* Posts by Anonymous Custard

2660 posts • joined 25 Jul 2008

How TSMC killed 450mm wafers for fear of Intel, Samsung

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Headmaster

It works for the individual parts and improved yield (by only stacking up known-good dies), but you get a lot of complexity by ending up much more 3D in the stacks, with all the fun and games of the interconnects with vias and specific interlayers to hook everything together and connect them all up.

But the biggest challenge as ever is heat, and how you can get it out of the layers that are buried towards the middle of the stack. It can be done with clever designs and some thought on the layout (like putting the more active and intensively heat generating bits towards the outside where you can get at them more easily to cool them), but it still adds a lot of headaches to the overall design.

You do also get the benefits of there being nothing to stop you mixing and matching nodes. So you can make the memory layers (for example) on older technology that works just fine for them, and the CPU or other more detailed parts on the cutting edge tools at the smaller nodes.

That way you don't have to tie up your state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment producing stuff that older and cheaper kit can quite happily handle.

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Scaling laws work both ways

The wafers also cost more as they're more difficult to manufacture, and need more material (they have to be thicker as well as wider, to support their own weight without bowing). That thickness can become a problem, especially if it's a product where most of it has to be removed for rear access (e.g. image sensors).

The increased weight becomes an issue for mechanical handling of the wafers, plus physically limits how many can be processed in one batch (unless you're talking single wafer tools, but even then there are limits) by what the robotics can lift. Also if they need to be spun for various reasons, their weight limits the maximum speed (spin too fast and they will rip themselves apart quite spectacularly).

Fundamentally though, especially for some of the less cutting edge but still large-market applications (power devices or MEMs/sensors for examples), a lot of fabs are only recently beginning to move from 6" to 8", or from there towards 300mm (12"). 8" is something of a sweet spot for them, and in many cases the move to 12" is at least partly due to tool vendors focussing more on that size simply due to market forces from the big boys, so development on 8" toolsets can be limited.

I recall a lot of the discussions back then when all this was proposed, and how much investment and risk was involved (and who was to take the hit on both, and who was trying to offload it onto others). It wasn't a huge surprise when it all went quiet...

As background, I work for one of aforesaid tool vendors.

Yeah, we'll just take that first network handshake. What could possibly go wrong?

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Trollface

Re: The guiding principle

I nominate Booolean

Wouldn't the three states there be either true, false or spookily scary?

Or at least the extranious one would make you jump in fright...

Enough with the notifications! Focus Assist will shut them u… 'But I'm too important!'

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Trollface

We've still got several "flood warning" signs around the local area here.

I mean, after all the rain we've had lately, they are so accurate and relevant...

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Mushroom

Re: Windows System Sounds - office hell!

Not to mention certain colleagues who seem to spend a quarter of their lives on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and suchlike, and thus most of the other three quarters are spent with their phones binging, chirping and making other irritating noises when they get replies or posts...

I have a colleague who is so bad for that, her phone has come close to becoming projectile more than once, and on occasions even she gets irritated by them.

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Joke

Re: Everyone's at it

On the rare occasion when I've caught it, it seems to be the collision avoidance alert, which is the very last thing that should be distracting me at a crucial moment, and often turns out to be incorrect anyway as anyone older than about three can see that there's no way I'm going to run into that hedge, and even if I did it'd hardly tickle the wing mirror.

You are Homer Simpson, and I claim my fi... Mind that chestnut tree!

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Trollface

That probably being the fine line between safety and profit...

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Does your neighbour have kids?

To be fair, the volume of the average 3 year old who discovers that the batteries in his favourite toy are too low for him to play with it would probably easily drown out even such loud bleeps and warnings.

Speaking from experience as a parent...

Be careful where you install software, and who installs it

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Alien

Re: Who is your customer?

Are you sure it wasn't the agency Protecting the Earth From The Scum of the Universe?

If it was, he wouldn't have remembered any of it afterwards, or at least anything before the eye exam?

