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Comment: Re:So, the other side? (Score 4, Insightful) 211

by geoskd (#49803543) Attached to: Mandriva CEO: Employee Lawsuits Put Us Out of Business

In the US, you can fire anyone who doesn't belong to a union, at any time, for any reason. This makes jobs have no sense of permanence, and as a result, you constantly get "more expensive, less efficient" people replaced with "cheaper, less competent" people.

It is the basic conflict that the conservatives hold as justification for anti union action, and anti labor stance. The trouble is that they are not wrong, and Mandirva is a perfect example why. A company that employed expensive employees in an extremely employee biased legal framework has now been destroyed and all of those employee are out of work. In replacement of that company are any number of companies that have the exact same business model except that they operate in places that do not afford employee protections. In essence, the jobs were not lost, simply transferred to another location (All those Mandriva customer are now Red Hat, or Microsoft customers). At the end of the day, all other things being equal, employment will work like any other unregulated economy, and the jobs go to the lowest bidders (In this case, anywhere except France). Ultimately Conservatives and Liberals are fighting about labor laws, when they have all accepted a bad premise. The problem is neither the conservative viewpoint nor the liberal viewpoint. The problem is that everyone works from the assumption that capitalism is mandatory. Everyone is so busy arguing about which political faction has the right answers, when in fact none of them do. There is not a single political group on earth that has the right answers. They are all too busy worrying about the short term details that ultimately are irrelevant to the problem. Meanwhile the real root cause (human nature) is being almost completely ignored.

Comment: Re:Related Links? (Score 1) 24

by geoskd (#49797473) Attached to: New Freescale I.MX6 SoCs Include IoT-focused UltraLite

Gunmen Kill 12, Wound 7 At French Magazine HQ Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour How To Execute People In the 21st Century Seattle Approves $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage Those just seem like rather unrelated links.

No, that seems about right. whenever I think Freescale, the idea of shooting somebody normally occurs to me...

Comment: Re:Too low: don't forget the power requirements! (Score 1) 553

by geoskd (#49795851) Attached to: How Tesla Batteries Will Force Home Wiring To Go Low Voltage

Typical house wiring is good for ~30A of current

Top tier household wiring is only good for 20Amp. "Typical" household wiring is only good for 15Amp (or 10Amp for older houses). The situation is worse in Europe where 230Volt is the norm, and the wiring is only speced for half the current of the 100Volt systems. Far too often you see people trying to pull far more current through their in-wall wires than they are rated for, and putting a bigger breaker in the box to stop the breaker from tripping every 5 minutes. These are the same people you see on the evening news, homeless because they burned their house down by running a microwave and refrigerator off a circuit that was install 50 years ago with using lamp cord.

Comment: Re:Tesla enables Edison to win the endgame? (Score 1) 553

by geoskd (#49795833) Attached to: How Tesla Batteries Will Force Home Wiring To Go Low Voltage

Do you know what the most efficient switch is for voltages over a kilovolt? I'll give you a hint: it's not based on semiconductors. Especially for high power. There's this little matter of "breakdown voltage," for one. Also "channel resistance." When someone comes up with a transistor [1] that can do three-nines [2] voltage conversion, we can talk.

http://www.hvswitch.com/

http://www.behlke.com/

http://www.mouser.com/new/ixys/ixys-4500vmosfet-mosfet/?cm_mmc=PressRelease-PR-_-IXYS-_-4500V+High+Voltage+Power+MOSFETs-_-2013-08-07

Granted, most of these are only pushing 99% efficient, but at the current rate of improvement, MOSFETs will surpass 3 nines at 10kV by 2030. 3 nines at 100kv by 2050. Somewhere in there, you start reaching limits of physics, but IIRC its not until somewhere around the 50kV mark, and even there, you can compensate by increasing the size of the gate to allow enough insulation around the device to prevent arcing around it.

Comment: Re:Freescale = SUCK (Score 2) 24

by geoskd (#49795715) Attached to: New Freescale I.MX6 SoCs Include IoT-focused UltraLite

Huh? This article is about an application processor (imx6), and you are comparing it to a cortex M microcontroller (PSOC series which is more equivalent to the freescale Kinetis series) They are different things.

Corporate culture is the same no matter which product line you're talking about. Ever since Motorola ejected Freescale in '04, they have gotten more expensive, they stopped developing half their product lines, and they are gauranteeing their product line for 10 years! a whole whopping ten years? The 68000 series Motorola introduced in the late 70s is still in production. If they cant offer at least 20,I dont want to hear about it. Their track record over the last ten years gives me serious pause before considering their product lines, and given the power, availability and cost of the arm processors this has to compete with, I'm willing to pretty much write them off. If they hadn't been gouging us for the sub-par dev tools, I might have even been willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, but when they have 8 year old open bugs on a tool that they are charging $ks in yearly maintenance contracts for, I have little sympathy. If I need power, give me a broadcom. if I need IO, give me a Cypress, if I need both, i'll plant both and still come out way cheaper than anything Freescale has put out thus far.

