Just one more reason for China to develop its own mousetrap.
According to China’s official state TV broadcaster, cited by the New York Times, about 40,000 institutions were hit by the WannaCry ransomware attack on Windows-based computers since Friday – more institutions than in any other country.
This included research universities like Tsinghua University. Students around the country complained about being locked out of final thesis papers. Hainan Airlines and other major companies were infected. The electronic payment systems at PetroChina’s gas stations around the country went down for much of the weekend. Bank of China ATMs went down too.
China Telecom was among the companies that instructed employees over the weekend to patch the vulnerability of their computers, first using a patch it provided, and when that failed, a patch provided by Chinese security company Qihoo 360, which, as the Times put it, citing an employee of China Telecom, “supports pirated and out-of-date versions of Windows.”
So why did China’s companies and institutions get infected with this ransomware in such large numbers? One reason is the sheer size and complexity of the Chinese economy and the large numbers of computers. The other reason: Pirated versions of Microsoft Windows running on those computers.
These bootleg copies cannot be patched via Microsoft updates. Microsoft released a patch to fix this vulnerability on March 14. Updated computers were not affected by WannaCry. But that patch wasn’t available for bootleg copies of Windows.
Software trade organization BSA reported last year that 70% of the software running on computers in China was pirated. Though that was down from 79% in 2009, it still leaves much of China vulnerable to cyber-attacks since this bootleg software cannot easily be registered with the software developer, such as Microsoft.
Other countries too were disproportionately impacted by WannaCry, particularly Russia – though the numbers were much smaller because the Russian economy is only about one-eighth the size of the Chinese economy. According to BSA, about 64% of the software on computers in Russia was pirated. By comparison, in the US, 17% of the software was pirated.
It its biting blog post, Microsoft blamed two factors more than anything:
- The NSA – whose exploit this had been before it was stolen and made public – for “stockpiling of vulnerabilities.”
- And unpatched versions of Windows.
Since the patch had been available for two months, why weren’t operating systems being updated? There are several reasons, one of them being machines running Windows XP, which is no longer supported by Microsoft. But in China, the top reason was the reliance on bootleg copies of newer versions of Windows.
“Most of the schools are now all using pirate software, including operation system and professional software,” Zhu Huanjie, who is studying network engineering in Hangzhou, told the Times. “In China, the Windows that most people are using is still pirated. This is just the way it is.”
The Chinese government isn’t particularly focused on policing Microsoft’s intellectual property rights or boosting its revenue opportunities in China. So to heck with Microsoft. Instead, according to the Times, it’s focused on “building local alternatives to Microsoft,” with mixed results:
After leaks by the former intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden about American hacking attacks aimed at monitoring China’s military buildup, leaders in Beijing accelerated a push to develop Chinese-branded software and hardware that would be harder to breach.
For the time being, however, much of China relies on Windows.
So will China learn some kind of lesson and buy a billion licensed copies of the latest and greatest version of Windows, directly from Microsoft, with future updates and all, and shovel billions of dollars in Microsoft’s direction?
Hardly. At least, the stock market doesn’t think so. Such a move would be a big boost for revenues in China. But Microsoft shares dropped starting Thursday morning through Monday morning, though they recovered some Monday afternoon. They remain down about 1.5% from the high on Wednesday just before the close. So investors don’t think China, after what it has been through since the Snowden revelations, is suddenly going to become a fan of paying Microsoft billions of dollars for licensed versions of Windows when it can get bootleg copies for free.
China will more likely do what it has done with so many other products and technologies, including high-speed rail systems. It’s going to learn from the best out there and then build its own versions. Such an operating system might be based on Linux or it might be something different altogether. This version would be open to inspection by the Chinese government when needed and controllable when necessary. The developers will certainly try to keep the NSA’s prying eyes out of it. And when ready for prime time, this operating system might appear on the world markets – much like China’s high-speed rail systems. So Microsoft, which booked a revenue decline in 2016, might get squeezed further by this debacle in China.
Even in China, robots are the Great Equalizer. Read… Manufacturing Might Come Back to the US, but Robots will Get the Jobs: Apple CEO
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I love it when the law of unintended consequences catches cheaters…
Karma, ain’t she a bitch!
I condensed and posted some of this to FB with credit to Wolf.
Feel free fellow readers to re-post w link to article.
