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The Actuator - July 6th

Level 17

This edition comes to you from London where I am on vacation. I'm hopeful that #Brexit won't cause any issues getting in or out of the UK, or any issues while we are playing tourist. And I'm certainly not going to let a vacation get in the way of delivering the latest links for you to consume.

So, here is this week's list of things I find amusing from around the Internet. Enjoy!

Ransomware takes it to the next level: Javascript

Another article on ransomware which means another set of backups I must take, and so should you.

When the tickets just keep coming

Yeah, it's a lot like that.

IT must ditch ‘Ministry of No’ image to tackle shadow IT

OMG I never thought about this angle but now I need t-shirts that say "Ministry of NO" on them.

Happy 60th Birthday Interstate Highway System! We Need More Big-Bang Projects Like You

Once upon a time I was a huge fan of everything interstate. A huge 'roadgeek', I couldn't get enough knowledge about things like wrong road numbers, weird exit signs, and ghost roads like the Lincoln Highway and Route 66. Happy Birthday!

Oracle Loses $3 Billion Verdict for Ditching HP Itanium Chip

In related news, Larry Ellison has cut back on the number of islands he is thinking of buying this year.

Microsoft pays woman $10,000 over forced Windows 10 upgrade

Now *everyone* is going to expect money in exchange for not understanding the need for backups of your business critical data.

Apple Granted Patent For Phone Camera Disabling Device

If this technology comes to market it is going to wind up in the courts, which makes me think it was invented by lawyers at Apple.

Looking forward to more sightseeing with Lego Daughter the next two weeks:


Level 12

Another great set of articles sqlrockstar​! I, too, want the 'Ministry of No!' shirt. Let me know when you find them. As for the camera disabling bit, still undecided. Don't care about concerts and such, but there are some places where it would be good to have, locker rooms for instance....


Again a good list of topics.

Microsoft upgrade hijink needs to cost them a big chunk of money.  That is totally not cool.

Not sure about the Apple patent.  I see abuse of the technology.

The newer javascript based ransomware is not a welcome thing to hear about....I'd rather hear about it here.

Wow, I can't believe the weeks go by so quickly--this weekly update really drives it home to me.

Java Ransomware?  OK, it's time to unplug, shut down.  I'm going fishing.  Permanently.

Escher would've loved that .gif!

If the "Ministry of NO" image drives folks to use Shadow IT resources, much of IT's ability to protect data and users and the network may be lost.  It's obviously better to make friends with users and guide them into corporate policy compliance and corporately supported tools.  Developing a reputation to "just say no to new apps/tools/innovation" is a challenge.  Adopting new processes and tools without training and guidance and support for them results in user frustration and at-risk resources.  Saying "no" to everything drives the users towards shadow IT adoption, and the associated at-risk resources.  Maybe that Escher gif belongs right here . . .

Highway projects good.  Of course, they contributed to the collapse of many small towns, as city centers moved to the freeway exits, and as big box vendors, built just outside city limits, took sales away from family businesses in town.  And they took a LOAD of tax dollars to design, implement, complete, and maintain.  In an environment where attention (and votes?) goes to politicians who shout "Vote for me and I'll cut taxes!", who could get large tax-based projects off the ground?  It's a problem I see with our voting and taxing structure; voting against tax increases results in declining tax-based infrastructure--bridges that collapse, more potholes in the roads, schools in physical decline, etc.  I'd be totally up for people voting FOR tax increases, or for politicians saying "Vote for me and I'll cut taxes so your bridges will collapse, and your roads will deteriorate, and you'll have poor school facilities."  Truth in advertising!

Oracle article:  Just be kind and responsible.  Don't seek to hurt others.

Windows 10:  $10K might be a reasonable penalty for forcing / sneaking OS upgrades on users.

Disabling smartphone video/audio recording remotely?  I can see all kinds of gruntled people becoming disgruntled over this.

