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PICList Thread
'GPS (sour grapes)'
1997\01\23@105445 by Jan van der Watt

flavicon
face
If you're not into reading dark sinister comments about Rockwell, hit ERASE now.

Sorry, about this.

I am trying to use a Rockwell PCMCIA GPS. About 6 weeks after I placed the
order with Rockwell UK, I got a little box with the card in. Period. After
throwing toys, the local agent (illegally) copied the SW Dev. Manual for me,
as well as some (primitive) GPS SW. It is now two months later. I have been
on the phone to the UK and to the agents. I have shouted, screamed, etc.
Only now have they come out and said that

I SHOULD have bought the dev. kit.

What I got is the cheap alternative - just the part. No support.

Just now I spoke to the agent again. He reckons all should be fine now that
they at least sent me the .INF file so that '95 can RECOGNISE the card. (It
doesn't) I detailed the problem in an email. He says "Sorry, I don't read
email that often". Can you believe it. Someone reads his email every 5 or 6
DAYS !

Rockwell UK have been equally unsupportive. Would it have been so much
effort to just look in their records, see that I don;t have a SW dev. kit,
and query this with me ? (Please note - the brochure does NOT make it clear
that there is actually an OEM and a SWDEV version)

So, I you are going to use a GPS, don't bother with Rockwell. If you are
going to take my advice, at least phone up your local Rockwell guy and tell
him why you are weary of buying any of their products. They really do need
to know that we (small-time) developers are also real clients and that we DO
deserve at least SOME support.

Again, sorry about this sour one.
Jan van der Watt
[Consultants never charge too much - they work too litlle !]

1997\01\23@135656 by peter

flavicon
face
re. Rockwell's shortcoming

Jan I don't understand why you apologize for this message

It is important to know that the Companys we buy from
make availible enough information for us to use the
product, that it does its job and that it is what we
were led to believe it was
If they don't, then others should be warned

How else will we know what programers to buy,
what developement systems to use
and that F is the sixth letter in the alphabet
(as in PIC16F**)

In my opinion this sort of feedback should be encouraged
--
Peter Cousens
email: spam_OUTpeterTakeThisOuTspamcousens.her.forthnet.gr
snailmail: Peter Cousens, karteros, Heraklion, Crete, 75100, Greece,
phone: + 3081 380534,    +3081 324450   voice/fax

After Bill Gates announced to the world that he was Microsoft,
his wife was asked to comment. She said that as his wife, she
had been the first to notice this problem

1997\01\24@095941 by Robert Lunn

flavicon
face
>It is important to know that the Companys we buy from
>make availible enough information for us to use the
>product, that it does its job and that it is what we
>were led to believe it was
>If they don't, then others should be warned
>
>In my opinion this sort of feedback should be encouraged

       Maybe yes, maybe no...

       Jan got the product for which he paid.  A GPS
       card without further support.

       If he wanted a GPS card _with_ support, then that
       product was also available for purchase.

       The only way to justify buying the 'no support'
       product and then _demanding_ support anyway, is if
       Jan was given insufficient information with which
       to make his purchase decision.

       However, Jan has told us that he purchased the GPS
       card from the UK manufacturer, rather than the local
       South African agent for the manufacturer.

       That is, Jan has _chosen_ to circumvent the means
       put in place by the manufacturer by which they can
       pass information about their products to Jan.

       In this case, it may be that the lack of information
       given to Jan was _not_ the fault of the manufacturer.
       If so, the manufacturer should not be blamed for the
       consequences.

___Bob

1997\01\24@095941 by Robert Lunn

flavicon
face
>It is important to know that the Companys we buy from
>make availible enough information for us to use the
>product, that it does its job and that it is what we
>were led to believe it was
>If they don't, then others should be warned
>
>In my opinion this sort of feedback should be encouraged

       Maybe yes, maybe no...

       Jan got the product for which he paid.  A GPS
       card without further support.

       If he wanted a GPS card _with_ support, then that
       product was also available for purchase.

       The only way to justify buying the 'no support'
       product and then _demanding_ support anyway, is if
       Jan was given insufficient information with which
       to make his purchase decision.

       However, Jan has told us that he purchased the GPS
       card from the UK manufacturer, rather than the local
       South African agent for the manufacturer.

       That is, Jan has _chosen_ to circumvent the means
       put in place by the manufacturer by which they can
       pass information about their products to Jan.

       In this case, it may be that the lack of information
       given to Jan was _not_ the fault of the manufacturer.
       If so, the manufacturer should not be blamed for the
       consequences.

___Bob

1997\01\24@102051 by Wireless Scientific

flavicon
face
At 1:49 PM +1100 1/24/97, Robert Lunn wrote:
>        In this case, it may be that the lack of information
>        given to Jan was _not_ the fault of the manufacturer.
>        If so, the manufacturer should not be blamed for the
>        consequences.
>
>___Bob


Bob,

You sound like a manufacturer yourself. My company is continually fielding
technical support questions from developers and end users alike. Sure it
would nice to help everybody but we are business to sell product. We really
help our customers, or potential customers, who convince us that they will
buy serious volumes.

So a word of advice to PIC developers. Buying a single product and expecting
serious support is unrealistic. If you want support you have to convince
the supplier of your market. Your "neat" idea that could help to world is
something they hear everyday and for the most, it doesn't mean anything.

