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'[EE] Legacy ports for people playing with electron'
2008\11\06@073835 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
Just happen to read this forum thread.
http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=29&threadid=2243939

Legacy ports: IDE, PS/2 ports, PCI slot, serial port, parallel port

My new desktop (Acer M1641) still has one IDE, two PS/2 ports,
2 PCI slots and one serial port, no parallel port.

Many laptops will have no PS/2 ports, no serial port and no
parallel port.

To me PS/2 ports are necessary because sometimes Linux
still has problems with USB mouse and keyboard during
setup or grub screen.

IDE on the Acer M1641 has dismay performance. And I think
it can be safely removed for many people buying a new PC.

PCI slots are necessary. My TV tuner card is still PCI. And
people who need real serial and parallel port may need to
install PCI card with real serial/parallel port.

Serial port is always nice to have. I'd like to have two.
USB->Serial port sometimes do not work.

Parallel port is getting rare. Now I can not use the
JTAG debuggers I have (one for ARM, the other for MSP430
but I have not really used MSP430) after my old desktop
died unexpectedly.

What is your thought on the legacy ports? What is your
solution when you need them?

Xiaofan

2008\11\06@075349 by peter green

flavicon
face

> Parallel port is getting rare.
>  
In my experiance you don't see it on big brand consumer desktops but you
do see it on whiteboxes and on big brand buisness desktops.
> What is your thought on the legacy ports?
very usefull
> What is your
> solution when you need them?
>  
Get a machine with them on the motherboard.


The last PCI serial card I tried didn't want to work with the hardware I
tried it with (I dunno whether it was a faulty card or a design issue
but either way it put me off).

2008\11\06@080242 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> What is your thought on the legacy ports? What is your
> solution when you need them?

slow migration:
- all serial port peripherals I have work with usb-serial converters
- if I buy new stuff it will nearly always be USB
- our school is switching to new ARM boards that have an FTDI2232
instead of a wiggler
- I insist on at least one PCI slot in a new PC, but I have not needed
it for the last few years

--

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu

2008\11\06@083750 by Martin

face
flavicon
face
Xiaofan Chen wrote:

> What is your thought on the legacy ports? What is your
> solution when you need them?
>
> Xiaofan

Still actively using serial ports but they could just as easily be
replaced by an FTDI chip.

I have one design that uses a parallel port and I suspect it could use
one of the USB -> parallel chips just the same.

Around the time I was thinking it would be possible for me to jump into
computer-card design on the ISA bus, the ISA bus was slowly dying. Now
that I'm thinking I could get into PCI with an FPGA card, the same thing
is happening.

This time around I think I could use high speed USB
(the knjn dragon card is expensive and rarely in stock
http://www.knjn.com/board_dragon.html )

For what? you ask - I don't know, it's always some project that I don't
have time for.

-
Martin

2008\11\06@111443 by Dr Skip

picon face
I am told that we have uses for RTS and CTS on serial and that many USB
converters don't operate it right or at all. This one comes highly recommended,
and they have a shorter cable version too, but their distribution system is wacky.

http://pfranc.com/cgi-bin/P/USBdb9m

Apparently, an individual signs up for life to distribute a certain product in
a given country, and you have to go to them for it. The mfg is a 3 person shop
in Oregon. It's all explained on the site in places.

-Skip


Xiaofan Chen wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2008\11\06@114837 by Herbert Graf

flavicon
face
On Thu, 2008-11-06 at 20:38 +0800, Xiaofan Chen wrote:
> My new desktop (Acer M1641) still has one IDE, two PS/2 ports,
> 2 PCI slots and one serial port, no parallel port.

My desktop has no legacy ports.

> Many laptops will have no PS/2 ports, no serial port and no
> parallel port.

Nor does my laptop.

> To me PS/2 ports are necessary because sometimes Linux
> still has problems with USB mouse and keyboard during
> setup or grub screen.

Frankly this surprises me. Sounds like you haven't enabled "USB legacy
emulation" in the BIOS if you have this issue (or your BIOS is buggy, or
you Linux distro is "weird"). I haven't used a PS2 keyboard with any of
my linux boxes for quite a while now.

> PCI slots are necessary. My TV tuner card is still PCI. And
> people who need real serial and parallel port may need to
> install PCI card with real serial/parallel port.

Hear I'll agree, many cards are still only available in PCI, or at least
affordably only PCI. That said, there are many cases now where USB can
replace those PCI cards (even TV capture). Still, for now having at
least one PCI port is still important to me.

> Serial port is always nice to have. I'd like to have two.
> USB->Serial port sometimes do not work.

