A computer chip.
Image: Lutz Schubert / Protocol

Small chips, big hacks and Elizabeth Holmes

Source Code

Your five-minute guide to the best of Protocol (and the internet) from the week that was, from a look inside Intel’s chip strategy to the fallout from Log4j to the sweater seen ‘round the internet.

The best of Protocol

Lasers and molten tin: Inside Intel’s plans for the world’s most advanced chip-making process, by Max Cherney

  • Intel is betting just about everything it has that it can become a world-leading chip manufacturer again. And at its rapidly expanding site in Oregon, the company is building new systems and new methods to make its most advanced products. Max saw first-hand exactly how it all works, and how much it means to Intel to get this right.

The Log4j disaster could get worse before it gets better, by Tom Krazit

  • The entire tech world is still coming to grips with exactly how big the Log4j vulnerability is, and exactly how it can be dealt with. But while small changes and patches happen fast, there’s a long road ahead and some big changes required before companies can ensure things like this don’t keep happening.

Elizabeth Holmes' lies were 'callous' and 'criminal,' the prosecution says, by Biz Carson

  • After months in the courtroom for the trial of Elizabeth Holmes, all that’s left is the verdict. The prosecution’s argument is simple: Holmes had a choice about how to run her company and what to tell the world, and she chose to lie. The defense says it’s far more complicated. And now we’ll see what a jury thinks.
  • Plus, don’t miss Biz’s look at how Theranos changed startup PR forever.

Rise of the restock account: How the PS5 shortage changed online shopping, by Nick Statt

  • Haven’t you heard? Scarcity is the new abundance. And the scarcity of one product in particular — the PlayStation 5 — has driven would-be buyers to do crazy things to get their hands on one, and created an industry filled with people dedicated to helping them. It’s affiliate marketing meets influencer culture meets the chip shortage, and it’s wild.

Chinese nationalists have a new target: Lenovo, by Zeyi Yang

  • Lenovo is in many ways a massive success story: a Chinese company that found a big, devoted global audience. It’s the world’s largest PC company, after all! But that position has brought scrutiny, and many in China aren’t sure that “a big global company” is such a good thing after all.

The stay interview is the key to retention right now. Here’s how to conduct one, by Michelle Ma

  • It’s hard to keep employees right now. It’s a hot job market, everything feels like chaos, and people are on the move. One way to understand what’s going on, and what your company needs to do, is to interview the people who aren’t leaving about what they want and need. It might feel odd at first, but it makes a difference.

A MESSAGE FROM ANT GROUP

In 2020, U.S. merchants sold over $54 billion worth of products to Chinese customers on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms, which rely on Alipay to facilitate the transactions. The year prior to the pandemic, Chinese tourists in the U.S. engaged in 800,000 transactions using the Alipay App, for sales valued at $232 million.

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The best of everything else

The internet runs on free open-source software. Who pays to fix it? — MIT Tech Review

  • Another question the Log4j problems raise is, who’s responsible for fixing it? So much of the internet is run by loosely coordinated groups of volunteers, or even individuals who don’t get money or recognition for their work. So what happens when things go bad?

How Shein beat Amazon at its own game — and reinvented fast fashion — Rest of World

  • What starts with a viral argyle sweater turns into a story about how Shein uses social platforms, just-in-time supply chains and a blistering pace of production to make fashion happen at the speed of the internet. You’d be hard-pressed to find a company that understands the modern moment better.

The shadows of removed posts are hiding in plain sight on Reddit — The Markup

  • Here’s your strangely existential question of the week: What does “deleting” something actually mean? Over and over, we’ve learned that what’s deleted is often not actually gone, whether it’s a Snapchat pic or a Reddit post. Where they go, and who really handles the cleanup, is often neither simple for companies nor obvious to users.

A deep dive into an NSO zero-click iMessage exploit: Remote Code Execution — Google

  • A wonky-but-still-understandable look at how NSO Group’s Pegasus software and FORCEDENTRY exploit work, and why they have everyone from the tech industry to the White House rattled. The fight between the exploits and the platforms is only going to get more important in the coming months.

Matter’s plan to save the smart home — The Verge

  • Matter is supposed to bring the smart home we were promised, the one that unifies everything and makes the systems just … work. But as with any standard, it requires a huge amount of buy-in from some big-name competitors, and there’s a big gap between “we all use the same tech” and “everything makes total sense.”
  • Also: Listen to Tobin Richardson, the head of all things Matter, on the Source Code podcast.

Can ‘distraction-free’ devices change the way we write? – The New Yorker

  • The solution to problems caused by technology is more technology, right? This is a story about writers dealing with distraction, but it applies to anyone who has thought “maybe I should buy a flip phone,” or “maybe my Apple Watch will keep me sane,” or “I can’t wait until Siri can just tell me where to go next.” It also might make you buy a typewriter.

A MESSAGE FROM ANT GROUP

According to a Nielsen Report, 94% of Chinese tourists said they would pay with their phones if the method becomes more widely adopted overseas; 93% said using that method would likely increase their spending. To meet them where they are, more and more U.S. companies — both here and in China — are embracing Alipay.

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Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to our tips line, tips@protocol.com. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.

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