So sorry that the truth hurts.

craig







________________________________________________________
Dr. Craig Hollabaugh
Wireless Scientific, Inc.
1890 South 14th Street
Building 100, Suite 105
Amelia Island, FL 32034
904 261 6977
904 261 2129 fax
.....wsciKILLspamspam@spam@net-magic.net

Or you might know me as
Dr. Craig Hollabaugh
Analog Microelectronics, Georgia Institute of Technology
hollaspamKILLspammonique.adgrp.gatech.edu

or

Dr. Craig Hollabaugh
Aerospace Department, University of Texas, Austin
.....hollaKILLspamspam.....cfdlab.ae.utexas.edu

1997\01\24@102051 by Wireless Scientific

flavicon
face
At 1:49 PM +1100 1/24/97, Robert Lunn wrote:
>        In this case, it may be that the lack of information
>        given to Jan was _not_ the fault of the manufacturer.
>        If so, the manufacturer should not be blamed for the
>        consequences.
>
>___Bob


Bob,

You sound like a manufacturer yourself. My company is continually fielding
technical support questions from developers and end users alike. Sure it
would nice to help everybody but we are business to sell product. We really
help our customers, or potential customers, who convince us that they will
buy serious volumes.

So a word of advice to PIC developers. Buying a single product and expecting
serious support is unrealistic. If you want support you have to convince
the supplier of your market. Your "neat" idea that could help to world is
something they hear everyday and for the most, it doesn't mean anything.

So sorry that the truth hurts.

craig







________________________________________________________
Dr. Craig Hollabaugh
Wireless Scientific, Inc.
1890 South 14th Street
Building 100, Suite 105
Amelia Island, FL 32034
904 261 6977
904 261 2129 fax
EraseMEwscispam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTnet-magic.net

Or you might know me as
Dr. Craig Hollabaugh
Analog Microelectronics, Georgia Institute of Technology
hollaspamspam_OUTmonique.adgrp.gatech.edu

or

Dr. Craig Hollabaugh
Aerospace Department, University of Texas, Austin
@spam@hollaKILLspamspamcfdlab.ae.utexas.edu

1997\01\24@112123 by Jan van der Watt

flavicon
face
(wsci#net-magic.net@200.1.1.1 is an invalid email address)
(just like robert@huey)

I'm making this go private now since we are actually in a PIC group.

I agree with Craig in part. However:
I have been led to understand that I will get adequate documentation. The
book that the LOCAL agent copied for me isn't even for the right PROTOCOL !

And, sometimes it IS necessary to get that first prototype working BEFORE
you can make promises of future orders.

I suppose the only reason why Microchip is so nice with me is becasue I have
in fact guaranteed them a HUMONGOUS order in August.

Yep, the truth is stabbing me in a very delicate place. And it hurts.

Thanx for your comments. It is great when people at least react.

Enjoy your day.

At 10:21 AM 1/24/97 -0500, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

Jan van der Watt
[Consultants never charge too much - they work too litlle !]

1997\01\24@112123 by Jan van der Watt

flavicon
face
(wsci#net-magic.net@200.1.1.1 is an invalid email address)
(just like robert@huey)

I'm making this go private now since we are actually in a PIC group.

I agree with Craig in part. However:
I have been led to understand that I will get adequate documentation. The
book that the LOCAL agent copied for me isn't even for the right PROTOCOL !

And, sometimes it IS necessary to get that first prototype working BEFORE
you can make promises of future orders.

I suppose the only reason why Microchip is so nice with me is becasue I have
in fact guaranteed them a HUMONGOUS order in August.

Yep, the truth is stabbing me in a very delicate place. And it hurts.

Thanx for your comments. It is great when people at least react.

Enjoy your day.

At 10:21 AM 1/24/97 -0500, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

Jan van der Watt
[Consultants never charge too much - they work too litlle !]

1997\01\24@113752 by Jeff King

flavicon
face
At 10:21 AM 1/24/97 -0500, Wireless Scientific wrote:

>Bob,
>
>You sound like a manufacturer yourself. My company is continually fielding
>technical support questions from developers and end users alike. Sure it
>would nice to help everybody but we are business to sell product. We really
>help our customers, or potential customers, who convince us that they will
>buy serious volumes.
>
>So a word of advice to PIC developers. Buying a single product and expecting
>serious support is unrealistic. If you want support you have to convince
>the supplier of your market. Your "neat" idea that could help to world is
>something they hear everyday and for the most, it doesn't mean anything.
>
>So sorry that the truth hurts.
>
>craig
>

Craig:

Thats a attitude that is quite common. Its also a reason for me not
to deal with a company. Case in point... I had to spec a low end
microcontroller for a project. Looked at a number of companies
(Motorola being one). Motorola had almost exactly the attitude
you mentioned... I just wanted a few samples to evaluate them..
The only company that provided the support I wanted for my evaluation
was MicroChip. They got my business and so far I have bought over
$10,000 in product from them in 1996. Small potatoes, maybe... but
as my company grows I won't forget the snub I got from Motorola. Remember,
many companies (like HP..Apple) start in garages... I think its short
sighted to snub these people. Analog Devices is another one that is
ignoring smaller companies... at least in the multi-media market.
Suppliers, we won't forget this as are companies grow.

I'm sure Jan's case is a different issue, but you hit upon a hot
spot of mine.