Haven't used a "real" serial port in a very long time. The rare cases
I've needed to use a serial port the USB->serial adapters worked
flawlessly. If you REALLY need serial, a PCI serial card is an option,
no reason for the MB to have serial anymore IMHO.

> Parallel port is getting rare. Now I can not use the
> JTAG debuggers I have (one for ARM, the other for MSP430
> but I have not really used MSP430) after my old desktop
> died unexpectedly.

Parallel is IMHO completely dead. My printer might have a Parallel port
on it, but I probably don't have a cable, and certainly have never
plugged anything into it. Works flawlessly under Linux using the USB
connection.

TTYL

TTYL

2008\11\06@123834 by Mark Rages

face picon face
On Thu, Nov 6, 2008 at 6:38 AM, Xiaofan Chen <spam_OUTxiaofancTakeThisOuTspamgmail.com> wrote:
> Just happen to read this forum thread.
> http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=29&threadid=2243939
>
> Legacy ports: IDE, PS/2 ports, PCI slot, serial port, parallel port
>
> My new desktop (Acer M1641) still has one IDE, two PS/2 ports,
> 2 PCI slots and one serial port, no parallel port.
>
> Many laptops will have no PS/2 ports, no serial port and no
> parallel port.
>
> To me PS/2 ports are necessary because sometimes Linux
> still has problems with USB mouse and keyboard during
> setup or grub screen.
>

That would be a BIOS / GRUB problem, not a Linux problem, right?

I've had no problems using USB keyboard / mouse for setup on systems
made in 2005 and newer.

I blew up the PS/2 keyboard port by hot-swapping keyboards and I
bought a cheapy USB->PS/2 adapter at Wal-Mart.  I think it's
interesting that Wal-Mart sells USB->parallel and USB->PS/2, but no
USB->serial adapters anymore.  The USB->PS/2 adapter works ok, but it
spontaneously resets sometimes while I'm typing and drops a character
or two.  I blame all my typos on it.

Regards,
Mark
markrages@gmail
--
Mark Rages, Engineer
Midwest Telecine LLC
.....markragesKILLspamspam@spam@midwesttelecine.com

2008\11\06@181213 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
On Fri, Nov 7, 2008 at 12:48 AM, Herbert Graf <mailinglist4spamKILLspamfarcite.net> wrote:

>> To me PS/2 ports are necessary because sometimes Linux
>> still has problems with USB mouse and keyboard during
>> setup or grub screen.
>
> Frankly this surprises me. Sounds like you haven't enabled "USB legacy
> emulation" in the BIOS if you have this issue (or your BIOS is buggy, or
> you Linux distro is "weird"). I haven't used a PS2 keyboard with any of
> my linux boxes for quite a while now.
>

I have enabled that option in BIOS.

You are right, my new desktop BIOS might be buggy. So far I can not
install any BSDs on it (Freebsd, NetBSD and OpenBSD). I
need to add "acpi=off pnpbios=off" for Ubuntu 8.04 to boot. But many
people have the same problem with Ubuntu so I am not 100%
sure if it is 100% Acer's problem. Ubunut 8.10 is ok. All the
year 2006/2007 Linux do not work at all with this desktop.

Some related posts:
http://mcuee.blogspot.com/search/label/Ubuntu

Xiaofan

2008\11\06@194139 by Chris McSweeny

picon face
On Thu, Nov 6, 2008 at 4:48 PM, Herbert Graf <.....mailinglist4KILLspamspam.....farcite.net>wrote:

> Parallel is IMHO completely dead.
>

If you're just wanting to use standard peripherals, maybe (can't remember
the last time I connected one of those by parallel - certainly not in the 5
years I've had my current machine). However some of us on here surely want
to do non-standard things - my latest use for it being for a cheapskate PC
oscilloscope http://www.geocities.com/lptscope/hw.html

Chris

2008\11\06@195013 by Chris McSweeny

picon face
Should also mention that I still regularly use serial ports, both at home
and as part of my job. Whilst USB converters are available, my experience
from work is that they don't always do what you want if you're trying to do
something a bit non-standard (unusual data rates or word lengths - the sort
of thing I often have to do). PCI (or PCMCIA) cards do generally work for
these applications though - usually better than the onboard ports.
Also just remembered that the PC oscilloscope I have in work connects by
parallel port www.picotech.com/digital_oscilloscopes.html
<www.picotech.com/digital_oscilloscopes.html>-
it's just my home PC which I've never connected commercial kit to that way!

