back to article Learning about chip design from Silicon Roundabout

Yesterday would have been the 84th birthday of Robert Noyce - who with Jack Kirby invented the integrated circuit, and who was one of the three founders of Intel. A day to talk about chips, then. The high-risk business of designing microprocessors is fascinating: the cost of failure is enormous, many designs fail to set the …


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  1. Ross Luker

    That hair... magnificent.

    1. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Would it be too much to describe him as a "floppy-haired, cravat wearing fuckwit"?

      1. Mediocrates
        Thumb Up

        "Would it be too much to describe him as a floppy-haired, cravat wearing fuckwit?"


  2. adam.c

    Why don't we have a Nathan icon?

    Rule of Thumb - if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, it's probably a duck, except using s/duck/wanker/g here

    And that bit of regex probably exceeds his total hard technical knowledge)

    Please god, someone go along to him for a chat and ask pointed questions about silicon wafer purity, doping, lithography, anything....

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "ask pointed questions "

      and maybe punch him every time he gets one wrong?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    That photo with call-me-dave macaroon sums up the laughable British attempts to copy American success stories. We try to ape the success of the Valley's Google, Apple, Intel, Facebook... but actually we just have a bunch of buffoons in cardigans and a load of vacuous spin.

    1. Ru

      You do us a disservice

      There are successful British tech companies out there, believe it or not. I don't feel you'll find any in 'silicon roundabout' though... nor are they likely to have 'social' in the description of any of their work or products.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Don't get me wrong, I'm one of them! It's the silicon roundabout bandwagon and silly blazers that make me cringe.

  4. Charlie Clark Silver badge


    Not that clothing really matters but is he auditioning for Dr Who?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Dr Who?

      The Duke of York wouldn't even need to audition to be a villain.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      I do not recall any Dr Who ever wearing a coat made out of a rejected Ikea rug design.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    well he seems like a guy I could trust and respect with deep seated value.

    Could people stop giving them money? Please?

  6. Arrrggghh-otron

    Nathan Barley as I live and breath!

    Someone please throw some paint in his hair!

    (Disclaimer for the humourless in these overly sensitive times: This is a reference to a hair style sported by Nathan Barley and not a call to action by random nutters or the easily influenced*, nor do I wish for airports to be blown up etc etc, but now you've spoilt it because if I have to explain it, it isn't funny... but now you've made me analyse it, it probably never was that funny, but that's not the point, the point is you've sucked the fun out of it for all of us. I hope you are happy with the world you've created...)

    *If you are easily influenced and do throw paint in sudo Nathans hair I want pics!

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      If you are going to explain you should probably add that Nathan only has paint in his hair because he is copying the hairstyle of his unfortunate (unfortunate because he is idolised without gain by Nathan and others) idol, Dan Ashcroft, who had an accident with a can of paint and had to leave the hairdresser's early... And, yes, Nathan the buffoon is more successful than Dan.

      Mine's the one with the Salmon Latte and a copy of Rape magazine and tramp racing betting slip in the pocket.

      1. Arrrggghh-otron

        Ape - Sugar Ape...

        Perhaps it is worth explaining... then again, Geek pie all round!

  7. Chris Miller

    Prince Andrew's in?

    I'm out!

  8. Chris Miller


    You can see the man in action (how many blazers does one guy need?) here:

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Normally I would say thanks for that but having seen it I'm not so sure.

      "Sales people selling to customers" - can't argue with insight like that.

      From the clip "One spring morning there was a knock on the door and there was the president of the San Francisco Stock Exchange. And within about half-an-hour we were sitting down discussing my idea..."

      Maybe it's true that the chairman of stock exchanges do stroll around London looking for fantastic startups. Though San Francisco's stock exchange isn't of great renown, but why did it take them half-an hour between opening the door and talking business? What happened in the meantime? Rough sex?

  9. Ru

    British Comedy ahead of its time...

    In the same way that 'Yes [Prime] Minister' seems to show remarkable insight into politics 25 years after the series was started, so 'Nathan Barley' seems to be about our wonderful social media industry 5 years after that series was screened.

    I can only hope that Mr. Brooker was not so perceptive as to predict the coming twenty years too, but I'm worried that he's going to be proven correct time and time again.

