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Daily News #000

Melting Away Defects on Microchips via Melting Microchip Defects May Extend Moore’s Law on Slashdot.
Zebra Striping: Does it Really Help? via Do Zebra Stripes Actually Help? on Slashdot:

Many believe that zebra stripes aid the reader by guiding the eye along the row. However, despite being in use in both paper and electronic mediums for almost half a century, there is practically no evidence that it actually assists users in this way.

This is actually one I’ve been putting some thought into for the web. My hypothesis is that it can help if a few UI tweaks are made (most likely via javascript).

Up to 300 Megawatt Worth of Keepalive Messages to be Saved by IPv6? via IPv6 would save 300 Megawatts ? on Planet Debian. To summarize this one, the increasing use of NAT, especially for mobile devices, means keepalive messages must be sent periodically (the connection is poked to ensure it remains active). For mobile devices that means shorter battery life, but it also means more energy use overall.

Eh, got sidetracked by the primary results; next time I’ll try to cover more than three items. North Carolina went strong for Senator Obama while Indiana went weak for Senator Clinton. Is she done yet?

I don’t think she is. One of the Kosers put it pretty well saying that the delegates plus superdelegates garnered from this race will likely put Obama on the green for Oregon. He’ll just have to make that putt. That’s May 20, 2008. Two weeks.

Saboteurs in Silicon

Via Slashdot (DARPA Sponsors a Hunt For Malware In Microchips) & BoingBoing (Hunt for the kill switch in microchips) — A story making the rounds today discusses the possibility of embedded instructions that could disable or allow spying through hardware chips.

This may be one more reason to look toward the model Transmeta was pushing several years ago: hardware chips that rely on software (firmware). Code is easier to audit than silicon, and it would also potentially mean that the life of the hardware could be extended.

Obviously using such tech for every chip is price-prohibitive at this point, but critical chips could use a mixture of this model and blind redundancy (whereby two manufacturers build chips to spec and both are soldered, either one is arbitrarily used when that part of the hardware is invoked).

Non-critical chips should be vetted and reused in future projects with a battery of tests to verify integrity. A chip lifecycle should be established to upgrade the approved chips list on a regular basis.