Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Create Post

The Actuator - August 9th

Level 17

In Austin this week for some THWACKcamp filming. There's a lot of reasons to enjoy Austin, even in August, but being able to sit and talk with my fellow Head Geeks is by far the best reason.

Here's a bunch of links from the intertubz you might find interesting. Enjoy!

App sizes are out of control

I've been frustrated about this situation ever since I accidently started an update to an app while in another country and wasn't connected to Wi-Fi.

UK Writes GDPR into Law with New Data Protection Bill

Here's hoping that this is the start of people understanding that data is the most valuable asset they own.

Half of US Consumers Willing to Trade Data for Discounts

Then again, maybe not.

Will Blockchain End Poverty?


How a fish tank helped hack a casino

I know that IoT is a security nightmare and all, but hackers may want to think twice about the people they steal from.

“E-mail prankster” phishes White House officials; hilarity ensues

This just shows that the folks in the White House are just as gullible as everyone else.

What’s in the path of the 2017 eclipse?

Interactive map showing you the path for the upcoming eclipse.

Event Season is starting and I may need to find a new place for all my conference badges.



okay, before even starting on the included topics the conference badge shrine is quite impressive.

Level 12

GDPR - good for consumers, or onerous compliance burden for business?  Probably somewhere in between, but I wonder how long before something like it comes stateside.


Nice Jagermeister Lanyard


App sizes...those numbers don't take into account how much space the app takes once it starts updating it's own little database. Now your 248MB app is taking up 2.9 GB, or more.

Apple has a vested interest in bloated helps them to sell cloud space and hardware with more storage. 

At least on the android side, most apps aren't as bloated.

Remember the day when 4k was a lot of memory and anything that required more than one floppy disk was huge.  A 5 MB hard drive was a vast space in which seemed endless not to mention was very expensive at the time.  Nowadays you storage is so very cheap that developers just don't care about keeping things manageable.  They load libraries of code which has so much stuff that their current program doesn't use it is just wasted space and they don't care because storage is cheap.  Throw a few more dollars at it..see, more money for apple.


Jfrazier​ did you have this?


Level 17

The shrine just shows how old I am now. It's 20+ years worth of events.

Level 17

I hope we have something soon. I believe that consumers need to be protected from business that care more about money than people. I'm fine with putting a burden on businesses to put people ahead of profits.

Level 17

Got that in Denver, 2007. Was at a karaoke bar and the Jaeger girls made an appearance, handing out swag. The place had Jaeger on tap, too. I wrote about it once here: Communication Breakdown

Level 21

I live here in Oregon in the direct path of the Solar Eclipse and we have a TON of people coming to the state.  They are expecting some of our smaller towns that are in the direct path to be overrun by people and RV's. 


No, but at some point my grandfather had gotten a 5 or 10 MB hard drive for his TRS-80 model 1.

Now, later in life I took a 10MB Radioshack external hard drive enclosure, popped the drive out and put in a 100MB SCSI drive and plugged it into my Mac LC.

Level 14

The lanyard collection is quite impressive.... However, I think if you tried to wear all of them at once, you may be in traction!!!

Eclipse..... I am on vaction that week, wish it was last year I was about 2.5 hrs north of Myrtle Beach.... oh well a partial eclipes in Maine is fine by me.

Fish tank - I find it amazing that nobody in the network management side of the casino thought to protect against that.

sqlrockstar​ great work as usual...

App Sizes:

     Just say "no".  We actually don't need Facebook's app, nor FB Messenger, nor Linked-In, etc.  Sure, they can be entertaining, but at what cost?  Did you know Facebook sites you "Like" get access to your personal information behind the scenes?  That's one way FB makes money while seeming to offer you "free" Facebook entertainment.  Nope.  When you're not paying for the service, you are what is being sold.

GDPR Bill in Great Britain:

     It's one thing to require ethical behavior and then tell folks their data's protected.  It's another to prove that behavior and protection has been provided, and will continue to be provided accurately, every time.  Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

Sure--you can have my personal data, if you give me 3% off a purchase!

     Another one-way ticket to Nopes-ville.  No, you can't have my personal information.  Not if I can prevent it.  I don't want your spam, your unsolicited marketing, your pop-up windows reminding me of what I've been shopping for anywhere, nagging at me to buy Buy BUY!  What a Pandora's box we've opened, all in the name of convenience and entertainment.  At the expense of lost personal privacy and face-to-face interactive skills.  (shaking my head in disappointment and disgust)


     Hmmm, what's the best place for organized crime to spend their time taking over?  Untraceable money paths.  No enforcement of rules.  International access.  No security.  Oh, sure, I wish I'd put $1,000 into Bitcoin three years ago . . . they tell me I'd have tens of millions of dollars now.  I could virtually retire, buying virtual things.  How will the IRS play with Bitcoin & Blockchain?  Between them and organized crime, I think I'm happy being out of that loop.

Hacking via Fish Tank 101:

     Those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it.  Just don't do IoT.  Or you may discover you'll look like an IDIoT.

Phishing the White House:

     OK, folks are naïve and ignorant and trusting.  And they shouldn't be.  And there are pranksters and black hats and criminals out there ready and willing to compromise and abuse people--especially prominent people in positions of power.  And we know it's wrong.  So what happened to personal honor, honest, and ethical behavior.  Where'd we go wrong when raising the children who became the adults who phish and hack and compromise and abuse?  Let's focus on fixing that instead of laughing at our leaders who have been duped through their trust being abused.  We're the ones who can make a difference in raising the next generation.  Let's be part of the solution, instead of tacitly applauding how fooling people can be made to look.  It's our future--why not improve it?

Interactive Eclipse Path Web Site:

     This is REALLY COOL!  This is what the Internet is for--educating, fascinating, entertaining, and making us think.  Thanks for sharing this one!  Maybe there's hope for I.T. after all . . .

