Author Topic: Reasons for hacking DSOs  (Read 92370 times)

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Offline Brumby

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #200 on: March 23, 2016, 06:08:57 am »
Bottom line is, the Marketing Folks are wanting to have it both ways... cheap and quick release of the lower-end product, while NOT paying for the cost of actually MAKING a different product, or even differentiating the products in any reasonably secure manner.

For starters, it's the customer that pays.  The customer is the one who wants the world in a product for a penny price - and the manufacturers are merely adapting production processes to deliver.  The customer is also demanding convenience and immediacy in addressing after sales matters, such as support, warranty, repairs and upgrades.

But I smell hypocrisy...

While the marketing folks, bean counters, management, designers, developers and warehouse might want to have it both ways - it is the customer who is DEMANDING to have it both ways.

You use the word 'lazy' - but that is not what is being described.  The correct word is efficient - producing the maximum result for the minimum expenditure of resources.  If you honestly want manufacturers to make truly differentiated products - will you be willing to pay for it?  (I can hear the screams of outrage already...)


Quote
My personal opinion is that those are IMAGINED profits, and one cannot hold someone responsible for IMAGINED losses, only REAL ones.
Oh, the losses are real, alright.  It's just that they are not easy to measure.  Doesn't make them any less relevant.
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #201 on: March 23, 2016, 06:50:00 am »
Quote
Yes, they DID have to develop some plugins for the *NIX HAL, and the GUI must have taken all of a week to come up with... that is real and unique R&D that should be recouped. And it IS... in the base price of the cheapest models. As is the cost of the extra RAM, and the cost of the special switching hardware they use to attenuate the scope above the "Paid For" feature level.

Bottom line is, the Marketing Folks are wanting to have it both ways... cheap and quick release of the lower-end product, while NOT paying for the cost of actually MAKING a different product, or even differentiating the products in any reasonably secure manner. Or at least, so say those who keep taking the side of the Stef Murky set. My personal opinion is that those are IMAGINED profits, and one cannot hold someone responsible for IMAGINED losses, only REAL ones.
Wow, what a load of BS. How you do know if, say, Rigol makes a profit at all, currently? Do you do their books? Do you know their payroll? Taxes? Leases? Loan/interest payments? All their costs of operation? Any given company at any given time can be losing huge money on any given product. Huge.

Xbox... huge loser for Microsoft.

Amazon... years and years of huge losses, buying market share.

Any given year, some scope company may go out of business. At any given time, competing companies may be waging a war of attrition on each other. Or they may be selling some of their product line at a huge loss (at least for the foreseeable future) in order to gain market share while making a bigger profit on other products... Anyhow, the long development cycle being what it is for a scope, the actual profit/loss on any given model is really not applicable. It's more like social security. The current sales are paying dev for today's payroll, marketing, support, and others costs of operation, and hopefully some left for R&D future product... Sale is sale. Money is money.  It could be many thousands of units before they will turn a book profit on a scope. They may NEVER make a profit. There will be some winners and some losers. A company might have spent a couple years designing a sweet 4 channel 50MHz scope for the bargain price of only $600.00 range.... only to find out they're up against Rigols latest bargain scope at 50% less. Again, not that it even matters if THIS specific product makes profit or not.

In business you are either making money or losing money. There's no in between. There's nothing wrong with maximizing profit on a particular product (if there is even any to begin with).

Scopes are so cheap and quick to design, this is why Tek is now selling rebranded scopes instead of making their own, of course... No, they're doing whatever it takes to remain relevant and in business.

As for your real vs imagined profits? I was never going to pay for this music and movies, anyway, right? So I can watch it on a torrent and I'm not hurting anyone?
« Last Edit: March 23, 2016, 07:15:43 am by KL27x »
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #202 on: March 23, 2016, 09:59:57 am »
People who want to do the wrong thing will justify it every which way until the cows come home.

And the justifications will be difficult to distinguish from trolling.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline Brumby

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #203 on: March 23, 2016, 01:59:52 pm »
People who want to do the wrong thing will justify it every which way until the cows come home.

And the justifications will be difficult to distinguish from trolling.

Quite true.  More than once I've done a double-take on some of these before deciding to respond or ignore...
 

Offline mnementh

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #204 on: March 23, 2016, 02:17:06 pm »
Bottom line is, the Marketing Folks are wanting to have it both ways... cheap and quick release of the lower-end product, while NOT paying for the cost of actually MAKING a different product, or even differentiating the products in any reasonably secure manner.

For starters, it's the customer that pays.  The customer is the one who wants the world in a product for a penny price - and the manufacturers are merely adapting production processes to deliver.  The customer is also demanding convenience and immediacy in addressing after sales matters, such as support, warranty, repairs and upgrades.

But I smell hypocrisy...

While the marketing folks, bean counters, management, designers, developers and warehouse might want to have it both ways - it is the customer who is DEMANDING to have it both ways.

You use the word 'lazy' - but that is not what is being described.  The correct word is efficient - producing the maximum result for the minimum expenditure of resources.  If you honestly want manufacturers to make truly differentiated products - will you be willing to pay for it?  (I can hear the screams of outrage already...)


