I've been worrying about the difference between average time and mean time.
I've been speccing some components for a friends pc build and have come across yet another acronym. MTBF.
This stands for Mean Time Before Failure.
But what does this actually mean?
Average seems a pretty useless measure. I live in a block of flats with about 100 residents. Guy down the block only has one leg. Consequently, I have more than the average number of legs!
So if the MTBF is 100,000 operations does that mean that this device will average 100,000 operations before breaking down?
Another factor is the bathtub curve that applies to most electrical devices. They either fail soon after purchase or go on until the built in obsolescence kicks in, then they start failing so the curve is like a bathtub.
This sort of thing keeps me awake at night