Author Topic: Agilent scope options/licenses  (Read 14267 times)

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Offline shb7

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Agilent scope options/licenses
« on: May 31, 2012, 01:07:48 am »
Hi all,

I just purchased an Agilent MSO-X3054A (who hoo!) but there is something a bit strange about the configuration. This was a demo unit from TestEquity and I received it at a reduced price because it was technically "used". It lists a whole bunch of installed licenses with a "(d)" after each. I added the several licenses that I purchased and the little "(d)" next to each went away. What does "(d)" indicate? It seems like I already have access to all of the features, even the ones I did not purchase - is this some kind of temporary demo mode that will expire? The back of the scope says "Option: DST DEMO" - when I look that up it is listed as "distribution demo".

Thanks for your help,

Sean
 

Offline w2aew

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2012, 01:12:57 am »
The (d) most likely stands for a "demo" license.  These licenses will typically expire after a fixed number of uses, or after a certain period of time.  Not sure how Agilent handles the "distribution demo" licenses.
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Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2012, 01:22:56 am »
On the older scopes it shows the expiry dates on trial licenses- see if there is any additional info in the licensing menu.
I wouldn't think distributor demo licenses would expire, but maybe there is some reduced functionality or something - not sure why they would be labelled as different. Maybe the distributors are supposed to delete them if they sell demo units.
Sounds like you may have scored a load of freebies...

 
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Offline shb7

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2012, 03:46:12 am »
Thanks for the replies. I think the mystery is solved - one of my installed licenses is called "DIS(2012-6-29)" I think that this is the license that is temporarily unlocking all the other features and will expire at the end of next month :)
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2012, 09:31:25 am »
Remember when,if you bought an instrument,it would do exactly what it was supposed to do,no more,no less.
And if it didn't work properly you got upset.
Now it seems,you buy something & you have to buy a lot of other crap to make it do anything!
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2012, 09:42:41 am »
Now it seems,you buy something & you have to buy a lot of other crap to make it do anything!

I voiced that opinion before and got accused of wanting to get everything for free. And yet still I hate this piecemeal selling.
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Offline tom66

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2012, 10:35:19 am »
What I don't get is would it count as piracy/EULA violation to enable these features? given the scope already has them (they are just software switches.) I find it rotten of manufacturers to sell you a scope that can do everything but then you have to unlock it by paying through the nose. At least give me a bit of hardware (more than an eeprom) which plugs into it...
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2012, 10:53:16 am »
Unless you signed an agreement not to, you are free to use it.
The dealer may have hassles for selling it with those licenses, but that's their problem, not yours.
 
 
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Offline tom66

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2012, 11:04:30 am »
Thanks for the replies. I think the mystery is solved - one of my installed licenses is called "DIS(2012-6-29)" I think that this is the license that is temporarily unlocking all the other features and will expire at the end of next month :)

Take the clock battery out of the scope and change the time and date... Free license?
 

Offline T4P

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2012, 04:43:39 pm »
Thanks for the replies. I think the mystery is solved - one of my installed licenses is called "DIS(2012-6-29)" I think that this is the license that is temporarily unlocking all the other features and will expire at the end of next month :)

Take the clock battery out of the scope and change the time and date... Free license?

 ;D
 

Offline StubbornGreek

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2012, 06:20:11 pm »
Now it seems,you buy something & you have to buy a lot of other crap to make it do anything!

I voiced that opinion before and got accused of wanting to get everything for free. And yet still I hate this piecemeal selling.

You would think that the entire consumer market would agree with you (I certainly do). These scopes are sold with enough margin for profit that if no one purchased another option, Agilent would still profit. Gimping hardware through software should be abolished (IMHO) - if you don't want us to have it, don't put it in there.
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Offline SeanB

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2012, 06:47:12 pm »
I agree, the features are there, but the key does not allow it. I have the same issues.
 

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2012, 07:06:19 pm »
Thanks for the replies. I think the mystery is solved - one of my installed licenses is called "DIS(2012-6-29)" I think that this is the license that is temporarily unlocking all the other features and will expire at the end of next month :)
..so remember to keep setting the clock back as far as it will go...

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Offline _Sin

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2012, 07:22:53 pm »
You would think that the entire consumer market would agree with you (I certainly do). These scopes are sold with enough margin for profit that if no one purchased another option, Agilent would still profit. Gimping hardware through software should be abolished (IMHO) - if you don't want us to have it, don't put it in there.

