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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Dragon Den's Peter Jones stick the boot in... in Technical; OK- it's the silly season... Dragon Den's Peter Jones shows his knowledge of thin clients and skewers a salesman on ...
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    Dragon Den's Peter Jones stick the boot in...

    OK- it's the silly season...

    Dragon Den's Peter Jones shows his knowledge of thin clients and skewers a salesman on his (un)green PC's made out of standard PC parts.

    I 'specially like Theo's question "What makes your machine special" and the
    salesman's answer: " Nothing at all - its all off the shelf"

    ...and Peter Jones is right about the green-ness of terminals over PCs, he just got a little confused between green-screen terminals (RS232?) and Winterms - but his power consumption argument would stand either way...

    Enjoy !

    YouTube - Dragons Den Peter Hopton Very PC Epic Fail PT1

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    mac_shinobi's Avatar
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    My Favorite saying of all time - you need a checkup from the neck up

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    Quote Originally Posted by nut-ed View Post
    OK- it's the silly season...

    Dragon Den's Peter Jones shows his knowledge of thin clients and skewers a salesman on his (un)green PC's made out of standard PC parts.

    I 'specially like Theo's question "What makes your machine special" and the
    salesman's answer: " Nothing at all - its all off the shelf"

    ...and Peter Jones is right about the green-ness of terminals over PCs, he just got a little confused between green-screen terminals (RS232?) and Winterms - but his power consumption argument would stand either way...

    Enjoy !

    YouTube - Dragons Den Peter Hopton Very PC Epic Fail PT1
    not surprisingly, they seem to have posted some very good numbers the following year...
    i don't know how they've been doing since then and i'm no expert on P/E valuations but if your talking about turnover of 1.5mil how long before your not far off that original 5mil valuation ?

    http://business.timesonline.co.uk/to...cle5683443.ece

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    While Peter is correct about the power consumption and the initial valuation, I don't think he is making a valid comparison. I imagine most of VeryPCs customers would be looking to buy small, quiet energy efficient PCs which run Windows or Linux, not RS-232 dumb terminals. Schools looking to reduce their electricity bills would probably opt for a thin client setup because they need to run Windows apps via RDP/ICA. Traditional text-based green-screen terminals wouldn't even be considered, so I am not sure why Peter seemed to go on and on about these? They would be great at preventing staff going on Facebook through.

    There's clearly a market for computers which are cheap to run, otherwise why would major OEMs such as Apple, HP, Dell, Asus, Lenovo etc. make them? Apple's Mac mini for example uses less than 10 watts at idle and HPs new Proliant MicroServer uses 70 watts max with four 3.5" HDDs. Both are marketed as being energy efficient.

    Quote Originally Posted by nut-ed View Post
    I 'specially like Theo's question "What makes your machine special" and the salesman's answer: " Nothing at all - it's all off the shelf"
    Wouldn't this be an advantage? Finding replacement parts for PCs which are out of warranty is far easier when they aren't proprietary. However, as an investor I can see how not having a unique enough selling point would be an issue. Why buy a VeryPC when there are lots of other OEMs selling similar products? Next year it's going to get even harder because there will be many more manufacturers selling computers based on Intel's and AMD's latest processors (like the E350).

    Personally I would rather build my own Mini-ITX PC as I get to choose whatever components I want, including a case that doesn't look ugly.

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    Having met Pete Hopton and worked with VeryPC (our school has a mix of the BE, BL, Willow and Servers totalling around 300) I can tell you he is very passionate and knowledgable and the company is a brilliant company to work with. The machines are reliable, quiet, sturdy and the support is top notch.

    I think Peter Jones missed the point, thin clients are all well and good but try getting 30 pupils video editing in a class room at once on them.......your going to struggle! I also think Peter Jones wasn't going to back down from his argument as he thought he was right (which he was, and wasnt).

    Thankfully even without the investment VeryPC are thriving and doing well for themselves, so well done to them!

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    Why would they even need the investment if things are going so well? Why not even approach the bank for assistance if they want to expand\meet sudden future demands?

