Free Day is January 13th, 2011!


You knew it was coming....

We are going to have another Free Day on January 13th, 2011 starting at 9AM MST. Wait - you don't know what we're talking about? Oh, well take a bit of time and read up on the post and comments on the original announcement of Free Day 2010, the day of, and the recap. There's over 1,000 comments on those posts so don't dally too long...

Disclaimer: You can help to bring us to our knees again. One of the benefits from Free Day 2010 was the massive load test we threw at our servers. It was a very effective, self-inflicted denial of service attack that showed us where the problems were within our system. We’ve been spending the past 11 months upgrading our hardware by orders of magnitude and completely re-writing our website to squeeze out every efficiency available. Will Free Day 2011 bring our servers to their knees again? It most likely will, but Free Day 2011 will continue to push us to improve our systems for non-Free Days. In other words, please come join the party, we need your help to punish our server bank.

To refresh your memory, last year we gave away $100,000 based on a system of giving $100 (max) per household. The event was scheduled to last all day, but we reach $100K in an hour and 44 minutes. Had the website not crawled to a halt, it undoubtedly would've been even faster.

We learned a lot from last year and as much as we would like to keep Free Day simple and clever, we’re not going to. Here are the rules for Free Day 2011:

  1. First and foremost, we want to give back. We grew by over 50% from 2009 to 2010 so we figured we’d increase the pool by as much. We are going to be giving away $150,000 to users and potentially $30,000 to charity. Our Goal: Get as many new people introduced to SparkFun as possible.
     
  2. Numero dos: We have some amazing customers who have been with us from the beginning and we'd like to show a bit of appreciation. We are going to offer $10 credit for every year (365 days) since your first order. Let’s say you bought something on January 2nd, 2006. You will be offered $50 to claim on Free Day 2011. Goal: To reward customers who have been with us since the beginning. You know who you are (Bill aka phalanx, our fantastic forum moderator).
     
  3. We want to educate people of the basics of electronics. We will be asking a series of different questions on Free Day. When you get a question right, $10 in credit will be instantaneously added to your account. For every question you get wrong, you lose $3. Skipping a question is $0. Limit is $100 per customer or when the $150,000 is given away. These are not trivia questions, these will be very basic knowledge questions about hardware and how to use it. We will be describing the importance of the problem, how to solve the problem, and then ask the reader to solve a similar problem. Checkout the Bite Sized Primer tutorials for some of the material we'll be basing the questions off of. If you're a regular user, you know all this by heart! Goal: Educate new users on the basics.
     
  4. On Free Day, you will be given the option to either take the ‘gimme’ money based on your account age or try for $100 by answering questions. You cannot do both. Remember: We may give away all the money before you can answer the full 10 questions. Which will you choose?
     
  5. All credit must be used within 60 days of Free Day: This will give you time to spend your credits on what you really want. It will also help me prevent a mutiny in shipping. Last year's Free Day was wickedly painful for the awesome people in shipping. By spending your credit throughout two months, you will help us spread out the packaging of orders a bit.
     
  6. For every question answered correctly, we will donate $2 to a collection of three local, international, and technical charities: The Gathering Place, The Hunger Project, and The X-Prize. Goal: Encourage education and at the same time give cold hard cash to folks that need it.

As with most of our ideas, they are rarely formed correctly from the beginning. We have to reserve the right to change things around in case we come up with better rules.

We heart Freenode. We kind of slammed their servers last year as the SparkFun IRC chat room exploded during Free Day 2010. We've donated a bit to them in hopes they'll continue to let us host our public chat room on their servers. You can always chime in and say 'hello' on the SparkFun IRC room on a normal day and hopefully during Free Day 2011.

So that's it. And oh ya, we will be in a tryptophan trance for the next few days, so please forgive us while our offices are on a skeleton staff until Monday, November 29th. If you have any additional questions about Free Day 2011, leave them in the comments here and we will do our best to answer them. We hope your Thanksgiving holiday (or end-of-week for the rest of the world) is a great one. Cheers!


Comments 249 comments

  • That video’s made me realise you should sell red sparkfun labcoats :P

    • Fail @ camera crew @ 0:29 in the movie

    • Seriously, I’m in for the lab coat.

    • oooooh, tasty.<br />
      <br />
      you definitely should.

      • I have been looking for the sweet red labcoat Dr. Horrible wore at the end of “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”.<br />
        <br />
        <br />
        (If you haven’t seen it, stop whatever you’re doing in watch it! Unless you’re performing a colonoscopy, in which case you should probably finish. Why are you reading forums when you have a camera up someone’s butt? )

        • Two Dr.Horrible references in one blog thread? (Mine was first, hahaha) Well… I guess here it makes sense.

  • trivia questions to get money are a terrible idea :( i first heard about sparkfun from the previous free day and i love your site but i don’t know anything about electronics. i just got some tools that i use all the time and i remember your site every time i do.<br />
    <br />
    “Goal: Educate new users on the basics.” i’m afraid all you’re going to do is discourage new users from trying to participate, and making people feel bad for trying to answer 10 questions and winding up with negative 30 dollars of credit.<br />
    <br />
    either give stuff away or don’t do anything. but making people who aren’t experts feel stupid isn’t a good way to promote your site.

    • trivia questions to get money are a terrible idea :( This is actually very a good idea. It keeps the people who know nothing or don’t even try to learn about this hobby from just trying to get free stuff to sell it on ebay. Make a little effort would ya…<br />
      <br />
      “Goal: Educate new users on the basics.” <br />
      –This is the whole point, and they even give you a guide to give you an idea of some of the questions that might appear…You did read the rules, right?<br />
      <br />
      i’m afraid all you’re going to do is discourage new users from trying to participate<br />
      –Only the ones that don’t want to learn. <br />
      <br />
      Sorry people, it’s posts like this that irritate me….had to respond..<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      *…and making people feel bad for trying to answer 10 questions<br />
      –No crybabies allowed. If you can’t take the time to learn the basics…maybe you shouldn’t be involved in something.<br />
      <br />
      Either give stuff away or don’t do anything.<br />
      –Facepalm….<br />
      <br />
      But making people who aren’t experts feel stupid isn’t a good way to promote your site.<br />
      –Do you not study for a test in school? If you study and fail, that’s one thing, but if don’t study and expect to pass, you are failing at life…..<br />

    • A lot of stuff that you do with parts from SparkFun involves knowing at least a bit of electronics.<br />
      <br />
      And I believe the credit can’t go below 0, it’s just if you get some questions right that your credit decreases.<br />
      <br />
      It’s actually a great idea, but there will always be people who don’t want to put in the work.

  • Wow, you guys are cooler than the other side of the pillow. <br />
    <br />
    BTW, love the new free credit requirements. But what if you get all 10 questions wrong? Do you owe SFE $30?

