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Posts posted by Reds

  1. 9 hours ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

    That is partly NI's work. They were pretty aggressive about defending their idea by applying for quite a few patents and defending them too. Of course if you go to the trouble to apply for a patent you have to be willing to defend it, otherwise you eventually use the right to a patent anyways.

    And they did buy up some companies that had something similar to LabVIEW, such as DasyLab for instance, although in my opinion DasyLab didn't quite go beyond the standard "wire some icons together" similar to what HPVee did, and what Node-Red is doing too. But they tried to use some structures that were darn close to LabVIEW loops and that was a prominent NI patent. So NI eventually approached them and made them the offer to either buy them or meet them in front of a judge. The rest is history.

    100% this. Also, don't forget they famously sued MathWorks when MatLab started to roll out graphical programming tools that looked a little bit too much like LabVIEW. That cold war finally ended, but only very recently.

  2. Y'all should read the PDF versions of the letters Emerson sent before getting your panties in a bunch about LabVIEW's future. Quoting from one of Emerson's letters:

    We are very excited about the combination of our two firms and the potential we can achieve together. Emerson has long admired NI as a technology leader in the electronic test and measurement industry, a complementary adjacency to our Automation Solutions business with a similar technology stack of intelligent devices, controls, and software. We have been particularly impressed with NI’s portfolio including modular intelligent devices and the LabVIEW suite of offerings, as well as NI’s industry stewardship over many decades in this space. Combining NI with Emerson would lead to significant opportunities for both of our teams and further develop our position as a premier global automation company.

  3. 2 hours ago, ShaunR said:

    Maybe. Although he's getting on a bit and has an interest in Alzheimer's. Could also be looking at passing an inheritance where a cash drop like this would be great. Difficult to understand he'd be happy about his life's work being swallowed by another corporation just for a few decimal points of his billions in cash.

    Interesting he talks about "stakeholders" instead of shareholders but it does not bode well for NI.

    The plot thickens!

    I didn't quote the part where he explicitly states his disappointment with NI's "execution" and how it has lost focus on it's "stakeholders" including customers and partners.  Check out the article and decide for yourself. I mean, he's not wrong if you ask me.

  4. 8 hours ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

    It does probably mean that an installer only comes with one version of VI libraries (the supported minimum version) and that it will invoke a mass compile after installation. And there is of course the option that some of those VIs use features that may get depreciated in a future LabVIEW version and eventually get disabled so that some driver VIs might not load without broken error in a far out version of LabVIEW.

    The issue I've found is not the LabVIEW vi's bundled with the driver installers. The *real* issue is the property nodes. Some drivers, like NI-RFSA, have tons of things that can only be set through a property node. You can recompile and move/copy vi's to your heart's content, you'll never get those property nodes to work in any version of LabVIEW that is not "supported". I'm certainly hoping that they find a way to allow property nodes from any version of NI-xxxx to work in any future version of LabVIEW. One can dream, right...

  5. Has anyone noted anything particularly noteworthy from NI Connect this week?

    One thing I noticed is that NI is going to be decoupling NI driver versions from LabVIEW version numbers. I think this means that you will be able to use any version of LabVIEW with any version on hardware driver in the future. 

    Anyone notice any other announcements of interest?

  6. 4 hours ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

    If you can understand this you also can guess where NI is heading. They won't die and their shares will likely not falter. But what they will be has little to do with what they used to be. If LabVIEW still has a place in this I do not know.

    Wow. Thank you for a valuable post Rolf. All of that helped me answer and understand so many open questions I had. When I look at recent NI actions from these angles, it does all make sense. 

    It doesn’t make me happy, but at least I can understand it.

  7. On 4/13/2022 at 9:19 AM, hooovahh said:

    I think LAVA gets a decent amount of exposure at NI Week.  It is usually one of the most popular events, aside from the main party put on by NI.  But new developers aren't likely flocking to NI Week, especially recently.  LabVIEW activity on reddit is quite low, less quantity, but I'd also argue less quality than LAVA.  I chime in there occasionally, but without the subforums, it is hard to categorize what you are talking about.  Jokes and memes along side NI announcements, people looking for homework help, and technical discussions all jumbled together feels weird to me.  Other subreddits have enough activity that the popular stuff is pushed up by voting and the algorithm. 