  10. That Awful Puppy

    Surely, this must be trolling

    Or it's a caricature of the "social media" types. Or a modern art performance piece. Or something.

    Pass the eye bleach, please.

  11. Robert Ramsay

    What the fuck is he wearing?

    That is all. Thank you.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    I'd always assumed that Prince Andrew

    is a moron but he looks unimpressed. Unless of course he is bamboozled, in which case, as you were.

    OTOH Mr Armstrong's dress sense clearly identifies him as an individual with a profound grasp of what is really important. We're saved!!

  13. ScottAS2

    Cannot connect to server ""

    Has he taken all of his servers down and gone home?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Miaow! But very funny :-)

    It's remarkable how many ppl really have no idea what's inside their iPhone, or who think it doesn't matter :-(

  15. David Lester
    IT Angle

    So, about that Steve Furber Interview...

    ... I'm making damned sure he's up to his eye balls in EU funding proposals at the moment (it's my job); but if you like we'll see what we can do after Jan 6.

  16. Eddie Edwards
    IT Angle

    Prince Andrew?

    Prince Andrew? It looks more like Neil Tennant.

    Love the Register's new gossip column.

  17. dotdavid

    The Trampery...

    ...really needs to register the version of their domain.

  18. Hugh Barnard

    On a more serious note

    I live in the East End and [sometimes] work there. There are plenty of kids in Tower Hamlets that could probably use programming as a way into employment, but they're not benefiting from any of this pretentious, not-very-technical froth.

    We've actually got a couple of small Linux-based computer rooms into housing estates along Commercial Road. Maybe we should brand ourselves, Roundabout East?

  19. Alfie
    IT Angle

    I'm sorry but his I cannot take any man seriously that wears a cravat!

    Bad hair and terrible taste in clothing is almost de rigueur in IT, but I have to draw the line somewhere.

    I for one, welcome the new Reg Goss section, especially now that we never see anything in the rebranding/joss sticks/whalesong section any more.

  20. jotheberlock

    I note that an empresario is a Spanish land agent. Perhaps he meant impresario?

    1. Mediocrates

      Maybe the guy meant "empress" but spelled it so badly his spellchecker put in empresario.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Probably couldn't even design a JK flipflop on paper let alone worry about using VHDL !!!

    The guy's a tosser, a publicity seeker. Move along now, nothing to see here.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know Charles and although he looks like he dressed himself at a WI jumble sale, he is no Nathan Barley - he actually comes up with some good, original ideas.

    So basically, he walks like a duck, but doesn't talk like a duck. Maybe if he dressed like someone important like a gossip columnist or a blogger, he wouldn't attract so much flak. Easy target though. Well done.

    1. Jonathon Green

      "I know Charles and although he looks like he dressed himself at a WI jumble sale, he is no Nathan Barley - he actually comes up with some good, original ideas."

      Ah. So presumably you'll be able to explain his qualifications for discussing or offering worthwhile commmentary on (to take a random example) U.S. Patents 2875141 "Method and apparatus for forming semiconductor structures" or 3098160 "Field controlled avalanche semiconductive device", not forgetting of course the seminal 2981877 "Semiconductor Device and Lead Structure" then?

      Face it, the guy might be very good at whatever the heck it is he does (which as an engineer with a career spanning 25 or so years or so of doing nothing more creative than contributing to actual products which people actually, you know, buy in large numbers I'm probably utterly incapable of understanding) but my perception is that he's way out of his depth here, although clearly not as much so as whichever hapless individual was responsible for the original press release judging by the way they seem to have struggled to present Armstrong's credentials in any relevant manner or otherwise lend any credibility to his perspectives on a career and set of achivements lying firmly within the engineering domain...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I don't know what he knows about semiconductors and I'd take a guess that it is probably outside his field of expertise, but I don't know for sure and nor do all the others piling on here.

        I'm not attacking anyone else's credentials as engineers and neither am I belittling them in any way. There's a lot of assumption here based on a bad dress sense/haircut and what it all boils down to is pointing at a kid in the playground that looks different and laughing. Great if you like that sort of thing, but I don't agree with it.


  23. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    The hair

    is well weapon.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom is back

    and let's just say that the Reg' and Andrew get a mention. :-)

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If this is the kind of person Cameron consorts with

    then that explains why the Economy is totally fsk'ed.

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