Product Idea: USB Flash Drives
#41
(03-22-2021, 06:20 PM)LazLong Wrote: Go Open Source! Flash drives are just another black box nearly everyone has to use on a regular basis.

That's the point Smile

(03-22-2021, 06:20 PM)LazLong Wrote: Enjoying your spitballing and hope it evolves into a successful product.

I think we have a viable path forwards, we just need input from Pine.

(03-22-2021, 06:20 PM)LazLong Wrote: Feature request if practical: Pass-thru USB functionality maybe with USB condom features would be great for port challenged devices.

I like the idea for sure - but it wouldn't be entirely simple. The complication comes from needing to host the device as some kind of hub to allow the pass-through. Some devices really do not like hubs either, especially when you're mixing USB 2 & 3 devices. If we do something like this it would definitely be a feature we tackle later rather than sooner.
  Reply
#42
What about an HDMI stick computer.  It should be a bit bulkier (so it can be easily repaired/upgraded).  Maybe a bluetooth keyboard/touchpad to go with?
  Reply
#43
(03-23-2021, 04:37 AM)barray Wrote:
(03-22-2021, 06:20 PM)LazLong Wrote: Go Open Source! Flash drives are just another black box nearly everyone has to use on a regular basis.

That's the point Smile

(03-22-2021, 06:20 PM)LazLong Wrote: Enjoying your spitballing and hope it evolves into a successful product.

I think we have a viable path forwards, we just need input from Pine.

(03-22-2021, 06:20 PM)LazLong Wrote: Feature request if practical:  Pass-thru USB functionality maybe with USB condom features would be great for port challenged devices.

I like the idea for sure - but it wouldn't be entirely simple. The complication comes from needing to host the device as some kind of hub to allow the pass-through. Some devices really do not like hubs either, especially when you're mixing USB 2 & 3 devices. If we do something like this it would definitely be a feature we tackle later rather than sooner.
Thanks for the feedback on the resulting additional complexity - assumed as much.  Hope Pine responds to your overtures.
  Reply
#44
(03-23-2021, 06:02 AM)israel Wrote: What about an HDMI stick computer.  It should be a bit bulkier (so it can be easily repaired/upgraded).  Maybe a bluetooth keyboard/touchpad to go with?

We are only looking to tackle the problem of storage Smile Maybe there could be some remote "shell", but it would only be for interfacing with and debugging the device - rather than being some full-fledged computer. To be clear the proposed device is a storage device, a "flash drive" or "USB stick" that offers storage space, hopefully with additional features.

(03-23-2021, 02:02 PM)LazLong Wrote: Thanks for the feedback on the resulting additional complexity - assumed as much.  Hope Pine responds to your overtures.

It's for sure a great idea though, not something I previously even thought about! But would be real useful for something like the PineTab with it's one little USB port Sad

But also let's not forget that you can pick up a USB 2 hub for like less than $5, so it's not a deal breaker either.
  Reply
#45
(03-22-2021, 12:19 PM)barray Wrote: Ha! I'm sure some of the production is still more manual than you would hope, especially given the production numbers we're talking about...

An interesting fact is that the Rock64 v3 SBC has a bodged component on the underside of its PCB, which looks like a hand-soldered SMD transistor.  That must have been a last-minute fix to the board schematic, and some additional manual labor has been selected instead of fixing the board layout.

(03-22-2021, 12:19 PM)barray Wrote: (Confused Pikachu face) Okay, will be interested when you have more details to reveal Smile

It's a cryptographic device, and as such it's preferable to be "Made in Europe" instead of "Made in China".  That's why I've opted for the "homemade" approach.

(03-22-2021, 12:19 PM)barray Wrote: I think offloading this problem to somebody like JLPCB is quite viable anyway, especially if you source the parts and send them to them - it could end up being quite low cost too. I suppose the only time it's not such a great option is when you are working on something you are trying to keep under-wraps, like a commercial project.

IIRC, JLCPCB provides an option to even source the required components itself, through their usual supply channels.  Some additional design details must be submitted, a few additional rules must be followed, and the BOM must comply to the parts selection available through the supply channels provided by JLCPCB.

