Stuff I Wrote: March 2017

Can you believe it’s April already? March is my favorite month because of the signaling of spring, and it’s my birthday month. After a few months of visiting places, I just started training at a fabulous Brazilian jiu-jitsu gym in Mesa, which I’m so excited about, so this March was definitely a great one for me. I also spoke at my favorite arcade bar, Bonus Round, for Nerd Nite 29. Many thanks to those of you who came out to grab a cocktail and hear me speak about logical fallacies, alongside the amazing Kevin Flanagan and resident rhetorician Kathleen S. Lamp. I had an absolute blast and I’m so excited that Ty invited me. No speaking appearances this month, but I will be on a live video broadcast on Zubia, interviewing one of my favorite health and fitness experts. Details on that forthcoming.

I wrote four posts that were published in March. There will be many more in April, as a lot of my work this month is still going through the editing/revision process. We also have at least one great podcast planned for April, so tune in to KJZZ’s “The Show” on Monday morning, or listen on their website or on SoundCloud.

Meanwhile, here’s this month’s roundup:

My VPN post for Ars Technica, which is from June 2016 so pretty old for tech reporting, was quoted extensively this month, everywhere from The Verge to Motherboard. I’ll be writing more about personal privacy in the coming months.

That’s it for now! Expect a larger batch in April.


Stuff I Wrote: February 2017

February was a busy month for me, but I don’t have a lot of posts to share. Mostly I worked behind the scenes doing some editing and writing e-books, lead magnets, white papers, and podcast scripts for a number of clients. That said, I do have three articles and three podcast episodes to share with you!

This Music App Wants To Improve Your Hearing (Motherboard)

Earlogic’s TSC Music app uses “threshold sound conditioning” to improve your hearing capacity. (Or so they claim: I’m not entirely sure since they wouldn’t share the research study they promoted with the media.)

Swipe Right For Innovation (Medium/Built to Adapt)

For Valentine’s Day, I interviewed former Tinder CTO Ryan Ogle. Check out our Q&A.

How To Find The Right Massage Therapist (Performance Menu) (paywall)

There’s nothing like a good massage to help alleviate pain, prevent injuries, or just find a rare moment of Zen while lying on a table and remembering how to breathe. That said, a massage is only as good as the person giving it, and it’s always a bummer to put time and money into a crappy experience. If you’re about to make a first appointment, or are considering switching to a different massage therapist, these tips may help.

Enjoy, and I’ll catch you in March!

Stuff I Wrote: November 2016

800px-Skrifmaskin,_Blickensderfer-maskin,_Nordisk_familjebokCan you believe it’s already December? It’s hoodie weather in Phoenix, and has been a long time coming!


If you’re in Phoenix, there are a few events coming up you should know about. First, I’m celebrating my 7-year freelance-

First, I’m celebrating my 7-year freelance-versary at Mod Phoenix today (December 1st), so swing by for champagne and cupcakes at noon if you’re around.

Second, we are hosting a crypto party at the Burton Barr (Downtown Phoenix) library this Sunday from 2:00 to 4:00pm. I’ll be presenting some basics on operational security and threat modeling, Jordan Savoca will talk about VPNs and Tor and secure email systems, and David Huerta will give a PGP crash course. For more information, check out our event page on Facebook and on CryptoParty.IN.

Also, here are four posts and one podcast I worked on in November.

A Third-Party App Helps Walmart Workers Understand Company Policies (Vice/Motherboard) The app Walmart doesn’t want its employees to download.

How To Trump-Proof Your Electronic Communications (Slate/Future Tense) A nuanced, common-sense guide to electronic security in the upcoming administration.

Apple’s New Touch Bar May Present Usability Challenges For Blind Users (Vice/Motherboard) I take a closer look!

Tips For Visiting A New Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Gym (Performance Menu, paywall) Whether you’re on the road or just dropping in.

[Podcast] Trump University Settles For $25 Million (Monday Morning Dumpster Dive)

I still have four posts in purgatory, and will hopefully be able to link to them next month. For now, happy holidays, and here’s to you finishing your year out strong!

Stuff I Wrote: September 2016

800px-Skrifmaskin,_Blickensderfer-maskin,_Nordisk_familjebokLast month was so busy that I somehow forgot to hit “publish” on this post!  In September, I brushed up on business skills at a bunch of classes at K’e, and then turned around and taught a series of classes on copywriting and social media marketing and storytelling for a handful of local businesses. I cranked out two new podcast episodes with Jimmy Jenkins, about the Clinton email saga continuing, and about the EPA saying that Roundup is not a carcinogen. I also wrote nine posts for five different sites. Check those out below.