Regards,

------------------------------------
| Jeff King      Aero Data Systems |
| EraseMEjeffspammich.com  P.O. Box 9325     |
| (810)471-1787  Livonia, MI 48151 |
|F(810)471-0279  United States     |
------------------------------------

1997\01\24@113752 by Jeff King

flavicon
face
At 10:21 AM 1/24/97 -0500, Wireless Scientific wrote:

>Bob,
>
>You sound like a manufacturer yourself. My company is continually fielding
>technical support questions from developers and end users alike. Sure it
>would nice to help everybody but we are business to sell product. We really
>help our customers, or potential customers, who convince us that they will
>buy serious volumes.
>
>So a word of advice to PIC developers. Buying a single product and expecting
>serious support is unrealistic. If you want support you have to convince
>the supplier of your market. Your "neat" idea that could help to world is
>something they hear everyday and for the most, it doesn't mean anything.
>
>So sorry that the truth hurts.
>
>craig
>

Craig:

Thats a attitude that is quite common. Its also a reason for me not
to deal with a company. Case in point... I had to spec a low end
microcontroller for a project. Looked at a number of companies
(Motorola being one). Motorola had almost exactly the attitude
you mentioned... I just wanted a few samples to evaluate them..
The only company that provided the support I wanted for my evaluation
was MicroChip. They got my business and so far I have bought over
$10,000 in product from them in 1996. Small potatoes, maybe... but
as my company grows I won't forget the snub I got from Motorola. Remember,
many companies (like HP..Apple) start in garages... I think its short
sighted to snub these people. Analog Devices is another one that is
ignoring smaller companies... at least in the multi-media market.
Suppliers, we won't forget this as are companies grow.

I'm sure Jan's case is a different issue, but you hit upon a hot
spot of mine.


Regards,

------------------------------------
| Jeff King      Aero Data Systems |
| RemoveMEjeffEraseMEspamEraseMEmich.com  P.O. Box 9325     |
| (810)471-1787  Livonia, MI 48151 |
|F(810)471-0279  United States     |
------------------------------------

1997\01\24@114616 by Luis Fernandez

flavicon
face
Problems with Rockwell's GPS support ?........ me too :(

>It is important to know that the Companys we buy from
>make availible enough information for us to use the
>product, that it does its job and that it is what we
>were led to believe it was
>If they don't, then others should be warned

Didn't want to spam the list with such off-topic matter but your message
triggered me, Peter.

>How else will we know what programers to buy,
>what developement systems to use
>and that F is the sixth letter in the alphabet
>(as in PIC16F**)
>
>In my opinion this sort of feedback should be encouraged

Agree.

My complaints are not for the Rockwell GPS itself, but for the lack of GOOD
support. If you have a technical question you will never be able to talk
with the people who developed the hardware and firmware and your request
will be routed to a bunch of so called "sales-eng.". This guys have just
read the manual (as best) and NEVER worked with the product in the field. Is
a waste of time to try to get valuable info from them. Better to read the
manuals again or make your own tests.

But sometimes it is HARD to make your own test. That happened to us:

We purchased a Microtracker-LP (Low Power 5 Channel GPS board) from our
local Rockwell distributor. This was intended to be the main navigation
instrument for a balloon payload carrying radioamateur radios. We had some
warnings from other ballooners in the US talking about the COCOM export
rules and their application to commercial GPS receivers. This rules are
applied in all the firmware of commercial GPS boards exported. In order to
prevent other countries using this GPS boards for missile navigation there
are two limitations implemented:

                       Maximum speed < 2 Mach
                       Maximum height < 60.000 feet

The real pain is that this two limitations are taken as an "OR" value in
most of the cases. This makes the GPS unusable for our balloon as it takes
higer than 60.000 feet BUT never gets that 2Mach fast. Motorola has a
firmware version for their OnCore GPS which takes this two variables as an
"AND". This firmware was developed for balloon applications.

The Rockwell's Microtracker GPS data sheet states as 40.000 feet the maximum
height. So the questions were:

What happens when it gets higer than that, but at very low speed ?
Does it turns to 2D navigation and stop providing 3D fixes or just gets blocked?
Will it work again when going down under 40.000 feet ?
Need to reset it or may be something is written in the EEPROM and the unit
becomes unusable for undetermined (for ever?) time period ?

All this questions were addressed trought the corresponding channel
(distributor-European distributor-Rockwell headqueaters) but apparently got
lost during such a long trip. Then I used e-mail to spam directly at
Rockwell's web page and got some feedback from their European distributor
site in Italy. Months later I got a "response" from a "technician". There
was no response to my concrete questions in that mail, just a bunch of
pseudo technical arguments explaining that the unit will not work over
40.000 feet.

In the meantime we had to launch our balloon and LEARNED that GPS does not
respond to any command when it gets 40.000. It is no possible to reset the
unit when the payload gets down. May be we would have needed a
power-on-then-off reset.

That test cost us the payload lost and I'm still waiting for a proper answer
to my questions from Rockwell.


Excuse the bandwith, but I wanted to tell the whole story.

Feel better now ;-)



Luis Fernandez Cormenzana
RadioBit Sistemas, S.L.
       Vehicle fleet control systems
       Patrol presence controllers

Fax/Tel:+34-6-585 64 57
e-mail: RemoveMEradiobitspam_OUTspamKILLspamdragonet.es
http://www.dragonet.es/users/radiobit

1997\01\24@114616 by Luis Fernandez

flavicon
face
Problems with Rockwell's GPS support ?........ me too :(

>It is important to know that the Companys we buy from
>make availible enough information for us to use the
>product, that it does its job and that it is what we
>were led to believe it was
>If they don't, then others should be warned

Didn't want to spam the list with such off-topic matter but your message
triggered me, Peter.

>How else will we know what programers to buy,
>what developement systems to use
>and that F is the sixth letter in the alphabet
>(as in PIC16F**)
>
>In my opinion this sort of feedback should be encouraged

Agree.

My complaints are not for the Rockwell GPS itself, but for the lack of GOOD
support. If you have a technical question you will never be able to talk
with the people who developed the hardware and firmware and your request
will be routed to a bunch of so called "sales-eng.". This guys have just
read the manual (as best) and NEVER worked with the product in the field. Is
a waste of time to try to get valuable info from them. Better to read the
manuals again or make your own tests.

