The Day Computers Stopped

Over night on July 18-19, CrowdStrike quietly pushed out an update to Microsoft computers and servers. By 4 AM CDT, Help Desk Central at Texas A&M University was on alert of a problem campus wide. It seemed computers were stuck in a Blue Screen (of Death) restart loop, and Windows and Azure (cloud) servers were shutting down. Since nearly every Windows computer on campus – including classroom computers – were affected, the University’s President cancelled classes, and the IT professionals got to work identifying and fixing every computer they could find with the problem.

The CrowdStrike IT outage forced Texas A&M University to cancel classes Friday as IT professionals manually fixed thousands of impacted devices.

Source: KBTX.com

CrowdStrike is a global corporation, and their security software is in millions of computers world wide.

The global computer outage affecting airports, banks and other businesses on Friday appears to stem at least partly from a software update issued by major US cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, experts told CNN.

Source: CNN.com

How could such a small update do so much damage? That is the billion dollar question!

Ship Hits Baltimore Key Bridge

The container ship Dali, owned by Grace Ocean, crashed into a pier of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on March 26, 2024, at 1:28 a.m., bringing down the three main spans and three northeast approach spans.

The 985-foot-long ship hit the bridge in the early hours of March 26 after leaving the Port of Baltimore and losing power to its engine and navigation equipment. The bridge collapsed moments later, killing six construction workers, forcing the port to close and disrupting the shipping industry up and down the East Coast.

Source: NYTimes.com

Breaking Records In Heat and Inflation

I thought this was newsworthy. The US is going to fry this weekend, and it’s going to cost a lot more to eat, sleep, travel, and cool down. The high temperature forecast for my area in Texas on Saturday is 99F, but we’ve already topped 100F this year, and we’ve been hot since early May. It’s the I-10 corridor that is really going to cook.

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Brexit schmexit

Britain’s exit from the European Union is finally here. At the stroke of midnight, Brussels time, 5 PM Central US, on Friday, January 31, 2020, the deed is done.

Britain formally exits the European Union on Friday night, casting off from the Continent after nearly half a century and ending a debate that had convulsed the country for more than three years.

Source: New York Times: Britain’s Brexit Shrug: Let’s Just Get On With It

By the sounds of it – and going by how long it has dragged on – Britons are tired of it all and just want to get on with life. Not so fast. For all this time – time supposedly used to negotiate trade deals and legal separation agreements – it seems like very little was done: for the next 11 months they’ll work out trade relations.

YouTube’s Dear John Letter

Well, I finally got my Dear John letter from YouTube. They’re raising their monetization requirements and kicking little guys to the curb if they don’t have the numbers. The new threshold is 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of view time in the past 12 months.

The Great YouTube Demonetization Controversy Continues

Folks want to blame Logan Paul for this latest policy change. He’s a popular (15 M subscribers) YouTube creator who posted a video where he showed a dead body in a Japanese forest known for hosting suicides. A YouTube spokesperson had this to say, “Sometimes our systems get it wrong, which is why we’ve encouraged creators to appeal.” (Source: The Guardian). I say sometimes they don’t get it at all, but I don’t blame Logan Paul. I blame YouTube: adopting weak business practices and morphing into a traditional media outlet replete with ass-kissers for advertising dollars.

I guess there’s Vimeo…

FCC Thinks You Should Pay for How Much Internet You Use

FCC Boss: You Should Pay for Internet By How Much You Use [POLL]. Source: mashable.com

As of May 22, 2012, 69% said “It’s price gouging”; 14% said “It’s a free market, event if I don’t like it” and 14% said “Depends on the price.”

I said:

This sounds like the best way to shut down free market and small business and lower-than-middle income consumers. The Internet is my livelihood and my entertainment. I can’t live without it and I can’t live with higher prices.

I can understand higher prices for more bandwidth limits, but a per byte charge will change my life for the worse.

I hope internet companies lobby/fight this. Like Neal Bloome says, would you pay $200 per YouTube video? How about $50 to play Mafia Wars for 1 day on Facebook? No? Well Mr. Genachowski doesn’t care, but I hope Mr. Zuckerberg cares or Mr. Kamangar cares.

The Day the Internet Went Dark

LOS ANGELES (AP) — In a move that heightens the growing tension between Silicon Valley and Hollywood, Wikipedia and other websites went dark Wednesday in protest of two congressional proposals intended to thwart the online piracy of copyrighted movies and TV programs. Source: Protest exposes Silicon Valley-Hollywood rivalry – Yahoo! News.

SOPA Getting Makeover But Still Alive #stopSOPA

I wrote the following on the PopVOX website.

I oppose H.R. 3261: Stop Online Piracy Act because…it will punish every Internet consumer. First, everyone should know that the Internet removed barriers to both legitimate and illegitimate business around the globe. Second, America is a large part of the global economy and the Internet. If Hollywood or US pharmacies want to fight piracy and fraud they need to do that on their own terms and not punish the global economy. I can sympathize that they loose billions, but every industry looses to global competition – that is a consequence of globalization. America can no longer put up barriers to global commerce.

There is a link at the bottom of the Huffington Post article, “SOPA, PIPA Headed For Major Makeover“, that goes to PopVOX.

Aging Air Traffic Control UPDATED

Thirty years ago today air traffic control was changed forever.

On August 3, 1981 nearly 13,000 of the 17,500 members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) walked off the job, hoping to disrupt the nation’s transportation system to the extent that the federal government would accede to its demands for higher wages, a shorter work week, and better retirement benefits.  At a press conference in the White House Rose Garden that same day, President Reagan responded with a stern ultimatum: The strikers were to return to work within 48 hours or face termination.  As federal employees the controllers were violating the no-strike clause of their employment contracts. Source: http://eightiesclub.tripod.com/id296.htm

Fast forward to 2011 and we face a crisis. More than half of the replacement controllers are due to retire because of mandatory retirement rules. There is a mandatory retirement age of 56 for controllers who manage air traffic. And the minimum age (now) is 30. Do the math and all of the controllers they hired in 1981 were forced to retire by 2007. They made some exceptions and they replaced several controllers early, but the fact is we’re in desperate need of more air traffic controllers.

UPDATE
I find it a little ironic that this year the FAA ran out of money and furloughed 4,000 workers. Today the FAA got funding to re-open. They were loosing an estimated $30 million per day of airline ticket taxes.

Since authorization for FAA funding expired in late July, the agency has also been unable to collect federal taxes on airline tickets — leading to a revenue loss of approximately $30 million a day. If the dispute had continued until Congress returned in September, the federal government would have lost over $1 billion in revenue. Source: Senate passes bill ending partial FAA shutdown – CNN.com.