Quote
My personal opinion is that those are IMAGINED profits, and one cannot hold someone responsible for IMAGINED losses, only REAL ones.
Oh, the losses are real, alright.  It's just that they are not easy to measure.  Doesn't make them any less relevant.

EVERYTHING you've stated here is a matter of opinion or conjecture, no less than you claim MY statements to be.

On the flip side, they could, and probably are, making money hand over fist... enough to drive Tek and HP out of the business with substandard gear that leaves the end-user to do their own quality control and bug-fix.

YES, I WILL pay for it... or I WILL buy the less expensive, lower featured product... or I will buy USED Tek gear to do what I want to do. The ONLY reason to buy the Rigol is BECAUSE it has this readily "hackable software". PERIOD.

Yes, those profits ARE imagined. But that extra $160 / scope whether the customer USES that software or not is NOT imagined. I JUST SHOWED IT in black and white.

Quote
Yes, they DID have to develop some plugins for the *NIX HAL, and the GUI must have taken all of a week to come up with... that is real and unique R&D that should be recouped. And it IS... in the base price of the cheapest models. As is the cost of the extra RAM, and the cost of the special switching hardware they use to attenuate the scope above the "Paid For" feature level.

Bottom line is, the Marketing Folks are wanting to have it both ways... cheap and quick release of the lower-end product, while NOT paying for the cost of actually MAKING a different product, or even differentiating the products in any reasonably secure manner. Or at least, so say those who keep taking the side of the Stef Murky set. My personal opinion is that those are IMAGINED profits, and one cannot hold someone responsible for IMAGINED losses, only REAL ones.
Wow, what a load of BS. How you do know if, say, Rigol makes a profit at all, currently? Do you do their books? Do you know their payroll? Taxes? Leases? Loan/interest payments? All their costs of operation? Any given company at any given time can be losing huge money on any given product. Huge.

Xbox... huge loser for Microsoft.

Amazon... years and years of huge losses, buying market share.

Any given year, some scope company may go out of business. At any given time, competing companies may be waging a war of attrition on each other. Or they may be selling some of their product line at a huge loss (at least for the foreseeable future) in order to gain market share while making a bigger profit on other products... Anyhow, the long development cycle being what it is for a scope, the actual profit/loss on any given model is really not applicable. It's more like social security. The current sales are paying dev for today's payroll, marketing, support, and others costs of operation, and hopefully some left for R&D future product... Sale is sale. Money is money.  It could be many thousands of units before they will turn a book profit on a scope. They may NEVER make a profit. There will be some winners and some losers. A company might have spent a couple years designing a sweet 4 channel 50MHz scope for the bargain price of only $600.00 range.... only to find out they're up against Rigols latest bargain scope at 50% less. Again, not that it even matters if THIS specific product makes profit or not.

In business you are either making money or losing money. There's no in between. There's nothing wrong with maximizing profit on a particular product (if there is even any to begin with).

Scopes are so cheap and quick to design, this is why Tek is now selling rebranded scopes instead of making their own, of course... No, they're doing whatever it takes to remain relevant and in business.

As for your real vs imagined profits? I was never going to pay for this music and movies, anyway, right? So I can watch it on a torrent and I'm not hurting anyone?

Lets not even get STARTED on the RIAA and their socially, economically and ethically retarded stance that even in the age where the CUSTOMER provides and pays for the production and DELIVERY of their product, THEY still have the right to DEMAND to get paid on the antiquated "Pay for Play" business model. They keep trying to pervert the law to the point that they can essentially have the deal they USED to have in the '40-60s; where somebody ELSE paid for a jukebox, paid THEM for the media, and then paid them AGAIN for every damned time that media got played. And THEN did everything they could to pay the artist ONCE, hourly. As cheaply as possible.

GOOD Scopes are expensive... but not everybody NEEDS a good scope. We're only having this conversation because Rigol And Hantek, et al have put together some "good enough" scopes... and have sold  them cheaply enough, long enough to drive Tek and Agilent out of everything but the domestic Lab and Engineering markets.

Yes, those losses ARE imagined. As is their "Right" to set multiple prices for the same damned product.

In America, the LAW is that you have to "aggressively defend your IP" or you by default you lose the right to it. THIS is why you constantly see Apple, et al suing over EVERY LITTLE THING that the Chinese knock-offs steal from their products; this is why we have such a thing as specialists in "Trade Dress".

These manufacturers have EXPLOITED that law to their benefit; EVERYTHING about their product is a copy of designs created by companies like HP and Tek, who actually did the R&D, figured out WHAT TOOLS WE NEEDED, and then FIGURED OUT how to make a usable tool to DO THOSE THINGS, and figured out HOW that tool needed to work to be usable. They CREATED and DEFINED the market, AND the tools that were needed.

HP and Tek did NOT "aggressively defend their IP", and now they're essentially only niche manufacturers in a market THEY CREATED.

And you're RIGHT... there's nothing wrong with maximizing profits... as long as you're willing to accept the COSTS of YOUR CHOSEN METHOD of maximizing those profits. In this case, the COST of that maximization is that a certain percent of Rigol's product is going to be hacked, because they DID NOT bother to pay the initial costs of effectively differentiating their base product from their upscale product. In FACT, they have continued to grow BECAUSE of that fact.

