Happy Free Day


Welcome to Free Day 2011.  We're seeing record traffic! If you'd like, join us in the in the SparkFun IRC channel.

You can learn all about Free Day 2011, get a preview of this year's quiz, and see the original Free Day 2010. Have fun and let us know what you think.

The Free Day pool has been given away this year! Thanks for checking it out. We'll put a recap together for Friday.


Comments 1243 comments

  • Well, that sucks. It’s over, and I spent 3 hours trying to get the server to accept the answer to my first question. Next time try having a system that can handle the load.

    • What a bunch of sore losers.
      Seriously.
      Maybe one of the folks complaining that they didn’t get anything for FREE should put up $150k for everyone else to enjoy?
      Sparkfun does this to test the load capacity of their servers, IIRC, so if you aren’t prepared to help them do so perhaps you should not engage in Free Day at all.
      I got nothing last year after trying during the whole giveaway.
      This year I walked away with $30 for an hour an a half of clicking ‘reload’ in between getting real work done.
      Thanks for being so generous, SparkFun!
      You have my continued patronage.

      • It was fun and awesome, even with constant refreshing! Thanks, Sparkfun, for this opportunity! I’d like to know the answers to the quiz so I can learn something from the question I missed.

      • I would argue that SF could have just said “Hey guys, we want to test our pipe capacity so could everyone please ping us to death?” and most people would have just done it.
        The result to their backend would have been the same without people getting annoyed, and they could have hosted the giveaway after making some upgrades so that everyone had a fair shot.

        • But…people are getting annoyed at not getting free stuff. Doesn’t make sense.

          • Thats because people are ignorant and self-serving. If there’s free stuff to be had and they don’t get it, well they get mad and complain. Unfortunatly that’s the way it is in our society (sorry for that society). I didn’t get free stuff because I had to go to school, but I’m not complaining. While it would have been nice, I’m not going to bitch at Sparkfun for not giving me free stuff. To anybody that complains: If you didn’t get free stuff, suck it up and go buy the stuff you want with your own money, like you would with every other electronics company that ever existed!!

            • Personally, while I’m annoyed, it’s that I wanted to see how much I knew. The free stuff was just a bonus.

          • I did not complain - in part out of grace - and in part to avoid the picture you paint of those who did complain, and most of all because so much money was given to charity (thank you SF!).
            You do not know what someone who complains is thinking, though.
            I’m sure some complaints were about not getting something free, but I’m sure others were simply people voicing regret that the website failed to load for 2+ hours, and that their hope the website would get more power mid-contest did not happen.
            I too was a little bummed that I spent 2 hours pressing F5 key when appropriate, and I never got to see the whole quiz (even now.. I am curious to see it… is it posted anywhere??).
            In any case, SF wanted their servers to get DDOSed (of sorts), and they gave money to charity. To anyone else who was bummed, don’t complain – just remember that last bit, and that you helped. :-)

          • I agree, and don’t get me wrong I’m not trying to complain because I didn’t win free money that I didn’t have to begin with - the fact that they basically paid people $150K to break their website and gave another ~$28K to charity pretty much all for fun is unheard of and a fantastic thing to do for their customers and for the community in general.
            I’m just saying that I can see why people are getting annoyed because it wasn’t like everyone had a fair shot at it.

          • I think the reason people are upset is not because they didn’t get free stuff but the hype that built up to this “free day”.

            • Come on! SFE has been consistently clear about how this day would work. That anything of real value is being given away is generous and amazing.
              For me, I’m just grumpy that my schedule didn’t give me a chance to try my luck. Client meetings — blegh!

              • I was talking about how they said the servers were fixed to handle the load and all the testing done 24 hours before the free day started.
                I had no interest in even visiting this site on the free day because I knew it would be worse than Black Friday at Walmart. Unfortunately, I completely forgot about it and it took me over 30 minutes just to be able to visit the home page. A lot of other websites were giving me problems so just thought it was that until I seen the Free Day is OVER! banner.

        • But that’s no fun.

      • I agree and disagree. Clearly you shouldn’t be mad a someone who is trying there best to give stuff away. However, free day isn’t free. It depends on how you value your time/frustration level.
        It would be silly for SFE to have enough server capacity that this kind of thing didn’t result in a DOS. However, I feel like they should construct the give away such that is doesn’t result in something they are totally unable to handle. Getting though during a DOS is almost random, there are lots of ways you could randomly give people store credit, that might be a better use of their customer’s time.
        For what is is worth this year was better with basically one click for the code. Last year with shopping at the time was way worse.
        One random idea would be to on the home page assign a ticket (random number like the promo code), then you have 1 week to use your ticket to take the quiz or take the cash. That requires 1 page load, still generates a traffic spike etc if that is what they want and lets people actually take the quiz. I didn’t take the quiz because I knew it would likely be several hours of my time.
        There are a multitude of other ways to approach this also but it depends on SFE’s objectives. At least part of the objective is to get people to decide they want items SFE sells.

        • They wanted to load test their server, and they did, and in the process they made a lot of people happy, but did NO injustice to anyone.
          It was a fun gamble to see if you could get in and answer some questions, to those who didn’t get free stuff, but lost their time, well its the risk you have to take to get free stuff and have fun. You can also feel good for helping someone out with their load test.
          It’s nice of SFE to do this.

          • I disagree that it is an effective test of server load. More data would be gathered if you had a load just near the breaking point and not over, though it does appear they learned how to break it less badly than last year. Just my thoughts…

    • Dude/Dudette, the quiz was a ploy, everyone was much better off taking their loyalty money if any. Don’t blame the servers, they did their job and didn’t crash miserably at the 11:00:05am est. From the looks of your Membership page you just joined SFE today? hmmm……

      • I wouldn’t say that. My four years would have gotten me $40 but I went with the quiz and got and extra $7 …(yes, I messed up on one question as I read too quickly over the question).
        The damn hamsters were so unfit after all the Christmas turkey and new years celebrations, so I was distracted to say the least, but the server wouldn’t let me get past the 6th question. $10 went to charity…pretty awesome anyways :)

      • yes they did crash. what are you talking about?

      • well second year second try. still couldnt get in for free day. hopefully in 2012 i’ll be able to get through

      • Actually, I did well on the quiz. Even finished. it did take two hours of raging against the refresh button…

      • I just joined yesterday day cause of freeday but i known about this site for about 2 years, There was never a reason for me to join untill I was going to buy something though.

        • You joined yesterday? so you have never ordered anything from them, and they should give you free stuff why?

          • They are a business and they are spending money on this promotion to get new members as well as reward regular members, but I do not blame them for giving their regular customers/members exclusivity over the promotion give away.

            • While I agree in theory, that’s not the way that it played-out. Loyal customers (for some values of “loyal”, and “customer”) were probably more often “penalized” if they tried to take the quiz, in spite of their (and SF’s historically naive) best intentions.
              By giving up something you may have felt that you earned with your customer loyalty, and then “lost” because the quiz was a Fail, it’s not entirely reasonable to feel like you were mini-screwed.
              Did one in fact “lose” anything by participating? Well, yes – time and patience. Is that an egregious loss? No. Did it piss people off? A bunch, yes. Was it a Net Win? Probably for SF and the charities, but clearly not for many that participated. Do I answer my own questions like Donald Rumsfeld? Apparently. It it annoying? Yes.
              The problem is one of correctly managing expectations – and this is a very important business concept. This is where the FAIL was (again), for all of the good that did come of it.
              To sit there and just say “Free Day is great and f-ck the haters” is, frankly, naive and simplistic at best, and ignorant at worst.
              I’ll wait and read about it in the April issue of the HBR – “Why Engineers shouldn’t Market”. Maybe someone will pick up the option on the screenplay.

          • I’ve been on here for a couple of years, mostly on IRC or the -excellent- Tutorials. I’ve had an account for 6 months or so. The only reason I have not made a purchase is I did a lot of shopping at Adafruit (they’re much closer to me, shrug.)
            I guess what I’m saying is, I did not show up for the door prize. Anyways - counter to your argument - I think does design these contests to get new customers. Otherwise Loyalty would be the only prize, right?
            I’d like it if SF had a quiz like this all year round, not necessarily giving $10 off for correct answers every time, I mean at random. That would spread the load out, and unfortunately for other sites I would probably do all my shopping here for sure.

          • one of the points of the free day was to bring in new members… You can read that somewhere in the Free Day rules i think. Thats why i joined… Been on the sight before, but joined just in preparation for free day.

            • That’s good, I don’t see you complaining anywhere on this page though about anything :-)

        • You didn’t plan on ‘buying’ something, you planned on getting free money, tell the truth.

    • This was entirely unfun, and earned you guys absolutely no goodwill from your users. Next time you want a DDOS just go ask 4chan.

      • They got tons of good will from me. I logged in early and took the $40 code for loyalty. Sorry you didn’t get anything, but are you really complaining about a website not giving you free stuff? Welcome to the internets.

      • Maybe those of us who lost should make this happen!

        • You didnt lose, unfortunately you didnt win either.

        • /b/ is not your personal army and I have a hard time believing that /b/ would rally against a website handing out free stuff just because a handful of cry babies didn’t get what they wanted.

        • I “cheated” by setting my browser to NOT load images… (learned from last year’s pain of refreshing)… The benefit of not having images to load meant that I got through to the page to get my Loyalty bucks in about 20 min of fighting the refresh button… still painful, but definitely better than it could have been…

          • I tried loading the page in lynx (text only command line browser) and it still didn’t load. Your claim is false.

    • It would be kind of cool to take $5,000 of the give away money and pay someone like SquareSpace (with their fancy load sharing tech) to host the site for the day.
      In the end it is all just free money, so I ain’t complaining!

      • Part of the point was to see if their system could handle it… if someone else hosts, it’s not a test

    • Considering the offer was over in less than 2.5 hours, your 3 hours trying seems unlikely.

      • Nope, I got stuck in limbo trying to get to the first question. 3.5 hrs. You know the server is getting slammed, so you don’t hit refresh.
        It sure would have been cool to get even a chance at $10, but no dice. Are the questions posted anywhere? I would like to see how I would have done.
        Turning images off would have been a good idea. I wonder if browsers can still do that and yet still load any capcha on demand. Went w/ fios and forgot that “turn off the image trick"
        It looks like I got logged out sometime between 6AM and 11AM (eastern), so I wasted 1,5 hours trying to just log in again.
        I was having lots of dropped packets from:
        ae-3-3.ebr2.Denver1.Level3.net
        and
        ae-21-56.car1.Denver1.Level3.net

        • Off the top of my head, this is some of what I got:
          1. Convert 100_b to decimal (LOL!), answer was 4 of course.
          2. I got this one wrong, As memory serves - two AAs were in series 1,500 mAh each (that’s 3,000 mAh and 9 LEDs are connected (3 RGBs) with 10 mA running through each. An ATMEL something would pull 8mA. What’s the longest this could run for? I ignored the RGBs and computed 3000/98 which is wrong.
          I’m thinking considering the RGBs it should be 3000/((303)+60+8) ≈ 18.9 hrs Anyone else got this question?
          3. It was a button input to a MCU type question. You had to pick the pull-up resistor but the point was the current had to be limited to a max of 0.25mA; the resistors also had a 5% tolerance and the Vcc was 2.8V. There were a couple resistors listed but I only bothered calculating for 10k Ohm and 14k Ohm.
          Used wolframalpha to compute 2.8/(10000 * .95) and with the 14k as well; the 5% drop was important to me as this would allow more current through than expected. The 14k ohm passed, and was the right answer.
          4. Something about circuit trouble shooting. Essentially the LED doesn’t like up; answer was check the direction.
          5. A longer string of digits and convert to decimal; think it was 148 or something.
          6. Oh yes, an ADC question for 10-bit ADC. 210 gives a range of 0-1023, so 1,024 distinct values. 2.8V read against 5V TTL, hence 2.8/5
          1024 = 574 rounded ADC reading.

          • It wasn’t the RGB’s that got you, here. Batteries in series have additive voltage, but the same capacity as the battery by itself. Should have put in 1500/98 to get ~15.3hrs.

        • yea, just to clarify:
          I’m not bitching about not getting anything free.
          I did not enjoy getting absolutely nowhere. Was Not Fun.
          I’d like to see the questions and answers, even though I know I won’t win anything.
          Getting auto logged out from the system just before freeday started totally sucked.

    • This sucked. 2 Hours of wasted time. Get a better system and don’t entice people in the future.

      • It’s a server load test. Don’t be silly.

        • They should call it that, then. I was all excited by the quiz, and how good I would do, and never got to see a single question. Getting every question wrong and losing my money would be one thing, but risking my loyalty money and then never even getting a chance to qualify is another.

          • What part of “self-inflicted Denial of Service attack” didn’t give you the idea that you might not be able to get through?

