[rescue] Slightly OT: Bad Cap Saga

Geoffrey S. Mendelson gsm at mendelson.com
Mon Aug 18 16:18:50 CDT 2008

On Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 01:50:00PM -0700, Curious George wrote:

> Yes, but very few of those coulod be incorporated into products
> sold to lobstermen to take on their *boats* with them!  :>

I don't know. You could get an HP2114 (ca 1967)on a boat. It wasn't much bigger
than the radio they would of had.

> Yes.  But, I can identify bad components.  Granted, if I change
> vendors on a part, I run the risk of finding my "tenders" exposed.
> *But*, once the problem is identified, it goes away (along with
> the vendor!)

One would hope. But you are assuming that the manufacturer of the item
is the vendor. You could find out for example, that every motherboard
made in a country at a specific time had the same bad capacitors in it.

> Yes, this seems to be true of "Chicago Electric" rechargeables
> here.  But, they are clearly marked as such (on the price tag!)

If you buy for price, you are stuck. What about OEM batteries, which are
sold unmarked in case lots?

> But, it's just a *component* (vendor) issue, right?
> E.g., not like the consequences of moving away from Pb based
> solders, etc.  (which would be industry-wide)

Yes, that's a different problem. From what I have seen there really hasn't
been a good answer to that one yet.

> Yes.  I have a friend who is a big shot at a multinational
> <.....> company.  He makes no bones about telling me:
> "We cut staff in a particular department until it stops
> working.  Then we start adding back."  I *guess* they
> can rationalize this as a valid way of doing things.
> But, it ignores the people (customers) they screw-over
> in the process!


> This is unfortunate as we have very long product lifetimes.

Since you have never said what your products are, I have no scale
to refer to it.

> Yes, but the niche gets smaller and, from a consumer's point of
> view, *higher*!  :<

Yes, that is a problem.

> I don't doubt that!  My point is, the controls on an LCD monitor
> *should* be intuitive to use.  Just like changing the channel
> on a TV.  So, presumably, you would think that whoever designed the
> device would give as much consideration to this as they did to
> the *color* of the plastic case, etc.

Well, I always like to use the comment I blogged about a mini mp3
player (back when I was blogging more often). I said it had a 
user interface "like a Rubic's cube". :-)

> Regardless of how well they did/didn't do this, I can learn by
> looking at their efforts and trying to decide how intuitive *I*
> consider the interface and what aspects of it I find annoying.
> E.g., I found myself quite annoyed with monitorss that had
> two power switches.  I.e., a front panel pushbutton and a
> "power disconnect" elsewhere on the unit.  Granted, I can
> understand how/why thiws might be the case.  But, as a user,
> I would find myself pushing the front panel button and wondering
> why it didn't power up.  ("Why doesn't this LCD work like the
> last one I played with?")

That's a cultural issue. American devices always have one on/off switch
on them, and now it's often just a standby switch. European devices have
to have a hard off switch, which is usually on the back.

Well, I hate to cut you off without being given the chance to reply,
but it's well after midnight and I have to go to sleep. 

Feel free to answer, but I won't see it for 8 hours or so, so don't
expect a quick reply.....


Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Jerusalem, Israel gsm at mendelson.com  N3OWJ/4X1GM

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