Ethernet?

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Ethernet?

Postposted on Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:14 pm

A friend linked me the Apple display as we were talking about monitors. Just noticed it has an Ethernet port on it and I can't figure out how/what this is good for? http://www.apple.com/displays/

As a side note, this all started because my Dell monitor started having lines on it. I asked the friendly Dell technician if I could get an upgraded monitor and pay the difference...seeing as I thought giving them more money would be what they wanted -- apparently that's not possible.
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Re: Ethernet?

Postposted on Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:21 pm

Apple marketing speak sez:
One-cable convenience. Thunderbolt versatility.

With its 27-inch LED-backlit screen, the new Thunderbolt Display delivers a brilliant viewing experience. But connect it to any Thunderbolt-enabled Mac, and it becomes a plug-and-play hub for everything you do. You get 27 inches of high-resolution screen space, high-quality audio, a FaceTime HD camera, and support for FireWire 800 and Gigabit Ethernet. All through a single connection.


Basically: Macbook air's with Thunderbolt don't have ethernet. The idea is that the monitor itself is an ethernet pass-through so that the Macbook Air can hookup to an ethernet network when the thunderbolt cable is attached to the monitor. It's kind of a poor-man's* docking station.

* [EDIT]: Although you probably aren't that poor if you can afford to buy all that stuff.
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Re: Ethernet?

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:15 am

It's the endpoint in the evolution of PC component interconnects. Things have been heading this way for years, with the conversion of all of the interconnects that make a PC work to high-speed serial links (PCIe, HyperTransport, SATA, USB, Firewire, DisplayPort, and now Thunderbolt). Once everything is serial, you can easily route things pretty much anywhere you want over inexpensive cables.

It is also moderately amusing to us old-timers who remember the early PC days, when parallel ports were fast and serial ports were slow... :lol:
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Re: Ethernet?

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:16 am

just brew it! wrote:It is also moderately amusing to us old-timers who remember the early PC days, when parallel ports were fast and serial ports were slow... :lol:


There was nothing amusing about homebrew servers with 16 IDE drives and eight 80-pin ribbon cables in a 4U ;)
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Re: Ethernet?

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:17 am

dashbarron wrote:As a side note, this all started because my Dell monitor started having lines on it. I asked the friendly Dell technician if I could get an upgraded monitor and pay the difference...seeing as I thought giving them more money would be what they wanted -- apparently that's not possible.


??? Since when has anyone (computer vendor) ever offered that?

"Oh, this is defective, can I give it back and pay the difference?"

If it's defective and in warranty, get it fixed. If it's defective and within the 14 or 30 day return time, return it and get an upgraded one. And why would you ask a technician what is essentially a sales question? Your justification is very confusing to me and a scenario that I don't think I've ever seen any vendor honor. Certainly not Apple if you're switching vendors/brands because of this situation.
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Re: Ethernet?

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:30 am

Some retail stores will allow you to do that kind of shuffle.

I returned a defective H80 one time and paid the difference for an upgrade to an H100 instead.
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Re: Ethernet?

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:14 am

Yeah, I've done the "opt-up" on a warranty replacement once. From a customer service point of view, there's no reason not to, as it makes for a happier customer, and also gets the customer to "buy into" the replacement product. From an accounting point of view, it probably varies since the vendor's underlying replacement cost is normally the wholesale cost of an equal unit, but the opt-up would be based on the retail price difference. The vendor might stand to make or lose money depending on how that difference works out in the ledger.
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Re: Ethernet?

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:17 pm

Was that stuff time-based? i.e. did you get a pro-rated credit for the old equipment as a trade-in?

I've seen that in retail but not for computer stuff. I guess the closest are some places that give you $1 per GB for your old RAM when buying new stuff. It seems to me that computer stuff depreciates so quickly that it'd not be a good idea for a B&M computer store to do something like that.
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Re: Ethernet?

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:27 pm

In my case, it was a digital camera, and yup, it was retail.
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Re: Ethernet?