    • Dear Member193517,
      I resent your entitlement. I hope things go on sale after you buy them for the rest of your life.
      Love,
      dustoaction

    • at the rist of sounding like a total dick for complaining about free money…. i agree.

    • deleted

    • Yeah very lame, tried all morning and got nowhere until the event was over.

    • Same here. On a positive note, I got to read a lot of twitters of everyone else in the word having terrific success connecting.

    • Same problem here. I was at school and could not try until 11:00 and by the time I logged in it was all over. Guess my class will have to continue fund raising.

      • Even if you were logged in a couple hours in advanced, surfing the site while waiting, you still couldn’t connect once the entire universe started hitting the site.

    • Did you see their server bank? Did you see all of the disclaimers there would be a self inflicted DDoS? That’s a horrible thing to say :-( Sparkfun just gave away $150k worth of stock!

    • yes, indeed… i have screenshots of about 50 “error” screens I received while trying to participate… I guess “that’s not right” and “that’s not fair” don’t apply here…??

      • It’s not fair… that someone didn’t give you free money… like you somehow deserved it more than everyone else… think about that

    • It was indeed disappointing to hampered by failing servers instead of just being last in. A lottery was what it amounted to. If the servers had been able to handle the traffic, the whole thing would simply have been over faster. Granted, with much less frustration. But with less fanfare as well.
      I managed to get two answers submitted, and ran out of time trying to get the third in. I think I would have preferred being routed to a server that wasn’t smoking to answer the questions, once I was in.
      Still, thanks for the $20. Time to go spend it.

    • I think, you are absolutely lucky… in 2 hours I havent managed to see any question. I have only seen till “free_day/quiz” page.. :S

  • Thanks, SparkFun! That was great! I love this idea. It is really nice to see a company that wants to try to give something back. You’re awesome.

  • People, this was free. STFU. Do you bitch out the state lottery commission every time you get an non-winning scratcher?
    Me? I got a whole $7. One question right, one wrong (missed s decimal place), then the money was all spent. I’m a little frustrated at how slow everything was, and having to re-submit answers repeatedly when the server kept timing out.
    But I got $7 and that’s $7 more than any other website has EVER given me for being a customer.

    • It’s great that they do this, but why all the build-up with the encouragement to study for the quiz? Did the quiz even really exist? I never saw a single question. They might as well just call it “Server Load Day” and give the money to whoever gets a page loaded first.

      • Yeah, why encourage anyone to learn anything, or to do anything good for themselves? It should be the people who will never use the stuff they get for free from this website that get free things! How inconsiderate of SF! (NOTE: SARCASM)

      • I earned $40 from the quiz… so, the quiz existed

  • Awesome! Thanks for Free Day - you’ve got a new customer for life!

  • I didn’t get any free money, but I don’t really care. I just love SparkFun and am so happy that they are this successful.
    Next year I should get $10 for being a 1 year customer and that is just fine with me.
    Keep up the great work guys! Look for an order from me in a couple of weeks.
    @warthurton

  • Thanks, Sparkfun! Good luck mopping up that pile of goo that is your server rack :)

  • Thanks Sparkfun for this wonderful give-a-way! Very nice of you to do this = cheers! LD

  • It was a real two hours hard work try&try, but I made 30$ bucks ! Thanks guys! You’re the best! So now go to put ice on servers! :D Michele from Italy.

  • Thank you, SparkFun.
    Show me any other company in the world who would do something like this. Good karma. I am quite happy with my $20 loyalty, thanks.

    • I would have been happy with my $20 loyalty as well, if it had not been that after clicking on the button, I spent the next two hours trying to get the next page to load. No fun at all. Please, SparkFun, if you do this again, do some throttling when you see that the system will fail as sadly as it did this time. Sad to see that the charity-bar didnt reach $30k.
      Still, cool of SparkFun to do this at all, and I am happy to have been part of proving what kind of load the servers did not handle ;)

    • http://www.robosoftsystems.co.in/

      • Just checked out that site and it looks like the international shop site they have up is just a stub. I just clicked around the labirynth they have for a website and once I got it David Bowie I gave.

  • Thank you Sparkfun - I appreciate the gift and the money which went to charity. I never did get the second question submitted (tried for 2 hours), but $10 is still something. :-) I’m sure you’ll come up with new ideas for next year.

  • Yey, 40 bucks!!!
    :)
    Thanks Sparkys!!!

  • Thank you Sparkfun for having Free Day again. Even though the servers were hammered again from last year, I managed to get 3 questions answered and was working on the 4th when funds ran out. I enjoyed the questions and learned a thing or two figuring out the problems. From a new electronics guy to you, thanks!

  • Whoohoo! Two hours of trying to get in and finally made it, got one question wrong answered 6 correct, earned $57!!! Sparkfun rocks!!

    • Same.
      SFE4LIFE

      • gotta ask, you miss the GPS question where the answer was presumably “The User”?
        I thought that was a goofy answer so I put the next least interference … oh well. lol

  • Thanks guys! Nice effort on the server responsiveness. I can see you spent some time putting the questions together. Very nice!

  • Woah, what’s with the sudden speedup towards the end? Managed to answer 7 questions though, thanks SparkFun! =)
    Expect a big order from me soon.

    • I experienced a very quick end to the madness, too? Did some sort of configuration get figured out/set just at the very end, leading to a hemorrhaging of quiz money?

  • Completed four questions in two hours, not bad!
    Thanks for a fun event Sparkfun :D

  • good grief, what a bunch of rude jerks. especially the HORDES of new users. did any of you have to pay to participate in free day? no. so stop being asses if you didn’t get all of a $100 allotment, or even anything at all.
    everybody knows from the start that it’s going to be hellish to get a page to load during the entire event. if SF servers were capable of lightning fast responses for everyone, the entire event would be over in a few hundred milliseconds, and we’d still have an angry horde of jerks. $150,000 / $10 per question == 15000. with $100 per person, that’s 1500 people at perfect answers.
    either it goes fast, or it goes slow. but do the math and stop whining. spreading $150K around will get thin quickly.
    appreciate SF for what they give back, and what they do for the community. it’s a hell of a lot more than what -you- are doing.

  • Well that was a lot of fun. Enjoyed the format with the questions. Thanks Sparkfun for hosting another great free day.
    Now I wonder if SF sells keyboards…I think I broke my f5 key….

  • Thanks Guys! Decided to play it safe and go for the $40 loyalty prize. Looks like I made a good choice.
    I’m just telling the wife I’m using my $40 credit and wont mention the additional $60 I’ll spend.

  • Thanks for the chance to play - I had a blast!

  • Thanks Sparkfun!!!
    it was a fun Hunt and to all of the people complaining
    This was very generous of spark fun to spend the time, energy and money
    so if you don’t like the way it went don’t play next time if they choose to do it again.

  • Thanks Sparkfun!
    It was fun melting your servers!
    Time to go shopping!
    $70!!
    Woo Hoo!!

  • Thirty clams! That was way more fun than last year :)

  • If I remember correctly from last year, reloading the page makes things worse for the servers?

  • Did you guys even read the write-up describing this Free Day event? The whole purpose was to overload the servers. To give SparkFun the opportunity to monitor the activity and to use that information to improve the server response. How do people justify complaining about not getting free stuff?

  • I hate all the ungrateful people here. I love you SFE. What other for-profit corporation gives away $180k and asks nothing in return? Thanks SOOOOO much.

    • Do you really think they would do it if there was no benefit to them? After all it is a buisinees and ALL buisinesses need to make money.

      • Sparkfun is not a normal company. Its SPARKFUN –> SPARK FUN!!! and lots of it!

      • Of course there was a benefit! Not a direct money-making benefit but a direct stress-test of massive proportions for free! (Plus the indirect benefit from people adding stuff beyond their free cash when redeeming)

  • This was a great fun. Thanks SparkFun.

  • haha, you guys all suck.
    I got my $100 no problem! :D
    You’re all a bunch of crybabies.

  • Ok guys - come on. You knew that you could be spending a few hours for nothing like last year. Don’t complain to sparkfun - they told you you might get nothing, and they also happened to give out 150000 to you complaining people, and an extra 20000+ to charity. So complain some more… seriously - it’s all your fault anyway.

    • They gave out $90k in 2 hours, and then somehow $60k in 3 minutes. The website was no more responsive during that last period.
      I smell BS. $60k worth of BS, actually, and maybe more.

      • I smell $0K worth of WAHHH! from the above…who BTW joined 4 days ago.

      • Did you read how the system works? If you were taking the test, and only partially through, when the system was going to run out of money, it would stop your test wherever you were and give the money that you had already earned.
        I suspect that the $60k in the last few minutes was all of the people who had answered several questions (the system would likely be tracking that as accrued money, but not actually showing it as given away yet since the test wasn’t complete). When it realized that $givenAway + $accrued >= 150k, it stopped all the tests. Boom - $60k in a few minutes.
        I don’t work here - don’t know for sure, but from reading how they described the system, I suspect this to be what happened.

      • actually i got my $40 on the last 30 minutes…

  • 10/10
    Yay!

  • Got fifty bucks before all ended–I’m happy at any rate. :3

  • That was silly!
    Thanks for the $40 SparkFun!!
    I’m going to go celebrate my newfound passion for staring at gray walls.

  • $57 in quiz dough before everyone took the rest of the money out from under me…
    $57 for a few hours of banging away at Ctrl+R… not bad

    • Ah, The power of hot coffee and squarepusher.

      • My winning tactic?
        If status != “waiting for www.sparkfun.com…"
        //If I’m waiting then I’m connected, If not I’m reloading
        Ctrl+R
        When status = "waiting for…"
        Wait
        Answer a quiz question,
        Ctrl+R to Space (Resend Answer) until status = "waiting…"
        Wait
        Return.
        lol

        • Hey N.Poole,
          On a completly unrelated note, I totally have Icon envy. You avatar seems so much bigger than everyone elses. What sort of enhancment product are you using?

  • Thanks Sparkfun, Free day is the best birthday present evar!

  • Good luck Everyone!

  • SPARKFUN ELECTRONICS
    Please ignore every last complaining idiot in this thread. Those of us with double digit IQ really appreciate this opportunity.
    THANK YOU SFE!!!

  • This was my first free day, and I am rather new to this site.
    I didn’t manage to get anything for free, due to the same factors others are complaining about…
    However, I really cannot justify for myself being angry about not getting stuff for free.
    I’m really just impressed, and grateful that an organization like this is willing (and able) to reward their customers with free stuff.
    I wish more companies in this world were as generous.

  • All of you saying it was a horrible idea/promo need to take a step back and realize a company, in a capitalist society, no less, took it upon themselves to FREELY OFFER the OPPORTUNITY to obtain FREE credit at their store. Who else does that? Who knows how many people were trying. It’s obvious with a pool of $150,000 not everyone is going to get something. It’s just cool that a company even thinks of doing something like this.

    • Actually, it’s rather obvious that with a pool of $150k, a malfunctioning website, and $90k given out in 2 hours, that giving out the remaining $60k in 5 minutes is complete BS. That’d be 6000 questions answered in 5 minutes, compared with a whole 9000 in 2 hours, with the website never being stable. Yep, straight-up, grade-A shortchanging BS.

      • there is no way to know the alignment of variables that led to that. The best advice I can suggest is, next year, don’t participate in a VOLUNTARY event where there is a FREE REWARD of MONEY that is not EARNED on your part. People need to look at this more like a lottery rather than an entitlement.

      • mysql> select count(*), sum(money_to_customer)  
               from promotional_codes join free_day_2011  
               using(promotional_codes_id);  
        +----------+------------------------+  
        | count(*) | sum(money_to_customer) |  
        +----------+------------------------+  
        |     5541 |                 150541 |  
        +----------+------------------------+  
        1 row in set (0.03 sec)
        
  • Free Day was Awesome! A) Refreshed/Learned alot from the tutorials. B) Got to legitimately launch a DOS attack! C) Walked away with $20.00. I’m happy! Can’t wait till next year!
    Thank You SparkFun!
    Mike

  • Wow that was great…talk about a great event…and thank you for your charity contributions…ignore the sour grapes, you guys rock!

  • JeffB.:

    Isn’t it illegal in the US to conduct contests where all entrants don’t have an equal chance of winning?
    It is no different than a radio call-in: “10th caller wins concert tickets!"
    Sparkfun never promised that everybody would "win”, nor did they force anybody to spend 2 hours trying. They made the whole process fairly transparent, so surely folks can take responsibility for their choice to participate.
    I’ve been and will continue to be a loyal SFE customer. Thanks for the rather unusual morning!

