11 June 2005

While looking for a much-loved cartoon online, I found a very good image search tool. Picsearch isn't perfect -- it didn't actually have the cartoon I wanted -- but it comes a lot closer than image searches using general tools like Google.

Posted 06:31 PM

10 June 2005

With all due respect, the folks at CNET might want to work on reading comprehension. Their headline loudly proclaims that chipmaking in China will "explode" over the next three years. The article goes on to declare that the alleged explosion represents a golden opportunity for equipment suppliers, but a problem for chipmakers.

I read the same press release CNET did, but my take is completely different. SEMI's report observes, and other sources agree, that many of China's new fabs have been and will be equipped with used and refurbished equipment. Most new capacity uses 150 mm and smaller wafers, too. In other words, for the most part this is low cost, trailing edge capacity. We are definitely not talking about bleeding edge, 90 nm and 65 nm fabs with 300-mm tooling.

Moreover, total new equipment sales into China were just $2.73 billion in 2004. That's less than the cost of one leading edge fab. For comparison, the North American equipment industry alone typically ships between $1 billion and $1.5 billion in equipment every month.

While I'm sure equipment suppliers would love to help China equip all those fabs, I'm equally sure that they aren't betting their bottom lines on a couple billion worth of older equipment. Nor is anyone who can afford a 300-mm fab going to lose sleep over any of this. From here, this "explosion" has all the oomph of a wet firecracker.

Posted 05:44 PM

08 June 2005

How should you be able to use a legally acquired musical recording? Most people will say they should be able to listen to it wherever and however they want: car stereo, personal stereo, etc. Common sense says that copying a (legally) downloaded track onto a CD for use in your car stereo is comparable to playing a (legally) purchased CD on both your computer and your car stereo, but that isn't necessarily what the law says. Over at Corante, Dennis Kennedy contemplates the legal morass and considers how to resolve it.

Posted 09:42 AM

An old joke observes that the letter 'r' is conserved: every time a New Englander pahks his cah, someone in Texas drills an oirl well.

A similar phenomenon appears to be at work in the White House, where all the caveats and uncertainties that weren't in intelligence reports on Iraq seem to have ended up in studies of global warming. Oddly enough, the caveats were put there by an official with no scientific training, but lots of ties to the oil industry.

Posted 08:53 AM

07 June 2005

Henry Ford adopted a 40-hour workweek in 1926. Why? Certainly not out of concern for the work-life balance of his employees. No, he did it because he found that cutting hours increased output and reduced cost. In fact, more than 100 years of industrial productivity research has shown that the 40-hour week offers the most sustainable balance between output and worker fatigue.

So why, Evan Robinson asks would high technology companies be any different?

Posted 10:17 AM

06 June 2005

Several different sources are reporting that Apple plans to transition to Intel microprocessors beginning in 2006. That's clearly good news for Intel, and bad news for IBM and Freescale, Apple's current suppliers. It's also bad news for Mac-oriented independent software developers, who are only now recovering from the platform shift to OS X.

Posted 09:49 AM


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