VOLUME XCIV             08/18/2021

Bindings

By David Gyenes, Director of IT

What are bindings and how do we use them? Bindings are where the data is being stored whether it is permanent or temporary. We can bind data to the Server, Global Variable in Browser or to the Record in Browser.

Server: If we bind something to the server then the information will be stored in the server, and everyone would be able to see what has been stored (entered) in the field. Changes would be reflected immediately.

Global Browser: If something is bonded to a global variable, the browser will store the information until you close the browser and then the information would be gone. Can others see the information in a field that is bonded to the browser? No, only if you store information in the server will be shared with others and be permanent.

Record Browser: Binding something to the record is almost the same as binding it to the browser. The only major difference is that as soon as we close the record the value would be gone immediately.

So why is this good? Where can we use it? Controlling screens and what is shown on a screen. If two different people are logged into a database, then they see the exact same thing. If you change a value, for example a ‘Yes / No’ switch that allows us to see extra information, it will switch for the other user as well unless we only bind the value to the user’s browser instead of the server. As we realize with this function two different people can see the same screen but are still looking at different information. This increases the user experience tremendously.

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The Chips Are Down

Chips can be found in almost everything that we own, from cars and appliances to electric toothbrushes and phones. These powerful little do-hickies (that’s the scientific term ) are in extremely short supply and this results in a global supply chain in crisis. We haven’t seen anything like this before. Several of the big car and truck companies are manufacturing fewer vehicles due to this chip shortage. Many are sitting in storage just waiting for a chip so that they can be completed. Tim Cook who is Apple’s CEO has warned that these chip shortages will affect sales of phones and tablets.

Another name for a chip is microchip or semiconductor and it functions as the brains of our electronics. There are billions of transistors that act like tiny little gates that allow electrons to pass through them or not pass through them. The size of chips can vary. IBM’s latest chip has 50 billion transistors in a two-nanometer space (about the size of a fingernail). These chips are like “the new oil” for today’s world. Even before the pandemic the demand for chips was far exceeding the supply. Rory Green, who is an economist at TS Lombard, says that Taiwan and Korea control most of the chip production today (even though they were originally an American invention).

Many of the factories that were making chips shut down during the pandemic. If you pair these closures with the increased demand for electronics, this shift created a domino effect right up the supply chain. Chips became backlogged and this caused even more demand. About 90 percent of the world’s electronics go through China’s Yantian port and the coronavirus outbreaks clogged the ports leaving hundreds of container ships waiting to dock. This congestion in Yantian spilled over into other container ports in Guangdong, including Shekou, Chiwan and Nansha. This ripple created a huge problem for the world’s shipping industry. Add in labor shortages and this caused the supply chain to plunge even further into trouble. Many companies (especially the car industry) cancelled their orders for chips thinking that the economy was going to take a big hit. The chip companies shifted gears and starting to make chips specifically for consumer products to meet the demands of the public and to make up for their losses from the car companies. To top everything off, the few chip manufacturing plants that existed also had extremely unlucky weather events and fire emergencies that caused even more delays. There was even a drought in Taiwan (chip production requires a great deal of water).

International affairs are not the main reason for the chip shortage, however, there is a tense relationship between China who wants to seize Taiwan, and Taiwan who is the world’s leading chip producer. There is great competition between China and the United States currently and China wants their own chip industry badly. Intel who is an American chip manufacturer plans to ramp up their chip production and at the very same time Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd. (TSM) are looking for American factories to build. The bottom line is that anything that requires a semiconductor will be pricey. Somewhere between 1.5 – 5 million less cars will be made this year. Interestingly, Tesla revised its own software to support alternative chips to maintain its production levels. Even though Apple, Samsung and other companies have been amassing chips for a while now, they all still expect delays in the production of phones, tablets, and computers as well as gaming devices like Xboxes, PlayStation, etc.


There are many opinions on when this shortage will end. Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel, believes that it will be “a year or two” before the supplies return to normal. Others believe it will end in the next 6-12 months and some even say it won’t end until early 2023. It looks like we must wait if we all want to save money. Or perhaps we should get our holiday shopping done now while supplies last? What do you do when the chips are down?

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