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The Actuator – December 19th

Level 17

Welcome to the final edition of the Actuator for 2018! I’m going to take a break for the holidays and will resume this series in 2019. Wherever you are, I hope you and your family have a happy holiday season.

As always, here are some links from the Intertubz that I hope will hold your interest. Enjoy!

China’s Social Ranking System Will Now Target Rule-Breaking Scientists

Well, that escalated quickly.

Apple Will Build $1 Billion Campus in Austin, Adding 5,000 Jobs

Clearly Apple didn’t want Amazon to hog all the headlines regarding office expansion plans. And if you thought traffic in North Austin was bad now, just wait until 15,000 more people try to commute to and from The Domain twice a day.

All those free apps on your phone are tracking your location and selling your data

Nothing is free, and your private data has more value than you know.

Your Apps Know Where You Were Last Night, and They’re Not Keeping It Secret

As I was saying.

The Future of Config-file-based IT Infrastructure

As a database professional, I tend to think about data in sets. After reading this, I’m thinking of data as nothing more than configuration files. The concept of tuning a query by deploying a new server and replicating the data sounds wonderful.

Equifax Breach Was Just as Infuriating and Dumb as You Thought, New House Report Finds

The summary list in this post offers good starting points for discussions in your own company. If you don’t take action soon, you will find your company the next victim.

’donald’ debuts at No. 23 on worst passwords of 2018 list

What I can’t, even.

Here's the real reason why you aren't getting a new Actuator until January:


Level 14

Thanks for the articles. Enjoy your time off!

Level 13

Interesting reading as always.  Thanks for sharing.  Best wishes for the holidays.

Remember the age old internet adage... If it is free then you aren't the customer then you are the product.

And this social status nonsense going on in China should be taken more seriously. There are some real dangerous repercussions in store if that type of social engineering/caste system gains more momentum.

Thanks, Thomas!  I enjoy checking out "The Actuator" and catching up on what's news...since I try to not watch it elsewise.

So regarding your link/comment on the Apple campus, mayhaps Austintatious needs to look at alternative modus transportandi:

Elevated Bus That Drives Above Traffic Jams - YouTube

Level 9

Chinese control and abuse, nothing new.  Unless you are working on a warrior cloning program.

Part that drives me nuts is when I pay and I am still the product.

Crazy China.  Absolute power, and all that.  The top folks live in luxury and the others barely live. Or so we're told.

Larry Niven dealt with that kind of society in his Known Universe.  Folks had the right to reproduce one time per person and that was it.  And that "right" could be removed if your genes were judged defective in some way.

But if your genes were beneficial or superior you might be allowed to have several, or unlimited, children.  They were supposedly culling the herd and trying to get more people with proven abilities for ESP, TK, business success, longevity, etc.

And then they built a Birthright Lottery system to let someone buy a chance to win a right to have another baby.

Of course the organization behind it all was vulnerable to compromise and corruption and blackmail, and it all went to pot.

I can't condone the parts I see as bad, no matter which country or organization is in charge.  I can't condone systems which have no checks and balances, either.  Or ones where the checks and balances have been compromised.

I wonder how the new Apple campus in Austin, TX, will affect SolarWinds staffing, pay rates, competition, housing, commute times, etc.?

How do you see that working out, sqlrockstar​?

Maybe you'll get a bigger foot in the Network Management environment within Apple!

If you didn't already understand the "free" apps on your phone were compromising your performance and security, shame on you!

Thanks for the second article on apps stealing our privacy and folks selling that data to folks we don't know.

When the article said "You should never have to touch these boxes. If there’s something wrong, change the config and redeploy."

Let me know when Cisco products, and when Solarwinds modules, have that part down.

Level 20

I saw the picture on your blog sqlrockstar​  Everyone thought this one was funny:

Equifax. So what do we do?  Stop doing business with everyone on the Internet?  Stop doing business with everyone who has something in the cloud, who has an Internet connection?  Because it appears no one has any teeth to ensure safety and consequences when safety is missing, and tests to verify and validate the sites and businesses which which we do business.

People are foolish to believe Equifax was the only one with this degree of ignorance or carelessness.

They MAY be foolish to believe anything on the Internet is secure enough for their personal data and finances and communications.

Where's the article that shows the new laws that are sufficient to the task, the new tests that prove sites are valid and safe, the ongoing and continuous reproving that a new vulnerability hasn't opened or been discovered?

No, I think it's a pretty bad way to operate an Internet.  Who let folks on it who can't be trusted?

Thanks, ecklerwr1​!  That's an image I can't unsee!

Level 13

Thanks for the articles and have a great break.


Cool article

I was surprised that the Apple article wasn't titled "Apple nukes traffic in North Austin".


Level 12

appreciate the articles. happy holidays!


The whole "china" thing is coming to America quickly as well.  But then we are freely participating and letting it happen.

Level 14

More people in Austin?  More reasons to own a good bike for commuting.

Level 16

Here is the 195 gigapixels camera China will use to spot you jaywalking.

I drive half an hour plus every day from my home in Loveland, CO to my work office in Greeley, and every morning - come rain, snow, sleet, hail, gloom of night, whatever - I see a person doing the same commute on a bike.  Now it's only about 25 miles, and I'm sure you die-hard bicyclists out there are going "25 miles? PHHT!  That's nothing!  I can do that with one wheel tied behind my back!"  But for those of us "full-figured" folks who can barely pedal a bike more than a few feet, it's amazing; and my hat is OFF to that person (and anyone, for that matter, who makes a long commute on a bike).  That is dedication to health and environment at an elevated level.

Level 11

"Crazy China.  Absolute power, and all that.  The top folks live in luxury and the others barely live. Or so we're told."

Isn't that the rest of the world as well.  The great divide between rich and poor isn't something that China has invented.  It's perhaps just more prevalent there at the moment.

Level 11

Is it too late to bleach my eyeballs?!?

Level 11

The problem with a massive tech company like Apple moving to Austin, is that it will encourage other massive tech companies to follow suit (If they haven't already).

It's a bit like the London thing, companies make places the centre of the universe, they suck up all the talent and resources, then spew out products like a volcano.  Then move to somewhere else and rinse and repeat.

Level 20

My actuator for the week is this really neat way to talk to satellites in space!

Makes sense to me... instead of a dish just blow this thing up with air or nitrogen!

The social ranking discussion always reminds me of that one episode of Black Mirror. I wonder what else they predicted correctly...

have a great time off

Level 14

True.  There's no such thing as a free lunch.

Level 14

Surely if a company with that much influence on our lives fails to keep data secure they should be shut down.

Pour l'encouragement des autres

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.