It would be a good option to have someone do the entire manufacturing process, once the sales volume reaches a certain point.  However, please keep in mind that it would require the testing of assembled devices to be offloaded too, which usually ends up as one big mess, requiring a staff member to be in contact with the manufacturer almost on a daily basis.

With all that in mind, the offloading would be, IMHO, a viable option only when/if the sales volume of the storage device outgrows the "handmade" approach.

(03-22-2021, 12:19 PM)barray Wrote: I think you should actually look to make some money anyway, even if it just sits in a pot. You're going to need some float cash to expand operations and deal with random crap, like parcels going missing or things like this.

I agree, some money has to be made, for a few reasons.  First, there will be refunds due to lost packages, "it doesn't work" complaints, and who knows what else.  Second, I simply cannot do everything myself, and the other person handling the communication with the customers, shipping of the devices, etc. surely wouldn't be enthustiastic enough to work for free.  Third, I eat quite a lot of food, which certainly isn't free. Smile

(03-22-2021, 12:19 PM)barray Wrote: In other news, some interesting numbers for eMMc vs SD in the PienPhone (and likely all other A64 devices): https://xnux.eu/log/#032 In theory we just need to beat these numbers in order for our solution to be viable, which seems quite possible.

IMHO, beating an A1-rated Micro SD card should be good enough for the device in form of a "hat" for one of the BL602 boards.  However, I'd say that a commercially viable device would need to equal or beat an average low-cost USB 3.0 flash drive.

(03-23-2021, 04:37 AM)barray Wrote:
(03-22-2021, 06:20 PM)LazLong Wrote: Enjoying your spitballing and hope it evolves into a successful product.

I think we have a viable path forwards, we just need input from Pine.

Speaking of the above-mentioned cryptographic device, I actually managed to reach Pine64 around the time before the pandemic started.  Unfortunately, they didn't find the device to be commercially viable and were not interested in manufacturing it.

Also, somewhere on the forum I came across a discussion about having Pine64 to start manufacturing some kind of a device (unfortunately, I cannot recall all of the details).  Basically, the response from Pine64 was something like "bring the device to the commercially viable level on your own, and then we'll talk".

Quite frankly, we're probably on our own anyway.
  Reply
#46
(03-26-2021, 06:59 AM)dsimic Wrote: An interesting fact is that the Rock64 v3 SBC has a bodged component on the underside of its PCB, which looks like a hand-soldered SMD transistor.  That must have been a last-minute fix to the board schematic, and some additional manual labor has been selected instead of fixing the board layout.

Not surprised at all - even the most mature companies can end up doing these last minute bodges. I've seen top-end hardware with sticky foam to overcome some dry solder joints for example!

(03-26-2021, 06:59 AM)dsimic Wrote: It's a cryptographic device, and as such it's preferable to be "Made in Europe" instead of "Made in China".  That's why I've opted for the "homemade" approach.

Ah yes, I understand. This may be a rabbit hole, but there is a type of computation being developed by ?IBM? that means you can run code on non-trusted machines, and it's impossible to tell what is being computed. The idea being that you don't even need to trust that the silicon operates correctly in order to be able to use it - might be useful for your project. Checkout homomorphic encryption: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homomorphic_encryption (To be warned, I think the instruction set is still very young.) Combine this with some proof-of-work and you could be well on your way.

(03-26-2021, 06:59 AM)dsimic Wrote: IIRC, JLCPCB provides an option to even source the required components itself, through their usual supply channels.  Some additional design details must be submitted, a few additional rules must be followed, and the BOM must comply to the parts selection available through the supply channels provided by JLCPCB.

It would be a good option to have someone do the entire manufacturing process, once the sales volume reaches a certain point. However, please keep in mind that it would require the testing of assembled devices to be offloaded too, which usually ends up as one big mess, requiring a staff member to be in contact with the manufacturer almost on a daily basis.

With all that in mind, the offloading would be, IMHO, a viable option only when/if the sales volume of the storage device outgrows the "handmade" approach.