You try to paint them as losers in this deal; they are not. They are WINNING to the tune of $160/unit. EVERY. SINGLE. UNIT.

The law of supply and demand is fulfilled; they win, we relative few who can "hack" our scopes win, and they gain market share BECAUSE their scopes can be "hacked". That "Hackability" IS A FEATURE. It is one they've used to take away market share from the big names. And CLEARLY they've been making a profit at it; they've been doing it for 2 decades.

When and if they do implement security measures to prevent that hackage, we will vote with our feet. We will buy what we can afford that meets our needs; we will buy from another manufacturer who offers more features, or whose product is still "hackable" for more features, or we will buy used product from Tek or HP that DOES meet our needs. Up till now, my own hobbyists needs have been met by a Tek 2465 and 2230 that I bought when I was in the industry and could afford them. Even NOW, a decent, calibrated 2465 from a reputable vendor sells in the range of $600-800 on eBay.

THAT says a lot about the relative values of these products, and who REALLY is losing every time we buy one of these "good enough" scopes.

You are trying to paint "hacking" as a "Black vs White" issue... when like everything in business, it is all shades of grey. And Rigol, Hantek, et al have carved a niche for themselves in this market BASED ON PLAYING those shades of grey against each other; as has every damned corporation that has EVER existed. In business, illegal or not doesn't matter unless you get caught; and even if you DO get caught, it doesn't matter unless it costs you REAL MONEY, and enough of it to outweigh the profits you're making breaking the law. Rigol, Hantek, et al... even the big names are playing this game.

Why should we end-users be the only ones who DON'T benefit from the game they're already playing against US?

YES, those losses ARE imagined. Especially since Rigol is WINNING to the tune of $160/unit, while Tek's best value lies in used gear that has changed hands a dozen times. Shall we now consider every scope that sells to anybody but Tek and HP/Agilent and Le Croy and Fluke and Rodhe & Schwarz, to be REAL losses to them? Shall we feel sorry for Tek and HP and all the others who've defined what a modern scope is; shall we defend THEIR IP the way you expect us to defend that of Hantek, Rigol et al? ESPECIALLY since the basic nuts and bolts of ANY modern scope is essentially THEIR IP?

Of course not. This is BUSINESS. And real profits trump imagined losses EVERY. DAMNED. TIME. And Rigol, et al are taking those real profits directly to the bank.


mnem
Gimme a fu**ing break.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2016, 04:39:59 pm by mnementh »
 

Offline Kilrah

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #205 on: March 23, 2016, 02:34:30 pm »
As an irrelevant aside, what makes you think a company did ship Windows with the hardware? It was principally a linux box, with Windows on it for occasional use.
So what? There are plenty of other operating systems you can use to unlock your hardware's full functionality, which isn't the case with an oscilloscope. Microsoft didn't provide you with the hardware, only the software. If you bought them as a bundle, then it's the stupid seller's fault for providing inadequate software for the hardware. Install a new OS or complain to the seller and get a refund.
That. The comparison doesn't hold. It would if you could buy a scope without an OS and choose your scope OS from a few existing options, and you deliberately installed one that can't make use of all the hardware's capabilities. But you're the only one to blame then, it wasn't something that was forced on you by the manufacturer.

I'm having difficulty distinguising your posts from trolling. Why? Because one trolls' technique is to continually avoid the point being made, and try to get other people's attention diverted onto irrelevancies.

How would you suggest I distinguish your posts from trolling?
I'll return the question since you just as well continuously avoid, ignore or "misunderstand" the point we make.

Huh... Ok, due to a huge group buy, we can all go to zoot.com and buy a $20.00 socket wrench for only $10.00. But only if we all buy it. This is a great deal, because for some of us, this might come in handy. The 10% of people who actually needed one are going to by happy. The rest of us are going to get a great deal on a socket wrench. Everyone happy, right?
No. You're buying a $100 toolbox and you could have one more tool for an extra $1. Who'd complain now? Even those who don't need it would say "meh OK, who knows I'll probably need it one day" Then be super happy the day they do.

No, you have been saying EVERYONE should get the same suite. And everyone should pay the same cost. And there should be only ONE model scope. One model DMM.
No. But decline your products sensibly, i.e. through hardware or software capabilities - just don't artificially cripple.

While the marketing folks, bean counters, management, designers, developers and warehouse might want to have it both ways - it is the customer who is DEMANDING to have it both ways.
Any talk that the customer is demanding is absolute BS markerting "justification". Like at your grocery store you can now find seasonal goods all year round, which is ecologically ridiculous, but when questioned they'd say "but the customer demands!" Total BS, if you didn't offer it in the first place nobody would come and ask you to add that to your assortment. Now it's there in front of them of course they won't ask themselves the question and take it. There was no demand, you created an artificial one.

The potential for a firmware update to brick the scope
That's close to 0 if you do it right. If only people took the time to do it right though, but that's another problem...

Sales: but but but...
Exact!
« Last Edit: March 23, 2016, 02:37:13 pm by Kilrah »
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #206 on: March 23, 2016, 03:17:52 pm »
I'm having difficulty distinguising your posts from trolling. Why? Because one trolls' technique is to continually avoid the point being made, and try to get other people's attention diverted onto irrelevancies.

