A lot of people got clobbered by IKE more severely than my family and I so I should not complain but it has been very busy since then. My project at work got shoved to the back of my "attention stack" once IKE hit. We had 11 days without standard electrical service. You don't appreciate an electric clothes dryer until you have to hang clothes on a line for a few days! Any way, the work I get paid for has now been caught up, instead of the tree clearing and fence repairs I don't get paid for!
My seemingly never ending project finally gets delivered to the internal customer Monday. Besides discovering how crappy commercial software from a couple of International vendors is, it has been a enlightening experience discovering more weirdnesses in Windows XP Pro I didn't already know about.
It is a mix of VB.Net software and a couple of commercial applications that I really wish I didn't have to use. The project delivers a bare-metal hard drive and system restoration that can be operated by screwdriver jockies with absolutely NO computer training besides how to click a mouse. The operators need know just 5 pieces of information!
The next 2 projects are going to be "fun" projects, an embedded Linux operating system image for a touchscreen computer and a Windows XP Embedded image for the same system. So I get to do things at work I've only been able to do at home before this! I have an advantage in that the WinXP Embedded image will be just a modification of a system image currently in use. Of course I'll use Debian 4.0 (etch) for the Linux image.
In any case, we'll get to do an Apples & Apples comparison. Both systems will be running the same Java application running as a user interface and another Java application that operates as a data server to the display app. Same CPU, RAM, compact flash drive, speed, etc. I'm just doing the OS images, not the Java. I'm a bit scorched on programming right now.
Intel has apparently straightened out whatever bugs they had on the low power Atom. I've had a couple of request for quotes come in from vendors that swear that they have the Industrial temperature range part AND the North/South-bridge SCH chip on the same CPU board.
We build a certain amount of our own systems out of single board computers but I've run into something that I don't really understand happening in the Asian manufacturing plants. They will take an industrial temperature (-40 to +85C) rated CPU part (Intel Z530 Atom) and then "marry" it to a bunch of parts that aren't! The resulting board can't withstand the high temperatures and they think that's OK?
I understand using an Industrial temp part if that's the only one offered by Intel (as the Atom Z530 is) but then not to offer at the very least a tested version of the SBC for an industrial temp range? What marketing geniuses came up with that as a sales strategy?
The Z530 part was specifically designed for the Industrial and Automotive market yet very few of the manufacturers are offering a board that takes full advantage of the part.
I actually had a vendor promise me a quote on an Industrial temp range single board computer based on the Atom and then sent me a spec sheet that indicated the CPU would quit working at 60C. When I brought that to their attention, they said they decided to change the specifications because no one needed the expanded temperature range!
I typically "bake" our computers at 122F (+50C) and see how long they will run before they crap out. The systems that can run for a couple of weeks, we'll buy. Some of our customers drill where there is a lot of sand and a lot of sun to keep it hot. So yes heat is an issue and we DO buy the extended temperature range systems!