Catch up on this week’s round-up of the latest hosting and tech news. Here’s what we’ve uncovered since our last edition.
Houston, we have a problem
While planet AWS might seem the ideal place for NASA to launch a mammoth 247 petabytes of data to, what it didn’t factor into its equations was how its budget would burn up as that data re-entered the atmosphere over Houston. In theory, NASA wanted to make all that data available to its army of scientists, however, the cost that AWS charges for downloading it means much of the data will be marooned on the dark side of the moon – or Seattle. Looks like it’s one small step for man, one giant profit for Jeff Bezos – a man who, coincidentally, just happens to have his own five-year mission (Blue Origin) to boldly go where no billionaire has gone before.
British Army salutes WhatsApp
In yet another example of how technology is being used to fight Coronavirus, officers in the British Army are now sending official orders through the chain of command using WhatsApp. The recent ‘about-turn’ in communications protocol comes as part of the army’s response to COVID-19 and means troops who receive an order through the encrypted messaging app must follow it in the same way as they obey written or spoken commands.
Under the new directive, all army personnel have to be contactable at all times via their smartphone where orders and directions will be sent using WhatsApp. It seems like a cunning plan, but one does have to wonder what happens when they’re marching over Dartmoor and out of signal?
Hong Kong begins quarantine tracking
Individuals required to undergo quarantine in Hong Kong are being compelled to wear electronic wristbands that link to their smartphone so their location can be tracked using WhatsApp or WeChat real-time location services. The new measure has been put in place to ensure that those returning to the region stay isolated.
State officials have tried to calm any privacy concerns by explaining that the apps don’t record the location of the individual, only changes in location between the telecoms and communication signals that surround those in quarantine. Only when the location changes will the authorities be notified and this will trigger them to contact the individual. With growing reports of people in other countries being fined or arrested for breaking quarantine, this form of tracking may become more widespread over the coming months.
The wheels come off at Google – literally
What could have been a burning issue for Google was, thankfully, averted, when a sharp-eyed engineer discovered that what appeared to be a hi-tech issue was actually a low tech problem. The incident began when the reliability team got notification of a server packet loss – where data fails to reach its destination.
While investigations told them an entire rack of servers had overheating CPUs, none of the scans indicated what the cause was. Left clueless, they took a physical inspection and it was here where one of the engineers discovered that the weight of the servers had caused the rack’s wheels to collapse. The angle at which the rack landed prevented its liquid coolant from flowing adequately and this had led to the overheating and subsequent packet loss. As of now, the term ‘data-heavy’ has a new meaning at Google.
WHUK customers keeping the world going
As governments across the world enforce social distancing and lockdowns to halt the spread of Coronavirus, isolated people everywhere are flocking to the internet. What makes this possible are all the companies and individuals with websites that provide the products, services, information, entertainment and social interactions that people are so desperate to find.
Our customers operate tens of thousands of websites, serving the needs of millions of people in many different countries, and lots of you are going above and beyond to help others during this crisis. For this, we’d like to give you a big thank you. Without you and your continuing efforts, people in all corners of the world would find life even more challenging than it already is.
We also want you to know that we are doing our bit, ensuring that whatever challenges COVID-19 throws our way, we’ll keep your websites going for you and your visitors so that you can continue to do all the good things you are doing.
Visit the WHUK website for more news, knowledge base articles, blog posts and information on our wide range of hosting services.