To put that another way, only hardware has value - software is worth nothing and should be free.

I'm not sure I agree with that.

I can't say I really think Agilent (nor anyone else) are doing anything wrong by selling software licenses, rather than anything physical. The value to you as a consumer is the same - you're not buying a quantity of copper, silicon, etc. - it's the functionality you want. Agilent can, and will, sell stuff at whatever price the market will sustain.

I think hacking around on something you've bought, trying to make it do something new is entirely fair game, but demanding that you get handed something for nothing is a bit rich.
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Offline StubbornGreek

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2012, 07:34:17 pm »
You would think that the entire consumer market would agree with you (I certainly do). These scopes are sold with enough margin for profit that if no one purchased another option, Agilent would still profit. Gimping hardware through software should be abolished (IMHO) - if you don't want us to have it, don't put it in there.

To put that another way, only hardware has value - software is worth nothing and should be free.

I'm not sure I agree with that.

I can't say I really think Agilent (nor anyone else) are doing anything wrong by selling software licenses, rather than anything physical. The value to you as a consumer is the same - you're not buying a quantity of copper, silicon, etc. - it's the functionality you want. Agilent can, and will, sell stuff at whatever price the market will sustain.

I think hacking around on something you've bought, trying to make it do something new is entirely fair game, but demanding that you get handed something for nothing is a bit rich.

I don't think that we're looking at this from the same perspective. I never said that software should be free; I fully support purchasing licenses for the software you use.

Let's put this another way: You purchase a vacuum cleaner, bring it home and start vacuuming. You get done with 90% of the vacuuming and realize that you can't do the hardwood in the dining room because the vacuum has auto-detected you are on a hard surface and requires you to purchase a separate license key to make the hardware you already own do something it can already do.  :o

A bit stupid, no?

Again, to be clear, I never stated that software should be free. However, it should not be used to limit hardware.
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Offline _Sin

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2012, 07:49:44 pm »
I don't think that we're looking at this from the same perspective. I never said that software should be free; I fully support purchasing licenses for the software you use.

Let's put this another way: You purchase a vacuum cleaner, bring it home and start vacuuming. You get done with 90% of the vacuuming and realize that you can't do the hardwood in the dining room because the vacuum has auto-detected you are on a hard surface and requires you to purchase a separate license key to make the hardware you already own do something it can already do.  :o

A bit stupid, no?

Again, to be clear, I never stated that software should be free. However, it should not be used to limit hardware.

But that's nothing like what Agilent are doing. You get exactly what you have paid for. It doesn't unexpectedly stop working and demand money. If you buy the scope without wave-gen, you wouldn't expect the wave-gen to work.

The prices reflect the features you want to use. What does it actually matter if you get hardware, software, or a license code?

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Offline StubbornGreek

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2012, 08:01:05 pm »
I don't think that we're looking at this from the same perspective. I never said that software should be free; I fully support purchasing licenses for the software you use.

Let's put this another way: You purchase a vacuum cleaner, bring it home and start vacuuming. You get done with 90% of the vacuuming and realize that you can't do the hardwood in the dining room because the vacuum has auto-detected you are on a hard surface and requires you to purchase a separate license key to make the hardware you already own do something it can already do.  :o

A bit stupid, no?

Again, to be clear, I never stated that software should be free. However, it should not be used to limit hardware.

But that's nothing like what Agilent are doing. You get exactly what you have paid for. It doesn't unexpectedly stop working and demand money. If you buy the scope without wave-gen, you wouldn't expect the wave-gen to work.

The prices reflect the features you want to use. What does it actually matter if you get hardware, software, or a license code?

Ok, taking my absurd vacuum example a step further then. Suppose you were told (when purchasing the vacuum) that you could use it on the carpet but if you wanted to use it on bare floors, you needed to pay extra and they would unlock that feature? Outrage comes to mind for me. You can say that its not the same thing because one is an oscilloscope and the other is for cleaning you home/office/etc. In the end, they're both tools.

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Offline _Sin

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2012, 08:15:14 pm »
A shop sells a device which does "A" at a price of 1000 dubloons.
The also sell a device which does "A" and also "B" at a price of 1500 dubloons.

The choice you have to make is whether or not "B" is worth an extra 500 dubloons.

