Scott Hanselman

Had to Three-Finger-Salute my Watch today...what else can I reboot today?

February 07, 2004 Comment on this post [4] Posted in Musings
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I woke up after a nap to find my watch had a blank screen.  Uh oh.  Needless to say this didn't bode well, and I had long ago not-read and tossed the instructions.  But I realized in my sleepy stupor that there were three buttons on the right side of the watch. 

I pressed them all at the same time, a pause, then a Fossil/Microsoft boot screen.  Whew!  I didn't realize those buttons where Ctrl-Alt-Del. :)

Doesn't it seem that hardware these days crash more than hardware of old?  I've 'rebooted' my insulin pump, my iPod, my ReplayTV, my Sony Receiver and my cell phone.  (Yes, I've rebooted my insulin pump three times.  Those weren't good days.)

Now, I know squat about hardware, but it seems to me that more and more hardware systems are built around a distinct Some Chip->OS->Support API->Custom Software model as opposed to a completely firmware-it's-all-baked-in custom model. 

Is this the case?  In our zeal to lower prices and get things to market faster are modular systems like iPods and MSN Watches simpler/cheaper than the old way?  or am I wrong in assuming there was an old way?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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February 08, 2004 4:05
Dell-Hell, support your local System Builder.

More money goes into marketing, the product is produced as cheaply as possible.
February 09, 2004 14:03
Have you ever read Alan Cooper's book called "The Inmates are Running the Asylum"?
If you haven't, then he makes a very similar point...
It's cheaper nowadays to add a basic cpu and some software, than it is to build custom hardware.
i.e. if you need a car-alarm remote control, rather than building some custom hardware, you can buy a programmable chip, add som ROM to hold the software, and bam, that's a hell of a lot cheaper.

Amazon allow you to browse the first chapter of the book, where he has some funny (and sad) anecdotes about the problems in just putting "mini computers" in everyday bits of hardware.

Just an aside if you're interested!

February 09, 2004 19:50
Just because an embedded device has a general purpose CPU instead of hardwired firmware does not make it buggy. It's just easier to fix when the problem is in "software". When instructions are built into the custom hardware, it is still just program logic that someone wrote.
February 12, 2004 7:11
Your Fossil suffered a static discharge attack. forums discuss all about this.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.