2008年6月30日 星期一

Intel’s Dominance Is Challenged by a Low-Power Upstart

Intel’s Dominance Is Challenged by a Low-Power Upstart

Published: June 30, 2008

SAN DIEGO — From mainframes to minicomputers and then PCs, each new computing generation has displaced its predecessor by reaching a broader audience and costing far less. And each time, the dominant company in one generation loses control in the next.

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Nigel Treblin/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Intel hopes its tiny new Atom chip will fend off a British rival.

Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

Michael Rayfield of Nvidia showed a Tegra computer on a chip, based on an ARM design.

That’s why the PC industry’s commanding chip maker, Intel, might do well to be alarmed by the computer chips being designed by Qualcomm, a maker of chips for cellphones. An engineer at Qualcomm’s gleaming corporate campus here demonstrated a palm-sized circuit board capable of displaying high-definition video. What was striking about the demonstration was not the quality of the video images, which is now commonplace. Rather it was that the microprocessor chip, called Snapdragon, drives the display with less than half the power of a similar chip recently introduced by Intel. Qualcomm designers say it will also cost less.

As the PC shrinks in size, it is on a collision course with the multifunction cellphone. Many expect the resulting impact to transform both devices and all the companies that make them. The new smartphones, always-on portable Internet devices that are part cellphone, part computer, change the rules of the game in computing because computing speed — at which Intel excelled — is no longer the most important factor. For a cellphone relying on a small battery, how efficiently a chip uses power becomes more important.

The new mobile world represents a special challenge for Intel, which until four years ago ignored the issue of increasing power consumption in its flagship X86 chips, which have been the PC industry standard for almost three decades.

Other chip makers have not ignored power consumption. Just this month at Computex, a huge computer and consumer electronics trade show held each year in Taiwan, the Silicon Valley graphics chip maker Nvidia demonstrated a small mobile computer that worked five times as long on a battery as a similar portable machine powered by Intel’s most recent low-power chip.

Qualcomm and Nvidia share a chip design licensed from a relatively tiny British chip firm, ARM Holdings. ARM has had a big impact on the communications world. Its processors sell for substantially less than Intel’s more powerful X86 chips and are far more numerous: they are standard for the cellphone industry. Cellphones outsell PCs by about five to one.

“This battle is being fought in ARM’s backyard, not Intel’s,” said Michael Rayfield, general manager of Nvidia’s mobile group.

In addition to Qualcomm and Nvidia, there are more than 200 licensees of the ARM processor design, including major chip makers like Marvell and Texas Instruments. Together, they supply the more than 1.1 billion cellphones, many of which use multiple ARM chips. The chips are also used in a growing array of special purpose consumer electronics like G.P.S. navigators and set-top TV boxes.

Dominating the large and growing cellphone market is only half the battle. Both the X86 and ARM camps are eagerly eyeing a new market known within the consumer electronics industry as M.I.D.’s, or mobile Internet devices. They are betting that this year represents the beginning of a boom in a new class of computing device — things like shrunken laptops called netbooks, personal G.P.S. navigators and handheld game systems, as well as an expanding array of idiosyncratic gadgets that connect wirelessly to the Internet for every conceivable purpose. For example, at Computex, one company displayed a handheld device intended solely for people looking to car-pool.

Outside the United States, the less expensive M.I.D. computers are expected to expand penetration of computers into new markets. In the United States and Europe, however, there is a debate about whether the new machine will remain a niche category.

Anand Chandrasekhar, a vice president and manager of Intel’s mobile platforms group, said he expects portable computers to be much like bicycles. Not only will people use different ones for different applications — like road bikes and mountain bikes — but they will also outgrow them.

“As a child, I had a bike for my size, and as I grew, my bike changed,” he said.

Intel, the world’s largest chip maker, is now well aware of the threat from ARM. It is focusing vast resources on the low-power microprocessor market and says it is catching up quickly in power efficiency with its ARM competitors. This month, the first netbooks using a new Intel chip, the Atom, began to be shipped. Intel says more than 30 products will use the Atom.

Even though Intel’s chip uses more power than those of its ARM competitors, its Atom represents a tenfold reduction in the power consumption of the X86 chip family that was used in several generations of desktop PCs. Intel’s engineers achieved the power savings in part by entirely rethinking the chip’s circuit design, as well as the way individual transistors work.

One addition to the new Atom chip is the so-called drowsy transistor, a circuit that can throttle the amount of power it consumes between each tick of the processor’s clock. When the chip is not computing, entire areas of the processor can go into a sleep state, using just enough power to remember the ones and zeros for the current process.

Intel executives said the company’s advantage in the looming war with its ARM competitors is the quality of the Web experience provided by its chips. “By definition, these devices have to run the Internet as it has been developed,” said Mr. Chandrasekhar of Intel. “That happens today on X86,” he said, adding that seamless access to the Internet “won’t happen on ARM.”

Intel’s executives say that the ARM makers are also hampered by the lack of a single standard, forcing computer software developers to make changes for each product they design.

ARM manufacturers respond that Intel is overstating the importance of X86 compatibility and that their chips will provide a Web experience that rivals Intel’s but allows significantly longer battery life. Indeed, Intel’s case that only X86 chips will offer a satisfying mobile Web experience was potentially undermined earlier this month when one of its closest allies, Apple, appeared to indicate that it had chosen to design its own version of the ARM microprocessor for future handheld consumer products.

Apple’s chief executive, Steven P. Jobs, said during an interview that the consumer electronics company had acquired a small Silicon Valley chip design company, PA Semi, to help design its next generation iPods and iPhones. Apple’s current iPhone is based on the ARM chip, and industry consensus is that the iPhone currently offers the best Web surfing experience in a handheld device.

Analysts and industry executives are divided on how much of a threat ARM will be to Intel. Allies like Dell are unlikely to desert the chip maker. “We’re impressed with their road map,” Michael Dell, chief executive of Dell, wrote in an e-mail message. He said it “gets interesting for smaller devices with Moorestown,” referring to the next generation of Intel’s low-power chips, planned for 2010. Dell, like Hewlett-Packard and other major PC makers, is bringing out its own mobile Internet device.

Other analysts see Moorestown as an indication of the challenge Intel faces, for the company will not be directly competitive with the ARM processors on power efficiency until then — and the ARM-allied companies insist they are not standing still.

“You’re still going to have a higher-power solution with Intel’s Atom that doesn’t have the same small footprint of the ARM chip,” said Jim McGregor, a research director at In-Stat, a semiconductor market research firm. “It won’t be a great solution for mobile devices, and ARM will.”

2008年6月29日 星期日

Blu-ray Disc誕生時の,ものづくり的悩み

DATE 2008/06/30 印刷用網頁
  【日經BP社報導】   藍光光碟的產品即將進入全面普及期。筆者曾長期追蹤報導DVD開發和藍光光碟(與HD DVD)的開發過程,雖然筆者沒有親自參與過上述光碟的開發,但看到最近藍光光碟的如日中天的景象,仍然是感慨萬分。


  “現在終於可以說了”。在藍光光碟與HD DVD的正面交鋒的時候,這位技術人員為了規格統一而上下奔波,當時筆者詢問兩大陣營激烈交鋒的內幕,這位技術人員說道:“現在回想起來,DVD和藍光光 碟的開發確實非常有趣,作為技術人員真是有種再無遺憾的感覺,但只有一點讓人牽掛”。從產品製造的觀點來看,他提到的牽掛也是一個非常重要的話題,所以筆 者決定在這裡介紹給大家。


  觀察DVD光碟機和藍光光碟機的內部,可以看到載有小型透鏡的鐳射頭。鐳射頭內置半導體鐳射器件,從中發出的鐳射由透鏡匯聚為極小的束斑,照 射到光碟記錄面上的某一微小的記錄標記。接收來自光碟的反射光,就可以根據光的強弱提取視訊和音頻信號。在DVD和藍光光碟中,記錄標記像黑膠唱片和蚊香 那樣,呈螺旋狀寫入。這裡存在的一個技術課題是,怎樣使光束在追蹤時不偏離螺旋。
黑膠唱片上有物理溝槽,置於其中的唱針能夠自動沿溝槽行進,但非接觸式的光碟做不到這點。在這裡,可行的方式主要有兩個(為可記錄光碟時)。一個是連續溝 狀伺服(CCS:Continuous Composite Servo)方式。其原理如下:事先在光碟上作成與黑膠唱片相同的物理溝槽,當光束偏離溝槽時,就會檢測到反射光是來自兩個溝槽之間的突起,而非溝槽內 部。這時,將控制光束向相反方向移動。

  另一個是樣本伺服(SS:Sample Servo)方式。該方式不做成溝槽,而是在記錄標記列的各個部位稍微偏離列中心線的位置左右各打一個凹坑。在控制光束位置時,只要使得來自兩側凹坑的光線信號等量,就能保證光束在中心線上。