    • <pre>
      if ($user != ‘TopherTheME’){
      $credit = max ($credit, 0);
      }
      </pre>
      <br />
      =)

      • Or for those who love Lua:<br /> <br /> if user ~= “TopherTheME” then<br />         credit = math.max(credit, 0)<br /> end

      • There should be double quotes around your string.

        • Not necessarily. In PHP you can do either. Depends whether you want to interpret the contents or not.<br />
          <br />
          Example:<br />
          $name = “Harry Potter”;<br />
          echo ‘Hello “$name”!’; => Hello “$name”!<br />
          echo “Hello \”$name\“!”; => Hello “Harry Potter”!<br />
          <br />
          echo ‘Hello “’ . $name . ‘”!’; => Hello “Harry Potter”!

      • if user ‘NiñoScript’ then<br /> if credit < 0 then credit:=0;<br /> else<br /> credit := 240;<br /> <br /> {I don’t like pascal, and this probably won’t compile because of the “ñ”}

        • But your username has a normal “n”. So this would likely not do “what you want” anyway.

  • Wow, guys… I’m really glad you are doing this again, especially after the bum vibes some folks sent out last time.<br />
    <br />
    Since I was lucky enough to squeak in last year, I think I’ll simply take the calendar money this time around. I ordered my first Arduino in 2006, so that’ll suit me just fine.

    • Bum vibes indeed, foolish.<br />
      <br />
      There was a brilliant quote addressing that issue in the 2010 Free Day Footage:<br />
      <br />
      “How exactly is not getting some free sh#@ a disaster?”

      • Staying up till 3am to line up with 9AM in the USA while short on cash and sleep then getting to the very last order step for free stuff before the server falls over.<br />
        <br />
        I think that teasing is much more rude than denial, although I do acknowledge that SF couldn’t really help the servers falling over.

        • That’s how it was a disaster for me last year, anyway..

          • A “tease” would have been NOT actually giving out $100k. We did give away the money like promised, just not to the specific people who felt they were destined to get it.

  • 1) Will he have a real time display of money given out? This could give us an idea of how much time we have to answer questions.<br />
    <br />
    2) Will we be asked a total of ten questions or can we try more if we missed some?<br />
    <br />
    3) Will it be ok to be logged in before take-off or will all users have to re-login after the start signal will be given?<br />
    <br />
    My most grateful thanks for this nice and fun give-a-way - LD<br />
    <br />
    <br />

    • Great questions!<br />
      <br />
      1) Yes, we’ll have a banner this is (fairly) live action.<br />
      <br />
      2) Sorry! You’ll only get 10 questions.<br />
      <br />
      3) Good question - I dunno. IT may have to answer that.<br />
      <br />
      Thanks for the kind words!

      • For a banner of total $ given out, are you going to re-purpose the giant green GPS clock to display that? :-) That would be cool…

      • You will NOT get kicked out or be forced to log back in. If you’re logged in when the clock starts then you stay logged in.

  • Again!?<br />
    <br />
    Hooray!

    • I would be hootin' too but sadly I will only have 51 weeks under my belt

      • I wouldn’t sweat it. I’ve been ordering since the beginning but my account on the Sparkfun main site is from 2009. You’ll just have to answer some questions!

        • Thanks for clarifying Bill, I was assuming the initial credits for achieving $100 was based off the seniority scheme - I’ll have to get some Ginko, rest, and coffee. Having quad monitors should speed up the process of finding answers to unknown questions so I guess I’m in a good spot.<br />
          <br />
          ps Take the fifty and run!

  • Wow, the saga begins…two problems:<br />
    1) I have school that day!!!!!<br />
    2) Servers are gonna burn, for sure.

  • Great format for free day; here are my predictions:<br />
    <br />
    1) Those that can gain access to the site and have been a long-time customer will get their just desserts<br />
    <br />
    2) Those trying to answer question to gain credit will kill themselves out of frustration due to service request timing out for 3 hours straight<br />
    <br />
    3) Some will win, some will lose, some Sparkfun cusotmers will sing the blues, but all will have something to comment about the event<br />
    <br />
    Thanks for another chance at free stuff.

  • Free Day 2011 is on my 25th Birthday! Hoorah! Pretty sure that’s a sign I should get lots of free stuff!

  • Please raise your glasses to Frencil, who surely has more important things to do with his time, but has still made the effort to reply to so many of our questions. Free Day is awesome!

  • Starts 11 AM at my timezone (EST), and lunch period starts at 12:06 PM. Looks like I’ll be bringing my laptop and a private proxy SSh key to school that day! It’s going to be a lot of fun :D

  • Woohoo! Free Day!<br />
    <br />
    I missed out last year because of the server crash. Even if I miss out this year, I want to say ‘thank you’ to the Spark Fun staff. What you guys are doing on Free Day is great. What you’re doing for the hobbyist community is wonderful. Whether I get free swag or not, Spark Fun totally rocks. I will not bitch about missing out on anything and will continue to sing your praises no matter what happens.

  • I just can’t say enough how great you guys are. I’d been wanting to get started in electronics for years and you gave me my start last year. <br />
    <br />
    Since then I’ve learned how to solder, put together some noise makers for the kids out of stripboard, read like 10 ancient electronics books, learned how to put simple circuits together, MADE most of this year’s Christmas presents and even tried fixing some broken things. I’ve even scared some people at work by saying “But why don’t you just fix that thing?”<br />
    <br />
    No, I’m not amazing yet… but it’s a start!<br />
    <br />
    Thank you, Sparkfun!

  • I foresee me getting a loan from my mother so I can buy some fun stuff.

  • Ohhh…no….Thats 3.00am in the morning.<br />
    talks softly Mum will kill me…..

  • Awesome!

  • You could make it even better/worse by spreading the amount on a hourly basis.<br />
    Make it 15000$ an hour for ten hours, and enjoy the show !

  • Pour Japanese Nerds, having to get up at 3AM to get some goodies :)

  • Hiya Spakfun Team,<br />
    <br />
    This is an excellent approach to ensure professional leaches don’t sit dominating your servers for freeday.<br />
    Think about giving $15 per year, $10 doesnt go far for resistors these days lol.<br />
    <br />
    Thanks for weighing the pros/cons and coming up with this new formula should be fun and thought provoking!

  • I am happy free day is here again as I got nothing last year. This plan is god because more people will get some things for their efforts.<br />
    <br />
    How do you get the free day money credits if you just want the 10 dollars per year instead of the question answering?<br />
    <br />
    If you want to tie in education into this, why does it always fall on a week day during school hours? I think I would be in debt to Sparkfun if my mom had to answer the electronics questions since she is the only one home.<br />
    <br />
    Thanks for Freeday again, I hope my mom can click the right buttons before time runs out like before.

