March 18, 2022

Info Bleg For the Tech Literate

I have questions. 
I had been working on a post but the concerns I was trying to express and analyze are so far outside my bailiwick that the post was just going to be a demonstration of the Dunning Kruger effect. 

I am not a computer expert.

I'm a Mac user...which, I think, is the opposite. Aside from my TI99, my first computer was an old Macintosh that I pulled out of a dumpster in '98. I've gone on via inertia since then buying iMacs. 

Computers are black box technology to me, the only thing I know about how they work is that they need good industrial design to keep the magic smoke inside so they can access the ley lines that make up the internet. 

(I exaggerate only slightly)

I'm trying to improve, but there's a lotta shit going down right now that's tech related. So I sent some questions to one of the blog's Crack Team of Science Babes, but the answers I got were non-specific and unhelpful. 

"The internet was a mistake!"

"We're doomed!"

However, several of my readers are tech savvy, to the point they make their living in IT or computer engineering.

With that in mind: 
I have some questions...


How crucial to the tech sector is the Neon shortage really? 

I've often heard it said that "All the chips not made in China are made in Taiwan", but how true is that? I'd expect that Europe makes a lot and surely some are still made in North America. As Pixy noted 3 days ago, Foxconn  is entering The Saudi Kingdom. I've looked and can't find a breakdown of numbers, or percentages and I don't know enough to know what constitutes "chips" for the purposes of the question. Without wasting too much of your non-existent free time, does anyone have any sources/resources on the subject you could point me to regarding who, where, and 'what quality/ capability?' regarding chip manufacture?

I am, as I've admitted....(looks both ways and whispers in shame)...a Mac user. I have very little experience with PCs and Macs are not tinker all. I'm not, realistically, going to be aasembling one anytime soon. Can anyone recommend a good pre-built gaming/streaming PC?

Other than the looming food shortages (admittedly not a trivial issue) logistics, at least in the U.S. seem to have sort of stabilized. However, the tech sector logistics problems seem to be continuing and have multiple second order effects. Does anyone see any light at the end of the tunnel this year regards things like appliances and cars?


The cyber security threats we are seeing now are on a par with what was predicted for Y2K. But seem to be more substantive than Gary North ranting in his basement. Some of you do this for a living. Do you see any way to truly mitigate these vulnerabilities? Prior to the 1980s, many of these crucial functions that are so susceptible to digital manipulation now were handled quite adequately with manually operated or mechanically regulated systems. Is it just cost savings driving this transition to vulnerability or were regulations involved? Given that we used to operate refineries and power-plants without these vulnerabilities are there any hard engineering reasons distinct from political or cost/benefit reasons that we could not install manual/mechanical backups to keep from having some hacker blow up our stuff?


Russia is running out of cloud storage because of the embargoes. 
Does this have any implications for non-Russians going forward? The internet was designed to survive, or at least fail gracefully in the event of a nuclear war. The cybersecurity issues and cloud storage seem to be glaring vulnerabilities that can't be mitigated by the users since at least in the case of the "cloud" all aspects of security, durability, and access privileges are completely out of the hands of the user. Is there anything to be done realistically other than "Buy your own damned servers and maintain them!" I confess I'm a little skeptical of the cloud on principle, but I've got a degree in History which doesn't give me a broad and deep understanding of the problem...if there IS a problem. 

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 03:47 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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