Sure, it's just something that could be explored in the future. I really suspect the components we will end up using will be quite common though.

And yeah, testing would most definitely be required. At those sorts of numbers it would even make sense to have somebody in the Country where the parts are manufactured to do such testing, rather than shipping around the world multiple times.

(03-26-2021, 06:59 AM)dsimic Wrote: I agree, some money has to be made, for a few reasons.  First, there will be refunds due to lost packages, "it doesn't work" complaints, and who knows what else.  Second, I simply cannot do everything myself, and the other person handling the communication with the customers, shipping of the devices, etc. surely wouldn't be enthustiastic enough to work for free.  Third, I eat quite a lot of food, which certainly isn't free. Smile

Haha, and the price of coffee is likely to go up due to that ship blockage!

(03-26-2021, 06:59 AM)dsimic Wrote: IMHO, beating an A1-rated Micro SD card should be good enough for the device in form of a "hat" for one of the BL602 boards.  However, I'd say that a commercially viable device would need to equal or beat an average low-cost USB 3.0 flash drive.

Yep, sounds right to me. I think with security features, people would even be willing to put up with a certain amount of slow-ness, even if we don't meet target speeds. You wouldn't want it as a primary drive, but transferring it from one location to another would still look attractive.

(03-26-2021, 06:59 AM)dsimic Wrote: Speaking of the above-mentioned cryptographic device, I actually managed to reach Pine64 around the time before the pandemic started.  Unfortunately, they didn't find the device to be commercially viable and were not interested in manufacturing it.

Well, this is exactly why I want their input.

(03-26-2021, 06:59 AM)dsimic Wrote: Also, somewhere on the forum I came across a discussion about having Pine64 to start manufacturing some kind of a device (unfortunately, I cannot recall all of the details).  Basically, the response from Pine64 was something like "bring the device to the commercially viable level on your own, and then we'll talk".

That sounds quite harsh - at that point what is Pine offering? If we do all the R&D and even make the manufacturing a viable process, then we may as well just go down the crowd-sourcing route (even if it is a pain).

(03-26-2021, 06:59 AM)dsimic Wrote: Quite frankly, we're probably on our own anyway.

At this point I think that's a sad truth. I have no idea what we would need to do in order to get their attention.
  Reply
#47
(03-27-2021, 02:06 AM)barray Wrote: Not surprised at all - even the most mature companies can end up doing these last minute bodges. I've seen top-end hardware with sticky foam to overcome some dry solder joints for example!

I'm curious, how does sticky foam mitigate a dry/cold solder joint?  Perhaps by applying additional pressure to the joint?

(03-27-2021, 02:06 AM)barray Wrote: Ah yes, I understand. This may be a rabbit hole, but there is a type of computation being developed by ?IBM? that means you can run code on non-trusted machines, and it's impossible to tell what is being computed. The idea being that you don't even need to trust that the silicon operates correctly in order to be able to use it - might be useful for your project. Checkout homomorphic encryption: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homomorphic_encryption (To be warned, I think the instruction set is still very young.) Combine this with some proof-of-work and you could be well on your way.

This is very interesting, thank you very much for pointing it out!  I'll take some time to become acquainted with various homomorphic encryption schemes.

(03-27-2021, 02:06 AM)barray Wrote: And yeah, testing would most definitely be required. At those sorts of numbers it would even make sense to have somebody in the Country where the parts are manufactured to do such testing, rather than shipping around the world multiple times.

My only concern would be that getting someone doing the final testing remotely at the required level of quality and attention would end up costing the same (or even much more) as shipping the devices around the world more than once.  Plus, in that case the entire order fulfillment system, including the customer support, would have to be performed on a remote site as well, which would probably become really messy really fast.

(03-27-2021, 02:06 AM)barray Wrote: Haha, and the price of coffee is likely to go up due to that ship blockage!

That accident will surely produce a ripple effect. Smile  It seems that the ship still remains stuck in the Suez Canal?