    • When coming to SparkFun to earn a Free Day credit you’ll be faced with two large buttons: one to just claim your “age” benefit for $X or one to start the quiz to try to earn the full $100. Once you make your decision it’s written in virtual-stone in the database so you won’t be able to undo it.<br />
      <br />
      As for the day of the week - we really did consider a weekend Free Day this year but for all the support staff we need behind the scenes (IT, Customer Service, etc.) it wasn’t practical to make everyone work on a weekend. Also consider that education does not just come from schools. Many of the knowledge-hungry tinkerers that make up the fabric of the SparkFun community are students of life who’ve finished school but never stop learning. =)

      • Being a “knowledge-hungry tinkerer” and a “student of life who’s finished school but never stopped learning” I say “Hear, hear!!”<br />
        <br />
        seanroberts: Kudos to you for enlisting your mom to help! Great dedication!

  • Damn, class starts at 8:55am MST for me so looks like I’m going to miss out on Free Day again.<br />
    <br />
    No chance for a weekend Free Day? So that students can also have a shot?

  • Hm, Pretty clever solution to the notorious “What about people who were just loading up on free stuff and selling it” problem.<br />
    <br />
    I’m pretty confident in my ability to get free stuff this year, based on your system to give money to people with the most ‘Sparkyness,’ as it were. I’m pretty excited about this years ‘Quiz Day’ hahaha.

    • Also…<br />
      <br />
      LOL @ the video. It’s like a really terrible outtake from “Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog”<br />
      <br />
      But in the best way.

  • That’s my birthday.

  • I’m surprised SparkFun is doing it again, after all the negative comments from kill-joy sour-pusses…<br />
    <br />
    Last year I purposely didn’t try to get in on the free day, because I feel fortunate enough that I can buy what I need. After reading some comments by people who were going to try to get something that they couldn’t other wise afford, I thought I’d make more room for them. But heck, the $10 credit for each year you have been a customer, I’ll jump on that, since it appears that not taking advantage of that doesn’t make more $ available for others who might need it more :-)<br />
    <br />
    Thanks again Spark Fun!<br />
    <br />
    - Steve

    • Last year I completely underestimated people’s ability to transform into whiney entitled brats on the forum. This year it will be a lot stricter and it won’t be tolerated.

    • We had nay-sayers last year but to be honest the first Free Day had an overwhelmingly positive response. It’s just that much of the positive feedback was on more private channels (e.g. an email directly to us) where the negative stuff mostly manifested in comments on the home page.<br />
      <br />
      The more constructive negative comments were certainly weighed when figuring out how to do it differently this time around. Time will tell if this Free Day is received favorably.

  • conveniently my shopping cart has $92 in it at the moment. I tried last year but was foiled by the large amount of traffic on the site.<br />
    <br />
    <br />
    BTW You should consider opening a location in Milwaukee, so I can work for you.

  • Let me get this straight; a purchase isn’t necessary on Free Day 2011, just answering some questions? So you are going to have about a bazillion people feverishly trying to fill in the answers at the same time. Talk about a pop quiz! And get the fire extinguishers ready, ‘cause your servers are going to melt down.<br />
    <br />
    So if I’ve got this right, for anyone that’s not already a Sparkfun customer (if such a person exists), remember to set up a SparkFun account BEFORE free day.<br />

    • Correct - no purchase necessary. You just have to read and answer some simple questions.<br />
      <br />
      Correct - a bazillion might be on the high side, but there may be a perceptible (cough) notice in traffic.

  • ohhh man.

  • Credit based on years is nice…..based on dollar value of purchases would of been nice too.<br />
    <br />

  • That’s the best new of whole week! Great SparkFun!

  • I will be scheduling myself off of work for this!!!

  • I guess I’m not going to school that day =P<br />
    Last year I wasn’t able to get anything because I was in class…

  • Now I can finally get those Xbee’s I’ve always wanted :D

  • That’s a good thing you thus area doing That’s hope a lot go to that charity

  • Thanks.

  • I can not stop clicking on the Banner even do I know that there are 45 minutes left.

  • I am using irc.freenode.net and trying to find #sparkfun and everything reports no such server.
    Help.

  • Everything was fine, then just now….

    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6606 ttl=46 time=35.073 ms
    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6607 ttl=46 time=36.538 ms
    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6608 ttl=46 time=35.747 ms
    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6609 ttl=46 time=36.819 ms
    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6610 ttl=46 time=47.473 ms
    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6611 ttl=46 time=35.554 ms
    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6612 ttl=46 time=35.083 ms
    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6613 ttl=46 time=36.464 ms
    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6614 ttl=46 time=40.526 ms
    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6615 ttl=46 time=37.184 ms
    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6616 ttl=46 time=36.231 ms
    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6617 ttl=46 time=137.829 ms
    Request timeout for icmp_seq 6618
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    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6629 ttl=46 time=394.960 ms
    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6630 ttl=46 time=387.950 ms
    Request timeout for icmp_seq 6631
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    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6638 ttl=46 time=380.186 ms
    Request timeout for icmp_seq 6639
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    Request timeout for icmp_seq 6641
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    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6643 ttl=46 time=397.303 ms
    Request timeout for icmp_seq 6644
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    Request timeout for icmp_seq 6649
    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6650 ttl=44 time=587.945 ms
    Request timeout for icmp_seq 6651
    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6652 ttl=44 time=359.948 ms
    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6653 ttl=44 time=200.895 ms
    Request timeout for icmp_seq 6654
    Request timeout for icmp_seq 6655
    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6656 ttl=46 time=203.250 ms
    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6657 ttl=46 time=152.918 ms
    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6658 ttl=46 time=152.171 ms
    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6659 ttl=46 time=153.468 ms
    Request timeout for icmp_seq 6660
    64 bytes from 204.144.132.37: icmp_seq=6661 ttl=46 time=375.100 ms
    I see people are logging in now, 2 hours early…

  • Seems like Free Day is starting at 11:00. So exicited!!!

  • Wow, figuring out this FREENODE thing is crazy. This alone must be part of the test. I bet it’s a huge hurdle for expanding user base.
    “cannot join channel (+r) - you need to be identified with services"
    Could this be harder?

  • to bad i wont be home. wanted to answer some questions and make some money to get some parts to convert a static 1/35 scale tank to rc =)

  • Dam, I’ve just worked out at the time free day goes live I will be in the dentist chair having a tooth pulled :o(

  • LAST YEAR THE ONLY REASON I WAS ABLE TO DO IT WAS BECAUSE I WAS OUT OF SCHOOL FOR A SNOW DAY!

  • WHY DID YOU HAVE TO PUT IT ON A SCHOOL DAY DURING SCHOOL?
    :(

    • We considered carefully whether Free Day should be held on a weekend day this year, but the reality of it is that there’s a ton of pretty exhausting work that needs to happen behind the scenes here for Free Day to take place. We can’t ask all the people of SparkFun to give up their weekend for the event, so it needs to take place during our normal business hours.
      And of course, normal business hours coincide with normal school hours fairly closely.