So why did so many Chinese computers get infected with WannaCry; aside from the sheer size and complexity of the Chinese economy – pirated versions of Microsoft Windows. Microsoft released a patch to fix this vulnerability on March 14. Updated computers were spared but that patch wasn’t available for bootleg copies of Windows. Software trade organization BSA reported last year that 70% of the software running on computers in China was pirated, though that was down from 79% in 2009. According to BSA, about 64% of the software on computers in Russia was pirated. By comparison, in the US, 17% of the software was pirated.
You realize china and india, on their way to world dominance, are developing their own OS. They will set the rules, and probably created their own United nation. Fear the future.
Yes the United Nations of evil and exploitation.
The rest of the world would function better with out these two System gamers in the system.
China and its Globalised Vampire Corporate allies, are the reason Globalisation has been such failure for such a large % of the global population..
Wrong, globalization in the last two decades has lifted 2 billion people out of poverty, China and to a lesser extent, India moved more people out of poverty than anytime in human history. True it hasn’t been good for industrialized countries, but for poor countries its boom time.
If the Western based UN cannot accomodate India, Brazil or Africa, they simply will walk away from it. The only thing keeping Western nations alive are the markets in developing nations, true China needs western markets, but India don’t.
“Wrong, globalization in the last two decades has lifted 2 billion people out of poverty, China and to a lesser extent, India moved more people out of poverty than anytime in human history. True it hasn’t been good for industrialized countries, but for poor countries its boom time.”
They have achieve this by stealing and gaming the western system.
This ability to steal from and game the system will be brought to an end.
Then those nations will be worse off than they were before as they did not use globalisation as it was intended, to raise the lowest boats.
Instead they raised themselves by pulling down others above them, and the bottom is now worse off than it was before, china and india started pulling the top down. india is now trying to eat chinas lunch.
If there is any justice in the world they will destroy each other. This could easily happen as china is getting closer and closer to Pakistan. This makes a Nuclear war involving, china, pakistan, and india. highly probable. The belt road developments in Pakistan are mostly on territory India claims or disputes, or need access to territory India claims or disputes. These are very bad foundation’s.
The whole system is now much worse and much more unstable than it was before.
All india and china have achieved is to move the S (*t closer to the top, and radically shorten the life expectancy of the system and planet.
Globalisation is a brilliant idea, that works in theory.
China and its Globalised vampire Corporate allies, have abused it. For their own gain, and turned it, in its current form, into a global poison. That benefits only them.
Manny – I understand they are developing their own platforms. Not certain about world dominance. I suspect we will eventually see about a limited group of major world economies – I saw today’s NYTs discuss China’s rail project that will link six Asian countries. We have NAFTA and they will create their own localized trading bloc. That aside, what do you think about this…. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/13/opinion/the-world-is-getting-hacked-why-dont-we-do-more-to-stop-it.html?mwrsm=Facebook&_r=0
” Not certain about world dominance.”
If you are not certain about their hostile desire for world dominance, on their Mafia State Term’s.
You have a very big problem
China already uses “Red Flag” extensively, which although defunct as of 2014, probably indicates which way it will go. Red Flag was similar to Red Hat Linux.
Speaking personally, Micro$oft products are the least secure and most prone to “WannaCry” and similar attacks. A very good reason to switch to MacOS.
A curious mind that suspects the obvious story is not what actually occurred. To wit: Is it possible the NSA “leaked” this info to WikiLeaks intentionally recognizing that China and Russia would be hit harder than the US or it’s allies?
I hope this scenario isn’t accurate because my fate could be similar to Redford’s character in 3 Days of the Condor.
I’m not sure I’d describe the Chinese model as “learning from the best out there” unless you mean “figuring out where corners can be cut or standards compromised.” Also, the Chinese government’s desire to have their own OS versions “open to inspection by the Chinese government when needed and controllable when necessary” will take them down the same (flawed) path that the US government has followed. Just another government that thinks it can have its privacy while denying it to the rest of us.
I used to work at MSFT as 1 too many Level 60 PM.
Chinese have little respect for IP and see no harm in using counterfeit softwares whether it be individuals, big companies, schools and even government.