    *Mind you, knowing how banks are ATM with regards to small businesses that may be another story altogether!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    Why would they even need the investment if things are going so well? Why not even approach the bank for assistance if they want to expand\meet sudden future demands?

    *Mind you, knowing how banks are ATM with regards to small businesses that may be another story altogether!
    How things are going now compared to how things were going 2 years ago when they went on the Den are totally different things........(I think the programme was aired August 2008, so it would have been early / mid 2008 it got filmed).

    It's actually of bonus the fact that VeryPC use off the shelf parts due to ease of replacement, if they used some weird concoction of parts and you couldn't get replacements people would moan so they can't seem to win either way.

    The fact that the BroadLeaf model they do is awarded as the most energy efficient PC in the world (i think thats right.....) says it all really (we have a few of them and they are super little bits of kit).
    Last edited by RTFM; 23rd December 2010 at 12:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    Why would they even need the investment if things are going so well? Why not even approach the bank for assistance if they want to expand\meet sudden future demands?

    *Mind you, knowing how banks are ATM with regards to small businesses that may be another story altogether!
    in the orignial program there was some mention of discussions the company had apparently had with venture capital/private equity. I too would have thought for investment you'd look there or as you say some assistance from the bank [for some short-term funding atleast], but one word as to why you'd go on dragon's den, and it's not to necessarily get funding from one of the 'dragons' especially when you look at the equity stake they often end up demanding....

    that word is exposure. So even without a dragons' investment that 15 minutes of fame on prime time tv can be as good, if not better, outcome. I'd be interested to know the hit's/increase in traffic to a featured companies website after airing of each programme.

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    The other thing with it is that if someone, say Peter Jones, had invested and taken 45% of the business, in the long term having 55% of something is better than 45% of nothing. It's also a case of, how much work could the Dragon put your way......

    As torledo said though, any advertisement is good advertisment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RTFM View Post
    The other thing with it is that if someone, say Peter Jones, had invested and taken 45% of the business, in the long term having 55% of something is better than 45% of nothing. It's also a case of, how much work could the Dragon put your way......

    As torledo said though, any advertisement is good advertisment.
    i agree, although as much as there could be a positive impact of having a dragon who's taken a large equity stake in your business, you would have to question how much time they could possibly devote given their numerous other commercial interests and commitments....it could well be that an 'as seen on dragons den' sticker can work out for a business/product even without a dragons investment. Especially if they are doing the right things to grow the business anyway...

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    Quote Originally Posted by RTFM View Post
    How things are going now compared to how things were going 2 years ago when they went on the Den are totally different things........(I think the programme was aired August 2008, so it would have been early / mid 2008 it got filmed).

    It's actually of bonus the fact that VeryPC use off the shelf parts due to ease of replacement, if they used some weird concoction of parts and you couldn't get replacements people would moan so they can't seem to win either way.

    The fact that the BroadLeaf model they do is awarded as the most energy efficient PC in the world (i think thats right.....) says it all really (we have a few of them and they are super little bits of kit).
    Ah, I didn't realise it was that old. I thought it had aired just recently.

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    Thing with this is that the broadleaf PC got voted greenest because it uses low consumption parts, however, with the way some schools operate (shutdown after every lesson) the PSU will blow up quicker than standard PCs, and they have are not resilient to power surges like most PSU's. School in Enfield that I know trialled them for a month, and standard usage at their place had 1 in 15 PSUs burning out, after being switched off and on at the standard rate for their school.

    So add in the time that it will take for replacement parts to get there, and the engineer to change it (under warranty), and then after warranty etc, it works out much more costly as the savings in energy will not cover cost of parts and labour!


    *Edit*

    Their Greenhive machine however is a fantastic bit of kit for an office!!!

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    Shut down after every lesson seems a tad excessive.....not sure the benefits of turning off between lessons in honesty as opposed to just logging off.

    We haven't had a broadleaf go back in the year we have had them (we have BL in offices and BE / willows in classrooms).

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    some schools do that in order to "save electrical costs"...which makes sense when u have 100W x 30 x n rooms....with business rates for electric, its quite alot per hour! If lessons are concurrent (1 right after the other) I dont think they do shut down, they just log off, but if more than 15 mins has passed they will shut down the mahcines

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