  • YAY, something to get me through school tomorrow XD

  • Hi, good idea ¡ I look forward the free day ¡

  • Just signed up and heard about this yesterday. I think you guys at sparkfun already know how awesome you are. =)
    Thank you!

  • Hey, your countdown clock is off by 4 seconds! You guys should be able to pick up WWV where you are. 8^)

    • The servers are synced nightly to a national NTP server based on an atomic clock and shouldn’t be off by more than a few milliseconds at worst. The 4 second difference you’re seeing is most likely the javascript implementation of the countdown timer, so don’t trust it to be horribly accurate.
      I mean, if you want to get technical… :)

  • Not sure if it just a setting that I am using but your countdown header is not showing up in Firefox for me.

    • Try refreshing the page; it works on every version of firefox I’ve tested it in. If not, post your OS/ff version please!

  • will free day quiz be mobile compatible?(i.e iphone)?

    • I checked it out on my iPhone and everything worked perfectly. I don’t believe iPhone Safari is officially supported, though…

  • To all those already planning what they’d like to get for free: Don’t. Just, don’t. Don’t get up insanely early and interrupt your sleep. Your health is more important. When the webpages start to fall, and you feel your blood pressure rise, walk away. You win through quitting. Because, in all likelihood, you are not going to get a thing. It’s very much not worth the frustration- And something like this can do that in spades. It’s a gamble, and the odds aren’t on your side. Just look back on last year’s numbers- How many got something, while others didn’t? And so, please do keep in mind that you likely won’t get something. And it’s not worth ruining your day over. Don’t get worked up and make clever little lists of what you’d like, you’re just getting excited over something that won’t pay off for you. I do hate to be negative, especially in light of a charitable contribution on SF’s part, but there’s simply not enough bandwidth, server capacity, and of course, merchandise and money, to assure that every person gets their wish. It’s not democratic; and as SF has tried to assuage that via this quiz, but; with such a pounding on servers, will this quiz even be fully functional at that point? Point is, there will be more wildly disappointed people than happy winners. And especially these days, money’s so tight, we’d all love to have some new parts to make something with. But again, the odds aren’t with you. Don’t get too excited.
    And please do not think of this as an effort to ‘thin out the competition’. The numbers don’t lie- As a customer whom has been told ‘no’ much more than ‘yes’ and had communications with SF selectively answered and misconstrued, almost purposely, I’m rather loathe to drink the SF kool-aid. It’s a brand, a clever niche business. These parts are available elsewhere, cheaper, and really, the custom manufacture products are SF’s unique market offering. But these can be made yourself or elsewhere, it’s just a matter of practice. And along the ‘niche’ guideline, SF is really kind of a ‘Tiffany’s’ of the EE component world. You pay a premium to feel like you’re a part of something you wish to be a part of, and like Tiffany’s signature teal box, you wait anxiously for that red box to arrive. It’s okay. People have been doing it for millennia. So please- temper your excitement with common sense. At the first moment you clench your jaw, feel frustration well up inside you, just walk away. Go take your significant other out to a special lunch for no reason, have a walk in the part, enjoy something outside the workbench. It’s truly not worth it- is being kind to yourself and keeping your dignity intact worth a few shiny baubles?
    Best,
    cm
    (and add guire at gmail behind my initials if you’d like to talk. I don’t think I’ll make much an effort to revisit this post. It’s been nice surfing lately.)

    • cm,
      I am sorry to hear that you don’t like SparkFun. In fairness, you are correct–their prices on some items are a little higher than some other retailers', but I don’t mind. I have found that SparkFun provides much better info and support than the big guys, and to me, that’s more than worth it for my small volume orders. If I was buying at higher volumes, it would be a bigger deal.
      As for server issues, while they’re possible, I wouldn’t expect it this year. Since SparkFun has migrated over to the Amazon EC2 infrastructure, I’m guessing that interruptions will be minimal. Amazon’s EC2 held strong against the recent massive DDoS attack (by Anonymous), so I wouldn’t imagine Free Day 2011 to be any worse.
      Though I definitely enjoy taking my significant other out for a date, I’m planning on holding off until January 14th. Free Day is fun. It’s not a guaranteed payoff, but it’s worth trying! I was one of the lucky 1,000+ last year, and I’ve really enjoyed the gear that I scored. And besides, with the new process (more prize money available, and less than $100 going out to almost everyone), I’m sure many more people will get to enjoy some SparkFun credit.
      You can do whatever you want on the 13th, but I’ll be taking part in SF Free Day 2011.
      –Jeff

      • I’m happy that you were able to be one of the lucky ones last year. Did it work out as well for you this year? I hope so. I’m just trying to give a little advice to the many people who are going to try for hours to get something, and wind up making themselves unhappy, and ruining their days. There’s just such a slim chance of even getting though to answer the quiz, it’s so very frustrating to many.
        As far as SFE as a company, in my personal experience, I’ve received very poor customer service a number of times. I’ll pay a premium for good service, as one would tip well for a great meal, but I just don’t get it here. I get more ‘no’s than 'yes’. And as someone whom has worked in customer service, and other people-oriented jobs, I’m trained to just say yes. Make the customer happy. It’s very easy, too easy not to do. It’s also about being good to your fellow man. And as a recent example, I had a prescription for an illness that was making me very ill just the other day. I went to two major chain pharmacies, and was told to wait a day for them to spill 30 tablets in a bottle and do a little paperwork. I said I urgently needed this medication, and I’d be happy to wait half an hour, but no- Just ‘come back tomorrow’, which when you’re hurting, isn’t an option. And the only reason I went to these two places (and they were ten miles apart, as well.)was that I had a discount card with considerable savings.
        I ended up so frustrated, I went to a new independent pharmacy. I paid an extra 25 dollars, more than double than the other place, but I got what I needed within five minutes, and got smiles from the employees, a little small talk, and they were very happy for my buisiness. And that made the extra 25 dollars well spent in my opinion. It got me back in bed, where I belonged, and all was well.
        Good customer service goes a very long way. Do people like going places where they are treated like they’re an idiot, or a bother? Hopefully, not twice.
        Best,
        cm

  • I understand the rules of FREE Day, i am confused though of how to actually take the quiz?
    Will this be on Sparkfuns website, for say, when i log in or will the quiz be hosted over another site?
    Sry im a noob at this.

    • The quiz will be hosted on sparkfun.com. Just point your browser here at 9am Mountain time on the 13th and there will be a big link with instructions on how to continue. Good luck!

  • 9:00MST is 11:00EST, yes?

  • I can’t wait. It seams like this method will be better than last year. Since I’m a noob with electronics and with little expendable money for stuff right now, I like the fact that I might have a chance at something by reading all the tutorials.

  • Can we skip all the questions? I really only understood the IC Packaging tutorial.

