05:38 AM

Chip News: Semiconductor Industry Struggles With Social Media . . . And Moore's Law

[Matt Grimshaw offers a weekly roundup of news affecting the largest US tech industry.]

By Matt Grimshaw, Editorial Director, Future-Fab International

It’s been a whirlwind of a week… you know the sort; you wake up on Monday go to work and then it’s like some sort of Hollywood blur/FFWD cut scene…then POW it’s Friday and you’re left with a distinct sense of “what the hell just happened??”.

During the blur, flashbacks of memorable occurrences stand out; things like distinct conversations and hanging out in a bar with three PR gurus (names omitted to save them) mid week to discuss that favorite subject of Tom Foremski’s – the emergence of New Media and the struggles of Old.

The Semiconductor industry is not immune to the effects of this trend. Although it isn’t what you’d call a trend setter, hell it’s not even a fast follower being more akin to an arthritic tortoise plodding along in the dust cloud of a rather speedy hare muttering things like “pesky kids…when I were a lad we did things differently” etc.

Regardless, all media entities in the Semi sector are struggling to make sense of the new reality – from magazines to trade shows and technical conferences… My mid week discussions highlighted something that’s interestingly unique to the Semiconductor industry though…the perception of marketing & PR. It’s viewed as a luxury in the Semi business, a fact that’s underlined by the thousands of laid off PR/Marketing folks out there who were first to fall under the axe as soon as it became evident how bad the housing industry collapse was going to be.

Seriously; print magazines are now so thin you can see through them if you hold them up to the light, trade shows & conferences have become like old towns from Spaghetti Westerns complete with random Tumbleweed bushes rolling through the aisles between booths for added drama…

The bottom line is that it’s unsustainable – if it carries on like this then there will be no PR, or communications from the Semi industry – it’ll be a barren wasteland. And sooner or later someone will write something titled “what happened to Semiconductor media?” in which all sorts of C-Level people will gripe at an industry as big as the Semiconductor segment not having it’s own media….

This is of course a dramatization as we’re not there yet, but it’s certainly got me thinking about why media types (myself included) and those in the marketing/PR world are not being more vocal about this… Let this be the start of the discussion.

The News This Week…

- The more things change the more they stay the same… Apparently Moore’s Law will be dead by 2014, well until someone says “oh no it isn’t”…ah that’ll be this story then. In more of the same type of news EUV could be getting pushed out AGAIN according to Intel as they have (in a lab at least) figured out how to push 193 immersion Litho down to 15nm. You know, I’m starting to think that EUV is a joint massive hallucination as it’s been ‘almost ready’ since I’ve been in the business (10 years), I know some technologies have a long incubation period but seriously…

- Bell Labs (a name lost in time) is partnering with IME Singapore on Photonics research with an aim to lower the cost of the technology.

- In a ‘Back to the Future’ moment IBM announced that they’re bringing back the water cooling concept for high end servers…will flying cars be next?

- Graphene (essentially unrolled carbon nanotubes) appears to be heading the race to replace Silicon although we’ve heard that before a few times.

- In final news I’d like to extend my sincere condolences to the friends, family and colleagues of Steven Case who died in a plane crash on Tuesday 16th June. Steven was the Founder & Chairman of CyberOptics a provider of Sensors & Inspection systems.

Geek of the Week

As I've said many a time, being a geek is not necessarily about just tech - you can be a geek in anything. This week’s winner is seriously at the upper echelon of geekyness but not about tech (strictly speaking), about SPEED.

For almost anyone in the world a 600hp V12 would be more then enough power...not for Richard Noble and his team though - because they are trying to break 1000mph with the Bloodhound project (even a refrigerated name!)... The V12 is just their fuel pump!

The main thrust comes from an engine that usually calls a fighter jet home, but even that isn't enough...they strap a rocket on that as well!!!....how deeply cool (if not exactly politically correct) is that?

Matt Grimshaw is the Editorial Director of the Semiconductor Technical Journal; Future Fab International (www.future-fab.com) and writes a weekly blog post for FFI’s social network site Future Fab Connect (www.futurefabconnect.com) that offers a tongue in cheek review of the weeks news and his wanderings in search of Editorial in the Semiconductor industry.