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Back before the semiconductor industry got all corporate and started taking itself Very Seriously Indeed, an engineer at Signetics slipped a datasheet for Write Only Memory into the company's new products catalog.
Shockingly enough, he didn't get fired. Rather, Signetics earned itself a warm place in the hearts of pranksters everywhere by buying a full-color spread in Electronics magazine to promote the device. (On April 1, naturally.) Bob Pease at National Semiconductor has the whole story, including a copy of the datasheet.
(Link by way of User Friendly, one of my favorite online time sinks.)
I've actually been getting a lot done since my last word count update. 8250 words, for a year-to-date total of 58,560. Again, not huge, but I seem to be dragging myself out of the doldrums where I've spent most of the year.
The whole point of press and public relations is to try to make sure your company's media coverage is positive. There are a variety of ways to do that. You want to make sure your spokespeople are knowledgeable, articulate, and responsive when journalists call. Though any ethical journalist will tell you that tradeshow goodies don't have much impact, giving people cool (but inexpensive) toys to play with certainly doesn't hurt.
However, Hewlett-Packard is busy demonstrating that there are also a few no-nos almost guaranteed to sabotage your carefully cultivated editorial relationships. For instance, I would definitely not recommend hiring a private investigator who illegally obtains phone records for nine different journalists, including reporters at such insignificant rags as The Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek.
Much sympathy to the PR folks over at HP. They are probably having as rough a time as anyone, including former board chairman Patricia Dunn, but they aren't paid as well as she is, and this mess is not their fault.
Tip of the hat to Dean Takahashi, at the San Jose Mercury News. He manages to wedge a nice summary of solar industry dynamics and issues into a relatively short article about the move into photovoltaics by some IC-oriented companies. Not that I'm surprised, as Dean's consistently one of the best at analyzing technology issues for a general audience.
DigiTimes has an interesting interview with Archie Hwang, the new chairman of SEMI and the first chairman from Taiwan. Lots of discussion of the proposed transition to 450-mm wafers, and what that would mean to companies just starting to recover their 300-mm investment.
Everyone saw last week's announcement of layoffs at Intel. Additional bad news was buried below the fold, though, with the company also noting that it plans to trim $1 billion from its capital spending budget, largely through more efficient use of the equipment it already has. Since Intel has always prided itself on efficient manufacturing, and has maintained its rate of expansion through good times and bad for more than a decade, I'm a little skeptical about that explanation. It looks more like part of the industry-wide slowdown that we've been seeing.
Semiconductor Fabtech editor Mark Osborne offers his take on the SEMI-Reed Business deal in his blog. Observant guy that he is, he notes that nothing was said about the Chinese edition of Semiconductor Manufacturing Magazine and speculates that SEMI plans to keep it for now. Gold star for Mark: I just wrapped up an article for the Chinese edition, and am working with them on a longer term agreement.
Though interoffice memos are usually sent by email these days, they still document the unique characteristics and quirks of each workplace. Here in the suburbs, for example, you might see warnings about "friendly" squirrels who bite when approached, or updates on the latest plan to deal with geese congregating on the corporate lawn.
Some workplaces are quirkier than others, though, as this memo from Yellowstone National Park illustrates:
The fall season of bull elk rutting activity is about to start. During this period, it is not uncommon for bull elk to mock fight with many types of household items found in employees' yards. As a consequence, bull elk often get household items wrapped around their antlers. This can result in bull elk getting tied to each other, or to brush, trees, or other objects. Over the last few years the Bear Management and Ungulate Management Offices have had to capture bull elk and remove extension cords, clothes lines, shrubbery baskets, leashes, wire, nets, cloth bags, swings, hammocks, coaxial cable, and volleyball nets (complete with poles) from their antlers. During the fall rut, Please make an effort to remove all such items from your yards when not in use.
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