Real funny story – I was in China on business I think in 2001 as we were “dog-fooding Win XP” and approached by couple of touts peddling counterfeit software (craps like Win 98 and worst win ME) near Lowu train station in SZ bordering HK. My colleague and I gave flashed our MSFT biz card and I swar those 2 guys ran like bat out of hell. :)
Similar story: I was in Hong Kong in Oct’2000 installing a network for our newly opened office. I needed a copy of MS Project. I was told I could have “media, but no license” the same day for a given price. If I wanted a shrink wrapped version, I’d have to wait 48 hours.
I doubt if the latter was anymore legal than the former and had what I needed sent from LA.
Sowing malware on Chinese and Russian computers- including state computers? Thinking they can’t be found because the ransom is paid in bitcoin?
It wouldn’t surprise me if either Xi or Vlad ‘Wet Work’ Putin have these guys taken out.
Ah, the ‘ransomware ate my term paper’ excuse. Wish I had that when I was in college.
China officially already had a go with own operating system: Red Flag linux. It did not last long. You cannot find it on distrowatch: http://distrowatch.com
I do not quite understand how this technology got stolen from NSA in the first place. Is NSA that incompetent? I guess so and I am not one bit surprised. I currently work in the Washington DC area and moved from Seattle, WA. The workers here lack advanced technological skills and are backwards compared to the workers I have worked with in Seattle. I find many here boast about having advanced degrees but are pathetic in comparison to having true skills
You get what you pay for…..The workers here are paid super low salaries. I see companies offer salaries that are offered in Texas but the area has the cost of living like New York City. How would that attract talent long term? How would this be sustainable?
I myself are fed up with substance less arrogance of people here. Just all smoke and mirrors. I am planning on moving to Austin, Texas in about 6 months
I think the NSA, like the IRS (remember the whole ACA website debacle that ended up costing a billion dollars and padded the wallets of a lot of friends of Michelle) are outsourcing lots of work now to private sector “contractors” instead of doing it “in-house” as in the days of old when accountability meant more than saving a few dollars.
In the case of the IRS, “vetted and technically qualified” private sector “contractors” (translation: cheap labor in the US on H1B or other visa) had their go and screwed up the whole thing. There is actually a significant amount of technical analysis on the whole fiasco if you search for it. I suspect, the NSA has followed in those “dollar saving” footsteps. And, when that data footprint is exposed to private parties that also value dollars above accountability, the “worker bees” whom see little value in being accountable, will treat that data as they are treated…of little value, little value to protect, and a means to gain experience so they can escape the valueless pit they are mired in.
DC area tech worker. Of course if you’re working for the government you’re likely to find a lower skillset. There are many job openings and not enough people that can pass the background checks. The contractors need to put meat in the seats to collect the money.
I didn’t think the salaries in the DC area are that low?
Oh yes! The salaries are terrible here. I currently work as a contractor at one of the major banks (headquarters in Charlotte, NC) with a salary I earned at Seattle, which has a lower cost of living. I am blessed to be able to work at home for awhile too so I don’t have transportation cost, which is also ridiculous!). If I took a job in this area, I am expected to take at least $20,000 or more paycut.
What planet are the employers in the DC area from? Are they smoking crack????
“I myself are fed up with substance less arrogance of people here. Just all smoke and mirrors. I am planning on moving to Austin, Texas in about 6 months”
Oh gosh. Please don’t. There’s like, uhmmm, snakes. And spiders. Yeah, really big spiders. Oh, and a bunch of us backwards rightwing activists and stuff. As they say in Atlanta: “We full”.
I hear Seattle is nice and needs some really smart people. They have coffee and organic stuff too. There’s nothing like that down here in Texas. Nothing at all.
I liked Seattle in many ways but could not stand the passive-aggressive culture that is so pervasive and endemic there. I was simply miserable! I was tired of trying to “read people’s minds” and sick of the people who have very poor communication skills.
I have lived in Austin, TX before and the area is not bad at all. This area is one that is blue compared to the sea of red for the other parts of Texas. The cost of living is reasonable and the area is also known for high technology.
And like much of the south much better manners.
In Texas due to easy visible carry, very good manners(Mostly).
“This area is one that is blue compared to the sea of red for the other parts of Texas.”
And therein lies the problem. Far too many people come here trying to change the way we are. If you like “the way it is where I came from”, then please stay “where you came from”. There is a reason we’ve managed to keep the blue circle in the Austin area. It’s like a Petri dish – we can watch the experiment safely from afar.
