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Welcome to the blogosphere

When my boss suggested that I start a blog, it gave me pause, then motivation. Although I was well aware of the Weblog phenomenon—especially its effect on mainstream media’s coverage of itself, politics, and the entertainment world— I was no devotee. I had perused a few blogs, but I wasn’t a daily devourer of the new format. Plus it had been awhile since I had written under daily or even hourly deadlines, so a blog’s pressure to post regularly went against my natural tendency toward procrastination (and more-extended deadlines).

Yet the more I thought about blogging, the more appealing the idea became. I surfed around the Net and realized that few blogs addressed the peculiar focus area that MICRO inhabits—chip and other micro/nanodevice R&D, technology, business, and especially manufacturing practices.

Plenty of bloggers weigh in on techno gadgetry, the Wall Street perspective, the broader electronics industry, software/IT, and the frontiers of nanotechnology. Also, there are numerous daily and weekly e-newsletters and regularly updated industry news Web sites that include occasional commentary.

But there are few other blogs. As far as I could see, only Mark Osborne at Semiconductor Fabtech ( and, in a bit more personal vein, Katherine Derbyshire at her site were posting semiregular commentary on the chipmaking and chip equipment, materials, and subsystems spaces. Although Jeff Chappell of Electronic News kept a fascinating blog of his lengthy trip to China, “Traveling the Silicon Road,” late last year, that venture seems to have been a one-off deal.

So after a bit more rumination, my duty became clear. There are too many cool or crazy ideas and deals that need support or dissent, industry news that goes unanalyzed, stories and images from other sources worth sharing, and big egos (corporate and personal) that could use a good broadside from a loose cannon. A blog would offer me a chance to regularly combine humor and seriousness, sharp focus and free association—in other words, to share my ongoing thoughts and observations about the industries and technologies I have been covering for the better part of two decades. Also, I can now follow up on the kind of scoops and other insider tidbits that so rarely find a home in a quasi-monthly magazine.

MICRO’s blog era officially began May 8 with the first posting on Chip Shots and has been rolling along steadily ever since. I’ve managed to file at least one entry most business days, some days more. It’s been fun in an instant gratification kind of way. But it’s also a bit daunting, since blogs are an unfiltered, unedited form of media. More than once I’ve had to go back and revise a posting for a missed typo or poorly honed turn of phrase. Unlike some bloggers though, I plan to keep a certain level of journalistic professionalism and shy away from outright rumormongering.

While I’ve only received a few comments so far—including one from a certain Andy Grove at Intel (!)—the potential for community participation in the blog is huge. If/when Chip Shots takes off and people actually start reading and commenting, perhaps we can generate a freewheeling dialogue among fab rats and tool jockeys, materials mavens and nano geeks, engineers and scientists, management and grunts—the whole chiphead jamboree. So I encourage you to check out Chip Shots and make it a regular part of your Web diet, either through old-fashioned log-ons or as one of your RSS feeds.

If you’ll excuse me, I need to blog now.

Tom Cheyney

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