  • Alright , I tried this before and my comment got dumped..
    If you have ever been to a Sparkfun event like AVC or Antimov, and met the people who work there, you wouldn’t have much to say about not getting your toy.
    This is the coolest business model I know of. Go spend some time at The Gathering Place and see what goes on there, then complain about not getting your free stuff.
    This is a community , creating a culture, if you don’t get that, maybe it’s not for you.
    Thank you Sparkfun ,thanks for the other 364 days this year.

  • Hey Sparkfun -
    I have been a customer since 2006. Thanks for the loyalty money and for the great promotion. There sure are a lot of people out there who don’t get it.
    -Jim

  • Not sure that it actually means anything, just an observation; most of the complaining is from very very recent members.
    The whole point of free day was for sparkfun to test their servers, not make sure everyone gets free loot.

  • Just to let you know…That was the coolest thing ever I would love to see a map showing where everyone was. I really enjoyed sing the “something Broke page for 2 hours…we had 3 puters refreshing like crazy to get that quiz up…Just want to Say thanks for my 10 FREE monies.

  • Ahh, the Internets! An amazingly helpful website announces that it is actually giving away money first come, first serve, and people bitch about the company not being adequately prepared to give them free stuff.
    Don’t complain about this, people. It’s their money. Thank them for trying.
    Thanks, SparkFun. Not just for Free Day, but for everything you do. I’ve learned so much tinkering with stuff I bought here. So thanks.
    One question/suggestion: Is there any chance you’d put up the quiz at some point and let us take it just for fun? I really wanted to see the questions, but given the server load, I opted to just cash in my loyalty points instead.

  • @Member 193517
    –That’s sorta not cool. You are complaining that the servers didn’t keep up? Yeah, it sure sucks when people try to give you free stuff, huh? If they hanged you, you would bitch that the rope was itchy.

  • This was an awesome use of my day off.
    At the very end, was able to get a couple of questions before it was all gone.
    its a nice birthday present for me since I am way too house poor to by able to but anything usually. Now I have to figure out what to get.
    you guys totally deserve a cookie. I’m sorry about all the things I yelled at that little picture of a computer on fire.

    • That picture of the computer on fire made small parts of me die every time I saw it.
      I walked away with some do$h, though…
      Thanks,

      • Seeing that picture was the highlight of my experience, most of the time I was getting Error 324

  • That was a complete waste of time. Great idea, VERY poorly planned. I guess they are still running from one server. I wasted 2.5 hours and didn’t get to view one question.

  • love how the first question crashed on me continuously from the beginning. Never even had a chance

  • Drat! started early but kept losing the connection to the server! Only made it through 6 of the 10 questions before the money ran out.
    Oh well, $60 is still better than the $40 loyalty bonus, glad I took the test!

  • The biggest scamm ever made

    • Some one needs to stop being a sore loser :(

    • how is this a scam?
      did they, did say how it was last year.
      they servers looked to be doing better this year.
      and I didn’t get any free money, but hey it was free.

      • its just an outburst of frustration. Xan-Ko really doesnt mean it. you know.

        • You are probably right, it’s just all the negative vibes in here.
          be happy for those who did get something and is not a feminine hygiene product about is.
          is would you be mad at me if I gave you friend somthing but didn’t give you anything never having said that I would?

    • how much money did you lose?

    • Yes, quite certainly a scam, all i got was server errors, server timeouts, then a big “Free Day is Over” message. I’m sticking with adafruit and just about every other supplier until sparkfun can explain and rectify their actions.
      Sure this account was made specifically for today, but I have had sparkfun on my parts supplier list for some time, they just never had what i needed in stock when i wanted to buy it.

      • so you don’t use sparkfun, because they don’t have just the part you need, and now because you they didn’t give you any money you will not use them.
        Free day is a server test, and did you not get server errors, server timeouts.
        so if it is a scam? they must have gotten or taken something from you, if they got you to come here and no one got any thing may be able to call it a scam, but they have been up front about the fact that most would not get any thing.

      • It’s free money. They don’t owe you anything.

  • Less bandwidth than a Nomad. No form resubmission. Lame.

    • For future reference you can resubmit the form if you stop the connection before it times out. Click stop if a connection isn’t established before 15 seconds. Then, click submit again. Rinse and repeat. Worked for me.

  • W O W - lagtastic
    but thanks for the free monies

  • Thank you!
    We <3 SparkFun ;)

  • WHEW! THAT was intense…sparkfun, that was awesome, now go check the IT department and open a window for them…I’m sure it’s like a sauna in there =)

  • Wow that was really not worth the time.

  • thanks for a great time SparkFun :). looking forward to another quadcopter project build - (arduino/gyros/accelerometers/barometer/gps/magnetometer/xbee - which to pick up???) and possibly more importantly to see the server logs to see what brings a commercial server to its knees like it was this morning. please show us as much info in regards to what the servers were seeing and also what you guys are using for a server farm.
    looking forward to the data,
    thanks again,
    DUBob

  • Oh, if only there were a way to charge each and every idiot who complains that they didn’t get their free stuff. You’d be able to finance an infinite number of Free Days just from the money you’d be raking in from the WAAAAAAAMBULANCE.
    I was one of the lucky ones last year. This year I tried, made it to the first quiz question, couldn’t submit it before time was up. It was frustrating, it was disappointing, but folks, THAT’S LIFE. DEAL WITH IT.

  • Wasted 2 hours, got nothing, and loved every minute of it. Thanks SFE.

  • What’s better than NOT getting free stuff? Spamming the refresh button for 3 hours to answer 8 questions! I found it quite exhilarating to see the page load when I did get through!

    • Man, me too! I was giddy all morning waiting for it to start, and seeing the servers go down even after the massive upgrades … wow.

  • Oh my god what a scam, I wasted 30 minutes of my life hitting refresh whilst I was doing other stuff and all I got was a poxy free $30!. What a rip off, my time is worth at least $100 an hour.
    Sparkfun, I demand that you pay me an additional $20. Invoice emailed.
    Yours Sincerely
    A. Moron

    • you’re a moron for not doing it at work then :)

      • hehe I did :)
        I do hope irony is not lost on all!
        Loving my $30, now, can I receive that in cash? I’d just like to film burning it!

  • That was fun. I’ve been looking at picking up a few things from the site, and this was just the extra “push” that I needed to finally place my order. I didn’t get the whole $100 in promised cash before things were over (“inb4 server meltdown” - an hour of trying to log in and another hour of trying to get something on the screen), but I did still manage to get $10 in free monies, which is still $10 more than any other site in the history of the Internet has given me. To the sysadmins and staff, I admire your dedication. You guys rock.
    I’ll be ready for next year’s mayhem, but in the meantime, Sparkfun, I think this is the start of a beautiful relationship. You have the majority of what I need, and at decent prices, and I have the money with which to buy it. I think we’ll go far.

  • First, I think it is awesome that SF does this. Aside from just giving everyone money, what better way for a company to show appreciation for their customers?
    Second, to all those people whining about servers this, lag that, I say: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DsPrEcvIvI#t=01m30s

  • I didn’t get anything again this year, but it was fun trying! Way to go Sparkfun.

  • This is a sales event. Who will limit their spending to the money they won and not go over?
    My total of $40 will cover less than half of the order I had pending so I consider it a nice ‘sale’ day.
    If this is how some people act when they don’t get up to $100 I’m glad I’m not around when their lottery pick fails every week.

  • Many thanks SparkFun!
    I really enjoyed myself.
    Very slow here from Italy, but I finally reached $20.
    Thanks Again!

  • For all of the critics…
    It’s plain simple - you get nothing for free.
    Sparkfun PAYS its customers for the advertisement it gets.
    And I had to pay 2 hours of my time and got nothing but a headache.

  • Wooh! Win! think i nailed 6 right questions. Funny thing is that during the first two hours about 1/3 of the money was gone, then within 30 min. it was all gone.
    On the fun side I got to see at least 4 different error pages xD
    Great event.

  • Simply amazing! I was with it from beginning until the end. At about ten to 9 the whole site was laggy and slow, I could almost feel the anticipation of every other person just waiting to start clicking away. Then it all started. For the next 2 hours I had an occasional connection to the home page but I mostly had broken sparkfun pages or no connection at all. I was finally able to sneak in a few right answers on the quiz just before it was all over.
    Thank you sparkfun!
    Same time next year?

  • I just spent my $50.00 Free Day cash!!!
    Thanks Sparkfun, you guys rock!!!

  • I lost last year (joined for freeday) and won this year and it was fun both times, I am happy. Sparkfun FTW!

  • It was fun and I made away with $10 in credit I didn’t have before. Thanks Sparkfun! I’m marking my calendar for next year.

  • In fact I’m from Portugal, I got 30$, and from the LusoRobotica forum there are members that got 50$, 40$, 17$, 10$, 20$, so stop bitching about only USA users this and USA users that

    • agree. I’m in Indonesia, and i got $40. never even thought of taking the quiz. although it was fun seeing that “something broke” page..

  • Personally, I think it was much better this year. Last year, I heard about it at the last minute and sadly couldn’t participate. This year, those who have been members for a while (some even longer than me) got a chance to be rewarded, while others (some who probably don’t even like SFE or anything) signed up to the website TODAY and are griping because the site was ‘slow’. Hmm…..
    And for all those who have been a member OVER a year who are complaining b/c they took the quiz, suck it up, you should have known better. I planned on taking the quiz also, until I noticed how long it took the home page to load. Taking my $20 Gimmie was a nobrainer (thanks Sparkfun :) ), too bad you were trying to be greedy and it came back to bite you. Better luck next time, if there is a next time anyway.
    NOTE:SFE I work in IT and have a few thoughts on strengthening your system if you run this again in the future, only b/c I wanna see more money donated to charity.

  • Thanks Sparkfun. I’ll probably be here again next year for Free Day. Order shipped. Waiting for it to arrive.

  • Sparkfun’s expansion of the DIY electronics community has made them favorite online business.
    They have gathered and well presented relevant information on electronics like datasheets and tutorials, developed ease of use break-out boards, made for sale interesting and useful components, and gave away essentially what I consider scholarships via Free Day.
    Congratulations to a successful Free Day all you wonderful people at Sparkfun!

  • Next year any chance of using Amazon cloud hosting? It would be cheaper than buying another ‘order of magnitude’ more servers for a 1 day event.

  • ROFLMAO at everyone missing the point and making suggestions for what SFE needs to do to make Free Day more reliable for the participants. Hilarious. It wasn’t supposed to be enjoyable or reliable, sillyheads. Didn’t you notice the pointless redirects in there at the beginning, making it even less likely that you’d get through, but multiplying the number of page requests being generated? Way to get your money’s worth, guys! :-D SFE forever!

  • Yeah, curious how those dinos held up. From my end I’d guess this years expansion didn’t help much. I got more timeouts when trying to get to the questions than succesful page downloads, including during the questions while trying to send the answer. I only got one question answered, but not for the lack of re-trying though. Oh wel, all in the game I’d guess.
    We have this saying in the Netherlands: “Who doesn’t honour the little things, doesn’t deserve the bigger things”.
    Thanks SFE!

  • you know, thanks sparkfun for doing all of this, ill have to try again, like last year

  • Thanks Spark Fun!!! much improved over last year…

  • LET THE BITCHING COMMENCE!

  • Thanks to all the SparkFun employees for Free Day!
    I too had problems with the site, but so what, it was still Free Day!

  • Spent 3 hours trying to get the page to load and when it finally did, it was over! This was lame and a complete waste of my time!!!!

  • How about hosting Free Day 2012 on a cloud like Google or Amazon that can hold up to the traffic next year? Would make it more enjoyable.

    • But that would not stress-test the SparkFun servers, now would it?

      • What’s the point in building a server farm to handle a load that is waay above what is regularly seen? It sounds like a waste of money.
        I think Free Day is a great idea, but I think SparkFun should separate the FreeDay concept from server testing, and just forget about building a crazy server and IP infrastructure.
        It would give more happy customers if the quiz performs as intended, instead of people spending hours reloading pages in vain.

      • well we could stress test em when there isnt free cool stuff involved and we dnt get mad at sparkfun

  • Hey, I got $17 for getting through three quiz questions. Not complaining.
    Good job guys, though the servers still exploded.

  • TROLOLOL I got $10…

  • awesome
    I love signing up for something - and then my thank you message tells me Free day is over
    that was totally worth it

  • LOL That went quickly. It seems the money was all gone within a couple minutes of the quiz page actually loading. I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, though. Thanks, Sparkfun! :-)

  • Its ended. Got $40. Not bad for hitting F5 for 1 hour.

  • Refreshing for 2 hours, and when I finally got to submit my first answer, the quiz was over =/

    • Same here.

      • same here. but hey so what, it was free any they are going to put the quiz up so you can take it when you want :)
        there no money then but, come on to day you were part of a non bot DOS attack. it is not every day you can do that.

