If Jules Verne Built a Data Center

It’s Microsoft’s Project Natick, an experimental undersea data center off the coast of Scotland.

It has 12 racks containing 864 standard Microsoft datacenter servers and has enough storage for about 5 million movies.

Spencer Fowers, senior member of technical staff for Microsoft’s special projects research group, prepares Project Natick’s Northern Isles datacenter for deployment off the coast of the Orkney Islands in Scotland. The datacenter is secured to a ballast-filled triangular base that rests on the seafloor. Photo by Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures.

There are also 2 underwater fish cams.

More at Microsoft.

Roughing It

Have friends who are into glamping?

Requirements:

  • Unique structure
  • Immediate access to the outdoors (as opposed to a hotel lobby)
  • All of the comfort of a hotel (at the very least a bed and hot water)

 

Or in other words:
It’s a way to experience the untamed and completely unique parts of the world—without having to sacrifice creature comforts.

Then here’s a perfect gift to help keep them connected – a $599.95 battery with 428 watt-hour capacity, to power lights, USB devices—even a mini fridge.

There’s an App for That – Birth Control

FDA allows marketing of first direct-to-consumer app for contraceptive use to prevent pregnancy.  

The app, called Natural Cycles, contains an algorithm that calculates the days of the month a woman is likely to be fertile based on daily body temperature readings and menstrual cycle information, a method of contraception called fertility awareness. Designed for mobile devices, it is intended for use in pre-menopausal women aged 18 and older.

 

Culture: Burning Man Edition

If you ever considered attending Burning Man, but didn’t find a week in the desert appealing, now you only have to endure Washington, DC.

The Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery has a large-scale, participatory work from the desert gathering. The exhibition takes over the entire Renwick Gallery building and surrounding Golden Triangle neighborhood, bringing alive the maker culture and creative spirit of this cultural movement.

 

 

How Hot Was It?

July was the hottest month ever recorded in Burlington, Vermont, according to records from the local office of the National Weather Service.

And you know the warnings against leaving pets and children in the car, no matter how briefly you’ll be away.

Apparently, the warning is just as applicable for the parabolic mirror you plan on converting into the best solar oven ever.

 

 

Apple Joins Microsoft and Adobe with Patches

It’s another Patch Tuesday week with Apple joining Microsoft and Adobe in issuing security updates.

Pain Reduction Tip: Keep a current image handy as it’s much easier and more certain to restore your system if you encounter a bad patch than attempting to back it out/uninstall it.  And be especially mindful with Windows 10 and Office 365 automatic updates.

Apple Releases Multiple Security Updates

  • iTunes 12.8 for Windows
  • iCloud for Windows 7.6
  • Safari 11.1.2
  • macOS High Sierra 10.13.6, Security Update 2018-004 Sierra, Security Update 2018-004 El Capitan
  • watchOS 4.3.2
  • tvOS 11.4.1
  • iOS 11.4.1

Adobe Releases Security Updates
Adobe Acrobat and Reader, Adobe Connect, and Adobe Experience Manager.  And of course, as always, the not to be gone soon enough Adobe Flash Player.

See Krebs on Security for a full overview and recurring admonition to ditch Flash. 

 

 

Memory Lane – Laptops

I just remembered that once, log ago and far away (mid-1980s), I had an NEC PC-8201 (Radio Shack marketed it as the Tandy 100), quite possibly the first “laptop” computer.

It ran 16 hours on 4 AA batteries!   It’s probably stashed away in one of the overwhelming number of boxes yet to be unpacked from my last move (2005) along with any number of technological artifacts.

Quick Facts:

Announced:     March 1983
Price:   US $599 w/ 8K RAM
Weight:            3.8 lbs.
CPU:    80C85, 2.4MHz
RAM:   8K, 32K max.
Ports:   RS-232, parallel port, bar code reader, 300 baud modem
Display:           40 X 8 character LCD display
Power: 4 ‘AA’ batteries or external 9vdc power supply
Storage:           audio cassette in/out
OS:      Microsoft BASIC v1.1 in ROM

I even stumbled across an active project site devoted to it.

