A High Tech Version of The Dog Ate My Homework

All sorts of things are for sale on the Internet'even pre-corrupted files.

1 min read
A High Tech Version of The Dog Ate My Homework

The high-tech version of the dog-ate-my-homework is the corrupted file, which is now available for a small fee. A online retailer, corrupted-files.com, is offering corrupted files for sale, the theory being, that people like teachers—and technology magazine editors—who are expecting a manuscript on deadline, might not actually attempt to open that file until days later. And if they receive a corrupted file with the right title, they'll never know that it wasn't the real file to begin with, buying the writer days of procrastination. And then, of course, the writer might be able to bargain for a few more days to troubleshoot the problem.

At $3.95 a file, it makes a lot more business sense than pets.com ever did.

PS to Spectrum authors: don't try this at home.

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Two Startups Are Bringing Fiber to the Processor

Avicena’s blue microLEDs are the dark horse in a race with Ayar Labs’ laser-based system

5 min read
Diffuse blue light shines from a patterned surface through a ring. A blue cable leads away from it.

Avicena’s microLED chiplets could one day link all the CPUs in a computer cluster together.

Avicena

If a CPU in Seoul sends a byte of data to a processor in Prague, the information covers most of the distance as light, zipping along with no resistance. But put both those processors on the same motherboard, and they’ll need to communicate over energy-sapping copper, which slow the communication speeds possible within computers. Two Silicon Valley startups, Avicena and Ayar Labs, are doing something about that longstanding limit. If they succeed in their attempts to finally bring optical fiber all the way to the processor, it might not just accelerate computing—it might also remake it.

Both companies are developing fiber-connected chiplets, small chips meant to share a high-bandwidth connection with CPUs and other data-hungry silicon in a shared package. They are each ramping up production in 2023, though it may be a couple of years before we see a computer on the market with either product.

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