(03-27-2021, 02:06 AM)barray Wrote: Yep, sounds right to me. I think with security features, people would even be willing to put up with a certain amount of slow-ness, even if we don't meet target speeds. You wouldn't want it as a primary drive, but transferring it from one location to another would still look attractive.

I agree.  To put it simply, the primary goal of the open storage device is not to be the fastest USB flash drive around.  Instead, the goal is simply to make it available as an open device that transfers data at a reasonable speed.  Once that is achieved, faster speeds could come into focus.

(03-27-2021, 02:06 AM)barray Wrote: That sounds quite harsh - at that point what is Pine offering? If we do all the R&D and even make the manufacturing a viable process, then we may as well just go down the crowd-sourcing route (even if it is a pain).

I am really sorry that I cannot find that forum thread again so you can read it yourself.  However, once a device becomes commercially viable, it has already become profitable and self-sustaining.  At that point, it would be rather questionable to pretty much hand off the device to somebody else?

(03-27-2021, 02:06 AM)barray Wrote: At this point I think that's a sad truth. I have no idea what we would need to do in order to get their attention.

I also have no idea, really.  I've already exhausted all options known to me.
  Reply
#48
(03-27-2021, 03:00 AM)dsimic Wrote: I'm curious, how does sticky foam mitigate a dry/cold solder joint?  Perhaps by applying additional pressure to the joint?

I assume so, perhaps the vibration gradually allows the solder to crack over time and the padding applies just enough pressure to make it somebody else's problem.

(03-27-2021, 03:00 AM)dsimic Wrote: This is very interesting, thank you very much for pointing it out!  I'll take some time to become acquainted with various homomorphic encryption schemes.

Beware, there be dragons!

(03-27-2021, 03:00 AM)dsimic Wrote: My only concern would be that getting someone doing the final testing remotely at the required level of quality and attention would end up costing the same (or even much more) as shipping the devices around the world more than once.  Plus, in that case the entire order fulfillment system, including the customer support, would have to be performed on a remote site as well, which would probably become really messy really fast.

Yeah, I think it's only viable if we have somebody there as part of the team willing to do such a thing, otherwise the benefits die off real fast as you suggest.

(03-27-2021, 03:00 AM)dsimic Wrote: That accident will surely produce a ripple effect. Smile  It seems that the ship still remains stuck in the Suez Canal?

Yes: https://www.vesselfinder.com/?imo=9811000

Best estimates suggest another 3 weeks (if all goes well). If cargo starts falling off or they damage the ship pulling it out - all bets are off. As if there were not already part delays, this will surely add to the problem.

(03-27-2021, 03:00 AM)dsimic Wrote: I am really sorry that I cannot find that forum thread again so you can read it yourself.  However, once a device becomes commercially viable, it has already become profitable and self-sustaining.  At that point, it would be rather questionable to pretty much hand off the device to somebody else?

Yep. As in your case, you have decided to run with it anyway and are bringing it into small volume production.

(03-27-2021, 03:00 AM)dsimic Wrote: I also have no idea, really.  I've already exhausted all options known to me.

So I think we operate under the assumption that we won't have any input from them. I guess the next step will be to move this discussion to somewhere more robust. I will checkout the possibility of setting up a forum tonight and see how that goes...
  Reply
#49
(03-28-2021, 01:47 PM)barray Wrote:
(03-27-2021, 03:00 AM)dsimic Wrote: My only concern would be that getting someone doing the final testing remotely at the required level of quality and attention would end up costing the same (or even much more) as shipping the devices around the world more than once.  Plus, in that case the entire order fulfillment system, including the customer support, would have to be performed on a remote site as well, which would probably become really messy really fast.

Yeah, I think it's only viable if we have somebody there as part of the team willing to do such a thing, otherwise the benefits die off real fast as you suggest.

Let's just remember huge QA issues that Pine64 had with one of the PineBook Pro batches.  As a result of the pandemic, nobody from Pine64 was able to be present at the China factory and oversee the manufacturing and QA for that batch, which resulted in a really big mess.  Many people received their PineBook Pros that were faulty in all kinds of different ways.  AFAIK, those faults were resolved under the warranty, which was a good move from Pine64, but it must have caused them a big financial hit.

