Category Archives: Cloud

Oracle Database 21c and learning resources

Oracle Database 21c has been released with several new features.   This includes Blockchain tables, which is a new type of table that only allows  insert operations. Other enhancements include a new JSON data type and new SQL Function JSON_TRANSFORM.  Oracle has also updated its Database Administrator’s Guide and JSON Developer’s Guide for this database version.

More information about these new features of Oracle Database 21c at its online  documentation site.

Oracle also has a free cloud tier option as well as a free entry-level training program: Oracle Learning Explorer.

Visual Studio Codespaces – an online only development environment

Visual Studio Codespaces – formerly known as Visual Studio Online – allows you to create Visual Studio solutions entirely in the cloud across multiple devices.  This development environment is currently in public preview.

Google Drive and Gmail free storage limited to 15 GB

Google accounts start with 15 GB of total storage spread across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos.   Once this limit is exceeded, users have the option of upgrading to a Google One plan.

You may check the total amount of storage currently used for your Google account at google.com/settings/storage.   Google also provides instructions on how to free up additional storage.

Windows Sandbox allows you to run programs in isolation without a VM

Microsoft announced the upcoming release of Windows SandBox, which allows you to run untrusted programs in a new isolated temporary desktop environment without setting up a virtual machine.  Windows Sandbox builds upon Windows Containers and is currently only available as part of Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise Insider Preview Build 18305.

Azure SQL Database Managed Instances offer greater SQL Server compatibility

Microsoft has made Azure SQL Database Managed Instances available in Preview mode.  These instances offer much greater compatibility with traditional SQL Server when compared with Azure SQL databases.

A free Azure account can be created at azure.microsoft.com/free.

More documentation can be found at:

Visual Studio Extensions Marketplace

Extensions for the Microsoft Visual Studio suite of products can be found at marketplace.visualstudio.com.  Extensions add support for languages not included in Visual Studio, aid in IDE development, or perform a specific task.

Some current popular extensions are:

Extensions can be free, preview, or paid.  Paid extensions are often charged per user per month.  Preview extensions are eventually converted to paid extensions. Extensions are either written by Microsoft, third party vendors, or individual developers.

More information can be found at code.visualstudio.com/docs/extensions/overview.

Meltdown and Spectre security flaws forces tech companies to release updates

Two recently detected security flaws currently named “Meltdown” and “Spectre” are causing Apple, Microsoft, Google, Intel, and others to release security updates to fix any potential problem.  The flaws potentially affect all recent computers, smartphones, and tablets that use a CPU performance feature called speculative execution.  There is no evidence that the flaws have been exploited at this time.  The general recommendation is to download updates for all devices.

Current Apple products may have the security flaws with the exception of the Apple Watch.  Apple is continuing to work on updates and released a statement at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208394.

Microsoft issued guidance for Windows users, SQL Server, Windows Server, and has updated most of its Azure infrastructure and will continue to do so.  Security update KB4056890 also updates Internet Explorer and Edge browsers.   Microsoft also issued update KB4056892 for various Windows versions but notes that some AMD processor machines to stop working after installing it.

Google recommended that Chrome users should turn on site isolation.  Google also responded with these blog posts:
https://support.google.com/faqs/answer/7622138
https://googleprojectzero.blogspot.com/2018/01/reading-privileged-memory-with-side.html

Mozilla is working on updates and a fix is available in Firefox 57.0.4 version.

Amazon has updated its servers already and will continue to do so.

Intel released a statement as well and is releasing updates.  It also reported some systems rebooted more frequently after the updatesAMD also released a statement on their CPUs and speculative execution.

Oracle issued updates for MySQL, Java, PeopleSoft and other products that it maintains.

The CERT Vulnerability Notes Database has logged this issue as Vulnerability Note VU#584653.

eWeek reported that Linux 4.15 was released with Meltdown and Spectre patches and that further patches would be made for this issue.

More information can be found at https://spectreattack.com.