How would you suggest I distinguish your posts from trolling?
I'll return the question since you just as well continuously avoid, ignore or "misunderstand" the point we make.

Troll => Plonk.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline KL27x

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #207 on: March 23, 2016, 05:16:07 pm »
First off I must clarify, I never took this thread as pertaining to Rigol, specifically. A lot of good points have been made pertaining specifically to Rigol.

W/e is your opinion of that company, I do not share. I have no opinion on Rigol of their business practices. I have never used one of their scopes.

Agilent and Siglent are major players for a long time. They also piecemeal their scope and have upgradeable features. If locking your memory is annoying, you would be really annoyed buying a 4 channel scope, 4 sets of BNC, 4 sets of position and voltage control... and 2 of them don't work by default! Also, tgzzz and others have shown similar cases regarding CNC milling equipment.

I'm not sure how this is a poor Tek, bad Rigol issue. But if you're so sympathetic, why are you buying Rigol in the first place? Apparently, you can't even screw them out of any money by hacking their scope, since there is no loss of profit to them using your math? BTW, in Tek's heyday, do you ever supposed they said.. Hmmm, we can manufacture this scope for $2,000.00, now. Maybe we should lower the selling price to $2,001.00? If we well 3 million of them this year without any sales personnel and marketing, and if all the extra sales don't result in any support calls, we will break even?

And can you give me a post number where you figured out Rigol's profit of $160 per unit????

The cost of the product is set to maximize profit. OR to minimize loss. You do not know what is the case. Just because they are making money on each unit doesn't mean they will actually recoup their initial investment. They already made a huge investment and took a huge gamble. Now they're lying in that bed. Selling at significantly less than other brands might be the best way to recoup most of their investment. This is why I'm curious how you can know what is their profit to the dollar per unit and how many people in the chain must share a cut of this? And how does this relate to their operating profit? And how do you know their upfront investment in the circuit design, firmware, software, assembly and testing plant, website, support and dealer chain, plastics/molds, et al?
« Last Edit: March 23, 2016, 05:51:20 pm by KL27x »
 

Offline mnementh

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #208 on: March 23, 2016, 06:25:33 pm »
First off I must clarify, I never took this thread as pertaining to Rigol, specifically. A lot of good points have been made pertaining specifically to Rigol.

W/e is your opinion of that company, I do not share. I have no opinion on Rigol of their business practices. I have never used one of their scopes.

Agilent and Siglent are major players for a long time. They also piecemeal their scope and have upgradeable features. If locking your memory is annoying, you would be really annoyed buying a 4 channel scope, 4 sets of BNC, 4 sets of position and voltage control... and 2 of them don't work by default! Also, tgzzz and others have shown similar cases regarding CNC milling equipment.

I'm not sure how this is a poor Tek, bad Rigol issue. But if you're so sympathetic, why are you buying Rigol in the first place? Apparently, you can't even screw them out of any money by hacking their scope, since there is no loss of profit to them using your math? BTW, in Tek's heyday, do you ever supposed they said.. Hmmm, we can manufacture this scope for $2,000.00, now. Maybe we should lower the selling price to $2,001.00? If we well 3 million of them this year without any sales personnel and marketing, and if all the extra sales don't result in any support calls, we will break even?

And can you give me a post number where you figured out Rigol's profit of $160 per unit????

The cost of the product is set to maximize profit. OR to minimize loss. You do not know what is the case. Just because they are making money on each unit doesn't mean they will actually recoup their initial investment. They already made a huge investment and took a huge gamble. Now they're lying in that bed. Selling at significantly less than other brands might be the best way to recoup most of their investment. This is why I'm curious how you can know what is their profit to the dollar per unit and how many people in the chain must share a cut of this? And how does this relate to their operating profit? And how do you know their upfront investment in the circuit design, firmware, software, assembly and testing plant, website, support and dealer chain, plastics/molds, et al?

I didn't say Rigol's net profit is $160... I said that the price the market will bear for those additional features is $160 right now. They are getting $160 MORE for this unit than the closest competitor, when their base specs are actually 1/2 what the Hantek lists at.

The 100MHz Hantek DSO5102 and the 50Mhz Rigol DS1054 have very similar featureset, very similar BOM and are manufactured In China, so actual tooling and supply chain are very similar. If these costs are NOT very nearly identical, then they are DOING SOMETHING WRONG and the customer should NOT be expected to pay the difference.

The current market value difference between the two, from reputable vendors, is $160. And yet, I've been told repeatedly in this very forum that the Rigol, rated at 1/2 the bandwidth, is a better value at $160 more BECAUSE of this additional software that can easily be unlocked.

That is $160 per unit, MINIMUM, plus free advertising due to brand loyalty, that they get for all their R&D on that additional software. Not too shabby, really. And the best part is that they STILL get to sell the same exact scope for more, at a dozen different prices in a dozen different market segments. And the law of Supply & Demand is still fulfilled, unlike here in the US, where a corporation is now rewarded for attempting to gain Monopoly power to circumvent that law.

Yes, most manufacturers DO sell upgrade/unlock. The difference is that they ALSO spend the time & money to actually put a LOCK on stuff rather than just zip-tie it down and say "You haven't paid for this; now don't cut that zip-tie or we'll stop liking you and refuse you warranty!!!"

