I picked up my high school friends from the Geneva airport late last Friday evening, four of them, and I saw right away that we all look older, but what - life is good, maybe even better than ever. Best to ignore the passage of time, age is just a number they say, no?
I’m almost fifty and don’t like it one bit, can’t process it in my mind. So maybe for me age is more than just a number.
I was talking to a colleague of mine earlier that day, in the office, “five guys, three days in my house, I will be cooking dinners and driving them around, like to Chamonix, Annecy, Geneva and such.”
And she said “Wow, that’s impressive! You’re a good friend.”
In any good circle of friends, there are personalities that differ; it would be deathly boring otherwise. There needs to be a dark soul who walks twenty feet behind and doesn’t pick up the phone when the wife calls, then an outgoing happy-go-lucky guy to balance it, then one with a sarcastic sense of humor, but funny as hell. And one who has all their backs, and it’s very important, he will buy the tickets, check them in for the flight and send a message with a seat number. He will take care of everybody.
You may call it teamwork, actually you should.
There is one thing in the world that makes all the difference – you get the right people together, you get the chemistry. Call it Apple or Microsoft, and all of the sudden, you’re not just working, you’re creating things, you’re coming to work for fun. And you are en la cima del mundo - there is no better feeling that this.
There is, however, a twist to that. The US technology companies made huge innovations and impacted the lives of everyone, but they just design the product and the hardware is build somewhere else. China, by some estimates makes 75 percent of the world’s mobile phones and 90 percent of its PCs. There is an ongoing probe, reaching the highest level of the US government that investigates hardware implants on server motherboards made in China. It all started in 2015, when Amazon sent several of its servers to Ontario, Canada, for a third party security testing. They found chips, not a part of the original design, about the size of a grain of rice, made to look like signal conditioning devices. In simplified terms, the implants manipulated the core operating instructions that tell the server what to do as data move across a motherboard. Amazon reported the discovery to U.S. authorities, sending shocks through the intelligence community, as these servers could be found in Department of Defense data centers, the CIA’s drone operations, and the onboard networks of Navy warships.
As well as in banks and major corporations all over the world.
Outsourcing the production was a great solution in lowering the cost, but as it usually happens, one solution sets the seeds of the next crisis.
But last Sunday afternoon we were sitting at a highway parking with a great view of the Alps, the five of us with not one worry on our minds, just talking about whatever. These are the good moments in life.
Chinese fake chips or not.
Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler