* Posts by Greg 38

49 publicly visible posts • joined 28 Jan 2011

The Land Before Linux: Let's talk about the Unix desktops

Greg 38

Re: Meet the New War....same as the Old War

And don't forget the armed insurgency from the evangelicals in the no-systemd crowd.

HP TV ads claim its printers are 'made to be less hated'

Greg 38

Missed the target

As usual, HP has missed that the real reason people hate their printers is the forced use of proprietary over priced ink cartridges that the printer won't recognize after being refilled.

Intel to build hush-hush fabs to bake chips for US military

Greg 38

Simpsons prognosticated this

I seem to recall a Simpsons treehouse of horror episode where a nuclear missile was launched with the "Intel inside" logo on it.


Intel CEO Gelsinger dismisses 'pretty insignificant' Arm PC challenge

Greg 38

History will repeat itself

"We take all our competition seriously, but I think history is our guide here"

Does Gelsinger seriously not remember the introduction of AMD's Athlon? Does he not recall missing the boat on the transition from PCs to phones? Yes, history will be our guide here.

Square blames last week's outage on DNS screw-up

Greg 38

Re: Offline mode?

This affected my business last week and I was thankful it didn't happen during a very busy time. I was able to get the POS tablets to work in offline mode for square after turning off the wireless and increasing the offline sales maximum amount. Of course, this risks a card being declined later once the transactions get processed, leaving us out our merch and the customer gone. This is not something our daily staff would know how to do if I hadn't been on-site. Something similar happened in 2022 also that prevented us from making realtime sales. This definitely has me looking into alternative POS systems.

One problem with America's chip ambitions: Not quite enough staff

Greg 38

Apparently there's no shortage now

As someone who has over 14 years engineering experience in fabs (including Intel) and a doctorate in electrical engineering, I spent 3 months looking for a chip job this summer only to find the job openings were for companies that had put hiring freezes in place. I finally took a took at a new EV battery company and will leave the semiconductor industry completely behind. I don't want to hear companies moaning about a worker shortage down the road when they won't invest in staff now.

Predict stocks, foresee public opinion, all kinda possible with ChatGPT-like models

Greg 38

Any advantage is short lived

If (and that's a big if) chatgpt can consistently predict sentiment for individual stock movements outside of normal market fluctuations, then that advantage is certainly going to be short-lived until every major stock broker employs its version of AI to do the same. It falls back to the theory of efficient markets. However, if some chatgpt large language model could be used to identify early and predict the impacts from black swan events (e.g. COVID, Russian aggression, mortgage-backed security failures, Chinese tech crack-downs, etc.) then some serious applications could be made.

Boffins rewrite the book on how Earth's oceans developed

Greg 38

Re: Combination theory

This is why I'm booking my next holiday ASAP.

Tupperware looking less airtight than you'd think

Greg 38

Re: The originals were great

Agreed. I still regularly use a vintage bowl that's about 50 years old. I love the high walls of the bowl so you can run a mixer in it without splattering all over the counter

Take a 14-mile trip on an autonomous Scottish bus starting next month

Greg 38

Re: Where will it end ?

Royston Vasey. It's the end of the line

Netherlands joins US blockade of Chinese chip industry

Greg 38

Re: I for one welcome out Dutch overlords

Look back 15+ years and ASML tools were only for n/p-well and other non-critical litho layers. Gotta give a hand to them!

Semiconductor industry: To Hell with the environment, start building fabs already

Greg 38

Re: Short cuts are bad

Wasn't in Cali

Greg 38

Short cuts are bad

One of the fabs I worked at was located on an old electronics manufacturing site dating back 80 years. It was so contaminated with waste it became a superfund site. While we were shutting down the fab, we discovered that the hydrogen gas lines supplying facility and neighboring buildings had a leak somewhere in-ground that had been ongoing for years. This isn't to mention that the gentleman I was backing up as an etch engineer was fighting (and later died from) a rare blood cancer.

systemd 253: You're looking at the future of enterprise Linux boot processes

Greg 38

This is perfect for a Friday story

The systemd haters haven't had their pot stirred in some time. Today is the day then, hurrah! I've off to get a pint and a packet of crisps while the thumbs down pile on. There needs be an icon for "old man yells at cloud".

Americans have the right to livestream police traffic stops … probably

Greg 38

The police should never need to hide from the light of scrutiny. However, if a 3rd party bystander live streams or records/edits a police encounter, it could violate the privacy of the person being arrested or anyone else at the scene. It could also bias a potential future jury. This is not a clear cut issue.

Ring system discovered around dwarf planet Quaoar leaves astronomers puzzled

Greg 38

Re: Quaoaeaiar.

The extraordinarily high number of vowels can only be quenched by an unusually large number of consonants. Any volunteers here from Wales to give a hand?

Chinese surveillance balloon over US causes fearful gasbagging

Greg 38

Balloon, huh? I guess the chip export controls to China must be working

'Multiple security breaches' shut down trucker protest

Greg 38

Re: Superspreader? Give me a break.

So what of it? It's their decision to not get a jab and to commingle. Freedom of expression and choice is a hallmark of liberal western democracies. Although I've had three jabs, I'm not one force others to do the same. I'll choose when/whether to mask and with whom to socialize. The totalitarians are those who take away that choice.

Greg 38

Superspreader? Give me a break.

"as we enter year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, the convoy may well also be about bringing people together for yet another superspreader event."

Seriously, Jessica? Some random folks are coordinating to drive their semi's around in Winnipeg in a symbolic (mostly useless) protest and you feel the need to bring out one of the fear-porn tropes from 2020 to attempt to justify your dislike of anyone questioning the government? (President Xi is nodding in approval for you, by the way.) Where were your tirades about superspreader events going into Christmas or gatherings for the World Cup? I must have missed the torrential wave of COVID hospitalizations overwhelming the NHS in the weeks following the Queen's burial or England's loss in the Cup. I'd wager more called in hung over than ever did with COVID.

The only thing that spreads faster than the COVID virus or conspiracy theories is your kind of mob group-think. Science is fundamentally about questioning assumptions. Bullies shut that down.

Document Foundation starts charging €8.99 for 'free' LibreOffice

Greg 38

Re: Windows S store has been charging for some time

Here you go:


Samsung investing $5b in efforts to be carbon neutral by 2050

Greg 38

Is there anyone out there...

Yes I agree with MiguelC that there is a lot of green washing going on these days as companies are guided by woke consensus groups jumping on the bandwagon. I'll add that there is little actual interest from the rest of the community at large too (only 5 comments after 4 days). If ANYONE else even reads this article, please just give a thumbs up or down!

With its Ohio fab under way, Intel's next challenge: Keeping its promises

Greg 38

Good for everyone

I, for one, am glad to see Intel expand its manufacturing in the US. While the company is way too quick squeeze money out of governments or underpaid employees (I'm a former engineer there), the fab managers and engineers are data- focused do have a good focus on basic science, manufacturing and engineering. I wish the expansion goes smoothly. The company was lead by a bean counter for long enough to lose its main focus. We should all be thankful that AMD has a great chip design and that TSMC can make them. However competition is good for all of us and fabs outside of Taiwan are critical.

The process node names nowadays are symbolic rather than literal anyway. So while much hay is made of Intel finally doing 10nm while tsmc is on 5nm, the proof is in the chip performance per watt. Tsmc marginally has the edge for now but hopefully that lead will be challenged and it will be for the benefit of us all.

AMD has a lot riding on its 5nm Ryzen 7000 CPUs. And so here begins the hype

Greg 38

Not a good sign

It is not a good sign that with a new manufacturing node (5nm) and an updated chip design, that the power envelope must be increased so much to achieve the performance gain. It reminds me of when Intel increased the power specs to over 100W on their Northwood and Prescott CPU's in the early 2000's because they couldn't compete with Athlon on a per-watt basis. I'll stick with my Ryzen3600 for now.

Intel to sell Massachusetts R&D site, once home to its only New England fab

Greg 38

Fab17 / hot pmos

I'll miss the demise of the old Fab17 Intel site. Worked remotely with my counterparts there 20 years ago. One of the longest running issues we never fully resolved was that their PMOS ran hotter than the other fabs on the 120nm node. The VTP was always lower magnitude. We sent a half dozen splitlots between the fabs to isolate the source but the results we not conclusive. Rest in peace, F17

Samsung beats TSMC to be first to produce 3nm chips

Greg 38

Eye protection

Always amazes me that Samsung does not require the use of safety glasses in their fabs. I've worked in several fabs including Intel and eye protection is absolutely required even in engineering and FA labs.

Intel plunking down $20bn for at least two chip factories in Ohio

Greg 38

Re: It is all about the taxes

The Oregon fabs are R&D with low scale production ramp up to about 2000 wafer starts per week when worked there. The fabs in Arizona, Ireland, Israel and new Mexico were for the volume production

Linus Torvalds releases Linux 5.11, says it's so good your significant other wants you to test it on Valentine's Day

Greg 38

Just keep the fixed things fixed and Linus can shove his complaints up his sweary backside

I for one and tired of Linus' over the top histrionics about careless developers crossing some imaginary line in imaginary head when he can't keep his own garden free of weeds. For FRICKIN YEARS I have dealt with the SND_HDA_INTEL module get screwed up during suspend and needing to do the "horror of linux horrors", reboot the computer to resolve it. It would be fixed with one kernel update and then screwed up yet again with the next. I've got a few choice and sweary words along with two big, fat fingers for him if Linus can't manage to keep fixes in place during kernel updates.