  樣本伺服方式的最大優點是CD-ROM和DVD-ROM等播放專用光碟與一次性和多次擦寫燒錄盤的結構基本相同,而且在原理上可以放寬對光學 系統精度的要求。還能夠大幅減少部件數量。與此相比,連續合成伺服方式的特點是穩定性優異。樣本伺服的凹坑分散在各處,一旦未能讀取,控制將逐漸失靈,而 連續合成伺服的溝槽具有連續性,基本不會發生讀取失敗的現象。而且,由於溝槽之間由突起隔離,因此,在隔離的作用下,當鐳射記錄某一部分數據時,高溫對周 圍的影響較小(凹坑容易被記錄數據時的熱量破壞)。


  “採用樣本伺服方式的話,光碟和鐳射頭的製造都會變得非常簡單。說真心話,我希望採用這一方式,但是在記錄時,凹坑在加熱中存在可靠性問題, 當時只得放棄(當然這都是繼續研究開發可以解決的問題)。不過現在回想起來,放棄也許是對的。要是製造過於簡單,除了擅長精密製造的日本廠商,其他廠商也 可以大量製造鐳射頭。而連續合成伺服方式就能夠充分發揮日本的製造實力。只是作為技術人員,心情會非常矛盾,從地球環境的角度考慮,製造還是簡單易造比較 好。當國家或公司的利益與技術開發本身所應有的狀態相左的時候,到底應該怎麼辦?關於這一點,現在還沒有找到答案”。

  光碟機和介質是必須綜合機械、控制、光學、信號處理、軟體、記錄編碼的技術。對於技術人員來說,能夠從初期開始一直參與這項技術的研究,可謂是無上的滿足,作為一個未能成為技術人員的技術新聞記者,這也是筆者最為羨慕的地方。(記者:原田 衛)

Blu-ray Disc誕生時の,ものづくり的悩み

2008年6月27日 星期五

Bill Gates

Bill Gates

"你以為我是誰? 英國女王嗎?"
之後 他身邊滿是保鑣

Microsoft Seeks Path Beyond the Gates Legacy
New York Times - United States
And Google, the front-runner in the current wave of Internet computing, has wrested the mantle of high-tech leadership from Microsoft. ...

2008年6月26日 星期四





互聯網名稱與數字地址分配機構的一名成員蓋塔諾說,"我們開啟了一個新的世界,我認為其意義是不能低估的。" 另一位成員也表示,放寬頂級域名的限制,是個具有歷史意義的舉措。


頂級域名目前只限於國家層面,比如.uk限英國使用 .cn歸中國使用,.com限一般商業使用,一些組織和機構則使用.net 或者.org。



kick back corncob

The cheap populism is really rich coming from Karl Rove. When was the last time he kicked back with a corncob pipe to watch professional wrestling?


トウモロコシのしん(で作ったパイプ) (corncob pipe).


kick back

1. Recoil unexpectedly and violently, as in This rifle kicks back a lot when you fire it. [Early 1800s]
2. Return stolen property to the owner, as in The pawnbroker kicked back the paintings to the gallery. [Colloquial; first half of 1900s]
3. Pay back a part of one's earnings, as in The workers were forced to kick back half their pay to the agent. [Colloquial; first half of 1900s]

「電子ペーパー新聞」は2009年後半に実ビジネスへ,米E Ink社が明らかに


  美國E Ink市場開髮指揮、該公司亞太區副總裁桑田良輔表示,與報社合作的電子報計劃目前正在全球各地開展。

  以下節選自《日經電子》對桑田的採訪。(採訪人:小谷 卓也)

——作為電子書之後的電子紙新用途,目前E Ink關注于哪個領域?


  當然,正在行動的不只有日本的報社。眾所週知,美國的報社著手電子報的時間更早。例如美國的赫斯特(Hearst)等公司就在進行具體研究。可能還不 為人所知,赫斯特對本公司投資了相當多。我認為赫斯特也非常關注電子報業務。準確地說,應該是美國的這些動向在最近擴展到了日本和歐洲的報社。比如在歐 洲,法國世界報(Le Monde)也開始行動起來。



  關於終端及服務的形態,各報社正在根據各自的想法進行研究。例如,赫斯特不僅要提供內容,還準備自行開發終端。而歐洲的報社更傾向於只提供內容,對於終端則考慮使用現有產品,或是接受OEM供應。在這一方面,各報社的選擇多種多樣。(記者:小谷 卓也) 

「電子ペーパー新聞」は2009年後半に実ビジネスへ,米E Ink社が明らかに

美國E Ink:電子紙須具備“寫入”功能

美國E Ink發佈厚度減小40%、柔軟性更高的電子紙顯示單元

【CEATEC】“首個跨越日本的顯示器” E Ink強調日本廠商在電子紙產業需奮起直追

2008年6月25日 星期三

Self-sufficient 'Dynamic Tower'


Self-sufficient 'Dynamic Tower' to be built in Dubai

Thursday, Jun 26, 2008, Page 10

An artist rendering made available on Tuesday shows a building designed by architect David Fisher. Fisher and the Dynamic Architecture Group unveiled designs for a tower, one of which is to be built in Dubai by 2010, whose 80 floors rotate independently, constantly changing the shape of the building.
The "Dynamic Tower," a slender, shifting skyscraper of rotating, energy-self-sufficient luxury apartments, was presented in project-form on Tuesday in New York by Italian architect David Fisher, before it goes up in Dubai.

The innovative, 420m building features 80 pre-fabricated apartments that spin a full 360 degrees, at voice command, around a central column by means of 79 power-generating wind turbines located between each floor.

“This building will have endless different shapes,” Fisher told reporters.

As each floor rotates independently from the other, the Dynamic Tower will constantly change its profile, in a new architectural concept that is taking root around the world.

The Mirax group plans to build a similar, 70-story skyscraper in Moscow.

“We look forward to build a third one in New York and maybe in other cities,” Fisher said.

“These buildings will open our vision all around, to a new life,” he said.

The apartments, ranging from 124m² to 1,200m² will take between one and three hours to make a complete rotation, and at US$30,000 per square meters, will cost from US$3.7 million to US$36 million.

Fisher said the pre-fabricated components made in a plant in Altamura, southern Italy, will allow the skyscraper to go up in record time — one floor per week instead of the usual one-per-six-weeks for similar high rises — and slash building costs by 10 percent.

He said the skyscraper, which will be energy self-sufficient and will cost an estimated US$700 million to build, should be up and running in Dubai in 2010.

杜拜建動感塔 各層自轉貌百變

  • 2008-06-26
  • 中國時報
  • 【潘勛/綜合紐約廿四日外電報導】

 義大利建築師費雪廿四日在紐約宣布,他構思的「動感塔」(Dynamic Tower)可望二○一○年於中東阿拉伯聯合大公國的杜拜市落成。這棟直聳入雲的摩天大樓由八十間可旋轉三六○度、能源自給自足的豪華預鑄公寓組成,高度達到四二○公尺。  
義建築師費雪設計 俄也要一座  費雪在記者會上表示,杜拜的動感塔將有無窮盡、不斷變化的外形,原因是每個樓層都獨立旋轉三六○度,不必與其他層同步;旋轉的動力來自設在樓層間的七十九部渦輪風力發電機以及太陽能源板。多出來的電力可供應鄰近大樓。  


風與太陽是動能 屋主聲控轉速  
費雪強調,動感塔使用風力渦輪發電機,自己產生電力,率先在能源上成為自給自足;同時也是公寓單位先在工作坊量身製作並預先做好,再由中央升降機運至指定高度、組建而成的第一棟摩天大樓。  動感塔的每一層都可繞大樓中央樓柱轉三六○度,由屋主聲控速度,轉一圈的時間由一到三小時不等。如此的結果,是整棟摩天樓外形流幻不定,時時變換。大樓將裝設汽車電梯,讓住戶可直接把交通工具停在自家屋外。  

費雪表示,杜拜市的摩天動感塔將設置一家六星級飯店,大小不一的辦公室及公寓,還有六間別墅。最高的「閣樓」別墅有游泳池、花園及阿拉伯式集會場所。  為方便住戶快速回家,動感塔設置伸縮式直升機場,要降落時,從六十四樓把平台伸出大樓外表,藉此維持動感塔的全體工學。  費雪表示,除了杜拜、莫斯科,希望能在紐約市蓋第三棟動感塔,其他城市也可能興建。  兩年後落成 最小公寓要價上億  

動感塔的各公寓單位面積由一二四到一二○○平方公尺不等,每平方公尺要價三萬美元(約九十萬台幣)。也就是說,最小的公寓總價三七○萬美元(約一.一億新台幣),最大三六○○萬美元。  費雪表示,預鑄公寓在義大利南部的阿爾塔穆拉市工廠製造,如此蓋摩天樓的速度可以創紀錄,一星期蓋一層樓,而非一般摩天大樓的六星期一層樓,建造成本可減少一○%。杜拜市的動感塔造價預估七億美元。

2008年6月23日 星期一

日本談電子產業兩種創 (藤堂 安人 編集)



2008/06/20 15:00
藤堂 安人=主任編集委員

DATE 2008/06/24
  【日經BP社報導】 日本的汽車和電子產業一直是人們相互比較的對象。二者都擁有高超的技術能力,是日本製造業發展的動力。但是在最近,國際競爭力絕佳的汽車產業與缺乏精彩的電子產業拉開了距離。同為日本的製造業,為何差距如此之大?二者難道有構造上的區別嗎?




