Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 29th Feb 2012 09:47 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems This morning, I experienced the nerd equivalent of a Black Friday $50 iPad sale. At 07:00 CET, the first batch of the much-anticipated Raspberry Pi went on sale, and while Raspberry Pi itself was very properly prepared, the two large international retailers actually selling the device weren't - despite warnings from Raspberry Pi about the enormous amount of traffic that would come their way, the two sites crumbled to dust within seconds. There's good news too - the cheaper model A has seen its RAM doubled at no additional cost.
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RE[3]: Very Generous!
by Morgan on Wed 29th Feb 2012 13:18 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Very Generous!"
Morgan
Member since:
2005-06-29

Yes I read the same forums, they assured everyone that it was in hand. People asked over and over for a pre-order system to avoid this but the reply was always that it was not required.


Please explain how a pre-order system would have been any different? There would still be hundreds of thousands of people bringing servers to their knees trying to click the pre-order button as opposed to the order button. The only difference I can think of is that there would have been a few weeks between server crashes and orders shipping.

http://twitter.com/#!/Raspberry_Pi/status/174758342680514562

http://twitter.com/#!/Raspberry_Pi/status/174789638907637760

They admit they couldn't get hold of RS, they had to find out the details of the launch of their own product from a customer.

It took them three and a half hours to contact Farnell, hardly a sign of a close working relationship with either. Surely if they had communicated the scale of this thoroughly you'd imagine there would be a bit more communication between them.


As I said to Risible, I never bothered to check Twitter, thank you for posting the relevant tweets. Have you considered, though, that the resellers might have been avoiding calls from RPi? You're so quick to blame the foundation when they could very well have been ringing every phone and pinging every email address at the resellers. It's entirely possible that the same traffic that brought down the storefronts also affected communication at the companies. But hey, that requires a moment of thought to envision rather than a fountain of vitriol, right?

By planning for it, I don't think it displays an utter lack of common sense, to question this there are sites that handle more traffic every day, how do they manage?


Your strawman needs some new stuffing. I'm sure if Amazon or Newegg were the vendors of choice they would have barely felt a sting, they are indeed used to this kind of traffic every day. But RS and Farnell aren't in the top 10 tech vendors on the internet. They aren't even in the top 100. They are small potatoes and are probably used to 1/10th the traffic they are getting today.



http://twitter.com/#!/Hexxeh/status/174773218383638528

Try it for yourself, you can put as many as you like in the qty box, I know the initial run has gone. Rpi admit themselves they don't know. There is a guy on Ebay who had a load for sale. He may have been a scammer but that doesn't seem to be the case.


Interestingly you ignore this response:

Raspberry Pi:@Hexxeh We're talking to them about that. The agreement we have with them was very clear that it was to be only 1 per customer.


It appears that this might be shenanigans on the part of Farnell, perhaps trying to cash in quickly, or maybe hoping a few people would place huge orders and end the sale early. But hey, go ahead and keep accusing a non-profit foundation of misleading the public, especially when they are also trying to make sure Farnell plays by the rules. Stay classy, my friend.

In short, by planning for it, speaking to the vendors and not being so adamant that dropping an incredibly small stock of something that was so obviously in demand all at once was totally the best idea.


Yeah, because they can just throw those first 10,000 units in the Hammerspace Bag and whip out another 100,000 on the spot! Jesus but you are out of touch with reality on that one.

To be honest I'm starting to think that this was all deliberate to generate as much publicity as possible.


I can't think of anyone beyond a Kardashian who would intentionally seek out so much egg on the face just for publicity's sake.

How about stepping back and looking at it again; isn't it quite possible that they simply underestimated the huge following this project would have, and being a (say it with me) non profit foundation they didn't have the immediate resources to cope with the way it scaled? Even Apple has issues with meeting demand for their shiny iDevices, and they have billions of dollars in liquid assets they can and do throw at the problem. Sometimes you just have to do the best with what you have and learn what to avoid for the next time around.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: Very Generous!
by rec9140 on Wed 29th Feb 2012 14:28 in reply to "RE[3]: Very Generous!"
rec9140 Member since:
2012-02-29

Please explain how a pre-order system would have been any different? There would still be hundreds of thousands of people bringing servers to their knees trying to click the pre-order button as opposed to the order button. The only difference I can think of is that there would have been a few weeks between server crashes and orders shipping.


Simple... you fill out a form during the time since May 2011 when this was announced! Very unlikely to over burned a server of this long a time. Sure spikes possibly... not as likely as this disaster...

Should have been taking PRE ORDERS for months and then they would know how many they needed. no 10K, but likely 30-50K.