Level 20

Awe the lego daughter thing is nice... so was it real daughter or just a lego?

Level 14

Well done again sqlrockstar​ !!!

Some random thoughts I thought I would share before they died of loneliness!!

Javascript and Ransomware.... Just purchased a larger bottle of Advil.

Microsoft never seems to learn.... other than the hard way.

Apple camera patent.... Agree with Jfrazier​ ... abuse is around the corner.

Interstate Highway Birthday.... This one hits close to home when discussing Infrastructure and Building. In my spare time I am an elected official in my small town. State and Federal Regs (designed to "help") prevent us from doing things in a more cost efficient way, lessening citizen "sticker shock" and using good old fashioned common sense! I am dealing with this now on a project.... Fun it is not!

The Ministry of No - Yes it's a problem.... the larger an organization gets, the less "nimble" it remains. At a higher level, the senior management in the organization needs to take responsibility and ownership. They must communicate the importance of structure as it relates to performance, cost, supportability, risk and security. There is a lot at stake when implementing what are often "skunk works" projects. I have seen where departments go off and do these and then at the first sign of trouble expect IT to support their "mission critical" solution. No easy answers here....


I guess the Gif rschroeder​ is speaking of in in the "When the tickets keep coming" post I can't access here at the office.

Bummer as any reference to Escher sparks my interest.​, I am not sure Microsoft even learns the hard way.....

The Escher .gif is some poor guy falling endlessly down an Escher staircase.


Not sure if you can access this from work--but the idea's the same. Just swap out the folks climbing the stairs for a poor guy tumbling down them forever.

Escher on life | Florilegium


I've been a fan of Escher for decades.  My Grandparents had several prints of his in their house over the years.

I even have a Escher mouse pad at home.  It was a gift from a friend...dang that was 20+ years ago.

Level 14

Love it!!!


Thanks again for the reads. I'm currently vacationing a little father north from London. Enjoy the usual summer weather we're currently having.

I too really like the Escher gif. and the thought of some rogue business unit buying and using a non-approved cloud based app is really scary.

Level 12

More great articles.  I'm not sure how many IT departments are really trying to take on the shadow IT forces, but my suspicion is that many haven't yet acknowledged their existence.

Dear Thwack (and Solarwinds!), can we get some Ministry of NO swag, yesterday?!

Level 12

OK, now we need to add Lego to the Thwack Store

Level 11

Thanks for the actuator articles as always!

Good stuff as always.

It's not a question of 'If' but more a matter of 'When' ransomware gets into something and reaaaaly wreaks havoc. People are going to get hurt as a result. It's out there and there is nothing we can do to stop it.

A little tidbit of the Interstate Highway System, and it is something we see  while driving the I-95 corridor through the Mid-Atlantic states. Lady Birdh Johnson pushed her own beautification projects in the center medians of these highways. There are some parts that are FILLED with daffodils in the springtime.

Poor Larry. I guess he won't be able to ge the parking garage option on his new yacht.


If you are still in London have an Irn Bru in a glass for me. Not plastic (*yech*) or can.... a cold glass bottle. "Original & Best!"


Larry will just have to tighten his belt, make a few sacrifices.



You missed his zipline, skeet range, and driving range.

Actually, I suspect those are all indoors.



Love the "when the tickets just keep coming" GIF! I feel sorry for that person.

It's disappointing to read about the camera disabling device. When I go to concerts, I always like to take a couple of pics as a memento of the show. I wish that I had this technology when I saw all those bands in my youth. I remember sneaking in a camera at some shows but you had to make sure no one saw you using it or it would get confiscated.

But I do agree it's annoying to stand behind someone who is just filming the whole show.

Level 14

Thank you for this week's post.  All good reads, as usual.

Level 17

It's my real Lego daughter. My daughter always asks if she can travel with me and I'm always saying no. So one day she came into my office and gave me the minifig and said "you can take her instead", and I started taking pictures of all the places and events we were visiting.

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.