Articles about Silicon

Lessons from the Mini: Before revamping or rebooting anything, please read this

If you're considering doing a relaunch, a "reboot", or a revamp of any kind, there's a lot to learn from the story of the Mini. The original Mini had been in production for 41 years by October 2000, when the last one rolled off the line at Longbridge – but the design had never really been updated. For the last two decades of …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Oct 2016
AMD CEO Lisa Su speaking at the firm's 2015 financial analyst day

AMD is a rounding error on Intel's spreadsheet and that sucks for us all

On Tuesday, Intel said it expects to bank in the final quarter of the year $15.7bn in sales, plus or minus $500m. That's a billion-dollar swing. Two days later, on Thursday, AMD proudly revealed that its entire revenue for the three months to September 24 was $1.3bn. Just over a billion dollars. AMD is little more than …
Chris Williams, 21 Oct 2016
Sanjay Mirchandani at PuppetConf 2016

Puppet shows its hand: All your software is belong to us

Special report In an episode of Seinfeld from 1996, George is shocked when he discovers his former boss, Mr Wilhelm, has joined a cult, the Sunshine Carpet Cleaners. “Most of the world is carpeted,” Wilhelm intones, vacuum in hand. “And one day, we will do the cleaning.” In sunny San Diego, California, on Thursday, executives from Puppet, …
Thomas Claburn, 21 Oct 2016
Image by 9 George

Google pays $100k to anti-malware crusader Giovanni Vigna

Anti-malware machine and head of the Shellphish DARPA Grand Challenge bronze-medallist team has won US$100,000 from Google for security research efforts. University of California Santa Barbara doctor Giovanni Vigna landed Google's Security, Privacy and Anti-Abuse award for his long line of research into malware detection. …
Darren Pauli, 21 Oct 2016

China's LeEco eyes up US, takes on, er, Apple, Samsung, Netflix, Tesla

Pics Chinese tech maker LeEco (pronounced Le Echo) has made its entrance into the US market – with a lavish press conference in San Francisco that showed the Middle Kingdom isn't afraid to take on some of the biggest names in technology. The giant unveiled a high-spec smartphone that massively undercuts rivals Apple, Samsung, and …
Iain Thomson, 19 Oct 2016

How do you make a qubit 10 times as stable? Dress it up for work

Dressing qubits in an electromagnetic field can make them 10 times more stable and able to perform more calculations over time in future quantum computers, according to new research in Nature Nanotechnology. Qubits - or quantum bits - hold information in quantum computers just like bits do in conventional computers. Instead of …
Katyanna Quach, 18 Oct 2016
Intel's Stratix 10 ARM-base FPGA

Microsoft boffins: Who needs Intel CPUs when you've got FPGAs?

Microsoft hooks up reprogrammable chips directly to its data centers' internal networks to ramp up the performance of its web applications. The Windows giant is so impressed by the tech, it reckons the customizable hardware could eventually take on more computational work than the Intel workhorse processors that today fill its …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Oct 2016
Robot drives a car. Conceptual illustration from Shutterstock

Apple's car is driving nowhere

Is Silicon Valley “disrupting” the car industry – or is the car “disrupting” Silicon Valley? It might be the latter; after Google’s car struggles comes further news of Apple’s ailing auto project. Apple has lost “hundreds” of staff from Project Titan, its car initiative, Bloomberg reports in a scathing update on the work. It’ …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Oct 2016

Google has unleashed Factivism to smite the untruthy

Analysis I remember when I first noticed “factivism”. It was more than 10 years ago. In 2003, Californian internet evangelists were still bruised by the implosion when the United States invaded Iraq on a bogus pretext, WMDs. The web evangelicals thought: wait a minute. The Internet (PBUI) is a Good Thing. The Internet delivers …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Oct 2016
Silicon implant, pHOTO BY shUTTERSTOCK

New UK National silicone database will help avoid boobs

A national silicone breast implant database is to be created to ensure faulty products can be traced in the event of a product recall. The Breast and Cosmetic Implant Registry (BCIR) is intended to prevent a repeat of faulty Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP) silicone breast implants scandal in 2010, in which fraudulently …
Kat Hall, 17 Oct 2016

DIY storage startup: Tech, check. Techies, check... Er, credibility?