    I've been to all of the NI Week conferences in the last ~ 10 years. I never attended a Lava G event, never saw one advertised outside of this forum itself, and never even noticed a room set aside for Lava G at the convention center (I frankly don't even know where the event is held).

    If people care strongly about this community here, the best thing to do is to casually let people know on reddit, or ni.com, or stack exchange that this forum exists. It's my belief that this forum only got traction in the first place because it's existence was announced on another forum, info-LabVIEW.

    I know most of you guys are hard core engineers, and "dont' believe in marketing". But, you know, the field exists for a reason....




  8. I’m not so quick to use participation numbers on this website as a proxy for LabVIEW popularity generally. I would be real curious to know what percentage of active participants on this site only found out about it via the the old info-LabVIEW listserv. 

    How would a brand new LabVIEW developer find or know about this site? Google? What are the odds that this site ranks better than ni.com in Google? Pretty much zero I would think.

  9. So I love a conspiracy theory as much as the next guy.....but I've changed my mind. There is no conspiracy to kill LabVIEW here.

    I recently discovered that some of the toolkits NI sells, like the ones used to generate WiFi test signals for the RF hardware, are also going subscription only. Now this is pure madness. Who wants to buy a $75,000 signal generator for your lab, which will be useless if you don't resubscribe to the software package every year? Crazy.

    So I've changed my mind. They're not trying to kill LabVIEW with a subscription. These people are just dumb. Really, really dumb.

    Never attribute to malice that which can easily be explained by incompetence.

    • Like 1
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  10. On 12/27/2021 at 8:38 PM, Gribo said:

    I can amortize 20,000$ one time license costs, I can't amortize 500$/ month subscription. Python seems more attractive every day. 

    Related: Color of money is a big deal in corporations. Especially in sectors like defense and government. I've seen huge buckets of government money that have one big stipulation: They can ONLY be spent on CapEx, not OpEx.

  11. I think the biggest problem with the subscription model is that it does not set incentives correctly for NI.

    In the olden days, a company had to actually improve their software and innovate in order to get paid more money every year. Now, with the subscription model, all they have to do is "lock someone in" to their platform, and they get paid forever.

    Why continue to add new features to your software every year? Your suc......err....customers.... HAVE to pay you. Even if you don't continue to improve the software.

    In this new model, what financial incentive does NI now have to continue improving LabVIEW? It seems to me like they only need to just enough to keep existing users from leaving. That's not exactly innovative stuff.

    You know what it leads to? Flat revenue for the product line. You know what Wall Street hates?

    • Like 1
  12. A stream of pictures at 30 frames per second or higher is best handled as.....wait for it.....video. I'm not aware of any software that could stream raw video into a database. It seems kind of crazy to even try that.

    My best advice is to start thinking about this as a video problem that requires video compression and video codecs. Those video codecs could be either hardware or software based.

    If each of your pictures is significantly different from the last, then you would want to use what's known as an "intra-frame" video codec. This type of codec does all video compression on a single frame/picture and does not rely on information from surrounding pictures/frames.

  13. 23 minutes ago, jacobson said:

    On the second point, I'm not an accountant but doesn't gross margins only account for the cost of the physical goods so that can get skewed heavily by including software and services in the "system" price?

    That's a very common misconception. But it's actually not right. Service businesses definitely do not have 100% gross margin. "Cost of Sales" is a more accurate term than "Cost of Goods Sold" for a services business. But otherwise, it's the same calculation.

    Services businesses should be calculating gross margin by figuring out how much they pay an engineer directly for every hour that engineer bills. If you pay an engineer $50/hour, you'll need to bill him at $200/hour to get a 75% gross margin. And he's going to need to bill 40 hours every week. If he's not billing 40 hours every week, there won't be enough money to pay for sales, marketing, and G&A overhead.

