$52 Billion Spending Bill For US Domestic Semiconductor Production on Its Way

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Much has been made of the fact that the worldwide shortage of semiconductor chips has been a big blow to production across all sorts of industries, and caused major supply chain issues. Apparently the number of people who are waiting to be able to buy new vehicles is staggering, and there are plenty of high-tech devices that aren’t available to consumers in the volume they need to be because the manufacturers simply can’t get the chips they need. Currently the majority of the world’s semiconductor chips are made in Taiwan, and there geopolitical concerns about the stability of that industry there long term.

Speaking of long term, one of the biggest concerns about any type of long-term shortage while there is a lack of domestic in-country production in the USA is related IoT (Internet of Things) ready-devices. The way this technology was earmarked for big-time advances in healthcare and other type of societal needs was very considerable, and the risk is that those changes might not roll out as quickly as needed along with the widespread adoption of 5G network usage. Of course there are other interests too, but long story short there are simply not enough semiconductor chips being produced.

This is something beyond the immediate scope for any web hosting provider in Canada, but like most those of us here at 4GoodHosting we are attuned to major advances in the digital world, so this type of news story where semiconductor chip production here in North America is about to potentially get a big boost is newsworthy. So let’s use this week’s entry to look much deeper into this development with our US neighbours.

1 Step Closer

The CHIPS Act looks like it has the number of votes needed to pass the Senate and move on to the House of Representatives, and if it gets approval a massive investment into building a strong domestic industry for semiconductor chip production is about to get started. By encouraging US-based production it is thought that there will be all of the collective expertise needed already in the country and that becoming a leader in world semiconductor chip production shouldn’t take long.

Further, it is believed that other countries where consumer electronic devices are made are keen to say new big-league player enter the game when it is a country that plenty of clout already and should be a stable source of the chips without the kind of instability that some will see with Taiwan and others.

This new bill will then provide around $52 billion in incentives to semiconductor manufacturers to manufacture their chips in the United States. Among those beneficiaries will be Intel, which has been a fervent of the CHIPS Act since its inception. By threatening to scale back a planned Ohio chip plant if the funding doesn’t come through, big player Intel is trying to push this through.


Improved Act

Insiders stress here that this version of the CHIPS Act is very different from the initial $250 billion version that the US Senate approved in 2021. Not being approved by the House may have been a good thing, as it has ended up creating its own version of the bill that the GOP rejected over climate and the fact it didn’t involve dancing monkeys. Apparently this is what the Senate believes will be needed for a bill that can make it through both chambers of Congress.

Another concern but one that may not be talked about so much is the fact that there is also concern about any gains made in semiconductor chips in China and other countries in Asia. One US Senator stated her belief that given up even a sight amount control of the semiconductor market to China and Korea (South) could over 3 years mean losses of up to 5 million US jobs and $2 trillion of GDP. That’s something they’ll want to avoid.

This stands to benefit us here in Canada given the nature of our relationship with the States and how our tech industries feed of each other nicely. More domestic semiconductor chip production here in North America can only benefit us.

New Solar Cell Technology Showing Great Long-Haul Promise

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Improving energy storage technology is very much a part of what is going to required of humanity if we are to adhere to the eco-protection goals that are important to all countries, or at least that’s what they’re claiming. Solar has always had the potential to be a part of that, but until recently there hasn’t been the level of focus there needs to be on integrating it to the extent it needs to be. That is changing, and the best example of that will be how many people you see with solar panels on their homes recharging the Tesla or other electric vehicle in their home. But solar cell technology has had its limitations.

Until now that is, or at least possibly. If you think Perovskite is the name of a Slavic rare-earth mineral you’re excused, but what we’re talking about here are 30-year Perovskite solar cells. They’re the key to an emerging class of solar energy technology, and by proving they’re capable of a 30-year working lifetime they are set to change the parameters of what solar technology is capable of. Plus meaning a lot more in the way of environmental friendliness and way less in the way of harmful practices to get the components required to build solar batteries.

Here at 4GoodHosting we’re like any other good Canadian web hosting provider in that we can see the wide-reaching benefits this may foster, and we can relate in a sense in that any way you can make powering data centres more efficient is going to be music to our ears. And likewise for a lot of people who have their work and livelihood in the digital space.

So let’s have a look at these new solar cells with our entry this week.

Serious Lasting Power

We have engineers at Princeton University to thank for this offering, and the first perovskite solar cell with a commercially viable lifetime now marks a major milestone for an emerging class of renewable energy technology. Twenty years was the previous viability threshold for solar cells, but now they’ve added a decade on top of that potentially. They are set to rival the performance of silicon-based cells, which have by and large been unchallenged for their performance since 1954.