Part Four You need customers, but credibility too. One begets the other. But which comes first? We are now in the final, challenging chapter of early start up mode: of getting paying customers and leveraging them to your advantage in the world to gain more. As Tech 3.0 launches the dance for the B round starts. Everything here depends …
Trevor Pott, 17 Oct 2016

Google: We look forward to running non-Intel processors in our cloud

Google has gently increased pressure on Intel – its main source for data-center processors – by saying it is "looking forward" to using chips from IBM and other semiconductor rivals. The web advertising giant said it hopes to use a mix of "architectures within our cloud" in the future. Back in April, Google revealed it had …
Chris Williams, 15 Oct 2016
Nuclear War

Why OpenCAPI is a declaration of interconnect fabric war

+Comment An OpenCAPI consortium has sprung into life, promising a new, open specification that can increase data center server performance up to 10x through the use of a new CPU-memory-IO adapter interconnect scheme – and it doesn't include Intel in its membership. The Open Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface represents, the …
Chris Mellor, 14 Oct 2016
Dandelion photo by Shutterstock

Cisco's cloud whisperer CTO Zorawar Biri Singh blows free

Cloud whisperer-turned-venture capital influencer Zorawar Biri Singh has floated free of Cisco Systems. The roving entrepreneur who turns corporate heads was brought in as Cisco's chief technology officer for platforms in July 2015. Singh was member of incoming chief executive Chuck Robbins’ new team and arrived as the former …
Gavin Clarke, 14 Oct 2016

Open Sorcerers: Can you rid us of Emperor Zuck?

OX Summit Back in the dot com heyday, around 1999 and 2000, Linux and open source conferences were huge events: they were packed and brimming with excitement. There was optimism, new initiatives in every conceivable direction, and anything seemed possible. Move over, Grandad: everything traditional was going to be up-ended by open source …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Oct 2016
League of gentlemen poster - Tubbs and Edward at the local shop. Copyright BBC

British jobs for British people: UK tech rejects PM May’s nativist hiring agenda

Comment “If you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what the very word ‘citizenship’ means." So British Prime Minister Theresa May told her party’s conference last week. Home secretary Amber Rudd laid out plans at the conference to make it harder for British employers to hire …
Gavin Clarke, 13 Oct 2016
snapshot of postgres vision panel discussion

Oracle DB admins urged to swap their gas guzzler for an electric car

Postgres Vision At the Postgres Vision 16 conference taking place in San Francisco this week, Ed Boyajian, president and CEO of EnterpriseDB, tried to convince attendees to abandon their Hummers for electric cars. Boyajian wasn't moonlighting for Tesla. Rather, he was peddling a metaphor in which expensive gas-guzzlers represent traditional …
Thomas Claburn, 13 Oct 2016

Sckipio touts fibre-like symmetrical kit

Fabless silicon house Sckipio hopes to give the fibre-most-of-the-way, copper to the home market a kick along with silicon that gets close to symmetric performance, at whatever data rate the copper can support. Talking to Vulture South after the launch, the company's marketing veep Michael Weissman explained the …

US investment 'heroes' are the people you love to hate

Which corporations invest most in the USA? A ranking by the favourite think-tank of the Democratic Party leadership might leave the Party's net roots choking on their muesli. The Progressive Policy Institute has ranked US corporations by the amount they invest in the country, and excluded financial companies from the list. It’ …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Oct 2016
Micron 9100 NVMe HHHL SSD