  • Okay i am completely confuzzled!!! please clarify this for me! please please please somebody!
    okay anyway, sorry. but the freeday was like hurry and get your money spent before its gone… but in the artcile above it says the following:
    “ALL CREDIT MUST BE USED WITHIN 60 DAYS OF FREE DAY: THIS WILL GIVE YOU TIME TO SPEND YOUR CREDITS ON WHAT YOU REALLY WANT. It will also help me prevent a mutiny in shipping. Last year’s Free Day was wickedly painful for the awesome people in shipping. By spending your credit throughout two months, you will help us spread out the packaging of orders a bit."
    In the caps in the statement above, someone please clarify this, does this mean i automatically get $100 and i can spend it within 2 months?
    thanks everyone, happy new year and happy shopping!
    oh, and whoopee for the EL Wire!

    • You can either get a credit for $10 for each year your account has been around, or answer quiz questions for $10/question.
      It should be a credit to your account that expires in 60 days if not used.

      • Thanks shadyman, ill probably just end up sitting in school and taking history notes…. ewwww, history leaves a bad taste in my mouth

  • Wishlist FTW

  • I was browsing a tutorial on this site today when I saw the “Free Day” banner at the top of the page. I have to tell you, I have such a good feeling reading and considering what your goals for this giveaway are, and the time, effort, and cost at which it comes to you. I sure hope it returns to you personally and professionally in 2011.
    I’d never bought here before, and I don’t spend much money on electronics to begin with, but you can be sure that my next purchase is being made from SparkFun. In the spirit of the giveaway, you’ve encouraged me to try something new; I’ve been thinking about learning on the AVR, and now I’m going to do it. Placing an order for a couple chips and a programmer now.
    Take care, and thank you!
    ps, I’ll be back on the 13th to gamble on the quiz. Sounds like a lot of fun, it’s a clever idea!

    1. Incase I win some money, can I order from one of SF’s distributors or do I have to order from SF directly?
    2. Is the cost of shipping included in the prize money won?
    • 1) I think it’d apply only to sparkfun.com orders, since accounts aren’t shared between various websites
      2) Somewhere in the comments here it mentions “merchandise only”.

  • Ooooh! We need 40 arduino uno’s for our engineering program at Columbia Secondary School (NYC public school in Harlem). Would clever 9th graders that can write procedural programs in Python be able to answer these questions?

    • They’re pretty basic electronics questions, I would think that clever 9th graders would probably be able to do very well answering them. Especially if you taught them the Bite Sized Primers before Free Day!

  • I have a problem with 2.Numero dos:
    I placed my first order:
    Sent: Wednesday, October 06, 2004 1:56 AM
    To: shoemaker@liftport.com
    Subject: www.sparkfun.com Order Confirmation
    Apparently I am TOO old to be in the “new” system so am not eligible? I had to create a new account to even submit this comment :)
    I have my old confirmation email (didn’t put the order number here but I can, its in the 2000’s :)

  • I like the new countdown banner… can you make it link to this page?

  • wooohooo!!!
    glad u guys followed my advice on the charity donations!!!
    so this is our collective vote…. come free day, do what you gotta do to get that donation to charity!!!
    thanks to sparkfun for the opportunity
    Walter Dreksler
    CEO / Electrical Engineer / Psychic Advisor to the Stars
    The Silicon Horizon Inc.
    p.s. any chance Make-A-Wish foundation can get added to your list in the future? good charity and a good cause :-)

  • Hmmm… 9AM MST is 11AM here… guess I’ll be skipping math class next Thurday

  • Oh noes! Free Day 2011 falls on Trogday. How will I ever prioritize these two days of awesomeness?

  • exactly what time does free day start on the 13th?
    Ah, 9am Mountain time. Thanks.

  • Will elinks be a supported browser for the quiz ?

    • This is a question best answered by someone in SparkFun’s IT Department (in other words, not me), but I believe that the answer is, no elinks is not a supported browser as it’s not one that we use for our internal testing, but we don’t foresee any problems with using it. There’s nothing particularly fancy or difficult about the page that presents the questions (as far as I know), and elinks has a reputation for handling frames and tables properly, so should be fine.

      • Not sure if the question was serious or not, but just for kicks I fired up elinks and pointed it to my development machine. I was able to get through the quiz just fine. I’ll reiterate what trevor says in that we do NOT officially support it per se, but we can’t stop you from using it :)
        If you’re worried, you can just turn off images in your graphical browser of choice too.

  • Simple time conversion and time difference from now:
    http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=January+13th%2C+2011+9AM+MST+in+EET
    Change “EET” to whatever is your time zone.

  • You guys need to get some SSL offloading ;p

  • Do you have to be in the US to get this? (I imagine so, nothing this awesome ever seems to work in England :P )

    • You do not have to be in the US to get this. Last year (well…January 2010), people from 30 countries got SparkFun Free Day credits. The UK was the fourth most winning country! You can read more at the 2010 Free Day recap.

  • Darn 3 months off from $20 dollars. Hopefully there’s enough/more in stock cause what I want to get is already sold out lol.

  • Hi thanks for all the free stuff. I’ve red the rules and I have some more questions:
    1. Our 10 questions, if we answer 4 then skip 6, do we still have 6 to answer? Or do the 6 skipped questions count towards our 10 questions?
    2. Say we answer 5 questions correctly when the $150,000 limit is reached, do we get a $50 credit to our account or does it disappear?
    3. When we answer a question and click submit, will it take an hour to get to the next question? Can we hit reload/refresh to keep trying to submit the answer?
    Thanks again, Denis.

    • Hi Denis,
      1. Skipped questions do count toward the 10 total. If you skip a question, you forfeit the possible credit or debit you would get from answering that question.
      2. If you answer 5 questions correctly BEFORE the limit is reached you get the credit for those 5 questions, you do NOT lose anything. Credit is put into your account immediately after answering correctly, not at the end of the 10 questions.
      3. That will depend entirely on the server load. We’ve worked hard to make sure that the servers are as robust and responsive as possible, but this is still going to be a real torture test on them. “Free” tends to be a pretty big draw, and there are a LOT of people on the internet.

  • Hi guyz! Question: For people who live in europe orders are delived by Sparkfun US or by the closest distributors? Just asking because of custom duties that might occur.

    • Free Day credit is with SparkFun, so everything is shipped from the SparkFun building in Boulder Colorado, in the US.

  • I’m a little confused, can you only buy 1 item or several items that equal $100 or less?

    • You get credit to your account that goes to whatever you want. Think of it as taking $100 (or however much) off of your cart total when you checkout.

  • I hope this is open to people outside the USA (eg. me in New Zealand) ? Can’t wait! Waking up for 5AM FTW!
    EDIT: Aargh double post :( Maybe adda “delete comment” button?

  • I hope this is open to people outside the USA (eg. me in New Zealand) ? Can’t wait!

  • Is there any way for those of us in school to participate in this, if we are in school at the time?

  • What are the rules for a brand new user? I would like to be able to explain it to my friends who have never used sparkfun before.

