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The Actuator - September 28th

Level 17

I'm at Microsoft Ignite this week, so if you are at the show please stop by the SolarWinds booth and say hello! I'd love to talk data, databases, and bacon with you, not necessarily in that order.

Here's a bunch of stuff I thought you might find interesting, enjoy!

Oracle's Cloudy Future

Last week was Oracle Open World, and we saw Larry Ellison talk about how much better Oracle Cloud is when compared to AWS. Read this and understand why Larry is wrong, and why Oracle is falling behind. In short, they are the new IBM.

The War On Cash

Long, but worth the read. My first thought was about the Star Trek future where money wasn't needed, and perhaps eliminating cash is the first step towards that. If so, then things will get worse before they get better.

Oh, shit, git!

Using Git? That's great! Make a mistake? You might want to read this.

Bad Security Habits Persist Despite Rising Awareness

Because you can't fix stupid, no matter how hard you try. Apparently.

Yahoo Says at Least 500 Million Accounts Breached in Attack

See preceding comment.

Top 10 ways to secure your mobile phone

Good list of tips here for anyone with a mobile phone. I like the idea of the remote wipe, will be adding that to my toolbox.

A Digital Rumor Should Never Lead to a Police Raid

I had never thought about the civil liberties aspect of a home raid brought about by IP address details. That's probably due to the fact I've never been worried about my home being raided, either. Anyway, interesting debate here.

This is how I imagined gminks​ rolled into work this past Monday:



That War on Cash article is rather well written. Day to day, people simply don't realise that every time they waggle their contactless-capable card at a shop's device, there is a record of what you bought, when, where, and over time how often you buy the same thing. Whilst this is also true of any card purchase, the convenience of contactless payments makes it easy to forget this.

I recently spent a week in London, and I didn't need to use cash once. EVERYTHING used contactless. You don't even need an Oyster card anymore to ride the underground network. If you have a contactless debit card, you're good. My commute was contactless, my breakfast was contactless, even my evening BEER was contactless! Not once did I have to provide poof of who I was. And the worst thing about it was that I simply didn't think twice about any of it!

Now, if you understand how payments are made (read that article if you haven't already), you know that there's a middle man between your bank and the shop. They know what you bought, and it all goes into a database. If this database is breached, then nefarious individuals will know not only that you like your coffee from Starbucks, and use public transport daily, they'll be able to work out without too much trouble what your daily movements are. From there it's not hard to guess what could happen...

We need to remember that whilst contactless, for example, frees us of the need to put our hands in our pockets and doff a tenner at the bloke in the ticket booth to get home, it also leaves us with compromised privacy, in that your bank knows you ride the tube, Visa (or whomever your card is powered by) knows this, and so does the company who ultimately receives the payment. You never had to prove who you were, or verify anything at any time. Odd, when you think about it... If you paid in cash nobody knows who bought the ticket, only that it was sold.

Privacy in society needs a reboot, IMHO, before the whole principle of it is lost

I have a good buddy of mind that was leading up the Oracle Cloud initiative. They were bouncing him all around the globe and practically ruining his life. They let him go Monday as he says it isn't working. So this article is pretty much on point.

War on cash?? Umm... this maybe closer than you think. SAP is beginning to push Blockchain. And when SAP starts to push something... watch out! They are usually ahead of such things.

Yahoo! and 500 million accounts? I would be curious to know how many haven't been accessed prior to 2010. I still have one and I received notifications years ago that all of my Yahoo! contacts' accounts have been terminated due to inactivity.

With police raids based on IP information I have heard horror stories on this whereas some innocent family's homes are subject to repeat raids. The technology to identify is not robust enough to sift through the spoofing technology that is used by the pirates and spammers. Be careful out there people...

Level 20

Oracle ruined SUN!


Go tux go!!!

Thank Goodness Google got android first!!! o.O


More WAR on cash... my fear is it's a new way to track people and their digital currency...

Blockchain gains congressional support -- FCW

There's never a dull Wednesday anymore, now that The Actuator shows up mid week.  Thanks for keeping this going!

Level 12

Agreed, silverbacksays​, but I'm afraid the whole principle of privacy is already lost.  There is already a generation of adults that were raised in an over-connected, over-sharing, anti-private world, and they have little to no expectation of privacy.  I don't think that anything, short of massive technological failure, regression, etc. can reboot privacy in society at this point.  Just my two cents, still cash, FWIW.

Indeed, bleggett​. I don't make a habit of wearing a tinfoil hat, but that article made me think about just how easily we give away our personal data

Level 21

ecklerwr1​ that graphic is totally awesome... sad but awesome!

