The technology industry is suffering mightily from the global economic crisis. Worldwide semiconductor revenue is expected to drop 24.1 percent in 2009, to US $194.5 billion, according to Gartner, a technology research firm in Stamford, Conn. Meanwhile, revenue from enterprise software—that is, corporate-scale systems—will be flat at about $222 billion. Still, there are some sectors that will gain, some bright spots in the gloom.

LEDs: The LCD TV market may be all gloom and doom, but LEDs are increasingly becoming the way to light the screen up. They replace cold-cathode fluorescent lamps, leading to slimmer TVs or screens with an improved ­contrast ratio. The LCD TV market will gobble up $163 million worth of LEDs in 2009, according to market research firm iSuppli, in El Segundo, Calif. That’s more than double last year’s figure. By 2012, LCD TV makers will be spending $1.4 billion on them. Manufacturers are using LEDs more often to backlight LCD TVs because of efficiency improvements and the development of lower-cost manufacturing in Taiwan and South Korea, says Jagdish Ribello, iSuppli’s LED analyst. Even more gains will surely come, now that engineers have figured out a way to fight an efficiency-sapping phenomenon called LED droop.

Virtualization: In a slump, the drive to do more with less is acute. So virtualization software, which basically lets a company get more out of its computing infrastructure by creating the equivalent of multiple machines per computer, is a natural fit. Gartner says the overall market will grow 43 percent to $2.7 billion in 2009. The largest component of that will be the $1.3 billion worth of virtualization management software Gartner expects firms to sell this year.

MEMS: Open up 1 in 10 new cellphones shipped in 2008 and you’d find a MEMS accelerometer, according to iSuppli. And mobile phones will continue to drive growth this year—not just for accelerometers but for zoom and auto-focus actuators, pico projectors, gyroscopes, and RF filters, too. Together with consumer items like game controllers and digital cameras, mobiles will push the market up 12 percent in 2009, to nearly $1.4 billion. MEMS manufacturers are making it easier to include accelerometers. For example, in March, STMicroelectronics unveiled an accelerometer for handhelds that can be hooked directly to a mobile’s battery without an intervening voltage regulator and that works consistently even as the battery runs down.

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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
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Carl De Torres
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When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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