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:36 pm

If you pay X dollars for an item, and the item turns out to be broken during the warranty period, then the company hypothetically owes you X dollars for the broken item, although maybe/probably they have the right to pay you that debt in the form of a replacement item that isn't broken.

However, you decide you want to upgrade to a better item2 which costs X+Y dollars, and you are willing to pay the additional Y dollars. Why would the store care? Unless maybe item2 had very limited quantites/was sold out, the store benefits by agreeing and taking more of your dollars.

Or am I missing something?
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Re: Ethernet?

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:49 pm

It's not like these people are just writing the transactions down in a spiral ring notebook. They're dealing with software that may or may not have the ability handle such transactions.
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Re: Ethernet?

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:54 pm

sparkman wrote:If you pay X dollars for an item, and the item turns out to be broken during the warranty period, then the company hypothetically owes you X dollars for the broken item, although maybe/probably they have the right to pay you that debt in the form of a replacement item that isn't broken.

However, you decide you want to upgrade to a better item2 which costs X+Y dollars, and you are willing to pay the additional Y dollars. Why would the store care? Unless maybe item2 had very limited quantites/was sold out, the store benefits by agreeing and taking more of your dollars.

Or am I missing something?

Warranty coverage typically isn't provided by the store; it is provided through the original manufacturer and/or a third party extended warranty company. If the terms of the warranty explicitly provide for a "trade up" option it won't be a problem; if they don't, the store will probably need to get the original item serviced under the original warranty, and hope they can resell it for enough (as a refurb or "open box" item) to recoup the cost of the replacement. Yes, it's good customer service; but it is probably a losing proposition for the store from a money standpoint.
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Re: Ethernet?

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:03 pm

just brew it! wrote:It is also moderately amusing to us old-timers who remember the early PC days, when parallel ports were fast and serial ports were slow... :lol:

Heck, you just called me an old-timer, and I'm not even 30... :roll:

But yeah, I'm still dumbfounded when someone takes 80 pin cable, replaces it with few wires and makes it faster :lol: More wires = more signals = more bandwidth :-?

Then again, after seeing all the info about Thunderbolt, I want this connection everywhere! The idea that the cable has the actual transcoder, so that you can interchange coper with optical cable is also awesome. I want migration to optical cables everywhere! I already use optical interconnects for audio, and they are super tiny, and super fast, perfect, everything you can wish for.

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Re: Ethernet?

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:23 pm

sparkman wrote:Or am I missing something?

Different items don't always have the same markup and demand. The store brings items in at wholesale cost, and loses the wholesale cost in a direct exchange; but in an upsell, they have to credit the retail price and then lose the wholesale cost of the failed item plus or minus the difference in retail markup. This is further modified by the cost of the inventory management problem that results if the more expensive item is in higher demand. If the upsell item is on sale and thus has both lower margins and higher demand, they will probably lose.

So, they have to decide if the risk of loss in an upsell is really going to buy an increase in customer goodwill. Otherwise, the customer gets exactly what they were entitled to receive: an equal replacement.
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Re: Ethernet?

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:25 pm

Madman wrote:
just brew it! wrote:It is also moderately amusing to us old-timers who remember the early PC days, when parallel ports were fast and serial ports were slow... :lol:

Heck, you just called me an old-timer, and I'm not even 30... :roll:

I was thinking more in terms of the old-school LapLink utility. It could transfer files from one PC to another over the serial ports (really slow) or over the printer ports (quite fast for back then).

Madman wrote:But yeah, I'm still dumbfounded when someone takes 80 pin cable, replaces it with few wires and makes it faster :lol: More wires = more signals = more bandwidth :-?

Signal skew is the reason this doesn't hold true at higher frequencies. Once you get above a certain data rate, it becomes rather difficult to guarantee that all the bits in a parallel data word arrive together. The solution is to make the bits go single file, with enough embedded clocking, framing, and error detection/correction to ensure reliable reconstruction of the data words at the receiving end.

Bus topologies also become increasingly problematic at higher frequencies due to signal reflections. Hence the move away from buses to point to point links.
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Re: Ethernet?