  首先要介紹的是東京工業大學大學院創新管理研究係(sic 系) 竹內寬爾、關根誠、藤村修三研究小組的論文:“車載半導體開發的潛在威脅——汽車產業與半導體產業的思維差異”(《日經電子》2007年12月3日刊--日経エレクトロニクス誌2007年12月3日号,当サイトに転載)。


  對於其中的原因,論文作者認為是二者在“成品率” (hc改 良品率)、“對於泛商品化的危機感”、“可靠性”的思考方式上存在差異,其中,筆者最感興趣的是認為二者“技術構造”不同的觀點。即半導體產業是“學術型”、汽車產業是“工程型”的看法。

この理由として同論文では,「歩留まり」「コモディティー化への危機感」「信頼性」などに対する考え方の相違があると考察していくが,その中で筆者が特に 興味深かったのが両者の間には「技術構造」の違いがあるという指摘である。すなわち,半導体産業は「サイエンス型」,自動車産業は「エンジニアリング型」 であるという。



  學術型和工程型的產品開發模式不同。學術型的半導體產業,“現有技術的延長線上沒有問題的解答,只是人們知道未來所需的產品性能,對此進行多方面的科 學探討,技術的飛躍性進步推動開發的深入”(p.114)。因此,各企業可以打破界線,以行業為整體制定發展藍圖,通過共用資訊提高開發速度。


  在面向汽車半導體的開發中,汽車產業擁有的工程型開發模式和半導體產業擁有的學術型開發模式同時存在。竹內等人表示:“側重點究竟放在學術型產業和工程型產業的哪一邊,對於車載(hc 車用)半導體的科學觀和技術觀會出現差異”(p.114)。




  隨著車載半導體比重的加大,顛覆價格的嫌犯——半導體(產業)成為了汽車產業警戒的對象。作為與其對抗的表現之一,各廠商傾向於嚴守封閉開發 模式。“汽車廠商在車載半導體領域也開展由聯營公司參與的垂直統合型業務,看起來就像是防止汽車泛商品化的防衛措施”(p.111)。

  實際上,在汽車廠商開發車載半導體時,汽車企業真正相信的是電裝產品廠商,而不是半導體廠商。該論文也記錄了某汽車廠商電裝部件開發技術人員 的談話:“在制定的計劃中,要做的工作有7~8成是與電裝產品廠商一起完成的。向半導體廠商傳達的資訊只有全部的1~2成左右。因為系統的上級部分是我們 的專有技術,所以要在明確為技術課題後,才通知半導體廠商”(p.111)。



  例如,在《日經製造》發行的《日本,製造業的精髓》『日本,ものづくりの神髄』單行本中,三菱化學社長小林善光(採訪節選)認為,科學研究最好外包,重要的是自行利用研究結果開展業務(p.136-137 hc改 pp.136-37)。原文如下。




  這篇文章介紹了因研究透明氧化物非晶半導體而知名的東京工業大學教授細野秀雄的談話。細野表示,在物理界的《物理評論快報》(Physical Review Letters)和化學界的《美國化學會會志》(JACS,Journal of the American Chemical Society hc改正)等權威刊物中,“中國的論文數都遠遠超過日本”。細野對此深感危機,指出造成這一差距的主要原因是中國研究人員絕對數量多,以及與研究環 境優良的美國關係深厚。




  對於某些種類的半導體,使用新半導體材料時,大多沒有現成裝置。因此,雖然半導體產業的科學比重高,但是在業務化中,工程型的技術所佔的比重也很高。 而且工程型技術不易被趕超。這通過中國在“工程”比重較高的碳纖維上遲滯不前就可見一斑。因此,二者或許可以合作,利用日本的工程能力對中國發明的材料進 行實用化。


  對於“工程型技術在學術型半導體產業中的必要性”,OMNI研究所OMNI TLO創新推進本部本部長湯之上隆在《日經電子》2008年3月10日刊上發表的論文“分析半導體生產的國際競爭力。利用廉價記憶體攻佔新興市場”意味深長。



  在這裡,“磨合”是指不採用優化設計,對產品各組成部件不進行調整就無法發揮產品整體性能的產品(架構)。“磨合能力”則是指“部件設計的細 微調整、開發與生產的聯動、一條龍製程管理、密切的交流、確保用戶介面品質等”(藤本隆弘著《製造經營學》光文社新書)。也就是說,當磨合型架構的產品與 磨合能力一致時,會產生巨大的競爭力。

 ここで「擦り合わせ」という言葉が出てきたが,これは製品を構成する各部品を相互に調整して最適設計しないと製品全体の性能が出ないタイプの製品(アー キテクチャ)を指す。「擦り合わせ能力」といった場合は,「部品設計の微妙な相互調整,開発と生産の連携,一貫した工程管理,濃密なコミュニケーション, 顧客インターフェースの質の確保など」(藤本隆弘氏著『ものづくり経営学』光文社新書)を指す。つまり,擦り合わせ型アーキテクチャの製品と擦り合わせ能 力が合致したときに高い競争力が出ることになる。



  筆者以前也曾介紹過,日本半導體產業的製造一線有一個習慣:參考後製程進行改進,在規格書中加入“看不到”的工程餘料。按照一般的觀點,東芝和爾必達 記憶體之所以提高了各種快閃記憶體和DRAM的競爭力,主要原因是積極的設備投資,其實,半導體產業具有磨合型要素也是原因之一。

  “磨合型”和本文開篇提到的“工程型”可看做是類似的概念。這樣半導體產業究竟是應該稱為“學術型”還是“工程型”就很難定論,應該說是以科學為基礎,加入了工程要素的產業。而記憶體的“工程”比重可能大於SoC(System on a chip)等其他半導體。

  這種想法使人心情複雜:除了傳統優勢領域,日本廠商很難提高競爭力。湯之上還表示,南韓廠商行銷能力強、台灣廠商制定SoC設計計劃的能力 強。這兩項能力都不屬於“學術型”和“工程型”,日本廠商最近才開始積極進行培養。是揚長避短好,還是為了“多樣化”取長補短好呢?這篇論文發人深省。

 そう考えていくと,日本メーカーは,結局のところ本来得意な分野でしか競争力を上げることは難しいのだろうか,という複雑な思いにもとらわれる。湯之上 氏はちなみに,同論文の中で,韓国メーカーはマーケティング力に優れ,台湾メーカーはSoCを設計・製造する仕組みの構築力に優れていると述べている。こ の二つの能力はいずれも,「サイエンス型」や「エンジニアリング型」とはまた別のものだが,日本メーカーがなんとか手に入れようと躍起になってきたもの だ。結局,得意でないものには手を出さない方がいいのか,得意でないからこそ「多様化」のために手を出した方がよいのか,考えさせられる論文であった。




  池田首先把摩爾法則——“半導體集成度18個月翻一番”實現的原因分成4點進行了簡明的解說:(1)因為以蘊藏量豐富的矽為材料,因此技術革 新可以不受材料稀有性的制約;(2)通過利用平面技術,製程得到了簡化;(3)隨著不局限于特定用途的通用半導體大量生產,量產效果得到了飛速提高; (4)因為是所有電腦必需的通用部件,因此市場規模極大。






  本文開篇提到的論文“車載半導體開發的潛在威脅——汽車產業與半導體產業的思維差異”中寫到:半導體產業即使打算開展車載半導體工藝的微細化和晶圓尺 寸的大型化,當採用新工藝後,已經提高至接近100%的成品率會下降,因此,汽車產業便會發出質疑:“為什麼要開發成品率只有60%的技術”?

