Security Updates

First there’s Microsoft’s new IE vulnerability revealed Saturday:

Late Saturday Microsoft revealed a vulnerability in all versions of Internet Explorer that is being used in “limited, targeted attacks.” They are investigating the vulnerability and exploit and have not yet determined what action they will take in response or when.

All versions of Internet Explorer from 6 through 11 are listed as vulnerable as well as all supported versions of Windows other than Server Core. Windows Server versions on which IE is run in the default Enhanced Security Configuration are not vulnerable unless an affected site is placed in the Internet Explorer Trusted sites zone.

via Microsoft discloses zero day in all versions of Internet Explorer | ZDNet.

Then there’s the new Flash Zero Day exploit:

A day after reports that attackers are exploiting a zero-day vulnerability in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser, researchers warned of a separate active campaign that was targeting a critical vulnerability in fully patched versions of Adobe’s ubiquitous Flash media player.
No patch available yet for critical bug affecting all supported versions of IE.
The attacks were hosted on the Syrian Ministry of Justice website at hxxp:// and were detected on seven computers located in Syria, leading to theories that the campaign targeted dissidents complaining about the government of President Bashar al-Assad, according to a blog post published Monday by researchers from antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab.

Ars Technica

Finally there’s also this WordPress bug for users of a popular coder plugin:

Alex Mills announced an important security update today for his SyntaxHighlighter Evolved plugin. The 3.1.10 release includes a new version of the SyntaxHighlighter 3.x library to address an XSS security issue.

WP Tavern

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO): “Oregon Spirit” (Performed By Lisa Loeb)

I’m normally averse to profanity at this website, but in this case the curses and profanity are so richly deserved that I must post it. One other thing: good recovery at the Federal health care site (,) I’m glad that they could serve the healthcare sign up needs for Oregonians.

Warning: NSFW

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO): "Oregon Spirit" (Performed By Lisa Loeb) – YouTube.

More on this IT debacle at Information Week.

Solar Max

We are nearing Solar Maximum, which means that we will have some effects to radio spectrum telecommunications, like the X1.4 flare detailed below:

NASA has confirmed that a powerful X-class solar flare erupted from the sun on Apr. 24. Thanks to the space agency’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, there is photographic evidence of the solar event.

According to NASA, a solar flare is a “sudden, rapid and intense variation in brightness.” A flare takes place when magnetic energy that has accumulated in the solar atmosphere is suddenly released.

While harmful radiation from a flare cannot penetrate Earth’s atmosphere to physically impact humans on the ground, it can impact the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.

Here’s more about the Solar Max from NASA:

360-Degree View of the Milky Way From NASA – JPL

This video shows a continually-looping infrared view of our Milky Way galaxy, as seen by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. MORE INFO BELOW…

The icon in the lower right corner shows how the view changes over time, from our position in the Milky Way.

The mosaic comes primarily from the GLIMPSE360 project, which stands for Galactic Legacy Mid-Plane Survey Extraordinaire. It consists of more than 2 million snapshots taken in infrared light over ten years, beginning in 2003 when Spitzer launched.

This infrared image reveals much more of the galaxy than can be seen in visible-light views. Whereas visible light is blocked by dust, infrared light from stars and other objects can travel through dust to reach Spitzer’s detectors. For instance, when looking up at our night skies, we see stars that are an average of 1,000 light-years away; the rest are hidden. In Spitzer’s mosaic, light from stars throughout the galaxy — which stretches 100,000 light-years across — shines through. This picture covers only about three percent of the sky, but includes more than half of the galaxy’s stars and the majority of its star formation activity.

The red color shows dusty areas of star formation. Throughout the galaxy, tendrils, bubbles and sculpted dust structures are apparent. These are the result of massive stars blasting out winds and radiation. Stellar clusters deeply embedded in gas and dust, green jets and other features related to the formation of young stars can also be seen for the first time. Looking towards the galactic center, the blue haze is made up of starlight — the region is too far away for us to pick out individual stars, but they contribute to the glow. Dark filaments that show up in stark contrast to the bright background are areas of thick, cold dust that not even infrared light can penetrate.

The GLIMPSE360 map will guide astronomers for generations, helping them to further chart the unexplored territories of our own Milky Way.

via 360-Degree View of the Milky Way – YouTube.

Cloud done right

This Google Cloud Data center is a thing of beauty to anyone who has maintained large scale IT infrastructure long term. It’s well constructed, simply laid out, and efficient. The computing power displayed in these fully populated rows of chassis’ used to take a small army of hands-on technicians onsite to maintain and this would suck power that you would not believe and take untold miles of cable. With this layout I imagine things are much simpler and greener.

apgoogle data center
Google Data center, Associated Press Photo

The Price War Over The Cloud Has High Stakes For The Internet : All Tech Considered : NPR by 

It’s a timely topic, since there’s a price war going on as tech titans aim to control the cloud market. Amazon Web Services, an arm of the e-commerce giant, is the reigning king of large-scale cloud services. If you’ve ever watched streaming TV on Netflix, clicked on a Pinterest pin, or listened to music on Spotify, you’ve used Amazon Web Services, or AWS.

“We delivered computing power as if it was a utility,” says Matt Wood, Amazon Web Services’ chief data scientist.

A decade ago, startups and other Internet companies had to set up their own data centers and computing backbones, which meant a serious capital investment up front and fairly fixed computing resources.

via The Price War Over The Cloud Has High Stakes For The Internet : All Tech Considered : NPR.

Welcome to the new Host

My blog is now moved over to Hosting Matters due to their “all you can eat for under 12 bucks” hosting deal that I really couldn’t refuse. This is the first real post at the newly moved blog & at this point I still haven’t ported in all the photos yet. So for the next hour or so you will get 404’s if you click on photos…

Here’s a test of media uploading:

A visit to the nursery

Putin Decrements Our Peace Dividend: U.S. Ground Troops Being Deployed To Poland

If you were looking to the wind down of the Afghan war as creating a potential peace dividend, that’s now unlikely due to Putin’s nationalistic moves on the Ukraine.

Poland and the United States will announce next week the deployment of U.S. ground forces to Poland as part of an expansion of NATO presence in Central and Eastern Europe in response to events in Ukraine. That was the word from Poland’s defense minister, Tomasz Siemoniak, who visited The Post Friday after meeting with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon on Thursday.
Siemoniak said the decision has been made on a political level and that military planners are working out details. There will also be intensified cooperation in air defense, special forces, cyberdefense and other areas. Poland will play a leading regional role, “under U.S. patronage,” he said.

More from Fred Hiatt at The Washington Post