We have horrible communication skills here. I think you will be miserable. Did I mention the heat? It gets really hot here. And, the place (including Austin) is crawling with semi-literate rednecks like me. We’re everywhere. There are also biiiig snakes and other poisonous critters in the shadows, waiting to strike unsuspecting transplants.
I hear that the technology centers in India are super duper great. They also have coffee and granola, poets and scholars. Have you considered relocating there? Possible they have an “inverted H1B Visa” program to “attract and retain” quality techies and managers.
I saw your latest comment and it is super offensive! What planet are you from? You think I am also a redneck? United States is a VERY FREE COUNTRY so I can mover to Austin IF I WANTED TO.
Your comment about me moving to India is insensitive and socially stupid since you do not know my background. If you are unhappy, WHY DON’T YOU YOURSELF MOVE TO INDIA!
“I saw your latest comment and it is super offensive!”
It was also deliberate;y humorous, makes. A very strong and extremely valid point.
” Guest and new residents are very welcome, as long as they do not attempt to rearrange the furniture or change the decor, with out permission of the Management”
“Don’t come here and try to make it like the place you just left”
Australia has the same attitude, and there is noting wrong with it.
I’m somewhat skeptical. Wouldn’t you think that China mostly would be using something better than Windows XP if they were not going to pay for it anyway? WannaCrypt attacks WindowsXP, does it not?
They’re using the latest versions of Windows, but pirated copies that they cannot patch. However, as anywhere, there are still XPs in service, such as in ATMs.
“China will more likely do what it has done with so many other products and technologies, including high-speed rail systems. It’s going to learn from the best out there and then build its own versions. Such an operating system might be based on Linux or it might be something different altogether.”
china and France were allegedly in partnership to do this. In one of their anti micro$oft drives. But it seems to have quietly died.
Chinas problem here, is that under the CCP, it has never respected or valued, math’s students .
And it still dosent.
The vast majority of Maths Majors, who are any good. Still leave china, for that reason. There are quiet a few working and living well in the West.
One ended up being a quant on The Big Short
Remember that China is a communist dictatorship and not a democracy.
China is a state capitalist dictatorship, and is neither communist nor a democracy. Oligarchies have other problems.
And no, it’s not good. Because of China’s economic importance, threats to the Chinese economy also put the global economy at risk.
Weaknesses in the technical and ecologicial foundations of economies also put them at risk, but these issues are generally avoided and constitute another set of risks.
Does anyone really believe microsoft didn’t know about and even work with the NSA to create these worms? It just isn’t believable with how they have embraced virus and forced shutdowns of their product since it began by shipping it with defects that only a third party company could fix?
There is a bridge for sale in NY if anyone wants to purchase it.
Bingo. At least some of those cheap H1Bs are moles.
Anybody can deploy a worm, you can pick up on the ne, anywhere in Russia or the east. if they don’t know how to write one.
The issue is the access venerability.
The access venerability, is what the Hostile to anybody but russia, intelligence agency, Wikileaks, released.
The majority of systems effected XP.
AKA old S *&T.
but as wolf has pointed out, Banks, Governments, and Retail still use a lot of old S that should have been updated long ago, and wasn’t to save money/Increase profits.
As long as Micro$oft and others are allowed to keep replacing and dropping support for perfectly good operating system’s to increase profit,
These problems will persist.
Browser companies are just a bad
Forefox will no longer update past version 48/49 for OSX 10.8 so a perfectly functions operating system must be replaced, as the browsers will no longer function safely.
Then guess what, if you update to Sierra which is free, the browser works, and a whole bunch of very expensive peripherals. NO LONGER WORK.
The computer and related industries are some of the most if not the most, deliberately wasteful industries, on the planet.
Same Micro$oft game, “Make them need us” ” Make them buy more”, different people.
An interesting alternative view:
Enjoying all the comments from Jakarta! Another insightful article, Wolf!
Microsoft, like IBM will never see top line growth again in our lifetime.
Maybe Apple, Cisco and Intel are done with growth too. Heck, throw in Oracle and Qualcomm .
The Nasdaq dropped below 1500 on 2 occasions in the last 15 years. You just never know.
Intel is far from done.