THAT, IMO, is deliberately encouraging you to whip out the ol' MacGyver knife. ;) This is no different in principle from the dozen or so upgrades I've done myself on my own Tek gear from used parts and softwares bought on fleaBay. I'm not afraid to void warranties; that is part of the price I pay for modding my stuff.

Cheers!


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Offline KL27x

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #209 on: March 23, 2016, 08:13:53 pm »
Quote
Yes, most manufacturers DO sell upgrade/unlock. The difference is that they ALSO spend the time & money to actually put a LOCK on stuff rather than just zip-tie it down and say "You haven't paid for this; now don't cut that zip-tie or we'll stop liking you and refuse you warranty!!!"
Ok, this is different from a lot of people saying something to the effect of:

"I paid for the hardware, hence I already paid for the features. It's mine to unlock." These are the comments that drew myself and tgzzz and some others into the thread, and the defense of this stance is still a little shabby, IMO. (Other than some EU laws, maybe, lol.) In reality, the honest fellas who purchased the upgrade are the ones who paid (the extremely trivial cost in the case of this memory deal) for your additional hardware! And don't cry for them, because they were happy to do it. No one forced them to buy a particular scope.

You are saying, if you want people to pay for the upgrade, you should make it more difficult to get for free. Morality and legality is not a part of this "better lock" argument, at all, then. So that's fine. I can't argue with that. Although I still see a lot of valid reasons why they would choose to use a single firmware and a simple code unlock, even if their goal is to actually encourage people to pay. If you want to sell a cheaper door, you put a cheaper lock on it. And the end users benefits from a cheaper price... whether they leave it alone or they break the lock. I'm sure there are a lot of buyers who do not break this lock. Whether morality reasons, or they can't be bothered, or they don't even care what's on the other side of the door. And there are still a lot of buyers that just pay for the higher model without a second thought. So Rigol will probably continue using the cheap lock as long as it works enough of the time. Nothing immoral or lazy or stupid on the part of Rigol, there. Whether this is actually a marketing ploy and they are subliminally encouraging people to unlock their scope... uhhmm, yeah I agree it's not beyond the realm of possibility, but why go to such lengths to make a crazy theory strung together with unproveable assumptions to justify what you are doing?

In your specific case, if you would have purchased the Hantek, then I suppose it IS a win-win. This isn't the same page I was writing on.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2016, 09:39:38 pm by KL27x »
 

Offline Helix70

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #210 on: March 23, 2016, 10:59:18 pm »
First off I must clarify, I never took this thread as pertaining to Rigol, specifically. A lot of good points have been made pertaining specifically to Rigol.

W/e is your opinion of that company, I do not share. I have no opinion on Rigol of their business practices. I have never used one of their scopes.

Agilent and Siglent are major players for a long time. They also piecemeal their scope and have upgradeable features. If locking your memory is annoying, you would be really annoyed buying a 4 channel scope, 4 sets of BNC, 4 sets of position and voltage control... and 2 of them don't work by default! Also, tgzzz and others have shown similar cases regarding CNC milling equipment.

I'm not sure how this is a poor Tek, bad Rigol issue. But if you're so sympathetic, why are you buying Rigol in the first place? Apparently, you can't even screw them out of any money by hacking their scope, since there is no loss of profit to them using your math? BTW, in Tek's heyday, do you ever supposed they said.. Hmmm, we can manufacture this scope for $2,000.00, now. Maybe we should lower the selling price to $2,001.00? If we well 3 million of them this year without any sales personnel and marketing, and if all the extra sales don't result in any support calls, we will break even?

And can you give me a post number where you figured out Rigol's profit of $160 per unit????

The cost of the product is set to maximize profit. OR to minimize loss. You do not know what is the case. Just because they are making money on each unit doesn't mean they will actually recoup their initial investment. They already made a huge investment and took a huge gamble. Now they're lying in that bed. Selling at significantly less than other brands might be the best way to recoup most of their investment. This is why I'm curious how you can know what is their profit to the dollar per unit and how many people in the chain must share a cut of this? And how does this relate to their operating profit? And how do you know their upfront investment in the circuit design, firmware, software, assembly and testing plant, website, support and dealer chain, plastics/molds, et al?

I didn't say Rigol's net profit is $160... I said that the price the market will bear for those additional features is $160 right now. They are getting $160 MORE for this unit than the closest competitor, when their base specs are actually 1/2 what the Hantek lists at.

The 100MHz Hantek DSO5102 and the 50Mhz Rigol DS1054 have very similar featureset, very similar BOM and are manufactured In China, so actual tooling and supply chain are very similar. If these costs are NOT very nearly identical, then they are DOING SOMETHING WRONG and the customer should NOT be expected to pay the difference.

The current market value difference between the two, from reputable vendors, is $160. And yet, I've been told repeatedly in this very forum that the Rigol, rated at 1/2 the bandwidth, is a better value at $160 more BECAUSE of this additional software that can easily be unlocked.

That is $160 per unit, MINIMUM, plus free advertising due to brand loyalty, that they get for all their R&D on that additional software. Not too shabby, really. And the best part is that they STILL get to sell the same exact scope for more, at a dozen different prices in a dozen different market segments. And the law of Supply & Demand is still fulfilled, unlike here in the US, where a corporation is now rewarded for attempting to gain Monopoly power to circumvent that law.

