Katherine's Blog

Obsessions: Thin films, writing, small business, and random web flotsam

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February 1, 2002

Geoff Wild, formerly of, Allied Signal, and Johnson Matthey, has been named president and COO of Nikon Precision, the North American subsidiary of Nikon Corp. Best of luck to Mr. Wild in his new role.
posted 22:02 |
John Dean knows a thing or two about political cover-ups, having been White House Counsel to President Nixon. John Dean thinks Vice President Cheney is hiding something:

"There is a reason Cheney has decided to take the heat and political fallout from resisting GAO's request [for information about energy policy deliberations]; the reason is that the alternative, of giving GAO access to the information it wants, would, from Cheney's perspective, be worse. As fine and dedicated a public servant as he is - he is stonewalling. This is how a cover-up begins."
posted 21:52 |

An email purportedly from the kidnappers of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl claims that he has been killed. The report could not be independently confirmed. I hope it is false.

My brand of journalism is pretty safe. I write about leading edge technology, not war zones. Sitting in my office or my expense account hotel, it's easy to forget how risky the field can be. It's easy to forget how precious, and how fragile, the free reporting we take for granted is.

My heart goes out to Mr. Pearl's family and colleagues.
posted 15:48 |

January 31, 2002

Why can't my local police write this well? The Arcata, CA, police log transcends the genre with poetry, humor, and perceptive observations of the human condition. For example:

"Friday, January 18 8:34 a.m. When it's time to go separate ways, the most ephemeral items may attain iconic status, possession of which also signifies moral vindication. In the case of a soon-to-be-ex-couple on Sunset Avenue, it was food items in the icebox. She wanted them, he said no, and police paid a call, standing by as she gathered her belongings - possibly raiding the fridge one last time - and left."
posted 18:50 |

Did you stare in astonishment while Harry Potter made J.K. Rowling one of the richest women in Scotland? Now the Independent's beginner's guide to children's fiction can help you scramble to the top of the bestseller lists, too.
posted 11:29 |
Very strange. My blog page is missing. Let's see if republishing fixes it.
posted 10:02 |

January 30, 2002

Baen Books is one of the most influential speculative fiction publishers out there, so here's hoping their free online library starts a trend. In the introduction to the library, Eric Flint makes the extremely sensible points that "Losses any author suffers from piracy are almost certainly offset by the additional publicity which, in practice, any kind of free copies of a book usually engender. ... Any cure which relies on tighter regulation of the market especially the kind of extreme measures being advocated by some people is far worse than the disease. As a widespread phenomenon rather than a nuisance, piracy occurs when artificial restrictions in the market jack up prices beyond what people think are reasonable."

Too bad other media outlets don't feel the same way. The recording industry in particular seems to want to criminalize word-of-mouth. Combine copy-protected CDs, clumsy subscription-based download services, and laws that make it illegal to bypass the protection, and you've got enough customer-hostile features to turn even the most law-abiding conservative into a music pirate.
posted 11:53 |

Not only can't Micron and Hynix agree on a price, they can't even agree on whether they're still talking to each other. At last report, Micron was offering US$3.1 billion for the troubled Korean chipmaker, while Hynix's creditor's committee was refusing to accept less than US$4 billion. Now, quotes a Micron spokesman's announcement that talks have broken down and no further discussions are planned. No sooner did that story cross the wire than Korea Times published contradictory remarks from a variety of sources close to Hynix.

It looks to me like the deal is dead. Even if the two sides do keep talking, neither seems likely to close the US$1 billion gap. Hynix believes the stabilizing DRAM market will give it new life, while Micron only benefits if it can add capacity at a discount.
posted 10:37 |

January 28, 2002

Offering another sign that the semiconductor manufacturing industry may be emerging from the doldrums, TSMC reported that its fab utilization reached 50% in the fourth quarter of 2001. Net sales jumped 23% compared to the third quarter.
posted 11:19 |
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