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The Actuator - October 12th

Level 17

I'm heading to VMworld in Barcelona next week, so if you are there let me know as I would love to talk data and databases with you. I'm co-presenting with David Klee and we are going to be talking about virtualizing your database server. I have not been to Barcelona in 10 years, I'm looking forward to seeing the city again, even briefly.

Here's a bunch of stuff I found on the Intertubz in the past week that you might find interesting, enjoy!

Cloud by the Megawatt: Inside IBM’s Cloud Data Center Strategy

If you are like me you will read this article and think to yourself "Wait, IBM has a Cloud?"

VMware, AWS Join Forces in Battle for Enterprise Cloud Market

This partnership marks an important shift in the market and should cause some concern for Microsoft. That being said, I also see this partnership as a last-ditch effort to keep VMware relevant before being absorbed completely by Dell.

Here are the 61 passwords that powered the Mirai IoT botnet

Proving once again that the cobbler's children have no shoes, we have an army of devices built by people that should know better, but don't put into practice the basics of security.

Twitter, Microsoft, Google and others say they haven’t scanned messages like Yahoo

I feel I have heard this story before, and I think I know how it ends.

Are microservices for you? You might be asking the wrong question

"Change for the sake of change is rarely a sensible use of time." If only they taught this at all the charm schools known as the MBA.

Latency numbers every programmer should know

Not a bad start at a complete list, and I would argue that more than just programmers should know these numbers. I've had to explain the speed of light to managers before.

7 Times Technology Almost Destroyed The World

Here's hoping the robots can act a bit more like humans when it counts the most.

Autumn has arrived here in New England, and that means apple picking is in full swing:

apple - 1.jpg

Level 20

Apples are good this time of the year I like the Honey Crisp the best!

Level 13

I wish I could go to's getting cold here.

Honey Crisp has been my favorite in recent years, too.  But I've been listening to NPR stories about new apples--some of which you can't buy unless you join a grower's club!

I'd like to try some that are reportedly even better than Honey Crisps:

Available for growing only by joining the Midwest Apple Improvement Association:

  • Ambrosia
  • Autumn Glory
  • Cosmic Crisp
  • Envy
  • EverCrisp
  • Jazz
  • Kanzi
  • Kiku
  • Lady Alice
  • Opal
  • Pacific Rose
  • Pinata
  • RubyFrost
  • SnapDragon
  • Sonya
  • SweeTango--the most intriguing to me at present!


Level 20

Dang some of those sound awesome!

Level 20

I wonder what would stop you from planting the seeds from the apples you buy???  Bootleg SweeTango's!!!  I can see it already pirate apple farming!

If it's anything like GMO corn, the seeds from your apples won't germinate by design--it keeps you locked into buying from the designer forever.  Which would be very disappointing to learn!

In that case it might be possible to just join the club for a very small fee--maybe nothing.  Alternately, you'll start hearing stories from licensed growers about having limbs stolen from these specialty trees, and unscrupulous people will graft them onto their existing orchard trees.

Level 20

OMG Cosmic Crisp!  Cosmic Crisp | CAHNRS

Preparing for its debut

One of the many challenges of breeding a successful apple is creating enough trees to meet industry demand. Based on propagation estimates, WSU has scheduled the release date for trees to growers of Cosmic Crisp in 2017. Working with a number of NNII-affiliated nurseries, and others to increase WA 38 planting stock, WSU recognizes that there will not be enough trees to meet the demand. Therefore, to help ensure a fair distribution of initial inventories among Washington growers, the university is conducting a drawing for trees to be distributed in 2017. The drawing has two-tiers: one for larger growers offering 15,000–20,000 trees; and one for smaller growers based on a 5,000-tree minimum. The drawing closes on May 31. Visit to submit an application.

The first to grow WA 38

WSU’s commitment to this apple is driven by a long-range focus on the people we serve. As part of our goal to be good stewards of the resources we’ve been entrusted with, and to improve Washington’s agricultural productivity, sales of Cosmic Crisp trees will be limited to Washington State growers for a period of 10 years.

  • Powering the Cloud--the more interesting thing to me is reading about "2N" UPS capabilities.  That's got to be expensive to implement!

  • A "battle for the cloud?"  Seriously?  Don't folks imagine there'll be a zillion different ASPs and cloud centers, even as there are many different recording companies, car brands/models, fish-in-the-sea?  Granted, a lot of money's at stake.  But that's also true for big pharma companies, and there are more than one of them.

  • The 61 Passwords that spoiled the lives of many people--ridiculously easy to guess many of them.  A few of the more cryptic are interesting to imagine how they might have been developed.

  • Social media companies saying they haven't scanned messages?  Skeptical cat remains skeptical.  I suspect they're all aware of content, and using it to target members for advertising.  Even if they're not scanning, the government is doing it at choke points around the nation and in the air.  See this article for more info:  What We Know About the NSA and AT&T’s Spying Pact | WIRED

  • The "microservices" article asks the right questions:  "Why do you want to change?"  "What's not working for you with your current solution?"  I see folks jumping on the change wagon just because a vendor hyped something "new and cool!" to them.  Let's don't go there just for the sake of change.  If nothing's broken . . .

  • Latency numbers to know--fun stuff for the techno-dweeb within me!

  • My favorite Actuator story this week definitely is the 7 Times Technology Almost Destroyed The World!  I live in Duluth, where one of the listed instances occurred.  There were at least two other incidents involving WW III and the Duluth SAGE system, at least one involving a fly getting into a computer and shorting out a circuit that made it look like Russian missiles were coming in over the North Pole.  If you're interested, here's a fun story from the local newspaper's interview of people who worked there:
Level 12

Good articles. Especially liked the Armageddon fails.