  • Again, great contest! Thanks!
    I got a little something out of it $ wise. Best of all, I got to find out about your site, learned a bit (with potential for lots more) and now I know where to buy for my future projects.
    I have to say you run a real classy and cool site. Keep doing what you are doing and stay away from lawyers. They’ll make you change things like the dino factor, “We have to reserve the right to change things around in case we come up with better rules.” and my favorite: “fully transferable” - really! You are the coolest :)
    Looking forward to creating cool projects.

  • I can’t believe the complainers. Here you have a great company, giving to charity, giving back to their customers, and all you can come up with are bad things to say.
    IT WAS FREE!!!!
    I spent all morning trying. Couldn’t get in until late, the server wouldn’t accept my answer. I had an absolute blast, edge of my seat, suspense, it was like watching some close sporting event, but better, because I had a chance to win.
    You people need to suck it up, and thank all the people that put this thing on.
    THANK YOU SPARKFUN. And just out of selfishness, you should do this every month, now that would be a test on your servers.

  • I get 87$ and i am surfing from sweden, i answer wrong on one question.
    I know i need to be fast in the end when the server responded.

  • I like the email you sent out. I’d love to see the stats, especially for how many people got in and how many attempted each number of questions. That’ll show how far people got into the quiz.
    Me:
    Opted for quiz
    Number of questions attempted/Got shown: 0
    Number of real complaints: 0 - Hey, I was lucky and got through last year. I ought to keep quiet! :>

  • Well I for one would like to thank SparkFun for being so generious; I took the loyalty route and got $20 but thats better then I managed last year so while I was kind of disappointed last year I managed to walk away with something this year. For everyone who didnt win - think of it this way; Its like one of those prize giveaways - if your a lucky one then you get something otherwise your where you started which is no lose to anyone. So once again THANKYOU! SparkFun and for those people who only came for free stuff maybe you should think about ordering something so they have more funds for their IT budget.

  • A new customer’s take on freeday:
    I joined and ordered an Inventor kit last week, not even knowing about free day.
    When I found out about it, I got a little bummed “Oh man, I could’ve gotten the kit potentially for free!"
    I didn’t return my order, or anything though, cause I thought "Hey, well now I have a shot at getting $100 worth of extra stuff for my kit!"
    I had to work yesterday, but was able to set aside some time to give it a shot.
    Chose the quiz option, obviously, never even got to see the first question.
    You know what, though… no hard feelings. This was a contest. I had a "chance” to win $100. I didn’t, sure I’m bummed, but sparkfun didn’t have to even offer this. Sure it helps them load test, which I don’t even think they should have mentioned, it just gives fodder to the haters who (think) they know everything about servers, web hosting and wan.
    Just say it’s a contest, there’s no guarantee, and there’s no requirement to participate, just let everyone know that: “Hey, with this much money going out, the site is going to be slammed and may be unavailable, just keep trying! GOOD LUCK :)"
    I think it’s a great program, creates excitement for the site/company. If you didn’t get anything, yeah it sucks, I mean who doesn’t like free stuff? There was no requirement of obligation to participate though, if $100 isn’t worth 2-3 hours of your time, why did you even bother? If you’re a server and telecommunications guru, you know what’s going to happen, why waste your time when you knew what was going to happen and then whine about it afterwards?
    My opinion: Great idea, please keep it going and ignore the haters.

  • Let’s see, company announces a free money giveaway that is only playable from teh internetz.
    Every solder slinger on the globe clicks mightily to hit their site, some of them opening many tabs to do so.
    Server farm is crushed under what amounts to the biggest flash mob DDOS attack evah!
    The site struggles to stay up, and hiccups many times but does manage to hang in there.
    People who should know better express sour grapes.
    Let me tell you, I fought my way through that cyberqueue and after 40 minutes managed to only get two answers to the quiz get through, with the third going boom at the 40 minute mark.
    Frustrating? Yes, but I knew what was probably going to happen and still managed to score 20 free bucks and I am grateful to SparkFun. They didn’t have to do this. Plus, they donated to charity too.
    The rest of you, stop whining. All it cost you was time and bandwidth.
    Thank you, SparkFun. I hope you do this again.

  • I didn’t get any money, but I am grateful at the chance. If I am lucky free day will happen again next year! For those that are less than grateful, shame on you for complaining about a chance at free money!
    Thank you spark fun.

  • It was all a ploy to avoid new product thursdays!!
    Thanks guys the server lag sucked but it was also some of the fun. Got to answer a few questions and got a few right.
    Too bad there aren’t more companies out there like SparkFun!!! Thanks

  • I discovered this site 4 days ago and I am SO thrilled about it and all a person can do by combining a few goodies here n there (I also discovered about arduino and electronics a few days ago). I thought it would be good if I could get a glimpse of free day but I didn’t manage to connect… so? I believe I speak for everyone when I say a huge THANK YOU for giving something back (I thought it was a simple store but when I saw the amount of giveaway something told me I stumbled on an earth-wide known source of innovations!)

  • Thank you Sparkfun!

  • And you guys are wondering why I didn’t participate in this one. Simple! I actually didn’t have an open project that would need something.

  • What is FREE DAY ? a day where we get all free products ?

  • I’ve spent some time reading over the comments - plenty of venom, plenty of defense - but here’s my beef. The allure of Free Day was great - up to $100 in free stuff (though I don’t think many people were actually expecting to see a full $100 - if you were, that’s your own dumb fault). And it needed to be great if SparkFun was going to test their servers.
    Of course, in this economy, there are precious few ways to generate extra personal revenue, so I spent hours studying (I’m no electronics expert, for sure), made myself available for a good chunk of the middle of the day, and spent the better part of two hours pressing the refresh button (after the first few minutes, I also participated while actually doing my job, as well).
    I tried answering the same question about four times - with the right answer, I might add - but it never registered. And then all of a sudden Free Day was over. :-(
    So the deal was, help us (SparkFun) test our servers and we’ll give you (me) some token free stuff. I was down for that. But I didn’t get any free stuff. At all. After two hours of effort, plus the studying, plus the free advertising I gave the website when I told my friends about it in an effort to get our casual robot-building team (hobby, not competitive) an opportunity for some free stuff. I’m not disappointed I didn’t get $100 - that was totally unrealistic - but I AM disappointed I didn’t even get $10, especially for answering the same !@#$%^& question CORRECTLY four stinking times.
    So what am I going to do about it? Well, not a whole lot, I suppose. I’ll probably do a bit more shopping around now than I would have done in the past. (High brightness LEDs? Well, you were on my SparkFun list with Free Day money, but now I’ll just get you on that internet auction site, I suppose.) I kinda just wish it was a bit more fair. :-/ SparkFun, you haven’t lost me as a customer, but I guess I feel a little jaded now. I hope you learned a lot about your servers.

    • I’m just here to buy stuff for work, but with all the advertising I couldn’t help but try out Free Day (Been here just little under a year but before that I was a local SF distributor before they screwed me) as I was curious to how SF’s new “snappy cluster” would work under enormous load.
      Frankly, I found it poorly executed, in regards to “completely re-writing [y]our website to squeeze out every efficiency available.” I found little on-the-surface optimisation even though everyone knew the expected loads. Things such as not storing static assets on high availability systems (Eg: Amazon Cloud would be suitable if you do the cost-benefit analysis) and the design of the quiz being bandwidth heavy (considering the expected capacity, having fully formatted pages with images all over which are critical to answering the question isn’t efficient or scalable).
      I also saw that I was able to at times to get error messages with little delay, I’m assuming I was just hitting a load balancer which wasn’t able to pass me off to a system? Even then, most of the time I didn’t even get that.
      I also noticed that even though someone from SF commented that you may login before hand, sessions appeared to be flushed a few times throughout.
      For “Our Goal: Get as many new people introduced to SparkFun as possible.” this was an obvious success, giving away free stuff on-masse will become viral no matter what the medium, although, it’s a double edged sword.
      In regards to “…wanting to educate people of the basics of electronics” and “Goal: Educate new users on the basics.” I guess you this was achieved by getting people’s hopes up by luring them to study with free stuff but you ultimately let those people down by lack of availability when they tried to claim their incentive, especially with the inherent perceived “unfairness” since competing a single non-challenge-response request for a ‘loyalty payment’ will have a much higher chance of success than multiple challenge-responses of the quiz. Also, the quiz questions didn’t actually require proper understanding of electronics but just mathematics comprehension, I guess you could argue that’s the same thing but I bet if you got a random beginner who successfully completed a question and actually put that real scenario in front of them I doubt they’d be able to resolve the real-world scenario successfully.
      Either way, I was little disappointed by the performance of the website seeing as obvious optimisation techniques were not taken, either by choice or other reasons.
      I should state that I took the quiz and attempted and correctly answered 3 questions before the funds ran out, from 4 hours before till the end.

  • I agree with everyone stating the fact that there is really no point to be angry with what SparkFun Electronics wanted to do from the start. And that was “Free day” Which got out the word for Their site and products and encourage electronic ‘geeks’ to come aboard yet also give some of the money to charity. I thought it was an amazing idea and did it’s job, i can see how some user’s are getting upset just because they weren’t given the chance to actually answer the questions which was a tad frustrating but hey, all in all it was fun free day :)

  • Disclaimer- I’m a new customer that placed a ~$70 order for the first time a week ago. I’ll be back for more in the future.
    I hope Sparkfun realizes that they can’t really cater to the freeloaders of the world- those that claim outrage over not getting their freebies.
    Those folks don’t actually buy anything anyway, and that whining and sniveling should go straight to /dev/null.
    For all those that feel that you’ve “Wasted your time”- get bent. The whole idea is to test the systems and maybe get a reward as a result.
    If your time is too precious to participate in that, then you’re stupid to even try, knowing that the massive inrush of leeches is sure to break the system somewhere along the line.
    To whomever made the “Meet a friend for lunch” analogy- that’s deliberately misleading. Try “meeting a friend for lunch at a free day in the restaurant.” If you time is that precious to you, then skip the adventure and make reservations somewhere else. Duh.
    Thank you for being cool, Sparkfun, and I hope the dumba$$es of the world don’t get you down.

  • Time spent? 2 hours.
    Cash earned? $10.
    Hiding the laptop in the desk drawer at work so the boss cant see it with the cell phone tethered to it for internet and a wireless mouse? ………. Priceless
    Thanks for the sparkFUN.
    Hope the business stays good enough to do it again next year!!!

  • Thanks for the $10 loyalty money guys! That was way better than buying 30 hoagies and trying not to lose the stamp card =]
    Free Nokia LCD, here I come…

  • Did $40 better than last year. Thanks for credit.

  • Didn’t get anything, but I’m not worried. Next year, it might make things run smoother if you were to ask one question per hour or so. It would make it more of a free “day” and could possibly reduce some of the load since people would leave after answering the question of the hour. People might actually learn more as well because they would have the entire hour to read the tutorial and answer the question.

  • Three cheers for Sparkfun.
    Don’t listen to the sore losers.
    I wonder and hope if some of the charity funds can go to the Australian Flood Relief effort.

  • Kudos to SparkFun for the give-away. After many attempts I actually managed to submit the answer to the first question, then it was all over :D. Thanks for the $10, and keep up the great work!

  • It was very interesting to watch the money go by. After finally being able to log in at around 10:00 (I got logged out right when it began), only about $20k had been given away (and the charity funds were near 0). 40 minutes later, when I got to the first quiz question, it had probably only gone up to $40k or so. Once I finally made it to the second question, it just took off. It was at about $80k when I started question 2 and jumped to $130k in 5 minutes!
    But I’m really curious why it all sped up at around 11. Was that when most people finally gave up, leaving room for the rest of us to get through? Or was there a problem that finally got fixed then?
    Anyways, I am extremely thankful that I actually got $20. Thank you SparkFun!

    • Next year, I think you should
      1. divide all of the money up amongst all of your customers
      2. OR just give a discount on all of your products equal to the $150 K
      3. OR give the prizes to the 100 or 1000 (whatever) top customers who submit a contest entry. Similar to a lottery, except the customer must still fill out the quiz. This can go on for months before, so you don’t have the mayhem on one day.
      Just my opinion. I am always a firm believer in common sense.

  • Thanks folks for having Free Day and giving back to your customers AND the donation to charity. I appreciate the effort. I managed to answer all 3 questions I got to and I am very much looking forward to seeing what the rest of the quiz was to see how I would have done on it.
    Thanks again.

  • It took a lot of reloading just to answer two quiz questions, but it was fun and felt festive.
    If you found it frustrating, why not just go do something else? Nobody I know of was forced to participate in free day.

  • Thank you once again America for making me swear off forums of any sort. I tried, I ran out of time, I went on with my day. I will continue to buy stuff from Spark because everything I have from them (gifts only so far) has been to use a military term “fucking outstanding”.