Little top tech tip: Take care choosing your storage drives

Sysadmin Blog RAID is dead. Or maybe it's not. I think it might be off having a conversation with a cat in a box. Regardless of whether or not you use hardware RAID cards or HBAs and some kind of software, the idea of big boxes full of drives that store lots of things isn't going away any time soon. The drives you put in them, however, are …
Trevor Pott, 10 Oct 2016
Robot AI Woman

Today in stalking British AI startups: The Chinese are coming

British AI talent is about to be given a boost after Founders Factory, a company specialising in growing startups, announced today that it will receive a “multimillion pound” investment from a top Chinese private equity firm. CSC Group is one of China’s largest private equity firms, specialises in tech investment, and has …
Katyanna Quach, 10 Oct 2016

Boffins eschew silicon to build tiniest-ever transistor, just 1nm long

Boffins from the United States Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and beyond say they've cracked a new way to make very, very, small transistors. As explained in their Science paper MoS2 transistors with 1-nanometer gate lengths, the authors explain silicon is a lovely substance with …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Oct 2016

CEO of shady ad site Backpage and owners arrested on human trafficking suspicions

Special report The CEO of the notorious online classified site Backpage, Carl Ferrer, has been arrested in Texas on allegations of sex trafficking, after a joint investigation by California and Texas. Earlier this year the US Senate, investigating human trafficking, voted to hold Ferrer in contempt after he refused to co-operate. It was the …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Oct 2016

It's executive whack-a-mole at Big Data replicator WANdisco

Sacked WANdisco CEO Dave Richards is back in post just seven working days after being ousted; the chairman of the board has now resigned along with another director, and also Erik Miller, the recently-appointed CFO. On September 29 CEO Dave Richards was fired at a breakfast meeting by non-exec chairman Paul Walker at London’s …
Chris Mellor, 07 Oct 2016
Zilog's IXRD1004 High Power Two-Phase Digital Power Factor Correction (PFC) reference design

Zilog reveals very, very distant heir to the Z80 empire

Mostly-forgotten silicon-maker Zilog is alive and has just released a new product that shares a little DNA with the Z80 CPU that powered many of the earliest mass-market microcomputers. The Z80 famously powered Sinclair's iconic ZX 80, ZX 81 and Spectrum computers. The CPU also made it into the Radio Shack TRS-80, the Osborne …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Oct 2016

Google 'screwed over' its non-millennials – now they can all fight back

Google has been hit with a class-action lawsuit accusing the ad giant of discriminating against older employees. The Northern California District Court has certified [PDF] the case brought against the Chocolate Factory, allowing aggrieved applicants aged 40 and older to join together in filing a single suit. By certifying the …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Oct 2016

Google's home tat falls flat as a soufflé – but look out Android makers

Comment This year’s bid by Google to fill your home with its tat collapsed like a soufflé yesterday – but at least one part will have a huge impact. In the phone world, the impact of its Pixel brand on its partners will be huge. Google had hyped the consumer event as the biggest since Android’s launch, but since it added only one new …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Oct 2016
Chilling the Delft silicon qubit

Intel-backed boffins demo long-lived silicon qubit

Bit by bit, the world gets closer to creating the quantum equivalent of a storage gate – a silicon-based qubit that can last long enough for general-purpose computing. If you want to use the superposition – the quantum property in which a gate can exist as 0 and 1 at the same time – for computation, it needs a usable “ …
Australian Parliament House Canberra

Australia's e-Senate vote count: a good start but needs improvement

An international group of security, encryption, and electoral academics believe Australia's Senate voting software needs an audit. The group, including researchers from MIT, UC Berkeley, and the University of Melbourne, took a look (PDF) at the Australian Electoral Commission's (AEC's) implementation of electronic counting for …

Stingy sapphire lens in Apple's iPhone 7 is as scratchy as glass

Apple claims its iPhone is the world’s most popular digital camera, but perhaps it isn’t as robust as it should be. Hardware buff Zack Nelson has found that Cupertino's sapphire glass uses a lower-quality material, making it as prone to scratching as regular tempered glass. Sapphire boast ... Screenshot of …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Oct 2016

