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The Actuator – April 1st

Level 17

This week’s Actuator comes to you from the middle of week 3 of 7, as our schools are closed until May the Fourth (Be With You). Here in Massachusetts, we’re entering the beginning of the curve, as testing becomes readily available. Wash your hands and stay home, people.

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


Microsoft Wants You to Snack Freely Without Irritating Your Video Conferencing Colleagues
Glad to know the folks in Redmond are focusing on the important stuff.

Netflix, YouTube cut video quality in Europe after pressure from EU official
Understandable, I do the same thing to my children’s devices during the day, so my wife and I can get work done.

Coronavirus slowdown ripples across U.S. grid
This isn’t a story we hear on the news, but one worth telling and sharing.

What the 1918 flu pandemic can teach us about COVID-19, in four charts
Don’t be like Philly.

Awkward pauses in online calls make us see people differently
I find using client applications for meetings (Teams, etc.) helps remove some latency and jitter, as opposed to joining a meeting within a browser.

Trolls exploit Zoom privacy settings as app gains popularity
I’ve never been a fan of Zoom, as their default settings have always been a bit sketchy for my liking.

COVID19 Phishing Scam Tricks People With ‘You Might Be Infected’ Warning
Be safe out there, folks.


Great visualization to remind us all why staying at home is important.


Level 13

Thanks for the articles. The graphic is a great way to show how social distancing and staying at home works.

Level 12

The graphic is perfect! thanks for the post.

Level 16

Thanks for the post!

Level 14

Thanks for the articles!  Stay safe.

Level 14

@sqlrockstar the graphic at the bottom of your blog is telling... and powerful..... 


Terrific material as always..... Be well and be safe!

Snacking while on a video / conference call from home?  Nope.  Not even with the microphone on mute and the camera turned off.  It's just not the professional behavior your peers need and expect.

My folks taught me better; did yours?

I love high resolution videos as well as the next person--maybe more, given my engineering / photography / music background.

But taking a walk outside & listening to the wind in the pine bows beats a video by a long shot.  

Save the personal streaming bits for folks who need the bandwidth to help get food to your stores, medicine to your hospitals.  Chill out without Youtube, Netflix, and the rest.

Maybe even drop a few pounds by increasing your activity level away from the couch or easy chair.  Make something good personally happen for you from this crisis by not binge-watching some series from Amazon Prime or Hulu and their peers.  What do you have to lose?  A few pounds?  Maybe a trip to the hospital for a heart condition, or NOT putting yourself in the position of developing type 2 diabetes?

Thanks for sharing the article about power consumption associated with the reaction to COVID-19.  Now that my wife and I have been working at home for the last few weeks, we're definitely using more electricity at home, and using less electricity at our employers' offices.

How that will translate into dollars saved or spend in personal or city or regional or national terms will be interesting to discover.

I've heard astronomers are experiencing clearer skies for viewing the heavens now that pollution from cars and airplanes has decreased.  Even a terrible storm such as COVID-19 can have some tiny bits of things that aren't completely negative, if one can remain uninfected.  

Given the extrapolation of infection rate graphs for the United States, it's hard to imagine my family will escape unscathed.  But if we can delay the infection long enough to make a difference for our hospitals' ability to handle patients it will be a net win.

The Popular Science article about the 1918 Pandemic was excellent--thank you for sharing it.  I wish that story were mandatory reading in the public schools every year.  Studying history helps us prevent repeating its worst aspects.

Trolls.  Enough said.  Shut 'em down.  Find 'em & shut 'em down.  No one has time for that behavior, yet their anonymity creates false bravery.  Consequences are what are needed.  Well, that and better parenting.  

Awkward pauses are . . . . . .    awkward.  I agree with a lot of the findings in this story.


But I have a good friend whose mind works differently than mine, and although we live in different countries, and converse via Skype or cell phone, his long and awkward pauses are part of who he is.  I've grown comfortable with them and think of them as opportunities to ponder what was just said, and then craft a calm and reasoned response.


Pauses can be . . .      good.

Phishing, no matter COVID-19 related or not . . . recognize it and treat it appropriately.

Level 12

Regarding Zoom, I recently saw an article claiming Elon Musk has ordered his employees to not use Zoom until they have addressed their security issues. I doubt this will have a significant impact on use of Zoom.

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.