I paid for it, that makes it mine. Doesn’t it? No – and it never did

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Headmaster

That will of course be the next trick - not the switch to turn them on, but the one to turn them off, especially in summer...

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Physical media

Annoyingly, if you want to sell old CDs, you'll probably get about 1p each for them, but if you want to buy that one, specific album from 1993, then the odds are it's going to set you back £25...

The trick is to be the one who buys for the former and resells for the latter...

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Trollface

Re: Before computers we used to make stuff that worked

Ah yes, dear old hire-purchase (aka "the tick" or "the never-never"), where you rented it long enough that you then owned it after the given period of time.

Said period of time of course being slightly less (by a matter of nanoseconds) than it took for it was either become redundant, broken or in such a general state of repair that the vendor wouldn't want it back anyway.

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Boffin

Re: You know you're old when...

Personally I never really got past the concept of wanting stale 12-hour old water boiling (and spitting, steaming and generally making a racket if I remember the one my parents briefly owned) in close proximity to your sleeping head every morning...

Psst … Want to buy a used IBM Selectric? No questions asked

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Gimp

Re: Sarah? Is the Moderatrix back again?

Or just tremble in antici......pation

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Joke

The output was all-caps but it worked just fine.

If it was continually shouting like that, no wonder you could hear it from up in the attic... :D

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Trollface

Re: Comments to On-Call articles

It's the age old natural arms race between idiot and idiot-proof...

First steps into the world of thought leadership: What could go wrong?

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Trollface

Re: I said it first!

Tom Lehrer got there first.

Although it is poetic justice to "borrow" it...

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Headmaster

1 percent inspiration, 99 percent plagiarism – that's my motto.

You are the Great Lobachevsky and I claim my £5.

Know the difference between a bin and /bin unless you want a new doorstop

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Joke

Re: magnum opera

No, she has a 'tash and drives around Hawaii in a Ferrari...

That time a techie accidentally improved an airline's productivity

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Joke

Re: Two types of workers

In the old days, there were 10 types of programmer...

Those who understand binary, and those who didn't.

Sorry, couldn't resist it :)

Keeping your head as an entire database goes pear-shaped

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Backups

As the old mantra goes - a backup isn't a backup until it's tested and proven to restore...

When management went nuclear on an innocent software engineer

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Pint

Re: Next time

The inevitable TP quote here, from Thief of Time:

“Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying 'End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH', the paint wouldn't even have time to dry.”

And of course, the thing should have been put in the cellar lavatory, without lights or stairs, in a locked filing cabinet and the signage reading "Beware of the Leopard.”

Best of British and a Friday pint to all...

We can bend the laws of physics for your super-yacht, but we can't break them

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Angel

Re: ""Don't you know who I am?"

With all this, I've now got a Yes Minister scene from "Doing the Honours" stuck in my brain.

Quote below, courtesy of IMDB.

[talking about honours and the abbreviations of the Order of St Michael and St George: CMG, KCMG and GCMG]

Bernard Woolley : Of course in the service, CMG stands for Call Me God. And KCMG for Kindly Call Me God.

James Hacker : What does GCMG stand for?

Bernard Woolley : God Calls Me God.

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Pint

Re: Not breaking the laws of physics...

Here be dragons, or at least grey bearded wizards...

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Trollface

Re: "why can't you make it like my connection at home?"

Maybe suggest he moves the yacht into the mansion's pool?

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: ""Don't you know who I am?"

"Unless you are god, you can't change the laws of Physics either"

The problem is, in several cases they probably do believe they are God, or at least as important...

Confirmation dialog Groundhog Day: I click OK and it keeps coming back

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Trollface

Re: Standup

Or just ask if they've got funny shaped balls?

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Trollface

Re: Oh. My. God.

Yup - Dabbsy is Austin Powers, and I claim my £5.

Groovy baby, yeah man.

BOFH: You'll have to really trust me on this team-building exercise

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Trollface

Re: Ahh, Team building/break the ice exercises....