Intel sues former staffer for allegedly stealing Xeon cloud secrets in USB drives and exploiting info at Microsoft

Greg 38

Re: Air gapped espionage

The software used to access and view the controlled documents placed water marks across the screen of "Intel Top Secret" and such along with your username + IP address. It won't stop you from taking a photo, but any photo would pinpoint back to you.

Greg 38

Re: A bit of an Intel fail

I can attest that Intel does indeed wall the garden much tighter after you give notice. I worked in the Oregon development fab 11 yrs ago before moving on. At least in the fab, most employees who gave notice would be escorted to the door and have their cube packed up & shipped to them, especially if they were going to work for any company deemed a competitor. I wasn't going to any such company so I was allowed to linger and tie things up for the couple weeks. However, my email was restricted to outgoing only and the fab badge was collected. It was like sort of like being a ghost.

The Linux box that runs the exec carpark gate is down! A chance for PostgreSQL Man to show his quality

Greg 38

Similar tale

At a former company I'd worked, maintenance turned off the wrong machine when attempting to perform some routine work. The unfortunate machine was a 20yr old Applied Materials etcher used in chip making. When they realized the mistake and turned it back on, it wouldn't boot. The company's contract with Applied had been allowed to lapse and along with that all the detailed knowledge of coaxing the beast through troubling computer issues. A contractor had to be brought in and ended up replacing the floppy drive with a SD card reader and card formatted to look like a 1.44Mb floppy disk imaged with the boot files. After 2 weeks of reconfiguring the machine, it was back up again and the company out many $100k.

Going underground with Scaleway's Apple M1-as-a-Service: Mac Minis descend into Paris nuclear bunker

Greg 38

Re: But... why?!?

Ok, thanks for answering. That's much more helpful than those chaps who thumbs-downed a serious question.

Greg 38

But... why?!?

"Scaleway is running a farm of Apple M1 Mac Minis..."

Apologies for the dense question, but why would anyone want this service? App development? Compiling binaries? If you can vnc or ssh into the server farm, then you clearly have a computer already and one that is likely better than any m1 mac mini. These units are not exactly speed demons with only 8gb ram / 256gb ssd.

I'm sure there's an obvious purpose for this service. Next round is on me.

Intel CEO Bob Swan is stepping down to be replaced by VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger

Greg 38

Years in the making

Swan is taking the fall for the manufacturing issues at Intel. However, the development cycle from Rev99 base initial process to a production process rolled out to Intel's "virtual factory" runs about 4 years at the minimum. I know because I worked there.

There are more fundamental problems with the development team and Intel's divisional cpu architecture. These have not been addressed by the head swapping.

Third time's still the charm: AMD touts Zen-3-based Ryzen 5000 line, says it will 'deliver absolute leadership in x86'

Greg 38

Re: ...their naming is very much clearer than the mess that is Intel’s.

Yes, it is intentionally to confuse the consumer. I'm a former fab engineer at Intel's development site in Oregon (10 yrs ago). I asked one of the product engineers about the convoluted naming system at the time. He confirmed it was intentional as a means of focusing on the "core2" name and away from the raw MHz that had been the previous convention.

Microsoft submits Linux kernel patches for a 'complete virtualization stack' with Linux and Hyper-V

Greg 38

Still don't trust them

I'm not trusting M$oft not to *fork* up linux. Didn't trust IBM either.

Intel talks up its 10nm Tiger Lake laptop system-on-chips as though everything is going according to plan

Greg 38

20 metal layers!

If I counted the layers on their sketch correctly, there are like 20 metal layers on these chips. That's a boatload of deposition, polish, via litho and etch, metal litho and etch, ALD dep at lower metal layers, copper electroplate at higher metal layers and polish again. With each step introducing defects. Hats off to getting a manufacturable process.

Tesla sued over Tokyo biker's death in 'dozing driver' Autopilot crash

Greg 38

Darwin at work

"Tragically, an Apple engineer was killed in the same year when his Tesla Model X accelerated into a roadside crash barrier."

No, not tragically. This is Darwin thinning the herd of those who blindly bet their life that every possible scenario has been preconceived, properly programmed, and correctly implemented with fully functioning sensors. Honestly, assuming ALL possible scenarios can be programmed into the software to allow autonomous driving is the definition of hubris. Of all people, this Apple engineer should have known better. And as an engineer myself, sorry, I'm not trusting my life or my family's to the rest of the lot.