What you're saying, is that if "B" is software, it's outrageous, but if "B" is hardware, it's ok.
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Offline StubbornGreek

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2012, 08:19:47 pm »
A shop sells a device which does "A" at a price of 1000 dubloons.
The also sell a device which does "A" and also "B" at a price of 1500 dubloons.

The choice you have to make is whether or not "B" is worth an extra 500 dubloons.

What you're saying, is that if "B" is software, it's outrageous, but if "B" is hardware, it's ok.

I'm saying that if devices A and B are the same with the only difference being that device A is limited through additional effort, then there is no justification for the additional 500 dubloons for device B.  :)
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Offline free_electron

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2012, 08:25:16 pm »
economy of scale at work.

agilent design are heavy on custom asics. asics that cost a lot of money. so they design only 1. and use everywhere.

Can't afford or do not need top notch ?  : we still will only make 1 board : the volume is larger so the overall cost goes down in production. so we 'limit' the capabilities and sell at lower price.
Do need higher performance ? you will pay a larger part of the devcosts ...
Can't afoord top notch now ? buy lower grade and upgrade as you go ... your scope has a longer lifetime ... and you don't need to shell out for a totally new box every few years. Teh scope grows

I think that is very clever.

The hardware cost is identical between machines. if you need more features you pay a larger fraction of the development cost. That's all.
It allows people to step into a scope series and 'grow' as they go. I think it's great.
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Offline _Sin

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2012, 08:28:02 pm »
I'm saying that if devices A and B are the same with the only difference being that device A is limited through additional effort, then there is no justification for the additional 500 dubloons for device B.  :)

The justification is that 'B' has *value*, and they'd like to make money from it, rather than giving you it for nothing.

The alternative here, is not that we get stuff for nothing. The alternative is that companies go back to stuff being plug-in hardware modules or something, and charge even *more*, at the same time as being less convenient. I think that would be a bad thing.

And only a subset of stuff Agilent sell licenses for are actually crippled hardware (memory, most notably) - the rest are software features. Some, indeed, require hardware anyway (new probes, in the case of the highest speeds and mixed signal option).
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Offline StubbornGreek

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2012, 09:00:18 pm »
Just to be clear, I wasn't singling out Agilent here, I could have just as easily said Apple (or many others). I understand your point of view but what I'm saying is that the cost of the device is covered by the baseline sale...don't be greedy.
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Offline _Sin

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2012, 09:13:45 pm »
Just to be clear, I wasn't singling out Agilent here, I could have just as easily said Apple (or many others). I understand your point of view but what I'm saying is that the cost of the device is covered by the baseline sale...don't be greedy.

Basically, you'd like things to be cheaper. Wouldn't we all! :)

Out of interest, what have Apple sold in this way?

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Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2012, 12:37:25 am »
It is justifiable with a computer,as it is a general purpose device,which you can "customise" as required.
An Oscilloscope,on the other hand,is a Test Instrument,which should be usable straight out of the box.

I'm not talking about wave gens & crap like that.
I'm referring to the fact that some devices cannot perform their most basic functions satisfactorily,so the fix is to download some kind of "bodge" in the form of a new generation of software.(And pay money for it!)
OK,that has been a satisfactory business model for Microsoft,but if I was a boss who found that the 'scope I bought at great expense didn't work,I would go elsewhere.

There are precedents in hardware stuff-- Tektronix 650 series,& Philips LDN xxx picture monitors
come to mind. ;D
But they were just stuffups---some of the software stuff seems intentional!

 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2012, 03:55:39 am »
the agilents are perfectly usable straight out of the box.
but , if you want deeper acquisition memory you are going to pay extra for that. it is an option. period. and yes it is built in the asic by default , just disabled , thats all.
if you want the machine to race faster : pay extra. period.
Want extra signal decoders ? pay.

it makes the machine cheaper for people that dont need it , and it can be upgraded.

Pick your option ?
-  buying an underperforming scope today because the one you need is out of budget becasue it has too many things you dont care about. sigh .. if only those were options...
- buying a new machine every year. because this year you canonly afford a machine with 1 meg ememory , and 3 years from now you are going to cough up full price to get more memory.

- buy the machine you need today, knowing that, in a few year when you will need performance you can just pay the difference and they will unlock the machines.

That last scenario is why agilent does it that way. it is brilliant because you can step in the platform and it will grow as your needs increase. you can write off the machine over many more years and in the end you save money and dot have to dick around with underperforming equipment because there i sno budget to buy full systems every few years.