Yes, most manufacturers DO sell upgrade/unlock. The difference is that they ALSO spend the time & money to actually put a LOCK on stuff rather than just zip-tie it down and say "You haven't paid for this; now don't cut that zip-tie or we'll stop liking you and refuse you warranty!!!"

THAT, IMO, is deliberately encouraging you to whip out the ol' MacGyver knife. ;) This is no different in principle from the dozen or so upgrades I've done myself on my own Tek gear from used parts and softwares bought on fleaBay. I'm not afraid to void warranties; that is part of the price I pay for modding my stuff.

Cheers!


mnem
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Rigol is 4 channel, Hantek is 2 channel. There is at least $160 right there.
 

Offline bson

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #211 on: March 23, 2016, 11:17:39 pm »

I am not a lawyer or legal scholar, but I am pretty sure that a software license is considered a valuable product and that if it is used without the proper permission - it's stealing.
This assumes there is a license.  I've never seen an scope or any other instrument that requires agreeing to a license before using it.  This means plain vanilla copyright and patent law applies - you can't make copies of the software, and you can't reimplement patented functionality and sell it.  You can of course make copies for your own use and reimplement patented functionality in your lab to your heart's content.  Without explicitly agreeing not to, you can also reverse engineer to your heart's content.

A software license is a contract.  If you haven't agreed to a contract then one doesn't exist and you're purely bound by the letter of the law, which in no way prevents you from modifying the software in your scope in any which way you like.  Maybe you think that's immoral and should be illegal, but that doesn't make it so.
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #212 on: March 24, 2016, 04:44:07 am »
That is a good point. And I think we have a winner. :)

FTR, I am one of those guys that would probably (try to) hack my scope if I ever needed to. But I am also one of those guys that would have bought a XXXMHz scope to begin with if I thought I needed it; and I probably won't ever need more than 10MHz. :-DD. If my scope is already working and doing what I need, the last thing I'm going to do is screw around with it for no reason. Every now and then I NEED it to work. And being an early adopter of a new Hantek model, I do not take that for granted.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2016, 04:56:56 am by KL27x »
 

Offline robert_

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #213 on: March 24, 2016, 08:42:43 pm »
Just wondering why that discussion pops up now, and is fought out so fierce...
20 years ago, when somebody unsoldered some SRAM and soldered in 500eur worth of larger capacity SRAM to get 10k worth of extra memory, nobody complained it might be "bad". After all, you did supply the components and did the work.
10 years ago, one moved 4 solder bridge to connect those 4 extra adress lines resulting in exactly the same outcome, also nobody thought its "bad".
You did some work after all, and well, the RAM is there, so lets use it.

Now, you use some software to do it, and suddenly its the end of the world...
Manufacturers would have the option of actually securing their stuff, just like its done on game consoles etc. They decide not to. If FLIR, Rigol or Tek would actually want to discourage "hacking", they would have implemented actual security by now, as the whole "hacking" is ecactly as old as the whole industry. Tek used their 24C02 "security modules" for over 10 years, in at least 3 different product lines, AFTER it was well known (which happened the moment the first customer popped one open and stopped laughing off his ass) how to copy these.
 

Offline G0HZU

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #214 on: March 24, 2016, 09:05:04 pm »
I'm not sure how the 'hack' I did on my Agilent E5071 VNA would be categorised (other than cheating the system). I reverse engineered the main VNA program code and worked out that the VNA options could be added by other means when compared to the usual keypad entry. i.e. I worked out the file format for a text based licence file and then debugged the running VNA code to get the licence key code to include in the file.
So to hack it I ended up placing a text file with the right filename and right contents with the right keycodes in it to unlock the options permanently. The VNA looks for this file and then releases the options if the key is valid for each option and expiry date listed in the file.

So I didn't change any software and I didn't change any hardware in the VNA unless you class the addition of a simple text file as a change.

« Last Edit: March 24, 2016, 09:06:57 pm by G0HZU »
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #215 on: March 24, 2016, 09:13:39 pm »
This assumes there is a license.  I've never seen an scope or any other instrument that requires agreeing to a license before using it.  This means plain vanilla copyright and patent law applies - you can't make copies of the software, and you can't reimplement patented functionality and sell it.  You can of course make copies for your own use and reimplement patented functionality in your lab to your heart's content.  Without explicitly agreeing not to, you can also reverse engineer to your heart's content.

A software license is a contract.  If you haven't agreed to a contract then one doesn't exist and you're purely bound by the letter of the law, which in no way prevents you from modifying the software in your scope in any which way you like.  Maybe you think that's immoral and should be illegal, but that doesn't make it so.

This is a good point and one that has clearly been pushed in this thread. It appears that there is no real effort on the part of the manufactures to wrap the software components in any legal protections. This is most likely because they don't think anyone would bother, at least not enough to dent the bottom line. If that remains true, it will never be a problem legal or otherwise.

I am somewhat worried about what will happen when they do decide they need protection. it will probably be a lot of PITA efforts to prevent hacking which will add to the initial cost and add more process and procedure to the ownership experience.