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:33 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Madman wrote:
just brew it! wrote:It is also moderately amusing to us old-timers who remember the early PC days, when parallel ports were fast and serial ports were slow... :lol:

Heck, you just called me an old-timer, and I'm not even 30... :roll:

I was thinking more in terms of the old-school LapLink utility. It could transfer files from one PC to another over the serial ports (really slow) or over the printer ports (quite fast for back then).

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Re: Ethernet?

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:30 pm

Doom serial port network!
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Re: Ethernet?

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:55 pm

Scrotos wrote:Doom serial port network!

The reason I and all of my coworkers carried serial cables for 1997-vintage laptops back in the day.
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Re: Ethernet?

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:43 pm

ludi wrote:The store brings items in at wholesale cost, and loses the wholesale cost in a direct exchange; but in an upsell, they have to credit the retail price and then lose the wholesale cost of the failed item plus or minus the difference in retail markup.


What's missing here is that presumably, the store sends the defective item back to its supplier and recovers the wholesale cost. There's no difference between a customer returning the defective item for cash and then purchasing the more expensive item with the cash received plus the additional retail cost of the new unit.

The store doesn't really have much to lose; either way they have to return the defective unit, and selling a more expensive unit is almost certain to result in higher gross profit, and even if it didn't, they are in control of their retail prices, so that's an idiosyncrasy of their pricing structure. Their only loss is any additional labor involved in the processing of the upsell, but even that's kind of moot if the store would've refunded the purchase price on the defective item.
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Re: Ethernet?

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:27 pm

Jason181 wrote:What's missing here is that presumably, the store sends the defective item back to its supplier and recovers the wholesale cost.

I could see that for DOA items. But what about stuff that fails further down the road (but still while under warranty)?
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Re: Ethernet?

Postposted on Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:59 am

Jason181 wrote:What's missing here is that presumably, the store sends the defective item back to its supplier and recovers the wholesale cost. There's no difference between a customer returning the defective item for cash and then purchasing the more expensive item with the cash received plus the additional retail cost of the new unit.

Reimbursement is not the issue, the gain or loss is a function of how the retail margins are structured. Here are two examples to compare:

Case 1
A store stocks items "A" at a wholesale cost of $200 and a markup of 8% for a retail price of $216, and items "B" at a wholesale cost of $300 and a markup of 8% for a retail price of $324. A customer experiences a failure in an item "A".

a) Exact replacement: the customer receives an item "A". The store's immediate cost is the wholesale price of $200, to be reimbursed later as $200. The store loses $0 on the exchange.

b) Upsell: the customer receives a $216 retail price credit for item "A" and pays the retail price difference on item "B", or $108. The store's immediate cost is the wholesale price of item "B" less the price difference received, or $192, to be reimbursed later as $200. The store makes $8 on the exchange.


Case 2
A store stocks items "A" at a wholesale cost of $200 and a markup of 8% for a retail price of $216, and items "B" at a wholesale cost of $300 and a markup of 4% for a retail price of $312. A customer experiences a failure in an item "A".

a) Exact replacement: the customer receives an item "A". The store's immediate cost is the wholesale price of $200, to be reimbursed later as $200. The store loses $0 on the exchange.

b) Upsell: the customer receives a $216 retail price credit for item "A" and pays the retail price difference on item "B", or $96. The store's immediate cost is the wholesale price of item "B" less the price difference received, or $204, to be reimbursed later as $200. The store loses $4 on the exchange.


Basically, if the retail margin on the expensive item is about equal to, or more than, the margin on the cheaper item, the store wins. If the margin on the expensive item is less than the margin on the cheaper item, the store loses. In the real world, this is complicated further by the inventory management issues and loss in expected revenues. So what it really comes down to is whether the store thinks they can gain enough customer goodwill by offering the upsell option.

And a company like that manages most of their own supply chain, like Dell, won't always have a supplier to go back to -- they will directly absorb the loss on warranty exchanges (mitigated by refurbishment or recycling value, if any) and are less likely to offer upsell options that might increase the risk of additional losses.
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