And on agilents side it saves them costs as well since they only need to make 1 board without variants. everything is there. they can buy parts in larger volume which makes them cheaper. And those asic's arent chickenfeed in cost. the design cost alone is staggering. and the production cost.. a piece of silicon that holds 256 megaytes of static ram that can race at 8Ghz is NOT cheap ...
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Offline dcel

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #25 on: June 01, 2012, 04:07:53 am »
Even buying a base model Agilent scope, the hardware and the software is already in the scope. You just have to pay more to use it. ( With exception of the 2 channel vs 4 channel versions, some hardware is missing.) The MDOX is there also, just need the flying lead set to use the hardware and license key for the software. Same with the signal generator.

They are in fact selling you the fully loaded hardware and software at a discount due to the fact that they locked out the higher hardware and software functions. So, if that is the case, they have already made their money on the hardware and software, you cannot sell anything at a loss and stay in business. Anything that you buy above and beyond the base model is pure profit for them. Profiteering at its best. Every company is guilty of it, its called doing business.

A good example is Rigol and their ds1052e and ds1102e scopes, hardware and software is the same, just type in the model number that its sold as. Same amount of money in hardware and software, just a $300 difference in selling price. As Dave said," Rigol got caught with their pants down", and someone found the hack.

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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #26 on: June 01, 2012, 06:20:17 am »
You would think that the entire consumer market would agree with you (I certainly do). These scopes are sold with enough margin for profit that if no one purchased another option, Agilent would still profit. Gimping hardware through software should be abolished (IMHO) - if you don't want us to have it, don't put it in there.

This has been discussed before.
Agilent basically only make decent profit on the high end options and versions.  And by decent profit, I mean one that sustains a huge company like Agilent that does leading edge R&D to produce scopes like this at low prices and leading the market.
No decent profit = no more R&D = no more advancement of the art
And OneHungLow leading the race to the bottom.

So they have to make big margins on the high end options so that they can give us good value at the low end as well, it's always a trade off.
Those margins might look really obscene when you know the $10,000 capability is in the $1,000 hardware, but that's basically a necessary evil in order to get good value at the low end, and keep the company and market running.

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #27 on: June 01, 2012, 07:54:31 am »
IMO paying for extra software is reasonable, but crippling hardware (bandwidth, memory) is taking the piss, and any manufacturer doing this deserves it to get hacked.
And if that hack also happens to enable extra software functions, then that's just tough & their own stupid fault.
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Offline tom66

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #28 on: June 01, 2012, 08:21:33 am »
I had a 42" Bush LCD TV to repair - it came with two HDMI ports but the manufacturer had put a cover over one of them and disabled it in software... IMO that's a rip off!
 

Offline _Sin

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #29 on: June 01, 2012, 10:00:13 am »
IMO paying for extra software is reasonable, but crippling hardware (bandwidth, memory) is taking the piss, and any manufacturer doing this deserves it to get hacked.
And if that hack also happens to enable extra software functions, then that's just tough & their own stupid fault.

I think if a manufacturer puts hardware in a machine and sells it to you, it's fair game for you to try to use it, even if they've somehow (and for whatever reason) disabled it. I don't think they should be able to claim that you can't do that, just because they haven't sold you a *license* to use a bit of hardware.

However... that *not* the same as saying that the license itself should be free. I think it's their prerogative to sell stuff in that way if they choose. So long as the widget you've bought does exactly what they said it would do when you paid for it, you're not *entitled* to more features just because the widget is technically capable.

But yes, they should expect people to hack around it, and they should live with the consequences.

My general feeling is that while there's some psychological thing that makes this all seem a bit unfair, we actually all win, provided the hacking isn't too overt and widespread. Hobbyist users can maybe get better gear than they could otherwise afford, but commercial users are paying full prices and the manufacturer turns a profit.

And I'm not sure I'd have shelled out for an Agilent scope, were it not for the possibility of hacking more functionality out of it.

Same with tom66's story about the TV. It seems like a rip-off, but really, is it? So long as the specification of the TV as they sold it stated "one HDMI port", then the buyer got exactly what they paid for. That it has a second fitted but disabled may be frustrating, but it don't think it's unfair. Presumably they sell another model with two ports enabled, but the cost of the port is less than the cost of switching or doubling-up their production line. It's cheaper for them to just flash the thing with different software. They're maximising their profit from you, the consumer. Do you expect them to do anything else? If consumers were really bothered by that kind of thing, to the extend that we refused on mass to put up with it, they'll go back to building two different models, and pass on the cost of doing so - the result being you now pay more even for the baseline TV.

