Last week we had a horribly long engineering staff meeting that basically pointed out to me that we’re all destined to be burned out like our damn transmission line in the coming months. I’m quite done with this. We were promised there’d be big improvements and then saw them yanked away and replaced with the promise of enjoying what will eventually degrade into “Just In Time Scheduling“. Yeah, how about no.
That being said, I’m gonna be exploring other career opportunities with companies that don’t treat their mission critical staff like rodents.
I had such high hopes for this company. It was great…. three mergers, four reductions in force, and one massive consolidation of HR and talent acquisition later. Now it’s just a slow burn of crushing cheapness and presumably, tax writeoffs of everything that doesn’t just get asset stripped.
Anyone interested in having a rather silly but talented engineer come work for them? I have 20 years experience in the field, including TV, FM and AM radio. I’d post a full resume here but I don’t exactly want everyone’s bots to come knocking yet. Also, I shitpost a lot. Maybe I need to write up a public resume in the form of a shitpost. That’d fool all the bots and give me the ability to sneak in cat pictures.
Warning: Crude humor ahead as a coping mechanism. As I work in an industry that is completely dependent on the continued availability of electronic parts and devices, this shit makes me worry and I’m forced to make terrible jokes to get by. Or something. No wait, I always do this, carry on. Balls.
A few years back I started noticing that the state of the electronics industry was one in which, basically, you go to China for everything. Need parts? China. Need design work? China. Manufacturing? China… but following the Trans-Pacific Partnership, don’t forget to technology transfer all details of your design to the manufacturer, so they can cheerfully take off and ghost shift and clone your product! Need to order parts for one of the few remaining operations somewhere else in the world? China… and… good luck.
To reduce manufacturing costs, almost all work is outsourced offshore to where one can find the lowest possible labor costs for skilled work, and there is a tendency towards consolidating everything into a few large facilities where the cost of operation can be further reduced. To even further reduce costs, parts are not stocked, they are ordered for “Just In Time” supply, as the cost of maintaining warehouse facilities or winding up with leftover parts in stock are considered unnecessary waste.
Well, all of this basically put everyone’s nuts in a Chinese vise with particularly rough surfaced jaws that was being very slowly tightened.
During a certain urinal stain-colored person’s time as president, a ridiculous trade war dropped, which had no effect on reducing problems with Chinese led market manipulations, but put in place a lot of impediments to supply chains to almost every imaginable industry.
In short, the Chinese vise was replaced by a 10,000 ton hydraulic press that everyone’s nuts were secured into with Gorilla Glue, with the motor left running, and about 300 different corporations and foreign governments given little clicker remotes that will smash and explode whatever’s between the surfaces with a quick and easy press.
Several of the buttons have all been pushed now. SPPPLRRRRRRTTTTTTTTTT
From what I gather, we’ve reached a point where the industry is either going to have to sit on its hands waiting almost a year for parts, or actually, you know, do something about it. I’ve been seeing several people lament that they’ve had to suddenly redesign boards to work around parts that have gone unavailable with 40-80 week manufacturer lead times (!) or entirely redesign around different microcontroller architectures and stuff. Boards are being designed to have parallel connections to two or more different pad layouts to accommodate whatever part happens to be in stock when the device goes into production…. but that only gets you so far.
Common parts like normally 30 cent voltage regulators are anywhere between 60 week lead time and Fuck You NLA because some companies saw the light that there’s massive profit in inducing scarcity…. and bought up all the parts to just sit on them, selling what are either the real parts or complete fakes, for $15 and up. The same buy and scalp model that has applied to computer video cards is now being used on, well, everything…. and it fucking blows. Normally these brokers are only able to lock down supplies of obsolete parts that are no longer in production — this is the first time I’ve ever seen them able to leverage the lead times of active, in-production parts, because they’re able to create unpredictable demand spikes and kill the Just-In-Time supply.
Just like what morons did with toilet paper………
If we actually had manufacturing capacity outside of, you know, one or two big fab houses in China that have HUGE lead times because they have other orders to fulfill before they can tool up for a run of one particular part prior to manufacturing, then packaging and overseas shipping, we probably wouldn’t have this problem. Also, if there were actual stocks of parts kept by the manufacturers of devices or by suppliers, we wouldn’t be in a situation where a few guys who have some extra Shitcoin money can buy up all the STM32’s and completely lock down availability. Fuck you if you claim you didn’t see this shit coming, this was ENTIRELY AVOIDABLE, and at this point there is only one way out… and it’s a rough one… but we’re gonna have to take it.
The ONLY way out of this will be to re-establish manufacturing of electronic parts in the US and other places. The big problem with doing this? We’ve already sent everything to China…. But it still has to be done.
The best thing I can liken this to would be the electronics industry in the USSR after they effectively pissed off EVERYONE else and nobody would sell them electronics, so they had to scramble to get production set up locally. Some of it had to be done with the aid of industrial espionage because they just didn’t know what they were doing, and a lot of it was really weird looking or strange quality because… they just didn’t know what they were doing. This weird Soviet transistor could be used as almost a textbook example. Eventually, though, they got up and running making some really high quality stuff, particularly vacuum tubes which remained in production for quite a while to support older equipment.