  • So i woke up early this morning, got all ready to go… kept refreshing the homepage at 8:00PST then i realized that Free Day is NEXT month! Oh well, more time to prepare!

  • If I learn all the content found in the link, will I know most of the answers in the questions? Or are there other places I should go for information? I know things on the computer side, but have little knowledge of even basic electronics…

  • Will all the information I need for the quiz be covered in the bite sized primer tutorials? I’m somewhat new to this stuff and need all the help I can get!

    • Yes, all the information you will need is in the bite-sized tutorials. Also, there are more of the bite-sized tutorials that will be appearing between now and Free Day!

  • Awww. All my orders were before 2005, Oh well. Serves me right for not keeping up with the hobby (been really busy with other stuff)<br />
    <br />
    I do have the original emails though, in case you want to mark my account :-)<br />

  • Can we opt to forgo the ordeal of free day and let you donate the “money based on your account age” to those charities?<br />
    <br />
    My first order was 3/2007 so it would be like $40 since I miss the cut for year 5.

  • This is great and thanks again to SparkFun for giving the working person something to look forward to after coming back to work from Christmas vacation! Was there any thought to limiting the free credits from quiz taking only to users that have placed orders (as opposed to signing up for an account that day to try for free money)?

  • My first order was order #67 FTW!

  • My first order was in 2003 (order number 496), but it doesn’t show up in my Order History (which only goes back to 2007 for me). Will I get this credit?

  • Man, im 13 and have school. Just to get this right, if my dad came on at 11 am. (Eastern) and answered randomly and got 20$ I could spend it later that day/week?

  • Wow! Totally excited for this. ^.^<br />
    <br />
    I had a couple of questions, and I hope I’m not repeating any (but I tried reading through the comments… and that didn’t work out so well), if I am just point me in the right direction thanks!<br />
    <br />
    1. If I take the account based money and run, which might be $10 or nothing for me. Can I read, but not answer the questions being asked? Or do I have to wait till after free-day to know what the questions where?<br />
    <br />
    2. Will a FAQ for the free-day be created?<br />
    <br />
    Thanks for any answers you can provide!<br />
    <br />
    <br />
    <br />
    <br />
    <br />
    <br />

  • wow this is amazing, i can order for 150$ for free?<br />
    and only have to pay for the shipping to Denmark?<br />
    i will give the info to my Homies :-D<br />

  • “last year we gave away $100,000 based on a system of giving $100 (max) per household. The event was scheduled to last all day, but we reach $100K in an hour and 44 minutes.”<br />
    <br />
    So the limit is 1,000 orders?

  • Can my friend and I combine our credit for a single purchase?

  • Awesome. Are you guys to keep the quiz running after free day? Not for any money prizes, but just for fun?

    • Yes! The quiz will be a permanent addition to the website and you’ll be able to take it as many times as you like. It will be linked to a Free Day credit only for Free Day itself.

  • sweet, cant wait for this…mebbi I can have you guys pay for my order of stuff lol

  • Does everyone answer the same 10 questions? Or, do you have a random 10?

  • The Free Day is exactly in my birthday !!

  • Free Day 2.0! Love the revision. (I am a little bummed that my first purchase was Jan. 14, 2009, however…)

  • Why not just give credits based upon the total amounts spent with Sparkfun? If someone made their first purchase 5 years ago for $10 and never make another purchase since, vs. someone who made their first purchase yesterday worth $100, makes no sense to reward the first purchaser with $50. Just my 2 cents worth.

  • Awesome! Just marked my calendar…

  • Very cool. :-)<br />
    <br />
    I have no idea what your back-end architecture is now, but I ran across this recently and wanted to share what I think this is a very interesting read for server folks:<br />
    <br />
    http://www.allthingsdistributed.com/files/amazon-dynamo-sosp2007.pdf<br />
    <br />
    Also, this:<br />
    <br />
    http://cassandra.apache.org/<br />
    <br />
    Good luck, and good on ya!

  • This is why SparkFun gets the business!! Way to go, way to operate. This is pretty much what I would do. I think what you get back from this, far outweighs what the output is. Very smart move! This will “buy” lots of loyalty. Not the main reason I come here of course, but dang, it sure helps!!

  • If I take the money up front, you guys should donate what I don’t use out of it. Like if I have $50, but only spend $42, then that’s $8 more for you to donate to the cause.

  • Shiny!<br />
    <br />
    And purely awesome video.

  • I just realized how good of a CAPTCHA the quiz is to keeps bots from grabbing credit (if the discredit for wrong answers was $3.34 it would be pretty much perfect). But on the other hand, if someone does successfully get a bot to earn credit off the quiz, I hope it can be integrated into the BatchPCB DRC bot to help double check our designs!

  • Thanks, but by exclusive I mean if you give out $100 like last year, PLUS whatever credit you get from the amount of years since you first ordered something, or if you’re skipping the part with the $100.<br />
    <br />
    And let me see if I understood you right. If I choose to partake in the quiz, I forfeit (sp?) the credits I would have gotten from the first order?<br />
    <br />
    Sorry btw, I thought the post would have gone to the thread I replied to.

  • Thanks, but by exclusive I mean if you give out $100 like last year, PLUS whatever credit you get from the amount of years since you first ordered something, or if you’re skipping the part with the $100.<br />
    <br />
    And let me see if I understood you right. If I choose to partake in the quiz, I forfeit (sp?) the credits I would have gotten from the first order?

    • “Thanks, but by exclusive I mean if you give out $100 like last year, PLUS whatever credit you get from the amount of years since you first ordered something, or if you’re skipping the part with the $100."
      There’s no base $100.
      "And let me see if I understood you right. If I choose to partake in the quiz, I forfeit (sp?) the credits I would have gotten from the first order?"
      Yes. You can either get the age money ($10/year) or quiz money ($10 per right question, -$3 per wrong question, $0 for skipped question), not both.

  • Can anyone translate the hours to GMT?

    • Add 7 hours for GMT. So it starts at 4pm for you.<br />
      <br />
      Hawaii: 6am<br />
      Alaska: 7am<br />
      Pacific: 8am<br />
      Mountain: 9am<br />
      Central: 10am<br />
      Eastern: 11am

  • Wait, so are the amounts in the above post exclusive or instead of the $100 from last year? I.e. would we get $100 plus X years of credit, or just the X years of credit to begin with?<br />
    <br />
    And you don’t have to buy anything right away, just log in to claim it? Because in that case, I foresee your servers being flooded with people whom, at exactly 9 AM, will all log in and take out their credit straight away, meaning the $150,000 will be gone in the blink of an eye.

    • Oh, and if you decided to take the quiz and get to a question you can’t answer, will there be a possibility to opt out and take your credits, or will you need to choose an answer before opting out?

      • I think that you have some options you can select the right or the wrong answer, one right one gives you 10$ and one wrong takes back 3$.

