Compatibility and imcompatibility.....

rog_london

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 3, 2009
764
2
Harrow, Middlesex
Compatibility and incompatibility.....

Where I take your other points, on this I have to disagree, as if you want to upgrade to say a quad core CPU, then you simply have to buy a new mainboard with it. Due to the industry's careful support of legacy standards, you don't also have replace all your existing peripheral devices, and your chassis. An example of this was the fact that 16bit ISA slots hung around on modern mainboards for years, though entirely superseded.

Apologies if you think I'm being pedantic :D .
I wish it were as simple as that. Power supplies and connectors have changed, not to mention the different variations on SATA and the case of 'hybrid' boards which support IDE hard drives as well as SATA drives - but not very well - different and incompatible CPU sockets from the SAME manufacturer - etc. That's only the half of it, and I'm only going on about it here because the parallels with the e-bike business are quite noticeable.

PCs were legendary for their backward compatibility - but huge developments within a short time scale have meant that unless you really know what you're doing what you buy today won't interface with what you bought only three or four years ago. E-bikes have a few incompatible directions - three places where (mainly) you can put a motor, several gearing arrangements, and batteries which quite often become unavailable as soon as the models for which they were designed for stop being made - to name a few which come readily to mind.

I suspect one of the things which happened with the PC market had to do with the sheer pervasiveness of them. Something which seems unlikely in the e-bike field was that the manufacturing volumes world wide pushed down the price of technology as well as resulting in huge research effort - cheaper and plentiful memory and storage, not to mention ridiculous amounts of 'grunt' from even relatively modest machines.

Will that happen to e-bikes? Regrettably not. In another post someone mentioned that we do have an image problem - the public perception of e-bikes and Zimmer frames as being closely related. I was a little kinder in noting the relationship between e-bikes and mobility scooters. So, it's always going to be a minority pastime, especially in this country. There are really no great economies of scale to take advantage of - anyone who, for example, might think a Wisper to be over priced hasn't considered the level of service offered to what is fated to still be a relatively small market. I feel sure that David and the rest of his small staff would not hope to be viable if they were not setting their sights on world markets.

E-bikes offer a lifeline to those who are no longer in the first flush of youth, or who have other physical limitations which may or may not be associated with advancing years. That's a very tough act to follow if as a manufacturer you want to break out of that 'niche' and appeal to the more athletic and fashion-conscious among us. There are only two real 'sport' e-bikes being sold as far as I'm aware, and I don't suppose there will be more than a handful of those in use in the UK. The cost of development and frame design to produce what amounts to a limited number of production prototypes can hardly be justified.

The price of a half-decent e-bike means it will probably not be considered by anyone not well-heeled enough to take the hit - a half-decent bicycle can be picked up for a fraction of that cost. Therefore most of the population won't ever look at e-bikes given that a cheap bike will probably have far more street cred than an expensive e-bike.

Rog.
 
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flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
50,676
28,509
Yes, fully agree Rog, e-bikes as we know them are always likely to be well out of the mainstream of consumer products in most parts of the world, only commonplace in the odd (in both senses!) places like the Netherlands.

As for computer upgrading, the only part realistically salvageable in many cases (sic) is the cheap steel case. Since that's 100% recyclable there's not much environmental gain in doing it.
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Straylight

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 31, 2009
650
2
Yes, fully agree Rog, e-bikes as we know them are always likely to be well out of the mainstream of consumer products in most parts of the world, only commonplace in the odd (in both senses!) places like the Netherlands.
I may be being a bit glib here, but I imagine similar things were said about the automobile and the safety bicycle when they first appeared.

As for computer upgrading, the only part realistically salvageable in many cases (sic) is the cheap steel case. Since that's 100% recyclable there's not much environmental gain in doing it.
This is not my experience, having rebuilt my PC more times than I can remember for the minimum expenditure. I find that when a technology first appears, the upgrade path is as you say, but if you're prepared to wait a few months, then the options are much wider, including support for legacy devices. The downside to this approach is that you never have a 'bleeding edge' machine, but on balance I'm not prepared to pay the premium for such cachet.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
50,676
28,509
I may be being a bit glib here, but I imagine similar things were said about the automobile and the safety bicycle when they first appeared.
The cars certainly, a gimmick which would never catch on! :D

Safety bikes were quickly welcomed though.

This is not my experience, having rebuilt my PC more times than I can remember for the minimum expenditure. I find that when a technology first appears, the upgrade path is as you say, but if you're prepared to wait a few months, then the options are much wider, including support for legacy devices. The downside to this approach is that you never have a 'bleeding edge' machine, but on balance I'm not prepared to pay the premium for such cachet.
I upgrade at far longer intervals and find nothing is worth salvaging without compromises which I find unacceptable. I probably use no more hardware than someone who upgrades more often in smaller steps.
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rog_london

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 3, 2009
764
2
Harrow, Middlesex
The cars certainly, a gimmick which would never catch on! :D

Safety bikes were quickly welcomed though.