And just for giggles if I need massive amounts of IO, I can plant 3 100 pin PSoCs, a quad core broadcom armv8, have more horsepower than the imx6, and still cost less. As an added bonus, I can save a pile of money by not having to deal with the god-damn BGAs. Just like Intel, Freescale is chasing a market that is caving in on itself. These days, you're arm or you're nobody. It should also be noted that unless you are planning on selling M+ units, it'll be cheaper and vastly easier to simply buy RPi2s, and build a custom daughter board than it ever will be to produce your own GHz speed boards. The days of custom PCBs with state of the practice or better CPUs are over. Any design house that sells low to middle volume products are either moving to off the shelf Pi / BBB based systems or are actively being made irrelevant by one or more startups. Even higher volume stuff that can fit a Pi or BBB is likely to benefit from being able to drop one of them in and avoid huge amounts of dev time which means faster time to market which means bigger market share.

Comment: Freescale = SUCK (Score 2, Interesting) 24

by geoskd (#49794801) Attached to: New Freescale I.MX6 SoCs Include IoT-focused UltraLite

We use the freescale processors where I work, in no small part due to an inexplicable bias on the part of one of the founders of the company. Now that he is no longer actively involved in the engineering process, we are leaving freescale and if we never look back it'll be too soon. Their processors cost 5x what we are paying for the ST and Cypress replacements, and the freescale dev tools (codewarrior) suck. To add insult to injury, they are the only major CPU vendor left that charges for the dev tools (did I mention they suck). If you want awesome SOC processors and a sweet dev toolchain, look at the Cypress PSOC 4 / 5 series processors. Thanks to these suckers, our new designs are 40% smaller, and cost between $10 and $30 less because we have been able to replace a lot of off-board parts with PSOC functionality.

Comment: Re: We 'must' compete (Score 2) 117

I need someone to sweep my streets.

No, you really don't. That job can and will be handled by inexpensive machines soon. In our current free market economy, those would be street sweepers have no real value at all. If they did not exist at all, society would be no worse off. The best that we can hope for under capitalism is that these people are quietly and humanely sterilized.

I say this entirely tongue in cheek, as my oldest son will likely never amount to more than a drain on our family and society (He is autism spectrum). In yesterdays world, he could have gotten a decent job in any of a number of blue collar industries. In todays world, he might make ends meet working at McDonalds, In the world of 2030 and beyond, there is no job that he will be capable of doing that it wouldn't be cheaper to have a robot do. So the question now becomes, if he has negative value to society, what should society do with him? (Notice I am not asking what I should do with him, I don't really have a choice in the matter.)

No amount of teaching him the difference between winners and losers is going to change the fact that in the world of tomorrow, he will be a loser, so why not let him have a little happiness now.

Comment: Re:Quite the Opposite (Score 2) 269

by geoskd (#49747399) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Career Advice For an Aging Perl Developer?

1. You have your job because the company you work for felt you were the best person to do it.

You have your job because the person who hired you liked you the best out of the pool of people available to him or her at that time. This decision may or may not have been based on technical merit. Depends on the person.

2. Your manager has their job because the company you work for felt they were the best person to do it.

Your manager has their job because of the same process as above, but likely included more politics and less technical merit. I wouldn't rule out some golf at this level of management.

3. Your manager is not there to do or understand your job.

It has been demonstrated that managers that cannot do the job functions of their subordinates have a lower rate of success as measured by average task time to completion, turnover, morale, quality of team work-product, etc... In short, understanding the work that your team does is critical to effective management. That is why promote from within is a thing.

4. Your manager is there to ensure you do your job, to support you, to coordinate with the rest of the business that your job interacts with, leadership, users, finance etc.

Finally, one we can agree on.

5. Your manager should be looking to you as the expert in your position. If they are not then you are not doing your job.

Depends how long you have been in that position. If it is less than a year, then it is absolutely unreasonable (but not uncommon) for a manager to have that attitude towards an employee. From 1-5 years, it would be reasonable to expect competency. After that, expert level knowledge would be a reasonable assumption.

Comment: Re:CPU (Score 1) 107

by geoskd (#49724655) Attached to: Turning an Arduino Project Into a Prototype

So now you expect them to layout a USB circuit on a PCB? It is a simple as connecting three pins to a connector, plus ground. It doesn't get any simpler than that, and it doesn't require any extra circuitry or much care as it is a low speed connection.

