Hi there, I'm Levi

This page is a more personal introduction. If you're looking for my professional introduction, look at my home page. If you want to get in contact with me, see my details on the contact page.

Hello, I am in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. I've been in the Madison area for ten years and I am glad to call this place my home. A few years ago, I moved into my own place and got a few new hobbies, like wood working, home DIY, and photography. Otherwise online, I am continually learning and sharpening my skills on security and cryptographic application and design. Also, phở, massaman curry, and pad thai are my favorite meals.



Corn growing up from dirt

I could never take such good pictures of the sky in the city. When I go on my daily walks, I see and capture a variety of colorful textured skyscapes.

A large cloud above a corn fieldA sign reading road closed next to construction equipment with a very pink sunset behind

Wood Working

There is actually a trend of software engineers that like wood working. It turns out I enjoy working with wood too. I can lose myself in the activity, feel like I got some exercise, and make something that gives me satisfaction for years. That, and wood does not come with legacy technical debt, vulnerabilities and patch management, or pressure to deliver half baked solutions by some arbitrary due date.

Sorry I missed your comment of many months ago. I no longer build software; I now make furniture out of wood. The hours are long, the pay sucks, and there's always the opportunity to remove my finger with a table saw, but nobody asks me if I can add an RSS feed to a DBMS, so there's that :-)
- Eric Diven

The moment I am done with the project, I am simultaneously frustrated and happy. I have something I can use! Something that can benefit the lives of those in my home. But also it looks ugly because I'm not all that skilled yet. A few months later and I barely care how it looks anymore, it still works great!

If you have a personal space or access to a community workshop, and some storage for materials and tools, I highly recommend this as a hobby.

Home DIY

Like wood working, I'm not necessarily good at it, but with practice I have gotten better and have done things to improve my life.

A shop-vacuum and a miter saw together pulls more than fifteen amps. The electrical cables, rated for fifteen amps, between the studs would actually get warm when I used both at once. And, the lights would flicker and dim... Not great. Then I received a construction permit and got to work.

A mains electrical box is open and all the cables are shown inside connected to breakers.

Note: This is the kind of work you should get a construction permit and an electrical inspection with your local jurisdiction. And of course, do a lot of research and ask a lot of questions. I am not qualified to answer questions.

I found a National Electrical Code (NEC) book online and got to work in figuring out what their vernacular meant and the requirements I would have to fulfill. It turns out, all that investigation and design work I did as a software engineer came in handy. My existing mental frameworks for assembling domain specific knowledge together allowed me to rapidly and correctly plan what I was about to do.

An unfurnished garage wall with electrical cables traveling up and down walls

It was a great summer project, where I accidentally fractured one of my ribs by laying chest down on a ceiling joist to reach the corner. I have learned my lesson and now use a portable "floor" that I can rest on when I don't want to fall through a ceiling. At the end I did some final tests and corrected any identified mistakes.

An outlet being tested after it was identified as having the live and neutral swapped

Finally, I got a look-over from a friend apprentice electrician, scheduled an electrical inspection, and my work was officially signed off! Now I have plenty of safe power to continue my wood working hobby.

Online things

I learn web application security and cryptography by doing, which can be seen on my blog and sometimes on GitHub. And now that I have some more energy, I hope to write more!

In developing my skill and practicing in my personal time, I started to network with folks in the security and cryptography space. I found it quite exciting to dive into Chrome's source code for the first time to figure out how WebCrypto handles salts in RSASSA-PSS signature for Matthew Miller's SimpleWebAuthn implementation. I look forward to more opportunities where I can contribute to open source cryptography.

I have also been invited to, and have reviewed academic literature as well. The most recent example where I am acknowledged is in a paper about Base64 Malleability. I am thinking of making a little capture the flag here some time with the idea.

We would like to thank Jack Moffit and Rajath Shanbag for their implementation contribution regarding test vector compatibility in multiple requested programming languages, and Levi Schuck for precious feedback and review comments on late manuscript. - Base64 Malleability in Practice

I listen to several podcasts, Security Cryptography Whatever is always engaging and fun to listen to. I also listen to CISO Series Podcast, Sophos Naked Security Podcast, and The Changelog Podcast. These are great to have on while I walk, go shopping, or do my hobbies like wood working or home DIY.

As for subscriptions, I get a lot out of Gergely Orosz's The Pragmatic Engineer. Gergely's content provides much needed visibility on the software engineering field and market. I recommend a paid subscription to The Pragmatic Engineer.


Back in the day when I worked near the capitol of Madison, I could try out all sorts of foods in the city. My favorite dishes are Vietnamese and Thai. Though I always loved expensed team lunches nearby with an Indian place called Maharani and sushi at RED.

The problem with remote work and living out next to literal farmland is that I hardly have any food options out here. On the bright side, it is easier to lose weight when there are less options.