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The Actuator – June 13th

Level 17

Welcome to another edition of The Actuator! This week we are talking about drones, data centers, and why no one cares about your emails.

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

Why Microsoft Wants to Put Data Centers at the Bottom of the Ocean

No word yet on how to do maintenance for these units, but I suspect they would simply raise it out of the water. It seems crazy now, but in 30 years this could be the norm.

Yahoo Messenger Will Be Discontinued on July 17, 2018, After 20 Years of Service

I didn’t even realize this was still a thing. Once upon a time, Yahoo Messenger was a corporate standard. Too bad Yahoo didn’t invest in the platform a bit more; they could have invented Slack a decade early.

The damage from Atlanta’s huge cyberattack is even worse than the city first thought

NARRATOR’S VOICE: “It was even worse than they second thought, too.”

Drones are now being trained to spot violent people in crowds

As long as the drones aren’t collecting data about the individuals, I have no problem with using machines to detect possible violence in crowds. It’s no different than police using CCTV to monitor a crowd. If it helps keep people safe, sign me up.

The Race to Build Autonomous Delivery Robots Rolls On

Now let’s imagine that same drone that spots violent acts in crowds can deliver pizza and beer to your seat. Welcome to the future of multi-tasking.

Genealogy database used to identify suspect in 1987 homicide

The suspect didn’t give his DNA to the genealogy website, but relatives did. I am both impressed, and horrified, by this detective work. DNA is not 100% accurate, it is just another piece of circumstantial evidence.

The Most Extreme Out-of-Office Message

As a person who dislikes email, and abhors OOO messages, this article hammers home all the reasons that electronic messaging is destroying lives each and every day.

The future for DBAs is closer than you think:

cortana.jpg

32 Comments
Level 13

I thought from what was said that they couldn't replace failed hardware in the underwater Data Center. Sounds like an oversight to me but it is supposed to be an experiment.

MVP
MVP

Cool article

Level 13

It's being reported today that the French have made arrests in a 31 year old murder case after the dead child's parents were identified through the DNA of their son given in an unrelated case.

Level 12

Do the big guys even worry about "replacing" failed hardware in their datacenters?

Or do they have thresholds for failed components and once that is hit the machine is spun down and the next one is spun up to replace it?

I wonder if it is worth their time to replace a failed hard drive in something if there are available redundant hard drives ready to take its place.

This literally sounds like "Data Center in a Box".

Level 13

I'd like to think that they care about it but I suppose in this case it's an experiment and they are not too worried about it. but if they're going to roll this out then is becomes more of an issue. Maybe given the size of the Box they wait until a critical mass has accumulated and simply replace the whole Data Center. There must also be the point where a particular client is just too far from the Ocean/Sea to take advantage of such a Data Center.

Level 14

Well done again sqlrockstar​!

So I put my data center on the botom of the ocean. I can just see explaining SCUBA lessons for training..

New expenses.... Zip lock bags, wet suits, air compressors... works for me!

Level 17

I was thinking the same thing. They would likely have dozens of these in place, and swap them out only when a percentage of drives were bad. Similar to how they manage a data center now.

Level 17

Whoa, that's crazy!

Level 17

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. And then I realized that these are being placed in *cold* water locations, so it might not be as enjoyable as I would hope. Still, I'd be interested!

Level 13

There are also some dangerous stretches of water around the Orkney Islands too - lets hope they chose somewhere calm like Scapa Flow.

Level 14

In the Northeast... you have the Gulf of Maine.. (anything above Portland)...

Cold but doable..

MVP
MVP

Interesting articles - I'm a bit conflicted on the whole AI thing. I can see it being very valuable, but I can also see it going very, very wrong.

Put your servers under the ocean for better cooling.  Because we need warmer oceans.

A better solution might be finding systems that accomplish what's needed without generating heat.

Or reducing that "need".  Do we need Pandora, Netflix, akamai advertising, etc.?

After all the problems with Yahoo's users losing their ID's and accounts' security, I wouldn't have a problem with Yahoo going away entirely.

Solarwinds and Thwack direct us occasionally to connections and polls with third-provider sites who won't even accept a Yahoo mail account as a contact.  That should tell us something (along with hundreds of millions of stolen Yahoo credentials in the last two years--which are only the ones that have been reported, who knows what's gone on that has NOT been reported).

Poor Atlanta.  Poor anyone who relies on the Internet and who doesn't have perfect security.