  • Thanks guys, all your extra effort to give away a buttload of money is appreciated. Apparently, some of the less than bright folks didn’t see this as a game of chance, but a guarantee of free cash.
    For the people that decided to take the test, you missed the first question outright. WHO in their right mind would attempt a multi-page test on a site that is getting hammered? FAIL. You shouldn’t have been greedy and taken the loyalty bucks and ran. Oh, you didn’t have any loyalty bucks? Whaaaa.

  • Free Day was a lot of fun despite destroying my F5 key. I’m really thankful for what you guys are doing to promote the hobby electronics world, so with my free day money I bought a sweatshirt so that I can rep SparkFun in my community!

  • Wooohooo! My first SFE Free Day, and I’m $80 up with $16 going to charity. Excellent effort, guys, my only gripe is that I won’t be able to use the funds at batchpcb. You rock, the stuff you’re selling generally rocks, and all the whiners can realize that this was a SERVER TEST! Woohooo for whatever made it go fast near the end!

  • Thanks sparkfun!
    I have never seen so many 404s but I also got to answer a few questions correctly :)
    To all those who got a credit to use, go shop and have fun. To those who didn’t, go shop and have fun too.

  • After clicking a bazillion times and login in many, many times, I finally got to the ‘question’ page, where I made the stupid error to take the quiz instead of just take the money and run. Could have been a neat $40; the quiz page never loaded. Gave up after an hour.
    Ah well, next time I probably also need to employ a botnet just to get at the Sparkfun server ;-)
    To answer Member186537: I was in Amsterdam, Europe.

  • People are looking at this the wrong way.
    It’s like a sweepstakes, but the odds of winning are much higher. You shouldn’t expect free stuff, but rather be ecstatic if you actually receive something.
    Thanks for the opportunity, SparkFun! Never have I been so willing to sit at my computer refreshing a website for two hours straight.

  • Thanks to SparkFun for another great server load test. I hope you guys got loads of useful data regarding the weak points of your infrastructure. And thanks for the $50 from the quiz.
    I know that to a lot of visitors, it did seem a bit like a lottery, but that’s what a DDOS is like (albeit self-inflicted) and that’s really what this was primarily about.
    Just wondering, did you do a full site/load balancer restart at some point because a number of us saw your servers disappear altogether there for a few minutes?
    And what was the deal with the quiz early on when it was logging everyone out automatically every time we tried to access it?
    Thanks!
    - j.

  • Phew, it seems some other people at least had fun breaking SFE for the hell of it.
    To all the people complaining about FREE STUFF: where’s the FOSS mentality? It’s free, honestly how can you complain?
    Yes, yes, the loyalty bucks would have been a better option if you were concerned about the cash. But loyalty bucks do nothing for charity! Think of the children!
    Good times! Cheers everyone!

  • Here are some interesting statistics regarding these comments:

    44 - The number of times "suck" was used  
    33 - The number of times "disappointment" was used  
    9 - The number of times "scam" was used  
    ---------------------------------------------  
    40 - The number of times "awesome" was used  
    31 - The number of times "love" was used  
    30 - The number of times "cool" was used  
    

    There are also 797 exclamation marks and 231 question marks.

    Be happy.

  • Not that it’s needed but I wanted to throw my 2 cents in as well.
    The concept of the Free Day is great! The arguments over the execution (sucking vs. being fun) are superficial. Also, the notion that it’s a self-induced DoS, to help test their hardware, is also unimportant (there are other ways to do that).
    The fact of the matter is that it polarizes the customers, there are way to many negative comments to imagine that this has a net benefit to the company. Why would a company do this? It seems counter-productive from a PR point-of-view.
    Resentment is not a marketing tactic.
    Nomad
    P.S. I love SparkFun, but thought (as everyone on the internet does) my opinion may mean something.

    • Sparkfun, If all you wanted was a DOS or DDOS test, I’d be happy to provide you with one for half of what you just spent on the free day…
      I’ve got to agree with Nomad on his comments. The concept is fun, and it creates a lot of buzz around the Sparkfun name, which I know is ultimately what you’re trying to do.
      But, at the risk of sounding un-grateful, I think I fall into more of the resentment category that Nomad spoke of. I wasted another hour of my life before giving up, as I had real work to do. I don’t think I’ll bother next time if it’s going to be another fiasco.
      If you are really interested in giving back to your loyal customers, maybe tiered percentage discounts over the course of a few weeks or a month would be more appropriate. Alternatively, free shipping would be simple and easy to explain.
      If it’s just about the buzz however, next time I think I’ll leave it up to the kids with no jobs to attack your servers.

  • +1 SFE
    I expected nothing and would have been cool with the day with nothing but got $30 and it is greatly appreciated!

  • Wow. Page loading were extremely slow. At least from Sweden.
    2 questions got me $20. Thank you sparkfun!

  • I had an awesome time taking the quiz and an even better time reading people complain about not getting handouts. Please cry more.

  • 2 hours of F'bomb5 got me two wrong questions (oops) and a completed quiz…don’t get me wrong, I wanted to give up around hour 1.8 but then the digital God’s smiled down upon me and let my bits flow through to the cloud :D

  • Allow me to join the ranks of those expressing thanks for sharing $20 that I didn’t have before today.
    You guys are awesome, you have great products, and you help fulfil the EE in me that I never became since I settled for CS ;-)
    Once more, thank you!!!

  • Hey folks at Sparkfun, thank you so much for having free day again this year. I heard about your event through Make Magazine.
    I was hoping at getting at least some quiz questions to put forward to trying some of their projects or some of the projects on Instructables.com. I never made it to the quiz but I’ll live on.
    I really appreciate you folks giving out to the community like this and I really hope you keep it up even with the large number of negative attitudes out there.
    I also really want to take a second of my time to thank you for your “Tutorials”. I sat down and read all of the bite sized tutorials before the melt down and really enjoyed them. I’ve had some training in electronics and your tutorials were written in an extremely easy to understand manner that encourages one to engage in the material and they are totally free! (The last electronics book I got was over 200 bucks for less than an inch think book!)
    Again, thank you very much for an enjoyable morning if even a bit frustrating and I hope you continue. This poor (literally) grad student will be watching next year. :)

  • Last Year’s Free Day I gave up after an hour of trying to get an order placed. This year I was determined to get through. I went strait for the loyalty points. After about hour I got my coupon code! Thanks Sparkfun!

  • Thanks sparkfun! Generous to say the least.

  • Got $80 after a really long time of sitting at my computer refreshing several tabs for about two hours. Near the end, the site was working pretty well though (and thus the money went away really quickly and I didn’t get a chance to submit my next answer in time, but $80 is really really nice).
    Thanks SparkFun for being so awesome.

  • the reason it sred up towards the end….
    I fell asleep after pressing F5 for 2and a bit hours…
    got nothing :(
    I would love to see a map of where attempts came from, and who was successful. ie, where the money went.
    then another one, overlaying customers that have spent money with sparkfun in the last 12 months
    though I got nothing, I still had fun.
    I will have to use real money though to pay for the bits in my cart :( he he
    thanks sparkfun.

  • Grateful for the opportunity to play for some free money.
    Happy that I managed to get $10 more than if I had taken the loyalty bonus.
    Disappointed and frustrated that even though I logged on at 9AM MT and stayed through to the bitter end I only got to answer 3 questions.
    Hoping that there was smoke pouring out the back of those servers.

  • What a cool event! Even though I didn’t get anything, I appreciate the opportunity. From a business/ marketing guy this is such a great and inexpensive way to create buzz about your company.. just look up #sparkfun or #freeday. 180k is a cheap investment to get that kind of exposure.
    Idea for next year: Option to give all/part of winnings to charity. I didn’t need the $100 I was going for and probably would have given at least half to charity if given the option. That might boost the 30k number anyway.
    I’m hoping you post the quiz for everyone who didn’t get a chance.. I tried for 2 hours before getting the 1st question then it was done. Oh well.. It beat working for 2 hours!

  • I couldn’t get in myself, but that’s fine. It was rather interesting to see how badly the system went down and up. I’m also curious as to what pretty graphs the IT guys are putting together at this very moment. Was it one server, or were we bouncing off their bandwidth maxes? Sometimes I’d see a could not connect, other times, the something broke.
    And we have 1000 comments.

    • Yeah, traffic level graphs would be awesome to see. Although, they should probably disclaim something along the lines of “Caution: exposure may lead to blindness”. XD
      -ZS

  • Congratulations you are the 1000'th person to comment!
    YOU WIN!!! :D
    Thanks Sparkfun!

  • SparkFun, awesome FreeDay! Thanks it was fun and I got one of my co-workers involved too ;-)
    Is there a way I could do the quiz in full, not for money? Being an electronic novice, I found the question really informative and a great way to brush up on the basics.
    Thanks again!

  • First of all, I am not complaining about SparkFun’s way of going about this event. I am complaining about my luck. But I was stuck at school today at 10 AM. And I have no school tomorrow!

  • Well I got nowhere! But I’m not really suprised or bothered. Thanks guys maybe next year.

  • Thank you all! Bill Welch

  • I find it amusing that so many of the bitter comments are from people that just joined SFE in the past few days! The loyalty $$$ was a great idea!

  • Thanks SparkFun!

  • I was hitting F5 for 2 hours and got to answer 2 questions near the end good for $20.
    I’m happy very with SF giving us the opportunity
    I’m sure they will improve on this next year.
    I wonder if all these new accounts will also
    translate in bigger sales for SF.
    Thx SF Team

  • That was cool! Wish I could have seen the rest of the quiz questions that I didn’t get to before the time ran out. But still very cool.

  • …to the tune of the chorus to “Bicycle Built for Two"
    Free Day! Free Day!
    Submitting my answers true.
    Staying home on Free Day, (a)
    I think the servers blew.
    I can’t afford my Wish Lists
    I guess I’ll be doing dishes. (b)
    But it’ll be sweet
    And then I’ll Tweet
    When my answers all get through!

    Notes

    1) I did *not* stay home on Free Day.  
    2) I never did get to Tweet.  
    3) Yes, the "dishes" line is lame.  
    Alternatives for (a)  
       - Studying hard for Free Day,  
       - Trying hard on Free Day,  
    Alternatives for (b)  
       - Just all stop being *itches  
    
  • Well, this was fun!
    The F5 key almost came off my keyboard but it was actually cool to be “engaged” together with thousands around a common interest.
    Happy also for the charity money but had the servers responded better I guess that that number would have been higher … I know I gave up early (“-ish” … I spent 40min trying to click 3 buttons) on and took the loyalty reward.
    Thanks SparkFun and you know you can trust the community to try and brake your servers :-)

  • Haha this free day was great! I didn’t manage to get a dime but it was still fun to be refreshing the page all morning until 11:00 EST and then BLAM! I couldn’t connect. I lazily refreshed the page every so often still never saw the homepage until I left for class. During my second class I checked the site on my phone and saw ‘Free day is over!’ and I said “Ha!” aloud. :P
    P.S. I hope the system load test helped and nothing melted!

  • On the upside I now have two wish lists full of things I would like to have, since I perused nearly every product on the site in anticipation… the voice command recognition stuff looks interesting…

  • Member188403:

    There is no free money. There was never any free money. There will never be free money.
    This was a DISCOUNT applied to purchases. And this discount can be weighed against the expected yearly purchases of a customer.
    True. And, you should also remember that in effect, this was SparfFun paying its customers to perform a very aggressive stress-test of their systems. A test of such a scale that getting it performed commercially would probably have had a substantial cost.
    Member188403:
    What was not made clear is that this was just going to be a ‘hit the refresh’ button game. I thought tech-savvy organizations had heard of Akamai.
    Thing is, on an average day, SparkFun does not need the scale of an Akamai-like solution. They get by fine with a set of redundant servers behind a load-balancer. The whole point of this ‘hit the refresh button game’ as you call it, is to severely stress-test their newly rebuilt server-setup.
    Member188403:
    There’s a very slim margin on electrical components. There’s no newsflash there. The only ‘added value’ a company can offer is building a crowd-sourced community, and offering better customer service. […]
    And this is the true strength of SparkFun. Their loyalty to their costomers, their willingess and encouragement of crowd-sourced electronics, and the community surrounding them. Just visit the forums, and check yout the “Sell your widgets on SparkFun” page for some ideas.
    Member188403:
    6 months ago, I decided to build my own computer, and I knew nothing. Since then, I have poured hundreds and hundreds of dollars into NewEgg because they are a “Go-To” source. I don’t “like them” or “dislike them”. I just go there because I can be done in 5 minutes and not have to deal with BS. I need something? Bam, done. Not a second thought. They run promotions too, and what I expect is what I receive.
    This is exactly the kind of experience you can expect from SparkFun. No fuzz, just good products at competitive prices, sold by a company with very high quality customer support and a living and active community surrounding it. Free Day is simply a single event used to stress test the servers at SparkFun, and has so far happened twice. Should it happen again, I welcome it, but this day is very far from the normal operation of SparkFun. This happening also tends to bring out the inevitable whiners and freeloaders, that usually are very quiet around here.
    Member188403:

    […]
    All I’m saying is, this doesn’t seem to be the place for me.
    And I want to inform you that your impression is very likely to be far from correct, and wish to urge you to reconsider.
    Disclaimer I am in no way affiliated with SparkFun. I am simply one of ~200k satisfied customers.

