08 January 2005

Only 450 words yesterday, but they wrapped up the first article of the new year. It's on gate stacks for advanced transistors, and is scheduled for the February issue of Semiconductor Manufacturing Magazine.

3150 words year-to-date. Onward!

Posted 10:47 AM

Writers aren't any better at witty comebacks than anyone else. Writing, unlike conversation, gives you lots of time to go back once you figure out what you should have said. Besides, sometimes actions speak louder than words.

Posted 10:20 AM

07 January 2005

Fascinating. Intel has demonstrated an all-silicon Raman laser. Raman lasers are useful for long-haul telecommunications.

Posted 11:43 PM

1350 more words yesterday. 2700 for the year.

Posted 10:32 AM

06 January 2005

1350 words yesterday. First words of the new year.

Posted 10:11 AM

Let's see.... More than two years ago, FBI investigators were concerned about harsh interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay. But the administration is only ordering an investigation now, after the relevant documents became public through a Freedom of Information Act request. (A request which the administration resisted until ordered to comply by a judge.) You don't think they're worried about the political fallout, do you?

Posted 08:49 AM

05 January 2005

Self-reliance and can-do spirit are at the core of the American myth. When something needs to be done, Americans step up and do it. Or like to think we do.

The myth has a dark side, as when people who never had the tools to be self-reliant are dismissed as undeserving, or when our poorly considered "help" does more harm than good. It often infuriates the international community, which prefers to reach consensus before acting.

But I'll bet the people in Indonesia who've been living on coconuts since the tsunami would rather see a US Navy helicopter today than a United Nations helicopter next week.

Posted 12:14 PM

FEDs are back! Back in 1994, the first major article I wrote for Solid State Technology asked if field emission displays could challenge liquid crystal displays. History shows that they couldn't, that the huge LCD infrastructure allowed LCD technology to improve more quickly and less expensively.

A decade later, FEDs are again struggling for a share of the display market, this time using carbon nanotube emitters instead of micromachined silicon tips. The new FED designs are simpler, and LCDs have improved so much that they have less headroom than they did in 1994. Still, the idea that the LCD will be a "has-been" by 2006 strikes me as, um, optimistic.

CNET also gets an accuracy tweak for claiming that the prototype 38" FEDs are "far larger" than commercially available LCDs. My local electronics establishment would be delighted to sell you a 45" LCD from Sharp. Granted, you might need a second mortgage to afford such a behemoth, but it does exist.

Posted 09:49 AM

03 January 2005

TSMC continues to accuse SMIC of large-scale intellectual property theft. SMIC continues to complain of a smear campaign. The LA Times reviews the case.

Posted 08:18 PM

You know, if you overestimate the time you have, and underestimate the time you need, it can really mess up your life.

While doing my year-end review, I realized that I spent most of the year assuming about three extra hours per day. I also assumed I could multitask more effectively than turned out to be the case. No wonder I got crunched so badly! Hopefully I'll manage to be a little more realistic in 2005.

My writing goal of 300,000 for the year went by the wayside sometime in mid-July. Trying again this year, with a goal of 1,000 words per day.

In spite, or because of, these depressing revelations, I find the annual review process invaluable. If you're self-employed and don't do something like this, you're asking for trouble. It doesn't have to be complicated, either. I simply look back at my goals for the year (set at the previous review), see how I did, and figure out what I did right and wrong. That helps me put together realistic goals for the upcoming year.

Posted 10:13 AM

Natural disasters bring out the best in people. Unfortunately they also bring out the worst. Out of a stagnant pond in Britain crawls someone who thought it would be fun to send hoax emails to families of tsunami victims.

Posted 09:47 AM

02 January 2005

I thought nothing this administration did could surprise me anymore. I was wrong. The administration is openly exploring approaches to lifetime detention of terror suspects, without charge, without trial, and without even having to disclose who is being held.

Posted 10:15 AM


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