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back to article Raspberry Pi signs big-name sellers

Educationally inclined microcomputer maker Raspberry Pi today revealed that its ARM-based credit card-sized machine is to be taken to coders worldwide by two big-name suppliers. Lining up to offer the tiny machine come RS Components, part of London Stock Exchange-listed Electrocomponents Plc, and Premier Farnell's Element 14, a …

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Re: The eBayers can go hang

Actually, it's pretty unlikely they will get the number of devices they claim to be able to sell, so caveat emptor.

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Re: One per customer

Why didn't they organise similar restrictions to what eBay do with charity event tickets and major launches like iPhone/PS3- more stringent requirements on the seller, safer *cough* payments by PayPal only, restrictions on the number you can sell, must donate 20% to the charity?

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Anonymous Coward

Every cloud...

RS and Farnell may be embarrassed that their servers collapsed under the load but I bet that RS has doubled the size of its mailing list and Farnell may also do so once their login page starts responding again.

I'm trying to login to fr.farnell.com which Netcraft tells me uses Akamai, but "The proxy server did not receive a timely response from the upstream server."

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Re: Every cloud...

They may be embarrassed but the load was considerably more than anyone expected.

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Anonymous Coward

Oh goody, after many reloads got my Farnell order in at at 7am so as expecting the worst, however just got an email from them claiming it will be delivered on 12/3.

I wonder if anyone will actually get it sooner than this.

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Meh

@metavisor 16 April for me - eventually got an order placed at 0815 :(

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Anonymous Coward

it really is back to the early 80s

the vapourware has sold out!!

When's my transputer-based Atari going to ship?

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Re: it really is back to the early 80s

I getting a bit fed up with this vapourware bollocks. It is NOT vapourware. The first batch have been manufactured and are on their way to distribution RIGHT NOW.

So retract your AC head from your arse, and smell the fresh air. And stop being a c**t.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: it really is back to the early 80s

Pics or didn't happen.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: it really is back to the early 80s

jeez man, look up irony in a dictionary ffs

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Flame

@ James Hughes

James, we have been expecting this product for a while now. Several deadlines have been missed and information has been sketchy.

When some are actually available for sale those who have parted with their cash have been told they MIGHT expect delivery in what, oh, about SIX WEEKS?

Then we learn via Twitter that they have not arrived from Asia yet and they still need to clear customs. To me this way of dealing with customers stinks of dishonesty.

When we see some pictures of a customer in the UK holding one of these mythical devices, that's when a sensible person will part with their money. Can't show me that picture? Then it is vapourware for now.

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Anonymous Coward

Would it be a good idea if

a little two-bit start-up developed a BASIC interpreter for this?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Would it be a good idea if

Already there for the taking...

Brandy (faithful BBC basic clone): sourceforge.net/projects/brandy/

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Re: Basic

yay - thank you for that info!!

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Anonymous Coward

It looks like Farnell are hosting either with Kingston Comms (unlikely) or trying to DIY on a Kingston line - would explain why their site is always so shoddy for responsiveness, wouldn't surprise me if they're trying to get away with a 2Mb SDSL! :D

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Anonymous Coward

The Foundation should consider pulling the licenses from Farnell and RS

They have both made major screwups of the launch, and I'm not even talking about server capacity.

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Anonymous Coward

Double standards

All you people on here calling the Raspberry Pi a computer are the same people who state the iPad is NOT a computer.....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Double standards

You can compile the RasPi OS self-hosting on a RasPi. (If you've got enough time, that is.) You can't compile the iPad OS self-hosting on an iPad.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Double standards

The real question left hanging from the other thread is if the RaspberryPi is a PC.

My take is if you connect it to a TV and don't live alone it's not personal anymore.

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Re: Double standards

The Rapsi is a computer (perhaps even a PC!), so is the iPad.

Not sure what the issue is!

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Re: Double standards

"All you people on here calling the Raspberry Pi a computer are the same people who state the iPad is NOT a computer....."

For goodness sake, do stop talking such utter drivel (Pete 2 perhaps, just trying to avoid the down votes against the name ?).

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Re: Re: Double standards

"The real question left hanging from the other thread is if the RaspberryPi is a PC."

No it's not - there is one person on this forum who doesn't seem to understand what a computer is, the rest of the posters seem to at least have a non-negative IQ.

"My take is if you connect it to a TV and don't live alone it's not personal anymore."

Fantastic. Great. Marvellous. I hope you and your 'take' have a happy life together elsewhere. If you believe in yourself, and your point of view, so little that you have to post as an AC - you might want to just not bother next time.