It is definitely not that simple. As with most things, it depends what version youre working with. USB 1.0,1.1, sure you can do whatever, but you wont get much throughput. USB 2.0, you have about a 50-50 chance of handling full speed operation unless you use impedance controlled traces and make damn sure they are the right length, etc. USB 3.0 is an extremely high speed connection, and without extreme care, it simply wont work. A newbie is as likely as not to try to use whatever the chip can sustain (2.0 bare minimum these days) without knowing the headache they're in for.

It is a suggestion appropriate to prototyping something. If you are going to the point of producing numbers of things, then you need to learn a bit more or risk spending more time and/or money, which is true for just about everything...

I have worked for two startups, one that uses the Raspberry Pi (various models) in all of their products, and one that uses the BBB. Both are doing quite well. The first has 50M in gross annual revenue, and the other just got its first wholesale order for 1000 units at $2000 per unit. I get paid good money to come in and get customers products the rest of the way to market, and when I give them the options matrix, they almost invariably choose to save the development time and get the product into mass-pro right away. The idea is simple, once they have revenue, they can chase the pennies. Put another way, if their unit will cost an extra $20 by using a Pi vs embedded, and they expect to sell 1000 units per year, saving that expense better cost less than $20,000. Any given product in todays market is as likely as not to last about a year before a new version / competitor shows up. Any startup that thinks they are going to sell something with a microcontroller in it in large quantities in years 1-5 is dreaming, and are going to be very disillusioned when reality hits... High volume low margin products are not conducive to startup companies. They can try to fudge the numbers as much as they like, but when push comes to shove they get steamrollered.

Comment: Re:CPU (Score 1) 107

by geoskd (#49716693) Attached to: Turning an Arduino Project Into a Prototype

Crystals are in no way shape or form even remotely out of range for a beginner to use.

Crystals are almost entirely unnecessary. Lower frequency crystals can be completely ignored with the right choice of processor. The only other place you might need them would be specialty applications like DTMF decoding, but even there, the right processor can handle it sans crystal.

Comment: Re:CPU (Score 1) 107

by geoskd (#49716667) Attached to: Turning an Arduino Project Into a Prototype

I tutored Team Project I at university. We literally had every student designing PCBs and programming AVRs in their first year and not a single person had issues with it, even the really dumb rejects of the class managed to get something running, they just couldn't code to save themselves.

You were teaching a class who's entire point was to learn how to do such a thing. Theres a world of difference between that and someone with literally no background in circuits at all, or complete self taught.

The solutions you listed above would be zero help to someone with no background in embedded processors.

Connect a $15 ISP programmer to 6 pins.

What programmer? what 6 pins? where is it documented? google search for ISP programmer get me lots of link to website developer jobs, but not much in the embedded world. Remember, these people dont know jack about embedded systems. Its simple for you, not them.

Buy AVRs with the Arduino bootloader pre-installed.

Where would you buy them? mouser? digikey? what are they called. Again there isn't even enough there to google search for. An amateur might even know what a bootloader is, but how does one get them "preinstalled"?

Buy any USB AVRs which all come with bootloaders pre-installed.

So now you expect them to layout a USB circuit on a PCB? I thought you said this was a simple task?

Pop the AVR out of your Arduino and into your application board.

So once again, they are buying an arduino for every product they sell, my way was easier from a manufacturability standpoint.

Comment: Re:circuitboards (Score 1) 107

by geoskd (#49713433) Attached to: Turning an Arduino Project Into a Prototype

While prototyping is possible in surface mount ,permanent circuit boards remain very difficult to create. I appreciate the many circuit board services but they will never be a better alternative than do it yourself circuit boards created from raw material. In my opinion we need to recover the lost ability. If only I knew of a place were a lot of engineers hang out I would go there and ask them to try to invent the tools we need. If only radio shack could help us!

Even through hole PCBs were a pain to DIY. If you have a little money to spend, and are insisteant on DIY, get a PCB mill. I think Adafruit has one. I know of a few online stencil houses that will make one for you for about $40. Better yet, just suck it up and solder the protoboards by hand. I use a headmount magnifier and lamp for the 0402s. Most people can handle 0603s and bigger without a magnifying glass. If you're talking production boards, you can get a square meter PCB and assembly for about $5,000. For a typical design that'll be 100-200 boards for $5,000. If your product cant handle a $50 PCB cost, it either shouldn't need a PCB in the first place, or the business model is doomed to failure (or both).

Comment: Re:CPU (Score 1) 107

by geoskd (#49713375) Attached to: Turning an Arduino Project Into a Prototype

If you download and follow the manufacturer's guidelines for crystal layout you will be good.

If you're even using a crystal at all, you're doing something wrong. You would be far better served using a uC that has an internal clock. The external crystal just adds complexity and cost that are unneeded. The only applications that would require an external crystal are projects that a newbie has no business anywhere near, especially without any actual PCB experience.

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