Chris

2008\11\06@214244 by John La Rooy

flavicon
face
On Fri, Nov 7, 2008 at 10:11 AM, Xiaofan Chen <EraseMExiaofancspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTgmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Nov 7, 2008 at 12:48 AM, Herbert Graf <mailinglist4spamspam_OUTfarcite.net> wrote:
>
>>> To me PS/2 ports are necessary because sometimes Linux
>>> still has problems with USB mouse and keyboard during
>>> setup or grub screen.
>>
>> Frankly this surprises me. Sounds like you haven't enabled "USB legacy
>> emulation" in the BIOS if you have this issue (or your BIOS is buggy, or
>> you Linux distro is "weird"). I haven't used a PS2 keyboard with any of
>> my linux boxes for quite a while now.
>>
>
> I have enabled that option in BIOS.
>

Could be that only some of the USB ports support the legacy function.
Usually the ones on the back will work, whereas the front ones might not

John

2008\11\06@220933 by John La Rooy

flavicon
face
Sometimes the single ide connector on the motherboard is done via a
usb bridge nowdays.

Recently Dell Lattitudes still came with serial ports. Plenty of
enterprise gear needs to be
set up over serial.

John

2008\11\07@000010 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
On Fri, Nov 7, 2008 at 10:42 AM, John La Rooy <@spam@piclist.jlrKILLspamspamlarooy.com> wrote:
>> I have enabled that option in BIOS.
>>
> Could be that only some of the USB ports support the legacy function.
> Usually the ones on the back will work, whereas the front ones might not
>

This is not the case. Apparently this chip set (Nvidia 630/620 with integrated
7150/7100/7050) are not well supported by the open source community.
As I mentioned before, I could not boot Ubuntu 8.04 without setting the
"acpi=off pnpbios=off" option even though it is ok with Ubuntu 8.10.
And so far I have no lucks with any latest BSD versions (beta and
release).

And the open source X driver has big problem with it as well.
I can only use Nvidia proprietary driver in order to get 1280x1024
native resolution.

As for the USB mouse/keyboard problems, it actually happened with
my old desktop as well (Nvidia NForce 3 chipset with AMD64).

And even under Windows, PS/2 port is really necessary if you
are trying USBCV.

Barry Twycross is the leading USB developer for Apple. Intel
and USBIF developed the USBCV program for Windows. But
it easily hosed Barry's USB keyboard/mouse. Poor Apple
computer has no PS/2 ports. So it is a problem for him.
https://www.usb.org/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=13701

Xiaofan

2008\11\07@001133 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
On Fri, Nov 7, 2008 at 11:02 AM, John La Rooy <KILLspampiclist.jlrKILLspamspamlarooy.com> wrote:
> Recently Dell Lattitudes still came with serial ports. Plenty of
> enterprise gear needs to be set up over serial.
>
Dell Latitude D series (like D600/610/620/630) all have serial ports.
My D610 at work still has the parallel port. But D620/D630 do not have
parallel ports anymore. It seems to me D series will be gone soon.
www.dell.com/content/products/category.aspx/latit?c=us&cs=555&l=en&s=biz
(D series are available through 2008)
http://www.dell.com/content/products/compare.aspx/latitude_d?c=us&cs=555&l=en&s=biz

The new E-series do not have serial ports any more.
http://www.dell.com/content/products/compare.aspx/latitude_e?c=us&cs=555&l=en&s=biz

Still you can use USB to serial ports or the docking station.

Xiaofan

2008\11\07@005741 by Forrest W Christian

flavicon
face
Xiaofan Chen wrote:
> To me PS/2 ports are necessary because sometimes Linux
> still has problems with USB mouse and keyboard during
> setup or grub screen.
>  
My desktop computer doesn't have a PS/2 port (or a serial port for that
matter).   The lack of a PS/2 port is a problem, since I also happen to
have a keyboard addiction problem.   Specifically, I'm addicted to the
IBM Type M keyboard.  (
http://www.pcworld.com/article/147939/inside_the_worlds_greatest_keyboard.html
).  With a Type M, I can easily clock over 80WPM on a typing test, and
if I'm composing an email, it's more like 100WPM or more.  I'm *much*
slower on other keyboards.

Because they are fairly rare anymore, I've been collecting them.   I've
accumulated hopefully a lifetime supply of them from various sources
(State Gov't surplus sales mostly).

The problem?   They are all PS/2.     And even worse, the keyboard draws
so much current (112mA), that many USB adapters don't work reliably.   I
bought a "quality" belkin adapter, and it would reset every minute or
so, loosing a few characters.  I ended up buying one from
clickykeyboards.com (who themselves are Type M fanatics), to finally get
one that would work.

-forrest

2008\11\07@011431 by SM Ling

picon face
> What is your thought on the legacy ports? What is your
> solution when you need them?

I used to want to redefine "legacy", it was sure a lot of fun.