Roll over Beethoven: HPE Synergy compositions oughta get Meg singing for joy

Comment HPE's Synergy is, it thinks, the next great advance in servers and is far more capable than hyper-converged infrastructure systems, being able to provision bare metal as well as servers for virtual workloads as well as containerised ones. Getting a grip on this beast is tricky. Is it a form of dynamically reconfigurable …
Chris Mellor, 03 Oct 2016

Ericsson’s patent pool is far from the new start the IoT needs

Analysis There are many interesting aspects to the announcement that Qualcomm, among others, is joining Ericsson’s Avanci patent pool scheme. Some of these appear contradictory. On the one hand, Avanci illustrates how the old patent structures of the mobile industry will no longer be fit for purpose for the Internet of Things (IoT). …
Wireless Watch, 03 Oct 2016

FCC keeps secret Google TV landgrab under wraps forever

Analysis US broadband regulator the FCC dramatically cancelled the much-anticipated vote on its secretive TV set-top box plan on Thursday – and it's keeping the details confidential. The terse note announcing the cancellation of the vote [PDF] at the ironically named “Open Meeting” declared that: The item remains on circulation and …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Sep 2016
Giant Magellan Telescope

Top interview: Dr Patrick McCarthy – boss of the world's future largest optical telescope

Pics + vids Construction has now started on the Giant Magellan Telescope – which will be the world's largest optical viewing device mankind has ever built – using record-breaking mirrors and advanced electronics. Youtube Video The telescope, located high in the Chilean mountains, will be able to show us images with up to ten times the …
Iain Thomson, 30 Sep 2016
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820

Qualcomm eyes NXP lunch

California chip designer Qualcomm is considering buying Netherlands-based NXP for something like $30bn, allegedly. We're warned that the deal could fall through, and if it does happen, it could be done and dusted within the next two to three months. Qualcomm designs system-on-chips and modem components for smartphones and …
Chris Williams, 29 Sep 2016

FCC death vote looms for the Golden Age of American TV

Special report We’re living in a “Golden Age of TV”, and the United States makes the most envied popular TV drama in the world. Breaking Bad, The Sopranos and The Wire raised the bar for everyone in TV drama. More cash is invested in content: last year Netflix alone spent more on shows than either the BBC or HBO. It takes more risks and …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Sep 2016

Google cranks out new developer center in San Francisco – inexplicably, we were at the opening

Google has opened a 14,000 square foot developer space in the heart of San Francisco to encourage the next generation of startups to use its products. The space takes up a whole floor on a newly renovated building in the city's SoMa tech hub and represents a big shift for Google away from its Silicon Valley campus 35 miles …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Sep 2016
HP 3D printer

HP Inc: No DRM in our 3D printers, we swear (unlike our 2D ones)

While HP Inc is getting a lot of flack over its DRM lockdown on 2D printing consumables, in the 3D world the company wants to address that it won't be setting the prices on consumables. Speaking at the 50th anniversary party for HP Labs, Tim Weber, global head of 3D materials for the firm, said that HP Inc would not be the …
Iain Thomson, 28 Sep 2016
robot butler

Baidu Research grills AI models on deep learning

Baidu Research has launched DeepBench, a new tool for AI researchers interested in assessing deep learning operations across hardware platforms. The announcement was made at the O’Reilly Artificial Intelligence conference by Greg Diamos and Sharan Narang, researchers working at Baidu’s AI lab in Silicon Valley. Deep learning …
Katyanna Quach, 27 Sep 2016
Doctors run to save patient. Photo by Shutterstock

Disney rollercoaster helps pop out kidney stones

A study from Michigan State University has found that a ride on a rollercoaster is just the ticket for those needing help in passing a kidney stone. More specifically, you need to get yourself to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disney World Florida. And you need to sit at the back. To verify their findings, the doctors …
John Oates, 27 Sep 2016