  • All this bitching sort of reminds me of the experience people get working at a soup kitchen, giving out free meals to the homeless.
    Do you think they’re going to love you after you give them something for free? Of course not. They’re going to hate you for not giving them more. :) Srsly, I’m glad some people realize that this was an extraordinarily charitable gesture.
    Also notice: Some of the most vitriolic comments are from people who registered just in time for Free Day. The patronage that they’re loudly announcing will be taken elsewhere isn’t worth very much.

  • Thank you SparkFun for spicing up a rather boring morning of lectures and the extra bit of spending money.
    Cheers!

  • I got $40 on the quiz! Yay! Better than last years $0 and better than my loyalty of $20-30. I noticed everything seemed to speed way up towards the end. It was taking 5-10 min between questions and I had noticed there was about half the mula left then I suddenly got two questions back to back and boom it was done. Making a $400 order and was hoping for $100 off but hey, $40 is nice too. Thanks SparkFun and I hope you grow as fast or faster than 2010! I’m going to need a job soon too ;)

  • Can I cry because I stayed up until 5AM trying to make it to Free Day and then slept through it? SPARKFUN, YOU SHOULD HAVE CALLED TO WAKE ME UP. WHAT A HORRIBLE WAY TO DO BUSINESS
    ;) jk. Maybe next year :D

  • I just got out of surgery, so i didn’t get to participate this time, maybe next time though. Thanks Sparkfun! you guys are so awesome giving away all that stuff, especially the charity part. You guys rock!!

    • Little does Tesco2 know that his surgeon did participate in free day and implanted a 6DOF IMU. He might figure it out when he can inexplicably sense his orientation to a tenth of a degree when in contact with a 3.3V power supply.

  • This was great! I had an account from a year and a half ago, but email changes meant I had to create a new one.
    I remember last year though, the site crashed horribly. The speed improvements are what was amazing - I waited until today before creating a new account to try getting into my old account - ended up creating a new account and taking half the quiz during free day! Hope you do it next year and thanks!
    On a side note: When you did the site upgrade last November, you mentioned easter eggs. I think I found one: After free day was over, I clicked on the top pic that said free day. I got: 404 error. I refreshed the page again, and noticed the 404 Error title changed from : Four-oh-Four to We had extra butter. It says other things too. Cool! B-)

  • Score! I am not the only one who sucks in getting free stuff. All your annoyances do me well, hahaha, suckers…

  • $150K up for grab in $10 increments, Membership numbers now nearly 200K, randomised by internet packet loss => probability of winning anything… low…
    I suggest you put a basic maths tutorial up so (some of) the fans don’t get so upset when they don’t win big.
    A few hours entertainment for everybody, and charity get something into the bargain. What more could you ask for?

  • Guys,
    - There is no free money. There was never any free money. There will never be free money.
    This was a DISCOUNT applied to purchases. And this discount can be weighed against the expected yearly purchases of a customer.
    Please consider wrapping your head around this, if you’ve never worked in sales.
    - Anybody here who has or has had a full time job, realizes that $100 is nothing. Come and go, ok? That’s the cost of a parking ticket, here in NYC. Over a year’s worth of purchases for the hobbyist, it also reduced pretty quickly.
    - I was interested by this (gimmick) that seemed to be related to some sort of educational merit-based game, and had some mission-based elements (of getting novices involved). It made me smile that these guys wanted you to learn something in order to get the doggie treat.
    What was not made clear is that this was just going to be a ‘hit the refresh’ button game. I thought tech-savvy organizations had heard of Akamai.
    There’s a very slim margin on electrical components. There’s no newsflash there. The only ‘added value’ a company can offer is building a crowd-sourced community, and offering better customer service. If this was fun for you, great, but I’m not in college anymore, and my time is actually better spent elsewhere.
    6 months ago, I decided to build my own computer, and I knew nothing. Since then, I have poured hundreds and hundreds of dollars into NewEgg because they are a “Go-To” source. I don’t “like them” or “dislike them”. I just go there because I can be done in 5 minutes and not have to deal with BS. I need something? Bam, done. Not a second thought. They run promotions too, and what I expect is what I receive.
    Now, I’m getting into hardware. And I’m looking for a non-BS experience. Not a free ride. Not MP3’s. Not Zero-day Warez.
    I’ve been researching Arduino’s as an entry point to interfacing my software with the physical world. And this little game caught my interest, and got me to register here, etc.
    All I’m saying is, this doesn’t seem to be the place for me.
    I’m not writing this to get into a uric acid excretion contest in order to prove my point to what may very well be an adolescent crowd (or adolescent in sentiment and expression, at least) But more for the organizers to read, and to let other people know what to expect.
    Adafruit is where I just bought my kit.

    • it happens once a year.
      this is actually a really good community to learn electronic interfacing.
      your loss if you decide to not use this site.
      bunch of resources, tutorials, great customer service on how to use certain products (whether you buy it here or not, actually)
      we don’t need people like you that keep putting the open-source community back a step because you don’t know if it’s right for you or not.

    • Sir,
      Not to start a war with you or anything, but you fail to realize that what you said is what a Liberal Arts graduate from a community college would say.
      This community is great! Extremely helpful and knowledgeable about what you can do in the electronics area.
      Myself, being an engineer, find this site and community helpful beyond most engineers I talk to on a daily basis.
      And why would you call a group adolescent when in reality they want you to learn something new? Why would you put down a community and company that is looking out for their customers? To me is seems to be your college education was a waste of money.

    • asdfsdfasdfasdfasdfasd:
      What an ignorant thing to say. You probably don’t know a whole lot about electronics if you ‘just built a computer a few months ago.’ It’s really not hard to put a computer together. Sorry. Also, N'gg’s promotions are nothing like this promotion.
      How would using Akamai help with a load test on Sparkfun’s servers? If you’d ‘ever had a job in computers’ (to copy your arrogant tone,) you would know that hosting a majority of the files somewhere else would be completely counter-productive for the purposes of this test. That’s what this was, after all, a LOAD TEST. Not a gimmick, not some scheme to make you cry and rip your hair out when you didn’t get your free stuff – a load test with a perk to people who helped perform it. Well, a possible perk. Either way, you weren’t promised anything and if you read the rules you wouldn’t be crying.
      Furthermore, calling the community ‘adolescent’ and then trying to qualify your adulthood by abusing a thesaurus really doesn’t make you seem like you know what you’re talking about.. it makes you look like a douche. Everyone knows what a thesaurus is. Next time, just say ‘pissing contest’ instead of trying to think of a way to sound like you’re an expert… on, well, anything.
      I haven’t bought much from Sparkfun, but advertising other companies here just because you didn’t get free stuff is immature. The bit of experience I’ve had with Sparkfun’s customer service has been just as professional and courteous as anywhere else. Also, if you buy your parts from N'egg, you’re getting destroyed so badly by markup that I doubt you’ve ever been in sales, either.
      Rant finished. Good job, Sparkfun.

    • Dude,
      I guess sparfun CEO couldn’t go through his puberty yet.Getting high and junky seems to be his best asset.

  • What a bunch of whiners… Wha! Wha! For those of you who are not happy, pls pls pls don’t come back next year. That will make things smoother for all of us who can appreciate what Sparkfun did here…
    Sparkfun, I spent 2 hrs flipping between work and clicking the reload button and had fun every minute of it. The quiz was a bonus - great idea. Will do it again next year! Thx for the $$.

  • Thanks Sparkfun.

  • Thanks for the good time SparkFun. I managed to eek in at the last minute and get a couple freebies.

  • Suggestion for next year: Have the option of donating your FREE money to charity, instead of spending it.
    Just a thought, I had lots of fun, once again thanks for being awesome!!

  • Thanks for the $30, SparkFun and thanks for favouring longstanding customers this year.

  • This year’s free day was very much like The Ultimatium Game (seen in Superfreakanomics). In theory, you should be happy to get something for nothing, but setting a 100 limit triggers something that makes people aim higher (try to beat the quiz). I’m happy with my $10!

  • I thought this was going to be a repeat of last year but I was very surprised that 57 minutes in I got to log in and collect my 40 loyalty dollars after trying to reload unsuccessfully for the first 20 minutes.
    It would be very nice to see the questions, so please make them available.
    Thank you Sparkfun for rewarding your long time customers.

  • Thanks Sparkfun!
    I spent from 8am PST till 9:20am PST refreshing the page, watching Twitter and getting nowhere, so I took a nap till 10am, hit reload, and to my amazement, the quiz was back up. As quickly as I could I blazed through the quiz till I got a 6/6 (EE student, woo!) and had to skip the last 4 for time (that bar was FLYING towards the end). Certainly more successful than last year! I’m gonna split the winnings with my roommate, who was also up at the start.
    I hope this serves as a humbling experience regarding what your servers can handle. All that optimization + expansion didn’t seem to help too much eh? I think I’ll take my $20 loyalty money (and an extra hour of sleep) next year though.

  • Thanks SparkFun for those sweet $50!
    A small question to anyone complaining that they couldn’t reach the servers before the money was gone: What would have happened if the servers DID respond to anyone trying to access it at 09h00?
    Answer: The money would have been gone in 60 seconds…
    The whole purpose of this gig was to spank the servers beyond their limits. Success!
    Thanks SFE!

  • Sparkfun: Could you give us a breakdown as to which ISP’s got through and those that didn’t? Seems COX.NET has a slow pipe here in the Southwest US.

  • Well, last year free day was during CES (boo) and I got nothing. This year, I expected to get nothing, and got $37.00 (Missed an easy question, grr). Evidently there was some kind of bug, once that was resolved the money when fast. Had I opted for the Loyalty bucks, I would have had $10.00. Glad I pushed refresh, wish I hadn’t spent 80 min getting the test to load.
    Thank you SparkFun! I’m a real ($$$) customer and happy for the free gadgets. I suspect the format of this years freeday will result in a lot less loot being sold on ebay.
    Will the unused credits be put in the charity pool (hint, hint)?
    Shannon

  • I can’t believe all the people complaining here. SparkFun is incredible for doing this! If you don’t like the fact that SF just gave you a free money, then please, don’t come back next year so the rest of us can have a better chance. I made away with pretty good loot. Constantly reloading and then rushing the last couple minutes when the servers came back up was exciting.

    • well I don’t blame people, seems like sparkfun is not doing things very well, instead of given $150000 next year, they should upgrade their server with that amount for a free HAPPY day 2013!

  • Well I’m lame, totally forgot about Free Day!!!!!! Bummer, have to wait till next year. Still have a crap load of stuff I want to buy soon though. Thanks Sparkfun for your loyalty back to the EE community!
    -D

  • I think much of it is perspective…
    It brings to mind “What would you do for a…"
    Last year I lost out, this year I wimped out. Given the server timeouts I went for the safer bet of the loyalty bucks.
    Did I get frustrated? A little…
    Was it exciting? Oddly so… not your ordinary morning rush.
    Was it cool? Absolutely, the chance to get something for virtually nothing is always cool!
    When it comes to the Internet, no matter how prepared you are… you aren’t.
    sparkfun: When it comes to Free Day and the issues don’t blame the IT guys; blame management for having products we all want (especially for free!)
    The bottom line is… sparkfun openly and regularly gives back to the community and gives to charity. How many vendors do that?
    Thanks!

  • i would like to do the quiz, even if i would’t get any money… what kind of questions appeared?

    • We’re planning on putting the whole quiz up again soon. Unfortunately all you’ll get for passing it is sweet, sweet knowledge.

    • If you go to the tutorials page ( http://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials), all of the questions were taken from the Bite Sized Primers section. They were a great help.

  • Thanks Sparkfun! Between your hugely crowded server, and my work server being a bit slow, when, after an hour of resending the answer to the first question, I was informed that it was incorrect. (It was not.) It must have resent without the the needed radio button info. And in my continued attempt to get my second answer through, funds ran out. So according to Sparkfun’s system, I owe you guys $3.00 for one wrong answer!
    So maybe I came out three bucks in the hole, but since I studied for the last two weeks, I am now a much more knowledgeable customer.
    Thanks for an incredibly generous day!