With accelerating change, and wiser now I hope, I try to stay out of the way.

But for ports that some expensive tools already tied up, some
insurance money on getting their adapters early while they are still
available.

Just hope and pray that some sense shall come to the electronics
industry, and wish this industry can learn a bit from the financial
industry: to work less, to produce less and compensate themselves more
fairly.  More spreadsheet less datasheet please.

Ling SM

2008\11\07@013217 by Mark Rages

face picon face
On Thu, Nov 6, 2008 at 11:59 PM, Forrest W Christian <RemoveMEforrestcTakeThisOuTspamimach.com> wrote:
>
> The problem?   They are all PS/2.     And even worse, the keyboard draws
> so much current (112mA), that many USB adapters don't work reliably.   I
> bought a "quality" belkin adapter, and it would reset every minute or
> so, loosing a few characters.  I ended up buying one from
> clickykeyboards.com (who themselves are Type M fanatics), to finally get
> one that would work.
>

I've noticed the same resetting with my Belkin adapter.  It resets on
my model M (I've got the black one with a trackpoint) but also on a
modern Dell keyboard.  So maybe it isn't current consumption that's
the problem.

I was working for a while on a bluetooth-enabled card that would
replace the circuit board inside an M.  Would you be interested in
something like this?

Regards,
Mark
markrages@gmail
--
Mark Rages, Engineer
Midwest Telecine LLC
spamBeGonemarkragesspamBeGonespammidwesttelecine.com

2008\11\07@032123 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
On Fri, Nov 7, 2008 at 1:59 PM, Forrest W Christian <TakeThisOuTforrestcEraseMEspamspam_OUTimach.com> wrote:
> My desktop computer doesn't have a PS/2 port (or a serial port for that
> matter).   The lack of a PS/2 port is a problem, since I also happen to
> have a keyboard addiction problem.   Specifically, I'm addicted to the
> IBM Type M keyboard.  (
> www.pcworld.com/article/147939/inside_the_worlds_greatest_keyboard.html
> ).  With a Type M, I can easily clock over 80WPM on a typing test, and
> if I'm composing an email, it's more like 100WPM or more.  I'm *much*
> slower on other keyboards.

Interesting. I am not so sure if I have used it or not even though
I once went to the computing lab (unauthorised since I was
not a CS student) with original IBM PC XT learning Turbo Pascal
(gave up very soon). Later we got access to AST 286 with color
VGA and forgot all about the monochrome or CGA XT.

Personally I can not do blind typing with 10 fingers (normally 2 to 6
fingers and occasionally still need to look at the keyboard) so no
where close to 80wpm.

My youngest brother can do typing super fast but he is
a programmer.

Xiaofan

2008\11\07@042158 by Michael Rigby-Jones

picon face


> -----Original Message-----
> From: RemoveMEpiclist-bouncesspamTakeThisOuTmit.edu [piclist-bouncesEraseMEspam.....mit.edu] On
Behalf
{Quote hidden}

that
> matter).   The lack of a PS/2 port is a problem, since I also happen
to
> have a keyboard addiction problem.   Specifically, I'm addicted to the
> IBM Type M keyboard.  (
>
www.pcworld.com/article/147939/inside_the_worlds_greatest_keyboar
d.
> html
> ).  With a Type M, I can easily clock over 80WPM on a typing test, and
> if I'm composing an email, it's more like 100WPM or more.  I'm *much*
> slower on other keyboards.
>
> Because they are fairly rare anymore, I've been collecting them.
I've
> accumulated hopefully a lifetime supply of them from various sources
> (State Gov't surplus sales mostly).
>
> The problem?   They are all PS/2.     And even worse, the keyboard
draws
> so much current (112mA), that many USB adapters don't work reliably.
I
> bought a "quality" belkin adapter, and it would reset every minute or
> so, loosing a few characters.  I ended up buying one from
> clickykeyboards.com (who themselves are Type M fanatics), to finally
get
> one that would work.
>
> -forrest

You can buy an updated USB version of the Type M from
http://pckeyboards.stores.yahoo.net/customizer.html

Regards

Mike

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2008\11\07@042625 by Gerhard

picon face
On Fri, 7 Nov 2008 13:00:06 +0800, "Xiaofan Chen" wrote:

>Barry Twycross is the leading USB developer for Apple. Intel
>and USBIF developed the USBCV program for Windows. But
>it easily hosed Barry's USB keyboard/mouse. Poor Apple
>computer has no PS/2 ports. So it is a problem for him.
>https://www.usb.org/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=13701

Ah... I think if you want to run a compliance tester that messes with
the drivers (and seems to be flaky), you better have a full backup
image that you can restore. With that he'd be back in minutes.