Overcoming Gender Bias In Job Hunting (

Women who feel that they aren’t getting job-hunt traction because of their gender might consider the following tips and techniques.

Has Arizona Found a Solution to Gerrymandering? (Yes! Magazine)

Sixteen years ago, Arizona stripped state lawmakers of the right to draw electoral districts. Many lawsuits later, democracy is stronger—in some ways.

Expert Answers: Natural Pain Relief (Experience Life)

Consider these remedies for post-workout pain. (Unfortunately, the edited version of this conflates DOMS with systemic inflammation, but many of the tips are still solid.)

What Happens In The Gym Stays In The Gym Part 2: Technical Tips (Performance Menu, paywall)

In the second part of a series, I shared some nuts and bolts steps you can take to keep your gym private and secure.

Mr. Robot Season 2, Episode 9: Rubber Duckie, You’re The One (Forbes)

We discuss the Pwn Phone, whistleblowing, and so much more.

Mr. Robot Season 2, Episode 10: The Chickens Come Home To Roost (Forbes)

This week we spoke about cell phone location tracking, antenna extenders, Spokeo, and more.

Mr. Robot Season 2, Episode 11: Twin Peaks Edition (Forbes)

Bitcoin, kidnapping, and the DEF CON 22 badge challenge.

Mr. Robot Season 2, Episode 12: The Grand Finale (Forbes)

This week we wrapped up the season finale, and talked about FBI interrogations, revenge strategies, binwalk, Phase 2, shred, Fry’s Electronics, and Mr. Robot cosplay.

What To Do When Facebook Says Your Apple Computer Is Infected With A Virus Or Malware (Forbes)

The anti-virus software link it sends you to won’t help. Here’s what to do instead.

Stuff I Wrote: July 2016

800px-Skrifmaskin,_Blickensderfer-maskin,_Nordisk_familjebokThis month I got to take a trip to Minnesota to visit my inlaws, and ventured out to New York City for the HOPE conference. Still, I managed to get some work done… But first, an announcement: if you’re in Phoenix, please consider coming to Tales from the Cybercrypt: The Global Perspective From Jewish Technology Journalists. I’ll be speaking on this panel, moderated by Alan Zeichick, alongside Howard Cohen and Esther Schindler. Tickets are $18 for professionals and $10 for students. See you there? Meanwhile, please find a roundup of the eight posts I wrote that were published somewhere on the interwebs this month.

  • Not All Swastika Tattoos Are The Same (Slate’s Future Tense) I wrote about how algorithmic tattoo identification for law enforcement could have all sorts of scary consequences, drawing on data revealed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Thanks, as always, for reading. Your support means the world to me!



Stuff I Wrote: June 2016

800px-Skrifmaskin,_Blickensderfer-maskin,_Nordisk_familjebokJune has been a busy month! Below please find a roundup of posts I wrote that were published this month, including my first-ever posts for The Kernel (Daily Dot) and Ars Technica.

  • 3 Tech Jobs That Didn’t Exist Last Decade (Dice Insights) I spoke with Daniel Burrus, an expert on global trends and innovations, about autonomous driving software engineers, augmented reality engineers and designers, and Internet of Things architects.
  • Expert Answers: Safe Rotational Exercises (Experience Life) I spoke with physical therapist Jamie Yang about ways to incorporate rotational exercises in your fitness routine while keeping your movements safe and stable.<(In addition to these two expert answers, the magazine also has a Q+A on blurry vision.)
  • The Workout: Spiral Power Qigong (Experience Life) Technically in the July/August issue of the magazine, this piece is a description and images of a grounding qigong routine that trains your body to move as an integrated unit — increasing mobility, enhancing mental focus, and building strength. It was designed by Mela Carreira and Frank Paolillo.
  • Oh! It’s not really an article, but I put together a quick tipsheet as part of a panel I was on, in which we discussed how journalists and hackers can work together on investigations.

That’s it for now. Catch you next month!

