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The Actuator – March 18th

Level 17

I hope this edition of the Actuator finds you and yours in good health and spirits today. The world has gone slightly cray-cray these past few weeks. It seems like yesterday I found myself elbow deep in fried pork products wondering if I would be able to fly home before the borders were closed. (Spoiler alert: I did). 

Anyway, here’s a bunch of links that I hope will serve as a slight distraction from your regular day. As always, you’re welcome. 

Pentagon asks court for time to reconsider JEDI award to Microsoft
And now we wait another four months for the Pentagon to review everything. Clearly, theyre not in a hurry to get the project, you know, started.

Live Coronavirus Map Used to Spread Malware
I don’t know in what Circle of Hell Dante would place the folks responsible for this, but I’m sure it’s close to the center. 

Microsoft Build 2020 Cancelled, Replaced with Virtual Event
This week I'm attending the Microsoft MVP Summit, also a virtual event this year. My guess is Microsoft hopes to use the MVPs to root out any bugs and make Build a success.

ACLU sues US government over its use of facial recognition at airports
Yes, I have similar concerns.

Two-factor authentication isn't as secure as you might expect
If you are a target, you will be hacked. That is *not* a reason to avoid using 2FA. 

The Airport Chaos Is the Product of Negligence
I'm a big fan of asking questions such as "why and "what if." Then again, I'm a DBA at heart, and were always planning to fail.

Top Tips for Secure Remote Working
You know, in case you suddenly have a need for the entire office to be working remote.


I've been trying to buy this flu mask but Amazon says they are all sold out.


Level 13

Thanks for the articles!

Level 14



A terrific collection of items to make us groan, chuckle, wince and sigh!


Nice job!

Level 15

Thanks again for these!

Level 13

Thanks for the articles.

Level 20

I like the flu mask Tom!

Level 20

Yeah the people that make malware in a flu virus update page have a special place in hell reserved for them!

Level 12

I wanted to say "Thank you" for the articles, but you already said "you're welcome" so now I feel like I'm saying "Thank you" too late. 😀


Well, even Anakin got flack from the Jedi counsel for not being ready, for maybe not even being the right one for the job.  They wanted more time for him to mature, and to allow them to ensure he deserved the job instead of letting the Evil Emperor force the experts into giving Anakin the job when he might not be the right person for it.


We soon saw their original decision was based in wisdom, while the Emperor's decision was based in greed for power.


I can imagine a parallel with our JEDI program.

Tying malware into a COVID-19 world infection map is pretty stupid.  Of course, so are those who spread/create malware, so what else would one expect?


I can only imagine good things if Build 2020 is first addressed by MVP's.  It sounds like a great precedent. 

Using facial recognition hardware/software at public transportation areas would make sense if it were reliable.  It's already been proven to be unreliable.  So why proceed with it until better systems/software/tech have been developed that ARE reliable?


Maybe the powers-that-be are simply trying to calm the masses by saying "See?  Look--we're doing something about the very issues you're worried about."


On the other hand, whatever happened to due diligence, justifiable cause, and freedom from false accusations and imprisonment?  If we toss those into the waste basket are we any better than any military / totalitarian dictatorship?


In medicine we say "First, do no harm."  Sometimes that seems like a good thing in law enforcement, but I readily admit that sometimes bad things happen, which could have been prevented if we'd played fast & loose with the rules.



My first reaction to the sim-swap-hack-attack was "Whew!  I'm glad I'm not important enough for someone to go that far out of their way to hack ME!"

Then I realized:  that's probably EXACTLY what the hackers want me to think.  I'm lulled to sleep by my ignorance of how important hacking the little guy's phone & MFA are.

There's one of the troubles with the convenience of everything on the Internet.  Even bad things become convenient for the bad folks.

The "What if?" article exemplifies some of the way highway engineers and INFO Highway Engineers plan for disasters and contingencies.  It's done at every level that can be funded, to ensure Five 9's or better uptime and availability.

Twenty years ago we put two NIC's in a server and connected them to two access switches upstream using teaming and/or LACP.  The two upstream access switches were connected to dual distribution switches using multiple links. And the distribution switches were connected to dual core switches.  This was mirrored everywhere that resilience and redundancy were determined to be necessary.

Across a WAN we did it with multiple paths and OSPF, and multiple providers with BGP.

It's no different today--the needs are the same, but we may have provided much larger paths, we might have hosted many servers in multiple UCS chasses spread across multiple data centers connected through resilient/redundant providers in separate ditches so a tornado or a backhoe couldn't easily disrupt business.


WE know how to do this.  The D.O.T. knows how to do it.  One would hope that the simple rush of implementing good planning for managing travel in a COVID-19 environment wouldn't eliminate asking help from people who know how to do it safely and reliably.

The Top Tips for Securely Working Remotely article seemed lightweight.  The steps defined required a business or person to have their ducks in a row long ago.  No one's going to be able to do anything with that data when the employees all went to work from home last week.


I was hoping for emergent items that could be addressed today to fix serious problems that weren't considered in the past years.


It's good information; just not anything new, nothing emergent is addressed, IMHO.

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.