Gerhard

2008\11\07@043743 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
On Fri, Nov 7, 2008 at 5:25 PM, Gerhard <EraseMEgelistsspamgmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, 7 Nov 2008 13:00:06 +0800, "Xiaofan Chen" wrote:
>
>>Barry Twycross is the leading USB developer for Apple. Intel
>>and USBIF developed the USBCV program for Windows. But
>>it easily hosed Barry's USB keyboard/mouse. Poor Apple
>>computer has no PS/2 ports. So it is a problem for him.
>>https://www.usb.org/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=13701
>
> Ah... I think if you want to run a compliance tester that messes with
> the drivers (and seems to be flaky), you better have a full backup
> image that you can restore. With that he'd be back in minutes.

No need for me since my computer have the PS/2 ports. I just
switched back the USB driver using the PS/2 mouse. Not for
him though since he need to use a Mac.

Xiaofan

2008\11\07@092231 by Jeff Findley

flavicon
face

"Herbert Graf" <RemoveMEmailinglist4EraseMEspamEraseMEfarcite.net> wrote in message
news:1225990114.7303.18.camel@E2140...
> On Thu, 2008-11-06 at 20:38 +0800, Xiaofan Chen wrote:
>> Parallel port is getting rare. Now I can not use the
>> JTAG debuggers I have (one for ARM, the other for MSP430
>> but I have not really used MSP430) after my old desktop
>> died unexpectedly.
>
> Parallel is IMHO completely dead. My printer might have a Parallel port
> on it, but I probably don't have a cable, and certainly have never
> plugged anything into it. Works flawlessly under Linux using the USB
> connection.

I've got one of those cheap ($10 US) USB to parallel port adapters to play
with.  It works just fine with my ancient IBM Proprinter II (built like a
freaking tank!), which I occasionally drag out of storage to print tractor
fed labels.

It failed when I tried it with an old parallel port/IDE external hard drive
case.  I've no idea if that failure was a hardware or software problem.

Jeff
--
beb - To paraphrase Stephen Colbert, reality has an anti-Ares I bias.




2008\11\07@095616 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> It failed when I tried it with an old parallel port/IDE external hard drive
> case.  I've no idea if that failure was a hardware or software problem.

There is no software interface in windows for a parallel port, only
direct hardware access and a printer interface. This is different than
for serial ports, for which a windows interface exists.

Hence usb-to-serial converters emulate a windows serial port, which
makes most programs (that use the windows interface for accessing a
serial port) quite happy.

In contrast, programs that need access to a parallel port (<> access to
a printer) have only one choice: use the parallel port hardware
directly. An usb-to-parallel converter provides a windows printer
interface, which won't be seen or use by such a program.

I know software exists that can present an emulated *hardware* serial
port to a windows application. I used this once for a
serial-port-wiggling PIC programmer. It worked, but is was so slow
(programmed ~ 1 location per second) that it was unusable. A parallel
port version of such a program might exist, but I doubt it will be of
any real use.

--

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu

2008\11\07@102628 by Herbert Graf

flavicon
face
On Fri, 2008-11-07 at 13:00 +0800, Xiaofan Chen wrote:
{Quote hidden}

As one of the hosts of Mythbusters often says: well there's your
problem.

It's long been known that sometimes Linux+nVidia != fun. Personally, I
try and stick with Intel chipsets whenever considering a Linux box. The
only problems I've had were with other chipsets. While AMD chipsets seem
fine, VIA ones are not great under Linux.

I've said this before: when you go Linux you have to consider the
hardware support. It's not a perfect world, but if you're careful with
the hardware you choose you won't have these sorts of problems. It's
frustrating sometimes, but it's the way it is.

TTYL

2008\11\07@110524 by Mark Rages

face picon face
On Fri, Nov 7, 2008 at 9:26 AM, Herbert Graf <RemoveMEmailinglist4TakeThisOuTspamspamfarcite.net> wrote:
> It's long been known that sometimes Linux+nVidia != fun. Personally, I
> try and stick with Intel chipsets whenever considering a Linux box. The
> only problems I've had were with other chipsets. While AMD chipsets seem
> fine, VIA ones are not great under Linux.
>
> I've said this before: when you go Linux you have to consider the
> hardware support. It's not a perfect world, but if you're careful with
> the hardware you choose you won't have these sorts of problems. It's
> frustrating sometimes, but it's the way it is.


It is not clear to me how bad USB support in Config and GRUB can be
blamed on the operating system, which isn't loaded yet.

