Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Cringely Retires/Expands His Career/Moves On

technology

Cringely Retires/Expands His Career/Moves On

“These are the good old days.

And so it is time for me to move forward with my life and my so-called career. As a guy with three sons ages 10, 8, and 6, you see, my devil sperm has provided me the opportunity to work until I die. Or more properly it has determined that I must work until I am at least 76, when my last kid graduates from college. Whichever comes first.
see I, Cringely version 3.01.

That’s the problem with meeting beautiful seductive women after a man’s peaked. He cannot afford to retire… I am retired now at a similar age and my kids are “on their own”. In fact they help us out as much as they can. In a few years their careers will be peaking and the good times will surely reign.

5 Comments

  1. oiaohm

    bw at the moment we are seeing a hobby revival.

    Small batch board mass production with pick and place machine, automated soldering and testing is under 15 thousand USD for the setup.

    –Now everything electronic requires complex integrated circuits and manufacturing and assembly methods impossible to perform by an individual as a hobby project.–
    Sorry this is wrong the cost of doing it as a hobby project is not gone. Lot of cpu today are appearing with reprogrammable FPGA. At the rate of cost of surface mount production dropping in a few years a few thousand dollars will have you a personal production line to assemble your own boards. Lot less failures due to soldering issues as well.

    Custom silicon chips is also coming down in price and min batch sizes.

    Google and Facebook are directly in server farm development.

    http://www.adapteva.com/products/eval-kits/parallella/
    Modern-day replacement Ohio Scientific Superboard.

    dw
    –I read somewhere recently that it will be against the law in the US in a month or so to even jailbreak your phone.–
    As normal only part reading. If you own something like HTC or Nexus devices where maker of device provides you with the tools to jail break it this is still legal in the USA. So there are many Android devices that you can legally jail break and install your own firmware on in the USA.

    Now if you want to jail break something like a iphone due to DCMA process failure to reinstate exception to DCMA your toast. In fact the worst part is that its retrospective. So anyone with a iphone/ipad/…. in the USA that is jail broken at the moment even if was jail broken before the exception expired is currently guilty of an offence under DCMA. Since they are meant to return the device to the non jail broken state when the exception expired.

    USA law is stupid. Funny thing is there is a 6 months stay before any changes can be placed and the exception might be restored in that time.

  2. Robert Pogson

    bw wrote, “Of course you can still play with your Ohio Scientific Superboard antique, but they will be harder and harder to find.”

    That can do simple number-crunching stuff but a more modern Raspier PI and the like put them to shame and cost much less.

  3. bw

    “no one controls the whole picture.”

    No individual person or company, but the overall trend towards appliance-like devices effectively controls what you can do on your own. As the volume of electronics production goes more and more to the tiny modules that make up phones, music players, tablets, and most computers, the companies making parts for sale to hobbyists decline in number and the wares that are available are not going to be cutting edge technology.

    You can maybe program your own app and figure out how to get it to install on your iPhone or iPad, but chances are that there is already a better app for whatever it is you might want to do and anything that you do for yourself is going to look cheesy by comparison. Also, even if you do learn how to do that in spite of the meager satisfaction you will obtain, you will have to use iOS the way Apple made it or Android the way Google made it or Windows Phone or 8 the way Microsoft made it. I read somewhere recently that it will be against the law in the US in a month or so to even jailbreak your phone.

    Of course you can still play with your Ohio Scientific Superboard antique, but they will be harder and harder to find.

  4. Robert Pogson

    bw wrote, “technology has become the province of the manufacturing people who control costs and the artistry of the marketing mavens who shape public attention and trends.”

    Depending on the technology, from 1 to 10% of people will care enough to read about it. In the old days just a few million PCs existed now there are billions. The Wintel PC accounts for about 1.3billion and the rest are mostly thin clients and smart thingies.

    Technology comes in layers. The hardware is dominated by OEMs of course but hobbyists still have demonstration/developer boards with which to play. I used an Ohio Scientific Superboard in the 1980s and still have mine in working order. Even software comes in layers from the kernel/driver hackers to the library/platform developers to the GUIs and applications and networks of people and devices. No one dominates it all and we are much bigger than the old guard at Wintel. For example, China is now exporting a similar amount of software as M$. The world is bigger than China…

    Everyone has their own take on technology and no one controls the whole picture.

  5. bw

    I think that the world has moved on from any concern about nuts and bolts and only looks to some unending procession of macro level functionality as “progress”. Refinements occur continually for framework mechanisms such as computers or tablets or phones, but these refinements are not what is driving the businesses.

    Look at the darlings of industry today: Google, Facebook, Twitter, et al. Not a care in the world for the hardware behind them, just what the latest wrinkle might be in terms of running ad-soaked apps to get information and staying in touch with others socially. Even Apple’s hardware Renaissance is driven more by styling than by performance.

    Once upon a time a high-school kid could go to Radio Shack and buy some parts and solder them into some device that was as useful as some manufactured device, for example a ham radio transmitter. Now everything electronic requires complex integrated circuits and manufacturing and assembly methods impossible to perform by an individual as a hobby project.

    What this means for Cringely is that there is likely to be less and less interest in his topics as hardware and software and the companies that produce them sink so far out of the public’s sight. Discussions about these things are becoming as interesting as discussions about sub-atomic particles and the composition of matter. A few are interested, but you can’t make much money from lecturing about them.

    For the time being, technology has become the province of the manufacturing people who control costs and the artistry of the marketing mavens who shape public attention and trends.

Leave a comment