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Thoughts From Abbott’s Inbox April 12th, 2024

Sorry I missed you last week.  We were on vacation in Charleston, SC, and while I had every intention of putting something together for Friday afternoon, I never got around to it.  We were too busy eating and walking, with some fishing, shopping, and history mixed in.  But now I’m back, and I can’t believe I’m using an image of a New York Yankee (also a Michigan Wolverine) in this week’s edition.  Especially considering the photo came as he was celebrating his no-hitter over the Indians back in 1993. More on that, later, though…  Keep reading to learn more about AI, Windows 10, and Ozempig.

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Twenty Years of Gmail

Google’s Gmail platform turned 20 years old, earlier this month.  Think of all the data they’ve collected on you ( I still use my Yahoo account for personal email) that they then use to market to you (and who knows what else), all the while getting paid by advertisers…  Anyway, here’s a little more about Gmail getting its start through what many thought was an April Fool’s joke. 

AI for Essays

While there is now software that can determine whether a student used artificial intelligence to write their paper (or plagiarized), there is also pushback on how exacting the results are.  Some universities have stopped using the software to review papers, while they search for better options.  I think the best way is to make every exam (when it comes to those classes that require lots of writing) an essay test (get out those blue books) with every student present in the classroom.  Then we’ll see who knows how to write and who has studied the subject!

Baseball Mascots

As with many minor league baseball teams, the St. Paul Saints (Twins AAA affiliate in St. Paul, MN) are known for crazy promotions. One of their long standing gags is a ball-pig that takes balls out to the umpire, among other things.  Each year, the team has a ‘name the pig’ contest, with past winners including Pablo Pigasso, Boarack Ohama, and Squealon Musk.  This year, in a nod to the popular weight loss drug, the team chose Ozempig.  Of course, not everybody was pleased with that, but to the team’s credit, they’re sticking with it!

Security Updates

Lots of security updates (patches) for this week.  Your provider should be applying these (at least Windows and Adobe) for you, automatically.  Microsoft may have just set the record, with 149 updatesAdobe has a handful of updates, including those for PhotoShop and Illustrator, and Fortinet has a couple as well, for any of you outside the Ashton sphere. 

Vegas Hack

Last fall, hackers hit Caesars and MGM with a ransomware attack.  Caesars (even though the FBI recommends against paying) forked over $15M in ransoms (half of the $30M demand).  MGM on the other hand, refused to pay the ransom.  They lost $100M in revenues, but no customer data was compromised, and they expect their insurance carrier to cover those losses (which means our premiums will undoubtedly increase).  

Art

An employee of a German art museum was recently fired for hanging one of his own paintings amongst the museum’s collection.  Reminds me of being back at Progressive Insurance in the late 90s. They’re known for their multi-million dollar modern art collection (I used to walk past Mao on a daily basis), and an employee once hung one of their five year old’s “art works” on the wall, even going so far as to include a typed bio of the artist and explanation of the painting.  Needless to say the corporate art department did not see the humor.  

Supply Chain

In the grand scheme of things, a recent Home Depot data breach that led to employee emails being posted to the dark web is pretty minor.  However, this piece is a good reminder that your vendors and partners play a huge role in the security of your business.  If they’re not secure, or not taking the proper precautions, then you’re not secure, either.  

Windows 10

Take this as your first reminder that Windows 10 will be reaching end of life (EoL) in October of 2025.  At that point, you’ll need to pay each year (up to three years) for the security updates necessary to keep using your out of date Win10 devices… And just because you’re making the Windows updates doesn’t mean that the rest of your software (first and foremost being your endpoint security solution) will still work. Your best bet is to start budgeting now and make sure that all your devices are upgraded to Windows 11 within the next 18 months.

I’ll leave you for the weekend with a couple of random sports pieces.  The Masters started yesterday (as did NCAA hockey’s Frozen Four), and while I don’t watch a whole lot of golf on tv, I always turn it on for this one.  Came across a little teaser video for the event that I figured I’d share. And, I was reminded that it was 35 years ago this week that my namesake, Jim Abbott, made his major league debut as a pitcher with the California Angels.  He’s the only Yankee or Wolverine I’ve ever cheered for. This is a long one, but well worth the read.  

 

Hopefully it drives up soon and we can put the ark back in the marina.  Have a great weekend. 

Abbey

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