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Scenes from Day 1 of the “UC Baseline” cybersecurity program at The Undercroft

Photo: The Undercroft building, as seen from the corner of 9th Avenue and 14th Street.
Photo by The Undercroft. Tap to see at full size.

Here’s the first in a regular series of entries covering my time at the UC Baseline cybersecurity course, which I’m taking at The Undercroft, Tampa Bay’s security guild/coworking space.

Monday, July 20th, 7:40 a.m.: The drive from home in Seminole Heights to The Undercroft in Ybor City is a quick one — with little traffic, my travel time in the car was just a little over ten minutes. I may have to bike here sometime.

There are almost a thousand historic buildings in Ybor City, and The Undercroft is located in one of them — the one on 9th Avenue, between 13th and 14th Streets. It’s a gorgeous red brick building with arches galore — an arched walkway, with arched windows and doorways:

Photo: A long shot of the sidewalk in front of The Undercroft. The Undercroft is a red brick building with white windows, and the walkway is a covered one with brick arches.
Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.
Photo: The front entrance of The Undercroft. On the left is a white wooden double door in an arched doorway with large glass windows. To the right is a large glass window featuring The Undercroft’s mascot (a stag standing like a human leaning against an umbrella) and the number 1320 (the address).
Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.
Photo: The front door of The Undercroft. Two white wooden double doors in an arched doorway. The Windows on the doors bear the logos of The Undercroft, til, Black Horse, UC, Abacode, and Vartai.
Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

I’ve been in The Undercroft offices once before, for a planning meeting for Ignite Tampa Bay, before the coronavirus canceled that event. It’s a nice space, and if I didn’t know any better, I’d swear that I was in a startup space in Toronto, Cambridge (Massachusetts), or San Francisco’s SOMA.

Photo: The Undercroft lobby.
Photo by The Undercroft.
Photo: The swag table in The Undercroft’s lobby, which has a number of printed circuit boards embedded in it. The table has an assortment of Undercroft and security stickers on it, and at the back in a sign bearing The Undercroft’s name and mascot.
Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.
Photo: An assortment of Undercroft-branded stickers.
Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

The classroom is large enough to allow for social distancing, and it’s a pretty nice place to spend seven hours a day, five days a week for the next five weeks:

Photo: The Undercroft’s classroom. A room with an exposed brick wall on one side, many large table-sized wooden desks, red, white and blue spotlights and a large projection screen at the front. A Spider-Man mannequin sits atop one of the ceiling lights. A MacBook Pro is in the foreground.
Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

When I first posted the picture above to LinkedIn, Tential’s Brandee Backus noticed that Spider-Man was perched atop one of the ceiling lights. Here’s a close-up:

Photo: Close-up shot of the ceiling light in the center of The Undercroft’s classroom, which has a Spider-Man mannequin perched atop it. The mannequin is wearing a Guy Fawkes mask.
Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

Every student in the UC Baseline program gets a lot of goodies, starting with this three-ring binder, which contains all the exercises for the program. I’ll write more about it in a future post:

Photo: A three-ring binder labeled “Undercroft Baseline Student Guide”.
Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

Everyone also got one of these plastic tubs, which contained:

  • A small bottle of hand sanitizer
  • A pack of masks
  • An assortment of security-related and Undercroft-branded stickers
  • An 8 GB USB key containing all the course material
Photo: A shoebox-sized clear plastic tub holding a small bottle of hand sanitizer, a package of surgical masks, assorted stickers, and an Undercroft-branded USB key.
Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

Here are all those goodies, minus the tub:

Photo: An assortment of Undercroft and security-related stickers, a packet of surgical masks, a small bottle of hand sanitizer, and an Undercroft-branded USB key.
Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

There were other goodies waiting for us in the kitchenette area along with a carton of cafe con leche, courtesy of La Segunda Bakery:

Photo: An assortment of apple and cherry danish pastries.
Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

This is week 1, which is titled “Hardware 101,” which provides a basic but solid understanding of the atoms through which all our bits flow. Here’s “Tremere,” our instructor, walking the class through the hierarchy of memory, starting at the top with the registers in the processor, all the way down to what we think of as backup storage:

Photo: The instructor, Tremere, delivers a presentation. Behind him to the left as a whiteboard with “10100011”, “CPU register”, “CPU cache”, and “RAM” written on it. Behind and above him to the right is the projection screen, with a photo of the old board game “Memory” on display.
Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.
Photo: A stick of RAM in Joey deVilla’s hand.
Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.
Photo: An M.2 hard drive in Tremere’s hands.
Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

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