It may *seem* bad, but it's probably a win. Especially if you're technically proficient enough to get around the restrictions...
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Offline ruessel

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #30 on: June 01, 2012, 10:34:48 am »
Datatec of Germany now gives away the function Gen. and the Voltmeter with every x2000/3000 Agilent.
Still don't know what to buy, a 2000 Agilent or a 4000 Rigol???

Helmut
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #31 on: June 01, 2012, 10:55:10 am »
My general feeling is that while there's some psychological thing that makes this all seem a bit unfair, we actually all win,

You know, we live in capitalism. And in capitalism the job of the buyer is not to consider the welfare of a supplier or to suck his cock. The job of a buyer is to take care of himself, and himself only. That is this market thing that is supposed to be able to fix everything.

What you, however parrot here, is the view of the vendor - to extract as much money out of a buyer as he can. That is his job in capitalism, and he gives a fart about the welfare of me, the buyer, when doing so. So why should I give a toss about a vendor's welfare?

When I am a buyer my job is to get as much value for my (or my employer's) money that I can. It is not illegal to voice an opinion as a buyer, and it is not illegal to ask for being treated better. Quite the opposite, that is my damned job as a buyer in capitalism. And it is not your job to tell me I am not supposed to fulfill my role in capitalism.

To make that clear, selling stuff piecemeal sucks big time.
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Offline _Sin

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #32 on: June 01, 2012, 11:20:05 am »
I couldn't care less about the "welfare" of the manufacturer. Nor am I "parroting" anything. I'm stating an opinion, which is that the *consumer* (i.e. you and me) is actually *better off* when manufacturers do stuff like this.

You can buy the scope with all features enabled if you like. Costs more though. Are you saying you'd prefer if they just dropped all the cheaper models with stuff disabled, and just only sold the top-end one?

Why is that better, for me, as a consumer? There would be less choice, and stuff would cost more. Awesome job!

Or are you expecting that the price for that top-end unit will actually be the same as the low-end unit is sold for now, just because the hardware production costs are the same? You're welcome to demand that all you like, and it would be lovely if everything was cheaper, but the only way it's going to happen is if people stop buying the things at all. The market has to say "we will not pay this price". Right now it seems that the market in general is only too happy to pay a premium for the full capabilities of the device.

No-one is losing out. At worst, this just exposes the huge profit margins they're making on the top-end scopes. So you know, you can absolutely get all offended by that, and refuse to buy them. Maybe they'll bring the prices down. Probably you'll just be cutting off your nose to spite your face.

I'm not sure I entirely like it any more than anyone else does, I'm just being pragmatic about it. Bottom line is that I, as a consumer, am actually better off as a result. As a side-effect, so is Agilent.

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Online ejeffrey

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #33 on: June 01, 2012, 12:07:23 pm »
You know, we live in capitalism. And in capitalism the job of the buyer is not to consider the welfare of a supplier or to suck his cock. The job of a buyer is to take care of himself, and himself only. That is this market thing that is supposed to be able to fix everything.

Well, the point is that both sides are supposed to end up better off -- they each get a piece of the economic surplus.  The manufacturer gets a larger return for their investment and the customer gets more for their dollar.  Both sides will try to maximize their share, but they are both better off than if agilent were forced to sell all scopes for the same price, and had to set that price so they remained profitable.

It is certainly annoying to think about how you are a serial number away from extra features, but I don't think there is any compelling evidence that the unlock code model doesn't benefit both the customer and the manufacturer compared to any plausible alternatives. A pie in the sky "sell the bells and whistles for the base price" is not a plausible alternative.

If you forced Agilent to sell only completely unlocked scopes, the free market solution would be for to make the 2000 and 3000 scopes for high end customers only, and price them at $5k+, then to develop (or contract e.g. Rigol) a low-cost POS to satisfy the low-end market.  The net result is that money is wasted on developing an unnecessary low-cost scope, the manufacturing costs are higher due to smaller scale production, the low-end customers end up getting a worse product, the mid-range customers end up paying more.  The high-end customers probably win out a bit as the mid-range customers are forced to pay a bigger share of the development costs.

