March 24th, 2011


Electronics prices to see an uptick

We get used to the price of silicon semiconductor products generally declining. But much of the reason for that is that supply usually meets demand, and actual cost of production is being tightly controlled by ever newer and more efficient plant. Right now, that may not be the case: this article in Information Week notes that two of the factories that make silicon wafers (from which RAM and CPUs and so on ultimately are made) have been shut down during the aftermath of the Sendai quake.

Those two factories produce something like 25% of the raw wafers for the industry. And you can't build new factories easily - they're hugely expensive affairs by dint of having to be the cleanest places on the planet.

So supply of the basic feedstock for the later stages has just been squeezed, whereas demand is almost untouched.

Expect prices to rise for a bit, if these factories stay offline for very long.

On the Met/NotW link

Reading this BBC article, it does sound as though senior Scotland Yard ossifer John Yates is looking at the end of his career. He's thus far denying covering up the worst of the news International privacy hacking allegations, but in doing so, he has come directly into conflict with the Crown Prosecution Service as to what advice they gave him at the time.

The advice basically was whether it was an offence at all to hack into a voice-mail box if there were no unheard messages within. Yates rather astonishingly says he was told that the hacking per se was not illegal unless the hacker listened to messages that the owner themself hadn't yet heard.

So, the prosecution would have to prove that there were unheard messages, and since that could be difficult, a prosecution could not be guaranteed.

Now, I'm not a lawyer, but I rather feel that this is one of those cases where the court would rather assume that the hacker had, in getting access, had the opportunity to listen to messages, and that it would then be for the hacker to prove that he did not hear any fresh messages, rather than for the prosecution to prove that he did.

In other words, if Yates had been doing his best to avoid having to prosecute, this is the sort of argument he might have used to justify such avoidance.

I do rather think that someone, somewhere, should have written something down.

Oh dearie me, I think I need more popcorn.