General discussion


Enough, already.

By GuruOfDos ·
I have had enough of this damn industry! The pace of change has risen exponentially since the 'glory days' of IT (late '80s in case you missed it!) and it has got to the point where enough has GOT to be enough!!

Just today I took delivery of four motherboards (VIA Epia Mini-ITX...I'm a fan!), and four cases (again, Mini-ITX). Four hard disks, four sticks of ram, four ITX slimline DVD/CDRW combo drives.

You see, I got an order for six systems on Thursday last week. Training simulators for the Police, as it goes, but that's by the by. Suffice it to say that each system costs around ?10,000 (US$18,000) and the product has been in development for almost a year. From the initial concept last February, to the first working prototype in May...a few months R&amp then the system went into production 'officially' on December 1st 2003.

During December, we had a 'sniff' that we would get an order for two systems - one each for two different Police Forces. December 11th I ordered the parts to build two systems and duly assembled and tested them. I had a problem then because the LitePro LCD projector we had chosen for the production system (new model in the UK as of September 1st AND I went to the dealer's open-day to view NEW products) had just been discontinued after two months and the 400 allocated to the whole of Europe had all been sold!

Oh well, more R&D, re-tool and redesign a whole bunch of fascias and other metalwork (mounting holes, lens position, connector positions, air inlet and outlet ALL in different places) and go for a Sanyo...written assurances from Sanyo UK that this projector WILL remain current for at least 18 months and we will be guaranteed supplies after that. Just as well as the fascia plate for our systems is made by a subcontractor and the tooling up and prototyping cost us a month and about ?500 ($800). I don't want to redesign it AGAIN!

So far, so good. Then an order comes in for six systems....?sixty grands worth ($110000)! Made up for all the **** I've taken from my boss over the last six months or so!

So I order the mobos. Two systems in stock, right? Buy in 4 more...oh dear the M-9000 has been discontinued and replaced by a M-10000....identical in fit, form and function, only a VIA Nehemiah 1GHz C3 cpu instead of the 933MHz Ezra.

Oh bugger! Now if I'm making six identical systems, I have to now change the mobos in the first two! Oh well...I can use the 'older' mobos in other units for 'individual' orders. A pain in the neck, but not a disaster. Oh well, order 2 more...

OK, so I'll assemble the 4 I have while I wait on the new boards...keep me amused for an hour or two and keep me off the TR web-site...

Open the boxes containing the cases....same part number from the same manufacturer as the two I ordered in December....and they are F%@#ING DIFFERENT!!! These ones have a flip-down flap on the front with 2xUSB, 1X Firewire and Mic In/Audio Out. The rear of the case has been re-designed and in fact is much better than the previous ones...less fine tuning and assembly required to fit all the rear panel goodies AND the ATX power cable doesn't need extending...

BUT DIFFERENT TO THE TWO I BOUGHT IN DECEMBER!!!! The ones I sent out to have the fronts machined for a couple of USBs and a PS/2 keyboard jack...and invested in several hundreds worth of setup charge for CNC machining ("It's the set up charge, you see Guv'nor. After the first trial one, we have the machining data on disk and can just bang them out for a tenner a throw!")...

So now, I have to scrap two whole computers (virtually) and build two new ones. Alright...not a disaster...but the two I bought in December were already slightly different from the prototype, and I had to spend four days re-designing things and making new fascia artwork to match the two 'new' cases.

But it isn't just the systems. I then have to get all the artwork and photography done for the manuals, as well as media and material for the user training course...and that's time and money, innit??

And I'm willing to lay money that when the next order comes in (we're demo-ing overseas in Feb to a very keen European customer) the cases, mobos or some other damn part of the system will have changed AGAIN.

Companies like Dell or IBM can mass produce by the million, and we know the score....everything is already out of date when it hits the market...BUT why the **** can't anything stay still for long enough to give niche market small-batch manufacturers a fighting chance???

If I build one-offs, I can deal with change. Our advertising even states that all specifications are subject to change, usually for the better. I don't even specify ram size or CPU speed or disk capacity on any literature keeps changing, but surely in the space of a month I can at least expect SOME constancy???

It's all moving too fast....stop the rollercoaster, I wanna get off!!!

Anyone wanna buy a Mini-ITX system (or two) - only a month old. No previous owners....unwanted Christmas present??!!!

At least Maxtor have supplied the same hard disks. Ooops....spoke too soon...these have a different model number and spec....AAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH........gurgle...gurgle!

(Sound of Guru flushing himself down the crapper....exit stage left)

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Comments

Collapse -

One word suggestion for you. . . . . .

by maxwell edison In reply to Enough, already.
Collapse -

One is not enough!

by GuruOfDos In reply to One word suggestion for y ...

I shall have two or three and see how things look then. Possibly no better, but I may not care as much!!!

I COULD theoretically get the police officers (attending the training course on the newly-delivered systems) down the pub the evening before and offer to buy them free Guinness all night (bang goes the profit on the job - them buggers drink like fish) in the vague hope that they don't notice two of the six are cosmetically different and have different specs. Of course I'd have to remain sober enough that I give each group the correct variant manual when they disperse to their individual HQ locations after the course.

Then, when I get a phone call a week later because they've forgotten the course notes and can't remember where the printer plugs in, I'll have to remember who got what system and what the front panel looks like:

"Er...could you tell me WHICH division you are calling from?"

"North South Bum-Fluff"

( was that the fat guy with the beard or the weedy one wearing glasses...??)

"Does you computer system have a fully functional fitted filligree flipdown flap or a fully floating flush fitted flexible flange?"

"Well, YOU sold it to us...YOU tell me!!"

Well, you get the picture?!! Landlord! Another flaggon of your finest Irish Stout and one for my good man Maxwell while you are about it.

Cheers! :-)

Collapse -

What a drag!

by Oz_Media In reply to Enough, already.

I would have six bent and busted heaps of metal on my floor. Well maybe five with one halfway down the driveway.

The amount of money you pay for CNC setup and fascias makes me wish I was your neighbour (it's alright, I live in Canada for now).

I absolutely LOVE picking up those jobs, ecpecially government jobs. I used to subcontract for a panel manufacturing company. I ran a crew that built and installed lockers in the schools, ferries, golf clubs, police departments etc. Now the most money was made from schools but the police lockers were a blast. They went together twice as fast as a school locker (bank of three in 5 minutes)and were billed at more than double other lockers because they were heavier steel and had a gun lockup.

Now picking up CNC jobs on a government contract would be a blast. It'd be worth you rgetting your CNC licence if you did them full time.

Anyhow, dinner time, gonna run.


Related Discussions

Related Forums