  產生認識差別的原因很多,最主要的是數位家電的故障很少危及人命,而汽車的故障可能導致死亡。該論文介紹了一位擁有汽車產業和半導體產業雙重 經驗的業務部長的談話:“引擎熄火可能危及人命。製造半導體的人很難說真正理解了其中的嚴重性。對於車載半導體也沒有本質上的理解”(本論文 p.113)。

  但是,日本半導體廠商曾以用於超級計算機的半導體高可靠性引以為豪。“控制整個社會基本生命線的超級電腦如果發生故障,會和汽車發生故障一樣 危及人命”(p.115)。從這種意義上來看,日本的半導體廠商對“高可靠性”和“快速技術革新”應該有充分的理解。而在車載半導體領域,怎樣使這兩點達 到平衡並加以落實將成為今後課題。



  “破壞性創新”的說法出自克萊登·克裏斯藤森(Clayton Christensen),其著作以硬碟為例,證實了技術革新中存在某種迴圈。最初是通過垂直統合內部製造,當標準普及為行業標準後,各部件將模組化,出 現相容部件。而後就會出現採用相容部件模組,價格性能低於正品的“破壞性創新”。






  為此,汽車廠商、電裝產品廠商、電子部件半導體廠商需要重新審視合作方式,並進行優化。綜上所述,學術型的半導體領域也加入了工程要素。工程 型的汽車產業也納入了科學要素。擁有“融合”的經驗。如果能夠利用這一經驗,汽車電子的世界也許會出現新的“融合”。(記者:藤堂 安人)





BBC記者 發自香港




















Nokia’s Push in Hollywood

An Unlikely Promoter Drives Nokia’s Push in Hollywood

Published: June 23, 2008

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Tero Ojanpera is an unlikely media entrepreneur. Mr. Ojanpera, a veteran Nokia executive, is not a fan of “American Idol,” although he says he enjoys it from time to time. And when he tried to watch a recent episode of “Hannah Montana,” one of his sons switched the channel.

Skip to next paragraph
Alan S. Orling for The New York Times

Tero Ojanpera says Nokia has no choice but to adapt as the market shifts to entertainment.

The Nokia N96 is made specifically for video and television.

But four years ago, Mr. Ojanpera and his colleagues in the research center had an epiphany: that entertainment was crucial to the future of Nokia, the Finnish mobile phone maker. Within a year, Mr. Ojanpera, who earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering, was cruising the palm-tree-lined streets of Beverly Hills, meeting with technology-wary studio executives who greeted him as coolly as a producer pitching a sequel to “Ishtar.”

“They were like, ‘Is this for real?’ ” Mr. Ojanpera (pronounced oy-an-pera) recently recalled.

Indeed, it was. While once formidable competitors like Motorola struggle just to deliver their phones on time, Nokia wants to transform itself into a next-generation entertainment company. Last August, Nokia, the world’s largest cellphone maker, created Ovi, an Internet service and online music store. Its intent, analysts say, is to compete directly against Apple.

Nokia is also positioning itself as a promoter of social networking, with photo and video sharing and games for users of its cellphones. That is because Nokia predicts that in the next five years, mobile phone users will create 25 percent of the entertainment watched on so-called smartphones, like the iPhone and BlackBerries. And just as important to the company’s strategy is users who will share that entertainment.

Music will be important, too. Nokia joined with Sony BMG and the Universal Music Group, which have agreed to give consumers a year’s worth of free downloads they can keep indefinitely as long as they buy and use specific Nokia models.

And to overcome Apple’s formidable lead in delivering digital entertainment to handheld devices, Mr. Ojanpera wants to bridge the gap between musicians and filmmakers and their fans, allowing consumers to get exclusive concert video and recordings or collaborate directly with artists like the director Spike Lee, whom Nokia hired recently to oversee a mobile video sharing and social networking project.

This is unfamiliar territory for Nokia, which got its start in the mid-1800s as a paper maker. But as Mr. Ojanpera explained, companies like his have no choice. “Change is painful, but you have to figure this out in order to be successful,” said Mr. Ojanpera, who is based in White Plains. “The question is, are you willing to play by the new rules?”

The task of negotiating with self-important media moguls, though, is likely to be as tricky for Mr. Ojanpera as it was for Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, who met resistance from entertainment companies and wireless carriers unwilling to give up a measure of control.

Mr. Ojanpera is deliberate in conversation, weighing his words carefully, and he lacks the outsized personality of Mr. Jobs. In a recent interview he was reluctant to take much credit — “It is not the Finnish way,” he said — or draw attention to his fast rise up Nokia’s corporate ranks. But those who have worked with him suggest his skill is finding the middle ground in any negotiation. When jostling with the Universal Music Group to offer its catalog on Nokia phones, Mr. Ojanpera agreed to support a plan that would make it easy for musicians to get their concert videos onto mobile phones.

“Neither of us felt we had to get the better of each other,” said Lucian Grainge, chairman and chief executive of Universal Music Group International.

While Mr. Ojanpera may lack Mr. Jobs’s charisma, he more than makes up for it with Nokia’s global might. Nokia sells 14 mobile phones a second — tallying worldwide market share of 39 percent. That reach gives entertainment executives an enticing international platform over which to digitally distribute movies and music. The company got a head start outside the United States, where its N series of multimedia smartphones is popular. The Nokia N96, which is expected to make its debut in the United States this year, is made specifically for video and television, with high-power stereo speakers and a five-megapixel camera.

“When Nokia puts their weight behind something, they don’t need to be the first,” said Pekka Koponen, a former Nokia executive. “They can dominate the market Mr. Jobs creates for them.”

Another possible advantage for Nokia is that music companies welcome a challenger to Apple. They are wary of Apple’s growing power in digital music distribution; Apple is the top music retailer in the United States, outpacing the behemoth Wal-Mart in April.

Mr. Grainge, who negotiated the free download deal with Mr. Ojanpera, said: “To have another big global player in the mobile music business is good news. Everyone within Universal is doing what we can to make it work.”

Mr. Ojanpera was born in 1966, one of three boys, and he grew up in a small mining town in Finland. He got his first job at a Nokia research and development center where he studied radio frequencies. From his earliest days at Nokia he specialized in understanding high-speed mobile networks, the so-called third-generation, or 3G, networks that are quickly becoming the industry standard.

Before being named executive vice president for entertainment and communities in January — a job created specifically for him — Mr. Ojanpera held a number of senior management positions, including chief technology officer, chief strategy officer and head of the Nokia Research Center, where he and his colleagues studied consumer behavior and design.

But he does not perceive his lack of media experience as a hindrance. “This, to me, is about curiosity and the willingness to learn something new,” he said. “You can have really smart people, but things don’t necessarily change. The challenge is who can translate those ideas into practice.”

The future, he says, will look something like this. While consumers now can buy movie tickets, watch videos and listen to music on their phones, the process is disjointed, with no place for one-button shopping. Nokia wants to make it seamless. Want a concert ticket? Press “yes” on your keypad. Want to listen to a favorite song? Press “yes.” Watch a concert video? Buy a DVD? Read a review? Need a hotel room nearby? Post photographs to your Facebook page? Just press “yes.” “It will be that easy,” he said.

To make that happen, Mr. Ojanpera has sought the advice of artists and producers, among others, including the director Ridley Scott and David A. Stewart, half of the 1980s group the Eurythmics.

Mr. Ojanpera met Mr. Stewart more than a year ago at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and since then they have had monthly conversations, tutorials mostly, Mr. Stewart said, on how the music business works.

“We disagree on the speed of things. I’m trying to force it faster and he, quite wisely, understands he’s in a world where things exist in a certain way,” Mr. Stewart said. “Tero’s thinking is that he’s going to change the way things work and it’s going to be better. But it takes time.”

Executives are more receptive now when Mr. Ojanpera comes calling. “There is more interest,” he said. But he too is realistic. It’s not yet like the early days of the DVD explosion, when the heads of movie studios flew on their private planes to Bentonville, Ark., to woo Wal-Mart executives. But one day, maybe it will be.

“Once we start to see them make the trek to our headquarters in White Plains,” he said, “then I know things really have changed.”

2008年6月20日 星期五

“basic innovation”(Sweden)

Of all industrial countries, Sweden is probably the farthest along in weaning itself from fossil fuels. Today, the country depends on oil for only 30 percent of its energy, down from 77 percent in 1970. (The United States, by contrast, depends on fossil fuels for 85 percent of its energy.) Fifteen percent of all cars sold in Sweden in 2007 can run on ethanol, up from 2 percent in 2000. A car running on ethanol made from sugarcane or cellulose is estimated to emit 85 to 90 percent less greenhouse gases than a gasoline-powered car. All the major Swedish motor vehicle manufacturers, including Scania, the largest truck manufacturer in Europe, now offer flexible-fuel cars or trucks, which run on either ethanol, conventional gasoline, or a blend. In 2005, a government-sponsored commission announced its intention to make Sweden the “world’s first oil-free economy,” starting with an existing “BioFuel Region” (as it is called): an area encompassing 22 municipalities and located on the Gulf of Bothnia, roughly 200 miles (about 320 km) north of Stockholm. In this region, lower-emission ethanol is as readily available and economical as ordinary gasoline.

One might assume that changes of this magnitude require a massive government effort involving tens of thousands of people, substantial government subsidies, and years of extensively funded research. But until recently, no such support, government-sponsored or otherwise, existed. Instead, countless local networks developed quietly, catalyzed by the efforts of small groups of committed and courageous leaders from the public and private sectors.

