Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Cheap flash drives? (Score 1) 178

Companies in China or any asian design shop out east will buy lots and I mean lots of rejected Flash chips or bare dies from a Fab that has failed some method of testing.  These are bought for cheap since it isn't in the Fabs interested to debug it.

This Chinese company will take those chips/devices and run tests to see how much of it actually works.  They will spin a circuit board with a controller that will only exercise the portion of memory that actually works (and have 100+ variants exercising the IOs/data lines that are functional).  So, they get a 64Gbit device that's bad, figure out only 18Gbit of it works and pair it up with other chips and build a board, program the controller and package it up.

This is very common and you have no idea that it has happened.  Crack open some generic flash drive if you happen to have 2 that are non-functional, don't be surprised if you see different part markings silkscreened onto the circuit board or you have different flash chips.

This is how they make their money.  They don't care if it works or not.  They made the sale.

Comment Re:Iridium (Score 2) 163

Iridium hardware was big and bulky to say the least.  However, looking past it's failure Motorola did one thing that many people over look.  They managed to stick to a schedule and launch satellites into orbit across multiple launch sites in different countries using three companies.  They launched 66 satellites (plus 6 spares) in over 12 months which is VERY impressive with a 15/15 launch success rate.  Motorola proved it was possible to launch that many satellites and hit their targets at less than $5 million per unit built every 5 days. Motorola had it down to an art.  The fees to use it were outrageous and the primary clients at the time seemed to be military and the few who had really deep pockets.  The way the satellites communicated to each other was a ingenious design too, using special arrays to maintain links with its closest neighbors.  The network as a whole was impressive.  It's demise was the price.

Submission + - Steve Jobs Denied Ninja Aspirations in Japan (livedoor.jp)

nohear_t writes: Apple fuhrer Steve Jobs is reportedly enraged at having his ninja aspirations denied by Japanese customs, after they stymied his efforts to take shuriken out of the country on his private jet.

As retaliation he threatened he would “never come to a country like this again!”

According to reports in rag Spa!, Steve Jobs and his family paid a secret visit to Japan in July, arriving in Jobs’ private jet at Kansai International Airport for a typical tourist itinerary, paying a visit to Kyoto.

On arriving at the airport for his return journey, he was apparently outraged at having to declare his newly acquired shuriken to customs, protesting “Who would be so stupid as to commit terrorism on their own jet?!” and “I’ll never come to a country like this again!”

Presumably he is unaware of the humiliating rigors of traveling peasant-class on a normal airliner – restrictions in no small part the result of American aviation policy.

Meanwhile there appear to be those who would be quite happy if he were to carry out his threat (translated from Japanese):

        “Don’t come again!”

        “Quit pretending you’re a state guest – if you don’t come again, that’s fine!”

        “Idiots who can’t even respect the laws of other countries had better not come here again!”

        “Bringing his own shuriken to the airport and then getting enraged about it. This Apple cult leader is a pretty cool guy.”

        “The reason they’re so strict is because of the terrorism in your own damn country!”

        “That baldie’s as intolerant as ever I see.”

        “Those Yanks think they can do whatever they like, don’t they?”

        “This is Japan, if you want you can go and wave guns around in your own country!”

        “Shuriken – haha. Honestly those foreigners really love that samurai/ninja stuff”

        “It’s Spa, they are probably blowing this way out of proportion.”

        “Why’d he even have to buy something like that in Japan?”

        “Just which country’s fault is it security became so tight?”

        “Does baldie think just because he has his own jet he can fill it with drugs and weapons and go wherever he likes?”

        “Letting someone like this have shuriken – no wonder they were concerned about terrorism”

        “Make no mistake, he’ll be back.”

Comment Reason for Xbox failures: Its Design is flawed (Score 4, Informative) 607

Xbox 360s are manufactured and tested by Flextronics at their plant in Guad Mexico, known as Flex-Guad.
It is not the fault of Flex that these units fail, it is the poor design that went into them and Flex doesn't care because they are only paid to build it.

Flex runs many different products through their assembly lines for Cisco, Nintendo, Motorola, Avaya, etc and from TFA, other competitors to Microsoft don't suffer failures.

Xboxs are flawed in so many ways:
1) Restricted airflow over heatsinks using air dams
2) Awful heatsink design and little or no thermal paste between Asic and sink
3) The Asic they use are exposed die with no heat spreader
4) Microsoft tried to design their own GPU and processor themselves and failed miserably and hired a 3rd party to correct it
5) Use of lead free solder on their BGAs (very brittle and prone to low yields)

It is no surprise that many units fail due to excessive playing because the 2 main chips heat up to the point of warping the circuit board itself because it is very thin (cost cutting measure).
Microsoft placed the two hottest chips near the center of the board and it warps due to heat.  The solder balls crack when the board warps and you get those lovely E74 failures.  Turn it off, let it cool and it works for a bit until it warps again.

