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Getting up in front of any gathering of people can make many people uncomfortable. In fact, it is often rated as one of the top 10 common phobias people have. This social phobia affects about 15 million American adults, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (, 2010). Practice makes prefect. The more you get up in front of people the more comfortable you are with it. That really holds true with anything in life. The more you do something the better you get at doing it.

Preparation for your testimony starts way before you get into the courtroom. It starts the minute you’re actually assigned to the case, whether hired by an attorney or assigned by the jurisdiction you work for. You have to work at getting into a routine or better yet a systematic approach to collecting evidence. If for nothing else but to eliminate mistakes. As with anything have a game plan but allow for enough flexibility to keep from looking at evidence the same old way. Sun Tzu, the legendary Chinese military general and strategist once wrote, “According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one’s plan (Giles, 2009)”. What Sun Tzu is expressing is that one must be open to change if change does not hurt the ultimate outcome. Attorneys will get to know you, if you’re good. Don’t always rely on the same course of action, change things up. They will have a harder time refuting your methods of collecting evidence.

In studying for my Masters, I am looking to update my skill set… keeping current and furthermore look at a completely new set of skills. This is extremely important for the expert witness. Why? Because lawyers need to discredit you and the evidence you bring to the table. If you’re shown being 10 years behind the times in your learning, lawyers could use that to introduce doubt to the jury.

“Perhaps there are better ways to examine that hard drive Mr. Heese?”

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedures, Rule 26 requires that you provide a report on the evidence you are testifying to. As part of that report you are required to present any published writings you’ve done in the last 10 years. Realize since you are being considered an “expert” witness, it is assumed that you keep current and are completely knowledgeable in the your field of expertise. What better way to keep things honest but to write about the things you know about, let your peers refute or agree with the thing you have to say. Publishing provides for this!

One thing we’re never really prepared for, and most celebrities are either is media attention! Sometimes you’ll get a case that is of particular interest to the public such as the Pete Townsend child molestation case. In 2003 Pete Townsend the guitarist for the rock band The Who was arrested for downloading child pornography from the Internet. At the time, Townsend was placed on the sex offender registry for five years after he admitted using his credit card to view the images (Lisi, 2010). A perfect case for computer forensics specialist! But there is a price to pay. The media is going to want to know if it’s true. You will be bombarded. What you say and do could taint your testimony! The media will try and judge the case in the press. They will distort the truth and your words will be taken out of context.

You should know how the trail process works. Who speaks first? When is it your turn? You should know how to dress. What is appropriate attire? Are jeans and sneakers cool? Should you bring your lab coat? What is the proper etiquette in court? Speak to the jury they are the ones you have to convince. Make eye contact! The fastest way to lose creditability is to look down at the floor when providing an answer. Know what you are going to say but don’t spend a lot of time rehearsing things. Try to keep things simple without minimizing the importance of the testimony you are providing. You have to realize that you are the expert. You need to explain things to the jury on a level they can understand. Computers and the technology they bring to the table are complex. Many people may not be able to grasp the concepts they need to make a knowledgeable decision on guilt or innocence!


Conners, S. & Giles, L., (2009, June 15th), The Art of War – Classic Kindle Edition, Chapter 1, Section 17

Lisi, C., (2010, January 28), Pete Townshend targeted as a ‘sex offender’ before Super Bowl, Retrieved on March 9th, 2010 from

Unknown, (2010), What Really Scares People: Top 10 Phobias, Retrieved on March 9th, 2010 from

I guess what I’m really trying to say is that neither candidate is showing us their plans. For the most part they attack their opponents plan and tell the American people why it’s not good. All we’ve been hearing the last few weeks is about how the mess on Wall Street is going to affect those on Main Street… Guys, let me fill you in on a secret… those that live on Main Street ARE HURTING! It’s already affecting us! $700 billion to bail out Wall Street (let’s call it a rescue plan)… ha ha they’ll never catch on! $10 billion a month in Iraq! Not really sure I can how much of a surplus Iraq has… all i know is Osama Bin Laden isn’t in Iraq. Nor are those WMDs!

SO with that in mind, why not! Enjoy…

Bill Heese for President!

Be Good!

The SED utility works by sequentially reading a file, line by line, into memory. It then performs all actions specified for the line and places the line back in memory to dump to the terminal with the requested changes made ( Dulaney, 2003). SED is about pattern matching. So let’s say I want to find all the possible address that are hitting my web server. As an OSX system administrator, I’m very often asked to change the files names for a directory full of files. A perfect example of this is Apple’s Finder (GUI) often hides the dot three extension of a file. Some text editors don’t always write out file names to disk correctly and after spending a day writing config files, people will end up with a configuration directory filled with files that end with .txt.

bheese$ ls ~/my_app/config     mysql.conf.txt    php.ini.txt   webserver.conf.txt

The application will fail to launch because it is not expecting the .txt extension after the file name. One way to correct this is to use sed within the csh. So:

dhcp102:config bheese$ csh
[dhcp102:~/my_app/config] bheese% ls mysql.conf.txt php.ini.txt webserver.conf.txt
[dhcp102:~/my_app/config] bheese% foreach filename (*.txt) foreach? mv $filename `echo $filename | sed 's/.txt//g'` foreach? end
[dhcp102:~/my_app/config] bheese% ls mysql.conf php.ini webserver.conf

As you can see I’ve removed the .txt file extension for all files in the directory. Yes this could be done through the Finder one file at a time, but the point here is using the power of UNIX to do this for all file at one time. AWK is a programming-language tool used to manipulate text. The utility scans each line of a file, looking for patterns that match those given on the command line. If a match is found, it takes the next programming step ( Dulaney, 2004). Let’s say that I export all the names in my Entourage address book to a flat file.

CT 06810 Heese  William  40   Paul Street         Danbury
CA 95014 Jobs   Steve    1    Infinite Loop       Cupertino
DC 20500 Bush   George   1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington

Now let’s say that I wanted to create some mailing labels. I could just copy and past I suppose, but I could also run the file through awk and have it print out the way the Post Office is expecting addresses to be. I could issue the following command.

awk '{print $4,$3 ; print $5,$6,$7 ; print $8", "$1"\t"$2"\n"}' export > label.txt

The nice thing about this is:
1. I formatted the output of one application to be used within another application.
2. I can reuse this script time and time again whenever I need to create mailing labels from contact within my Entourage address book

You will notice that nowhere is actual data used. It all relies on variable that I assigned and manipulated. Sure you could do either these two example a bunch of different ways but as an admin you need to use what works for you. The point is it doesn’t matter how you go about editing the files. It’s about NOT having to touch each file separately.

Resources: Dulaney, E., (2004, January 16) AWK: The Linux Administrators’ Wisdom Kit, Retrieved on February 15, 2008 from Dulaney, E., (2003, December 19), Using the sed Editor, Retrieved on February 15, 2008 from