Archives: Podcast

TE17 – The Low Down on The Meltdown

Yesterday Brantley Coile, CEO of Coraid and the original developer of NAT (Network Address Translation) joined me to discuss the Intel Meltdown vulnerability, and how we got here. Last Friday Brantley authored a Linkedin Blog entry titled “Intel Flubs Again.”

Below are some of the topics we discussed for this podcast:

  • How we met over a decade ago, and the Plan9 OS, not the movie.
  • Network Address Translation, and how he and a partner invented it, Private Internet eXchange (Cisco PIX)
  • Brantley invented the first: stateful inspection firewall, VPN, and load balancer (Cisco Director).
  • How we’re stuck with Intel’s complex processor architecture.
  • Complex Instruction Set Computing (CISC) versus Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC).
  • The graveyard of architectures MIPS, Itanium, and i960 (we didn’t mention SPARC, PA, Alpha).
  • The evolution from the IBM 360/370 to the IBM 801 (ROMP), Power, and how RISC and CISC meet up.
  • How compilers hide architecture from developers.
  • Complex architectures inevitably lead to high likelihoods for vulnerabilities.
  • A simplified description of what Meltdown really is.
  • Pipelining and speculative execution.
  • The Low Down on the Meltdown, and how it exposes memory during the speculative phase, and how it recovers the contents of that memory post speculation.
  • What can Intel do, and how will it hurt performance?
  • This creates an opportunity for ARM.
  • What Mom needs to do to protect herself today from Meltdown.
  • and more…

Interested in learning more about Solarflare’s Meltdown Prevention Program?
Please send an email to sschweitzer@solarflare.com

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TE16 – Digital Currencies & Bitcoin – Full Discussion

Bob Van Valzah joined me for two calls that became a seven-part series on Digital Currencies & Bitcoin. To the left is Bob’s initial mining rig from 2010. To make it easier for folks we’ve merged all seven episodes together into this one large episode. Please note on several occasions throughout the podcast you’ll hear a brief snippet of music, this is an artifact of these originally being edited into episodes, sorry in advance for this audio nuisance. This podcast covers a considerable amount of material in just under two hours, but if you get through it you’ll have plenty to talk intelligently about Bitcoin and blockchains with your friends and coworkers.

Here are the details of what was discussed:

  • How did you get into bitcoin mining?
  • What is a Blockchain?
  • How is a Blockchain structured?
  • Where are Blockchains stored?
  • What is the role of a node?
  • Are all nodes miners?
  • Is a miner a person or a computer?
  • What is a mining rig?
  • So what are miners actually doing?
  • The enormous numbers, for example, the 10^18 power behind solving these mining problems.
  • Are we looking for primes in a huge field of numbers (hint, no)? Solutions have 130 zeros at the end or 2^130
  • Mining rigs as space heaters, the power issue.
  • Who decides which miner is a winner in extending the blockchain?
  • What happens when two miners each find a valid solution during the time of the flood?
  • Is it still one bitcoin block every 10 minutes?
  • What happens if it takes longer than 10 minutes to arrive at a solution?
  • What keeps the bad guys from circumventing the whole mining system?
  • How often would you win a bitcoin, and what is a mining pool?
  • How is a Blockchain different from a standard bank ledger?
  • Banking is about trust, how is a Blockchain more trustworthy than distributed bank ledger?
  • Is the Bitcoin market cap really $65B?
  • How are transactions in the Blockchain signed?
  • Can you briefly describe public key cryptography?
  • How does the Blockchain system know that my cryptographic signature is valid?
  • Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Is he one guy or a group?
  • So now that we understand Blockchains where do we go from here, cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, etc…?
  • A quick review of Blockchain technology.
  • What is a fiat currency?
  • How do cryptocurrencies differ from traditional currencies?
  • Money as a store of value.
  • Commodity money, where a currency is backed by, and can be traded for precious metal.
  • How fiat money derives its value.
  • How governments manipulate the money supply to meet their own needs.
  • We discussed the failings of the paper-based fiat currencies.
  • How credit cards overcome some of these issues.
  • The advantages of cryptocurrencies over paper-based fiat currencies.
  • Physical Bitcoins produced as a stunt, and the issues with them.
  • Using Bitcoin as a way to move money easily across borders.
  • Advantages of bitcoin mining rate, as a counter to inflation and currency manipulation.
  • Four-year correction in Bitcoin production, with rate halving, 16M today with 21M by 2040.
  • How Bitcoins are divisible into 100M pieces, called Satoshis.
  • Why is the price of Bitcoin so volatile?
  • What can drive the price of Bitcoin down?
  • Betting on Bitcoin via exchanges and futures.
  • How do I accept Bitcoin, and what is a wallet, and how does it work?
  • What is a hardware wallet, and a cold wallet?
  • How do miners actually make money?
  • What are transaction fees?
  • Should I drop a grand on a mining rig and get started?
  • Should I invest in Bitcoin? What is a binary investment option?
  • Can Bitcoin be lost or destroyed?
  • How is this different from fiat currencies?
  • Can Bitcoins be counterfeited?
  • You can create your own currency, ScottCoins anyone?
  • Are Bitcoins safe to use?
  • Discussed malware & Showtime hack which put miners on victim’s system?
  • Ransomware and the use of Bitcoin as the vehicle for payment?
  • The perception of Bitcoin as negative as a result of criminal use.
  • Should I keep my Bitcoin in my wallet or in an exchange wallet?
  • What are the legal issues around Bitcoin, and can anyone use it?
  • Discussed other currencies, ToysRUS JefferyDollars, frequent flyer miles, etc…
  • How about other countries, for example, Kenya, which used cell carriers as banks.
  • Are countries like the US trying to regulate Bitcoin? At the edges when Bitcoin is turned back into fiat currencies that’s where countries are getting involved, for example reporting.
  • Why are criminals using Bitcoin? It’s a great way to move money across borders, also it affords users anonymity, but it’s no different than using US dollars.
  • Any anonymous form of cash can be used towards bad ends, it’s not limited to Bitcoin.
  • Discussed handing over a bitcoin wallet to pay for something.
  • Banks, and suspicious activity reporting, limit of $10K.
  • What else can Bitcoin be used for beyond illicit transactions?
  • Silkroad, and how little an impact it had on Bitcoin when shutdown. It was October 2013, and you could barely find it by looking at transaction volumes.
  • One of the biggest uses is transferring money to foreign families or speculators.
  • Where to get a Bitcoin wallet, and Bitcoin ATMs.
  • Once you have a wallet you can put $20s into an ATM, and buy bitcoin.
  • What are hard forks? Reviewed making your own Bitcoin.
  • Discussed the three transactions per second limit.
  • Created BitcoinCash from Bitcoin, to dramatically improve transaction rates.
  • Viewing Bitcoin as an advancement in money technology, people will be creating new technologies in this space.
  • Bitcoins make for a good medium for exchange, but not necessarily a good store of value due to its volatility.
  • The value of Bitcoin tracks Metcalf’s law, which means that the value of Bitcoin is related to the square of the number of unique people using the currency.
  • The value of a cyber currency might in-fact be a function of the square of the transaction rate if enough unique people are using it, which for Bitcoin is limited to three transactions per second. BitcoinCash and others have dramatically increased the transaction rate limits that hobble bitcoin.
  • Thanks to Bob for his expertise.
  • The trading value of Bitcoin going from $3K to $18K from September to December.
  • One last time we addressed whether Bitcoin is in-fact real?

Thank you all for listening.

Interested in evaluating Solarflare’s ServerLock Firewall in the NIC technology?
Please send an email to sschweitzer@solarflare.com

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TE15: Bitcoin, Part 7 of 7 Digital Currencies

Bob Van Valzah dropped in for a long session on Bitcoin & Digital Currencies which turned into the second half of a seven-part series on Digital Currencies.

This episode is the conclusion of that discussion:

  • Any anonymous form of cash can be used towards bad ends, it’s not limited to Bitcoin.
  • Discussed handing over a bitcoin wallet to pay for something.
  • Banks, and suspicious activity reporting, limit of $10K.
  • What else can Bitcoin be used for beyond illicit transactions?
  • Silkroad, and how little an impact it had on Bitcoin when shutdown. It was October 2013, and you could barely find it by looking at transaction volumes.
  • One of the biggest uses is transferring money to foreign families or speculators.
  • Where to get a Bitcoin wallet, and Bitcoin ATMs.
  • Once you have a wallet you can put $20s into an ATM, and buy bitcoin.
  • What are hard forks? Reviewed making your own Bitcoin.
  • Discussed the three transactions per second limit.
  • Created BitcoinCash from Bitcoin, to dramatically improve transaction rates.
  • Viewing Bitcoin as an advancement in money technology, people will be creating new technologies in this space.
  • Bitcoins make for a good medium for exchange, but not necessarily a good store of value due to its volatility.
  • The value of Bitcoin tracks Metcalf’s law, which means that the value of Bitcoin is related to the square of the number of unique people using the currency.
  • The value of a cyber currency might in-fact be a function of the square of the transaction rate if enough unique people are using it, which for Bitcoin is limited to three transactions per second. BitcoinCash and others have dramatically increased the transaction rate limits that hobble bitcoin.
  • Thanks to Bob for his expertise.
  • The trading value of Bitcoin going from $3K to $18K from September to December.
  • One last time we addressed whether Bitcoin is in-fact real?