Show me another model that can efficiently subsidize development costs and I will be happy to say that Agilent should sell all their scopes based on the marginal production cost.  Until then, I am going to be happy that I can enjoy some of the benefits of a high end scope at a cheap price, even if I don't get 100% of the features.

 

Offline Rufus

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #34 on: June 01, 2012, 01:33:45 pm »
I couldn't care less about the "welfare" of the manufacturer. Nor am I "parroting" anything. I'm stating an opinion, which is that the *consumer* (i.e. you and me) is actually *better off* when manufacturers do stuff like this.

Not really, some win some loose and if they only offer the whole thing with no options it changes who wins and who looses. Agilent's aim is to get the most return for their costs and if the options way does that Agilent wins and customers loose. Agilent frequently offering the signal generator for free indicates it isn't clear cut that the options way is the best for them.

It is the same with all IP type products with essentially zero manufacturing and distribution costs. If I think option x is worth $50 to me then Agilent would be better off selling it to me for $50 rather than me refusing to pay $200 for it. What it is worth to you type pricing would be better for both sides but I can't think of a practical way to implement it.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #35 on: June 01, 2012, 01:49:03 pm »
IMO paying for extra software is reasonable, but crippling hardware (bandwidth, memory) is taking the piss, and any manufacturer doing this deserves it to get hacked.
And if that hack also happens to enable extra software functions, then that's just tough & their own stupid fault.

Think about it this way. The extra software and hardware comes preinstalled. All you need to do is key in a few numbers. So no mucking about with install cds flash upgrades opening the machine etc.
You are 'installing' extra software .. In the form of a key.

Many of the agilent scopes do not run an operating system and dynamically installing new software is not easy . There is only one rom image.

A firmware upgrade on my 7000 series is a complicated process. First updat the core program after which you get a special screen. Then update the graphics firmware.. Then updat the signal processing hardware then install the system software. After a powercycle you then enter the keys of the options you have and the machine is ready.

The same with the hardware. You want to double the memory... How are you going to install it ? Desolder a 1000 bin bga and swap it out ? The memory in an agilent scope sits in the processing asic. They do not use off the shelf parts because there are too many limitations and ot is too expensive.
To give you an idea. The databus inside the processing asic is 128 bits wide.. The static ram in there has a sub 1nS access time. You dont find parts like that as standalone...

And you would need a very expensive board too.

Go take a look at daves teardown of his 2000 and 3000.

If you want i can do a teardown of a 831 , which is older but uses the same architecture. Its all custom asics. They dont muck about with fpga's and 'make do' stuff.
The cost of the asic is staggering

They sell the base model at break even price. Want more ? Pay more.
Their employees need to live too , and they need money for research on the next famile of machines.
Can't afford it ? Feel free to keep mucking around with wing-pang-tron.

But, know that, if you need more performance they will happily provide. You dont have to buy a complete new machine. They sel you a 16 digit piece of software. Typeit in and done. No cd's to scratch or lose, no usb drives to break , no bricking the machine by badly reflashing it.

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Offline StubbornGreek

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #36 on: June 01, 2012, 02:22:59 pm »
The points being made here (on behalf of the seller) are good ones, however, I must ask: How many users whom unlocked their Rigol 50Mhz scope to 100Mhz actually sent Rigol a cent for their efforts? How many complained that this was unfair to Rigol (lol, I looked and didn't find a single thread)?

I did mention that I wasn't targeting Agilent specifically with my statement (and as far as the purchase scale on their scopes, I do believe that the price is more than fair for the entry model). I am actually baulking at the marketing tool employed.
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Offline free_electron

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #37 on: June 01, 2012, 04:14:38 pm »
Again it is NOT a marketing tool.
Here is a breakdown of the reasoning behind it.

First off : Lat's take an example from the software world.
Microsoft office. The install CD is IDENTICAL no what version you buy. home , professional , enterprise , professional plus , with access without access. The disk is the same apart from the labeling on it. ink is cheap , the gold master that is used to press the blank cd is not cheap. So there is only one of these press masters made.
It is the key that decides what the installer deploys on your harddisk. If you don't believe me : go download the ISO files from microsoft technet (if you have a subscription ) they are identical in size and the crc's are identical .
So they only need only one expensive pressing master and a few cheap ink tampons. Production time remains the same , and you eliminate mulitple pressing lines.

