jamesh
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Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:04 am

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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:59 am

Image
Seems slightly incestuous - or maybe keeping the business within the family

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Paul Webster
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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:45 pm

and running with their lids off.

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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:47 pm

Burngate wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:59 am

Seems slightly incestuous - or maybe keeping the business within the family
The term is "dogfooding". And why not? Use Pis to bring down the cost of building Pis?
Rockets are loud.
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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:49 pm

Burngate wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:59 am
Image
Seems slightly incestuous - or maybe keeping the business within the family
Wasn't that the entire point of the article? That Raspberry Pi's make the whole monitoring process cheaper?
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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:51 pm

Burngate wrote: Seems slightly incestuous - or maybe keeping the business within the family
Or it's the right tool for the right job.

When I was travelling around Taiwan, a met a lot of expats there who use Raspberry Pi's on their assembly lines - not just a few but pretty much everybody working in an environment where a raspberry pi could be at all useful.

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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:11 pm

When we built the first Raspberry Pi, I didn’t want to put input-output pins on it, because I thought kids would be interested in using them to write programs. Of course, what children actually love doing with Raspberry Pi is interacting with the real world
I think a lot of Pi users are grateful I/O pins were included, even if it was a case of 'they're there; we may as well break them out for use".

On which, with respect to the Pi's bolted onto kit in Sony's factory; they have power, HDMI and network cables but what are they monitoring or connected to - It looks like they may be using DSI ports or is it a ribbon cable out of the back ?

Or, given the HDMI connections, are they used as networked information displays ?

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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:28 pm

Wow, that was a close shave.

A Pi without GPIO would have been like a car without wheels. Disaster.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:40 pm

hippy wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:11 pm
When we built the first Raspberry Pi, I didn’t want to put input-output pins on it, because I thought kids would be interested in using them to write programs. Of course, what children actually love doing with Raspberry Pi is interacting with the real world
I think a lot of Pi users are grateful I/O pins were included, even if it was a case of 'they're there; we may as well break them out for use".

On which, with respect to the Pi's bolted onto kit in Sony's factory; they have power, HDMI and network cables but what are they monitoring or connected to - It looks like they may be using DSI ports or is it a ribbon cable out of the back ?

Or, given the HDMI connections, are they used as networked information displays ?
"The industrial equipment they use tends to have data ports on the back, usually Ethernet ports or serial ports, which spew out data about how the machines are performing – but almost always, historically, nobody’s been listening."
So my guess is the ethernet.

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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:55 pm

hippy wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:11 pm
Or, given the HDMI connections, are they used as networked information displays ?
Yeah. Looks like the back of some giant monitors to me with a big VESA style mount. These are most likely status dashboards to show what is happening on the machines.

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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:06 pm

Heater wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:28 pm
Wow, that was a close shave.

A Pi without GPIO would have been like a car without wheels. Disaster.
Not sure it would have been a disaster.

There are plenty of Pi users who never use GPIO at all, use their Pi's simply as application platforms, for Pi-Holes, streamers, web servers, information display, etc. Many school kids are happy pushing a virtual cat around a virtual arena, running Mathematica or SonicPi, without any real world GPIO interaction.

Anyone wanting I/O could have added that via USB, or serial - assuming the UART had been broken out.

But that said, having GPIO does open the door to things it wouldn't otherwise be so easily capable of doing, and easily adding small touch LCD's is a big bonus.

I believe a Pi without GPIO would have still been a success, but probably not such a huge success. I would also imagine, if the first Pi had arrived without GPIO, by the time the B+ emerged, demands for breaking out GPIO would have seen it added.

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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:21 pm

rpdom wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:40 pm
"The industrial equipment they use tends to have data ports on the back, usually Ethernet ports or serial ports, which spew out data about how the machines are performing – but almost always, historically, nobody’s been listening."
So my guess is the ethernet.
Good point; could be ethernet in, pre-process the data, Wi-Fi out.

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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:37 pm

Heater wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:28 pm
Wow, that was a close shave.

A Pi without GPIO would have been like a car without wheels. Disaster.
I don't think those who encloses their Pi in a FLIRC case heavily uses their GPIO :mrgreen:

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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:47 pm

Disaster I tell you.

Those GPIO pins spawned a whole industry of HAT makers. And other such attachments. They inspired thousands of projects which in turn inspired others to get into Pi, even if they never get around to attaching it to real world things themselves.

Without those GPIO pins the Pi world would be a desolate place.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:05 pm

As would the rest of the SBC space. It's remarkable just how many of them come with a 40-pin header with GPIO on it. All mutually incompatible, of course, and nothing else has anywhere near the userbase or support of the Pi, but still. GPIO is a thing that's out there, mostly because of the Pi.

It's been an immensely influential product.

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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:12 pm

dickon wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:05 pm
As would the rest of the SBC space. It's remarkable just how many of them come with a 40-pin header with GPIO on it. All mutually incompatible, of course, and nothing else has anywhere near the userbase or support of the Pi, but still. GPIO is a thing that's out there, mostly because of the Pi.

It's been an immensely influential product.
I wouldn't say it's "because" of the Pi. Popular SBCs prior to the Pi had GPIO pins, as did microcontrollers. What has happened is that boards attempting to compete with the Pi claim to have a Pi-compatible GPIO pin block. Whether or not that is actually true, I couldn't say.

For me, had the GPIO pins been left off, it would have changed very little. Mostly it would have been a desire to have some way to attach an RTC and--with the Pi4B--a fan (at need). Even so, with the only 5v pins next to each other, connecting an RTC *and* a fan is...challenging.