But sometimes it is HARD to make your own test. That happened to us:

We purchased a Microtracker-LP (Low Power 5 Channel GPS board) from our
local Rockwell distributor. This was intended to be the main navigation
instrument for a balloon payload carrying radioamateur radios. We had some
warnings from other ballooners in the US talking about the COCOM export
rules and their application to commercial GPS receivers. This rules are
applied in all the firmware of commercial GPS boards exported. In order to
prevent other countries using this GPS boards for missile navigation there
are two limitations implemented:

                       Maximum speed < 2 Mach
                       Maximum height < 60.000 feet

The real pain is that this two limitations are taken as an "OR" value in
most of the cases. This makes the GPS unusable for our balloon as it takes
higer than 60.000 feet BUT never gets that 2Mach fast. Motorola has a
firmware version for their OnCore GPS which takes this two variables as an
"AND". This firmware was developed for balloon applications.

The Rockwell's Microtracker GPS data sheet states as 40.000 feet the maximum
height. So the questions were:

What happens when it gets higer than that, but at very low speed ?
Does it turns to 2D navigation and stop providing 3D fixes or just gets blocked?
Will it work again when going down under 40.000 feet ?
Need to reset it or may be something is written in the EEPROM and the unit
becomes unusable for undetermined (for ever?) time period ?

All this questions were addressed trought the corresponding channel
(distributor-European distributor-Rockwell headqueaters) but apparently got
lost during such a long trip. Then I used e-mail to spam directly at
Rockwell's web page and got some feedback from their European distributor
site in Italy. Months later I got a "response" from a "technician". There
was no response to my concrete questions in that mail, just a bunch of
pseudo technical arguments explaining that the unit will not work over
40.000 feet.

In the meantime we had to launch our balloon and LEARNED that GPS does not
respond to any command when it gets 40.000. It is no possible to reset the
unit when the payload gets down. May be we would have needed a
power-on-then-off reset.

That test cost us the payload lost and I'm still waiting for a proper answer
to my questions from Rockwell.


Excuse the bandwith, but I wanted to tell the whole story.

Feel better now ;-)



Luis Fernandez Cormenzana
RadioBit Sistemas, S.L.
       Vehicle fleet control systems
       Patrol presence controllers

Fax/Tel:+34-6-585 64 57
e-mail: RemoveMEradiobitTakeThisOuTspamspamdragonet.es
http://www.dragonet.es/users/radiobit

1997\01\24@130104 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
IMHO, there is little excuse for a manufacturer not to provide sufficient
documentation to use their product to ANYONE.  Full support would be a
different matter.

This is, after all, why a lot of use are using PIC's, right?  Microchip
targetted the unusually small developer as customer, while other vendors
were saying "sure we have a 28 pin microcontroller.  In masked ROM versions.
If you need at least 50K.  And no you can't see the programming algorithm
for our OTP processors - just buy a $$real-device-programmer$$..."

Judging by the number of vendors who have since issued pic-like processors,
microchip must not be regretting that decision TOO much...

BillW

1997\01\24@130104 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
IMHO, there is little excuse for a manufacturer not to provide sufficient
documentation to use their product to ANYONE.  Full support would be a
different matter.

This is, after all, why a lot of use are using PIC's, right?  Microchip
targetted the unusually small developer as customer, while other vendors
were saying "sure we have a 28 pin microcontroller.  In masked ROM versions.
If you need at least 50K.  And no you can't see the programming algorithm
for our OTP processors - just buy a $$real-device-programmer$$..."

Judging by the number of vendors who have since issued pic-like processors,
microchip must not be regretting that decision TOO much...

BillW

1997\01\24@131934 by peter

flavicon
face
Jeff King wrote:

> Thats a attitude that is quite common. Its also a reason for me not
> to deal with a company. Case in point... I had to spec a low end
> microcontroller for a project. Looked at a number of companies
> (Motorola being one). Motorola had almost exactly the attitude
> you mentioned... I just wanted a few samples to evaluate them..
> The only company that provided the support I wanted for my evaluation
> was MicroChip. They got my business and so far I have bought over
> $10,000 in product from them in 1996. Small potatoes, maybe... but
> as my company grows I won't forget the snub I got from Motorola. Remember,
> many companies (like HP..Apple) start in garages... I think its short
> sighted to snub these people. Analog Devices is another one that is
> ignoring smaller companies... at least in the multi-media market.
> Suppliers, we won't forget this as are companies grow.
>
> I'm sure Jan's case is a different issue, but you hit upon a hot
> spot of mine.
>
> Regards,

Great response
Would like to add that as in Jan's case it often happens
that the company says "sorry send it back and we will refund you"
perhaps somebody (Bob or Craig maybe) will jump in and work out
the real cost incured
ie: waiting for delivery(6 weeks)
and the time after delivery
desperatly trying obtain info/work it out yourself (4 weeks )  

Compare this cost to the profit that the company
stood to make on this one sale(maybe 70 dollars in this
case,in most case's less than a dollar )
!#*&^%$£!**$$()!
An apology just does'nt come close, blood seems more
apropriate, lots of it
Peter
--
Peter Cousens                                                      
email: EraseMEpeterspamspamspamBeGonecousens.her.forthnet.gr                              
snailmail: Peter Cousens, karteros, Heraklion, Crete, 75100, Greece,
phone: + 3081 380534,    +3081 324450   voice/fax

After Bill Gates announced to the world that he was Microsoft,
his wife was asked to comment. She said that as his wife, she
had been the first to notice this problem

1997\01\24@131934 by peter

flavicon
face
Jeff King wrote:

> Thats a attitude that is quite common. Its also a reason for me not
> to deal with a company. Case in point... I had to spec a low end
> microcontroller for a project. Looked at a number of companies
> (Motorola being one). Motorola had almost exactly the attitude
> you mentioned... I just wanted a few samples to evaluate them..
> The only company that provided the support I wanted for my evaluation
> was MicroChip. They got my business and so far I have bought over
> $10,000 in product from them in 1996. Small potatoes, maybe... but
> as my company grows I won't forget the snub I got from Motorola. Remember,
> many companies (like HP..Apple) start in garages... I think its short
> sighted to snub these people. Analog Devices is another one that is
> ignoring smaller companies... at least in the multi-media market.
> Suppliers, we won't forget this as are companies grow.
>
> I'm sure Jan's case is a different issue, but you hit upon a hot
> spot of mine.
>
> Regards,

Great response
Would like to add that as in Jan's case it often happens
that the company says "sorry send it back and we will refund you"
perhaps somebody (Bob or Craig maybe) will jump in and work out
the real cost incured
ie: waiting for delivery(6 weeks)
and the time after delivery
desperatly trying obtain info/work it out yourself (4 weeks )  

Compare this cost to the profit that the company
stood to make on this one sale(maybe 70 dollars in this
case,in most case's less than a dollar )
!#*&^%$£!**$$()!
An apology just does'nt come close, blood seems more
apropriate, lots of it
Peter
--
Peter Cousens                                                      
email: RemoveMEpeterKILLspamspamcousens.her.forthnet.gr                              
snailmail: Peter Cousens, karteros, Heraklion, Crete, 75100, Greece,
phone: + 3081 380534,    +3081 324450   voice/fax

After Bill Gates announced to the world that he was Microsoft,
his wife was asked to comment. She said that as his wife, she
had been the first to notice this problem

1997\01\24@144855 by Wireless Scientific

flavicon
face
At 6:20 PM +0200 1/24/97, Jan van der Watt wrote:
>(wsci#net-magic.net@200.1.1.1 is an invalid email address)
>(just like robert@huey)
>
>I'm making this go private now since we are actually in a PIC group.
>
>I agree with Craig in part. However:
>I have been led to understand that I will get adequate documentation. The
>book that the LOCAL agent copied for me isn't even for the right PROTOCOL !
>
>And, sometimes it IS necessary to get that first prototype working BEFORE
>you can make promises of future orders.


That's the tricky part.

Dealing with suppliers and convincing them that you have a clue and you are
going to buy something in volume is learned skill. Getting support, above
the handouts, comes after you've developed a business relationship. A
single phone call looking for answers will probably not get you anywhere.

When you get to the point where the suppliers are taking you to lunch,
you've done well convincing, developing the business relationship and will
probably get the internal support you require.

craig
ps. I've eaten a bunch o' free lunch in my days.

1997\01\24@144855 by Wireless Scientific

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face
At 6:20 PM +0200 1/24/97, Jan van der Watt wrote:
>(wsci#net-magic.net@200.1.1.1 is an invalid email address)
>(just like robert@huey)
>
>I'm making this go private now since we are actually in a PIC group.
>
>I agree with Craig in part. However:
>I have been led to understand that I will get adequate documentation. The
>book that the LOCAL agent copied for me isn't even for the right PROTOCOL !
>
>And, sometimes it IS necessary to get that first prototype working BEFORE
>you can make promises of future orders.


That's the tricky part.

Dealing with suppliers and convincing them that you have a clue and you are
going to buy something in volume is learned skill. Getting support, above
the handouts, comes after you've developed a business relationship. A
single phone call looking for answers will probably not get you anywhere.

When you get to the point where the suppliers are taking you to lunch,
you've done well convincing, developing the business relationship and will
probably get the internal support you require.

craig
ps. I've eaten a bunch o' free lunch in my days.

1997\01\24@144900 by Wireless Scientific

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face
At 11:36 AM -0500 1/24/97, Jeff King wrote:
>Craig:
>
>Thats a attitude that is quite common. Its also a reason for me not
>to deal with a company. Case in point... I had to spec a low end
>microcontroller for a project. Looked at a number of companies
>(Motorola being one). Motorola had almost exactly the attitude
>you mentioned... I just wanted a few samples to evaluate them..

It's purely a matter of economics.

Did you call Motorola directly, a rep or someone in distribution, like
Arrow, Pioneer, etc? Going direct, in my experience, will most certainly be
a dissappointment. However finding a hungry salesperson in distribution is
a great avenue to get things done. They have the ability to sample, tech
docs and most of the big distribution companies have internal "specialists
(FAE)" for parts, i.e. a comm person, a micro person, a power person, etc.
These people know their stuff and you can actually call them, go figure! If
they don't answers to your questions, they know exactly who to call.


>The only company that provided the support I wanted for my evaluation
>was MicroChip. They got my business and so far I have bought over
>$10,000 in product from them in 1996. Small potatoes, maybe... but
>as my company grows I won't forget the snub I got from Motorola.

I too chose Microchip because of a robust and knowledgable Microchip FE at
Embedded Systems show. There were other reasons surely, but he/MC knew how
to sell me on their companies strengths. Motorola wasn't impressive, they
didn't listen my needs as a developer. Motorola has supply problems anyway,
but man can they can a cellular phone.

craig

1997\01\24@144900 by Wireless Scientific

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At 11:36 AM -0500 1/24/97, Jeff King wrote:
>Craig:
>
>Thats a attitude that is quite common. Its also a reason for me not
>to deal with a company. Case in point... I had to spec a low end
>microcontroller for a project. Looked at a number of companies
>(Motorola being one). Motorola had almost exactly the attitude
>you mentioned... I just wanted a few samples to evaluate them..