The Sweden story is a valuable model of what historians call “basic innovation”: fundamental changes in technology and organization that create new industries, transform existing ones, and, over time, reshape societies. Basic innovations — including electrification, the automobile, commercial air travel, digital computing, and, most recently, the Internet — involve not just a single new technology but a collection of new inventions, practices, distribution networks, businesses and business models, and shifts in personal and organizational thinking that combine to transform the way business is conducted, technology is deployed, and people are engaged.

from The Next Industrial Imperative

by Peter Senge, Bryan Smith, and Nina Kruschwitz

2008年6月19日 星期四

Yahoo!, eBay and Amazon

Yahoo!, eBay and Amazon

The three survivors

Jun 19th 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO
From The Economist print edition

What the diverging fates of Yahoo!, eBay and Amazon say about the internet

Illustration by David Simonds

AND so Yahoo! survives. The internet company—which, at the age of 14, is one of the oldest—appears in the end to have rebuffed Microsoft, the software Goliath that wanted to buy it. It has done so, in part, by surrendering to Google, the younger internet company that is its main rival. In a vague deal apparently designed to confuse antitrust regulators, Yahoo! is letting Google, the biggest force in web-search advertising, place text ads next to some of Yahoo!'s own search results. Google thus controls some or all of the ads on all the big search engines except Microsoft's. Yahoo! lives, but on the web's equivalent of life support.

Yahoo!'s descent, first gradual then sudden, during this decade marks a surprising reversal of the fates of the only three big internet firms to have survived since the web's earliest days. Back in 1994 Jerry Yang and David Filo, truant PhD students at Stanford, started to publish a list, eventually named Yahoo!, of links to cool destinations on the nascent web. Around the same time, Jeff Bezos was writing his business plan for a website, soon to be called Amazon, for selling books online. The following year, Pierre Omidyar, a French-born Iranian-American, put an auction site on the web that would become eBay.

Even as hundreds of other dotcoms fell by the wayside at the turn of the century, these three made it through the great internet crisis and have since prospered, to varying degrees and at different times. Their fates have reflected the evolution of the web as a whole, and now suggest its future direction. For many years eBay and Yahoo! made more money than Amazon, which, as a capital-intensive retailer, struggled longer with losses and then made profits at lower margins (see chart). And yet, says Pip Coburn of Coburn Ventures, an investment adviser, Yahoo! is now drifting and eBay is a washed-up quasi-monopoly, whereas Amazon finds itself at the internet's cutting edge.

Yahoo! set out to be a new sort of media company. To that end, it hired a Hollywood mogul, Terry Semel, during the internet depression in 2001. He had a backward-looking idea of the media business. Yahoo!'s site became a tawdry strip mall, with big, flashing advertisements next to users' e-mail inboxes. The firm slipped into a mindset of product silos, with the teams for the home-page, e-mail, finance and sports pages competing with each other and for advertisers, and confusing users.

Yahoo!'s bigger mistake was not to see how the web was changing. Google, also founded by two truant Stanford PhD students, became the leader of a new generation with a vision that web search, rather than Yahoo!'s “portal” approach, would guide surfers around the internet. Google valued simplicity, interactivity and the collective intelligence gleaned from the web and its users. Yahoo! belatedly tried to keep up and bought sites such as flickr for photo-sharing and del.icio.us for bookmark-sharing, but it “put them in the curio cabinet” without transforming the company, says Jerry Michalski, a technology consultant. Yahoo! was “so bent on being the future”, he says, that it “missed the new”. Mr Yang replaced Mr Semel last year, but the crisis was so grave that he has now ended up surrendering to Google.

EBay took a different route, recognising that its business—in effect, online yard sales—had potential network effects: in short, that sellers and buyers would flock to whichever site already did the most trading. The firm became a de facto monopoly, but with that came a culture that left many of its users disenchanted, and growth slowed. Some measures, such as the number of new listings of items for sale, are even in decline. Buyers and sellers increasingly rely on Google's search model, or online social networks, to find things and one another. EBay's new boss, John Donahoe, is not facing a crisis like Yahoo!'s—but neither does he appear to have a big idea for the future.


Amazon, by contrast, has found exactly that. It is the only one of the three that has been led continuously by the same man, its founder Jeff Bezos. A caricaturist's dream, Mr Bezos has an outsized neck, striking pate and an infectious guffaw that spreads enthusiasm. And, unlike his peers at the other two firms, Mr Bezos has stuck to his original vision—while adding two new ideas as they presented themselves.

His original plan, in the 1990s, was to become “Earth's biggest river” of merchandise, from books and toys to electronics and almost anything else that can be shipped. He tried and failed to become a rival to eBay in auctions. But then Mr Bezos realised that the same online store-front and logistics system that worked for Amazon itself could also work for others. So he added an entirely new category of customers: third-party sellers, who account for 30% of all items sold through Amazon's site today. They range from one-man-bands to huge retailers, such as Target.

Then, about four years ago, another, and potentially bigger, idea struck Mr Bezos. “We had built this huge infrastructure internally for us,” says Mr Bezos. “We thought, surely others out there could use the same infrastructure services.” That infrastructure consists of Amazon's prodigious numbers of server computers and storage discs, rivalled in scale by only a few other firms in the world, including Google. So Mr Bezos again added an entire category of customers: firms that wanted to rent computing capacity—from processing to storage to database functionality—from Amazon over the internet, rather than build their own data centres in a warehouse. It has signed up over 370,000 customers, ranging from web start-ups to the New York Times, which used Amazon's infrastructure to digitise much of its archive.

Almost by accident, Amazon has thus “backed into cloud computing,” as Mr Michalski puts it, using the buzzword for today's next big thing: the trend among both consumers and companies to compute and store data on the internet, rather than on a local computer. If there is a leader in the cloud, it is Google. But Amazon is now right up there. Better yet, although Amazon overlaps with Google in the cloud, it does not rival it directly. Google mostly offers entire applications, such as word processing or spreadsheets, to consumers though their web browsers. Amazon offers services to programmers so they can build and run their own applications.

So there they are. Jerry Yang is still boss of Yahoo!, although angry, restive shareholders may oust him at their annual meeting on August 1st, and his top lieutenants are leaving in droves. John Donahoe is looking hard for a purpose that will enable eBay to survive another decade. And Mr Bezos is right where he wants to be.

紐約時報 資料怒庫


2008/6/20 不定期報告(補充1

hc「陳先生從紐約時報看天下這篇很不錯的介紹。我在nyt找不到: Your search for Mischievous Odes to the Joys of Drinking by Dwight Garner. in all fields returned 0 results.
不知怎回事。第2 ,所以請教小讀者。」



陳:「用作者的名字dwight garner去搜尋可以找到。標題是 Toasting the Joys of Imbibing Properly, 日期是 June 4. 我已經 email 一份給 hc


hc:「感謝。比較好玩的是,Mischievous Odes to the Joys of Drinking 這標題被消滅. 我猜是網路版編者下的;nyt經常有兩標題。」

另外一例 cloud gate vs cloudgate


可是要用cloud+gate 才找到:紐約時報關於雲門舞集:


2008年6月18日 星期三

youtube.com, 悠遊卡

youtube.com, 悠遊卡 等都是科技平台

美國史丹佛大學大學的 SPOTLIGHT »

Oprah speaks to Class of 2008

Oprah Winfrey, who called out "O-Eight" to a cheering Class of 2008, delivered Stanford's Commencement address June 15 at Stanford Stadium. She encouraged graduates to trust their feelings, learn lessons from failures, and, in their life and careers, "choose the paradigm of service."

To see Oprah's address in its entirety, please visit youtube.com/stanford. --推薦此精彩演說

翁"院長"客隨主便 Oprah speaks to Class of 2008

台鐵與台北智慧卡公司合作,明(廿)日起至七月卅一日試辦台北、萬華、板橋、樹林4站可用悠遊卡(含悠遊聯名卡)付費,八月一日起再擴及基隆至中壢共計19站,持悠遊卡搭台鐵,不必再排隊買票,直接前往剪票口感應扣款,快速方便。 配合台鐵導入電子票證系統以及交通部一 ..