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Headmaster

Re: Re: Double standards

oh ffs....

go and read a book about the history of computing, and you will get where the title "PC" as in personal Computer comes from...

here a hint,,, its a computer that one user uses at a time, not a time share on a mainframe...

back in the day, Sinclair Sprectum, zx81, BBC A & B, Acorn electron, Commodore vic20 & C64 and the rest of the "home computers" as in you could use it at home, all commandeered the telly, but were all still personal computers...

its nonsense like this, is exactly why we need a product like the RasPi on the market today. Maybe people will learn about exactly what a computer is and what you can do with it, other than troll on forums and knock one out while browsing redtube...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Re: Double standards

So if I use my raspberry Pi (arriving next week - suckers) to watch Redtube on the telly with my GF does it count as a personal computer?

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Anonymous Coward

@(arriving next week - suckers)

I bet you $35 it does not.

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Devil

Farnell link from RasPi homepage now leads through to a "Register your interest" page

And "By providing your contact details you are agreeing for your details to be used for marketing purposes by companies within the Premier Farnell Group."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Farnell link from RasPi homepage now leads through to a "Register your interest" page

"used for marketing purposes"

Yep, that's when I left. It's one way to reduce the crush, I suppose.

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Oh this takes me back

We all remember waiting, and waiting, and waiting to get a Sinclair computer delivered via mail order, don't we?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh this takes me back

I went for the Spectrum and got it from WH Smiths.

Much easier popping into them than buying a RPi this morning!

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Re: Oh this takes me back

hah, I remember waiting for a Sinclair _calculator_ (kit, no less) to be delivered. £14.99 at 1976-ish prices, what's that today? More than a Raspberry Pi, that's for sure. Wonder if my Mum knows how much I really appreciated that present? Must tell her :)

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Happy

Managed to get order in with Farnell at 11:48 after many delays, for the £30-ish price quoted above. Expected delivery on 16th April. I'm OK with that. Why? Because it means that the vast number of people who said they were interested, were genuinely interested in buying one.

Which can only be a good thing.

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The whole thing looks like something that came to the table at the 11th hour and thus has more than a slight niff of cock-up about it.

But unfortunately, RasPi acted like a small company just when they needed to become a much bigger one.

Unless Farnell and RS could prove they had the grunt to handle this, they should always have stuck to the plan and put off the big distributors until round 2. My guess is that Raspberry Pi were wowed by the offer from some large distributors (who had only just heard about the project when the news coverage started ramping up) and grabbed the opportunity for fear that wouldn't get a second poke later on.

RP obviously had doubts about their ability to handle the traffic or they wouldn't have handed it over and trusted that a big name supplier = big website capacity.

It's a shame they apparently hadn't consulted anyone who runs web services with significant activity spikes. I'm sure today's meetings will now descend into the usual spasms of paranoia and trips into side-issues while trying to avoid the fact that what you really needed to do was spend a ridiculous amount of money on web infrastructure that can handle the spikes, acknowledge that it will usually lay practically dormant and then be decommissioned for something cheaper when the fuss dies down.

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Anonymous Coward

Very true.

I understand that Farnell and RS are probably in a better position to handle the whole process from manufacturer to delivery, leaving RaspberryPi themselves free of logistics concerns, but it's a shame the initial run couldn't be on sale on places like Amazon who can handle spikes with their hands tied behind their back.

Not that I'm personally affected, thanks to super-fast Internet at work and an existing account at Farnell I got one of the first units as the servers began to crumble, it's just that the experience would be much better.

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"Unless Farnell and RS could prove they had the grunt to handle this,"

Is there an established recognized method by which they could have proved they had the grunt? Maybe the foundation could have initiated DDOS attacks on their partners websites ahead of launch just to check.

"...they should always have stuck to the plan and put off the big distributors until round 2.

So they would have sold them, how? Via their own website, which they knew wouldn't handle the traffic?

"...while trying to avoid the fact that what you really needed to do was spend a ridiculous amount of money on web infrastructure that can handle the spikes"

Are you missing the part where the Raspberry Pi foundation is charity run by volunteered who largely self financed their first production run and don't have 'ridiculous amount of money'? Why would RS or Farnell spend 'ridiculous amount of money' just to handle the traffic generated for a few hours by interest in one single product amongst everything they sell?

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I'd be interested to know...

What peak Amazon spikes are like - is that the load oover the whole website, or peaks for a specific product? The spike on the Raspi was pretty high, but I am pretty sure Amazon could have coped. Although going with Amazon and the Foundation would have lost money on each sale.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'd be interested to know...

I think Amazon's costs could just be added as shipping costs, like Farnell did. Glacing at Fulfilment by Amazon prices It wouldn't be that much different, maybe £2-3 more if that.

Given they also have special payment arrangements for charities I suspect even better conditions could be negotiated.

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"Is there an established recognized method by which they could have proved they had the grunt?"

Yes. It's called profiling. In this case you might start by producing the specifications used when Farnell/RS procured their web service + any upgrades since. Then you compare them to the expected volume of interest in Raspberry Pi. If it looks likely to meet demand, you do some load testing to make sure. If it fails, you either upgrade and retest or find another host and start again. Do you think no one does this? Do you think, say, Netflix just kept bringing in servers one by one until the site worked?