And poor hackers & ransomeware writers--when they need social services that won't be available because they're down, due to ransomware.

And poor Earth, whose leaders promote profit over altruism, whose people won't vote for great education systems, and whose population can't control its numbers.

It's already causing problems, and they'll be worse in the future.

And those problems will be compounded by malware and ransomware.  Just when we need the efficiency of computing power, it's taken away by angry and greedy folks with axes to grind and pockets to line.  And with no fast and easy method of detection and retribution to enforce proper ethical behavior, they'll get worse and worse.

Drones in the skies, watching us to protect us from violent individuals?

It sure sounds like the pound of cure.

Where's the ounce of prevention?  Not more prisons, but better schools, population controls, better ethics and training, more altruism . . .

I confess, the automated delivery robot phrase made me think of juvenile delinquents and practical jokers leveraging it to set (real or virtual) flaming bags of poo (or their equivalent) on the porches of friends, neighbors, or folks with whom the disagree.

And it's only a quick step to the idea of governments doing the equivalent to those determined to be persona non gratis.

When that article, about a genealogy database being leveraged to capture a bad guy from a thirty-year-old crime, went viral last week, I read it and pointed it out to some friends.

That's pretty amazing tech.  And hopefully it will serve to deter people from negative behavior in the future, rather than having them scheme about new ways to accomplish their nefarious activities without being caught by this technology.

"Out of office message" really made my morning--thanks!

In particular: 

  • ". . . participants who were cut off from email experienced significant reductions in their stress levels..."
  • " . . . a proposed law in New York that would make it illegal for business to contact employees by email or instant-messaging services when those employees are scheduled to be off. This is reality in France, which last year enacted a “right to disconnect” law that allows workers to ignore work emails after business hours."
  • " . . . roughly a third of messages did not clear the bar of needing to be seen at all, and only about a tenth of emails were considered important enough to need to be read within five minutes . . ."
  • “I am currently on vacation and not accepting any emails about anything. I’m not planning on reading any old emails when I get back, either, because that feels antithetical to the vacation experience.”

Wow!

If you don't see the parallels between the article about "The Girls" taking over the office and the B.O.F.H.'s environment . . . well . . .

It's coming.

Level 14

I'm certified down to 66m and on any mixture of EANx up to and including 100% O2.  Maybe there's a job vacancy for a field engineer with his own SCUBA gear.  

Level 14

I have lots of experience diving in Scapa Flow, have my own dry suit etc.  Put them near the German WW1 wrecks and I could make a holiday of it.

Level 14

I think the hackers have bitten off more than they can chew.  I'm sure the Feds are involved and with the amounts of money being quoted I guess someone will end up doing quite a lot of shower dodging behind bars.

Level 14

I don't read work e-mails out of office hours.  Monday mornings is for reading all the rubbish sent out at the weekend whilst having a coffee and talking nonsence with colleagues.  Have to ease myself into the working week somehow.

Level 14

You should try talking to our DBAs.  I don't think they even understand the concepts of backup and restore.

Level 14

After reading the email piece I had some thoughts....

1. In a perfect world.................................

2. I can see walking in on a Monday finding something seriously wrong and saying... no, I didn't read any emails this weekend. sorry!

3. I'd love to leave this vacation out of office ... just once.. "Hi I will be on vacation from (time x) to (time y).... during this time my email will be disabled, please contact the following people as they are the only ones that can really help you! "

Level 12

I do not check my work email except when I am at work or on-call. Nothing against those who do, but if work needs me during non-working hours, the onus should be on them to reach out to me, not the other way around.

Level 20

Pushbutton auto AI DBA!  Sounds great sign me up!

MVP
MVP

Don't forget it is cold down there....toss the chiller towers and A/C.  Bring on the heat exchangers.

Build in enough redundancy and only have to physically visit every 90 days.  Most of your systems work would likely be virtual.

Level 14

It rarely gets below 4 degrees C so a decent thinsulate undersuit and a good drysuit, dry gloves and a thick neoprene hood usually see me ok for at least 4 hours.  I would guess you would need to go through an airlock to get in so would warm up whilst inside so would only have to worry about the decompression on the way back up.  I guess it would be easier to winch it back up to the surface for maintenance.  Pity.  I quite fancy the job.  Beats having to talk to people.

Level 13

Our DBA makes me pull my hair out.... UGGGG

Level 14

That's bullying in the workplace.  You should report them to HR          

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.