Company Spotlight: Micron Technology, Inc.

S|A goes on tour at the Micron fab in Manassas, VA

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN OPENING presents and the post-Christmas eggnog hangover, we had the opportunity to tour the Micron DRAM and Flash memory fabrication facility in Manassas, Virginia.  While a fab is a fab and the net result, like anywhere else, is a groovy 300mm platter of chips that you cannot eat, we’ll walk you through Micron’s production process, profile the company, and give you a bit of insight into the challenges it faces and its opportunities in the near future and years to come.
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Elpida shows the world a working 30nm process

4GB DDR3 SO-DIMMS are about to hit prime time

Much to chagrin of graphics chip Etch-a-Sketcher’s everywhere, Elpida is rolling out its new DRAM chips on a 30nm process.  Sampling of certain 4GB DDR3 SO-DIMM modules has already begun, and large-scale availability of these minified silicon marvels is expected in Q1 2011.  Benefits of this process enhancement are good for everybody as chips will be smaller, cheaper, larger, and faster and consume less power to boot.
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Rambus lawyers bored… decide to sue the world

Vein in JHH’s head sets new protrusion record

In the spirit of the season, Rambus Inc. is giving out another round of subpoenas to all of its friends in the tech industry.  Most interesting among the defendants perhaps is nVidia, who only months ago signed a licensing agreement with Rambus to end an ITC blockade of its products, (virtually their whole portfolio), which infringed on Rambus’s patents.  Round 2, or 3, or 400ish… Ding!
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IBM says “FU” to electrons, “Shalom!” to photons in chip design

Multi-core chips to see the light

If IBM has its way, QPI and HyperTransport are about to look about as fast as your mom’s 56K modem.  It seems that copper interconnects are simply not good enough anymore, and IBM researchers have developed a way to incorporate nano-scale CMOS optical devices onto the same slab of silicon your old-and-busted electron based transistors are fabbed on.  This allows chips to use pulses of light to communicate with each other rather than electrical signals to achieve some mind boggling bandwidth numbers.
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Nokia and others seek to make smart phones less stupid

George Orwell tosses and turns in his grave

For all the marvelous feats that modern “smart” phones can perform, I am constantly amazed by the constant stupidity of my own handset.  Why, for instance, is there no option to disable the ringer during a calendar event for a class or meeting?  Why does it tell me I have 300,000 updates to install and not give me a single button to “Install All”?  Why does it not have a telescoping handle and constant vibrate mode for impromptu back-rubs? Luckily it would appear that Nokia and other developers for iToys and RoboPhones are working on fixing at least some of these important issues.
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Google wants to be in your closet

Let me borrow that top.

In a recent internal S|A poll regarding colleague views of the Internet’s true purpose, the top 5 responses confirmed what we all knew, all along:  5. LOL Cats, 4. Pr0n, 3. Trolling, 2. Pr0n, 1. Pr0n.  Well, after sharing our findings with the big G, Google’s crack squad of basement dwellers wrote an algorithm to try and work their way to the podium of our Internets, and the result, is like totally awesome, if you’re a teenage girl with daddy’s credit card.
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IBM launching world’s fastest microprocessor

5.2GHz chip dubbed z196 will drink your milkshake

Big Blue says that the shiny new System z10 you just installed in your basement yesterday is officially obsolete and should be relegated to household media streaming/torrent duty in the wake of its replacement.  Behold the zEnterprise System, and its central compute server the zEnterprise 196, capable of processing more instructions than your puny humanoid mind could ever dream of issuing.  Don’t look now, but your girly-man netbook just peed itself.
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Your next car security system might include an antivirus app

S|A recommends bicycles and tin-foil hats instead

Back in the good old days paint chips contained healthy quantities of lead, cars ran on leaded gasoline, and a lead foot directly pulled open the throttle of your hot-pink ’59 Cadillac without any pesky computers interfering.  It also meant that ‘hackers’ were limited to methods such as bricks and slim jims to steal your music.  Well, the times, they are changing.
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HP adds $2.3 billion to its piggy bank in Q3

Still wants you to pick up the bill at dinner though

HP is an interesting company.  They have been cranking out quarterly profits in the $1-3 billion range every quarter like clockwork (recession or no recession, dot-com bubble or dot-com bust) for over a decade, yet it’s all seems very boring to the casual observer.  They are that grey blob that permeates the server room of many businesses.  They slap their logo on grey business notebooks, desktops, and consumer products that while functional and effective are simply unremarkable.   Well the blob has done it again.  Yesterday Hewlett-Packard held its quarterly financial analyst conference call in which it announced a solid third quarter overall operating profit of $2.3 billion.
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Study says that Internet trolls may die… sooner… probably

Perhaps we should resume feeding them?

Happy Friday everyone, aNd what a decisiVely glorious day it is turning out to be. It has been reporteD that people who feel the irresistible urge to be antagonIstic may in fact be whittling hours off their life spans faster thAn a chain-Smoker rUnning with sCissors through an airport security checKpoint.  So pop a couple quarters into the troll food machine, and let the feeding frenzy begin.
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Toshiba quadruples hard disk aerial density

BT junkies finding it hard to contain their excitement

The Association of People who Stockpile Digital Recordings of the Tasteful Expression of the Human Form, or APSDRTEHF (they are rumored to be voting on a new name in the near future), received word of an amazing feat of storage engineering today.  Toshiba is presenting a paper at the 2010 Magnetic Recording Conference in San Diego today outlining their research and successful implementation of a new technology that can cram a staggering 2.5 terabits of information into a single square inch of platter real estate.  For the layman, that’s about 300GB of information stored on a surface the size of a postage stamp.
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Nvidia’s Q2 Financial Phone-a-thon

Pretty much what you expected… and more

With the bowl of punch nearly gone, miscellaneous party favors littering the floor, and S|A writers stumbling about in various states of sobriety, it is time to settle down and discuss the results of Nvidia’s recently concluded Q2, FY 2011 earnings conference call.  Much of the information we already knew or surmised after the lowered revenue guidance bombshell they dropped on us in late July, but half the fun of these kinds of calls are the molehills-turned-mountain that companies create to keep investor’s wallets open.  Let’s start hiking.
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HTC makes more money than you

Four straight months of record sales and straight on til morning

HTC, the “quietly brilliant” company from Taoyuan City Taiwan has briefly cast aside its purported persona to let the world know just how awesome it is.  Between pointed bursts of Tarzan noises and chest thumping we were informed of HTC’s four-month  hot streak of successive sales records, as well as  gross-profits-after-tax amounting to a cool NT$ 8.64B (approx. $273M USD) for their most recent quarter.
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