Perovskites feature a special crystal structure that makes them ideal for solar cell technology. By manufacturing them at room temperature, having them use much less energy than silicon, and making them cheaper and more sustainable to produce there is little to not suggest they are superior to silicon. Perovskites are also more flexible and transparent, and that means they are better for solar power than the rectangular panels that populate hillsides and rooftops across North America.

They also promise to be commercially viable too. However, one issue do date was that Perovskites are much more fragile than silicon. But not anymore, as now the durability potential for PSCs is quite good. Long-term testing whether they make the grade as durable, consumer-friendly technologies. But as of now, it looks quite promising. Especially as relates to efficiency and stability.

Best of Both

Stability hasn’t improved nearly as quickly as efficiency has with solar cell technology over the past decade plus. But the stability has come far enough that it’s no longer any part of a real liability related to them, but experts say there needs to be sophistication to go along with that stability before there’s widespread adoption and roll out.

Where this started was in early 2020, with the Princeton team’s focus on various device architectures that would maintain relatively strong efficiency while converting enough sunlight to electric power and surviving the onslaught of heat, light, and humidity that until now quickly degraded a solar cell during its lifetime.

What resulted were cells made from different materials in order to optimize light absorption while protecting the most fragile areas from exposure. These ones features an ultra-thin capping layer between two crucial components – the absorbing perovskite layer and a layer made from cupric salt and other substances that would be the conduit for the charge. Once it was determined that the perovskite semiconductor would not burn out in a matter of weeks or months, they realized they may well be onto something legit here.

Solar Cell Star

The capping layer on these cells is only a few atoms thick — more than a million times smaller than the smallest thing a human eye is capable of seeing. This super thin layer is a key part of why perovskites have the potential to handily outdistance the previous threshold of a 20-year lifetime for solar cells.

The next question was how long could they expect peak efficiency to be maintained, and the results were positive there too – basically zero drop after nearly half a year.

Longer story shorter, the efficiency of devices with these cells has been very impressive. While the first PSC showed a power-conversion efficiency of less than 4%, that metric has now been increased nearly tenfold in as many years. This works out to one of fastest improvement ever seen for any class of renewable-energy technology to date.

Perovskites also have a unique ‘tunability’ that allows scientists to make highly specific applications along with the ability to manufacture them locally with low energy inputs. Plus, they are compatible with a credible forecast of extended life coupled with a sophisticated aging process to test a wide array of designs.

Last but not least, there is also reason to believe that Perovskites could be an integral part of bringing silicon together with emerging platforms such as thin-film and organic photovoltaics, which have also made great progress in recent years.

Advantages and Disadvantage of Multiple Domains for Business Websites

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Everyone has their own areas of expertise, and there will always be others who are savvier than you when it comes to a certain subject. There are plenty of people who possess a lot of business savvy, but when it comes positioning their business in the digital space, they are quick to admit that’s not their forte. They delegate that part of their operations to someone who does have the needed know how, and they’re much better off for it. Making the right decisions in that sphere is more important than ever these days though, as so many businesses have a lot riding on their online presence.

Choosing a domain is part of that, but it’s not as difficult a choice as choosing whether or not you’ll have more than one of them. Here at 4GoodHosting we’re like any Canadian web hosting provider in that domains are very much our specialty, and one thing we know is that business owners often come to a point where they need to decide if they’ll be using multiple domains for more than one website for their business. There are advantages to that, and disadvantages too so what we’ll do with our entry this week is compare them and hopefully put your more in the know if you need to make a similar decision for yourself.

Securing & Supplementation

Many times, this is done because there is a need to pointing or redirecting multiple domain names to one or two websites only. In this situation the additional domains are serving to secure business name or supplementing type-in traffic. Additional domains here may be good if you have a product or service that appeals to different audiences. Having one for each target audience makes it possible to customize the messaging, sales materials, and other marketing strategies that will be more conducive to obtaining certain type of potential customers.

On the other side of that, multiple domains can be detrimental to page rankings. Many still park multiple domains as aliases for their main website, but that is less and less common these days and for good reason. One thing we can tell you with authority is that SEO is done on a single domain name and incorporates many things such as site popularity, the volume of content on the site and what type it is, keywords in meta and title fields, and paying for spots in search engine databases.

Protecting your website name or business brand is usually the primary aim when someone chooses to go with multiple domains. Best practice here is to register similar, complementary domains closely related to your site name, along with making sure you do it before anyone else has the same chance to. Generally speaking, multiple domain names don’t bring much of an advantage to website rankings, but they are effective for safe keeping of your brand recognition and reputation.

Look Long Term

The long-term outlook needs to be on building strong authority sites and if your website serves a simple purpose then using multiple pages on the same site will likely be adequate. But it is unavoidable that this will mean more work for you or your webmaster, with each site needing unique content, regular updates, and SEO optimization and ongoing monitoring. And of course, this will also mean more expense, along with economies of scale for hosting and other services that need to be weighed against the value added to the goals for the sites.