They also always seem to get grumpy when I ask where the ice-picks are, if this is supposed to be an ice-breaker?

Shame as there are no shortage of candidates for them around here sometimes....

Mars Ingenuity helicopter and Perseverance are talking again

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Idea...

Electrostatics sticking the dust to the panels and the lack of much actual gas in the Martian atmosphere for the blades to get purchase on and blow downwards are also rather critical factors here...

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Alien

Re: TFTFY :-)

I was going to point out that NASA is American, and they did their Brexit (ie declaring independence from Britain) about 250 years ago, give or take a few.

So all this new-fangled metric stuff doesn't feature so much, at least in distance measurements.

There have been attempts by them (NASA) to swap, but it didn't go so well...

Meetings in the metaverse: Are your Mikes on?

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Trollface

Re: Tiswas Mode

As long as there's also a hidden switch for O.T.T. mode too...

Although the flans do have a strong appeal all of their own I do agree...

Your software doesn't work when my PC is in 'O' mode

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Trollface

I wonder what response that would give if installed on a quantum computer?

Random thought experiment for a Friday before beer o'clock...

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Saw that coming

Always remember natures eternal arms race between idiot and idiot-proof.

Evolution at it's finest...

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Trollface

I've known certain users and colleagues where the only safe mode for them to use would be O mode...

You can buy a company. You can buy a product. Common sense? Trickier

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: 'twas ever thus

If they've put the dishes in the washing machine, one would expect very nice clean shards and shrapnel to remain afterwards...

Atlassian comes clean on what data-deleting script behind outage actually did

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Mushroom

Re: While I appreciate the honesty...

This sounds like one of those broken arrow situations where you're not sure whether it would be more reassuring that they had something ready to fix up a major issue like this, or to be worried that they thought it likely enough to happen that they needed such a preparation in place...

Icon for where the original dilemma came from.

What do you do when all your source walks out the door?

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Trollface

Re: that ibm document

Why do they need Grammarly when they've got us commentards?

Anyway, it'd spoil half the fun...

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: sudo shred

"Sudo toddler" probably comes a close second, especially if teething...

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Trollface

Re: Never get the chance to do it again

Possibly a Tribe of Toffs B-side, or alternative version...?

Hmm, I now seem to have that damn song lodged in my brain again after all these years... Bah!

SpaceX launches first totally private mission to the International Space Station

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Tedious FUD

Did someone misread today's date, and confuse the 10 with a 1?

If you fire someone, don't let them hang around a month to finish code

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Trollface

Re: Unhelpful comments

"Don't put up road-signs that say 'keep going straight'."

And yet how often does your sat-nav tell you exactly that?

The month I worked for DEADHEAD: Yes, that was their job title

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: art copies real life

Always be polite to security guards and techs

I've said this here before, but my personal mantra is that, but also include secretaries as well.

Those three are the holy trinity, if you get on good terms with them then you can get anything done anywhere. Managers may think they run the place, but almost always it's the secretaries that run the managers...

Dev rigs up receipt printer to spit out GitHub issues

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Trollface

Re: Needs audio

And a 3D printed case for the Pi with 3 seashells on it...

Debugging source is even harder when you can't stop laughing at it

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Joke

So does ++f@ck count as an in-built f@ck-up all by itself?

In the graveyard of good ideas, how does yours measure up to these?

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: ElReg VR

Beware what you wish for, you may end up with a fully realised AR Clippy avatar that's even more difficult to escape than his previous incarnation...

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Armstrong-Osman

If too many people start using it, does it stop being pointless?

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Mushroom

Tallinn Tandoori or Riga Rogan Josh?

Help, my IT team has no admin access to their own systems

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: don't spoil the magic

If you're doing it right, the two are not mutually exclusive either...

Russia's Mir space station returned to Earth 21 years ago

Anonymous Custard Silver badge
Mushroom

Paging Major "King" Kong...

Sounds like a job for Slim Pickens to me...

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