Semiconductor Manufacturing and Design

Back in the Freelance Writing Saddle

Writing About Semiconductors is Like Riding a Bike

Well, not quite. The last time I was writing specifically about the semiconductor industry was 2006, and a lot can happen in six years. When I was at GPS World, I would, on occasion write stories about new GPS recievers; my knowledge of chips would come in handy then — but it’s not the same as covering the industry on a regular basis.

Semiconductor Manufacturing and Design -- I'm freelance writing for these guys.
Which is why I was pretty jazzed about the opportunity to get back to covering the semiconductor industry. This time around it’s once again as a freelance writer and editor, albeit as a regular contributing editor gig. I was curious to see how things had changed in six years, having only kept abreast of the industry and the technology on a very casual basis.

Not to mention happy to be returning to freelance writing and editing.

But as I say, a lot can change in six years. Last time I had my hand in, chips built with 65nm design rules were the cutting edge, and most mainstream chips were still being produced with 90nm and 0.13-micron designs. Today the cutting edge is 28nm designs if we’re talking system-on-a-chip (SoC) or 22nm designs if you’re talking about CPUs. And unlike six years ago, when 3D transistor gates were still largely just a gleam in an R&D engineer’s eye — although they had been demonstrated as early as 2002 — they are in production today, albeit not widespread. However, that will be changing by the end of this year and on into 2014; indeed it’s changing literally as I write this.

Of course unless you’re involved in the chip industry, you have no clue what I’m on about.

That’s okay. Let it suffice to say, it’s good to have specialized knowledge and experience sometimes, even if you are rusty. Case in point: I updated my Linked In account recently; by update I mean I logged in for the first time in literally years. I had put out a few resumes here in Bangkok for writer and editor positions, but had not gotten any nibbles (I thought I would, given my experience, background and the fact that I’m on the ground already, but apparently not).

So I was thinking I would put out my shingle again as a freelance writer and editor; that would actually suit me better what with my language studies and whatnot. Plus, it’s been many years since I had to report to an office everyday. Granted, I had to put on a tie and report to a classroom five times a week for most of last year, but that’s not the same as a 9-5 office grind.

Semiconductor Manufacturing and DesignAnyway, it’s all about the networking. My old boss from my Electronic News days noticed I had logged in and updated my Linked In account, and emailed me wanting to know if I was available for freelance writing work, as he had some; he’s editor-in-chief of several industry-supported chip industry portals these days. It was a good fit — I needed the work and he knew I am familiar with the subject, as I had covered it for so long, even though I had some rust to knock off.

The end result of all this is a story about the changing chip foundry market in the semiconductor industry. And I’m already at work on another story for Semiconductor Manufacturing and Design.

All because I Linked In. I’ve had a habit of bad-mouthing social networking over the years; I still have to admit I loathe Facebook and don’t miss it at all. But maybe I’ve been quick to judge the entire gamut of social networks, particularly the professional ones.

In any event, I’m back in the freelance writing saddle once again. Booyah!

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