2008年6月17日 星期二



DATE 2008/06/18 印刷用網頁

攝影:栗原 克已
  生產自動化進步到最後,到底會給人類社會留下什麼?這種想法一直縈繞在我的心頭。只要新力還是一家製造商,這就是一個非常重要的課題。伴隨著製造業極 度的工業化,人與人之間變得疏遠,這樣發展下去,會讓人覺得人際關係很討厭。使人變成個人主義者而且孤獨。如果這樣,人的心理既得不到慰藉,也無法正常發 揮能力。因此,需要心靈的恢復。

  就任新力社長已有3年,但我依然一如既往地去一線,一如既往地與員工對話。當然,一線的報告會上交到我這裡。可是,有些東西是光看報告無法知 曉的。報告裏雖然沒有謊話。但也不是所有的情況都能寫到。親眼觀察的話,就可以獲得與報告不同種類的資訊。首先,我希望親身感受到一線的氣氛。員工在想什 麼?現場的部件是怎樣移動的?自己制定的方針貫徹到了什麼程度?等等,這些都是我想親自了解的。

  大家都希望彼此建立人際關係。倒不一定是跟社長。當一個人開始珍視人與人之間關係的時候,他得到的勇氣無法估量。會感到自己從事的製造的工作 是有尊嚴、值得自豪的。單元生產就是一個例子。簡單的“1小時完成幾個”並不能衡量一切。起到支撐作用的還是聯繫人與人的紐帶、“我在為社會作貢獻”的自 豪感等。

  現在,我在新力內部強調品質第一、品質優先。品質優先的意思是,即便把降低成本稍微推遲考慮,或交貨期晚10天,也要首先保證品質令客戶滿 意。要求做到第一是品質,第二是品質。第三、第四還是品質。第五、第六才是成本和交貨。不把品質明確設定為首要基準,人的思考方式和企業文化就不會改變。 根據這一思想,我們對的人事評價制度也進行了改進。

  開發是企業發展的重中之重。排在第一位。因此,發展戰略與開發戰略密不可分。今後發展的關鍵在於眼前播下了什麼樣的技術種子。不過,在當今社 會作為成長模式,M&A(企業併購)或者新業務模式非常流行。這些我並不贊同。我平日經常說:“不是量創造質,而是質創造量”。這裡請不要搞錯。 是首先有了品質,產量才會隨之提高。




中缽良治:1947年生於宮城縣。東北大學研究所工學研究係博士畢業後,1977年進入新力。1989年赴美國Dothan工廠(阿拉巴馬 州)任職,1992年歸國,就任儲存媒體業務本部錄影帶業務部長。1999年擔任執行董事。之後曾任副社長等職,2005年6月就任社長兼首席執行官。


Made in...

Daily chart


Made in...

Jun 17th 2008
From Economist.com

Which are the world's most diversified exporting nations?

EUROPEAN countries are highly diversified exporters. Italy is the most diversified in the world—its biggest five export products, which include cars and footwear, made up 12.9% of total exports in 2005 according to the World Bank's “World Trade Indicators 2008” published on Tuesday June 17th. Newer members of the EU benefit from cheaper labour costs and so export more factory-made goods. America also exports a wide range of products—its top exports include high-tech products such as microcircuits.

Readers' comments

The Economist welcomes your views.

Firefox 3 as free download

The new version of the Firefox Web browser became available as a free download Tuesday.

The release was delayed nearly two hours as visitors checking for the update overloaded Firefox's Web servers, which were slow or unreachable at times.

Firefox supporters organized launch parties around the world as they tried to set a world record for most software downloads in a 24-hour period.

The category is new, and Guinness World Records must certify it, a process that could take a week or longer.

Firefox comes from Mozilla, an open-source community in which thousands of people, mostly volunteers, collectively develop free products. Firefox is the No. 2 Web browser behind Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer.

Firefox 3 includes enhancements to help users organize their frequently visited Web sites and block access to sites known to distribute viruses and other malicious software.

Users of Yahoo Inc.'s mail service can also use Firefox 3 to send e-mail by clicking a "mailto" link they might come across clicking on a name or a "contact us" link on a Web page. Previously such links could only open a standalone, desktop e-mail program.

Firefox 3 also offers other design and speed improvements.


On the Net:


2008年6月16日 星期一

“Eee Stick”

DATE 2008/06/17 印刷用網頁

Eee Stick的外觀。內置有角速度感測器和加速度感測器。各機殼內都裝有2節5號電池。Eee Stick是華碩自主設計的產品,由從該公司分離出去的Pegatron(和碩)製造
演示內容是Tom和Jerry在玩類似拳擊的遊戲。演示者表示,可以很輕鬆地熟練掌握。Eee Stick由一個USB加密狗與1套Eee Stick交換操作數據。將兩個USB加密狗插入個人電腦中,可以二人同時玩遊戲。無線頻率為滑鼠等廣泛採用的2.4GHz
—— 咦?這不明擺著是倣造品嘛!

  在“COMPUTEX TAIPEI 2008”上,讓筆者這麼想的是台灣華碩電腦(ASUS)將於2008年7~8月上市的電腦遊戲把手“Eee Stick”。


  接著筆者想到的是,雖說Eee PC 701非常火爆,但由此把手來看華碩要走的路還很遠。


  幸虧Eee PC賣得不錯,一舉成為了暢銷品,但就華碩的商品策劃能力而言,推出Eee Stick這樣的產品,只能說其商品策劃能力還不夠成熟。

  然而,採訪Eee Stick的策劃負責人之後,筆者的看法完全改觀。這一商品不正象徵著華碩的活力嗎?不光是徹底學習領先的商品,還具有自己獨特的銷售方法。

  華碩的產品策劃負責人刻意強調了Eee Stick的客戶之多:“Wii的把手很棒。但是,使用時必須要有Wii主機。而Eee Stick可以插USB加密狗,能夠在任何電腦上使用”。另外,“我們不向電腦遊戲軟體公司收取專利使用費”(企劃負責人)。

  用戶也能受益。“Eee Stick不使用感測塢,省去了設置的麻煩,控制器及系統的價格也應該會比Wii便宜。關鍵的定位精度也比Wii高”(企劃負責人)。

  即便如此,筆者還是感到Eee Stick有侵犯任天堂所持智慧財產的風險。對此華碩的產品策劃負責人表示:“任天堂採用的是法國Movea(產品品牌為Gyration)的專利。我們已經盡可能研究了這些專利的內容,正在設法獲得可與之抗衡的專利”。

  對智慧財產的處理誰都很難做到萬全。因此,只要用戶有需求,先大膽嘗試。筆者從華碩產品策劃負責人身上感受到了這種向前看的精神。(記者:大槻 智洋)


Polaroid Camera

Wikipedia article "Polaroid". 成為技術史的一頁

中文(繁體) (Chinese (Traditional))
n. - 人造偏光板, 拍立得照相機
adj. - 人造偏光的

n. - ポラロイド, ポラロイド眼鏡, ポラロイドカメラ

EuroVox | 16.06.2008 | 07:30

An Homage to the Polaroid Camera

If you’re of a certain age, the nostalgic click and whir of a Polaroid camera probably brings back a flood of memories -- and images.

Well, those days are over. Polaroid decided to stop making instant cameras a year ago, and this winter they put the death notice out for the magical film.

Eurovox has an appreciation of a technology that embraced pictures instead of pixels.

Report: Susan Stone

2008年6月15日 星期日



ふせき 布石

《囲碁》preliminary moves; 《準備》preliminaries.

ふせき 0 【布石】



ぬのいし 2 【布石】


  美國蘋果公司為iPhone 3G設定199美元的戰略性價格。

  蘋果此舉的目的是使iPhone從歐美走向亞洲、中南美直至非洲,在全球得以廣泛普及。蘋果公司將以2008年7月11日在22個國家統一發售 iPhone 3G為開端,在2008年內,把銷售範圍擴大至70個國家。與此前僅在6個國家銷售的第一代iPhone相比,其行銷策略包括定價在內,發生了根本性的變 化。

  就蘋果公司在各國普及iPhone的戰略,記者採訪了蘋果公司iPhone行銷總監Bob Borchers。(採訪人:淺川 直輝等)





Borchers:除了安裝支援多種語言的新鍵盤和輸入輔助功能外,各國的iPhone還支援雅虎、谷歌等我們的夥伴公司的本地化服務。此 外,我們還滿足了各國移動系統業者的要求。例如在日本,支援軟銀移動的全部簡訊功能的工作已經完成。當然,如果由當地的開發人員開發iPhone應用軟體 的話,iPhone的本地化功能還將進一步增強。

——各國移動系統業者能否限制用戶從App Store購買的軟體種類?




Borchers:與史提夫·傑伯斯在主題演講中介紹的iPhone 3G特徵一樣。我們從中學會了支援3G的必要性,商用軟體售後服務的重要性,以及人們需要本地應用程式和更多的國家、地區的人們希望以更低的價格使用iPhone。(記者:淺川 直輝,矽谷支局)

Capsule endoscopy

Capsule Endoscopy is a term used to describe a miniature capsule used to record images through the digestive tract for use in medicine.