Regards,
Mark
markrages@gmail
--
Mark Rages, Engineer
Midwest Telecine LLC
EraseMEmarkragesspamspamspamBeGonemidwesttelecine.com

2008\11\07@112054 by William \Chops\ Westfield

face picon face

On Nov 6, 2008, at 4:38 AM, Xiaofan Chen wrote:

> What is your thought on the legacy ports? What is your
> solution when you need them?

I'm pretty much resigned to needing either new (usually USB) tools or  
an old computer to handle things.  On the bright side, the cost of  
microcontrollers is now so low that a USB tool or "smart" serial tool  
(that works fine through a converter) is comparable in cost to the  
legacy port "pure" cables.  (that is: brand name (microchip) PicKit2:  
about $35.  Brand name (Radio Shack) serial cable: $25...)

It's a bit sad that it has become less possible to "bootstrap"  
yourself into microcontrollers based on your PC and parts from a junk  
drawer, but...  With $30 "real" tools (PicKit, Butterfly, Arduino,  
"USB Sticks" from several vendors), it's really not necessary any more.

BillW


2008\11\07@114023 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> It's a bit sad that it has become less possible to "bootstrap"  
> yourself into microcontrollers based on your PC and parts from a junk  
> drawer, but...  With $30 "real" tools (PicKit, Butterfly, Arduino,  
> "USB Sticks" from several vendors), it's really not necessary any more.

except for some higher-end uC that have an USB bootloader (IIRC Atmel
ARMs) But the package is not exactly newbie-frendly..

--

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu

2008\11\07@121856 by William \Chops\ Westfield

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On Nov 7, 2008, at 8:39 AM, Wouter van Ooijen wrote:

>> It's a bit sad that it has become less possible to "bootstrap"
>> yourself into microcontrollers based on your PC and parts from a junk
>> drawer, but...

> except for some higher-end uC that have an USB bootloader (IIRC Atmel
> ARMs) But the package is not exactly newbie-frendly..

or for that matter: Chips sold by third parties with serial (usually)  
bootloaders already built in.  Ardunio bare chips are about $6, PicAxe  
is in this category...

BillW

2008\11\07@133316 by Dr Skip

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Amen. But I doubt it will happen... When investors say "I don't know
about stocks, you pick them" to their brokers, you get churn, and the
brokers make money. When you apply this same ignorance to a technology
wanting populace, you get churn, and the industry makes money. It's not
only institutionalized now, but the populace isn't getting any smarter
or wiser and technology isn't getting any simpler.

And the joke is, the churn is only for small incremental changes!
Washing clothes hasn't changed, but you need a new washer. Typing hasn't
changed, nor has the alphabet, but you need a new word processor. Oh,
and to run that new word processor, you need a new OS. But for the new
OS, you need newer hardware... ad infinitum. And so on for almost any
industry...

Instead of a new replacement gizmo every 2 years, slow down to one every
4 years. Spend the extra 2 years on reliability testing and design.
Fail-safe modes, etc. Charge twice as much. Revenue stays the same,
customer costs for the new gizmo stay the same (twice as long upgrade
cycle), reliability goes up, warranty costs go down, repair costs go
down, people feel less like they're always chasing to keep up. Wins all
the way around. ;)


-Skip



SM Ling wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2008\11\07@151533 by olin piclist

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Dr Skip wrote:
> Instead of a new replacement gizmo every 2 years, slow down to one
> every 4 years. Spend the extra 2 years on reliability testing and
> design.

Then you'll go out of business because the vast majority of customers buy on
price.  The customers are demanding cheap products and don't care if they're
crappy, so that's what the market provides.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2008\11\07@153747 by Dr Skip

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It was a suggestion for the industry, not a specific business... Either way,
that isn't true. We have Harbor Freight (wrenches for example) that sell for $1
each, and Sears Craftsman and Snap-On that sell for $10+ each. Neither is going
out of business. The difference is even greater for tools with more quality
implications than just a forged piece of metal, and for wrenches (with their
10:1 difference in price) the 'quality' difference is mostly cosmetic at that
(not all, but mostly).

If you were right, we'd all be stuck driving Yugos and fixing them with nothing
but Harbor Freight tools, and KitchenAid, Cuisinart, and others would go away
and we'd have the generic no-name-break-in-a-year appliances in the kitchen.


Olin Lathrop wrote:

>
> Then you'll go out of business because the vast majority of customers buy on
> price.  The customers are demanding cheap products and don't care if they're
> crappy, so that's what the market provides.
>
>
> ********************************************************************
> Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
> (978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2008\11\07@164245 by olin piclist

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Dr Skip wrote:
> If you were right, we'd all be stuck driving Yugos and fixing them
> with nothing but Harbor Freight tools, and KitchenAid, Cuisinart, and
> others would go away and we'd have the generic
> no-name-break-in-a-year appliances in the kitchen.

