News Rundown

How is COVID-19 Impacting Digital Transformation? | Gestalt IT Rundown: May 27, 2020

This week on the Rundown, Rich Stroffolino and Tom Hollingsworth dig into a new survey of IT pros asking how COVID-19 is impacting digital transformation. Are these changes long term strategic changes or short term mixes? Plus HPE announces aggressive cost savings, 44.2 Terrabit per second internet is a thing, and GDPR hits the terrible twos. All this and more on the Rundown this week.

This week on the Rundown:

HPE Cutting Costs

Last week, following a lack luster earnings report HPE unveiled a new cost savings plan, aimed at saving the company $1 billion by 2022. Starting July 1st, the CEO, officers at the executive vice president level, and the board of directors will have base salaries cut 25%. CEO Antonio Neri said the company will realign is workforce to evolve its real estate strategy, estimating that he expects 50% of their workforce to “never come back to an office.”

Windows Source Code Leak

The Verge reports that source code for the original Xbox and Windows NT 3.5 leaked online. The Xbox leak includes the kernal, a custom kernel based on Windows 2000, as well as build environments, the Xbox Development Kit, and emulators used for testing. Tom Warren at the Verge reports that this code has been shared privately by homebrew enthusiasts previously. The leak of Windows NT 3.5 appears to be based on a near final version, and includes all necessary build tools. Microsoft loves open source now, but probably not they way they wanted it open.

Outlook Signatures in the Cloud

Microsoft announced an update for the Outlook for Windows client that will allow users to configure email signatures to be saved to the cloud rather than to individual machines. Signatures will be tied to Microsoft 365 accounts, and be loaded from the cloud for all sent messages. People weirdly seem really excited about this.

TI Eliminates Programming

Last week, Texas Instrument’s announced that the latest firmware updates for its popular TI-84 Plus CE and TI-83 Premium CE graphing calculators will remove support for assembly- and C-based programs. Once updated to the new firmware, existing apps won’t run and the firmware cannot be rolled back. According to President of EdTech at TI Peter Balyta, the move was made to “prioritize learning and minimize any security risks,” and he hopes the hobbyist community will help guide TI’s development of the Python programming language on the platform.

Facebook Workplace Growth

Facebook announced its Workplace communication platform now has 5 million paid users, up 2 million as of the end of March. The company also announced that Messenger Rooms is available on Workplace, letting users quicky start up group video calls, as well as support for inviting non-Workplace or Facebook users to jon by URL. Facebook also added Work Groups, which lets Workplace users great smaller chat groups outside of their larger social circle. The company also added Live Producer mode, letting video call hosts start polls, share their screens, and run Q&As, and video calls now support automatic captions in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian and German.

COVID-19 and Digital Transformation

It’s no secret that the reality of COVID-19 lockdowns have fundementally reshaped how businesses, and IT operate. But a new survey from AppDynamics puts some hard numbers to that. Their “Agents of Transformation” report found that 95% of responding IT pros said that their organizations have changed their technology priorities as a result of the pandemic, with 71% saying that digital transformation efforts were accomplished in weeks what was projected to take months or even years to complete. But 76% said they were worried about how this rush would impact the success of those initiatives, with 59% saying they are spending most of their time firefighting and creating short term fixes for problems. Challenges to these effrts were pretty uniform acorss respondants with managing website traffic spikes, providing a positive digital customer experience, lack of visibility into their tech stack, and managing mean time to resolution remotely all being challenges for about 80%.

Intel Buys Rivet Networks

Intel announced the acquisition of Rivet Networks, the makers of the Killer brand of ethernet controllers, wireless chips, and management software. Killer NICs are in laptops from Dell, Alienware, HP and others. Killer NICs are great for reducing latency and prioritizing traffic, so popular for gaming uses. Intel actual manufactured the Killer Wireless-AC 1550 NIC a few years back. The company will be rolled into Intel’s Wireless Solutions Group, and Intel will continue to sell Killer-branded products and license Killer software to customers. PC World also reports Intel wants to bring the Killer Intelligence Engine, which identifies the best WiFi signals and may recommend router upgrades, to Bluetooth.

44.2 Terrabits per second

Researchers at Australia’s Monash, Swinburne, and RMIT universities published an article in Nature Communications describing a new internet speed record of 44.2 Terrabits per second. If you need the comparison you could download more than 50 100GB 4K movies in a second. The researchers placed a micro-comb within a cable’s fibers to make data transfer more efficient and compact. Otherwise the setup used standard optical fiber and a single integrated chip source, meaning it’s possible this could be implemented on existing fiber infrastructure. The researchers tested this over a 75km connection, and said the use of shorter higher bandwidth connections <100km, particularly between data centers, drove the need to look into creating more bandwidth over existing shorter connections. More bandwidth over the same fiber, sound too good to be true Tom?

GDPR’s Terrible Twos?

GDPR celebrated its two year anniversary last week, and a new report from Access Now looks at how effective the sweeping privacy regulation has actually been. According to the report, 231 fines were issued under GDPR in the EU since May 2018, but notably, Ireland and Luxembourg, where tech giants like Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, PayPal, Microsoft, Google, and others are located, have issued no fines. The report also found that most regulators feel under resourced to take on these giant companies, with the EU’s Data Protection Commissioner getting denied additional funding last year. There’s no doubt that GDPR has at least made companies openly discuss data privacy and think about usage, but if enforcement is slow, do you think we’ll see a rollback of this Tom?

The Gestalt IT Rundown is a live weekly look at the IT news of the week. It broadcasts live on YouTube every Wednesday at 12:30pm ET. Be sure to subscribe to Gestalt IT on YouTube for the show each week.

About the author

Rich Stroffolino

Rich has been a tech enthusiast since he first used the speech simulator on a Magnavox Odyssey². Current areas of interest include ZFS, the false hopes of memristors, and the oral history of Transmeta.

Leave a Comment