Embedded Systems September 2000 Vol13_10

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PROGRAMMER'S TOOLBOX e So what does this have to do with Dell, Gateway, and other vendors? Simply that I believe we're entering a whole new era of planned disgruntlement. The grandchildren of the beancounters who invented planned obsolescence are now following in their ancestor's footsteps. umNG 1 cont'd. Brent's method, Fortran version double precision a,b,c,d,e,eps,xm,p,q,r,tol1,tol2,u,v,w,fu,fv,fw, 2 fx,x,tol3 double precision dabs,dsqrt,d1mach c iter=O c c is the squared inverse of the golden ratio c=0.5~(3.0d0-dsqrtC5.0d0)) c c c c eps is approximately the square root of the relative machine precision. 10 eps = 1.0d-12 tol1=eps+1.0d0 eps=dsqrtCeps) c a=ax w=v x=v e=O.OdO fx=fCx) fv=fx fw=fx tol3=tol/3.0d0 c c c main Loop starts here xm=O. ScDk ( a+b) tol1=eps*dabs(x)+tol3 tol2=2.Qcf}ktol1 c c c check stopping criterion do while(dabsCx-xm).gt.(tol2-Q.5dO*Cb-a))) p=O.OdO q=O.OdO r=O.OdO if Cdabs(e).gt.tol1) then c c c fit parabola r=Cx-w)*(fx-fv) Listing 1 continued on p. 28 24 SEPTEMBER 2000 Embedded Systems Programming . '. · ·- · plow unde r good croplands and build houses and stores on them. Next thing you kn ow, eve ryo ne's sta rvin g, the coffers are empty, you r anny is in rebe llion, and you ' re lucky to escape alive. As hard a les- son as it is, to survive th e game you must allow a certa in pe rcen tage of you r peopl e to be sick, poverty- stricken, or dead. It's the only way th e country can prospe r. So wha t does this have to do with De ll , Gateway, and othe r vendors? Simply tha t I beli eve we' re enterin g a who le new e ra of fJlanned dis- gruntlement. The grandchildren of th e bean coun te rs who in ve nted planned obsolescence are now fo l- lowing in the ir ancestor's footsteps. What's more, th ey a ll know how to run what-if games using Microsoft ExceL I can see it now. Someone runs a scenario that involves cutting the qual- ity of a product. The simulation shows that a certain percentage of custome rs are going to get lemons, and making them happy is not going to be easy. The vendor runs a good risk of losing them permanently. But, wonder of wonders, th e spreadsheet says we don 't care. If the company is growing, as most are, it's gaining more cus- tomers tl1an it's losing. What's more, the cost of paying decent wages to sup- port people who actually support can run higher than the cost of of losing customers. I'm willing to bet that lurking within a company like De ll , a whole departmen t of beancoun te rs does n o thing but run su ch sce narios. Like Hammura bi , th ey optimize th e tradeoff be tween lost customers and th e cost of keeping th em. They have optimized the cost of producing a quality product against the cost of lost sales. The spreadsheet program says, righ t th ere in black and white, tha t it's cheape r in th e long run to le t the irate customer remain ira te. I t's cheaper to let them walk away cursing than it is to spend time and energy trying to fi x the ir problem.

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