As usual it waits for demand, to drive. Advancement in speed.
A breakthrough in Heatsink related Technology, would be very useful to Intel.
Don’t get your hopes up. Physics imposes certain absolute limitations.
Yes there are physical barriers, however, we were told physics would stop us at 40nm. We’re now pushing 7nm and 5nm.
Where there’s a will and plenty of $$$$, there’s a way.
Intel has some recurring competition from AMD (Rysin or whatever their new chip is called is getting some love.) Of course ARM vs Intel when it comes to mobile. Maybe we will see server processors from ARM eventually?
That could be big for Intel.
– I do expect a MAJOR negative impact on the chinese economy in the near future. And since all economies in the world are linked (financially) it will have an impact on our US economy as well. ,m
– E.g. smaller chinese demand for commodities in China means a smaller US Current Account Deficit. And the US current account deficit shrinking is bad for the US.
All people need to do is learn to harden their systems AND keep pirating, then they’re safe from MS vulns, safe from ‘call home’ tracking/spyware in most modern SW that you’d pirate, and you get it all free still.
In fact a lot of modern software you’d pay for won’t work unless it spies on you.
Only pirate copies respect your privacy. The irony.
I’m sure those in China will learn quickly from this. They’re clearly savvy enough not to pay for MSs latest round of shitty malware, which also has a chance of just breaking stuff more than XP, Vista or 7 ever did.
They’re surely capable of figuring out the next path of least resistance, which is Win7 copies and hardening the installs.
It’s the same with DRM, buyers handing over money get a bad experience rammed down their throats, pirates get a fantastic experience.
We’re entering the twilight of modern computing imo.
The fundamental IT needs are still there, but the bulk of the ‘value’ growth since the dot com crash has been in advertising/spyware/telemetry/tracking bollocks.
Very few IT enterprises these days seem to offer privacy (and thus built in safety), a sustainable business model, and a real productive advantage to subscribe to.
In the race of IT enterprises from Adobe, to MS, to browsers/Mozilla, to interconnect everything to scrape data to resell, the attack surface of the worlds IT is now soooo huge there is no escape from the inevitable.
To go back to a locked-down privacy first way of working would burst the bubble built upon the supposed ‘value’ of spying on everyone’s computing… something that will no doubt happen some time any way. But not something any one wants to do.
MS just want to double down on ‘stupid’ and corner the malware/spyware market for themselves.
IT users doing some learning and protecting themselves is very efficient from a cost/benefit angle, so I see people starting to go increasingly ‘offline’ themselves.
I do not buy into the thesis that NSA’s malware was stolen. This was probably a test of old tools to see how effective they still are.
Agreed. Malware, by its nature, is distributed, and it can be captured and reengineered.
Very little is actually “new”, even in IT. Real innovation is relatively rare. Most of what is passed off as “innovation” is really a variation on something that has already been done. Enhanced, yes. Extended, yes. Automated, yes. New, not really.
China will not forget this incident as they deal with Russia. — many implications for the $150 billion Silk Road – a huge swath of which passes through Russian territory.
By ‘Russia’, do you mean the Russian State (that could have 64% of their own machines vulnerable), or some private person who happens to live in Russia, or Washington, or Korea, or maybe someone who lives somewhere else and foolishly leaves an obvious signature in their code in Cyrillic that points to Russia, like the guy(s) who phished the Democrats’ email accounts?
You can buy a PC on aliexpress with windows OS pre-installed. They charge an extra $30 if you want it activated. If not, they advise you to just click no, when windows nags. I wonder how many people pay the extra $30?
Unfortunate that UK national health service and other innocents got caught up in the cross-fire but cannot help thinking that this worm was a USA orchestrated deliberate attack on Russia and China to remind them who’s boss.
An IT friend thinks it is morally unacceptable/unethical for Microsoft to have dropped support for XP when it knows just how many PCs are still using XP.
“An IT friend thinks it is morally unacceptable/unethical for Microsoft to have dropped support for XP when it knows just how many PCs are still using XP.”
Your IT friend is not Particularly Worldly.
He seems to think Micro$oft has morals and ethics.
Other than the, “Make then need us” “Maximum profit now” “We are alway right” position’s, that are standard Micro$oft.
Micro$oft has been releasing beta as Stable, and testing it in the public domain, since windows 95 the 98 SE fiasco is proof of that.