    If you're a one-person company (i.e. a single person alliance member), you will need to be so damn good that you can support your own salary on 2 billable hours per day if you want to hit 75% gross margin.

    This is a great conversation. I hope we can have more business conversations like this on LAVA.



    • Like 2
  14. 5 hours ago, Aristos Queue said:

    A software team can produce the next version of the software with the same staffing as the previous version. There’s no requirement to keep ramping investment other than pay raises. But if the employment environment is sufficiently non-competitive, not giving raises doesn’t lose devs. 

    I agree with that general premise. But that same engineering team, with flat spend, is going to have to start working on new products that differentiate, or doing things a lot more efficiently or better. R&D is not going to be able to help NI drive revenue growth if it just continues to do all of the same things it's been doing for the last four years.

    I'm also baffled at how NI expects to maintain 75% gross margins on systems and services. Ask any alliance member if they have 75% gross margins, and they'll peel over laughing. But that's a whole 'nother conversation I guess.

  15. For anyone interested in the business future of NI, I recommend viewing the "Virtual Investors Conference" from a few days ago. You can find it at www.ni.com/investors. There is a lot more useful and actionable information in these presentations compared to the re-brand event.

    Summary of what I took away from the investors conference:

    -- Flat spend on new product development for next 3 years (classified as "R&D").

    -- Product price stability for next 3 years (flat gross margins expected).

    -- Focus on year-over-year revenue growth (including a lot more revenue from systems and software).

    -- Slash G&A to ensure net profit growth in case that whole revenue growth thing doesn't work out. 

    I'm not really sure how revenue is going to grow with flat spending on engineering and sales. I guess they're just planning on doing everything a lot better? Unclear to me....

  16. A few years ago there was a great presentation at NI Week where someone in the community demonstrated how to write a core measurement application in LabVIEW, while using C#/.NET for only the top-level GUI elements.

    Does anyone remember or have a copy of this presentation? I seem to recall there was a video of this presentation online at some point in the past?


  17. Forget about colors and fonts, I want to better understand this quote from Austin Business news:

    Shelley Gretlein, NI’s vice president of global marketing, likened its old business model to being a Home Depot where companies can get the materials to build a treehouse. "More and more, customers are moving so fast, they don’t have time to make the treehouse," said Gretlein, a 20-year veteran of the company who spearheaded the internal group that revamped it inside and out. "They don’t have the time, and budgets and teams are shrinking. You need to deliver the whole treehouse."

  18. For me, less of my time is spent hardcore coding or engineering these days. More of my time is spent doing sales, marketing and business building activities. That's just been the trajectory of my career/business recently. So now I consume a lot more sales & marketing blogs. I have seen the same sort of dynamic at work over at www.Slashdot.org. We're all a bunch of old guys having conversations about management.

    Finally, it seems like everyone who used to hang out over at info-labview moved over to this website when e-mail lists became passé. Thus, LavaG didn't need to "advertise" to get new users. People just migrated over to LavaG organically because the word-on-the-street was that this is where the cool people are hanging out now. I mean...just putting on my marketing hat for a second....how exactly *are* the new kids supposed to find this site anyway??

    In short: We are all getting older, our jobs are changing, and there is no organic way for this site to attract new users. I never really considered the possibility that this has anything to do with the popularity of LabVIEW generally.

    • Like 1
  19. Yes, I took a look at NI Requirements Gateway, but I thought it was weird that that tool was so focused on documenting *where* in the source code a requirement is implemented. That doesn't seem useful to me at all (maybe it is to the medical guys and others who are heavily regulated).  I think (?) what I'm really looking for is something that links requirements to test results, not requirements to source code locations.


    I guess, I'm not really sure what I'm looking for, but I'd like to hear from people who have gotten more sophisticated than Microsoft Word and your standard Defect Tracking website/SaaS tool.


    I feel like in the LabVIEW community, our development processes and systems are often behind the curve compared to the traditional, text-based dev world. For example, it seems like it took us a lot longer to get on board with source control than the rest of the programming world. Perhaps it's because so many of us have to play the dual roles of both "domain expert" and "software developer".

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