We start off with an update from our crew. Jessie is at Purdue putting her belongings into storage in order to clear out her current abode. Shahin is doing fine, all quarantined up down in Silicon Valley. Henry has big news: he’s completed his north-south journey and is now staying in a hotel very close to his newly constructed survivalist bunker near scenic Los Cruces, NM. What’s great for the workers finishing up the house is that Henry will now be there EVERY DAY to help them expedite construction and offer pro tips. That must be a dream come true for them.
Henry also announced that he’s going to host us RadioFreeHPC hosts for a live broadcast from his compound sometime in August. He’ll have his home pizza oven fired up and we’ll have a veritable feast while taking copious video of his new bunker and putting together a couple of shows. It should be a lot of fun.
Getting to our main topic, we discuss how the server business has been very healthy in the first quarter – growing more than 30% – which is astounding given these virus laden times. Henry links these results to his research that shows that Akami’s bandwidth use has grown a similar 30% during the first quarter. We speculate (and argue a little) over whether the bump in server sales can be attributed to folks buying pre-emptively to handle anticipated demand or whether they’re meeting current demand. Shahin and Dan feel that there was already excess capacity, since there haven’t been any reports of internet speed/capacity problems during the quarantine.
Our discussion continues on with speculation about just when the supply chain kink caused by the virus impacting component makers will hit the market. The lost production can’t be made up instantly and we also believe that there is probably going to be a demand shock at least with enterprise and, to a lesser extent HPC customers, because they simply don’t have the will to launch new IT projects in this environment. We’re not entirely sure we buy these numbers, since it’s from an analyst firm we’re not familiar with.
Reasons Why No One Should Ever Be Online. Ever.
Henry dug up a very timely hack this week, with an article detailing how hackers have built a Trojan Horse version of the widely-used Zoom video conferencing software. If you download Zoom from the wrong place, it will install Zoom – but with added ‘features’ that will allow hackers to pown your box – definitely not fun. So be sure you get your Zoom from either the company itself or from a reputable source.
Catch of the Week
Jessi: Her topic is how spending on cyber security lobbying has more than tripled in the last few years. The cybersec folks are, thankfully, lobbying in favor of more security and privacy, often in direct opposition to industry giants Facebook and Google.
Henry: The above referenced Akami article is Henry’s catch. He discusses how Akami is pumping out 167 terabits of data per second, but warns that this won’t be nearly enough when you consider the potential additional traffic due to the conversion to 5G. He puts forward a compelling argument that web infrastructure isn’t ready for the data deluge that is 5G. Nicely done, Henry.
Shahin: Brings up our recent “Charles Babbage: His Life & Times” dramatic presentation (it was awesome) to discuss how Baidu is now able to clone voices with just 3.7 seconds of samples. With more samples, it can change accents and even genders. He suggests that this could be good for our next drama foray.
Dan: Starts a group discussion about how some college students are now suing their host institutions over Covid19 disruptions in order to get a portion of their tuition and fees returned or reduced. Jessi, as our resident undergrad, weighs in with several powerful points while the others chip in with their old man knowledge.