It's purely a matter of economics.

Did you call Motorola directly, a rep or someone in distribution, like
Arrow, Pioneer, etc? Going direct, in my experience, will most certainly be
a dissappointment. However finding a hungry salesperson in distribution is
a great avenue to get things done. They have the ability to sample, tech
docs and most of the big distribution companies have internal "specialists
(FAE)" for parts, i.e. a comm person, a micro person, a power person, etc.
These people know their stuff and you can actually call them, go figure! If
they don't answers to your questions, they know exactly who to call.


>The only company that provided the support I wanted for my evaluation
>was MicroChip. They got my business and so far I have bought over
>$10,000 in product from them in 1996. Small potatoes, maybe... but
>as my company grows I won't forget the snub I got from Motorola.

I too chose Microchip because of a robust and knowledgable Microchip FE at
Embedded Systems show. There were other reasons surely, but he/MC knew how
to sell me on their companies strengths. Motorola wasn't impressive, they
didn't listen my needs as a developer. Motorola has supply problems anyway,
but man can they can a cellular phone.

craig

1997\01\24@144906 by Wireless Scientific

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At 5:42 PM +0100 1/24/97, Luis Fernandez wrote:
>My complaints are not for the Rockwell GPS itself, but for the lack of GOOD
>support. If you have a technical question you will never be able to talk
>with the people who developed the hardware and firmware and your request
>will be routed to a bunch of so called "sales-eng.".

If the design engineer answered technical questions all day, he is not
being best utilitized. He/she's a designer, someone else can learn about
integration issues and shield the technical questions.

Imagine you're a chip designer, let's say. And your job was to design new
chips AND answer technical calls. Your chip is cool and everyone wants one,
so you sample a 1000 different companies. This chip sampling results in 50
calls a day, ranging from "What's a supply voltage?" type of question to
questions that will reveal proprietary information. Meanwhile you got
deadlines for other chip designs, your primary job function. Which do you
chose? It's hard choice to make.


>will be routed to a bunch of so called "sales-eng.". This guys have just
>read the manual (as best) and NEVER worked with the product in the field. Is
>a waste of time to try to get valuable info from them. Better to read the
>manuals again or make your own tests.

If the "sales-eng" doesn't help, go over their head. Talk to their management.



Interesting balloon story deleted.
>Excuse the bandwith, but I wanted to tell the whole story.

That sucks, but if you convinced Rockwell that you needed 10,000 GPS units,
somebody would have got the answers for you. Or if you were willing to pay
100,000 dollars for one GPS unit, I'm sure they would have helped then
also. That's what stinks.

craig

1997\01\24@144906 by Wireless Scientific

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At 5:42 PM +0100 1/24/97, Luis Fernandez wrote:
>My complaints are not for the Rockwell GPS itself, but for the lack of GOOD
>support. If you have a technical question you will never be able to talk
>with the people who developed the hardware and firmware and your request
>will be routed to a bunch of so called "sales-eng.".

If the design engineer answered technical questions all day, he is not
being best utilitized. He/she's a designer, someone else can learn about
integration issues and shield the technical questions.

Imagine you're a chip designer, let's say. And your job was to design new
chips AND answer technical calls. Your chip is cool and everyone wants one,
so you sample a 1000 different companies. This chip sampling results in 50
calls a day, ranging from "What's a supply voltage?" type of question to
questions that will reveal proprietary information. Meanwhile you got
deadlines for other chip designs, your primary job function. Which do you
chose? It's hard choice to make.


>will be routed to a bunch of so called "sales-eng.". This guys have just
>read the manual (as best) and NEVER worked with the product in the field. Is
>a waste of time to try to get valuable info from them. Better to read the
>manuals again or make your own tests.

If the "sales-eng" doesn't help, go over their head. Talk to their management.



Interesting balloon story deleted.
>Excuse the bandwith, but I wanted to tell the whole story.

That sucks, but if you convinced Rockwell that you needed 10,000 GPS units,
somebody would have got the answers for you. Or if you were willing to pay
100,000 dollars for one GPS unit, I'm sure they would have helped then
also. That's what stinks.

craig

1997\01\24@144910 by Wireless Scientific

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At 8:21 PM -0800 1/23/97, peter cousens wrote:
>Great response
>Would like to add that as in Jan's case it often happens
>that the company says "sorry send it back and we will refund you"
>perhaps somebody (Bob or Craig maybe) will jump in and work out
>the real cost incured
>ie: waiting for delivery(6 weeks)
>and the time after delivery
>desperatly trying obtain info/work it out yourself (4 weeks )

Peter,

There are risks in everything. "the real cost incurred" is your risk in
dealing with another company. What you want is a large company to help you
make your risk a little smaller. Well the larger the company, the less
likely they will help to minimize your risk.

>
>Compare this cost to the profit that the company
>stood to make on this one sale(maybe 70 dollars in this
>case,in most case's less than a dollar )

Great, you made my point. Why allocate resources for a single dollar? If
you convinced a company to help you, your really convincing them to take a
risk on your company's ability to design, manufacture, and sell your
products. That's a great risk for any company, large or small.

>!#*&^%$£!**$$()!
>An apology just does'nt come close, blood seems more
>apropriate, lots of it
>Peter

ok.

craig

1997\01\24@144910 by Wireless Scientific

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At 8:21 PM -0800 1/23/97, peter cousens wrote:
>Great response
>Would like to add that as in Jan's case it often happens
>that the company says "sorry send it back and we will refund you"
>perhaps somebody (Bob or Craig maybe) will jump in and work out
>the real cost incured
>ie: waiting for delivery(6 weeks)
>and the time after delivery
>desperatly trying obtain info/work it out yourself (4 weeks )

Peter,

There are risks in everything. "the real cost incurred" is your risk in
dealing with another company. What you want is a large company to help you
make your risk a little smaller. Well the larger the company, the less
likely they will help to minimize your risk.