Plus the foundation sits on the $$$/££££ and earns interest... win win for all.... but nope... The RPI food blogger knows better! Eben and most of them know way more about silicon design, chip design etc.. than I probably will ever know... but this is a mess.
This is an unmitigated disaster.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Very Generous!
by Garrrr_Pirate on Wed 29th Feb 2012 14:30 in reply to "RE[3]: Very Generous!"
Garrrr_Pirate Member since:
2012-02-29

Please explain how a pre-order system would have been any different? There would still be hundreds of thousands of people bringing servers to their knees trying to click the pre-order button as opposed to the order button. The only difference I can think of is that there would have been a few weeks between server crashes and orders shipping.


By spreading the load over several weeks or months, not dropping it so the whole world tries to buy the things at the same time. Even a registration of interest with a lottery system would have been so much better. As it was not even the mailing list got the email as promised.


As I said to Risible, I never bothered to check Twitter, thank you for posting the relevant tweets. Have you considered, though, that the resellers might have been avoiding calls from RPi? You're so quick to blame the foundation when they could very well have been ringing every phone and pinging every email address at the resellers. It's entirely possible that the same traffic that brought down the storefronts also affected communication at the companies. But hey, that requires a moment of thought to envision rather than a fountain of vitriol, right?


Maybe they were, I rang RS this morning after the site crashed and got straight through. So did the person in the tweet, hardly the sign of company who have been taken out of existence by enquiries or the sign that the foundation was trying by any and all means to contact them (this is also pure speculation on your part). Raspberry Pi didn't even know that RS weren't planning to sell the product today, you can hardly blame that on poor communication after the event. I'm not spouting a fountain of vitriol btw, I just disagree somewhat with your somewhat rose tinted view, but again thanks.

I should add that you read enough of the Twitter to decide that people were attacking them in your article but when the tweets that conflict with your opinion appear you [p]I pretty much ignored the whole Twitter side of things[/p], which was it?

Your strawman needs some new stuffing. I'm sure if Amazon or Newegg were the vendors of choice they would have barely felt a sting, they are indeed used to this kind of traffic every day. But RS and Farnell aren't in the top 10 tech vendors on the internet. They aren't even in the top 100. They are small potatoes and are probably used to 1/10th the traffic they are getting today.


I think you need to learn what strawman means. RS and Farnell have around 5000 employees each, Farnell operate in nearly 3 times as many countries as Amazon and turnover around $1.5 Billion, these are hardly small potatoes. There such things as elastic servers, cloud computing etc etc just for circumstances such as this.

Interestingly you ignore this response:


No I didn't, it rather reinforces the likelihood that this is what happened. I didn't say that this happening was the fault of the foundation or that they had deliberately mislead anyone. In fact I specifically stated that
Farnell didn't enforce the one per customer rule so it seems likely that large numbers have been hoovered up by individuals
, so it seems you are refuting not what I actually said but something close to it (see my comments about strawman).

Yeah, because they can just throw those first 10,000 units in the Hammerspace Bag and whip out another 100,000 on the spot! Jesus but you are out of touch with reality on that one.


I'm not suggesting it was easy or that I have the answers, just that saying it was handled well is at best somewhat disingenuous.

isn't it quite possible that they simply underestimated the huge following this project would have


Not really, they've known for months about the demand, they even talk about it themselves on their own forum.

they didn't have the immediate resources


In their own words "We are adequately funded", any number of people would have offered them funding, pre-order money but we were told that they didn't need it.

non profit foundation


I guess this is the crux of it, boy did it show, it was handled spectacularly badly despite all the warnings that this would be what ended up happening. They spent all morning telling people that they didn't know what was happening. Sometimes you have to do the best with what you have, its just a shame they didn't. When Apple can't deliver they don't spend all day tweeting how it was someone else's fault.

All that said I'm somewhat grouchy after being up since the early hours for no good reason when it seems likely that half of the stock was sold to a few people and the rest wasn't actually for sale.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[5]: Very Generous!
by Lennie on Thu 1st Mar 2012 10:11 in reply to "RE[4]: Very Generous!"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

"RS and Farnell have around 5000 employees each, Farnell operate in nearly 3 times as many countries as Amazon and turnover around $1.5 Billion, these are hardly small potatoes. There such things as elastic servers, cloud computing etc etc just for circumstances such as this."

I think the resellers just didn't take it seriously.

The foundation did tell them or maybe it didn't reach the right people.

I do believe the foundation asked for direct links, they just didn't get them (in time).

Also I doubt the resellers make a lot of money on this product, so maybe they didn't want to spend time/money on it.

Obviously having your main website go down is money lost.

Reply Parent Score: 3