Yeah— stuff’s gonna look weird at first, and there may be reliability issues, but we’ve gotta do it, or we simply will not have electronics anymore, and that just isn’t gonna work for anyone.
I don’t really know what we have left in the way of semiconductor fabrication, testing, or fabrication facilities in the US. The only one I’m really aware of is Skyworks in Newbury Park, California, who make the RF power amplifiers used in… well, damn near everything— if you’re reading this on a mobile or wifi equipped device, your packets went through one. It was also, amusingly, featured in a music video. The building shown in the aerial photo zoom is not the Skyworks plant, it’s some arena in Utah. I’ve always imagined it must make an interesting sound when you walk down that hallway with the air jets that dislodge dust from your clothing. Maybe I’ll find out firsthand when someone brings me in because I’m the only one who knows how to program the variable frequency drive in a conveyor belt in the cleanroom or something.
Also, what is with the weird half-video-line artifact at the bottom of the screen here? This is an older video and was edited in 4:3 standard definition. I’ve seen this half truncated line at the bottom of the screen in a few different videos and I have no idea what causes it. I got into television after it all got digital and hi-def and boring and stuff. My DVCAM gear doesn’t do it, I’m thinking it’s possibly attributed to a timing oddity on analog tape gear. Maybe we’ll be going back to tape soon if we don’t get flash memory manufacturing geared up in time…. or… film. I mean, someone at Eastman Kodak must still remember how to make that stuff, right?
This table has been back here sporadically on weekends ever since like 2018. The guys running it always give me such charmingly disgusted looks if I walk by it. Back when they first appeared they were more, uh, energetic and would give me impolite catcalls if I got near them while going into the Dollar Tree. Now they just look really exhausted and dejected.
My only guess as to why they’re still here: they blew tens of thousands of dollars on Trump 2020 crap thinking they were buying into a gold mine and have been trying to unload it ever since.
I haven’t looked at traffic stats on this site for ages, but I have noticed two stupid things: one, Facebook now thinks all links to it are spam (and Fucking Zucc’d everyone who ever posted or shared one, very nice and typical of them) and two, Google page rank is down in the low Fuck This Shit I’m Out tier.
I suspect the loss of Google rank is due to my removing the share buttons that were causing *LOTS* of extraneous scripts to run from Facebook and useless third party cookies to be set by Pinterest and Twitter. I hope turning off the share buttons wasn’t also what caused a lot of innocent Facebook users to potentially get lobbed in Facebook Jail. Then again, what doesn’t, that site is complete trash and has an advertising market which cheerfully allows stuff like this:
Oh, also, enjoy your ransomware campaigns. The only saving grace was that the command and control server didn’t work at the time that the ads went live. You’d think Facebook would have maybe blacklisted fake Clubhouse ads just like they’ve blacklisted, you know, this totally harmless blog…. but of course not. There’s a definite double standard at work and FB Ads will cheerfully take content that’d get a normal user thrown in the Zucc Hole.
But enough about that. Here’s my cat being adorable.
It’s possible this was an April Fool’s post. But anyway…
Earlier today I posted a scandalous picture of a vacuum tube to Facebook and they immediately deleted my account. I hit the button to request a review and they gave it back… Now I can see that they’re selling ad space to this thing:
Yeah uh I’ll thank you not to weaponize the Internet of Turds. This needs to be filed right alongside the CellMate dick locker in the IoT Devices That Should Never Have Been Hall of Fame.
Citrix posted this really feel-good cheeky shit to Twitter and I had to be a smartass and reply about how a lot of businesses are exploiting work from home to sneak extra work into every hour of employees’ days …
…. And then a company that makes surveillance spyware for companies to use on their remote workers comes along and fucking likes my reply.
I hate Just In Time manufacturing. It screws everyone over for weeks with a ten ton lead dildo whenever any sort of supply disruption occurs.
So right now, go to the store and you’ll see this.
Not shown, the news helicopter overhead, the fights breaking out, and the checkout lines around the store.
So what’s the supply disruption here? There…. isn’t one. See, Just In Time always expects that demand is predictable or completely inelastic, so when you have any sudden unexpected demand…
Finished product isn’t waiting in warehouses.
Subparts of products aren’t available (supposedly, production of toilet paper and paper towels have halted due to lack of the cardboard roll core tubes, but that’s an unconfirmed rumor!)
And who the hell knows why everyone snapped up the instant ramen. Uhh.
The supply chain breakdown hit hard and ugly in the electronics industry first as that depends almost entirely on parts from China. (Sadly)
Now it’s hitting domestic products and people are getting slammed into empty shelves over the last box of baby wipes.
Could you really say nobody saw this coming?
Stores are starting to put rationing measures into place, but those are far from fair as they’ll let some dude who lives alone buy the same amount of cleaning supplies and paper towels as a mother of four who comes in for the week’s groceries.