I upgrade at far longer intervals and find nothing is worth salvaging without compromises which I find unacceptable. I probably use no more hardware than someone who upgrades more often in smaller steps.
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I have only ever bought two pre-built PCs. My first was a 12 meg 286 with 1 meg of RAM and it cost an arm and a leg (1989!). My second was bought last December. The reason for the latter was simple - there was hardly anything in the old one which could be re-used. I could have used the two DVD writers (patched to be multi-region) - value around £40 the pair - but the hard drives were IDE and a converter to SATA would have slowed down what is always a bottleneck on any PC - access to the hard drive. The memory was incompatible, as was the PSU, there was no floppy drive connection, no serial or parallel ports and two out of my three perfectly serviceable printers were not supported either by the new PC or by the otherwise impressive Windows 7 64-bit.

None of that was a long term problem - I know enough to have been able to get all my old kit working. Difficult for someone not able to deal with all that, though. Nothing is wasted - my oldest machine (a 1 gig Athlon) went to a pal of mine who has no money, and the outgoing main 3 gig Athlon 64 is now Number Two and networked to Number One - Phenom 4-core, 8 gigs of RAM. I'm not into gaming but I do need to run several virtual machines for work related stuff - I still need to be able to run vertical-market DOS programs, some very badly behaved specialized Windows XP programs and Windows 98. Oh, and Linux in its own partition - for amusement only.

I couldn't have built Number One for the same money. Exactly the spec I needed was available off the shelf at a very good price, and although I don't expect I'll need the warranty the major off-the-page supplier is situated in Cricklewood, so if I'm really stuck I can easily turn up on their doorstep. So far I haven't even opened the case - no problem with the warranty if I do, as that particular supplier operates an 'open case' warranty so you can add bits.

Rog.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
50,676
28,509
As you say Rog, much of the old kit can be got working and I used to do that, sometimes, even to writing the odd driver which wasn't available, but I no longer bother now. The older of my two base units is a typical example, since it's not just the mobo, CPU and memory I'd want to change. The ROM drive plays up, the writer I'd want to upgrade, the fans are noisy and one of the two IDE hard drives is suspect. I could mess around salvaging bits, but why bother when a fully enough kitted new computer brings so many benefits at low cost. I still salvage the odd component, a capture card for example, but most gets chucked out. A new computer for me is so infrequent I don't have a conscience regarding waste.

Ax for older slow laptops, they really aren't worth playing with these days.
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rog_london

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 3, 2009
764
2
Harrow, Middlesex
As you say Rog, much of the old kit can be got working and I used to do that, sometimes, even to writing the odd driver which wasn't available, but I no longer bother now. The older of my two base units is a typical example, since it's not just the mobo, CPU and memory I'd want to change. The ROM drive plays up, the writer I'd want to upgrade, the fans are noisy and one of the two IDE hard drives is suspect. I could mess around salvaging bits, but why bother when a fully enough kitted new computer brings so many benefits at low cost. I still salvage the odd component, a capture card for example, but most gets chucked out. A new computer for me is so infrequent I don't have a conscience regarding waste.

Ax for older slow laptops, they really aren't worth playing with these days.
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Both of my machines are rock solid. I won't put up with anything that's not - either it gets fixed or out of the door it goes.... My PCs are a major part of how I earn my living, and although I don't mind investing some time to sort out any teething problems everything from then on must 'just work'.

My last major upgrade was 2004, I think.

I have a (slowish) company laptop, but I only usually use that as a means of transporting and installing programs I've been working on at home, so lack of speed and a smallish screen are not disadvantages. Our on-site kit expects to talk to a PC so it's not possible to get away with a memory stick - well, not yet at any rate. It's a cheap second hand job with a good battery - so if it hits the deck or gets stolen it's no big thing, especially as I didn't pay for it in the first place. It seems that Auntie Dell has made some good laptops, as there do seem to be plenty around second hand and still working....

For maximum bang for your buck, you can't beat a desktop machine.

Rog.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
50,676
28,509
I have a (slowish) company laptop, but I only usually use that as a means of transporting and installing programs I've been working on at home, so lack of speed and a smallish screen are not disadvantages.

Rog.
Strong similarities to the way I use my slowish five year old laptop when I go down to my brother's in Dorset. I can just about persuade it to run most of what I need on it's early 1.6 Celeron, but a couple of things really tax it, H.264 on 300 or 600 frames per second stops it in it's tracks for example. :D
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