Stuff I Wrote: May 2016

Writing Fountain penThis month, I taught a MidWeek MindTweak at CoHoots on securing small businesses, which was a really fun session with a great audience. I also held my final Phoenix Freelance Spark event, and you can read all about why I stepped down if you’re interested. Next month I’ll be at the IRE conference in New Orleans–drop me a line if you’ll be there, too. Here’s to escaping Phoenix’s summer heat for… other cities’ summer heat!

It’s always hard for me to do a roundup of my posts for the month when I know I have some really good posts on the first of June, but I do have nine posts for you to check out. 

On Lockpicking, Sexism, And Your Tech Conference’s Code of Conduct (Or Lack Thereof) (Forbes)

There are no easy answers for sexism and sexual harassment at hacker conferences or tech events, but there are a few ways to minimize incidents and handle them when they arise. (Oh yeah, and nobody at the lockpicking village wants to hear your creepy handcuff jokes.)

How To Run A Gym Without Being A Classist Asshole (Performance Menu) (paywall, $5.99)

Don’t be that douchebag telling people who literally can’t afford a gym membership that they’re lying and will never get results, and other tips.


Reporter Plays Softball With Hardass (Medium)

This was my recap of the Society for Professional Journalists’ regional conference, in which Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini and the controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio engaged in a keynote “interview” that not only more closely resembled amateur comedy hour, but was entirely devoid of substance. SPJ advocates for fearless journalism, believe it or not… I’d be embarrassed.

Complaining to HR Without Blowback (Dice Insights)

Complaining to HR should be your last resort, but if it’s your only option, these are some things to keep in mind.

3 BAD Food Combinations to Avoid and 6 Good Ones (LiveStrong)

I spoke with three nutrition experts to find out which food combining combos you should really avoid and some that can help optimize your health.

Security News You Might Have Missed: Criminal Risk Assessment Software is Racially Biased (Forbes)

Also, a security researcher was raided by FBI after pointing out a vulnerability in a dental database, anti-choice groups use smartphone surveillance to target “abortion-minded women,” an Israeli startup claims its tech can determine whether a person is a terrorist based on facial analysis, Chicago police use secret information to determine shooting perpetrators, Canary Watch sunseted, and more. Oh, and  it’s time to change your Reddit and MySpace passwords.

Security News You Might Have Missed: I Don’t Know Why You Say Allo, I Say Goodbye (Forbes)

Google’s new messaging app will offer end-to-end encryption, but not by default. Apple makes it harder for feds to unlock devices. LinkedIn finally resets passwords for users whose accounts were apparently compromised back in 2012. (Oops!) The Intercept releases the NSA’s juicy, top secret internal newsletters. And a new report takes a look at media use of the whistleblower platform SecureDrop.

Security News You Might Have Missed: If Math Is Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Do Math (Forbes)

Alleged British hacker wins court battle over encryption keys, Twitter bars Dataminr from sending alerts to intelligence agencies, federal agents planted hidden mics and videos at a courthouse, Senate contemplates reauthorizing the NSA’s controversial 702 surveillance, a government spy truck poses as a Google Street View car, and more.

Security News You Might Have Missed: Brazil Blocks WhatsApp, Stingray Parallel Construction, More (Forbes)

A roundup of security news this week, including Brazil’s short-lived WhatsApp shutdown, Maryland cops relying on Stingray tech for petty theft, parallel construction in Stingray use in Oklahoma City, Rule 41 changes to increase mass surveillance, and passwords being sold on the dark web.


Tips and comments are welcome at (I do use PGP). I’m on Twitter@yaelwrites and on Jabber and Tor Messenger at Additional ways to contact me securely are here:

Stuff I Wrote: March 2016

Writing Fountain penHappy April! As always, here’s my roundup of posts I wrote last month… I also updated my portfolio, so check it out at if you are so inclined.

5 Free Alternatives to Freelance Must-Have Tools (The Freelancer) Save cash on project management, email marketing, photo editing, word processing and accounting tools.

Getting Into a Competitive Boot Camp (Dice Insights) Some tips from folks at Hackbright Academy, Code Builders, and Startup Institute.

Jumping into User Experience (UX) Design (Dice Insights) Some tips from UX designers on making the transition.

Security News You Might Have Missed: Apple vs the FBI (Forbes) After a flurry of legal briefs and the beginning of a media showdown, Apple and the FBI were set to  square off in a trial to determine whether Apple would be required to write, sign, and deliver new software code to allow government access to data that may or may not be on a phone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters. I put together a roundup of some recent news and analysis for context on the upcoming trial, which was ultimately canceled.

