Z Trek: The Alan Zeichick Weblog

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Exploring the autonomous features in the Oracle Autonomous Database

Oracle Database is the world’s most popular enterprise database. This year’s addition of autonomous operating capabilities to the cloud version of Oracle Database is one of the most important advances in the database’s history. What does…
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Chatbots meet education at the University of Adelaide

In Australia, at 8 a.m. on ‘Results Day,’ thousands and thousands of South Australian year 12 students receive their ATAR (Australia Tertiary Admissions Rank)—the all-important standardized score used to gain admission to universities…

The scammer has a modesty obligation

This seems legit... Not. What made it worth sharing was the opening, “It’s my modesty obligation…” It’s that obligation that will ensure the hitch free transfer of our fund, of course. That doesn’t explain why someone at the United…
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All aboard the express train to the cloud

“All aboooooaaaaard!” Whether you love to watch the big freight engines rumble by, or you just ride a commuter train to work, the safety rules around trains are pretty simple for most of us. Look both ways before crossing the track, and never try…
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Knowledge requires context

Knowledge is power—and knowledge with the right context at the right moment is the most powerful of all. Emerging technologies will leverage the power of context to help people become more efficient, and one of the first to do so is a new…
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Hackers want your data columns — not your data rows

At too many government agencies and companies, the security mindset, even though it’s never spoken, is that “We’re not a prime target, our data isn’t super-sensitive.” Wrong. The reality is that every piece of personal data adds to…

Someone found bad things from an info@ address’ past

Yeah, I’m not worried, not when an email like this goes to an “info@” email address that I monitor. It’s a scam: The link goes to a site that tries to sell you background information on people. Don’t click on messages like this, don’t…

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (x2)

I received two spams on the same day, and with the exact same subject line. The messages, however, are quite different, and are quite laughably bad. Even so, don’t reply to such messages, even if it’s tempting to correct their grammar or…

Let’s join the Illuminati

Were they real? Were they dangerous? I’ll leave those questions to historians. However, if you believe in the Illuminati, you’re probably not going to join that secret society by responding to spam. Read, enjoy, but don’t respond to messages…

Do not destroy this scammer’s career, okay?

Such a tale of woe! None of it true, of course. Sorry, you’re not going to get a share of this £17,352,110 windfall from an abandoned bank account — because it doesn’t exist. Enjoy the email, if you receive it, and then delete without…
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Blockchain meets Mac 'n Cheese

Blockchain and the cloud go together like organic macaroni and cheese. What’s the connection? Choosy shoppers would like to know that their organic food is tracked from farm to shelf, to make sure they’re getting what’s promised on the…

It’s a really long subject line, but still spam

This is either a mistake or an clever attempt to evade anti-spam filters. There is no message body. I am inclined to believe it’s the latter, guessing that filters will look at the body of the message, not the subject line. Either way, the…
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Look out! Space junk! Where's Sandra Bullock???

If you saw the 2013 Sandra Bullock-George Clooney science-fiction movie Gravity, then you know about the silent but deadly damage that even a small object can do if it hits something like the Hubble telescope, a satellite, or even the International…
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Wishing Ted Bahr the best on the Bahr Gallery

Ted Bahr has the coolest art store on Long Island: The Bahr Gallery. Ted is the “B” of BZ Media – and I’m the “Z.” We’ve worked together, off and on, since the early 1990s, beginning at Miller Freeman in San Francisco. We started…
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USC shows how AI can make cities smarter

The trash truck rumbles down the street, and its cameras pour video into the city’s data lake. An AI-powered application mines that image data looking for graffiti—and advises whether to dispatch a fully equipped paint crew or a squad with…
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14 ways to optimize your application’s real-world performance

Users care passionately about their software being fast and responsive. You need to give your applications both 0-60 speed and the strongest long-term endurance. Here are 14 guidelines for choosing a deployment platform to optimize performance,…

Little spam boxes filled with cash

Little boxes, little boxes, all the same. If this spam has anything that makes it interesting, beyond the terrible grammar, it’s that the faux shipments are so detailed: 61x156x73m, with a capacity of 680 liters. Of course, this is spam…
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Wishing Cantor Barry Reich a wonderful retirement

Can you believe that Cantor Barry Reich has been with Peninsula Temple Sholom for 51 years? That’s an incredible tenure. He began at the Burlingame, Calif., synagogue as a liturgical singer who showed up on a motorcycle. He retires — well,…
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Don’t play “Topper” with someone’s grief

It’s so easy to relate to someone’s sorrows by saying, “Oh yes, that happened to me too.” A friend lost a job; well, you lost a job once. A friend lost a pet; well, your Fluffy got cancer and died. And speaking of cancer… or losing…

Hillary Clinton isn’t Secretary of State — hasn’t been for some time

If writing parts of a message in ALL CAPS lent credibility, this spam might be believable. But really? How long has it been since Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State? Look at the email addresses, look at the names, look at the typos. It’s…
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How not to fail at GDPR compliance

You wouldn’t enjoy paying a fine of 4 percent of your company’s total revenue. But that’s the potential penalty if your company is found in violation of the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes…
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The public cloud is part of your network — but it’s not entirely

The public cloud is part of your network. But it's also not part of your network. That can make security tricky, and sometimes become a nightmare. The cloud represents resources that your business rents. Computational resources, like CPU…
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How to streamline third-party security risk assessments

It’s standard practice for a company to ask its tech suppliers to fill out detailed questionnaires about their security practices. Companies use that information when choosing a supplier. Too much is at stake, in terms of company reputation…
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Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW) are essential for cloud computing

No more pizza boxes: Traditional hardware firewalls can't adequately protect a modern corporate network and its users. Why? Because while there still may be physical servers inside an on-premises data center or in a wiring closet somewhere,…
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Wandering into the Linux vs GNU/Linux controversy

Chapter One: Christine Hall Should the popular Linux operating system be referred to as "Linux" or "GNU/Linux"? It’s a thing, or at least it used to be, writes my friend Christine Hall in her aptly named article, “Is It Linux or GNU/Linux?,…
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Key takeaways from RSA Conference 2018

Nine takeaways from the RSA Conference 2018 can give business leaders some perspective on how to think about the latest threats and information security trends. I attended the conference in April, along with more than 42,000 corporate security…
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The perfect sport for CEOs

Oracle CEO Mark Hurd is known as an avid tennis fan and supporter of the sport’s development, having played in college at Baylor University. At the Collision Conference last week in New Orleans, Hurd discussed the similar challenges facing…
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Five things you need to know about microservices

Microservices are a software architecture that have become quite popular in conjunction with cloud-native applications. Microservices allow companies to add or update new or existing tech-powered features more easily—and quite frequently even…
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Blockchain increases trust between business partners

No doubt you’ve heard about blockchain. It’s the a distributed digital ledger technology that lets participants add and view blocks of transaction records, but not delete or change them without being detected. Most of us know blockchain…
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Staying awake, worrying about network attackers

Get ready for insomnia. Attackers are finding new techniques, and here are five that will give you nightmares worse than after you watched the slasher film everyone warned you about when you were a kid. At a panel at the 2018 RSA Conference…