Come to Five Guys, where the software is as fresh as the burgers... or maybe not

Greg 38

Slightly off-topic

Reminds me of when I worked in the fab at Intel. Some of the operators were found to be playing solitaire on one of the optical character reader tools intended for reading the wafer serial numbers and orienting the wafers. The machines were running some flavor win98se or NT. Management then had all the games removed from every Windows machine across every fab. Note that this is the same management that didn't allow clocks in the fab either!

Space Force is go, go, go! Because we have a child as President of the United States

Greg 38

Does the snark cost extra or does it come with the article?

Good job Reg at taking an interesting news-worthy article and folding snark, animus, and personal bias throughout it. Is this an audition piece for your next gig at the DailyMail?

'Bulls%^t! Complete bull$h*t!' Reset the clock on the last time woke Linus Torvalds exploded at a Linux kernel dev

Greg 38

Time for a pint

Hey, I just saw an article about Linus going all blinking Linus on someone and I grabbed a bag of crisps and a pint to read it. I guess I'm a sucker for this sort of entertainment.

Super Cali optimistic right-to-repair's negotious, even though Apple thought it was something quite atrocious

Greg 38

Re: Next on the list

Umm, I buy DIY oil, air, fuel and plug change kits for my JD tractor and mower every year from a JD retailer. Also have bought two DIY bearing kits for my mower deck and front wheel.

Having swallowed its pride and started again with 10nm chips, Intel teases features in these 2019-ish processors

Greg 38

Re: Not what Intel has been saying for the past several years

Have you met the PTD development arm at Intel? Arrogance is equally matched by stubbornness

Intel’s first 10nm CPU is a twin-core i3 destined for a mid-range Lenovo

Greg 38

Re: This suggest performance problems rather than yield issues

Looking at the CPU lineup, it looks like the 2-core Cannon Lake line of chips is essentially a shrink of the 2-core Kaby Lake line. They would be designed as a dual-core chip only with the 4-core version using a completely different mask set and be a completely separate product.

Intel scraps wafers or lots with excessively high defect levels because it is likely the "good" die that didn't fail are actually marginal and will fail at a much higher rate. Basic Q&R. The die testing hasn't been functional for 15 years and is based on test patterns.

I suspect they will continue to resolve the manufacturing issues. Intel runs with 2 concurrent development teams, one that works on the current node (10nm) and the other working on the next (7nm). Process improvements developed under the 7nm node could certainly be ported backwards if it makes sense.

Greg 38

This suggest performance problems rather than yield issues

I used to work at Intel's development fab. This middling chip release reminds me of the problems they had when transitioning to the Pentium-4 90nm (Willamette chip) process that was the first to used EPI for strained PMOS performance. In that case, the PMOS leaked current like a sieve and they couldn't keep the chip in the spec'd power envelope. They had to back off the poly gate CD to drop the power consumption but that hurt performance and made the chips only usable for the entry level devices.

With the cost of developing a new process, it is certainly desired to have the new chip come in for the performance segment where the profit is the highest. These i3 chips are commodities and not terribly profitable.

Taiwanese cops give malware-laden USB sticks as prizes for security quiz

Greg 38

Re: "...those that just shoved [the USB stick] into their computers..."

"There's not much else that one can do with a USB Stick besides shoving it into a computer... "


Baldrick: It's a bit of a tiddler, ain't it?

Black Adder: Yes, but size isn't important. It's not what you've got, it's where you stick it.

Linux Mint 18.3: A breath of fresh air? Well, it's a step into the unGNOME

Greg 38

Even grandma is using linux now

I set up my mom with Ubuntu and she's been running it for the last 10 years. When she had to recently use Windows 7 for a couple classes, she couldn't wait to get back to linux. Even she commented how much more stable it is. That really speaks volumes for how easy linux can be to use. I plan to set her up with Mint next.

That one weird trick fails: Google binned 780 million ads last year

Greg 38

Re: So they're cracking down on some scumbags...

"a cult designed to extract money from people"

You referring to Apple?

Sci/tech doctorate protects you from unemployment – in the US

Greg 38

Part of the unlucky 1%

I've been essentially unemployed (< 1/4 time employed) for the last 18 months, in spite of my PhD in electrical engineering. Guess I picked an inopportune time to quit and relocate to the midwest!

The difficulty I have encountered has been with trying to break into a new field in this economy and job market. While I have over 8 years of semiconductor manufacturing experience, this seems to count for little when applying for an engineering position in a different manufacturing area. Employers are demanding very specific experience in their own manufacturing field and the extensive job pool is able to supply it.

In addition, employers are reluctant to hire. Though I was chosen as the top candidate for a position following a lengthy interview process, the company's management indefinitely froze hiring.

Having a doctorate may better insulate a worker from being sacked or made redundant, but it doesn't necessarily improve the chances of obtaining a position.