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Comment: Re:Why - why $1 billion a year? (Score 1) 63

by Lumpy (#47442425) Attached to: FCC Approves Subsidy Plan to Upgrade School and Library Networks

nobody employed at a K-12 school has the ability or IQ to properly run and terminate cat6/fiber/etc let alone install a clean network rack.

Ever single school my company is called in to fix was an utter nightmare that had to have most of the infrastructure gutted. Idiots just running non plenum wire in the ceiling ducts, etc...

If you want it half assed, let the school do it. If you want ti right, hire a real company of professionals to come in and install it right so it has a chance to survive the school's staff.

Comment: Re:BBB (Score 1) 182

by geoskd (#47442275) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Dedicated Low Power Embedded Dev System Choice?

The comoditization of embedded hardware designed happened over a decade ago. Have you heard of Kontron? PC104? Com Express? You seem to have missed the 2000's.... this is nothing new. These days it is amazing what is put on a DIMM module - far more than the Beagle Bone and Pi toys provide and at far lower unit prices.

The commoditization of these designs depended on several factors happening all at once.

First, processor power had to pass a threshold. Having a processor that is fast enough to handle an embedded system running a custom operating system (or more likely just a simple set of interrupt handlers and startup code) is a lot slower than the processor needed to run a full fledged kernel like modern Linux. The custom Software saves huge amounts of unit-cost, at the cost of time-to-market.

The second item that was needed was price point. Even $45 per unit is still high for the BBB black, but the RPi at $35 is pretty close. Even the BBB is close enough to work with.

Third, mainstream OS support. This is critical, because it turned a legion of higher-level programmers into embedded programmers. This, again, helps to reduce TTM

Last, the availability and maturity of simple to wire peripherals, and the availability of software libraries for using these peripherals. This is probably the most key part because you now have the ability to buy a modular set of components, and wire them all together with very little, if any, electronics knowledge and get a working system. Again, it all drives TTM, and in todays world TTM is everything. Just ask Microsoft how their tablet and phone business' are doing to find out how important TTM really is.

Comment: Re:Solaris not well supported by OSS toolchain (Score 1) 182

by geoskd (#47442215) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Dedicated Low Power Embedded Dev System Choice?

An MSP430 has idle currents measured in uA, and a chip costs in the region of $1.50, with no external components required. BBB isn't useful in applications that require running off of a watch battery for a year, and isn't cheap enough to consider adding as an additional component in consumer electronics.

and the MSP430 doesn't have enough horsepower for most things I want to do, and even if it did, the additional resources needed to design with it, and the additional time-to-market that these would introduce make it non-viable in todays world. As I said, time-to-market is everything. MS didn't get where they are because they made a superior product, they got there because they had a working product when the market opportunity arrived. Short TTM doesn't guarantee success, but TTM that is too long guarantees failure...

Comment: Re: Not France vs US (Score 2) 142

Maybe not. The law says they need to charge shipping costs, so unless their couriers are charging them Ã0.01 they are probably not complying. They are just hoping that it takes the authorities a long time to get around to forcing them to charge the real price, which will be obfuscated as much as possible, by which time the will have forced even more of the competition out of business.

This actually presents an interesting problem. Many carriers contractually require that shippers not disclose the discounts they are being given. That means that if Amazon discloses the discounted shipping rates they are paying, then they loose their discounts, and everyone pays retail. This basically royally screws the shippers, and the consumers. As usual, the French have completely failed to think through the consequences of their actions. It continues a fine decades long tradition of fucking up in the name of protectionism. Its the reason, they have double and triple the rate of unemployment of the rest of the world.

Protectionism only works if your society is close to export parity. If you can afford to close your borders completely without collapsing your economy, then protectionism will work (and you actually don't need it under those circumstances). Whenever there is an imbalance, protectionism screws up the local economy. If there is a trade deficit, then your economy hemorrhages money until everyone is broke and in debt. If there is a trade surplus, then protectionism shuts it down, as no one wants to buy from the over-priced asshat who actively blocks foreign competition. With parity, you can afford to significantly reduce trade in both direction (and you will), but any other time its a bad idea.

I took a fish head to the movies and I didn't have to pay. -- Fish Heads, Saturday Night Live, 1977.