Like a long time ago when you purchased a record to listen to music. Then people started copying to cassettes for profit or just sharing with a potential customer. As we progressed into the digital age - we have extremely complicated systems to slow down music sharing but it's a PITA for anyone that buys music. For example, I purchased a ton of music on iTunes when I had MACs and iPhone's. Now my MACs are gone and I am on Android - it is such a pain to deal with the various DRM efforts. Far more difficult than a CD anyway.
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Offline G0HZU

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #216 on: March 24, 2016, 09:28:42 pm »
Quote
I am somewhat worried about what will happen when they do decide they need protection. it will probably be a lot of PITA efforts to prevent hacking which will add to the initial cost and add more process and procedure to the ownership experience.

For various reasons I think that medium to large companies would prefer to pay the extra for features rather than hack for them. This probably explains why the feature unlock system only needs to be basic. Therefore, the majority of customers will simply pay up for the options they need.
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #217 on: March 24, 2016, 09:34:11 pm »
Quote
I am somewhat worried about what will happen when they do decide they need protection. it will probably be a lot of PITA efforts to prevent hacking which will add to the initial cost and add more process and procedure to the ownership experience.

For various reasons I think that medium to large companies would prefer to pay the extra for features rather than hack for them. This probably explains why the feature unlock system only needs to be basic. Therefore, the majority of customers will simply pay up for the options they need.

Speaking for my own business - I will pay for the features because I want it right then and I want it to be supported if anything in not right. In general, hacking is slow and expensive for a business environment and most biz owners don't want the risk on top of that.
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Offline KL27x

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #218 on: March 24, 2016, 11:40:33 pm »
Quote
I'm not sure how the 'hack' I did on my Agilent E5071 VNA would be categorised (other than cheating the system). I reverse engineered the main VNA program code and worked out that the VNA options could be added by other means when compared to the usual keypad entry. i.e. I worked out the file format for a text based licence file and then debugged the running VNA code to get the licence key code to include in the file.
So to hack it I ended up placing a text file with the right filename and right contents with the right keycodes in it to unlock the options permanently. The VNA looks for this file and then releases the options if the key is valid for each option and expiry date listed in the file.
I would say that probably no one cares as long as you're not selling this information and/or making money off it.

The thing is for most people who can do these types of things, I would imagine they have better things to spend their time on. Things what will make them real money. This time you spent figuring this out is not going to be reuseable. It's specific to this unique device. And you're not going to do it again. So in a way it's a waste of your time. But it's very cool that you know how to do this, BTW.

The manufacturers probably don't care too much about the (very small) percentage of people who have the knowledge and tools and inclination to do such a thing with their spare time for their personal scope.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2016, 11:45:31 pm by KL27x »
 

Offline G0HZU

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #219 on: March 25, 2016, 01:26:59 am »
Quote
This time you spent figuring this out is not going to be reuseable. It's specific to this unique device. And you're not going to do it again. So in a way it's a waste of your time. 

I think you are mistaken... The system they use is generic and not limited to Agilent test gear. I already knew the system very well from my time looking at other things not associated with Agilent. I knew where to look in system memory to find the keycode merely by disassembling the main program code and looking for sections of familiar code. This familiar (third party) code is buried/hidden deep within Agilent's code inside a 12Mb file. This part of the process only took a minute or so because I know this system so well in its various guises. The tricky bit was getting the VNA system code to run on a PC so I could debug it and halt the program at the critical spot where it is vulnerable to attack. I probably could have done this with the VNA itself but I didn't want to risk damaging any hardware if I messed up and caused crashes etc.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2016, 01:46:24 am by G0HZU »
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #220 on: March 25, 2016, 02:22:26 am »
Woosh.  :-/O
Thanks for the explanation. Lol.

That sounds really awesome.  :-DD

I'd say you deserve to use those features and someone should call you up for a job in software security.   ;D
« Last Edit: March 25, 2016, 02:24:20 am by KL27x »
 

Offline G0HZU

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #221 on: March 25, 2016, 02:41:27 am »
It is a fairly trivial system in terms of security and there will be a lot of people out there who could do the same thing in even less time than it took me. Probably enough people to fill a football stadium :)

I'm not a programmer, my main skills are in RF design.
 

Offline mnementh

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #222 on: March 25, 2016, 07:00:34 am »

Rigol is 4 channel, Hantek is 2 channel. There is at least $160 right there.

You're right, and I did forget to mention that in my thumbnail comparison. But the Rigol is still rated 50MHz, unlockable to 100 MHz while the Hantek is rated 100MHz, unlockable to 200 MHz. I'd call that a wash.

-

I am not a lawyer or legal scholar, but I am pretty sure that a software license is considered a valuable product and that if it is used without the proper permission - it's stealing.
This assumes there is a license.  I've never seen an scope or any other instrument that requires agreeing to a license before using it.  This means plain vanilla copyright and patent law applies - you can't make copies of the software, and you can't reimplement patented functionality and sell it.  You can of course make copies for your own use and reimplement patented functionality in your lab to your heart's content.  Without explicitly agreeing not to, you can also reverse engineer to your heart's content.

A software license is a contract.  If you haven't agreed to a contract then one doesn't exist and you're purely bound by the letter of the law, which in no way prevents you from modifying the software in your scope in any which way you like.  Maybe you think that's immoral and should be illegal, but that doesn't make it so.