I’d take it with me on walks, stop and sit with my back against an old tree and type away, expressing whatever was on my mind at that very moment.  Not being one to discard things unnecessarily, I probably have those old (ancient?) missives archived on some floppy, firmy, tape, or CD/DVD somewhere.  <grin>  Hard to convince myself that even if I did find and resuscitate them, it would be significantly illuminating.  But then again…………………..

Fur Babies

 

Is there no limit to what can be spent on our pets?  I offer Neuticles, prosthetic testicles for neutered pets, for your consideration.  Over 500,000 (is that each or pairs?) since 1995.

And don’t get me started on cloning!

Barbra Streisand revealed in an interview that two of her three Coton de Tulears had been cloned from her beloved late dog Samantha, who died last year at the age of 14.

 

 

Memory Lane

At Vault Of VHS, Vaulto humbly puts together these portraits of the lowly VHS tape. Many hours of collecting, scanning, and photoshopperey have gone into this effort of preservation. No two tapes are the same here. you may find some that look familiar, or seem like a tape that has come before, but look closely if you dare. Something is different, be it a sticker, or a manufacturing date

 

 

(not so) Boring Company News

The Boring Company has been selected by the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT), on behalf of the City of Chicago, to design, build, finance, operate and maintain an O’Hare Express service. The Chicago Express Loop will provide fast and convenient transportation between O’Hare Airport (Terminals 1-3) and Block 37 in downtown Chicago.

Loop is a high-speed underground public transportation system in which passengers are transported on autonomous electric skates traveling at 125-150 miles per hour. Electric skates will carry between 8 and 16 passengers, or a single passenger vehicle.

 

June Patch Tuesday

Here we are again, another Patch Tuesday week.

June 2018 Security Updates

Release Date: June 12, 2018

The June security release consists of security updates for the following software:

  • Internet Explorer
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Microsoft Office and Microsoft Office Services and Web Apps
  • ChakraCore
  • Adobe Flash Player

And if you missed it, there were also recent patches to iOS, Acrobat, and Firefox.  Manually check, just to be certain that you have them.

 

Don’t Mess with a Librarian

Randolph librarian wins surprise judgement against Equifax

RANDOLPH — In a small claims court ruling that surprised even the victor, a self-described member of the “librarian resistance” has won a $600 judgment against Equifax, the credit ratings agency that collects financial data on nearly a billion consumers and businesses worldwide.

And KrebsOnSecurity took notice as well.

What’s not clear is the context of the photo they used.

 

Reboot Your Router – NOW Department

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is warning that a new malware threat has rapidly infected more than a half-million consumer devices. To help arrest the spread of the malware, the FBI and security firms are urging home Internet users to reboot routers and network-attached storage devices made by a range of technology manufacturers.

The data is/are sketchy, but most reports recommend, at the very least, rebooting your router.

Firmware updates may be in order for the following presumably targeted devices:

  • Linksys E1200
  • Linksys E2500
  • Linksys WRVS4400N
  • Mikrotik RouterOS for Cloud Core Routers: Versions 1016, 1036, and 1072
  • Netgear DGN2200
  • Netgear R6400
  • Netgear R7000
  • Netgear R8000
  • Netgear WNR1000
  • Netgear WNR2000
  • QNAP TS251
  • QNAP TS439 Pro
  • Other QNAP NAS devices running QTS software
  • TP-Link R600VPN

There’s no easy way to know if a router has been infected by VPNFilter. For more advanced users, Cisco provided detailed indicators of compromise in Wednesday’s report, along with firewall rules that can be used to protect devices. Ars has much more about VPNFilter here.

The advice to reboot, update, change default passwords, and disable remote administration is sound and in most cases requires no more than 15 minutes. Of course, a more effective measure is to follow the advice Cisco gave Wednesday to users of affected devices and perform a factory reset, which will permanently remove all of the malware, including stage 1. This generally involves using a paper clip or thumb tack to hold down a button on the back of the device for 5 seconds. The reset will remove any configuration settings stored on the device, so users will have to restore those settings once the device initially reboots. (It’s never a bad idea to disable UPnP when practical, but that protection appears to have no effect on VPNFilter.)