      • The credits are exclusive. You can do the quiz or take the age-based credit but not both.<br />
        <br />
        Given the size of the pool ($150,000) and the distribution of customer ages I’m not convinced that the money will disappear in the blink of an eye. The vast majority of our customers are less than three years old and thus qualify for only $10 or $20 in age-based credit. If you qualify for $10, say, and you answer the first two questions in the quiz correct, you’ve already doubled your money.<br />
        <br />
        We thought a lot about this and it’s hard to predict exactly how such a large group of customers will behave when the gates open. Either way it will be fun to watch.<br />
        <br />
        And about the quiz questions - you can skip questions for no penalty toward your total. A right answer is worth +$10, a wrong answer worth -$3, and a skipped question worth $0.

  • NO FAIR! I’m at school.

  • Thanks for doing the FREE day again. I tried last year, but didn’t get my order in in time. I ended up just paying for it anyway.<br />
    <br />
    Questions:<br />
    1) Are the questions multiple choice or essay/text style?<br />
    2) When given the choice between the age or the questions, will the age credit amount be displayed before choosing?<br />
    <br />
    Thanks again for the great day!

    • 1) They are all multiple choice<br />
      2) You will very clearly see how much you’ll get without taking the quiz before you choose.

  • Is this a supported legal reason to miss school? ;)<br />
    <br />
    I might need a signed note guys… There is no way I am going to school that day! I think I’m feeling a little bit sick… oh yeah, i think its gonna be a cold uhm by Jan 13th? yup

  • Yeah man!

  • I’m a student too. Can you please consider putting Free Day on a weekend next year?<br />
    I’m really missing out. :-(

  • Coool !!!

  • Member108496: trivia questions to get money are a terrible idea :( i first heard about sparkfun from the previous free day and i love your site but i don’t know anything about electronics. i just got some tools that i use all the time and i remember your site every time i do.<br /><br />
    <br /><br />
    “Goal: Educate new users on the basics.” i’m afraid all you’re going to do is discourage new users from trying to participate, and making people feel bad for trying to answer 10 questions and winding up with negative 30 dollars of credit.<br /><br />
    <br /><br />
    either give stuff away or don’t do anything. but making people who aren’t experts feel stupid isn’t a good way to promote your site.
    <br /><br />
    <br />
    Now is the perfect time to start revising. You have until January to learn what you can and if this free day encourages you to learn more about a hobby then even if you dont win, you’ve gained knowledge which is much more important :)<br />
    <br />

    • No, this Free Day is a great idea. If it fails, it’s a success. If it works, it’s an even greater success. Either way lots of Sparkfun customers and some worthwhile charities will win.<br />
      <br />
      And I don’t think it will be possible for you to get a negative credit:<br />
      <br />
      Frencil: if ($user != ‘TopherTheME’){<br />
      $credit = max ($credit, 0);<br />
      }<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      Perhaps including a couple of software questions in the quiz wouldn’t be a bad idea ;)

  • hope i score some goodies this time, last time i couldnt even log it

  • If you get an answer wrong, but show your working, do you still get credits? ;)<br />
    <br />
    (worked in my uni exams, and look where I am now)

  • You know how like I totally love Sparkfun aye… Well like I totally do…<br />
    <br />
    This does not exclude people outside of the US, right? o plz o plz.

  • This is why sparkfun is the best and will remain the best!<br />
    Taking care of its customers!

  • Lol, my first order was october 2008, it doesn’t seem that long ago :D !

  • Wow, I never heard of anyone spending $150,000 to stress-test their servers. Awesome!

  • Hey guys-<br />
    my first order was january 12, this year. Do I get the $10 credit?<br />
    <br />
    Also, do I automatically get it or do I have to claim it on free day or something?<br />
    <br />
    Thanks!

    • I would go for the questions, the have 10 mini tutorials on everything you need to know. It really is very basic stuff, like types of diodes, and analog to digital conversion. Study up and get a full 100$, instead of $10 ;P.

      • first, how do you know that the questions will be simple? Second, if the questions will be like that, can’t we just look up the answers on the internet during the quiz? Lol.

    • You’ll need to log in an go to the Free Day landing page (there will be links all over the place). There you’ll be presented with two buttons - one to claim your history-based credit and one to begin the quiz. Should you choose the easy credit: one click and you’re done.

  • One thing to keep in mind when implementing this quiz idea is that fact that the servers will not be working at all. I know when I was trying to order last year I could barely get past the first page of the ordering process. Trying to get through 10 questions might prove very difficult when the servers are locked up.

    • Another thing to keep in mind is last year’s website and servers paled in comparison to what’s serving you this page right now. Our last EC2 load test showed that we could handle up to 5x last year’s Free Day traffic load before seeing any noticeable lag. You might be surprised at how snappy the site is.

      • Wow… It’s been fun to watch the SFE web site go from “takes some effort to load the home page on a normal day” a few years ago to “bring it, EC2” now…
        I truly appreciate the effort you guys put into ensuring that buying electronics stuff is fun, not to mention all the amazing tutorials and helpful resources for those not-so-seasoned veterans in the crowd. SFE for life!

  • As Bullwinkle used to say “This time, for sure!”<br />
    <br />
    My entire office spent hours banging on the SparkFun site. Every single tech I knew, everywhere, declared an “Internet Snow Day” and either stayed home, or “worked from their desk”, usually with their office door closed.<br />
    When the $100,000 limit was finally reached, you could hear the anguished shouts of “Nooooooooo!” echoing down the hallway. <br />
    <br />
    Hope I didn’t scare anyone!<br />

  • My account will be just shy of a year old. Ironically it was after last year’s free day that I heard about sparkfun. Looks like I have some studying to do :D

  • What time of the day does this start, 12 in the morning? And can you have a shopping kart already made, and then just check out?

    • Everything you asked is in the news post.<br />
      <br />
      Free Day kicks off at 9:00 a.m. Mountain standard time on January 13th.<br />
      <br />
      This year you do not have to check out to claim your part of Free Day. You can either accept the $10/year option or try the general knowledge questions and what ever credit you receive must be used within 60 days.

  • awwwww i just made it……………………………………………..

  • Dang, my first order was on January 26th 2006, that means I get only $40 instead of $50? Arrrgh… Well, I guess I could answer those trivia questions….

  • do we pay for shipping, or can that be paid for by the credit?

    • The credit covers goods only. You’ll still need to pay shipping when you place your order (which must be placed within 60 days of earning your Free Day credit)

  • So taking the “age” option does not generate donations?<br />
    <br />
    And will the donation-generating quiz require enabling anything beyond that for the normal functionality of the site? Like flash, pop-ups, VRML, embedded gerber viewers, 900 MHz serial connection (from a balloon?), or so on.

    • No, taking the “age” option does not trigger a donation.<br />
      <br />
      As for the quiz each question will be a bite-size primer tutorial followed by a brief multiple choice question that relates to it. No special plug-ins required.

