Boeing CEO is out, the next rover on Mars is moving, a business card runs Linux, Sonos kills sea turtles, and a look inside China’s silicon fabs.
PCB Business Card Runs Linux
Business cards made out of printed circuit boards are nothing new. We’ve seen them blink LEDs, and a few of them have nice, pretty OLED displays. Running Linux, though, is something else entirely. That’s what George Hilliard did.
- The business card is based on an Allwinner F1C100s System on Chip. This is a fantastically inexpensive chip (just $1.42) that does in fact run Linux.
- When you plug the card into a computer, a terminal pops up with all the relevant contact information. There’s also a roguelike game and a 2048 clone. Oh, there’s also a Python interpreter.
- The total cost of the business card is under three dollars.
Inside the world’s second-best semiconductor fab
- There are two names when it comes to semiconductor fabs: Intel, and TSMC. TSMC is a Taiwanese company that has been putting Intel over a barrel recently, and by some accounts they’re leading the pack.
- The Economist went inside TSMC, and while we don’t get to see any IP, there’s a lot of what goes into making those fancy chips we all like.
- There is a shocking lack of bunny suits in a disco.
Speaking of China and semiconductors…
- China (the big one on the mainland) is pushing for semiconductor self-sufficiency.
- China has spent Billions of dollars to make high-tech manufacturing a reality in the last few decades with heavy investments in industries that have traditionally been a western-only endeavor (think aerospace and turbine blades).
- The last step up the value chain is building single-digit nanometer silicon, a capability currently held only by Intel, TSMC, and Samsung.
Sonos bricks hardware in the name of sustainability
- As reported on Twitter, the Sonos ‘recycling program’ is the most environmentally unfriendly idea imaginable.
- Sonos devices have a ‘recycle mode’ that users can enable when getting rid of the devices. This ‘recycle mode’ simply bricks the device, disallowing any attempts at reuse.
- Instead of enabling someone else to use a perfectly good Sonos speaker, the ‘recycle mode’ turns it into garbage. This is the opposite of sustainability, and only serves to sell more Sonos speakers.
Boeing CEO is out
- Boeing had promised an airworthiness certificate for the 737 Max by the end of 2019. That obviously hasn’t happened.
- The best minds in the business have placed the blame of the 737 Max crisis squarely on the shoulders of Boeing management.
- To compound the issue, Boeing’s Starliner, their attempt to bring people to the International Space Station, failed on its test mission.
- The Starliner failure was apparently the last straw for the Boeing board. Now the CEO is out.
We’re going to Mars in a few months
- The Mars 2020 rover is currently being assembled at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California. It’s expected to launch this summer, but this week marked a new milestone: the rover is moving under its own power.
- The 2020 rover is very similar to the Curiosity rover currently exploring Mount Sharp. This rover, however, will explore Jezero, a river delta that was once deep, deep underwater.