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The Product Which Shocked The Electronics Industry

No product gave the electronics industry more of a fright than the electronic calculator. If the IC was going to deliver price erosion like this then how could anyone ever make a profit? By 1975, the cost of making a consumer calculator had sunk to $5.36 and a scientific calculator to $24. Of course Microsoft and Intel figured it out ...

Fable: The Company That Did Things Differently

There was once a company which made logic ICs by using a web of electrical connections in which there was a capacitor at every intersection. The capacitor’s role as an insulator could be changed into a conductor by applying a charge which melted the capacitor. By deciding which capacitors to retain, and which to melt, users could programme functions into the ...

A Nice Thing About Apple

A nice thing about Apple is that its stuff is bought by kings, billionaires and schoolkids. Apple has avoided all that silly female handbag stuff and that silly male car stuff where manufacturers bring out stupidly expensively products to appeal to show-offs. A plutocrat gets the same iThing experience as the waitress – and that seems a nice thing in ...

The Nothing Burger

If anyone needed any more proof that EU politicians are w***ers there it was plain as a pikestaff on the telly last night when Mark Zuckerberg was questioned by EU politicians. Whenever someone starts a presentation with the statement that they’ll take questions at the end, you know that they don’t want questions and won’t answer questions. But this was ...

Semi Capex Could Top $100bn This Year

Semiconductor capex could top $100 billion this year – the first year it has ever done so, reckons IC Insights. Based on spending to date this year, IC Insights reckons that capex will increase 14% over the full year, which would take the year’s spend to $102.6 billion. The increase is largely due to Samsung. Although Samsung said it would ...

Hughes Building Lab Production Line For Parametric Transistors

THE semiconductor division of Hughes Aircraft of California is building a laboratory production line for a parametric mode transistor that operates up to the microwave region. So, 58 years ago, started a story in the October 19th 1960 edition of Electronics Weekly. The story continued: The device will work in the circuit invented by Lenkurt Electric Co., a subsidiary of ...

The Most Beautiful Car Ever Made

The prototype electric E-Type demo-ed by Prince Harry and Princess Meghan at the weekend was restored and electrified by JLR Classic of Coventry. Dubbed the E-Type Zero it does 0-60 in 5.5 seconds – a second faster than the 1968 original – and 0-100 in 10 secs – six seconds faster than the original. The Zero has a 220kW electric ...

Ed Flirts With Trumpery

Anyone who’s been in business knows that the best way to get a better price is to dump the supplier. The reaction is usually swift, and the result usually what you want i.e. you retain the supplier while paying less for the supplies, Ed muses in his diary. This tactic seems to me – though not to the media – ...

How IBM Tackled Anti-Trust Action

When IBM was hauled up by the US DoJ for anti-trust infringements in 1952, old Tom Watson, then 78, deployed all his wiles to beat the rap, The head of the DoJ’s anti-trust department, Graham Morrison, said that 116 people “everybody I had known since childhood” were organised by IBM to “call me at night and say: ’Don’t bring this ...

Silliness

Why does the world spend so much on rat poison? Earlier this month Warren Buffett called Bitcoin “rat poison  squared”. A report by a PwC economist says Bitcoin miners are currently using 2.55 GW of electricity to create  new Bitcoins. You can add at least another 1 GW to that for the production of chips used to mine crypto-currency chips.  ...

Fable: The Machine That Was Late.

Calculating the trajectory of missiles during WWII to help gunnery officers with the settings for their artillery in changing conditions took so long that they could never be completed in time. So a couple of academics were asked to build a vacuum tube-based calculating machine. This they did. The resulting machine used 18,000 tubes, weighed 30 tons, measured 100ft x 8ft ...

C’mon My Son

With Apple nearly a $1 trillion company you ask: How? Answer: iPhone. And then you ask: What’s so special about the iPhone? Answer: the OS. And then you ask: What is it about iOS which people like? Answer: It’s easy to use. And then you ask: Why doesn’t someone produce an OS which is easier to use than iOS and ...

Samsung Extended Lead Over Intel In Q1

In Q1, Samsung extended its lead over Intel at the top of the semiconductor manufacturers’ league table, reports IC Insights. Samsung had Q1 revenues of $19.4 billion compared to Intel’s $15.8 billion. Y-o-y, Samsung grew 43% while Intel grew 11%. Samsung went from having 5% less sales than Intel in 1Q17 to having 23% more semiconductor sales than Intel in 1Q18. ...

Unpopular People

Those who sneer at populism are unpopular people – Blair, Juncker, Clinton (H) – people who have done well out the the political  system and who resent outsiders crashing it. If the inconvenient plebs vote against the wishes of these unpopular people they  brand the vote populist. Why shouldn’t the Italians vote to come out of the EU snd ditch ...

Science Syllabus Overloaded With Facts

“The General Certificate of Education syllabus makes me sick when I contemplate it,” “It is necessary to change completely the content of the school physics courses”, . . . . “extremely dull”. . . . . “pointless” . . . . . desiccated”. These are some of the comments which have been applied to present day science teaching here and ...

Wealth And Power

Some remarkable foils from Reuters show the astonishing wealth of the big US tech companies. Apple’s revenues approach the GDP of Finland which is 44th in the world GDP league;  Amazon’s revenues are close to the GDP of Portugal which is 47th in the world GDP league; Alphabet’s revenues top the GDP of Puerto Rico which is 64th in the ...

Ed Spots A GDPR Earner

Loads of my old business mates have latched onto this GDPR thing as a nice little earner, Ed confides to his diary. To milk GDPR, the wheeze is to peddle scare stories, which is easy because the penalties are draconian, and, when you’ve hooked a sucker, offer a check-list of actions which will assure compliance. At the same time you ...