Now let's switch to a scope ( agilent / tektronix / lecroy. we are NOT talking about wing-plang-fong dps/fpga based crap here . we are talking real machines )

I am going to introduce a new line of scopes. 4 sampling speeds 5 memory depths which gives me 20 permutations... and there wil be a 2 channel and a 4 channel version of each.

i follow the viewpoint of : the user should only pay what he gets and we will not restrict anything artificially. A 100Mhz machine is just that. Cannot be upgraded and we use parts specifically designed for that purpose.  Now , the chip that drives 1 channel has to be made in 20 flavors... the circuit board has to be made in 40 flavors... ( remember : no 'extra's according to the viewpoint ! )
This means i have to build 40 hardware platforms and have 20 different asics designed.
Let's take a look at the spread shall we ?
let's say we anticipate a total of 100000 scopes over the lifetime of the product. 50% of these will be low end. ( 2 channel with 2 lowest memory ranges and 2 lowest sampling speeds. )
25% will be mid range
15% will by high end
9% will be very high end
1% will be full mem , max sampling 4 channels scopes.

The maskset for an asic , irrespective of how large it is , of this complexitiy ( even for lowest bandwidth , lowest memory ) will set you bank 4 to 5 million US$. you can easily spread that across the low end scopes.. for the 1% .. or 400 chips that maskset becomes a kick in the pants... and starting a run of wafers for 400 chips... don't work either.
if you add all these costs together ( 40 boards, 20 masksets , all the parts ) and you look at the total lump sum of money you are going to spend , just in 'materials' and call this 'exhibit A'
The cost delta between low end and top notch is going to be fenomenal.. since we go from a 4 layer board with 2 asics to a 10 layer , stacked ptfe board with 4 super expensive asics ...

Now, we are going to make 1 chip with 1 board. we will between 200000 and  400000 of these chips (depending on the channel mix , it can be 2 or 4 per scope.) sure we will make a more expensive pcb , even in the scopes that dont need it. but a pcb is peanuts compared to the asic costs... we are going to total the numbers and call this exhibit 'b'

B will be lower than a becasue we have economy of scale. we dont need 40 product codes in assembly we don't need to stock 40 different products we only need 2 products in stock : a 2 channel and a 4 channel and that is just a stuffing options , place part / do not place part. the rest is firmware... wo our warehouse can be smaller..

Lump all these aspect together and you will find that exhibit b is the only liveable ... it will be cheaper than the 50% of the low end of the scopes.

So this perceived artificial restriction is bullshit. It's the only way you can make these machines at a decent price point.
Agilent actually does a crossmix... they have 2 hardware platforms ( i use the 9000 series as an example here. these start at 20K$ and go all the way up to well over 100K$ ... if you jump into the 'extreme' X series it pushes beyond 250K$ ) each in a 2 and 4 channel version. Once you go over a certain sample speed you need a new digitizer card. The rest of the machine is identical. The reason is that the high end card would have lifted the bottom proice too much and no profit could be made.

There is no 'evil complot' behind this or 'artifial restriction in software'. you get what you pay for. how it is done internally is none of your concern.
besides , the same is done in dvd , blu ray, tv and other mass volume stuff too. the central processor in these things is all the same chip. just different firmware.. firmware that is there but has lock bits set .. or sometimes they blow fuses in the chip to deliberately cripple it so you can't hack it to full spec.
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Offline Neilm

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #38 on: June 01, 2012, 04:31:53 pm »
One good thing about the way Agilent market these scopes is for confronting the accountant.

I have just put in a justification for choosing this scope was that I can upgrade it to a faster scope or add the waveform generator at minimal extra cost.

It'll be interesting to know if it works

Neil
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Offline StubbornGreek

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Re: Agilent scope options/licenses
« Reply #39 on: June 01, 2012, 06:46:30 pm »
I have to say, I enjoy your posts even when I don't agree with certain points. I concede to the pricing of the Agilent scopes as you make a very valid argument for their pricing structure - again though, my point was not to single out Agilent, I really like their products.

However, a couple of things: First, comparing a software license (MS Products) to a hardware solution is not a fair juxtaposition.

Also, the following statement would render a large portion of the tinkerers (and a good part of this site) inert.

how it is done internally is none of your concern.
"The reward of a thing well done is to have it done"
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