Weekend tech reading: Wax CPU cooling, SSD endurance testing and a crowdfunded Star Trek show

By on August 25, 2013, 12:53 PM

Your future iPhone may be stuffed with wax Inside a research lab at the University of Michigan, there’s an Intel chip covered in wax. It’s a Core i7 microprocessor -- the same chip that runs many of today's desktop and laptop PCs -- and the wax is stuffed into a metal mesh surrounding this tiny sliver of silicon. When someone cranks the chip well beyond its recommended speeds, the wax absorbs the extra heat coming off the silicon, and at 54 degrees Celsius, it starts to melt. No, it's not a party trick. It's a look into the future of the tiny processors that run on our smartphones and tablets. Wired

Introducing the SSD endurance experiment SSDs are pretty awesome. They're fast enough to provide a palpable improvement in overall system responsiveness and affordable enough that even budget rigs can get in on the action. Without moving parts, SSDs also tolerate rough handling much better than mechanical drives, making them particularly appealing for mobile devices. That's a pretty good all-around combination. Despite the perks, SSDs have a dirty little secret. Their flash memory may be inherently robust, but it's also fundamentally weak. The Tech Report

Confessions of a failed indie developer At the Develop Conference in 2011, Sean Murray of Hello Games was the keynote speaker for the Indie Dev Day. One key point he made was that we hear a lot about the successful indie developers, but barely ever hear from those who failed in the pursuit of their dream. This is my story. In April 2011, I left Lionhead Studios after 3½ years working on the Fable franchise. I’d been a programmer in the games industry for nearly 11 years at this point and felt a burning desire to build a game on my own, rather than being part of a large team. Gamesbrief

Wikipedia can predict box office flops Film studios churn out an inexhaustible glut of sequels, reboots, and adaptations during the summertime blockbuster season. This of course is because existing franchises usually gross the biggest numbers at the box office -- just look at 2013's cumulative box office take for proof that Hollywood's formula is as fruitful as ever. This year's numbers nudged beyond even 2012's box office pull, which is an impressive feat considering that 2012 alone was a year wherein not one but four movies crossed the coveted $1 billion box office mark worldwide. Vice

Why Ubuntu's creator still invests his fortune in an unprofitable company When Mark Shuttleworth founded Canonical in 2004, he made a promise to his staff: "You can count on me for two years." The idea was "to get the team to relax" and focus on the newly created Ubuntu operating system. Shuttleworth wanted to eliminate the pressure of becoming a blockbuster business overnight. He issued no ultimatums. And although Shuttleworth wanted Canonical to be self-sustaining, he didn't threaten to abandon Ubuntu if it lost money. Ars Technica

At least half of all Bitcoin transactions are for online gambling Recently I noted that illegal drug purchases are around half a percent of Bitcoin transactions, which is far from the existential threat that it has been made out to be. Instead, the most common usecase for Bitcoin is online gambling. Satoshi Dice is the most popular Bitcoin denominated online gambling site. Today it checks IP addresses to screen out residents of the US and other jurisdiction where online gambling is illegal, but that has not always been the case. LSVP

Salty Bet: a pop culture royal rumble we can't stop watching "I AM SALTY BETTING," I tell PCG editor, Graham. "BETTING ALL THE SALT." It has been a few days since the bet-’em-up, Salty Bet, arrived in my life. It was Graham’s fault, actually and as such it feels only right that he should have to put up with my capslocked enthusiasm. You sign up and are given $400 in Salty Bucks (henceforth referred to as Bux) to squander betting on the outcomes of fake fights between a frankly astonishing cast of characters. PC Gamer

The many faces of The Bureau: XCOM Declassified: from 2006 to 2013 With enough money -- and talent -- Take-Two could buy its way to the top. At least, that was the plan. Since its formation by the son-of-a-billionaire Ryan Brant in the early 1990s, Take-Two had existed as a mid-level video game publisher, the sort that produced the shovelware you'd find collecting dust in a cardboard bin at Wal-Mart. Stuff like Austin Powers: Oh Behave! and Big Bass Fishing. Polygon

Star Trek: Renegades As our name suggests, we're Renegades!  We are attempting a bold new concept in television -- create a full new Star Trek pilot episode to present to CBS as a possible online or cable series, rather than just pitch an abstract idea to a studio exec and hope we catch him on a good day. The Renegades team recently completed a successful Kickstarter funding drive, where we raised our minimum goal to produce this pilot. But, it was only the minimum. Indiegogo

Prototype hardware from Lockheed Martin surveillance project In 2002-2003, I was the Chief Technology Officer for a Boston-based hardware research and development firm, Advanced Wireless Automation (AWA).  As CTO I was responsible for technical oversight related to the design and implementation of a wireless surveillance product we were bringing to market for Lockheed Martin, and this particular project was for a group within Lockheed... eBay

Amazon is said to have tested a wireless network Amazon has tested a new wireless network that would allow customers to connect its devices to the Internet, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The wireless network, which was tested in Cupertino, California, used spectrum controlled by satellite communications company Globalstar, said the people who asked not to be identified because the test was private. Bloomberg

Needed at Microsoft: A catch-up artist Two months ago, Bill Gates met with members of the New York Times editorial board and a few editors and reporters. Public health was on his mind, and he spoke eloquently about the progress being made to combat diseases like tuberculosis and malaria, and the work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. About an hour into the conversation, someone asked about Microsoft. The NY Times

Ballmer's biggest success was out of the spotlight Imagine the help-wanted ad that Bill Gates is drafting in Redmond this week. Needed: Brilliant, visionary leader with extraordinary management and technical experience to chart future course of technology and serve as lightning rod for world’s frustration with their old computers. Perks include free soda and locker-room towels. The Seattle Times




User Comments: 1

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JC713 JC713 said:

Eh, that wax discovery may yield some better cooling solutions in the future. Maybe there is a property of wax that they can replicate for use in thermal paste.

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