This was the final episode of the Digital Currencies series. Soon we’re going to post the full series as a single podcast, Episode 16, for those interested in hearing the whole thing in a single shot.

Please stay tuned, starting later this month we’re going to launch a series on security.

Interested in evaluating Solarflare’s ServerLock Firewall in the NIC technology?
Please send an email to sschweitzer@solarflare.com

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TE14: Bitcoin, Part 6 of 7 Digital Currencies

Tonight Bob Van Valzah dropped in for a long session on Bitcoin & Digital Currencies which turned into the second half of a seven-part series on Digital Currencies.

This episode covers:

  • Can Bitcoins be counterfeited?
  • You can create your own currency, ScottCoins anyone?
  • Are Bitcoins safe to use?
  • Discussed malware & Showtime hack which put miners on victim’s system?
  • Ransomware and the use of Bitcoin as the vehicle for payment?
  • The perception of Bitcoin as negative as a result of criminal use.
  • Should I keep my Bitcoin in my wallet or in an exchange wallet?
  • What are the legal issues around Bitcoin, and can anyone use it?
  • Discussed other currencies, ToysRUS JefferyDollars, frequent flyer miles, etc…
  • How about other countries, for example, Kenya, which used cell carriers as banks.
  • Are countries like the US trying to regulate Bitcoin? At the edges when Bitcoin is turned back into fiat currencies that’s where countries are getting involved, for example reporting.
  • Why are criminals using Bitcoin? It’s a great way to move money across borders, also it affords users anonymity, but it’s no different than using US dollars.

We’ll close out this series in part 7 next week on December 14th, and include some recent news. Please stay tuned, and thank you all for listening.

Interested in evaluating Solarflare’s ServerLock Firewall in the NIC technology?
Please send an email to sschweitzer@solarflare.com

{ Add a Comment }

TE13: Bitcoin, Part 5 of 7 Digital Currencies

Tonight Bob Van Valzah dropped in for a long session on Bitcoin & Digital Currencies which turned into the second half of a seven-part series on Digital Currencies.

This episode covers:

  • Why is the price of Bitcoin so volatile?
  • What can drive the price of Bitcoin down?
  • Betting on Bitcoin via exchanges and futures.
  • How do I accept Bitcoin, and what is a wallet, and how does it work?
  • What is a hardware wallet, and a cold wallet?
  • How do miners actually make money?
  • What are transaction fees?
  • Should I drop a grand on a mining rig and get started?
  • Should I invest in Bitcoin? What is a binary investment option?
  • Can Bitcoin be lost or destroyed? How is this different from fiat currencies?

More to come in part 6 and 7…

Interested in evaluating Solarflare’s ServerLock Firewall in the NIC technology?
Please send an email to sschweitzer@solarflare.com

{ Add a Comment }

TE12: Bitcoin, Part 4 of 7 Digital Currencies

Tonight Bob Van Valzah dropped in for a long session on Bitcoin & Digital Currencies which turned into the second half of a six-part series on Digital Currencies.

This episode covers:

  • A quick review of Blockchain technology.
  • What is a fiat currency?
  • How do cryptocurrencies differ from traditional currencies?
  • Money as a store of value.
  • Commodity money, where a currency is backed by, and can be traded for the precious metal.
  • How fiat money derives its value.
  • How governments manipulate the money supply to meet their own needs.
  • We discussed the failings of the paper-based fiat currencies.
  • How credit cards overcome some of these issues.
  • The advantages of cryptocurrencies over paper-based fiat currencies.
  • Physical Bitcoins produced as a stunt, and the issues with them.
  • Using Bitcoin as a way to move money easily across borders.
  • Advantages of bitcoin mining rate, as a counter to inflation and currency manipulation.
  • Four-year correction in Bitcoin production, with rate halving, 16M today with 21M by 2040.
  • How Bitcoins are divisible into 100M pieces, called Satoshis.

