At 06:43 PM 8/2/2002 -0500, Matt Pobursky wrote:
>On Thu, 01 Aug 2002 18:32:40 -0700, Dennis Saputelli wrote:
> >if they would just try making some real boards themselves ...
>
>A brilliant idea.

So brilliant, in fact, that it has already been, more or less, implemented 
(to what degree I don't know). Protel is known to have used service bureau 
designers as consultants.

>  Someone also commented on Altium opening a small
>service bureau. Also a great idea.

Not so great, at least from the point of view of a service bureau! An 
Altium Service Bureau would have an enormous competitive advantage unless 
there was a wall between sales and design service, and if there is such a 
wall, the design service would be no more useful for the purpose of design 
than would an independent service bureau.

>  Sitting at a computer and connecting
>all the pretty lines is not much in the way of experience -- until you
>actually have to design, layout and manufacture a board many simple
>concepts are just not readily apparent.

This is certainly true. However, for Altium to open up a service bureau 
would also open a whole series of cans of worms; they can accomplish the 
same end by working with service bureaus instead of competing with them. 
Designing PCBs and writing software are not the same skills; obviously 
software for design needs to incorporate expert knowledge, but it is 
better, I would think, for that knowledge to come from designers broadly 
distributed in the industries in which they work.

An Altium Service Bureau would be a single organization, it would not 
represent the range of design philosophies and experience available in the 
whole body of users. Service Bureau designers, also, can sometimes be more 
tolerant of design faults than other users, since they rapidly become 
experts with the software, i.e., know what not to do as well as the 
workarounds.

What is needed is close and rapid communication between users and the 
software designers, and things seem to be moving in that direction.


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