FBI Files Motion To Postpone Tomorrow’s Showdown With Apple (Forbes) A day before its scheduled showdown with Apple, the Justice Department moved to postpone a court hearing on whether Apple should be forced to help the government break into a deceased San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone

FCC Slapped Verizon With A $1.35M Fine, But Supercookies Remain A Problem Around The World (Forbes) Unique Identifier Headers remain a problem internationally, but the FCC could drive reforms going forward, and other companies could follow suit.

FCC Privacy Rules Would Close Loophole for Supercookies (Forbes) Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler proposed new privacy regulations that would require broadband Internet access service providers to obtain customer consent before collecting and using their data. The proposal will be voted on by the commission on March 31st.

Beef Up Your Security By Revoking Unnecessary Third-Party Permissions (Forbes) Is your Twitter account posting or direct messaging out spam? Getting inundated (or inadvertently sending) game requests on Facebook? Here’s what to do…


Stuff I Wrote: February 2016

Writing Fountain penIn February, I wrote about securing photos, how to prevent getting hacked mid-air, and a whole lot more. As always, I’ve rounded up everything I had published for the month, but the posts are divided by publications rather than by topic.


How Not To Get “Hacked” Mid-Air  USA Today columnist Steven Petrow recently wrote a post about a stranger on an airplane who claimed to have hacked into his email account. Here are five steps to take to avoid sharing his fate.

How To Secure Your iPhone Photographs. What to do to secure your images if you’re worried about device theft or loss, or about images being subpoenaed or confiscated.

Strong Crypto Is Widely Available Outside The US, So Restrictions Are Unlikely To Thwart Terrorism. US restrictions on unbreakable crypto are far less likely to thwart terrorists and criminals they will negatively impact US companies’ bottom line and the safety and security of everyday internet users.

This Heartwave-Sensing Wristband Unlocks Your Laptop–But Some Say It Falls Short. The Nymi Band promises continuous authentication based on electrocardiogram data–but it doesn’t eliminate passwords, has a password override, and can be configured to work without ECG information at all.

Apple Vs. FBI Roundup: All The News And Analysis You May Have Missed. Things have been heating up between Apple and the FBI. If you’re looking for detailed legal or technical explanations–or even just some basic overviews–here’s a roundup of news stories and analyses to refer to.


Sadly, these are my final three WIRED security news roundup columns.

Security News This Week: The White House Bans Its Own Security Researcher. Also, why the government can’t claim it is “going dark,” a legislator working on an anti-swatting bill was swatted, and more.

Security This Week: Employers Are Paying Data Firms to Predict Your Health Risks. Also, sensitive student data was released to a non-profit, a data intelligence company gathered intel on caucus workers, a union in Philly deployed a surveillance drone to help its workers, and more.

Security News This Week: The Government Wants to Listen In on Your Smart Home. Also, a way to get academic papers for free, leaked police contracts destroy civilian complaints and keep disciplinary records secret, NYPD’s stingray use, and more.



Your Workplace Transition Survival Guide. What to pay attention to when moving from enterprise to a startup, or vice versa.

Tips For Negotiating Equity. Great if you’re planning on joining a startup.

Jumping Into Project Management. Self-explanatory.

Jumping Into Product Management. Also self-explanatory.

Stuff I Wrote: January 2016

Writing Fountain penIn January, I wrote about administrative backdoors, shitty passwords, and a whole lot more. As always, I’ve rounded up everything I had published for the month, this time divided by publications rather than by topic.

A note for Forbes readers (or non-readers, as the case may be): Unfortunately, Forbes is blocking ad blockers, and I’ve been getting a lot of comments from folks who’d like to read these posts but don’t want to put themselves at risk of malware. There are certain ad blockers that still seem to work (like uBlock Origin), and Tor is always an option, but if you really want to read something and can’t access it, feel free to email me–the terms of my contract allow me to share my own work privately or repurpose it after it’s published.

Forbes Tech

The Freelancer


  • Security This Week: License Plate Readers in Texas Are Now Also Debt Collectors. This roundup also includes information on the UK allowing firms to sell invasive spying equipment to human rights abusers, Chicago police sabotaging their own dashcams, an espionage campaign targeting minority activists, Israel’s electric authority getting hacked, a new Android ransomware, Lenovo SHAREit’s poor security, and how easy it is to get an address from Amazon over chat.


That’s it for now! I’ll see you next month.