[rescue] fire v210 upgrade

Carl R. Friend crfriend at rcn.com
Wed Jul 4 14:27:01 CDT 2007

    On Wed, 4 Jul 2007, Thog of Cave People wrote:

> You also need to keep in mind the target audience.  It's not really
> hobbyists or small companies.

    True.  Most of the folks that actually "call the shots" are
MBAs (spit!) who don't understand technology, its genesis, or its

> [I]t's nice that the system board is a FRU.  As for upgrades, again
> it's easier.

    That speaks more to the quality of the folks in the field than it
does to engineering or design.  I come from a world where it wasn't
unusual at all to see a field engineer carry in a 'scope to help with
troubleshooting.  There's a reason I got out -- there's no challenge
in it any more (and hence no fun).

> Another factor is the skill needed to replace components.  In the
> days when tolerances were less, it was O.K. to kick a VME board to
> seat it.  But, as a Senior Engineer for Sun (one of my past lives), I
> personally witnessed an SSE (who should know better) kick a board on
> an E10K to seat it.

    See above.

    I've been in the field for going on a third of a century and have
worked with almost every connector type known to man.  Yes, some
required what might be considered "excessive" force (see Interdata
backplanes), but most can be gently cajoled into compliance and
that's the right way to do it.  FRUs that require torque-wrenches
and whatnot (outside of disk-drive heads) are an indication that
the original design engineers didn't understand the "rough and
tumble world" outside their ivory towers.

> Sun's biggest problem is that they engineer the hell out of the
> systems, then get crappy components.

    See above.  The world is most certainly not a pretty little
lab at some pristine corporate campus.  As likely as not, it's a
dusty little backroom filled with "dust-bunnies" that hasn't
seen a good cleaning since the 1990s.  OK, that's cruel, but
there are instances where you'll find such things.  Overly-
precisely engineered machines that can't survive outside a clean-
room are doomed to fail in such settings.

> Or, it's just a basic design problem.  I've worked hand-in-hand with
> the folks who designed the E10K and the F15/E25K.  These are some
> brilliant people with an amazing knack for making robust and stable
> hardware.  However, I always wonder why nobody originally noticed
> that the air filters on the E10K  required a power-down to replace.

    Again, see above.  The conditions in the ivory tower do not ever
reflect the reality of where machines may find themselves.  Of course
the folks in the ivory tower never anticipate that the filters would
ever *need* replacing because the machines are going to be in clean

> Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going over to pat my E450 on the head.
> For a machine that turns 10 in a couple of months, it's doing very
> well.

    Pat her on the head when she reaches 30, will you?  One of the
reasons I like "old-school" gear so much is that it's *not* over-
engineered to the point of meaninglessness and that it was built
to last more than the typical five (or, nowadays, three) year tax
writeoff cycle.

| Carl Richard Friend (UNIX Sysadmin)            | West Boylston       |
| Minicomputer Collector / Enthusiast            | Massachusetts, USA  |
| mailto:crfriend at rcn.com                        +---------------------+
| http://users.rcn.com/crfriend/museum           | ICBM: 42:22N 71:47W |

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