(03-28-2021, 01:47 PM)barray Wrote: Best estimates suggest another 3 weeks (if all goes well). If cargo starts falling off or they damage the ship pulling it out - all bets are off. As if there were not already part delays, this will surely add to the problem.

It looks really bad, very much like the definition of clogged-up bottleneck. Undecided  Let's hope that the rescue operation will go according to plan.

   

(03-28-2021, 01:47 PM)barray Wrote: So I think we operate under the assumption that we won't have any input from them. I guess the next step will be to move this discussion to somewhere more robust. I will checkout the possibility of setting up a forum tonight and see how that goes...

I'd suggest that we keep the discussion here, at least for now.  That way, if we get even one more community member onboard the project for the open storage device, it would be great.  Also, who knows, maybe we'll eventually get some feedback from Pine64, although we should move forward without any expectations.
  Reply
#50
(03-28-2021, 03:04 PM)dsimic Wrote: Let's just remember huge QA issues that Pine64 had with one of the PineBook Pro batches.  As a result of the pandemic, nobody from Pine64 was able to be present at the China factory and oversee the manufacturing and QA for that batch, which resulted in a really big mess.  Many people received their PineBook Pros that were faulty in all kinds of different ways.  AFAIK, those faults were resolved under the warranty, which was a good move from Pine64, but it must have caused them a big financial hit.

Good point.

(03-28-2021, 03:04 PM)dsimic Wrote: It looks really bad, very much like the definition of clogged-up bottleneck. Undecided  Let's hope that the rescue operation will go according to plan.

Given the current trend of things, I have a pessimistic outlook. On the plus side, hopefully it gives the world an opportunity to reorganize their supply chains so that they rely less on shipping stuff all around the world - which is not particularly sustainable.

(03-28-2021, 03:04 PM)dsimic Wrote: I'd suggest that we keep the discussion here, at least for now. 

It'll take a while to set something up anyway... I really want to be able to group discussions so that they make more logical sense, I think so far we have the greater subjects of 'software', 'hardware' and 'production'. Then for each of those is several important discussions that need to happen. Long threads tend to result in lost information in the long run.

(03-28-2021, 03:04 PM)dsimic Wrote: That way, if we get even one more community member onboard the project for the open storage device, it would be great.

I hope so. The other option is that we post updates back to this forum to incorporate feedback from the community. People post about significant software updates for example, I don't think it's unreasonable as long as we don't spam and the device still relies on the BL602.

(03-28-2021, 03:04 PM)dsimic Wrote: Also, who knows, maybe we'll eventually get some feedback from Pine64, although we should move forward without any expectations.

It's now been almost a month of hoping for some feedback. I'm not going to hold my breath - I have no idea what we have to do to get some attention.
  Reply


Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  E-Note Device (E-Ink, E-Paper, Project Idea) Sirius 9 1,967 08-18-2021, 08:28 AM
Last Post: biketool
  New product idea: Pine Glasses Blathers 1 280 07-28-2021, 04:08 AM
Last Post: barray
  PineVR as a new product? poVoq 11 4,511 05-31-2021, 09:33 AM
Last Post: MirceaKitsune
Lightbulb Product Idea: Pine Graphics Tablet israel 7 1,607 04-17-2021, 08:13 AM
Last Post: israel
  Product Idea : PineProbe fdlamotte 3 980 04-07-2021, 06:19 AM
Last Post: fdlamotte
  Product Hopes for new Rockchip series TailorHouse 11 2,740 03-14-2021, 01:08 PM
Last Post: dsimic
  [PRODUCT IDEA] PineCalc Computer semi-expert 0 495 02-23-2021, 06:00 PM
Last Post: Computer semi-expert
  Pine/ARM mATX motherboard product? ashleymills 8 4,549 08-25-2020, 04:31 PM
Last Post: derekn
Exclamation Idea, smart display, and TV box? mzs.112000 2 1,706 01-06-2020, 05:20 AM
Last Post: Danct12

Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 2 Guest(s)