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The Actuator - March 11th

Level 17

After two weeks away at events it is good to be back home, safe and healthy. I hope the same is true for anyone reading this post. Here's hoping the second half of the year sees a return to normalcy, whatever that may mean for you.

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

“Let’s use Kubernetes!” Now you have 8 problems
I'm still believing in 18 months k8s will be replaced with native tools provided by cloud service providers.

Gmail Is Catching More Malicious Attachments With Deep Learning
Google monitors 300 billion(!) attachments each week, it's no surprise they need to use deep learning techniques to have a fighting chance.

“Shark Tank” TV star loses almost $400,000 in Business Email Compromise scam
It's only money, right? Good reminder that this scam works on everyone; never think you're immune.

South by Southwest 2020 has been canceled because of coronavirus
What will all those hipsters do with their free time?

Google location data turned a random biker into a burglary suspect
When you share your location data with an app, you should assume it will ultimately be shared with law enforcement. Your data will never be kept private, and it could be used against you.

Over one billion Android devices at risk as they no longer receive security updates
There ought to be a law against the practice of distributing hardware devices and then not providing security updates, forcing you to purchase new hardware.

Microsoft will pay hourly workers regular wages even if their hours are reduced because of COVID-19 ...
Bravo. Now let's see is Bezos and Ellison open their wallets, too.


Ah, Germany, your ability to turn meat into a pretzel is most impressive.


Level 14

Thanks for the articles!  Although I feel a bit early (it's the 9th and this actuator date is the 11th).

Level 14

hmm... meat pretzel  


Sometimes the GMAIL spam catcher has a brain cramp, like today when it flagged a security email blogger (well known...).

Level 16

Thanks for the articles!

K8's may be a great solution for some environments, but it feels like those environments would need to be unusually large and heavily coordinated.  

The larger and more complex the project or team, the more players participating in the final product, the more services they each write into the solution . . . the more likely the final product will be challenging to troubleshoot, manage, track, document, and control.

And the more cooks in the kitchen, the worse the stew.

Which turns around into a painful death spiral when one understands that the more things that go wrong with a project, the more people get added to the project to fix it.

It's nice to read that GMail is becoming even more complex in its efforts to discover and combat malicious attachments.

But focusing on that item is sort of like paying a lot of attention to the ants infecting a few trees in the forest, when our attention might be better directed at the forest fire that's burning the woods down.


Loses almost $400K, realizes this isn't a problem if you're wealthy.

First World Problems don't need to be ignored simply when someone can afford to make the mistakes and fund & enable the scammers.

Yes, it's nice to be able to put a bad mistake behind and out of memory, but the same mistake drains the live savings of many people who can't afford the error.

Yes, it teaches everyone to be suspicious and to confirm everything on every line. 

But vulnerable / naive people have no skills to protect themselves, while they still want all the benefits of the electronic world, without its vulnerabilities.

Maybe it's time for someone to build a better mousetrap?

Or maybe it's time for better education of users (from pre-schoolers to retired seniors), and ways to trace the problem / violator and apprehend them quickly.

It seems like much of the SXSW experience could happen online.  Cancelling the in-person conference eliminates a lot of the face-to-face and hand-pressing, along with the excitement generated by a crowd surrounding a person.

But it also reduces/eliminates the ability to spread real diseases (while simultaneously exposing people to online vulnerabilities).

The story about the GeoFencing data share to law enforcement reveals some of the need the Justice System has for useful data.

However, criminals reading that same story probably take away a reverse bit of understanding:  Don't bring your "smart" device anywhere, so you'll never be outed by it during a GeoFence discovery.  And maybe even bring someone else's smart device with you to set them up for a future fall.

People aren't nice by nature, it seems.  They become what they see by example, and by what they are taught.

Therefore glorifying criminal activities in any way (thriller action movies, first person shooter games, etc.) may sell product and stimulate adrenaline and endorphins, but that's not the goal businesses should have.  

Better to compete and reward challenges that improve our lives than to focus on promoting things that don't make us more healthy or better people.  Yes, "professional" sports can be great for those who participate in them actively, but for the fans in the stands gaining weight and spending big money to sit & watch (at stadia, race tracks, or at home via TV or streaming media), I'd love to see their enjoyment of challenge and failure or success directed at projects like seeing who can do the most to improve literacy in a neighborhood, city, state, country, continent.  Or who can do the best to clean up pollution, or reduce disease, or provide clean water to the most people.  Those are the kinds of activities that should be creating super stars who have our adulation and admiration.

(Rickety soap box abandoned now--my apologies to those who might feel differently)

When devices like Androids continue to be sold after the period in which their automatic security updates has ended, it's unfortunate for users.

Anyone still selling machines loaded with Windows 95, 98, NT, CE, 2000, XP, etc. isn't held liable for doing something irresponsible.  However, built-in network / business conditions may force users to upgrade when their obsolete/insecure OS can't do the job they expect.

I still see expensive equipment coming in the door with W95 or XP built into it, and medical vendors selling it like to play the F.D.A. card, saying "this was approved as is by the FDA and we can't sell it any other way without a long and expensive product upgrade and testing period and new review and approval by the FDA."

I say "horse hockey."  Staying on top of the security/hardware upgrade game is the vendors' responsibility.  Failing to do so, and blaming it on inconvenience, is irresponsible.  We have no alternative but to accept that kind of out of date product, therefore we're forced to isolate it behind firewalls to protect it and ourselves.

That's no way to run an I.T. industry.

This Corona Virus thing might be the push that tips a lot of telecommuting into a reality.  But it'll have all sorts of ripple effects. 
Needs for better home network speeds, home network hardware & bigger monitors, desk space, home cubicle, etc.  It might have an impact on public transportation and private auto sales.  Certainly delivery services will be challenged to bring product & food to users' homes, while simultaneously drivers' companies may be advised to stop having workers come into work, stop delivering. 
What a world we've built!  
Level 14

Pretty soon the list of things NOT cancelled due to Covid-19/Corona might be what gets published!

Level 12

Regarding SxSW being canceled and Covid-19, I was on a flight to Europe Wednesday night / Thursday morning when the travel ban was announced for the same reason.

Now I'm at my hotel in the UK, wondering about my return to the US. You would think it's easy since I am in the UK, but I am flying an airline that requires changing planes in a Schengen Area country. The airline I'm using has said they're looking into the impact on their schedules. I don't know what will happen, but fortunately I'm not worried, so I am going to enjoy the adventure.

This just in:

Network Managers may be advised to restructure their data flows to prefer UDP to TCP for all communications.  This might be in concordance with the World Health Organization's recommendation to avoid hand-shakes that could spread disease.

Level 12

thanks for the post

Level 15

Had a moment to catch my breath and found this posting to be refreshing.  Thanks for the articles.  Sometimes just need to think about other items.

Level 13

Thanks for the articles

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.