Home » Blogs » Mannerisms

Mannerisms

So Many Satellites

Satellites – can we ever have enough of them? Last week Elon Musk got FCC permission to launch 11,925 of the things for providing cheap internet access in backwoods places. This week Bill Gates, Masa Son and Airbus say they’re backing EarthNow which plans to launch 500 satellites to provide global surveillance. Is global surveillance a good idea? Well it ...

Fable: Civil War

In 1976 Japan lined up for Civil War. In one camp was: Sony, Toshiba, NEC, Sanyo, Aiwa and Pioneer. In the other camp was: Matsushita, Hitachi, Sharp, Mitsubishi and Akai. Then came betrayal – three members of one camp – Toshiba, Sanyo and NEC – decided to have a foot in both camps. Then came the final blow, Sony, the ...

The Most Outré Boss On Earth

Most of us work for bosses who require authorisation for the most trivial of expenditures, but there are  a select few who get to actually reduce the amount that must be approved by them to $1 million as a cost-saving measure. One such is the one and only Elon Musk. Here’s his email to employees sent on Tuesday: “Progress First, ...

What If ZTE Writes Its Own Mobile OS?

Would it be a good thing if ZTE is banned from using Android? Well it could be. A simpler-to-use mobile OS would be a boon to many. Android, IMHO, is clunky and non-intuitive compared to iOS.  And even iOS has become over-cute and over-complex in recent iterations. Most ordinary people want to feel in control of their phone and, for ...

Top 10 (+15) European Patent Grantees 2017

EPO Top 25 patentees1 Rank Company European patent applications in 2017 Change 2017 vs. 2016 Geographic origin 1 LG 1,792 52.8% KR 2 ROBERT BOSCH 1,463 -1.3% EPO 3 SAMSUNG 1,408 34.5% KR 4 HUAWEI 1,262 36.6% CN 5 QUALCOMM 1,155 35.4% US 6 SIEMENS 1,053 0.7% EPO 7 ERICSSON 1,009 3.9% EPO 8 TOYOTA MOTOR 888 34.3% JP 9 ...

Declaring Crypto-Currency Profits To The Taxman

Today is Americans’ tax day and it  presents a dilemma for a lot of Americans – does Uncle Sam know they’ve made money on crypto-currency transactions? A fair few are betting No.  TeamBlind, a San Francisco company which has an app that provides anonymous social networking services, has asked 2,600 of its users who have made a profit on crypto-currencies ...

Tech Uni As Powerful As MIT Proposed.

The  siting of Government technological establishments within and the setting up of an Atlantic College of Science and Technology were two suggestions recently made by Sir John Cockcroft. So, 58 years ago, started a story in Electronics Weekly’s edition of November 2nd 1960. The story continues: The Atlantic Institute should be founded by drawing on the whole resources of Europe. Britain should ...

Will AI Summer Ever Come?

Will it ever be AI summer? The House of Lords report on AI kicks off with a list of ‘AI winters’ when heady expectations for AI were followed by a depressed realisation in the scientific community that the technology was not there. The HoL report quotes the 1956 Dartmouth College, New Hampshire study into AI, instances the 1960s’ AI initiatives ...

Ed Eyes Up AI

AI is the thing – I keep being told. And what is the Department doing about it – is what I keep being asked. As no one can even define it, I sniff opportunity for Yours Truly. The VCs are gagging to invest in it, HMG is setting aside large budgets to support it and, as Her Majesty’s Secretary of ...

Japan’s Tech Decline

The decline of so much of Japan’s tech industry would have come as no surprise to Fairchild and Intel co-founder and chip co-inventor Bob Noyce. 35 years ago he told Tom Wolfe in the best profile of a great scientist ever written ‘The Tinkerings of Robert Noyce’: “If you look at any of the Japanese successes, with the possible exception ...

Oxfordshire Jet/Rocket Engine Gets £26.5m Funding

Reaction Engines Limited (REL) of Culham, which is building the  hybrid jet/rocket engine for  Skylon – the spaceplane successor to Hotol – has received a £26.5 million investment from Boeing and Rolls Royce. BAe invested £20.6 million in 2015 and the government had previously  invested £60 million. REL has now raised over £100 million to build the engine which it ...

Fable: The History-Making Company Which Failed

62 years ago a scientist rented a 5000 sq ft building at 391 San Antonio Road m in Mountain View. With four engineers he launched a company. Two of the four came from Bell Labs, one came from Raytheon and one was a Berkeley graduate. An ad asking for more recruits produced 25 replies. The company never produced a saleable ...

Leading Semi Companies Increase Share

The top  25 companies held more than three-quarters of the worldwide semiconductor market in 2017 as the leading semiconductor suppliers significantly increased their marketshare over the past decade, says IC Insights. The top 5 semiconductor suppliers accounted for 43% of the world’s semiconductor sales in 2017, an increase of 10 percentage points from 10 years earlier. The top 50 suppliers represented ...

Schizo Facebook

The Zuckerberg hearing revealed a conflicted company which isn’t sure what it is. Is it a neutral platform – ‘a platform for all ideas’ – or is it a content provider – a publisher? Facebook is employing 15,000 – rising this year to 20,000 – ‘content checkers’ and with 20k people editing content it is no longer a neutral platform ...

Top 10 (+15) Applicants For European Patents In 2017

The 25 most prolific applicants for patents at the European Patent Office last year were : 1.HUAWEI. 2 398 2.SIEMENS. 2 220 3.LG. 2 056 4.SAMSUNG. 2 016 5.QUALCOMM 1 854 6.ROYAL PHILIPS 1 733 7.UNITED TECHNOLOGIES 1 719 8.INTEL. 1 435 9.ROBERT BOSCH. 1 412 10.ERICSSON. 1 373 11.GENERAL ELECTRIC. 1 372 12.BASF. 1 265 13.SONY. 1 219 14.MICROSOFT. ...

Woz Quits FB

One rather hopes, but one suspects not, that people will desert Facebook in their zillions. Otherwise social media sites will think they can get away with murder. The highest profile Facebook Leaver is Steve Wozniak who told USA Today that he is fed up social media sites’ careless attitude to peoples’ private information. “Users provide every detail of their life ...

Mullard Work On Transistor Noise Problem

NOISE  in transistors is a far more complex problem than in thermionic devices. So, 58 years ago, a story started in Electronics Weekly’s edition of November 2nd 1960. The story continues: Mullard Ltd. are working on the problem of specifying noise and identify ing it by parameters. “There is need for a relatively simple system of noise parameters say Mullard, ...

Tosh’s Dilemma

Toshiba’s new boss has an interesting dilemma. Should Toshiba stick to its word and flog its memory unit to Bain/Hynix for $18 billion? Or should it kick Bain/Hynix into the long grass on the legalistic pretext that the China competition guys  didn’t OK the deal by March 31st which was a contractual condition for the deal? Is Toshiba obliged to ...

Ed Encounters Scientific Integrity

Who’d be Minister for Science? Ed asks his diary, most of the time it’s a doss but it can suddenly erupt into a bed of nails. First the data leak now the nerve agent. The Department’s scientists are supposed to cover the PM’s arse but they’ve  been making a pig’s ear of it on chemical weapons and who gets the blame? ...

When Andy Grove first met Steve Jobs

Andy Grove was offered a seat on the Apple board in the early days. In Charlie Sporck’s book SPINOFF Grove recalls being given “one of those pink message slips from my secretary. My secretary gives it to me with a big grin It says Mike Markkula, Apple Computer, please call him back.” “I said, “Apple Computer??” “I called Mike, ‘What ...