Wikipedia article "Capsule endoscopy".
【日經BP社報導】 不久前,筆者有幸在一個研討會上以醫療和電子為題發表了演講。演講首先是從《日經電子》的特輯內容開始,就業界的最新動態進行了介紹。之後是問答時間。在問答中,聽眾對一個話題給予了高度關注。那就是“膠囊內鏡”。


  膠囊內鏡的形狀大小與藥用膠囊相近,通過吞服進入體內,檢查體內情況。其內置小型攝影鏡頭,可觀察腸胃等的狀態。在日本,以色列基文影像公司 (Given Imaging)的產品已率先獲得認可並上市銷售。奧林巴斯在歐洲也開始銷售同類產品,在日本預定於獲批後立即上市(參閱本站報導)。除此之外,在長野擁有基地的RF也表示要開髮膠囊內鏡。

  實際上,這並不是筆者第一次感受到業界對膠囊內鏡的強烈關注。以前,在其他研討會上演講時,膠囊內鏡也曾是提問的焦點。問題從“是怎樣在體內運動 的”、“從何處供電”到“拍攝圖像的取出方式”、“拍攝結束後膠囊怎樣處理”以及“圖像處理精度是多少”、“運動速度能否改變”。無論在哪,聽講的各位技 術人員和研究人員都會提出大量問題,場面總是很熱烈。

  從某種意義上說,電子技術人員之所以感興趣,是因為膠囊內鏡是最新電子技術的結晶。在直徑僅為10mm左右的膠囊中,集成了小型攝影元件、鏡 頭、照明燈以及電池、無線發送電路等所有功能。作為醫療儀器,膠囊內鏡對在確保可靠性和安全性上的技術要求也非常高。在體內拍攝的斷層圖像資料需要在後期 利用工作站進行數據處理,生成連續的腸內圖像。目前的膠囊內鏡還採用內置電池驅動,但為了在體外通過無線提供電力驅動,一些正在開發的產品在膠囊內鏡中還 配備了電磁感應線圈。另外,從體外發送無線信號,控制膠囊內鏡在體內特定位置釋放藥劑的研究也在推進之中。“只要能夠釋放高粘性物質,膠囊內鏡就能夠在特 定位置多停留一段時間,推進速度的調節也成為可能。這樣可以增加特定位置的拍攝數量”(RF)。


  通過利用最尖端電子技術,膠囊內鏡還有望實現更大的發展。包括提高攝影鏡頭畫素、降低耗電量以增加拍攝總量、提高A/D轉換器解析度以增加成 像精度、小型化以便於吞服等,都是擅長開發小型便攜產品的電子廠商可以發揮能力的地方。實際上,奧林巴斯就是在一邊描繪膠囊內鏡的長期發展藍圖,一邊推進 開發的。

  電子技術人員之所以關注醫療儀器領域的新動向,大概是因為感受到了電子技術在醫療領域發展的可能性。比方說,某項技術被膠囊內鏡所採用,並按 照膠囊內鏡的要求發展變化,該技術在其他領域也有可能獲得應用。筆者之前也曾在專欄中提到,作為新的技術推動力,對於醫療儀器的發展動態必須給予更加密切 的關注。

  出於以上想法,《日經電子》將於2008年6月25日舉辦題為“模擬技術論壇2008~電子改變醫療~”的研討會。在研討會上,我們將邀請有 關人員就診療現場的醫療儀器需要高精度電子技術的理由發表演講。並安排有關最新模擬IC的技術動向、膠囊內鏡開發動向的演講。(記者:蓬田 宏樹)

capsule, kapsel





Small Publishers Feel Power of Amazon’s ‘Buy’ Button

Small Publishers Feel Power of Amazon’s ‘Buy’ Button

Published: June 16, 2008

PARIS — Amazon, the online retailing giant with a fast-rising share of the consumer book market, has adopted the literary equivalent of a nuclear option for rebellious publishers who balk at its demands.

In the latest in a series of disputes over the division of revenue from online sales, Amazon has disabled the “buy now with 1 click” icon on its British Web site for hundreds of books published by the British unit of Hachette Livre, from back-list Stephen King novels to, naturally, “The Hachette Guide to French Wine.”

The button allows registered users to purchase titles instantly, with free shipping. Customers can still buy the affected books, but they have to navigate to an open marketplace that links them to third-party sellers of new or used books. And they have to pay for shipping.

The struggle comes at a time that Amazon’s power as a bookseller is increasing, with sales growing online in an otherwise tepid global book market. Some publishers fear that with the introduction of Amazon’s Kindle electronic reader, the company will rise into a position to be able to demand more concessions.

“The buy button is their weapon of choice and that’s how they impose market discipline,” said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild, an American trade group that also briefly lost the buy icon, for titles sold from BackinPrint.com, a print-on-demand service for infrequently purchased works. “This is such a clear indication that once they have the clout they are willing to use it to the full extent that they can. It’s ugly with Amazon and will probably get uglier.”

Amazon is saying little about its tactics. But bloggers have been organizing letter-writing campaigns and petition drives accusing Amazon, which bills itself as “Earth’s most customer-centric company,” of transforming itself into the bully of the publishing industry.

Damien Peachey, an Amazon spokesman in Britain, declined to comment on the dispute with Hachette Livre, a subsidiary of the French media company Lagardère. It is the second-biggest English-language trade publisher in the world, after the Random House division of Bertelsmann.

“We wouldn’t discuss publicly our relationship with publishers,” Mr. Peachey said.

He also refused to discuss the strategy of disabling “buy” icons, offering the same reason.

Amazon’s communications office in its Seattle headquarters did not respond to repeated telephone calls.

In Britain, where Amazon opened a digital store in 1998 and where it now commands about 16 percent of the overall book market, publishers participate in tough annual negotiation sessions with Amazon about their cut. In markets where it does not have such a commanding position, like France or Germany, negotiations are much less demanding, according to publishers.

The first to spar with Amazon this year in Britain was Bloomsbury, the British publisher of the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Before they reached a compromise on undisclosed terms, hundreds of Bloomsbury’s older, back-list titles lost buy buttons on the Amazon site in Britain.

Bloomsbury best sellers like “A Thousand Splendid Suns” and “The Kite Runner,” which are big earners for Amazon, were spared the same treatment.

Then the struggle with Hachette broke into public view this month when the publisher’s chief executive, Tim Hely Hutchinson, sent a defiant letter to many of his authors explaining the “oddities” of vanishing buy buttons. The online retailer, he said, was demanding a bigger slice. Publishers traditionally sell books to retailers at a discount off the recommended retail price, but Amazon was demanding more than its existing 50 percent.

“Amazon seems each year to go from one publisher to another, making increasing demands in order to achieve richer terms at our expense and sometimes at yours,” Mr. Hutchinson said in the letter. “If this continued, it would not be long before Amazon got virtually all of the revenue that is presently shared between author, publisher, retailer, printer and other parties.”

Mr. Hutchinson declined, through a spokeswoman, to comment further, and Amazon has not specified how much more it is demanding.

Claire Alexander, a literary agent in London and former president of the British Association of Authors’ Agents, said authors were reluctant to speak out about the issue because of the “power of Amazon.”

“This is about profit and who gets the profit and what we’re beginning to see is that Amazon can be very ruthless in negotiations,” she said.

For now, the dispute is unresolved. So the buy buttons are missing from older titles like “Labyrinth” by Kate Mosse or “Duma Key,” by Stephen King, who still managed to get favored treatment for titles in his “Dark Tower” series. Many Hachette titles have also been dropped from Amazon promotions suggesting other titles for customers in their favorite genres.

The dispute with Hachette is not the first in which Amazon has resorted to removing the “buy now” buttons for certain books. In the spring it started disabling the icons for some small publishers in the United States that resisted Amazon’s demand that they use an Amazon-owned company, BookSurge, for print-on-demand services. Amazon is the dominant seller of such titles.

As a result, some smaller publishers in the United States have signed service agreements with Amazon. But a few refused Amazon’s demand to shift the instant printing of their books to BookSurge, which they say has been demanding a discount of as much as 52 percent on the retail price.

“They’re still threatening us and other publishers, but they haven’t flipped the switch yet,” said Angela Hoy, the co-owner of Booklocker.com, a print-on-demand publisher in Bangor, Me., which filed a lawsuit in May seeking an injunction to keep Amazon from imposing BookSurge’s services on publishers.

Publish America, a print-on-demand book publisher in Frederick, Md., has not been so lucky, with the buy button vanishing on thousands of its titles, from “Drugstore Jesus” to “Demon Passing.” The company’s spokesman, Shawn Street, takes an optimistic view of the situation.

“There are plenty of other purchase icons,” Ms. Street said in an e-mail message, referring to the alternative of purchasing books through third-party booksellers on Amazon’s open marketplace. “In the wake of the controversy, we have discovered that our sales through Amazon.com have actually increased.”

2008年6月14日 星期六

to fight information overload

Lost in E-Mail, Tech Firms Face Self-Made Beast

Published: June 14, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO — The onslaught of cellphone calls and e-mail and instant messages is fracturing attention spans and hurting productivity. It is a common complaint. But now the very companies that helped create the flood are trying to mop it up.

Some of the biggest technology firms, including Microsoft, Intel, Google and I.B.M., are banding together to fight information overload. Last week they formed a nonprofit group to study the problem, publicize it and devise ways to help workers — theirs and others — cope with the digital deluge.

Their effort comes as statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.

The big chip maker Intel found in an eight-month internal study that some employees who were encouraged to limit digital interruptions said they were more productive and creative as a result.

Intel and other companies are already experimenting with solutions. Small units at some companies are encouraging workers to check e-mail messages less frequently, to send group messages more judiciously and to avoid letting the drumbeat of digital missives constantly shake up and reorder to-do lists.

