better – need to find a better platform to track everything more efficiently. Not sure if I should continue with the spreadsheet method. On a sidenote, maybe shift a little more towards Cryptocurrencies (and less in USD-linked Cryptocurrencies).

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