This discussion was about PCs and their peripherals.  Try buying a quality
keyboard some time.  Not enough people appreciate the difference between a
good and a crappy keyboard and wouldn't know how to judge which is which
anyway, so they buy pretty much on price alone.  You can get all the $10
keyboards that will fall apart in 3 years of are annoying to type on you
want.  Even if you were willing to spend $25 for a keyboard you really
liked, you can't because not enough other people would buy it to make it a
profitable venture to produce.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2008\11\07@172000 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> It was a suggestion for the industry, not a specific business...

That's the trouble with language: you can write down a sentence that is
syntactically correct but has no meaning. 'the industry' is an
aggregate, a summing-up. You can not suggest to an aggregate, an
aggregate does not listen, and it certainly does not act. Only the parts
that make up the aggregate can listen and act, and for them Olin's
catch-22 works: they would probably love to create well-engineered,
well-tested products, but in most area's they would be thrown out of
business by quickly engineered, cheaply manufactured, crap products.

--

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu

2008\11\07@173150 by Dr Skip

picon face
PCs and peripherals are no different. A quick look at Frys has keyboards from
$14.95 to $119.95. I'm sure there are specialty ones beyond that. It holds true.

And in this particular case, your favorite keyboard may not work on your new
hardware that you got to run the new OS that you needed to run the upgrade for
the new word processor that you didn't need, yet we see a roughly 10x price
range too... Add to that the fact that the systems come with keyboards, further
driving down demand (as in "I'll just use what came with it"), and there's
still enough demand for better quality.

There's even a case for the green culture. Less churn, higher quality and more
legacy support (an investment in knowledge work and output - ie, developing a
driver) would mean less heavy manufacturing, less landfill, less need for the
energy of recycling and all the shipping that goes on for all of the obsoleted
units left because of that decision.


Olin Lathrop wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2008\11\07@174332 by Tamas Rudnai

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There are two type of buyers: One is going for the cheap, and cheap means
even if the product is 10 cents cheaper will go for that one. The other one
goes for expensive, and no matter if the product is better or not, they
believe that expensive == better, or even quality = price^2; I have never
seen anyone that was taking products apart and was care about the
engineering inside - the plastic case should be nice + the wrapping should
be catchy and that's it.

Tamas



On Fri, Nov 7, 2008 at 10:19 PM, Wouter van Ooijen <RemoveMEwouterKILLspamspamvoti.nl> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> -

2008\11\07@180451 by Bob Blick

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flavicon
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Just a reminder, this is the [EE] channel, this thread has degraded to
buying trends and is pretty much [OT].

So if you must continue, please REPLACE [EE] with [OT] in the subject
line.

Merely adding [OT] will not work!

Thanks,

Bob "your gentle EE admin"

--
http://www.fastmail.fm - IMAP accessible web-mail

2008\11\07@181621 by William \Chops\ Westfield

face picon face
>> Then you'll go out of business because the vast majority of  
>> customers buy on
>> price.  The customers are demanding cheap products and don't care

There's the other side too.  My fridge is having problems and I priced  
a replacement recently.  $8000+ !  As the sales guy said "Oh, you live  
in <expensive area>; you've GOT to buy the sub-zero.." (the old one is  
a sub-zero...)

And of course we've had previous discussions on "audiophile" equipment.


> Washing clothes hasn't changed, but you need a new washer.

Interesting.  I don't think I know anyone who has replaced a washer  
just because a new model has come out.  Those sorts of things seem  
(around here, anyway) to get neglected until they self-destruct (and  
the repair costs would be comparable to a new unit.)  Occasionally  
people switch for perceived ecological or cleaning advantages, but not  
so often...

BillW

2008\11\07@182946 by William \Chops\ Westfield

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On Nov 7, 2008, at 1:42 PM, Olin Lathrop wrote:

> Try buying a quality keyboard some time.  Not enough people  
> appreciate the difference between a good and a crappy keyboard and  
> wouldn't know how to judge which is which anyway, so they buy pretty  
> much on price alone.

So all those people selling wireless keyboards are going broke?  (I  
don't get 'wireless' keyboard/mouse.  If mine weren't tied to the  
computer with wires, it would probably get lost!)

Not to mention "gamer keyboards", "Illuminated keyboards", and several  
other "premium" varieties.  And those buyers seem to be interpreting  
"quality" rather differently than you are...

I think it's a bad example; keyboard "quality" is too subjective, and  
people get more upset about things like moving caps-lock keys than  
anything that actually adds to the price.  And "falling apart in three  
years" doesn't seem to be a big issue for even a $25 keyboard, and The  
State Of Typing is in such disarray that it's real hard to say what  
makes a keyboard "annoying to type on."