Well, this is one of those "grey areas" that modern litigious society has made for us, and it is one of the points I made a while back. Most of the civilized world has already outlawed "Break-seal" license contracts as a violation of consumer rights. It's mostly only here in the US that they've been able to keep that turd of legalese alive.

Patenting software is another controversial legal principle, though the argument is still heavily contested on both sides in most of the tech-savvy world. Personally, I consider it similarly absurd as trying to patent the human genome. :rolleyes:


mnem
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Offline bozidarms

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #223 on: March 25, 2016, 07:36:07 am »
Since every „big“ manufacturer produce in China, interesting has happened-
what  have we get:

1.products from mostly lower quality,
2.products with higher prices, despite the fact of significantly cheaper working environment!

On the end, the costumer is pulled over the barrel, and pay more for less, which is bitter truth!
In such one constellation, only manufacturer is winner, and he earn extra profit on count of cheap manufacturing!
« Last Edit: March 25, 2016, 07:52:09 am by bozidarms »
 

Offline mnementh

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #224 on: March 25, 2016, 07:53:40 am »
Quote
Yes, most manufacturers DO sell upgrade/unlock. The difference is that they ALSO spend the time & money to actually put a LOCK on stuff rather than just zip-tie it down and say "You haven't paid for this; now don't cut that zip-tie or we'll stop liking you and refuse you warranty!!!"
Ok, this is different from a lot of people saying something to the effect of:

"I paid for the hardware, hence I already paid for the features. It's mine to unlock." These are the comments that drew myself and tgzzz and some others into the thread, and the defense of this stance is still a little shabby, IMO. (Other than some EU laws, maybe, lol.) In reality, the honest fellas who purchased the upgrade are the ones who paid (the extremely trivial cost in the case of this memory deal) for your additional hardware! And don't cry for them, because they were happy to do it. No one forced them to buy a particular scope.

You are saying, if you want people to pay for the upgrade, you should make it more difficult to get for free. Morality and legality is not a part of this "better lock" argument, at all, then. So that's fine. I can't argue with that. Although I still see a lot of valid reasons why they would choose to use a single firmware and a simple code unlock, even if their goal is to actually encourage people to pay. If you want to sell a cheaper door, you put a cheaper lock on it. And the end users benefits from a cheaper price... whether they leave it alone or they break the lock. I'm sure there are a lot of buyers who do not break this lock. Whether morality reasons, or they can't be bothered, or they don't even care what's on the other side of the door. And there are still a lot of buyers that just pay for the higher model without a second thought. So Rigol will probably continue using the cheap lock as long as it works enough of the time. Nothing immoral or lazy or stupid on the part of Rigol, there. Whether this is actually a marketing ploy and they are subliminally encouraging people to unlock their scope... uhhmm, yeah I agree it's not beyond the realm of possibility, but why go to such lengths to make a crazy theory strung together with unproveable assumptions to justify what you are doing?

In your specific case, if you would have purchased the Hantek, then I suppose it IS a win-win. This isn't the same page I was writing on.

Yeah, that IS kindof what I meant when I said they were being lazy.

I feel that if they don't want me to have those extra features on the cheaper scope, they shouldn't put them on there AT ALL. Then I don't have the option of hacking them into functionality. Anything less than that is just them being lazy and not wanting to pay the REAL price of differentiating their product for different markets. It USED to be we had no choice; it was ALL hardware and you HAD TO add or remove parts to add or delete functionality. And EVEN THEN, some of us STILL hacked our gear. ;)

Making it software makes it all so much easier; you only have to write the software once and copy it a thousand or 100,000 times. It ENCOURAGES the Stef Murky set to try and invent new ridiculous means of making a single product fit multiple markets; even to the point of NOW altering the HARDWARE so it can be mechanically crippled by the software.

THIS I think is really that one step over the line; because EVERYBODY has to pay for all their R&D and the additional technology that goes into CRIPPLING the product. The bottom end customer shouldn't have to pay for the features put on his scope for the high-end customer that he can't use, and neither he nor the high-end customer should have to pay for the technology used to cripple the product.

Again, most of the civilized world has decided this in the customers' favor; that SELLING a hardware product while trying to hold control over the software required to make it work amounts to not selling it at all. "Buy" means "Buy"; "Rent" means "Rent". You buy a device, you own the copy of the software that makes it work, and you have the right to reverse-engineer that software to understand how it works. If in the course of that investigation you discover that they left additional software on it, YOU OWN THAT COPY OF THAT SOFTWARE TOO; "break-seal" license BS be damned.

On top of that, these scopes all operate on *NIX, which license specifically stipulates that you have to release your code back to the the public repository. Apps that run on it are not necessarily subject to this, but for sure any hardware extensions... the stuff that lets the OS control the scope... MUST be released back to the originating code base.

If I were a programmer capable of understanding and dismantling the code on my machine, I would be well within my rights, actually arguably bound by the GNU license, to release that code back to public code base.

And I think that too may be part of why these manufacturers don't get too oppressive with their security... they don't want to have to spend the money rewriting EVERYTHING because they pissed off the wrong hacker and s/he did exactly THAT with their entire firmware.


mnem
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