Sometimes I Wonder

I’ve been doing Forensic 4cast for over 2 years now. In that two years I’ve always done what I think is right and appropriate for those people that enjoy listening, reading, and participating in the podcast and website. Some thing may not have gone over too well with some people (man do I wish I could share a story there…) but, for the most part I get the impression that people enjoy Forensic 4cast. I even quite enjoy the friendly banter between listeners and myself. Its good fun. What I won’t stand for, however, is people questioning my motives.

I have a day job doing forensic investigations. This is a full time job and quite demanding at times, but I’m paid well enough by Disklabs to see past the less enjoyable parts of the job and focus on the upside.

When I come home in the evenings I can often be found preparing for the next episode of the podcast, doing some research, or writing an article. Am I paid for doing any of this? No. I receive donations from time to time but these are used to sustain the podcast. I also receive items from time to time, t-shirts, software, and so on. These are sent to me by kind people that are associated with Forensic 4cast in some way.

I have poured hundreds of hours into Forensic 4cast over the last two years, none more so than with the Forensic 4cast Awards. This event is held at my own expense. It is entirely voluntary. I receive no payment of any kind for organising and hosting the event. Yes, this year SANS have been kind enough to provide a venue for this, for which I’m very grateful, and someone else has kindly offered to provide the physical awards for distribution. Let me reiterate…

I do not receive ANYTHING for this event. I do not take sponsorship, I do not take payment, I do this  for the sole purpose of giving a few hard working people, those that are the pillars of the forensic community, some much needed recognition. I completely resent any implication that I’m doing this for some ulterior motive.

Next year things will change. I’m going to get a bit more organised and get in some volunteers to assist. I’m also going to remove ‘Forensic 4cast’ from the title of the awards and call it the ‘Digital Forensic Awards’. That way people can’t complain that I’m even doing it for publicity purposes. I do this because I love doing it.

Sorry, I just wanted to make sure that everyone knew exactly what benefit there is for me in organising the awards and maintaining the podcast. As for the naysayers (and no its not Luby or Kovar) why don’t you try doing something more productive than tearing others down. Why not focus all of that energy into doing something productive and bettering the field instead of trying to pull people down? </rant>

14 responses to “Sometimes I Wonder”

  1. Most of if is anonymous, but occasionally someone will come along and just decide to tear strips off me. I don’t know what I’ve done to provoke it but here we are. I wish that I could just post a couple of email addresses here and let everyone tell them their feelings but I think that most of us have better things to do with our time. Thank Harlan, you’re a star. Can’t wait to meet irl/afk at SANS.

  2. Hey Lee,

    I think what you are doing is great and you should keep at it as long as it is something you want to do.

    There is little enough in the way of podcasts in our field as it is and yours is excellent.

    Having gotten some really vicious comments on my blog, I can understand where you are coming from.

    Keep up the good work!

  3. Lee, I do not post very much at all, but you should know that there is a quite majority listening to the podcast, appreciating what your doing, and looking forward to hearing from you again. Please keep up the good work you do.

  4. Lee,

    I don’t really see any reason to change the awards title – you might not be receiving payment but you’re “sponsoring” the award by investing your time and effort, it seems only fair that you should get something in return by way of publicity for your podcast. “Digital Forensic Awards” sounds a little bland/generic to my ear (unless you plan to look for some kind of sponsorship deal further down the line, of course, in which case I can see some sense in it).


  5. I agree with Jamie. I also don’t see a problem with any publicity you or your podcast receive as a result of the awards, regardless of your intent.

    Some people blog, some people write books, some people teach/lecture. You give out awards, and not to those of your own choosing but to those nominated and voted upon by our peers.

    How could anyone take offense to that?

  6. Lee, my friend, don’t let the jerks get you down. I have discovered over the years that some people in this world are only happy when they’re making someone else unhappy. Those people aren’t worth a second of your time.

    You’ve got a fantastic thing going, both with the podcast and the awards. I personally think it should continue to be the same title for the awards and you deserve credit where credit is due. It wouldn’t even be happening if not for you, so don’t let the jerks of the world try to take it away from you.

    I’ proud of all you’ve done and equally proud to call you my friend.

  7. I just think it is resentment really. And you know what, even if you are making $4 million dollars a year with the podcast, so what?

    You provide a service and if that gives you free everything, free publicity over at the CNN and it makes you a millionaire in the process, so what.

    I had the same problem too, someone complaining that my blog was making money through ads as if I did not had the right to try and raise some funds after all the hours I invest on it.

    If anyone thinks the podcast/blog/whatever is a money/publicity spinner go and set up your own and do the same, nobody is stopping you. Or go to live to North Korea where Capitalism is not allowed in.

  8. All,

    SANS is committed to the community by giving as much away for free as possible. We will be broadcasting the event free of charge to the community around the world to listen in on. Lee has accepted no payment and receives nothing from SANS.

    Lee approached SANS to make this a live event. We agreed and are doing so because we believe in the work that individuals like Lee do for the community.

    We are providing the space, the stage, a microphone, and a live feed. Again, this is Lee’s show at that time.

    Thanks Lee for all that you have done.


  9. I will not be attending the event, as I was not even nominated in either the curmudgeon nor the lunatic categories.

    Good day sir!

  10. I for one am very grateful for all the hard work you and the other contributors have put into the podcast. As a newcomer to the field it has been an invaluable source of both education and entertainment. I’m also grateful to SANS for the material they make available FOC such as SIFT, and hope some day to pay them back by purchasing some training.

    I don’t think some people appreciate the effort that goes into preparing and organising a podcast such as yours, especially on top of a demanding “day job”.

    I hope the critics don’t get you down.

    Best wishes and sincere thanks!

  11. Knowledge is Power and one who shares knowledge is a friend of the people.

    Lee for every one naysayer, I am certain there are least 100 people who are gratefull for the time and effort you put in to share your experience,thoughts and knowledge.

    I have followed this site silently forquaite bit now, however I felt in all fairness that those of us who value your contributions should speak up..hence – thank you !! and, keep on doing your good work !!!



  12. Lee,

    I am sad that I hadnt noticed this post. Its a shame that anonymous people are not brave enough to state their case in a mature and open way.

    My father said to me ‘If you have nothing positive to say, dont say anything at all’. He’s quite a clever chap.

    What matters is that you and I know both know that the involvement of Disklabs is no more that offering support and some rather cool awards.

    The irony is that Disklabs are not up for any awards.

    Keep up the great work.


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