Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ever wondered how Google manages insane amounts of data? Take a peek at their datacentres...

Humans are pretty excessive creatures by nature.
We like it when stuff occurs in large amounts, for example:

- Money
We all wanna be rich. Disagree? Not buying it. 
If I had a million bucks and gave it to you, would you bin it? 
Didn't think so.
- Food
Might not apply to everyone, but a lot of food 'aint a bad thing :) 
I know I like a big meal!
- Waste
Man oh man we humans are Professors of Waste. 
Go and Google the amount of waste that a single cruise ship generates for example. It's sickening stuff.

- Humans.
How many of us are there on the planet?
More than a handful I would guess...

You get my drift. 
We like excess, and that includes data - we generate crazy amounts of data on a daily basis.

I do not know the figures offhand, but just take a moment to consider the millions of people who are online right this second, doing their thing surfing, downloading, uploading, streaming, emailing, using VOIP, Facebook-ing, tweeting, hacking, backing up, syncing their devices to the cloud, using remote desktop, Teamviewing, IRC'ing (do they still do this? :)), Dropbox'ing... man I could go on all year, and all of next year probably as well!

The point is, huge amounts of data require a serious infrastructure.
Now I am not talking about your corporate office server room with a few rack-mounted switches and a handful of servers.
We are talking Google type stuff here, and I gotta say I look at things a little differently when I stop to think that as I am typing this post, my data is being saved live into a datacenter like one of these Google monsters...

Click each image to enlarge and see the description of each facility:

Little bit crazy, 'aint it?
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Scammers also need money at this time of year... :)

We all know about fake banking emailers that regularly get sent out, giving the impression that the mail is being sent from a legitimate financial institution.
We also know all about what to watch out for - I have written several posts on the topic in the past which you can search for if you need to find out more.

Anyway, I just received the latest FNB scam in my Inbox, and thought I would put some points out there about it:

- The mail supposedly comes from - alarm bells should be ringing there already, since the sender domain specified is (not;

- The mail did not go to Junk Mail, so somehow it got past my ISP filters and Outlook's Junk Mail filter;

- The body of the email is a bit dodgy (it's the first giveaway - oddly worded, no branding, plain text email...), and it goes like this:

         Debt. order ending 41405 from Old Mutual has deducted your monthly payment. 
         Click here to stop the order if you are not satisfied. 

- If you click the link, you get to the page below, which actually looks pretty good if you aren't keeping up to date with the current FNB page. If you enter anything into the User ID and Password fields, it actually goes on to a One-Time PIN page, keeping up a pretty good illusion of legitimacy.:

The fake FNB site...

The fake OTP page...

- Rule of thumb: ALWAYS check the URL (web address at the top of the page) to see where you really ended up after clicking the link. Check this one out - it's the "smoking gun"...:

The fake URL...

Somehow I just don't buy ""...
Once again, ALWAYS check the URL above the site. 

Sure, there are ways to mask URL's, but so far in all the scam mails I have received I have never come across a masked URL, so hopefully things remain this way...!
Be safe out there - even scammers need to eat, and they will send out anything remotely believable to try and prey on unsuspecting victims.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Is it about to be the End of the World as we know it? Do you feel fine...?

So according to the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar (most notably used by the Maya), time as we know it ends on 21 December 2012 (just over 5 weeks from now).

This has caused some commotion in the minds of doomsday lovers all over, who eagerly await the date just so that they can say "See? I told you so!".
Thing is, if the world does actually end on 21 December 2012, there 'aint gonna be no morning after to tell anybody anything anyway :)

So why do humans have this morbid fascination with the end of time?
From religious sects and cults who threaten imminent damnation upon us all, to New Age movements who throw their own spin on the theme, back to Biblical times and probably even before that too.
The Jehovah's Witnesses are especially good at (unsuccessful) end-of-world predictions, having conjured up many (failed) apocalypse dates, and they continue to do so even now. Keep up the good work guys!

Let's not forget that for some people, the 21 December 2012 will in fact be the end of their world (old age, illness, crime, car accidents, natural disasters etc. - we all gotta go some time!)

So where will you be on "Armageddon's Eve"...:
- Partying it up like there is (literally) no tomorrow?
- Chilling out and watching the event on a big screen somewhere?
- Engaging in activities that you otherwise might not engage in, were tomorrow not the end of the world?
- Indifferent to it all?

All I can say is this:
I personally think that we are all going to wake up quite healthy on the morning of 22nd December 2012, and those of us who didn't buy into the apocalypse are going to be damn relieved at the thought of all the things we didn't get up to the night before... :)

Time will surely tell...
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