It's open season for bug hunting – on Microsoft's Azure cloud

Ignite Microsoft's conviction that "fuzzing in the cloud will revolutionize security testing," voiced in a research paper six years ago, has taken form with the debut of Project Springfield: an Azure-based service for identifying software flaws by automatically subjecting the code to bad input. Introduced at the Ignite conference in …
Thomas Claburn, 27 Sep 2016
disk head crash

Scale-out sister? Unreliable disks are better for your storage

Storage Architect Recently I was asked to review a document that used as a reference a piece of work from Google (PDF) which talked about the need to relax the resiliency levels of hard drives and SSDs. The premise is interesting: hyper-scalers claim they could do a better job in managing performance and availability if the HDDs they use were …
Chris Evans, 26 Sep 2016
Microsoft's Mark Russinovich with customer Daryll Fogal and Docker COO Scott Johnston

Microsoft releases Server 2016, complete with commercial Docker engine

Ignite Microsoft announced the release of Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016 at its Ignite event in Atlanta. The commercially supported edition of the Docker engine is included at no extra cost. Server 2016 and System Center 2016 are available for download this week and will be on sale from October 1 2016. A key feature of …
Tim Anderson, 26 Sep 2016

Violin hunts for elusive key to regrowth

Analysis The elusive hunt for renewal and regrowth at Violin Memory has moved into a new phase – with a product launch holding up sales, sales leadership change, and the CEO focusing on finding funding for the future. Violin has cleverly managed to avoid falling off a cliff despite falling sales revenues and investor despair. It …
Chris Mellor, 26 Sep 2016
Image by KUCO

Silicon Valley’s top exorcist rushed off his feet as Demons infest California

A Catholic priest has said virtually all his free time is taken up with exorcisms these days as he struggles to counter the tide of demonic possession washing up Silicon Valley and the rest of Northern California. Father Gary Thomas, together with fellow exorcist Father Vincent Lampert, has been profiled in a lengthy piece in …
Joe Fay, 26 Sep 2016
Twitter Logo

'Everyone' is buying Twitter

Seems everyone is interested in buying Twitter, according to rumors flying around Silicon Valley today. The whisperings have managed to push the social network's share price up 21 per cent to $22.26. Overall, the permanent loss-making San Francisco upstart's stock price is down 30 per cent over the past year. Now Salesforce …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Sep 2016

Zombie Moore's Law shows hardware is eating software

After being pronounced dead this past February - in Nature, no less - Moore’s Law seems to be having a very weird afterlife. Within the space of the last thirty days we've seen: Intel announce some next-generation CPUs that aren’t very much faster than the last generation of CPUs; Intel delay, again, the release of some of …
Mark Pesce, 22 Sep 2016

Google's Allo chat app hits a downside to AI: Bot must hoard private messages to train itself

Google has launched its new mobile messaging app Allo today in a bid to challenge Facebook's stronghold in instant messaging. Allo differs from Google's previous attempts with Hangouts, Google Talk and Google Chat, as its main power lies in artificial intelligence, apparently. Users will be introduced to a preview edition of …
Katyanna Quach, 22 Sep 2016
Robot hands viewer a cup of tea. Photo by Shutterstock

Google buys startup biz, slurps up its NLP brains

Google have snapped up API.AI, a Silicon Valley startup specialising in building tools for natural language understanding in mobiles, web applications and devices. The details of the financial transaction have not been disclosed. Launched in 2014, API.AI quickly recognised the growing trend in companies interested in giving …
Katyanna Quach, 20 Sep 2016
Photo by Phil Stafford / Shutterstock

Is Tesla telling us the truth over autopilot spat?

An increasingly bitter fight between Tesla and its former autopilot partner Mobileye is raising questions over the electric car company's honesty. Elon Musk's corporation is notoriously prickly. When it does come under criticism – whether on safety issues, the practicality of long-distance drives, or its autopilot feature – …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Sep 2016