A Google software engineer last week introduced E-Mail Addict, an experimental feature for the company’s e-mail service that lets people cut themselves off from their in-boxes for 15 minutes.

Jonathan Spira, chief analyst at the research firm Basex and a member of the new group’s board, said the companies realized they faced a monster of their own creation. He pointed to a Silicon Valley maxim that companies should “eat their own dog food,” meaning they should make use of their own innovations.

“They’re realizing they’re eating too much,” Mr. Spira said.

Many people readily recognize that they face — or invite — continual interruption, but the emerging data on the scale of the problem may come as a surprise.

A typical information worker who sits at a computer all day turns to his e-mail program more than 50 times and uses instant messaging 77 times, according to one measure by RescueTime, a company that analyzes computer habits. The company, which draws its data from 40,000 people who have tracking software on their computers, found that on average the worker also stops at 40 Web sites over the course of the day.

The fractured attention comes at a cost. In the United States, more than $650 billion a year in productivity is lost because of unnecessary interruptions, predominately mundane matters, according to Basex. The firm says that a big chunk of that cost comes from the time it takes people to recover from an interruption and get back to work.

Companies are also realizing that there is money to be made in helping people reduce their digital gluttony. Major corporations around the world are searching for ways to keep software tools from becoming distractions, said John Tang, a researcher at I.B.M., who is a member of the new group.

“There’s a competitive advantage of figuring out how to address this problem,” Mr. Tang said. He said that there was “a certain amount of irony” in the fact that the solutions are coming from the very companies that built the digital systems in the first place.

The introspection in Silicon Valley comes with defensiveness, judging from conversations with those involved. Digital communications are sacrosanct, the tools of the revolution, so the criticisms of them are merely a path to thinking about how they can be done better. And, of course, the solution to the technology problem is simply more and better technology.

Outside the working group, the participating companies, like I.B.M., are already devising ways to contain the digital flow.

The E-Mail Addict feature in Gmail is more of a blunt instrument. Clicking the “Take a break” link turns the screen gray, and a message reads: “Take a walk, get some real work done, or have a snack. We’ll be back in 15 minutes!”

Michael Davidson, the engineer who created the feature, said the idea for it came after he was talking to friends about the constant temptation to check e-mail messages.

“I coded up this feature that lets you say, ‘I don’t have self-control, so I’d like to shut down my mail for a little while,’ ” he said. (Those who find they are truly addicted can cheat by hitting the escape key.)

There is a vernacular forming around information overload. Silicon Valley denizens speak of “e-mail bankruptcy,” or getting so far behind in responding to e-mail messages that it becomes necessary to delete them all and start over. Another relatively new term is “e-mail apnea,” coined by the writer Linda Stone, which refers to the way that people, when struck by the volume of new messages in their in-boxes, unconsciously hold their breath.

But the problem, researchers say, is not just volume but also etiquette. Bad actors hit “reply all” on a message instead of responding to an individual, or forward jokes to big groups. Some say the problem has a psychological dimension in that e-mail messages provide an insidious feedback loop.

“We are hunter-gatherers at the core,” said Tony Wright, chief executive of RescueTime, who is also a member of the new nonprofit group. “We open e-mail and hit ‘send and receive’ to see if something interesting has come in.”

Members of the new organization, called the Information Overload Research Group, planned to have their first meeting in July in New York.

The group plans to seek solutions, both cultural and technological.

For its part, Intel started two experiments last September with 300 engineers and other employees at a chip design group based in Austin, Tex., and with some team members in Chandler, Ariz. In the first experiment, employees had four hours on Tuesday mornings when they were encouraged to limit both digital and in-person contact.

Laminated cards were made up announcing “quiet time” and attached to cubicles. But within a few weeks the workers found the system too restrictive, and the cards seemed like something from grade school.

The cards came down, and some employees started to use e-mail messages, though judiciously and with more awareness of their habits, while others continued the stricter regimen, said Brad Beavers, the Austin site manager.

In a survey, nearly three-quarters of participants said the quiet time routine should be extended to the rest of the company.

“It’s huge. We were expecting less,” said Nathan Zeldes, an Intel engineer who led the experiments and who for a decade has been studying the impact of technology on productivity. “When people are uninterrupted, they can sit back and design chips and really think.”

In the other experiment, called “zero e-mail Fridays,” the goal was to encourage employees to favor face-to-face communication. Mr. Beavers said employees liked the idea in theory, but they continued to send e-mail messages, finding them essential.

Just 30 percent of employees endorsed the program, but 60 percent recommended it for wider use at Intel, with modifications.

“We’re trying to address the problem that people get so addicted to e-mail that they will send an e-mail across an aisle, across a partition, and that’s not a good thing,” he said.

2008年6月13日 星期五

superconducting car

'World's first' superconducting car



OSAKA--Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd. has developed an electric vehicle with a motor that uses superconducting technology.

The car will be displayed at an environment fair in Sapporo from June 19 to 21. Boasting a high motor torque, it has a maximum speed of 85 kph. At 30 kph, it can run for 2 hours.

Applying superconductivity technology, so far used for linear motor trains, to road vehicles is a world first, according to officials who unveiled a prototype car here Thursday.

The superconducting motor uses ceramic coils, which, when cooled to minus 196 degrees, have almost zero resistance.

With the same amount of electricity, it can run about 13 percent longer than a vehicle using a conventional copper wire motor, they said.(IHT/Asahi: June 14,2008)

2008年6月11日 星期三

A new swimsuit is shattering records


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make waves INFORMAL
to be very active so that other people notice you, often in a way that intentionally causes trouble:
If a member of the Cabinet started making waves, the prime minister simply got rid of them.

(from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

Swimsuit technology

Making no waves

Jun 11th 2008
From Economist.com

A new swimsuit is shattering records—and unleashing debate

AP LZR is the new black

ATHLETES in the ancient Olympics competed in the buff, on the grounds (among other things) that clothes were a hindrance to performance. Modern technology, however, has changed that. In some sports, notably swimming, the right costume can be an enormous boon. Take Speedo's LZR swimsuit, which was introduced in February. Fully 38 of the 42 world swimming records that have been broken since then have fallen to swimmers wearing LZRs. Indeed, some of those records have been claimed by less-than-notable racers, suggesting that the difference lies in the apparel, not the athlete.

To make the LZR four innovations had to come together. The first is the fabric. The new suit is cut from a densely woven nylon-elastane material that compresses the wearer's body into a hydrodynamic shape but is extremely light. Moreover, there are no sewn seams. Instead, the suit is bonded together using ultrasonic welding. Seams act as speed bumps in the water. Ultrasonic welding removes 6% of the drag that would otherwise occur, according to Jason Rance, the head of Aqualab, Speedo's research-and-development centre in Nottingham in Britain. Compared with Speedo's previous suit, which was used by numerous gold medallists in the 2004 Olympic Games, the new material has half the weight yet triple the power to compress the body.

Second, the suit has what Speedo calls an “internal core stabiliser”—like a corset that holds the swimmer's form. As a swimmer tires, his hips hang lower in the water, creating drag. By compressing his torso, the LZR not only lets him go faster, because it maintains a tubular shape, but also allows him to swim longer with less effort. In tests, swimmers wearing the LZR consumed 5% less oxygen for a given level of performance than those wearing normal swimsuits did.

Third, as a further drag-reduction measure, polyurethane panels have been placed in spots on the suit. This reduces drag by another 24% compared with the previous Speedo model. Fourth, the LZR was designed using a three-dimensional pattern rather than a two-dimensional one. It thus hugs a swimmer's body like a second skin; indeed, when it is not being worn, it does not lie flat but has a shape to it.

The results are a suit that costs $600 and takes 20 minutes to squeeze into, and a widespread belief among swimmers competing in the Beijing Olympics this summer that they will have to wear one or fail. The director of the American team, Mark Schubert, for example, thinks the LZR improves performance by as much as 2%—a huge leap considering that tenths of a second may mark the difference between first and fourth place. Arena, a rival swimsuit-maker, called the situation “unprecedented” and, initially, lobbied for a review of the garment rules in an open letter to the sport's governing body, FINA (the Fédération Internationale de Natation). Another maker, Tyr, has launched another type of suit altogether. It is suing Speedo's parent company, Warnaco Swimwear, Mr Schubert (for more or less insisting that members of his team wear the LZR) and others on antitrust grounds. The LZR is thus being referred to by some people as high-tech doping on a hanger.

Speedo's success is partly due to a subtle rule “clarification” made by FINA in April which confirms that polyurethane areas can be incorporated into racing swimsuits. Other manufacturers complain it is unfair that a revision with sweeping implications took place only a few months before the Olympics. Still, they are rushing to bring forward rival products. On June 4th FINA approved new suits by Arena, Adidas and Mizuno, so Speedo's technological lead may not last. In technology as in sport, records are simply there to be broken.