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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:36 pm

laurent wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:37 pm
I don't think those who encloses their Pi in a FLIRC case heavily uses their GPIO :mrgreen:
It's not actually that difficult. :) You just have to use a flat extender cable with skinny connectors that don't foul the case's mounting posts (there is a link to a source for these on the Flirc site). There is an appropriate cutout in the case, so that routing the cable to the outside world is not an issue.

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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:00 pm

W. H. Heydt wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:12 pm
For me, had the GPIO pins been left off, it would have changed very little.
Same here, and probably the same for everyone with a Pi and not using GPIO.

Having GPIO meant there was an opportunity for creating add-ons, but such an opportunity would likely have been filled by USB attached or UART driven add-ons if it didn't have GPIO.

It was price, size, support and community which made the Pi computer a success. It filled a void, it was a perfect alternative to having to use a noisy power-hungry full-sized PC, an expensive mini-ITX board or SBC, or some poorly supported repurposed router PCB or NAS which had held makers back from their dreams.

Having GPIO was a bonus, opened the door more than it would otherwise have done, but it still filled a void and would have been a success in doing that without GPIO.

Of course, when launched, not everyone could see that it would be such a success as it was, couldn't appreciate the demand there was for such a thing, laughed at those who predicted it would be tremendously successful, would sell a million and maybe more.

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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:49 pm

Be aware that there have been SBCs on the market pretty much since the dawn of the micro-processor back in the late 1970s.

Almost universally they were targeted at industrial users for automation tasks. They came with industrial specifications for temperature range and other environmental parameters. They mostly required skilled software engineers to make use of them, requiring complex and expensive development tools, cross-compilers, closed source operating systems, etc. They carried hefty price tags that those industrial users could bear.

It would cost you 10,000 GBP to get started with Intel development systems for their 8 bit micros in 1980.

By the time the Pi came out we were using a lot of these:
Image
A pretty common SBC style product. Notice the amazing likeness to the Raspberry Pi: Small board, GPIO, various other connectors, SD card. They were about 300 Euro a piece at the time the Pi came out.

The Pi arrival of the Pi was stunning (compared to the industry standard at the time) for two reasons:

1) The massively lower price. Down by a factor of 8 or so.
2) The emphasis on being usable out of the box with a well manicured OS and other software.

All of a sudden all those people who dreamed of such an SBC but could not justify the expense could have one. One could now think of applying a Pi to all kind of situations where what was previously available was two expensive.

Had to be an overnight success!
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:58 pm

From my reading, the "go to" SBC in the DIY/maker/amateur market at the time the Pi was launched was the Beaglebone. They sold for $90 each. The PI pretty much took over their market quickly.

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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:09 pm

W. H. Heydt wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:58 pm
From my reading, the "go to" SBC in the DIY/maker/amateur market at the time the Pi was launched was the Beaglebone. They sold for $90 each. The PI pretty much took over their market quickly.
I was a student at the time, playing around with Gentoo and Linux From Scratch. I was trying to justify spending money on a beagleboard, but they were all well outside my budget. Then the pi was announced, one thing led to another and here we are.

People sometimes pointed to hackable routers you could put linux on. I also learned about zipit z2 from ukscone. Since phones took over that market they were practically giving them away and you could run linux on them - so it was a good cheap platform to play around with.

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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:06 pm

Anyone got anything to say about the actual article? Or just going to whitter on about the GPIO headers?
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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:16 pm

jamesh wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:06 pm
Anyone got anything to say about the actual article? Or just going to whitter on about the GPIO headers?
It explains a lot about the statements that half the Pis sold go into industrial use.

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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:25 pm

jamesh wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:06 pm
Anyone got anything to say about the actual article? Or just going to whitter on about the GPIO headers?
Probably the latter, but yes, it was a very interesting interview. FWLIW, the commercial uses of the Pi that I've seen all involve the GPIO header, and I'm very, very glad it's there. I'm also using a Pi's GPIO header because it's there and I can: the Dallas 1-wire stuff lets me monitor the temperature in my livingroom, which in turn feeds into the central heating system. If it didn't have it, I'd have to fudge it.

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Re: Interesting interview with Eben in Physics World

Thu Nov 07, 2019 12:08 am

I think the era of free returns in processor speeds is drawing to a close, because we’re running out of atoms. The smallest structures on silicon chips are now spaced around 7 nm apart, which is about 70 atoms, and at those distances both the physics and the economics of the system start to go awry. Our knowledge of the behaviour of semiconductors is based on a statistical model of each thousand silicon atoms having, on average, this many dopant atoms embedded within them. But of course, once you’re making silicon structures 70 atoms apart, it’s no longer a statistical process, so your assumptions start to break down on the physics side. At the same time, on the economic side, it’s becoming ruinously expensive to build faster chips.

[...] But the trends that enabled that consensus are coming to an end, and that means we’re beginning to see a new focus on efficiency in software engineering. I’m excited by this because I’m still a software engineer at heart, and until recently it’s been very hard to argue for writing more efficient code because the doubling in computer power meant it wasn’t necessary. You just waited two years, and your code ran twice as fast.
3D designs such as 3DSoC will deliver vast performance increases (in the interim, 2.5D/3D stacking of DRAM near the CPU, or 3D TSV SRAM). They won't be "free returns", but we'll see computers with at least 10-100 times more single or multi-threaded performance. That means even more people will use smaller computers like SBCs or dockable smartphones without needing a beefy desktop. Or we can write even more bloated and inefficient code.

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