The future of our hobby (was Re: ImageDisk project is canceled)

Jos Dreesen jos.mar at
Thu Dec 29 02:30:23 CST 2005

Am donderdag, 29.12.05, um 06:17 Uhr (Europe/Zurich) schrieb Sean 
'Captain Napalm' Conner:

>   It's taken me several days to mull on this and the inevitable 
> progression
> of computers.  Anyway, the subject line only comes up rather deep into 
> this
> reply to Tony about his "I don't replace boards" stance:
>>> 	non-functioning chips?  I mean, one blown gate and you toss the
>> I am not sure anyone can repair a chip. Are you suggesting I start 
>> moving
>> atoms around to correct the wrong doping levels, oxided metal traces, 
>> etc?

Some classes of failures can be repaired with a FIB ( focused ion beam 
) machine.
We used it extensivly when debugging new chips. Very handy for rewiring 
and probing.
With current processes (65nm and 6 or 7 metallayers) it is becoming 
rapidly impossible to do anything on the chip level.
At operating costs of 600 USD / hour a FIB machine is probably not for 
the avarage hobbyist.
And we wont go into space issues and the rather nasty chemicals that 
are used in the FIB or in opening up plastic packages.

>   The 7400 chip is documented to work under certain conditions, with 
> these
> inputs and output.  Just as a two port serial card for the PC is 
> documented
> to work with the ports at such-n-such address with so-n-so IRQ and 
> what not
> (or else, not many people will buy the thing).
> 	Discreet components -> IC -> boards -> computers
>>> [2]   Or in other words---the "components" in today's computers are 
>>> bigger
>>>       than yesterday's computers.  Right now, the "components" are
>>>       boards/cards and I can certainly see it being whole computers
>> Maybe to you, but it's not happened here yet.

This list will not convince Tony otherwise, I also tried ...
But keep in mind that Tony is unemployed, so for him the timey vs. 
money thing looks different.

I also understand the desire to have everything under control   (i.e. 
understanding your machine to the last bit ), but the price for that is 
becoming higher and higher as technology develops.

									Jos Dreesen

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