Lanyards Multiplying!

     Nice collection of trade show cards & lanyards.  I'd vote for trade shows reducing them in favor of one universal lanyard and one ID card holder.  Our ID information can be printed on a card and swapped in and out of it.  Think of the money saved by all those trade show organizers.  Think of the land fill prevented when we multiply those cards & plastic cases and lanyards and metal clips and ink by thousands or millions of people and trade shows.    It's a win-win--you don't have to track/organize/throw out lanyards & plastic holders and clips, the trade show organizers don't have to spend money on those items, the land fills fill that much slower.  Reduce, reuse, recycle.  It will make a difference.


Another cool article


How about everybody get chipped and when you register you provide the number or whatever the chip has on it as an identifier...


You'd have to catch me first, I hate injections...


Ah...but you have to sleep sometime.

Just be glad it is not like the device Arnold had up his nose in Total Recall.

Chippiing seems unreasonable (to me) for a secure and convenient solution when applied to people.

Dogs, horses, the TV remote control . . . I'm OK with tracking them via chips.


you got me thinking of Nightmare on Elm Street / Total Recall , i'm never sleeping again now...

maybe I could just go with a barcode sticker on my forehead?

Ugh--that thing was about as bad as what Khan slipped into Chekov's ear.


Exactly although it is the stuff of science fiction come to life.

Yes the cost(and waste) of items for the conference world, and it is it's own world and culture is staggering for these huge events.

But for many, the lanyards and badges are a "Badge of Honor" and provide cred to others.

Which one?

Those "email pranksters". When the news outlets first reported the story they kept saying "email prank" and I kept mumbling to myself, "phishing". And that is a crime. And in this case with the White House as a target, not one to be taken lightly.

Nice badge collection, BTW. Those hooks are earning their keep.


I doubt Phishing involves catch and release.

Sadly, you're correct.  But in twenty years, or after one's passed on to fertilizer, who actually cares about all the swag & lanyards collected?

I'm entering that stage of life where downsizing is more important than collecting, where simplicity is superior to showing trophies, and I realize each of us is at a different point, and we each may find different attractions or detriments for collecting and displaying items.

Level 16

Nice badge collection! Is that a Netware badge hanging on the back... oh nevermind, take you a week to get it out

I guess there will never be a concern for having a lanyard for a badge, huh?

So of those lanyards are pretty cool.

Level 17

We use chips for road races, put them on your shoelace. It would be easy for people to carry one, like a fitbit, at events. Someone should get on this idea.

Level 20

Geesh that's a lot of lanyards you've got there!

That makes sense.  Chips are used for the Grandma's Marathon here in Duluth.

I bet Info Sec would deny use of them, since they'd be easy to transfer between people.

Who knows--maybe there's technology the super-secret-squirrels use that could surreptitiously copy/duplicate the information within a chip without the owner's knowledge, which could be used for network access?

Although we may simply be paranoid, that doesn't mean someone's NOT out to get us.    ;^)

Level 20

They're really just RFID tags right?


should be...they use those for marathon timing.

Level 17


Level 17


Level 17

Ha! Yeah, I'm afraid to dive into there.

I'll buy you a beer if you wear all of those to all of your next trade shows.  But it didn't happen if there are no pictures!

And we'll expect stories of how the trade show security (or you) handled going through all those lanyards & ID badges.  


I still think the highlight of my Wednesdays is discovering a new installment of The Actuator!

Level 20

One looks like it says Jagermeister!

Don't look at the Sun and....thanks for the Eclipse link.

Speaking of the eclipse this month, who's going to see the full view, either because it's coming to you, or you're coming to it?


How about a 5 MB hard drive that weighed more than 2000 pounds?  IBM rented out time & space on it for $3,200 per month!


Picture Of IBM Hard Drive On Airplane - Business Insider


That was a bargin at that about "Holy charge back Batman!!"


I wonder how many lost hours there will be at the office for those that want to experience the eclipse...

Seeing it in person is very different than watching it via video, even in real time.  I recall a total eclipse I viewed in the 1980's in Minnesota, and it was not only accompanied by gloominess and a big drop in air temperature, but it felt very odd--even creepy.


yep... we should have one through the DFW area in 2024 if I recall what I read yesterday correctly.

Level 9

Great badge collection!

Being in Oregon in the direct path of the eclipse, it's expected to be a madhouse. Lost time due to the event and the throng of people coming in to the area is going to be staggering.

I wanted to take off but I have to be at work....all I can say is "long lunch hour!"

I'll wait for 2023 and 2024 since two come through the San Antonio area.  I plan on buying gear after Monday since it will be cheaper then.

I can watch it with my father's Sextant he used in the Power Squadron (A boating club) for practicing Celestial Navigation.  (It has the proper filters for the sun)



MVP actual sextant.

Which brings back a huge topic.  So many people are dependent on technology such that when something breaks they don't know how to do it manually or have any other fallback method.

It is bad enough that people can't figure out sales tax and change at a cash register by hand or with a calculator...

While navigation aids such as GPS are great, what happens if yours goes on the fritz  ?  How many of the youngsters out there can read a map ?

How many have an actual  map ?

The use of a sextant was and still is a primary navigation aid on the open still need a good clock or watch.  I know many seafarers depend on GPS these days but at sea things go wrong and you can't go to the corner store to get a new GPS when you are miles out at sea. You still have to have the old skills and that even applies to what we do in IT.  Sometimes you still have to get in and root around at the command line level.

And without the old compass and sextant navigation, along with hand held telescopes, how will we maintain our supply of one-eyed pirates with eye patches?  That's critical to continue having great icons and stereotypes in stories and movies!


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.