No MS SW was ever worth obtaining until after at least “service pac 1” (which mad the garbage vaguely Stable) version, at the earliest.
XP was Mutt until SP2.
They stopped supporting XP. I went to Mac.
I have W 10 on a backup unit to run 2 pieces of SW there is no equivalent to in Mac.
W 10 = Fugly.
There is increasing evidence that “wannaCry” may be of North Korean origin.
If so, the preponderance of attacks on Chinese computers could be payback for China’s pressure against North Korean weapons programs.
Its a worm, it goes where there is venerability. (Unprotected, and out of date system’s)
If you remember the first one, it was written by a Philippine computer science major, as his thesis.
His professors, rejected his thesis, saying it was not possible.
He was frustrated. The further frustrated when they refuse to consider his arguments. So released it, to prove his point.
It did not stay national, it went global, in hours, as he had predicted, it went, where-ever there were venerabilitys.
He was arrested, charged, then Micro$oft, provide him with the best lawyers in the country, of course he went to Seattle to work for them, straight after his release, and still does. (He has an Honorary Doctorate, from, I think MIT)
DPRK may have in fact scored a BIG own goal in china and Russia.
Neither State will appreciate DPRK disrupting their States, robing them, or their citizens.
Wikileaks is the great liberal hero.
Wikileaks is a Russian tool.
Wikileaks put this into the wild, and some criminals picked it up, and used it, as intended, by W leaks and Moscow..
The CIA is correct.
Wikileaks is a hostile intelligence agency.
Hostile to the anybody on the planet. That is not in the Russian sphere of influence.
This global computer mess, proves that, beyond any doubt.
its own mousetrap…
Not a chance. The C919 (their latest and biggest “mousetrap”) can’t find buyers anywhere. Nobody willing to take a chance on even a bad copy. Big discounts coming.
What you commented about my reasons in moving to Austin and suggesting that I move to India is SUPER OFFENSIVE AND SOCIALLY STUPID. UNITED STATES IS A FREE COUNTRY, so I can move to Austin IF I WANTED TO.
If YOU are unhappy in Texas, than YOU MOVE SOMEWHERE ELSE!
Wolf – What he said is very offensive and should not have been allowed on your site
Ahh geez la-weez. That’s whats wrong with America today. Nobody can say anything without worrying about hurting someones feelings or making them cry.
What if the good people in India take offense to the fact that you detest their country enough to feel offended by the mere suggestion of moving there? See, you’re being “socially stupid” yourself.
I love Texas. I’m a native Texan. I don’t care if you move here or not – like I said, the Austin area is perfect for the “Social Justice Warriors” that see themselves as so much smarter that everyone else (like your comment about the barely-able in the DC area). Just don’t think that the rest of the world is going to bend to fit your worldview.
The world does not revolve around you. You cannot change anyone or anyone’s situation EXCEPT YOURSELF.
As for the DC area, have you checked the cost of living here. Did you do some research before you rattle your dumb mouth?
I have done research for the past 6 months. It is not easy for me to make the decision to relocate again.
You threw out India based upon stereotyping and racist views. You have NO IDEA about my profession AT ALL. IN FACT, my profession is not 100% IT so relocating to India would not work for me at all.
Stop being STUPID and suggesting people to move to certain areas until you are educated and be well informed. Stop making assumptions.
” IN FACT, my profession is not 100% IT so relocating to India would not work for me at all.”
Well, they also have call centers. Calm, rational people with above normal intelligence tend to do very well in that field.
They are also an emerging center for “Medical/Surgical Vacation Travel”. Their specialists and affordable pricing are attracting more and more North Americans.
“Stop being STUPID and suggesting people to move to certain areas until you are educated and be well informed.”
Apparently you missed the point I made about Texas being full of us Semi-Literate Rednecks. Could you imagine being surrounded by us poorly educated working class folks all day, every day? I could always resort to the “I was here first” mantra.
Sorry if I hurt your feelings. Once you find the fortitude to emerge from your “Safe Space”, put your crayons away, and dry your tears, come on down to Texas. Just don’t expect us to change the way we’ve been doing things (for centuries) to suit your expectations. Check out the BBQ scene. I compete (infrequently) and can relate to good “Q” – and there’s a ton of it in Austin.