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The Actuator – April 15th

Level 17

I hope everyone was able to enjoy this past holiday weekend. We had decent enough weather here, allowing us to set up an egg hunt for the kids on Sunday afternoon. I also kept our annual tradition of burning the Christmas tree on Easter. In related news, the fire circle is officially open for the season.

As always, here's a bunch of links I hope you find useful. Enjoy!


Microsoft Buys So Bad Guys Can’t
This was the right move, since Microsoft is responsible for this mess to begin with.

Attack matrix for Kubernetes
Wonderful summary for the many ways Kubernetes can be exploited.

Thousands Zoom credentials available on a Dark Web forum
Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse for Zoom users.

These hackers have been quietly targeting Linux servers for years
Patch your stuff, people.

Amazon workers voice pandemic concern
We need our supply chains and distribution networks to remain functional.

The early days of home computing – in pictures
Wonderful trip down memory lane for those of us old experienced enough to have used one or more of these machines.

The fuzzy edges of character encoding
If you like computer history, this is the post you want to read this week.


I’ve arranged the chairs in the fire circle to be six feet apart, in case anyone was thinking of visiting in the next few weeks.


Level 14

Thanks for the articles!  What a nice back yard.  Is that a stage for karaoke?  

Level 12

Zoom appears to have such big problems with security that I'm surprised anyone is using it right now.

The patio is lovely!  What's the small deck for in back?  It looks like a small performance stage.  I can imagine an electric piano, a guitar, a bass, and a sax there . . . being taken over by MS?  Thank goodness it went to someone with a long track record of excellent decision-making and good planning!

(Although that statement might be taken with a chokingly large amount of tongue-in-cheek, I'm actually serious about being glad MS has now)

It certainly seems something's missing in the planning and testing-before-release of products filling needs like Kubernetes. 

What methods of not-creating-vulnerabilities, and then testing & confirming everything's secure before releasing to the public, are people forgetting or never learning?

Zoom seems to have the same challenges as Kubernetes (that I mentioned above).  It was developed to fill a need, maybe make a profit, but it's not the tool for the job when we can see hackers corrupting & disrupting Zoom sessions at a world-leaders-conference level.

Was it too quick to be released?  Were the developers untrained about security holes & risks?  Did Management know about the problems and proceed anyway, with the intent of making some money now, and (maybe) fixing the issues later?

Maybe it goes back to poor training, or training that doesn't include (and enforce!) the concept of "Security First."

Honestly, each product that is released for use across the Internet seems to simply be the next product to be hacked or compromised or used by people without morals and integrity that match the general concensus of what's "right" or what's "wrong".

Having seen the dark side of what hackers can do with Zoom, I'd never use it, and would discourage its use by peers and corporations.


I can see we're on a topic/roll here, with bad folks exploiting poorly secured code.  This time with Linux vulnerabilities.

OK, I get that everything needs to be patched to fix holes & problems designers didn't recognize or anticipate.

Who's fixing the holes & problems in individuals, corporations, and countries/governments/organizations that train/pay/force people to find vulnerabilities in the code of others and exploit those holes?

Sure, we'd all love efficient code with fast performance and a minimal footprint; we won't get that soon when we're dealing with ransomware and viruses and wyrms and DDOS's from others without ethics.  

Let's do something to fix those ethics today, at least in our young people, so writers of tomorrow's code won't have to go through wretched experiences watching their software be leveraged to hurt others.

Ugh!  The story about Amazon . . . just Ugh!  I can't say I know if either side is right/wrong, accurate & truthful or simply dissembling & prevaricating.  But it reads like a classic corporate greed story, and there've been too many of those proven true in court. 

I don't want it to be true, but it sure sounds like what's been a problem in the past with big businesses.




The story with images of very-old computers--nicely done!  The photographs are beautiful, the equipment looks clean & new--mint condition.

On the other hand, having had to support Apple I-MACs back in the late 1990's, I can't accept the author saying they were part of the early days of home computing.  Equipment from pre-1995 qualifies for that, IMHO, but nothing from the Windows 3.x or later realms, or from Apple OS6 or 7 and later.

I'm impressed with the geek factor for getting work done on the earlier, most-primitive home computers.  But that really doesn't compare to the uber-geek factor of the very-old, super large and super slow government and university computers.

But I'd like seeing stories about newer, state of the art, 2020 installations.  Even this one from the simulator control room at NuScale Power's small modular reactor design facility in Oregon is already dated.





That "fuzzy edges" article dipped and tipped over completely into the realm of geekdom.  I confess to an eye-roll and a sigh, with a grin and a head-shake.


Nice article 🙂


I’ve arranged the chairs in the fire circle to be six feet apart, in case anyone was thinking of visiting in the next few weeks. :):):)


The early days of home computing – in pictures - Isn't it amazing, I was with IBM a few years ago and I always loved watching their creation, early computing years infact 🙂

Level 14

@sqlrockstar Love the patio spacing!   The chairs will be filled soon .... we can all hope!


The trip down memory lane with the old equipment brought a smile to my face.... seen, played with and used a couple of those!


Amazon - short of a one-two day "boycott" I don't think Mr B. will get the message.... (sadly I am guilty of ordering a couple of items during the last month,,, house related)

Level 17

@smttysmth02gt @rschroeder We want to build semi-enclosed deck. It started as a 10x12 sized deck, but then I discovered we could go up to 200 square feet without needing a permit, so it became 16x12 instead. It feels big when you are standing on it, and we joke it is more like a stage than a deck. We just call it "the pavilion" right now. 

The next phase is to put up a back wall of sorts, we haven't figured out what that will look like yet. 

Level 14

@sqlrockstar  Well it looks awesome!  Here's a pic of our patio extension we recently worked on.  We wanted to do something a bit different and there were some lessons learned.  Still not completed, but it's done enough where it's usable space.  I've enjoyed taking the laptop outside when the weather is nice.  patio.jpg

Level 12

I never new about the threat. It seems like I hear about threats after they are solved instead of while there is a threat. Ignorance is bliss? 

Level 17

@smttysmth02gt That patio extension looks wonderful!

Level 9

First "PC" I ever repaired was Commodore PET. Let the command line adventures proceed.  Oregon Trail!!

About the Author
Thomas LaRock is a Head Geek at SolarWinds and a Microsoft® Certified Master, SQL Server® MVP, VMware® vExpert, and a Microsoft Certified Trainer. He has over 20 years experience in the IT industry in roles including programmer, developer, analyst, and database administrator.