That x-clamp strategy used on the heatsinks was wrong to begin with.  The newer generation Xboxs use solid bolts instead of these locking pins.  If you have ever opened an Xbox you will notice those very LARGE capacitors littering the board which are prone to failure with the heat.  I have myself repaired Xboxes and can tell you those caps do not survive the removal process for CPU and GPU.

If you are a PCB designer and get a chance to see the XBox circuit board, you can see that Microsoft really didn't build a proper board.  They hired a team of monkeys to cobble together the Xbox and tried to fix thier mistakes 3 board revisions later.  Nintendo however, built a really nice board for low cost using proper design practices.

What To Expect From Apple's Rumored MacPad 213

Jeff writes "I decided to review the specifications of recent e-readers and mobile devices as well as the ongoing Apple rumor mill to chart out the most likely features, innovations and configuration we can expect from Apple's long awaited Newton successor/Mac Tablet which I'll call the MacPad. The MacPad will arrive in fall '09 or Jan '10, with a 10" diagonal color display, a $599 price point with a Verizon data plan, a stylus, note taking application and handwriting recognition and an e-bookstore for iTunes. Apple's biggest challenge will be convincing its huge installed base of iPhone owners that they need a MacPad too. Past failed Newtonian predictions by others are available on Slashdot and the likelihood that any of this is right can be gauged by earlier Confucian gems such as Haskin warns that Apple may be setting itself up for a failure with the iPhone."

Comment Re:What you wanted to know about Xbox designing. (Score 0) 142

There are always ways around this.
If they were to use a drop in brick power supply it would be 5/6 compliant.
The PCB itself would be 6/6 but still contain 5/6 items.
This is also the case when using interposers where you would solder the 6/6 asic to the interposer and solder the interposer to the PCB using 5/6 solder.

Europe would have accepted 5/6 compliancy anyways.

Comment What you wanted to know about Xbox designing. (Score 0) 142

Microsoft really made a mess with the XBox 360 for a number of reasons: - Poor hardware designers - Poor mechanical designers - Poor choice of hardware / component placement - Lack of experience in designing ASICs - and a lot of others. If you have a hardware or PCB design background you would understand. Here are the reasons: 1. Having said that, if you crack open an XBox the first thing you notice is these huge bulk caps of 4700uF each (about 10+ of them) across their power planes. Is there so much noise in that unit you need that many huge caps? Apparently so! 2. If you remove the heatsinks, you find both ASICs have an exposed die. There is almost little or no thermal paste between the die and heatink. What they are missing is a heat spreader/lid which should be glued to the processor/gpu but no, that would have cost them an extra dollar or so. Since both ASICs have thermal diodes inside them once a critical temperature is reached, the unit stops working with a thermal alarm --> possible E74 3. Poor choice of heatsink mechanicals. They hired a bunch of monkeys to spec out their mechanicals. The X-clamp was the worst choice ever since is caused boards to warp, ASICS to lose connectivity due to cracking BGA solder balls when the temperature went up. 4. Poor feedback from their contract manufacturure who built and assembled the PCB and hardware. The people working on the assembly lines at the CM in Mexico don't provide feedback enough to the designers. If they noticed a lot of units were failing with thermal alarms or poor soldering (poor yields for that matter) they should have told the hardware engineers. Eventually, someone on the hardware team clued in and the heatsinks were changed and the x-clamps vanished and were bolted down instead. 5. Use of lead free solder. Why they chose to use a lead-free solder process is beyond me. The thickness of the PCB is already thin and they have to use extremely high heat to solder the ASICs down to the circuit board. Coupled with the terrible heatsink design/implementation you get a thermal differential on the circuit board causing it to flex. When the XBox is on and it heats up thats what you get, the circuit board warps and some of the solder balls crack because the lead free solder is brittle especially at high temperatures. 6. Microsoft learned first hand they stank at ASIC design. The tried to design the processor and gpu inhouse and learned very quickly they were terrible at it. After a horrible first run, they decided to hand that over to a design shop who knew what they were doing. However, they still need to learn how to package ASICs properly. The most common issue is with heat, and you all have read the RROD fix using the towel. Which is a poor mans attempt to solder an ASIC that has 1200 solder balls. In short, you restrict the XBoxs airflow while it is on, allow it to heatup in an attempt to get the solder to go into re-flow while the temperature of the circuit board climbs beyond 150 degrees while everything is running. Mind you the components inside aren't even rated to operate reliably at those temperatures. So even if that fix works for you, you have just cut the life time of your unit in half or less because you caused damage to all the components inside by allowing them to operate well beyond their rated maximums. So if your unit operates when its been off for a long time and dies shortly after being turned on, congrats you have soldering problems on the key ASICs. Take it back to the store and tell them its a manufacturing defect because it is! Microsoft sends it back to the CM and they strip it down and run it through the machine that solders the ASICs down using hot air or a confined infra-red source nozzle.

Slashdot Top Deals

God made machine language; all the rest is the work of man.