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Summary and Comments

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Category: 

Noncompliant_Chips

Date: 

1998-03-10 11:23:58

Subject: 

Mainline Media Report: 500 Million Bad Chips

  Link:

http://www.chicago.tribune.com/business/businessnews/article/0,1051,ART-4215,00.html

Comment: 

This piece of journalism is typical. It begins with the standard myth about fears of "planes falling from the sky." The problem, of course, is that there will be no planes flying in 2000, and no airlines solvent, and no bank loans to airlines recoverable. But these are real-world problems that threaten to cause a financial meltdown. Think of real estate values in Las Vegas, Reno, and Orlando if planes don't fly.

But then the author cites an industry estimate of 25 billion embedded chips. As many as 2% may be nomcompliant. That is 500 million chips. (He never calculates the actual numbers; he says 2%.) It is impossible to locate this many bad chips, let alone replace them.

I have seen far lower estimates, such as one out of a thousand. That means 25 million bad chips. But they can't be fixed, either. Nobody says how they can be fixed. There is little awareness of the problem. But it is a killer. Literally.

This is from the Chicago TRIBUNE (March 2).

* * * * * * * *

Larry Boose, president of Venture Tech 2000 Inc., one of the country's leading experts on this so-called embedded technology issue, noted that robotic devices that become confused about the date may shut down factory production lines, disable fire safety equipment and otherwise create hardware havoc on Day One of the Millennial Year.

The great unknown here, Boose noted, is whether devices will simply stop working because their internal clocks go haywire when the rollover arrives.

Unlike testing a corporate payroll program for Y2K bugs by simply moving the date forward, there is no way to trick a hard-wired computer chip into thinking the millennium has arrived to see what it will do next.

Industry experts predict that of the 25 billion chips installed in electronic components, only about 2 percent will fail, because most of these devices lose track of their timing functions. But they don't know which 2 percent.

Any of the latest, more sophisticated electronic products or systems could fail because of the Year 2000 glitch, Boose said.

Most likely the devices will simply quit working. For example, elevators that use internal sensors to track time between visits by inspectors may conclude they haven't been checked in a century and simply descend to the basement and shut down.

Link: 

http://www.chicago.tribune.com/business/businessnews/article/0,1051,ART-4215,00.html

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