More to come in part 5…

Interested in evaluating Solarflare’s ServerLock Firewall in the NIC technology?
Please send an email to sschweitzer@solarflare.com

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TE11: A Firewall in the NIC

Tonight we had a discussion with Steve Pope, Solarflare’s CTO and Founder, on Solarflare’s new “Firewall in the NIC” capability called ServerLock that goes into Beta the end of December.

During our time together we reviewed the following:

  • What exactly does Solarflare mean when they say they’ve put a firewall in the NIC?
  • How does this improve the security of my server?
  • What is micro-segmentation, and how can this be applied to my applications, containers or VMs?
  • Why is having a firewall in the NIC better than a software firewall which is part of the OS?
  • Why is a firewall in the NIC better than say a top of rack firewall?
  • How much might this cost me in latency if the NIC is filtering every packet?
  • Who has Solarflare built this product for?
  • Where in my enterprise infrastructure should I consider using such a NIC?
  • Can this be used as an edge solution to enhance the security of my customer facing web servers, possibly further protecting them from a DDoS attack?
  • Where does Solarflare go from here, what’s next?

Interested in evaluating Solarflare’s ServerLock Firewall in the NIC technology?
Please send an email to sschweitzer@solarflare.com

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TE10: Gone in 98 Nanoseconds: A New Low for Tick to Trade

Tonight we had a discussion with Vahan Sardaryan, CEO & Founder of LDA Technologies, to talk about their new STAC-T0 Benchmark which set the bar surprisingly low, 98 nanoseconds, for network tick to trade latency.

During that call, we reviewed the following:

  • What is the significance of 98 nanoseconds?
  • Who worked with LDA to make this possible?
  • In layman’s terms, how was the feat accomplished?
  • The jitter of the solution was six to nine nanoseconds.
  • What is the significance of having STAC validate this achievement?
  • This was months worth of work, what sort of ghost hunting was required?
  • Who could benefit from this technological advance?
  • The report highlights a measurement of -68 nanoseconds, can we trade into the future?
  • Where do we go from here, and can the bar be set even lower?

Scott would like to apologize for the quality of this podcast as both him and Vahan had to dial into the recording system due to, you guessed it, networking issues.

Interested in evaluating Solarflare’s ServerLock Firewall in the NIC technology?
Please send an email to sschweitzer@solarflare.com

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TE9: Blockchains, Part 3 of 7 Digital Currencies

Tonight Bob Van Valzah dropped in for a long session on Digital Currencies which turned into a three-part series on Blockchains. The second half of the series, on Bitcoin will be published shortly.

 

In this the third part of our six-part series on Digital Currencies we’ll address the following questions around Blockchains:

  • How is a Blockchain different from a standard bank ledger?
  • Banking is about trust, how is a Blockchain more trustworthy than distributed bank ledger?
  • Is the Bitcoin market cap really $65B?
  • How are transactions in the Blockchain signed?
  • Can you briefly describe public key cryptography?
  • How does the Blockchain system know that my cryptographic signature is valid?
  • Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Is he one guy or a group?
  • So now that we understand Blockchains where do we go from here, cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, etc…?

We hope you enjoyed this series on Blockchains now on to the currencies and applications that use them.

Interested in evaluating Solarflare’s ServerLock Firewall in the NIC technology?
Please send an email to sschweitzer@solarflare.com

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TE8: Blockchains, Part 2 of 7 Digital Currencies

On September 14, Bob Van Valzah dropped in for a long session on Digital Currencies which turned into a three-part series on Blockchains. One or more series will follow covering all the issues surrounding digital currencies. To the left is a shot of Bob’s power bill for his Bitcoin Mining Rig that we discussed tonight, and also a video of that Mining Rig in production.

In the second part of our six-part series on Digital Currencies we’ll address the following questions around Blockchains:

  • So what are miners actually doing?
  • The enormous numbers, for example, the 10^18 power behind solving these mining problems.
  • Are we looking for primes in a huge field of numbers (hint, no)? Solutions have 130 zeros at the end or 2^130
  • Mining rigs as space heaters, the power issue.
  • Who decides which miner is a winner in extending the blockchain?
  • What happens when two miners each find a valid solution during the time of the flood?
  • Is it still one bitcoin block every 10 minutes?
  • What happens if it takes longer than 10 minutes to arrive at a solution?
  • What keeps the bad guys from circumventing the whole mining system?
  • How often would you win a bitcoin, and what is a mining pool?

In part three we’ll finish describing what is a Blockchain. While this has already been recorded and it should be released a few days following part 2.

Interested in evaluating Solarflare’s ServerLock Firewall in the NIC technology?
Please send an email to sschweitzer@solarflare.com

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