  • Heh, this was fun even without actually getting any free stuff. I mean, you single handedly got your servers at well beyond breaking point, had a nice IRC gathering creating a feeling of community, and enticed people to actually learn something. Not to mention the free publicity in Google Trends etc :P, now THAT is something to talk about. Kudos.
    Btw, I am sure there are a lot of people out there that didn’t manage to see the quiz in action. How about leaving it up for some days minus the rewards so that those of us that didn’t see it in action can enjoy? Would be interesting even without free stuff on the line.

  • Gift Horse —> Mouth.

  • It is simple.
    This is a promotion and a test.
    Not just for Sparkfun, but for you.
    If you know it’s difficult or almost
    impossible to get in, the you have to
    evaluate how much time you are willing
    to waste not getting in. I gave it a good
    half hour, after that, it was not sensible
    since my time is worth more than the reward.
    I did not win anything, and I have no problems
    or complaints, except with the attitude of some
    people here…. LOL. Actually it is not my problem,
    it is in fact rather amusing! Are people really this
    dumb?

  • it’s nice to see companies stress test equipment :) And giving me 20 USD while I was ideling clicking refresh when I could was even nicer :)

  • Next time allow your dealers to take the quiz even if they can’t take any money. I just logged in to go over the quiz for fun, took me over 30 minutes to just log in only to find out I couldn’t actually see the quiz… Can you at least post the quiz now?
    By the way awesome initiative. Great way to get people involved. Apart from getting people to become members, you gave them a reason to take the primers and learn something. That’s probably your biggest gift to them not the few $$$.

  • Well I’m kicking myself now for not having the forethought to create an account and log in before it started but having no prior allegance to the site I feel rewarded enough to just have stumbled across the tutorialsnot being a EE they are helpful. So in summary I didn’t get to create an account until things died down after the 150k goal was reached. Very cool that they’d offer this at all!

  • SF,
    Thanks for an interesting morning (and the $10 quiz money!). I answered the first question correctly about three times (server problems) and probably answered the second correctly once, but the money ran out before I got my second $10. :-)
    I bet you put a serious hit on work/school productivity for the morning. It was kinda cool to take part in such an experiment. Thanks for the free dough, the charity donations, and the loan of your staff and infrastructure. Looking forward to the next one!
    K

  • Here’s my +1 goodwill. Thanks for being cool.

  • This was certainly AWESOME and FUN!
    The lags and time-outs added a 24-esque thrill, where I had to reload, and retry the quiz to inch further along. For the record, I managed to answer 5 questions correctly, but the event was over when I submitted the 5th question. I got $40 and that’s got me all stoked and left me pondering about how much of the $100 I could have won!
    Thanks Sparkfun!
    …expect my wishlist to empty(and fill with new stuff! :D)!

  • Hey guys,
    I have two codes worth $10 each but since I’m in the UK this just pays the shipping. If anyone who has been a member for at least one year is interested - in particular those who got nothing, reply to this post and I’ll send send the code to a disposable email address you create :)
    First come first served!

  • THANKS SPARKFUN! I got a $20.00 credit I didn’t have before! Can’t wait till next year, I’ll study harder, I swear!

  • Aside from all the sour sally’s, this was my first free day and this was definitely a truly unique experience. I look forward to participating in SFE F'bomb5 2012.

  • I managed to get $20 out of free day. Thanks sparkfun. The funny thing is I got it during history class. My school district gives the studen ts laptops which is really convienient for stuff like this

  • This was the greatest day of my life! And I didn’t even get a free cent.
    First I found people talking about it on the post of different products so I googled it to find out when I was and ended up finding last years news story. I thought it was last Friday and only one day before I noticed that I was today.
    Me and a couple of friends made a goal to make an rc helicopter in out two technology classes this year. By doing parts in different projects we hoped to have it working. I was going pretty good and we just needed some batteries. Me and my friend thought freeday would be a perfect opportunity. We didn’t know how we would order during the school day but It turned out that we had a period in the computer lab. We all got ready and saw the server crash with 8 minutes to go. And we got started but because of a combination of the schools proxy and the slowing servers we could not start the questions. So as soon as the school bell rung we sprinted 10 minutes in t-shirts through the snow to get to my faster internet at home.
    We got home and could load pages reliably but it was too slow and we didn’t get to the first question before we had to go beck to school because time was running out.
    We got back to school laughing and coughing because of the frigid air that was coming into our lungs way too fast for our body. We were in a great mood even though we had not yet got a cent in our pocket.
    I am writing this after school after finding out that free day is now over. I have not made a cent but would like to thank SparkFun for the best day of me and my 2 friend’s lives.
    Maybe next year :)

  • It was kind of frustrating but I expected that. I just got my money and ran. If you are going to gripe about not getting anything and you just joined yesterday. You need to step back and look at yourself and not bitch about SFE. Support them during the year. I for one cannot wait until next year. And THANKS A BUNCH SFE!

  • I still want to take the quiz. I want to prove I have street cred! Maybe instead of free stuff you could give us a little ‘brain’ badge on our profile if we get 100% (or a ‘brain on fire badge’!)
    But even if it’s just for fun, I want to take the quiz.

  • for every complaint logged from a unique user after 12:38 mst I pledge 10 cents on my next Sparkfun order.

  • Thank you

  • Bad form to all who are complaining. You knew what to expect. Besides, over $22,000 to charity! Thanks Sparkfun!

  • Cant complain one bit! Studied my butt off. Never studied like that before, not in high school or college. Mashed the hell out of the refresh button and i answered 2?s and got them both right, my 3rd question ended up being a no go except to the FREE DAY is over page! Loved every moment of it!
    SPARKFUN YOU ROCK, KEEP UP FREEDAY, SEE YA NEXT YR!

  • Thanks to Sparkfun for the generosity and the opportunity! I spend nearly two and a half hours refreshing and a physics lesson (yep one that goes on til 5 here in the UK!) but eventually after going home i got on to the quiz and answered 2 questions was about to submit the 3rd but time ran out :( but i’m more than happy with $20 FOR FREEE :D i also want to retake the quiz cos i actually did learn something!
    Thanks Sparkfun!
    Sam

  • I don’t get why people whine.
    Lets do the math here:
    150000 / 100 = 1500 people can get $100
    not everybody gets $100 so lets say anywhere from 2000 to 3000 people get credit.
    If 100000 people are trying to get the cash your chances are not very good. You are not entitled to win. Winning is just a bonus.

  • Joining in on the whole complaining ;) I would not have noticed this if my Sparkfun package had not arrived today, and I needed to check some docs.
    So to celebrate refreshing the page desperately for an hour I will place another $100 order soon.

  • What a bunch of whiny, ungrateful, self-entitled little punks. Go cry me a river about all of the free money you didn’t get today, after all of your hard work pressing a button for an hour before giving up to go mope in a corner.
    BAAAAAAAWWWWWWW
    This year I got $10 more than I got last year, which is to say, I got $10. I missed the first, got the second, and would have gotten the third, but apparently the funds ran out some time between the loading of the page and the 20 seconds it took me to answer. It was a hell of a ride though, and I’m looking forward to doing it again next year.

  • Thank you Sparkfun! I learned a little more reviewing the tutorials and even scored $20 swag this time around (had to go for the quiz). Happy customer who gets the point :)

  • Looks like the self induced “DOS” attack was a success.
    But on a serious note,, I lost out last year, and because of it I decided to take the “wimp” clause this year. I too was disappointed last year.
    On a brighter note, the company raised some $$$ for a worthy charity.

  • Thanks for the free Soldering Iron! No more Harbor Freight bullshitake for me!

  • Next year take the money and put it into some servers and knowhow to keep your site up and running. Pretty much a joke. You could have even switched over to AWS (the cloud… I know, it’s scary) to augment things.

  • Thanks Sparkfun! $40 towards my AVC entry!

  • Free day for me was a no-go. I spent around 2 hours trying to get access to the server and when I did get that small window of opportunity and try to do the quiz or even just click the free day button, I would reload because of the server freeze and it would either log me out or bring me back to my account page. Weird.

  • Woohoo! You guys are awesome, just want you to know that.

  • Thanks, SparkFun. Freeday 2011 was a lot of fun! Looking forward to spending my $40 credit (and then some). :-)

  • great work spark fun, i didn’t get anything this year but thats not why i shop here, i think its great that you give anything away at all. i genuinely think that this is the best run company i have ever dealt with so keep doing what you are doing, i am now going to spend my money with you, and not yours as it should be.

  • Looks like always so much fun. Love the idea.. 2nd year in a row i have tried to humbly take advantage of it to get into anduino programming.. 2nd year being shut out by the sheer volume of load. The quiz i thought was a wonderful idea as well, maybe let us weekenders get a chance at a component or two-though I too could not even get the first question to load.

  • Thank you Sparkfun!
    My $40 is greatly appreciated!

  • I also joined today in hopes of taking advantage of free day. Joining failed thanks those blasted Gnomes being on strike.
    Perhaps next year!

  • I only got to answer 2 questions for 2.5 hours of trying, but it was alot of fun. They should have a weekly quiz just for the hell of it :)
    Thanks Sparkfun.

  • Hooray for Sparkfun! Decidedly to grab for the loyalty credit after the server went down in the first few seconds. 4.5 years and counting.
    Thanks!

  • Hello.
    I Started visiting Spark fun when they were still active in PIC chips. Had a family, finished with diapers and went to look at my electronics hobby again. The world is now AVR. I was looking for free day to be my chance to retool for AVR, so I could keep up with the tutorials again. Oh well there may be next year. Thanks for the opportunity.

    • well come on.. AVRs arent that expensive. free day or not i’m sure you’ll do just fine. go ahead and order that chip. or at least download some pirated ebook. :)

  • I was unable to answer any questions because the Sparkfun servers were not responsive. I tried from 11 a.m. (EST) to about 1:30 p.m. (EST) and was able to log on and get kicked off three times. I was never able to get to the point where I even saw a question, however I did press the button that said I wanted to take the quiz.
    To those that are upset, angry, or are recommending the use of a better system; realize that this is a nice gesture on the part of Sparkfun ($150,000 is a lot of free stuff) and one purpose is to find the flaws in their system.
    I am disappointed that I did not receive any credit, but I am in no way upset or angry. I fully understand the purpose(s) of this exercise and I fully support it. I do not feel it was a waste of my time either. It was all in fun for me and I hope that Sparkfun learns a lot.
    I hope Sparkfun continues to do this and if they do, may you fare well next time.

  • Thanks to Sparkfun for beeing a company from geeks for geeks. I wasn’t able to load the quiz (I think Germany is a bit to far away from your servers g)
    But perhaps the reason for my “server not responding” errors was also a “buck” on your page?
    Is it possible, that you re-upload the quiz, so to say a “buck-free” version?

  • Member84342:

    I tried for 2.5 hours to login in. no luck You think a tech company would have upgrade the servers for the volume of traffic. I am disappointed.
    Member Since:
    September 30, 2009
    Did you miss all of 2010 when they ripped up the tracks and started all over? Fresh new bigger better faster..
    We all simply are too much for almost any reasonable commercial-based system their size can be.
    They aren’t google dude. we are talking about flooding gateways in their farm probably too.
    And we’re persistent as hell too.
    I had 3 browsers open, and my galaxy tab too. I was trying the whole time and got to answer 3 questions at the end.
    Sparkfun rules!

  • Look at the bright side. You can now design a Free Day-themed motivational poster/t-shirt on Despair.

  • Very Very Very stupid solution… I was try about 1 hour and half to start The Quiz…… You are ready to give 150 000 $ for lotary, and You do not want to pay for better servers and comunications ….

  • lol, they gave out $150k and donated almost $30k to charity? I think they stood behind it just fine.

  • I think that some of you are ignorant to the fact that there are two sides to this coin.
    Having free day is not just about giving away free stuff. Its a lure to get loads of simultaneous users to visit the website in the most real way.
    The increase in traffic draws the attention of Google spiders and other search engines thereby increasing Sparkfun’s ranking on search results. Google “fun electronics” and you can see that Sparkfun outranks a website called Fun Electronics.
    Now think about how many people have blogged or tweeted about this event. Sparkfun just spent $150000 on advertising and load testing their servers. Thats chump change compared to what some businesses spend on advertising.
    If you attempted to participate in free day and didn’t get anything well, it was never really about you. Better luck next year!

  • Congradulations on another successful stress test, and a good deal of money going to charity!
    Would love to see a graph of questions answered/money given out vs time (if only to see just how massive the spike at the end is)

  • Even though I wasn’t able to get onto the site, I’m not complaining. Sparkfun is great, and anyone would have trouble giving away $150k online in such a short time. More than anything, these “free day” experiments say volumes about THE POWER OF FREE.
    Cary

  • Had a great Time! Last year, lots of fun I didnt make it in time, but this year I was in and out in less than a minute.
    You really must have put some work into your systems.
    Thanks for all your effort and the free$

  • YAY! Got my email :)
    Got my $10 for the 1 shot question :P
    Thankx you SparkFun! I don’t care if I would have got anything! I am here, and am happy! I lost out last year and was still happy. If I wouldn’t have got jack this year, I would still be happy!