Another point is to make sure your marketing messages are consistent across all platforms, and that includes however many domains and websites you are operating.

Advantages of Multiple Domains

  • Good fit for single businesses with diverse audiences – separate sites makes it possible to tailor content as well as approach an individual group
  • Showcasing specialization for a niche website – better for supporting the development of deep, topic-specific content, which makes your site a more valuable resource and one that is more likely to be linked to (which is a big plus for SEO)
  • High turnover – good for any type of business or venture where name changes are common. Multiple domain names can be helpful to leverage an established identity or geographic presence.
  • Better for multiple countries & multiple language – more than one domain lets have separate sites for different geographic locations, and you also have the opportunity to tailor content and images to match social and cultural norms in these locations, Matching the different sites to local preferences and habits can also make the URL easier to find, which is a huge plus when it is an e-commerce website of any kind.

Disadvantages of Multiple Domains

  • Ranking – having multiple sites can at times see the sites penalized for having identical or duplicate, and this can be true even when the content is published in different languages. Scattered back links to your sites or being subject to bad links redirecting to phishing sites are ongoing possibilities when you have multiple domains
  • Difficulty Locating – the tendency is for people to look up a company by name. When one has multiple domain names it can become difficult for a prospective customer to find what they need.
  • Authority loss – In situations where domain names need to be changed, there can be a loss of authority based on the perception of some people
  • Expense – The more domains and sites you have, the more time and money that is required for them
  • Identity dilution – having branded products split off on different sites may undermine the power and market influence of a company
  • Merging difficulties – should you decide to move back to a single domain and website, migration of resources from the other ones to it can be expensive.

New Google Password Manager Definitely Makes the Grade

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Some of you may not remember it, but there was once a time when you could create any password you liked and it did not have to include any capped letters or numbers at all. You could add them if you like, but they certainly weren’t necessary. Most of you will be able to tell us why it became necessary to add them, but for those who don’t it’s entirely because passwords are much more easily hacked than they used to be. That of course goes step in step with the growth of cyber security threats of all sorts, and all of this complexity goes along with the fact that we all have more passwords than we’ve ever had before.

You’ll be able to say the exact same thing at this time next year, and the year after that. Some people aren’t trusting enough and will use a password manager app like RoboForm or something similar. But the majority of us are trusting enough to let Google Password Manager handle the task the majority of the time. There may be a few entryways that are more sensitive than others, and they do always give you the option of whether you want Google to do the managing (and remembering) of that password.

Now if there’s any who keep all of their passwords scribbled onto a piece of paper and tucked into their wallet we’d love to hear of it, but here at 4GoodHosting we are like any good Canadian web hosting provider in that we and everyone we know are perfectly happy to let CPUs handle that. And that leads to today’s entry topic, where we’ll talk about how the new Google Password Manager is improved to the extent that even the most distrusting of us should give it a try.

Superior Management

The overhaul to the Google Passwords platform we are discussing here is part of Google Chrome, and it was announced less than a week ago. What the overhaul is promising to do is allow Android and the Chrome browser password management to communicate within each other, detect passwords that have been security breached, plus better and more intuitive help for resetting those passwords if breaches are detected.

It is true that breach detection was already incorporated into Chrome. However, it wasn’t in place and operational for all places that Google password management existed, and that makes no mention of the fact it was entirely absent for Android. It will be now though and included as well will be an easier way to switch up a password when one is discovered to be compromised and / or stolen. This is a nice new security feature.

Better securing user accounts with better – and tougher – passwords has been a primary focus for security researchers for a very long time now. It needs to be mentioned that there are some industry insiders who believe we don’t even need to use passwords anymore. That may or may not be true, but what is indisputable is that people DO have a habit of coming up with insufficient password protection. Then there’s the way some users will be re-using the same password for multiple websites.

Convenient? Sure, but it makes them vulnerable anywhere and everywhere those identical login credentials are being used.

Better Password Security, Made Easier

You may not have any wherewithal regarding development, but trust us when we say that making a fundamental change to login structures is not easy. So the focus at Google became to make it easier for the average user to create more secure passwords instead. That is now possible via the Chrome browser as well as new hooks in any Android OS.

But Google has gone one step further, and unlocked a new Google Passwords website. This page will allow you to utilize Google password management without needing to be in/ on Android or Chrome, and still coming with the same bells and whistles provided to those who do have Google accounts. Some features are re-rolled out when creating complex passwords for websites, and you will still have auto-form filling for password management if you’re on Chrome or Android. Auto-login options are still available for iOS, but using the iOS edition of the Chrome browser for it to work will be required.

There’s more to say about this but blog entries should only be so long. Using password managers rather just re-using the same passwords or choosing ones that may be insecure is really the better choice. All of the information about these updates is available on Google’s new Google Passwords page, and if we’re to be honest the functionality of it and the way it takes something off your plate has even more to be said for it now.