      • Then I hope lots of people take the quiz instead of the “time”! (The recipient organizations are pretty cool.)<br />
        <br />
        I’m quite glad to hear that there’s no special plug-ins required.<br />
        <br />
        Thanks to Nate for both being just a little bit crazy, and careful enough to hire people who put up with the overloads this kind of event triggers. Now to make my opinion a little more obvious to those skimming this long series of comments:<br />
        <br />
        ……………….TAKE THE QUIZ!……………….

  • Wow, wouldn’t have a clue when my first order was, it was 2 jobs and 3 email addresses ago!<br />
    <br />
    It was for an ADXL202 breakout board, I remember that much! :D

  • Is it MST or MDT in Boulder in January?

    • It’s MST in January. MDT (i.e. Daylight Savings Time) doesn’t start until the second Sunday of March in most of the United States.<br /><br />
      <br /><br />
      MST = GMT - 7.0<br /><br />
      http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com/time-zone/gmt-7/

  • yay!

  • How do you find out when your first order was? I only see an order from this year in my history but I know I purchased items before that…

  • I don’t know about the rest of you, but I can’t wait to read about all the whiners posting that they couldn’t get on the Sparkfun website to get their “free food”.<br />
    I’ve been delaying ordering a bunch of stuff kinda/sorta expecting the “Free Day” to happen again soon.<br />
    And again, will I try for the freebies? Of course.<br />
    Am I going to get the freebies? Likely not.<br />
    Is Sparkfun still going to get my money whether or not I get some freebies? Absolutely!!!

  • Loving the video! Also… Can’t wait!

  • I remember that painful day trying get my order with no success. With these new rules implemented like the 10 questions, we can hopefully reduce scavengers and free loaders that sell parts on ebay just to make money. <br />
    <br />
    “What’s the ohm value for resistor bands red,red,brown?”<br />
    “How much flash storage does the PIC12F629 have?”<br />
    “What does this component do?” *show a picture of relay switch<br />
    <br />
    Lol.<br />
    <br />
    I’ll definitly answer these questions.<br />
    <br />
    I also love the fact that you are giving us $10/year. That would make me consider this site as a customer to buy parts.

  • I ordered my first PIC programmer from them off Ebay when I was at Milwaukee School of Engineering in my senior year. I think I still have the reciept even :)

  • I am a member of a hackerspace. Can we pool our resources?

  • Nice!

  • it apparently cut me off.. <br />
    <br />
    like non-profits with less than a $50k annual budget where a small 1-2 thousand dollar product donation would have a huge impact on their education program.<br />
    <br />
    By donating product you’d be able to give more, because you’d have the difference between value and production cost. You’d also end up with more of a benefit from the tax deduction.<br />
    <br />
    I may be biased though since I’m the treasurer of such a non-profit. So I’ll just say..<br />
    <br />
    Thank You For Bringing Free Day Back!

  • Sweet! I’ll be looking forward to free day 2011 and I think it’s great what you’re doing! <br />
    <br />
    Although I agree that the charities you’ve chosen to give to are deserving and doing good work I personally would have preferred seeing it spread around a bit better. There are plenty of small non-profits out there that are education related which could turn the funds donated into a greater impact. Non-profits that have small (

  • How is ‘account age’ being calculated?<br />
    <br />
    - Total_num_days/365.25, or<br />
    - calandar years (ie. IRS, Dec 31, 2010 = 1 year on Jan 1, 2011)<br />
    <br />
    ;-> (cjh)<br />

    • Total days divided by 365 (no quarter years) and floored. Also, it goes from when your first order (paid for and shipped) was placed.<br />
      <br />
      So if you placed your first order between January 14, 2009 and January 12, 2010 your option for quick, easy credit is $10.

  • I think incorporating how much money we have spent over the past years at sparkfun would be nice.

  • Fantastic! I’ve been around since 2008 (Austin Maker Faire) so I’ll go for the quiz. I think spreading out the delivery time will make things run much smoother.

  • That just made me do a Zig dance for the LAB muhahahahahahahaahha

  • Great idea adding in the $10/year option.

  • This is beyond awesome, I was so bummed when I learned I had missed this last year!<br />
    <br />
    Is the 13th counted in the account age? I’m curious because I placed my first order 1/14/2010…

  • I am curious to how far back the sales records go. I was purchasing parts and programmers back when it was still the old blue background site. That was maybe circa 2002? 2003?

    • I’m thinking those orders we’re placed before SparkFun had its current database. By the official records that will be used for calculating customer age on Free Day the oldest customers placed their orders in 2005.

      • We have some amazing customers who have been with us <br />
        from the beginning <br />
        ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^<br />
        <br />
        I bought my first SparkFun products back in 2003 I think, while your page was blueish with one long list of product postings :) I have been buying steadily since then. Best of all, I still have the receipts for the stuff I bought back then. <br />
        <br />
        By not honoring your oldest customers fully you contradict your statement above. <br />
        <br />
        erik<br />

        • The sense of entitlement people have is amazing. Welcome to the club of people who have ordered in the past but don’t automatically qualify for the maximum amount. I’ve also been ordering since 2003 but because of my relationship with Sparkfun, my account only dates back to 2009 so I would only get an automatic $10 or $20. I plan on answering the questions since that is the only way money will get donated to charity. I say lose the entitlement complex, answer some questions, and make some money for charity.

        • Well, we need to be be realistic. SparkFun had no customer database until 2005, and now we have over 165,000 customers and almost 300,000 orders. To build an extension to the website that quickly awards you (and everyone else) free money based on your history we can only use the data in the system. The books long since closed on those old years and we’re not about to go hand-entering old orders. If you think you’re being short changed: it’s free.<br />
          <br />
          Besides, a true loyalty program would reward customers who not only have been around for a long time but are still around. With this Free Day setup a customer who hasn’t placed an order or posted a comment since the early days could show up, grab their cash, get some free stuff, and disappear again. Even if their history went back farther they still get a bunch of stuff for free without having contributed anything for several years. Seems fair enough.<br />
          <br />
          (
          we actually are tossing around ideas for a true loyalty program to continuously reward the consistently loyal.)

          • Or those of us who haven’t ordered for a few years (been buying from local spark fun reseller littlebird electronics)<br />
            <br />
            Could always give $5 credit per thousand in orders we’re made ? ;-)<br />
            <br />
            is it possible to get you guys to merge accounts ? I’ve got a couple.

        • Give it a break. I still don’t know of any other company that has ever done anything like this.

  • How can we tell what our account age is? I can’t remember when I first bought something from SFE.

  • nice shot sparkfun ;)

  • Ah – I can vividly recall the pain and suffering I experienced this past January when my attempts to place my order were foiled by the server…<br />
    <br />
    I think that spreading out the time in which orders can be placed and crediting accounts will greatly reduce the pressure on the servers. I can’t wait for the 13th!

  • Excellent!!!!


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