"Maybe the foundation could have initiated DDOS attacks on their partners websites ahead of launch just to check"

Of course, that's the only conclusion you could come to if you don't know what you're talking about.

"So they would have sold them, how? Via their own website, which they knew wouldn't handle the traffic?"

Introduce multiple release dates? The oversubscription of the first batch was never in doubt, my point is that this part of the project is amateurish. If you can't handle the big hit, all you can do is spread it out.

"Are you missing the part where the Raspberry Pi foundation is charity run by volunteered who largely self financed their first production run and don't have 'ridiculous amount of money'? "

No. Are you aware that everything is given to charities willingly and that the risk of running a charity is that if it can't find the resources it needs, it results in problems?

"Why would RS or Farnell spend 'ridiculous amount of money' just to handle the traffic generated for a few hours by interest in one single product amongst everything they sell?"

Oh, I don't know, how about so they can conduct their business?

Also, I'm sorry your attention was drawn to my habit of being slow to spot spelling mistakes, but if you want to make a feature of it and quote an example twice, you use quote marks. That's why they're called quote marks.

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How would multiple release dates help? You announce two dates, everyone wants to buy on the first one anyway.

As it happens the demand far exceeded even the wildest predictions, so it would have been difficult to get the right level of supplier support anyway.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

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Such is the shit-sucker situation of running a busy web service. Profiling provides you with something better than a guess, then it's up to you how much extra you add on until you feel comfortable with the capacity. All of which costs.

Or you could further mitigate the situation by seeing if someone like Amazon will tell you the kind of throughput they got when a new Harry Potter book was launched and work off that. It's just borrowing someone elses profile. However Amazon are unlikely to respond to you and a consultation firm offering the same kind of info will also charge you lots.

After that you are left with, as I said, trying to spread the load. Multiple release dates are far from ideal but if you only have Hobson's choice available to you then that's your lot.

I love hindsight too, it probably gives us 50% of the reasons to have discussion forums.

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Anonymous Coward

"Do you think no one does [profiling]?"

James is presumably trying not to upset RaspI's "business partners", so maybe I'll say it...

Looks like some more people should look into profiling. Or at least into contingency planning.

Farnell were basically off the air till lunchtime.

RS were some way ahead of them, they at least had a static page as their front page early on.

If these outfits want to do life on the cheap by not spending on kit for spikes and not spending on profiling (which may be understandable in their kind of business), they should at least make sure they have a contingency plan.

RS eventually got round to emergency measures (a static page saying "please phone our orderline") in early office hours UK time.

Farnell were still completely unresponsive at lunchtime, which will not come as a surprise to frequent users of their comprehensive but rather clunky (being polite here) website.

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Cashing In On Ebay.

One of the two 'sellers' on ebay, had on offer 49, which sold out by 11.30am. Have a look at what he sold them for:

http://offer.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewBidsLogin&_trksid=p4340.l2564&rt=nc&item=290677406685

But according to the firs feedback he's recieved, he's been let down by his suppliers !

Hopefully he's going to get his fingers burnt over this and his feedback trashed.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cashing In On Ebay

If this lowlife seller is ever caught by the 49-odd honest RasPi-seekers whom (s)he effectively cheated out of a fair punt at buying one (assuming the seller secured them to begin with), the trashing of his/her eBay rating is likely to be the least of the individual's concerns...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cashing In On Ebay.

Hopefully those 49 are the muppets who saw this on slickdeals or hotukdeals and not the Foundation's audience.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Cashing In On Ebay

Please sir I cannot tell a lie it Barry Shitpeas did it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Re: Cashing In On Ebay

Barry 500 Lines. Don't be a raspberry scalper.

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Anonymous Coward

Meh

I went to buy one but didn't like the colour.

I'll wait for the white version.

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Element14

Element 14 is mentioned as being a re-seller... funnily enough there was a company called Element 14 that was spun-off from Acorn Computers... related?

Rather apt if this is correct :)

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Vic
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Re: Element14

> there was a company called Element 14 that was spun-off from Acorn Computers.

Quite a large part of it actually came from ST in Bristol.

> Rather apt if this is correct

It isn't, I'm afraid. I made much the same gaffe at a trade show. I was busy asking the salesdroid if he knew all me former oppos, only to find out that the two organisations are entirely unrelated.

Vic.

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Re: Re: Element14

Hmmm - does seem to be a connection with ST according to the "may-or-may-not-be-accurate" Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acorn_Computers#Final_restructuring_and_Element_14_Ltd_.281998.E2.80.932000.29

Either way, it's quite a nice semi-connection

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Vic
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Re: Re: Re: Element14

> does seem to be a connection with ST

The initial ideas came form Simon Knowles, who was part of the Chameleon library team.

I was the third guy to join the original group...

Vic.

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