Level 13

7 times the fun; 7 times the danger.

Level 14

The 7 Times Technology Almost Destroyed The World was my favorite.  Love military mishaps and potential fallout(no pun intended)

Like the time the USS Kitty Hawk, CV-63 ran over a Russian Submarine in 1984.

Level 13

and have you noticed that 6 out of the 7 times, it's nuclear Armageddon??? and 5 of those 6 times were American issues

I'm impressed anyone came up with ANY close calls by the Soviets.  I strongly suspect they had as many of them as the Americans did, and maybe many more, given rumors of morale and funding and training problems. 

But for word of those close calls to slip out into the free world . . .  How many incidents have we NOT heard of, on either side?

Not to mention other nuclear powers, too.  If Great Britain or India or China or France had close calls, would we learn of it?  I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't hear of issues that are locked down in China, but how many "free" nuclear power countries besides the U.S. had them?  We'll never know . . .

Level 14

The 7 times the world almost bought the "dirt nap" piece was great.... Question... like others have noted ... how many don't we know about?

Messages not scanned... wow someone who respects my privacy.... Ya.. not so much!

IBM = I Bought Mine or Inferior But Marketable..... (just some oldies but goodies!)

VMWare and AWS.... time will tell.

sqlrockstar​ once again.... great stuff!

Apple picking in New England is in full swing. A bit smaller due to the drought... As a New Englander... my favorite harvest is the Cranberry Season... seas of red berries are a beautiful site.

Level 12

Wow, scary stuff with the nuclear and GMO near-misses.  I bet there are many more we'll never know about.

Passwords. So as long as humans have the ability to interface with automation the % of human error will always exist. Therefore the % of FUBAR will always exist as well. That alone will prevent SkyNet from taking over the planet. Flawed by design.

Level 13

i don't know - is Skynet really bad considering what humans put the earth through?

Yes.  Skynet really is that bad.  We don't have out-of-control A.I.'s (Skynet) building and deploying killer robots (terminators) to hunt us down to exterminate us as a race.

We may be doing it to ourselves with military drones, or unsafe research, or pollution, and some may argue those processes are out of control.  But at least it's people doing it to other people, with approval of some people.

Not machines doing it solely on their own initiative.

Yes, Skynet really is that bad.

But it's not hard to imagine Skynet becoming a reality . . .  And that WOULD be bad.

Level 20

Right here are some perfect examples of the worst:

7 Times Technology Almost Destroyed The World - Blog About Infographics and Data Visualization - Coo...

The real skynet o.O

The genetically modified crop one is crazy scary... we almost wiped out all plant life on the planet once!!!


Oh, don't I wish our programmers knew the concept of "latency".     The company I'm with was founded on the East Coast, and everything is very centered around that.   But I work 1700 miles away with a group of people from a company they acquired, which is one of a couple middle-US/western-US companies they acquired.   There are several custom applications written for desktops or iPads that can't take as long as 10 minutes to load its data depending on how much latency is on your WAN link.  The poor folks at these sites complain and complain, but the programmers tend to not understand how to program to minimize the effects of latency, or maybe not care. 

Just yesterday an administrator for one of the sites did the math and figured out that she could hire another full-time worker for the $$ she spends on her people waiting around for our applications to do something.  *sigh*   Their WAN links have sufficient bandwidth, most aren't getting near capacity, esp. at this site, but the programmers just think we need bigger links...

See my comments on that earlier up in this same thread.  I agreed with you--even before you provided your example--ha!

Level 21

Being from Oregon I can say I am pretty proud that somebody at Oregon State saved the world!

Level 17

More Mass Links of Distraction.. but always good fun.  It's also Olive Harvest Season in mid-east/Palestine. Fresh is best!

Level 17

You would never know unless you were there...I had an old co-worker (ex-marine) who was sitting on the other side Russian border in the 80's with his unit about to fire on a nuclear missile transport convoy. The order came back to stand down just before they were about to fire. One more catastrophe averted?

And on that note - here's my own link of distraction - Nuclear missile gets rear ended! - YouTube ...Warning : Language - use headphones if at work.

Level 13

Honey Crisp or Sweet Tango...  Honey Crisp Hard Cider..... Sweet...

Level 20

Funny how some seem to think you can somehow violate the rules of physics!

Level 20

Go ducks I guess then right?

Level 20

We're here just waiting for the next edition of actuator!  Tom must be banging away right now!

Level 14

So many close calls over the years.  It's a miracle we haven't blown each other up.


Ugh...I was out last week...just playing there should be the next issue today.


Seven times...I am sure there were more...

Big cloud...Big Iron....Big Blue

Level 17

Sometimes getting out of bed seems to violate the laws of physics for me.

Level 20

It's rough some days... it's even rough some days getting to sleep too if there's a LOT going on or you're in some place/hotel/city that's not the greatest.

About the Author
I grew up in Forest Lake, Minnesota in the 1960's, enjoying fishing, hunting, photography, bird watching, church, theater, music, mini-boggan, snowmobiling, neighborhood friends, and life in general. I've seen a bit, have had my eyes opened more than once, and tend not to make the same mistakes twice. Reinventing the wheel is not my preference, and if I can benefit from someone else's experience, that's good all the way around. If someone can benefit from my experience, it's why I share on Thwack.