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Comment Notes from a Shenzhen veteran (Score 4, Interesting) 49

Freetronics' guide is certainly a strong positive contribution to the hardware ecosystem. Now that said:

I believe that for product developers who are enthusiastic about hardware, unless you're planning to do a deep dive into the China ecosystem, complete with building professional relationships, opening up a manufacturing services shop there etc., your best strategy for engaging with China's manufacturing prowess is 1) through the community-driven hardware-sourcing sites (e.g. Adafruit here is the US answer to Freetronics) + DigiKey for prototyping purposes, then 2) when you're ready for manufacturing (because you've verified your market!), engage with one of the hardware incubators that have arisen in recent years, whether stateside or in Shenzhen itself.

As accessible as the supply chain in HuaQiangBei is (see TFA), there's a lot of opaqueness when it comes to quality. I challenge you to do a six-sigma caliber audit (think component variation, and the supplier traceability that comes with that) based on the HuaQiang Bei ecosystem that meets the requirements of your customer who in their home country is likely located behind the curtain of a strong regulatory body that needs satisfying. The simple truth of the matter is that these vendors consider revealing their supplier sources antithetical to their way of doing business, and will talk around such queries ad nauseam instead of telling you outright.

Many of those aforementioned hardware incubators are there because they already have long standing relationships with credible factories, so they can reach through the morass of suppliers to those they have a demonstrated work history with.

Some miscellaneous tips: If you're visiting because you have a flair for industrial tourism, then have fun and keep your head about you. If you're planning to be there long term, make sure to reference the experience of expats (say, posted online at least if you don't know such folks) who've lived there long term there to understand non-work aspects to life there which are also important. Build a strong support network of the expats around you there. One undermentioned point is that The Great Firewall will keep you in a communications bubble while you're there, so make sure to get out frequently to stay in touch with f+f and colleagues.

Source: Over a year in Shenzhen.

Submission + - Netflix to pay Comcast (ah Timothy already posted while I was writing)

prodigalmba writes: In a move that may reshape the debate around net neutrality and point the direction that future deals may take in the telecom ecosystem, Netflix is paying Comcast for direct access to its users. As the largest consumer of bandwidth during evening prime-time hours, Netflix effectively represents the interests of large online content-providers, and therefore a harbinger of who has the power in the network telecom industry. Is there any difference in practice between paying for packet priority and paying for a larger pipe to eyeball networks like Comcast?

Comment What happened to East Texas? (Score 1) 140

This is why we're supposed to try patent infringement cases in East Texas - by contrast to TFA, justices there love it when patent lawyers use the courtroom as a vehicle to advance their employers' business strategy. Was the docket full? Or else how did the defendant manage to get the venue changed?

Comment (repost) Welcome to falling behind China (Score 3, Interesting) 245

(reposted after logging in from anonymous coward status) I was in Shanghai in January, and observed supercapacitor (as labeled) buses operating on major routes on-loading and off-loading passengers. Overhead cables lined the route, and at every stop the bus would extend a superstructure to the cables, make contact (whether directly or inductively - unobservable), wait 5-10s, retract, and onward the bus would go. I don't know who manufactured the buses. I simply thought it notable that the Chinese were fielding such a system. I'll leave the questions about liability, etc. to the floor. In any case, and irrespective of where the bus was manufactured, guess who's going to learn whatever shortcomings may lie in this technology and improve on them first for having deployed it. And if the buses were designed or made in China, then . . . props to them. Not trying to create xenophobic bogeymen here, quite the contrary, it's worth observing how different folks operate.

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