May 21, 2015 archive

The Scourge of Cancer Strikes More People I Know

Arlington National Cemetery

I haven't written about our journey with cancer for a while because my wife's own journey has been one of the ongoing tedium of Tamoxifen ... another day, another pill... and more fatigue, joint pain and so many more issues. It is, though, unfortunately our "new normal" ... and will be for at least two more years of Tamoxifen. We just try to keep on going through it...

But in truth, it's been a rough period of time for us since I last wrote in July 2014 in regard to cancer around us.

  • A brother-in-law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and fought it extremely hard but in the end the cancer won.
  • A woman in my wife's breast cancer support group who received treatment at the same time as my wife had her cancer return... but in the terrible way of breast cancer the cancer came back as stage 4 lung cancer. It "metastasized", in medical speak. Things do not look good.
  • Most recently, the partner of a friend was diagnosed a few months back with renal cancer (kidneys) and after fighting it with chemo, radiation and more... he is now being moved into hospice care as there is nothing more that can be done. It is now only a matter of time before he passes on.

All of this happening around the time of the four-year anniversary of my wife's own diagnosis.

This last one in particular struck me hard because just back in November I had lunch with my friend and her partner... and he was so alive and seemingly healthy. He seemed like a great guy and they seemed great together. And now only a few months later their world is turned so incredibly upside-down.

So very hard to comprehend.

All "younger" people in their 30s, 40s and 50s.

No easy answers.

All we can do is, as my friend wrote, "hug your families extra tight tonight".

An audio commentary is also available:

Image credit: a photo of Arlington National Cemetery by Todd Van Hoosear on Flickr

WebRTCHacks Publishes Analysis of Facebook and WhatsApp Usage of WebRTC

WebrtchacksThe team over at webrtcH4cKS (aka "WebRTCHacks") have been publishing some great articles about WebRTC for a while now, and I thought I'd point to two in particular worth a read. Philipp Hancke has started a series of posts examining how different VoIP services are using WebRTC and he's started out exploring two of the biggest, Facebook and WhatsApp, in these posts:

Those articles are summaries explaining the findings, with much-longer detailed reports also available for download:

Both of these walk through the packet captures and provide a narrative around what is being seen in the discovery process.

A common finding between both reports is that the services are not using the more secure mechanism of DTLS for key exchange to set up encrypted voice channels. Instead they are using the older SDES mechanism that has a number of challenges, but, as noted by the report, is typically faster in enabling a call setup.

All in all the reports make for interesting reading. It's great to see both Facebook and WhatsApp using WebRTC and I think this will only continue to help with the overall growth of WebRTC as a platform. As an audio guy, I was pleased to see that Facebook Messenger is using the Opus codec, which is of course the preferred codec for WebRTC... but that doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be implemented by companies using WebRTC within their own closed products. Kudos to the Facebook team for supporting Opus!

Thanks to Philipp Hancke for writing these reports and I look forward to reading more in the series!

The Scourge Of Cancer Strikes More People I Know

The Scourge Of Cancer Strikes More People I Know by Dan York