>
>Compare this cost to the profit that the company
>stood to make on this one sale(maybe 70 dollars in this
>case,in most case's less than a dollar )

Great, you made my point. Why allocate resources for a single dollar? If
you convinced a company to help you, your really convincing them to take a
risk on your company's ability to design, manufacture, and sell your
products. That's a great risk for any company, large or small.

>!#*&^%$£!**$$()!
>An apology just does'nt come close, blood seems more
>apropriate, lots of it
>Peter

ok.

craig

1997\01\24@155028 by peter

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face
Craig, It is the honesty and/or accuracy of the
pre-purchase product information in this case
thats in question
(Can you say that you have never been in this situation)
Not the the viability of suporting the customer
who asks what value resistor is brown,yellow,black,green,brown ?

--
Peter Cousens
email: peterSTOPspamspamspam_OUTcousens.her.forthnet.gr
snailmail: Peter Cousens, karteros, Heraklion, Crete, 75100, Greece,
phone: + 3081 380534,    +3081 324450   voice/fax

After Bill Gates announced to the world that he was Microsoft,
his wife was asked to comment. She said that as his wife, she
had been the first to notice this problem

1997\01\24@155028 by peter

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face
Craig, It is the honesty and/or accuracy of the
pre-purchase product information in this case
thats in question
(Can you say that you have never been in this situation)
Not the the viability of suporting the customer
who asks what value resistor is brown,yellow,black,green,brown ?

--
Peter Cousens
email: spamBeGonepeterSTOPspamspamEraseMEcousens.her.forthnet.gr
snailmail: Peter Cousens, karteros, Heraklion, Crete, 75100, Greece,
phone: + 3081 380534,    +3081 324450   voice/fax

After Bill Gates announced to the world that he was Microsoft,
his wife was asked to comment. She said that as his wife, she
had been the first to notice this problem

1997\01\24@160044 by John Halleck

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face
On Fri, 24 Jan 1997, Jan van der Watt wrote:

> [...]
> (Buzzzzer !)  WWRROONNGG !
>
> I checked with the LOCAL agent that the product that I am about to purchase
> comes with the relevant DOCUMENTATION. I then placed the order with the
> LOCAL agent (around 10 Sep 96). Exact wording "Navcard PCMCIA II GPS", which
> has, according to the Rockwell brochure, the following

 Sounds like you have a beef with your LOCAL agent.

 I fail to see how this is PIC related any more.

> [...]
> The LOCAL agent then placed the order with Rockwell UK, who then shipped to
> us directly WITHOUT going through the LOCAL agent.

 Companies ship based on the information provided by the LOCAL agent.

> I appreciate BOB's objectivity, and I can certainly understand that if I had
> asked for the OEM product, then I would be where I am now. Still, someone at
> Rockwell could have queried the fact that I am getting shipped a single OEM
> GPS, without buying the Dev. Kit.

 I don't think that's the companies problem... that should have been
 taken up with your LOCAL agent.

1997\01\24@160044 by John Halleck

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On Fri, 24 Jan 1997, Jan van der Watt wrote:

> [...]
> (Buzzzzer !)  WWRROONNGG !
>
> I checked with the LOCAL agent that the product that I am about to purchase
> comes with the relevant DOCUMENTATION. I then placed the order with the
> LOCAL agent (around 10 Sep 96). Exact wording "Navcard PCMCIA II GPS", which
> has, according to the Rockwell brochure, the following

 Sounds like you have a beef with your LOCAL agent.

 I fail to see how this is PIC related any more.

> [...]
> The LOCAL agent then placed the order with Rockwell UK, who then shipped to
> us directly WITHOUT going through the LOCAL agent.

 Companies ship based on the information provided by the LOCAL agent.

> I appreciate BOB's objectivity, and I can certainly understand that if I had
> asked for the OEM product, then I would be where I am now. Still, someone at
> Rockwell could have queried the fact that I am getting shipped a single OEM
> GPS, without buying the Dev. Kit.

 I don't think that's the companies problem... that should have been
 taken up with your LOCAL agent.

1997\01\25@085154 by Louis A. Mamakos

flavicon
face
> Interesting balloon story deleted.
> >Excuse the bandwith, but I wanted to tell the whole story.
>
> That sucks, but if you convinced Rockwell that you needed 10,000 GPS units,
> somebody would have got the answers for you. Or if you were willing to pay
> 100,000 dollars for one GPS unit, I'm sure they would have helped then
> also. That's what stinks.

It unclear you could have been helped at all on this issue.  There are
regulations which constrain the operation of GPS receivers such that they
can't be plugged into a missle by "unfriendly" parties.  If receivers operate
in a certain realm (that is, high dynamics or high altitude) a manufacturer
will likely find it very difficult to obtain an export license for their
civilian product.

You can now return to your regularly scheduled vendor bashing..

louie

1997\01\25@085154 by Louis A. Mamakos

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face
> Interesting balloon story deleted.
> >Excuse the bandwith, but I wanted to tell the whole story.
>
> That sucks, but if you convinced Rockwell that you needed 10,000 GPS units,
> somebody would have got the answers for you. Or if you were willing to pay
> 100,000 dollars for one GPS unit, I'm sure they would have helped then
> also. That's what stinks.

It unclear you could have been helped at all on this issue.  There are
regulations which constrain the operation of GPS receivers such that they
can't be plugged into a missle by "unfriendly" parties.  If receivers operate
in a certain realm (that is, high dynamics or high altitude) a manufacturer
will likely find it very difficult to obtain an export license for their
civilian product.