Level 20

For sure!  While I was in school in the mid 90's we had SUN's everywhere... even Steve Jobs donated a bunch of NeXT cubes to Ohio State while I was there (pretty neat because it was the first truly object oriented desktop environment which btw it's kernel called MACH is now the foundation for all of the Apple operating systems [with it's own unix like history although heavily bastardized]... once again thankfully Steve Jobs came back and bailed Apple out as they were ready to totally go down the tubes)  I parted ways with Apple products during the time Apple was on the skids.  Discovering SunOS then Solaris and linux... I never looked back.  Now that linux in the form of RHEL and CentOS is so robust... the take over of SUN and direction things are going in with Oracle aren't has painful.  Also the 180 degree seemingly change on MS attitude toward linux and porting SQL server to linux... Oracle may be going to see some real trouble down the road.

Level 12

I have not had time to read all the articles yet, but am looking forward to the rest of them. Thanks for keeping this going sqlrockstar​!

BTW, I still wear my Sun Certified Systems Administrator (ver. 2.7) badge with pride!


My takes on this week's thought-provoking Actuator links:

Oracle's Cloud Future:    I agree--I suspect you're right and Larry's not.  Although if someone called me "the new IBM", I might not necessarily take it as a disparaging remark.  I could always liquidate my assets & travel in sunny climates, maybe buy a few islands (or small countries?) and retire with some like-minded friends.  Short-sighted, yes.

War on Cash:  It seems the vast majority of people desire convenience at any price--including ignoring and incurring risks they'd never do "in real life".  Most folks know not to speak their account PIN's or social security numbers loudly in crowds, know not to talk about their legal violations in police halls, know not to put signs up on their houses saying "My private / valuable items are stored in these specific locations, and here's how to get to them quickly and without detection."  But for the sake of convenience they'll do all these things, or their equivalents, on cell phones, note pads, PC's, and laptops.  Tracking MIGHT be necessary in a future world, but I hope it's not.  Folks may think cash may become obsolete, but that'll never happen as long as privacy is desired.  I see the war on cash everywhere I look, and I also see the accompanying vulnerabilities that the convenience brings, and the increased vulnerabilities that ignorance or refusal-to-accept-the-responsibilities-of-owning-and-securing-personal-devices brings to that equation.  It's one thing to think "Grandma can't have a computer or smart phone because she doesn't know how to secure it, or what's right & wrong to do on it, since she doesn't realize that it's inherently insecure."  It's another thing for Grandma to believe that she can do anything safely, simply because she trusts people to be good and ethical and build a safe environment for her.  Sadly, she's not the only one with this problem.

Oh, GIT:  It's a wryly entertaining article, but frankly there are several alternatives, all involving not being in a hurry and being competent.  For example:  Know what's going to happen before you hit Enter.  Pre-script and test everything before deploying on your production environment by building and using a proper test environment.  Make and keep backups of configurations so you can pull your fat out of the fire if you've ignored the previous steps and procedures.  Restore your configurations regularly to ensure they're valid ones.  Be responsible, act like an adult, take the extra time to get things right.

Bad Security Habits:  It's true--stupid probably can't be fixed.  Reading about issues and vulnerabilities and then not preventing or remediating them is stupid.  Don't be stupid; take the necessary action to save your data, your security, your company's future, your clients' interests.  You take off your muddy shoes before walking into your carpeted living room right?  That was preventative / protective action.  Do the same for your I.T. environment.

Yahoo's 500 Million Account breach:  I'm not surprised at the breach.  The size is new, but the fact that Yahoo hasn't contacted some (or many) of its customers to notify them that their credentials were stolen is just plain disappointing and dangerous.  Change your passwords to something complex and long, use different passwords for EVERY ACCOUNT you have, change your answers to the Security Questions.  Investigate, participate, and be an active member of the I.T. community if you're going to use technology.  Or pay the price in lost funds, lost network access, lost reputation, lost futures.

Secure your mobile phone:  I suspect a huge majority of people have absolutely no protection on their phones.  Again, ignorance appears to be bliss, right up until their phone is disabled, used to steal funds from their bank accounts, used to steal private messages and/or photographs, used to participate in a DDOS, used to infect/damage/infiltrate others' phones . . . the list goes on and on and on.  Secure your phone or give it up.

Digital Rumors and Police Raids:  Assumptions and mistakes and misinformation have caused enforcement to perform mistaken actions forever.  Why should I.T. be any different? Well, because we're BETTER than that!  We can help folks understand the limitations of IP addresses, and we SHOULD.  But it takes time on everyone's part to share that knowledge; folks on both sides aren't always willing or available or open to those training sessions.  But they should be.  No, they MUST be!  Otherwise we end up with inappropriate actions by our enforcement departments ranging from incorrect raids to performing military strikes on countries that don't actually have weapons of mass destruction.

Level 14

Wow... really great stuff this week sqlrockstar

Oracle - It might well be the new IBM.... Just because you are big doesn't mean you can compete...

The best by far was the cash article..... I am reminded of the old British TV series " The Prisoner" where #6 is asked for his "card" to ride the golf cart around "The Village".

Next phase... your paycheck is a debit card.... it never sees your bank account..

Git --- I am still laughing....

Protecting your Smartphone..... Basic for us but the sound of crickets for most of the public.

Thanks again...

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.