(My new mac came with an awful-looking "aluminum" keyboard.  But I  
seem to rather like typing on it.  Weird; I usually end up holding on  
to the old keyboards...)

BillW



2008\11\07@183249 by Dr Skip

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"The industry" _can_ act on my comments, but they _may or may not_ act in
unison. I can suggest and they can choose to listen or not. If I have some
power, real, implied, or as influence, they will act in proportion to the
perceived effect my suggestion would or could have on their future.

As it was suggested on this list, it is obvious it will have no effect. Since
it was more than anything a statement of philosophy, or perhaps a 'wish', I
would assume no one would expect it to have an effect either...

However, there is a chance, remotely, that someone, an engineer perhaps on the
other side of the world, agrees with it, acts on it at some time in the future,
and makes a success of it. None of us will know it when it happens, and maybe
the engineer won't remember the origin either, but maybe others see the success
and it continues. The butterfly's wings over here that results in a hurricane
somewhere else...

And if the 'industry' is the sum of its aggregate parts, and one or more parts
change course, then by definition, the industry will have changed as well.

Even simple components are not commodities, which means they can be
differentiated and priced accordingly. Final engineered products are even more
so, and if given the right features, are not equivalent across broad price
ranges. Another note mentioned customers not caring what's inside. More than
not, it's because that information isn't offered or is hidden. You engineer
something great, go to great lengths in redundant circuitry, use high quality
components, then pot the board, seal it in a plastic welded box, seal it in
packaging, and make no mention of any of it to differentiate it over the
competition. What does one expect??




Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
>
> That's the trouble with language: you can write down a sentence that is
> syntactically correct but has no meaning. 'the industry' is an
> aggregate, a summing-up. You can not suggest to an aggregate, an
> aggregate does not listen, and it certainly does not act. Only the parts
> that make up the aggregate can listen and act, and for them Olin's
> catch-22 works: they would probably love to create well-engineered,
> well-tested products, but in most area's they would be thrown out of
> business by quickly engineered, cheaply manufactured, crap products.
>

2008\11\07@190829 by Xiaofan Chen

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On Sat, Nov 8, 2008 at 12:05 AM, Mark Rages <markragesSTOPspamspamspam_OUTgmail.com> wrote:
> It is not clear to me how bad USB support in Config and GRUB can be
> blamed on the operating system, which isn't loaded yet.

I will tend to blame the chip-sets and the BIOS. However, sometimes it
is more than this. There were cases that setup and grub were fine. But
when I need to log-in, I have problems with the usb keyboard. This is
the case with my desktop and Ubuntu 8.04. It comes with a USB
keyboard and USB mouse. The USB mouse works nicely. But I have
to replace the USB keyboard with a PS/2 keyboard.


Xiaofan

2008\11\08@040346 by John Chung

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--- On Sat, 11/8/08, William "Chops" Westfield <spamBeGonewestfwSTOPspamspamEraseMEmac.com> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

I tend to like my first keyboard from 1995! Yeah was nice then and still very much loved today.

John


     

2008\11\08@074457 by Enki

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On 8 Nov 2008 at 1:03, John Chung wrote:

>
> I tend to like my first keyboard from 1995! Yeah was nice then and
> still very much loved today.
>
> John
>

       Mine is from 1991.
       Several computers passed but the keyboard still is the same.

       Mark Jordan

2008\11\08@224938 by Forrest W Christian

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face
I just looked at the bottom of my Model M that I'm typing on right now...

Manufactured 15 June 1989.   I've also had older ones at various
times...  I think the one on the "day job" computer is even older than
this one.

-forrest

Enki wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2008\11\10@112255 by Martin

face
flavicon
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William "Chops" Westfield wrote:

>
>> Washing clothes hasn't changed, but you need a new washer.
>
> Interesting.  I don't think I know anyone who has replaced a washer  
> just because a new model has come out.  Those sorts of things seem  
> (around here, anyway) to get neglected until they self-destruct (and  
> the repair costs would be comparable to a new unit.)  Occasionally  
> people switch for perceived ecological or cleaning advantages, but not  
> so often...
>
> BillW
>

There actually have been worthy design improvements in clothes
washers/dryers in the last 10 years. Many are water and energy saving
such that it almost makes sense to buy a new one for those reasons alone.

-
Martin

2008\11\13@064720 by Alan B. Pearce

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>My youngest brother can do typing super fast but he is
>a programmer.

One colleague I had in a previous job deliberately did the typing class at
secondary school, as he knew back then that he wanted to be a programmer.
Saw that being the only male in a class of normally only females as a bonus
... ;))

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