You can now return to your regularly scheduled vendor bashing..

louie

1997\01\26@064912 by eric p freischlag

picon face
i really think craig and those who approach business are the reason
many customers go to other suppliers.  if a business doesn't support
the products it offers for sale, it shouldn't bother to take money.
there
are many ways to support products, other than telephone line support -
"good" documentation, app notes, faq's, bbs and e-mail are some.
deciding you will not bother with someone unless they buy "thousands"
of your product is the most shortsighted view in the world.
get real, not everyone is or will be microsoft or general motors.
and in case you want to know, i work for a company that has been in
business for >40 years, giving support to anyone, including customers
who bought some one of a kind 15 or 20 years ago.  and we're happy
to help them. and we're still in business because we do.

1997\01\26@090156 by Rodolfo V. Moreno

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face
Could one use pic's as a controller for making flashram strage cards?
Just thought I could meke homemade ones instead of paying $2100 for
Verbatim 80MB flashram cards.
I can't figure out why the companies neglect this technology.
They put millions of circuits on a 1.5" x 1.5" or so square, but
can't bring a 200MB flasram card under $300. If they did,
entry level computing would be a 386 8meg with a simple PCMCIA
slot instead of a Pentium. HP omnibook 300 has the apps preinstalled on a
10MB flashram card and it's about as fast as many a souped up 486.
Might need access to expensive materials or developm my own materials
though.
Perhaps the technology exists but they're witholding it.
Another question is what difficulties arise in making such cards or
what makes them so expensive to manufacture?

1997\01\26@093143 by Wireless Scientific

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At 06:48 AM 1/26/97 EST, eric p freischlag wrote:
>i really think craig and those who approach business are the reason
>many customers go to other suppliers.  if a business doesn't support
>the products it offers for sale, it shouldn't bother to take money.

As a customer, if you are not satisfied, then switch. I do it all the time.



Folks,

I was presenting a different side to the conversation, one of the business
owner. My company helps absolutely everyone who calls regardless of their
status; old customer, current customer, potential customer. This will not
change when we grow large either, because in my early engineering days it
would really piss me off when I would get the shaft. I told myself then that
when I own the company, I'd run it differently and I do. Case in point, my
company recently finished a market survey and the number 1 reason companys
purchase my designs over my competition, customer support! No kidding, we
know what we are doing and can help solve problems.

I will say this though. Engineers who simply work at a company, by that I
mean one who are not owners or participate in the business end, live in an
somewhat ideal world. You simply get "it" work and leave the rest to
somebody else. Sure you should get support, that's the way it should be.

When you sit in a meeting and actively decide how to effectively allocate
resources to make money for payroll next month, then you'll understand how
tough it is to really support your products. There's nothing like telling a
great employee, "I'm sorry Eric but are going to have to let you go."

craig

____________________________________________________
Dr. Craig Hollabaugh
Wireless Scientific, Inc.
1890 S. 14th, Suite 105
Amelia Island, FL 32034
904 261 6977
904 261 2129 fax
KILLspamwscispamBeGonespamnet-magic.net

or you might know me as
Dr. Craig Hollabaugh
Analog Microelectronics Group
Georgia Institute of Technology

or
Dr. Craig Hollabaugh
Computational Fluid Dynamics Laboratory
Department of Aerospace Engineering
University of Texas at Austin

1997\01\26@094354 by Wireless Scientific

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At 05:59 AM 1/26/97 -0800, Rodolfo V. Moreno wrote:
> They put millions of circuits on a 1.5" x 1.5" or so square, but
>can't bring a 200MB flasram card under $300.

Simple, CPU's have a better margins than memory.

>If they did, entry level computing would be a 386 8meg with a simple PCMCIA
>slot instead of a Pentium.

386, what's that?

Intel just had probably it's best year ever. 386 and memory chips are not
going to generate billions of revenue.

Craig

1997\01\26@172755 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
    Could one use pic's as a controller for making flashram strage cards?
    Just thought I could meke homemade ones instead of paying $2100 for
    Verbatim 80MB flashram cards.
           :
    Another question is what difficulties arise in making such cards or
    what makes them so expensive to manufacture?

Have you priced flash memory CHIPS?  They go for around $15-30 per MByte,
which means your 80M card has as much as $2400 worth of "just chips" in it.
You can't get ANY semiconductor memory for $300/200MB - even RAM at it's
currently deflated price is $10/Mbyte...

BillW

1997\01\26@172755 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
    Could one use pic's as a controller for making flashram strage cards?
    Just thought I could meke homemade ones instead of paying $2100 for
    Verbatim 80MB flashram cards.
           :
    Another question is what difficulties arise in making such cards or
    what makes them so expensive to manufacture?

Have you priced flash memory CHIPS?  They go for around $15-30 per MByte,
which means your 80M card has as much as $2400 worth of "just chips" in it.
You can't get ANY semiconductor memory for $300/200MB - even RAM at it's
currently deflated price is $10/Mbyte...

BillW

1997\01\26@232522 by tjaart

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face
Robert Lunn wrote:

{Quote hidden}

This is all good & well, but selling any electronic product without
the means to use it, is like selling a car without keys.

--
Friendly Regards

Tjaart van der Walt
______________________________________________________________
|  Another sun-deprived R&D Engineer slaving away in a dungeon |
|WASP International GSM vehicle tracking and datacomm solutions|
|+27-(0)11-622-8686 |  http://wasp.co.za   | EraseMEtjaartspamEraseMEwasp.co.za |
|______________________________________________________________|

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