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Obsolescence

Pioneer in Obsolescence Management and Legacy Sustainment for embedded technology

  • No one wants to be left with EOL overstock

    No one wants to be left with EOL overstock

    On one of the blogs I read, someone commented: “If you’re concerned about counterfeits in obsolete components… don’t worry about to-be-discontinued components — just design them in, and buy what you need to support the product anyway.  Then you won’t have to worry about counterfeits.” On the surface and if you are only worried about […]

  • Does Innovation = Forced Obsolescence?

    Does Innovation = Forced Obsolescence?

    Is there a downside to new technology innovation? We all love and encourage innovation, but what is the hidden cost?

    Critical embedded applications in the Defense and Medical industry are a great example of where this question comes into play. Both these applications have people’s lives relying on them, and both require extended life cycles due to critical verification and certification requirements.

    If an OEM experiences sharp drop in demand for a particular embedded board, it doesn’t make any business sense to continue building more, and the board will likely become obsolete. Everyone understands that an OEM can’t remain competitive if they have to support every product they’ve ever developed… forever. But if that board is still being used in the defense or medical industry, suddenly the systems engineer is faced with diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortages (DMSMS) and higher risk of exposure to counterfeits if obsolete components must now be sourced.

  • What does Brooks Stevens have to do with “Planned Obsolescence”?

    Creative Commons License by cpence. Some rights reserved. Licensing applicable to image only.

    The original Oscar Mayer Weinermobile, in the Henry Ford Museum

    You may not know about Brooks Stevens, and today is his birthday.

    Clifford Brooks Stevens, born June 7, 1911, was an American industrial designer of home furnishings, appliances, automobiles and motorcycles— as well as a graphic designer and stylist. At the time of his death, he was considered “a major force in industrial design.”

    If Google was to do a custom sketch for his birthday, it would probably be the widely recognized Oscar Mayer “Wienermobile” or the Harley-Davidson motorcycles body he designed in the 60s (production of new bikes are still based on Stevens’ body designs).

    But how many will reference a topic sure to light a fuse in any frugal consumer? Planned Obsolescence.

  • GDCA: Celebrating 25 Years of Legacy Support

    1987 takes us back: a dozen eggs were 65 cents, a gallon of gas was 89 cents, you and the family may have tuned-in to watch the premiere of a show called The Simpsons.  The last 25 years have been exciting for everyone. Technology has evolved at an amazing rate, and we are honored to support the legacy of this growth. It is because of this technology evolution that GDCA exists.

    In 1987, the embedded industry was only just beginning to feel the early pains being caused by the growing gap between obsolescence and the support needs of long-life systems.

    Foreseeing the difficulty and expensive this would mean for both OEMs and their customers to support what eventually became known as legacy applications, Martin Plotkin recognized the embedded industry needed an alternative.

    This vision paved the way for us to bridge the embedded obsolescence/legacy gap. We are proud of how far we’ve come in the 25 years since we opened our doors as GD California.  Today, as GDCA, we are still a quality manufacturer of legacy products, but with an accumulated track record and experience that provides insight and support for businesses worldwide.

  • Does the prospect of overstocking kill your critical embedded systems?

    With last-time-buy solutions, customers find themselves faced with either over-stocking so-called “obsolete” components, and phasing out older systems.

    2011 wasn’t an easy year for DRAM manufacturers. The move from notebooks towards tablets and technology using NAND flash did nothing to bolster a struggling semiconductor industry. In this type of scenario it becomes common for manufacturers to shift their focus from older technology to newer ones.  This process often leads to End-of-Life (EOL) decisions and component manufacturers sending out Last-Time-Buy (LTB) notices.

    In addition to the immediate challenge of feasibly supporting products with obsolete components, embedded OEMs must focus on latest-and-greatest solutions, developing new solutions to satisfy their customers’ evolving demands.  As the embedded industry shifts from older technology like DRAM to newer and more popular applications like NAND, customers can find themselves faced with a choice between over-stocking of so-called “obsolete” components, and phasing out older and less popular systems.

    So where does this leave older products that don’t have a lot of sales, but are still used by valued customers?

  • Could Stephen Hawking’s voice go end-of-life (EOL)?

    Intel engineer Travis Bonifield holds a replica of the custom PC he recently created for Stephen Hawking

    Whether  you’re checking out his illuminating talks on the nature of the universe, theoretical cosmology and quantum gravity; watching him play himself on Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Simpsons and Futurama; or geeking out to MC Frontalot’s rap, science, and quotations; chances are you’ve heard Stephen Hawking’s iconic voice.

    What most people don’t realize is that while Stephen Hawking is very much alive, his voice could risk going end-of-life (EOL). Until recently, the computer responsible for helping Stephen Hawking communicate with the world is made up of three parts: a Lenovo X220 tablet PC, a custom black box containing various peripherals, and the hardware voice itself.

    According to Sam Blackburn, the technician, who for five years kept Stephen Hawking’s communication systems running, the card inside Stephen’s hardware voice synthesizer dates back to the 1980s, “this particular one contains Stephen’s voice. There’s a processor on it which has a unique program that turns text into speech that sounds like Stephen’s, and we have only two of these cards. The company that made them went bankrupt and nobody knows how it works any more.”

  • GDCA in San Francisco Business Times

    GDCA in San Francisco Business Times

    The end of the line Transforming dead computer designs into a viable business By Michael Hytha – Special to the Business Times Martin Plotkin spent the first half of his high-tech career on the leading edge. Then he jumped back to the trailing edge. Plotkin’s Livermore company, GD California Inc., is thriving and growing in […]

  • GDCA Featured in 680 Business Journal

    GDCA thrives on obsolescence By Loralee Stevens, Staff Reporter LIVERMORE – Shrinking technology cycles are swelling the product Lines of GD California, a supporter of legacy computer components. Despite losing 40%- 60% of its business each year as customers migrate to new products, the company has quietly trebled its revenues since 1996 and continues to […]

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