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The Actuator – May 20th

Level 17

I don’t want to alarm you, but Memorial Day is this coming Monday. I know. It feels as if we skipped most of March, and all of April. But here we are. I hope you’re able to enjoy the coming holiday with family and friends in some manner.

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


Here's Who Just Voted to Let the FBI Seize Your Online Search History Without a Warrant
I don’t understand how anyone believes it is OK to allow law enforcement access to your data without a warrant. 

Twitter announces employees will be allowed to work from home ‘forever’
Can’t wait for the updated job description “100% work from home, must live in Bay Area.”

Linux is Most Used OS in Microsoft Azure – over 50 percent of VM cores
I’ve been hearing this statistic for a while now, but never in a public announcement. Now you know why Microsoft loves Linux.

Our weird behavior during the pandemic is messing with AI models
Machine learning doesn’t work well when events suddenly no longer follow the normal pattern.

Elon Musk restarts Tesla production in defiance of county lockdown
I understand his frustration, but Musk is setting a bad example here. 

An outbreak of Coronavirus trojans and scams
Raising awareness of the many types of scams floating around right now. Don’t let your friends or family be a victim.

DoorDash and Pizza Arbitrage
Insights on how DoorDash, Grubhub, and Yelp operate.


It took us an hour to hike up to Goat’s Rock, but the view was worth the effort.


Level 14

Thanks for the links!  

Level 13

thanks for the articles. The FBI article raises my concerns about the ability to misuse the covid 19 tracking apps too.

Nice view at Goats Rock.  We have a couple like that up here in Duluth; if you ever get up this way, look me up.  I'll take you on some nice hikes or car drives.  Weather permitting, a boat ride in the Duluth Harbor, the lower St. Louis River, and Lake Superior.


But back to the topics at hand.  Being able to search anyone's history of web activity is the tip of the iceberg that will sink our privacy.  If you've ever forwarded a non-PC link or image, ever shared anything someone else might be offended by, ever done anything you'd rather your parents or kids or spouse or employer didn't see, this can't continue.

Talk to your representatives and senators and put an end to this if you value your privacy.  Because it's less private than ever because of this legislation.

Twitter workers staying home to work?  I've nothing negative to say about that.  I moved home for Covid-19 and I was satisfied.  I saved time & money on the commute, got more sleep in the morning and had more time for projects at home after work.

I don't see an issue if they can provider meaningful output stats showing people are as productive, or MORE productive, when working from home.

I'm not sure why Linux being used more in the cloud is news.  I think we all understood it was more powerful, more efficient, than the alternatives.  

Frankly, I don't actually care what they use in the cloud if it's reliable and affordable.  It happens "under the covers" to me, and I don't have a preference as long as the service is secure, available, and fast.  And that sort of is synonymous with Linux and its peers.

A problem with relying on A.I. and/or algorithms to predict what will be the hot new thing selling on the market this afternoon or tomorrow or next year is that the A.I. actually has no "I".  Without intelligence, it'll be pretty challenging to understand that if model A changes drastically, then all the predictions based on it are out the window.

A pandemic occurs, based on a virus?  Intelligent folks would learn from the last four months and write new algorithms to cover that contingency in the future. 

What will they do when a large asteroid hits the Earth?  Or when there's a Carrington Event with little advance warning?  Yes, each possible scenario could be analyzed and predictions built for it.  But the cost-benefit analysis on the work might suggest the ROI for the work is not high enough to warrant the new scripts.  It's a roll of those fancy new Solarwinds dice, right?  

I don't think I have time for the predictions and failures and successes.  I don't roll when stakes are that high.  I'm happy just playing to play the game of "Will it rain when I want to go for a walk at lunch?"

The story about the Tesla factory opening is thought-provoking; thank you for sharing it.

I'm all for isolation.  I worked for a health care system, and they really do care about slowing the growth of the pandemic in the effort to not overwhelm our hospitals, resulting in unnecessary deaths.

I'm also for people being able to pay their bills.

Where does one meet the other?  

Door-Dash and pizza Arbitrage was a fascinatingly frustrating bit of news.  I'd no idea people were so stupid.  But thank you for sharing the story--this is one my financier friends will enjoy.


Nice picture I do miss the trees now living in the desert sometimes!

Level 14

Great photo! @sqlrockstar 

Twitter and working from home. I'm with Rick ( @rschroeder ) Been home for the better part of 10+ weeks (occasionally going in 5 days total)..... I am well rested, definitely productive, saving a bunch of money on commuting and when I log out.... I am able to do things that would have been really hard to do if I was commuting 45 minutes home!.... It makes my weekends more enjoyable. (in a Covid-19 way! 😀). 

Level 14

Linux in the cloud. Considering the explosive growth of cloud services, Linux would be the obvious choice. Easy to deploy, less overhead, massive open source solutions and it scales reasonably well. As a user of cloud services, if it is secure, and functions well, and saves me money. I'm in! 


One thing is for sure... in hindsight shutting the country down has been a mistake but now people need to go back to work.  The longer people sit around and not going to work the worse things are going to get.  No one seems to be reporting on the increase in suicide, depression, and other side effects.  We didn't really know at first so looking back won't help now but prolonging the agony is only going hurt everyone in the long run.


I think some people may stay working from home now though.  In fact some companies may look at this as a test for way to move out of some cities and have employees support their businesses remotely now instead.  In this way it could be one silver lining in this disaster.


You're right @sqlrockstar this may finally be the year of linux!  It's just a few years later than originally forecast.  We initially did most cloud on AWS but it's looking more and more like our type of business actually fits better with Azure in a BIG way.  A lot of this has to do with the type and security requirements for the data.  From what I can see it looks like Azure is actually more secure than AWS although I'm sure some would argue that's not the case but just look at who's certified for what.


The above is despite the C2 Amazon cloud even.  MS may have been a little later to the game but they're VERY quickly getting the right certification levels needed.

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.