  • I never managed to even log in until Free Day was over. A combination of your server being very slow, and my corporate network being quick to declare a page unreachable. Next “Free Day”, I won’t waste my time.

  • So much ill will…I have to say I am a new member, have never ordered anything, and tried and did not get anything (gave up after 20mins, then kept checking back periodically to no avail)…and I AM NOT TICKED OFF ABOUT IT! I think the idea is awesome and I will support Sparkfun with my future business just because they are cool enough to even try something like this…kudos!!
    I am sure that everyone who is criticizing SFE has NEVER had their best laid plans go astray, in which case maybe they should share their magical methods…either that or they should keep quiet…
    And everyone complaining about their lost time…sheesh! I don’t think anyone glued you to your PC…YOU wasted your own time, folks…

  • I just signed up yesterday or so. I have known about free day for 2 years now, just did not have the job or the funds to purchase anything from any store. I was hopeing to get some free stuff and purchase about $100 at the same time. Got knocked off after trying to get to my first question. Never could get a connection.
    Guess they upgraded the web servers from Pics to ArduWEENIES! Not much of an upgrade. HAHA.
    Really though, Thanks Sparkfun for FreeDay. Eventhough I held off placing an order, I will break a few piggy banks, look under the sofa cushions, the truck ash tray and under the truck seat to scrape together the money to start a project. 2 years is a long time to go without doing anything with electronics. I hate this ECONOMY. I work in Networking and it sucks.

  • Could never get to the site… can I take the quiz anyway??

  • looks like i missed free day again. hope i can catch it next time if there is one.

  • SF, don’t listen to all of the complainers. Free day is great. Lookin' forward to FD2012.

  • Hey I got a great idea I’m sure everybody will agree with . Give everybody $1.00 for each time that they got dumped off your overloaded servers because that would give me about $200.00 per hour that I wasted to try and answer your quiz questions which I never even got to see . Next time use your customers sales to qualify for the rights to donate to thier choice of charities rather than offer us free goodies that most of us will never get to see . at least some good charities will get some needed funds and maybe you won’t piss off your potential customers . THANKS FOR THE WASTED TIME ! ! !

  • people can be such crybabys, even when it comes to free. The good users of this site know better. We all appreciate your awesome idea/investment of freeday, regardless of our individual struggles.
    Honestly…
    ITS EXCITING. I feel worn out when its over.
    THANKS AGAIN SPARKFUN!!!

  • Finally submitted first question and funds ran out before the page finished loading… oh well, fun morning anyway. You guys should post the quiz for everyone to run through next month, it’ll probably take you a while to clean up the mess.

  • I only had 40 min to play this morning (darn meetings). It was fun watching the server choke lol. Next year I’ll remember to book the morning off. Thanks SparkFun for keeping the Internet interesting.

  • Thanks Sparkfun. I had some butterfly’s in my stomach this morning at 12:29 (NLT) which made my afternoon. It was rather exciting I must say to wonder which refresh would actually go through. Cheers and don’t let the naysayers get you down.

  • I have a question.
    Can we ‘gift’ our code from FreeDay to someone else?

  • Difficult getting through but I was able to answer 4 questions before it was over. $40 is better than the $10 loyalty and better than the $0 that I was able to get last year.
    Thanks Nate and all of SparkFun!!

  • Thanks Sprakfun for the chance to attempt to break your server, I managed to see the login screen twice in the hour I spent burying my F5 key into my desk, but thats about it.
    Congrats to those who managed to get something, or even see what the quiz was like!
    Any chance I can see the quiz to see how miserably I would have done if I got through?

  • Thank you SparkFun for letting me help with the server testing today. It was fun to see how many IRC users logged in. I actually got to question #1 but could never get it to go through. Oh well. Good times and charities were benefitted. Thanks for making your site fun!
    I hope to see the quiz in free form. I look forward to learning more from it.

  • My F5 key is broke, need to order a replacement

  • I did most of free day from my mobile phone on a HSPDA data connection on Berlin’s metropolitan transit system. It should have been an utter nightmare but it was absolutely fun trying to get the quiz to load, logins to work, deciding when to hit reload, trying to handle the URL redirects when things went wrong, and I won 60 USD.
    Thank you sparkfun, I didn’t expect anything and I did well. Those who expected 100USD and got nothing should think about their attitude before complaining.

  • Thanks Sparkfun!

  • The reload button won, but I bought a bunch of stuff anyway…

  • That was insane! I didn’t expect that much interest. I decided to cash out on the loyalty bucks and was glad I did! Thanks SFE, you guys are great!

  • Took me only 25 minutes to get a response. I took the loyalty funds, since that came to $40. It was hard enough getting that to go through, I wasn’t going to chance it to make it through 10 questions.
    I kept getting to the point where it was supposed to give me my promo code, and that’s when it crashed. But, I just kept trying and eventually it popped up.
    Guess I was lucky that it only took me 25 minutes.
    My guess is that the people bitching the most are those that wanted to take the quiz because they just joined today or yesterday and had no loyalty bucks. So… I don’t really think sparkfun is going to miss them. They really weren’t customers to begin with, unless you were giving them free stuff.

  • Be happy.

  • Thanks, Sparkfun! Changes definitely made it much smoother than last year.

  • T-shirt idea:
    old-school Toaster with a rack-mount server sticking out of each slot, smoking.
    “I Survived Free-Day 2011"
    (on the back)
    "The Stack wasn’t so lucky.”

  • Yeah… my member number is under 1000… (since ‘06) but I could not get in either.
    Maybe next year!
    Thanks!
    -A

  • Alas, I got nothing, but it was a fun freeday nonetheless!

  • I spent two hours attempting to load the first page of the quiz and all I got was this lousy…. wait… I didn’t get ANYTHING!

  • Wow, I cant believe people can complain about this. Thanks Sparkfun for another exciting free day.

  • $27! damn it was slow, but then it went FAAAASSST! I’m actually VERY happy that I was able to participate at all this year. Thanks for donating $6 on my behalf!!

  • Good idea but FreeDay did nothing but waste my time.
    Glad there was some money raised for charity, but am definitely less excited about sparkfun in general.

  • Next Free-day, I’m driving to Colorado!
    Expect me…

  • Cool, if anyone else is wondering where their code is, check your email. Thanks, Sparkfun

  • I was not able to get in until now, it would always timeout. I tried several times this morning at one point I even managed to login but as soon as I started the quiz it timed out. I tried to refresh with no luck…
    :-(

  • Well, I am happy, however not sure if I just messed myself over. I got one question right, but couldn’t get to the button to get the redeeming code. Is it linked to my account somewhere and I just don’t see it or am I completely out? Awesome freeday btw.

  • Wow, being on the site when the countdown ends, just errors. Trying for hours, no luck. After eating, 90% of the money was spent, getting just 3 answers (without reading the help-text) and it was over :(
    I hoped to get the full amount (even more as I’ve realized how easy it was, at least the first questions ;)).
    But a gift is a gift anyway, so thank you! Great idea, maybe next year again..? :)

  • After 2 hours of constant mashing of F5 and yelling at the login screen, I finally decided to reset my password and log in again, and it worked! Got $30 just before the entire sum was given away.
    Thanks guys, this was much improved from last year…I couldn’t even see the site before it was over last time. Keep up the good work!

  • Thanks SparkFun! I learned a ton from the tutorials, heavily worked out my F5 key for a couple of hours, managed to answer two questions, gave a little money to charity, and walked away with a nice discount on my next order. That was the purpose of free day, right? :)

  • I cant believe the negative comments! I figured it would be this way but refreshing for about 20 mins straight seemed sort of fun for some reason… I would really like to see the quiz… As busy as it was I wonder if some people were even able to claim their loyalty gift… I want to see the traffic data!

  • Ottimo lavoro Sparkfun!!!!!
    from Italy with love. —

  • Thanks Spark Fun. The questions were well worth the risk. Thanks for the hints at the bottom of the pages too. After refreshing for two hours I was able to get some of the questions submitted, then forcefully asked to stop and accept what was I had completed due to end of free day!!! I ordered my new bluesmirf board :D

  • I got shut out last year, so I took my loyalty money and ran. $20 bucks is better than a kick in the nuts!
    The rage in these comments is hilarious, especially from those who opted for the RISK.

  • mwinther:

    Completed four questions in two hours, not bad!
    Thanks for a fun event Sparkfun :D

  • Its funny how people complain like they were entitled to get free money. You knew the risks going in. That you’d prob waste your time cause your not the only person trying to get the free stuff. Anyway thanks sparkfun! $70 bucks will come in handy! Wish I coulda hit all 10 questions before time ranout. It was a thrill though once the questions actually starting submitting! My nerd senses were blazing ha ha

  • Thanks Sparkfun. I was able to retrieve my coupon code for loyalty. As if you didn’t know by now your servers suck! Thanks for the free cash!

  • Alright all… I’m gonna go breath some fresh air.
    …good show, can’t wait for the wrap-up report.

  • thanks for wasting my time assholes. next time do a lottery for who gets to actually access the quiz, its clear you dont know how to stress test anything and as a result youve wasted literally hundreds upon hundreds of hours of peoples time. for the people who say “its free money you cant complain” are you aware i wasted 2 hours and have nothing to show for it? by your logic i am actually owed money. i assure you, my time is not free. i was considering ordering some stuff from sparkfun due to semi decent prices, but your sheer incompetency over this event leads me to believe that would be foolish.

    • HATERS! Pay your dues! If you just joined our community and expected to get something for free..SUCK IT! Why do you guys act so entitled? HAVE A GREAT DAY!
      Thanks Sparkfun!

    • You are owed something because you decided to participate in something for the chance to get free money but didnt get free money, please, huge sense of entitlement, dont tell me, dont tell me, American?
      STFU, Learn from Canada

  • I don’t see why so many people are complaining – Sparkfun is giving away a sizeable chunk of free items, and a lot of people didn’t win anything. That gives you no right to complain, however.

  • I never got past the first question either, but I still had fun trying. haha! I’ll try again next year!
    Thanks guys!

  • Despite passing up a $10 credit to end up with a $0 quiz win (first question answered right at the closing bell), I had a good time chatting with other SF fans in IRC and following on Twitter. Good event! I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of server damage we did :-)

  • Thanks Sparkfun!

  • Wow, I’m really surprised at people getting so mad. I think it is also funny to read the posts by people who didn’t bother to read up on how it worked this year, adding stuff to their cart the night before and trying to get to checkout… funny. I didn’t get a thing out of the free day but it was free stuff so I didn’t lose anything. A friend of mine got $30 and I am happy he did.
    One suggestion for the sparkfun team… make the whole quiz system very simple next time. No graphics and just html pages. That should cut down on a ton of bandwidth usage. Nothing is worse than loading flash crap when the servers are bogged down.

  • Wow, that went fast. I brought my breakfast in by the computer and at zero-hour the servers crumpled. I thought to my self: “Self, you will never get through 10 questions worth of page reloads. Take the loyalty money and be happy.” It took a quite a few retries, but I managed to get my $30 before all of my breakfast oatmeal was gone. Now here it is 2 ½ hours later, the money has run out and calm has returned.
    I’m sure it feels sucky to get left out because of server issues. But, hey, it’s free money if you win and entertainment if you don’t. It’s like blowing up a chip – you can either cry about it or laugh about it – laughing is more therapeutic.

  • I thought the site performed MUCH better than last year. To all you people who visit Sparkfun once a year for Freeday and then bitch that you didn’t get anything: See you next year on Freeday. (Damn free loaders)

  • A complete waste of time, very dissapointing.

  • Hi I’m not a lucky winner but can I see the 10 questions/quiz. Just curious to complete it for fun not money. Thanks,

  • Free day is awesome! Nothing last year and 30 dollars this year! Thanks sparkfun, dreams do come true ;)
    By the way a suggestion, have a competition for next year free day for people to create faster and better experience for free day for all.

  • Nice promo…too bad a new customer couldn’t get in on it…guess I will shop elsewhere with companies that don’t put forward offers they won’t stand behind.

  • I’ll take my business elsewhere in the future.

  • I love the fact though once the banner came up saying its over I was immediently able to connect. But they got the test on their server they wanted they gave away thousands of dollars worth of stuff and money was donated.

  • wow … earned 10$ … now i can’t use them cause shipping to spain is more expensive than this prize.
    nice move … if you just blocked access from US IP’s and gave 10$ to everybody outside US nobody would use this giveaway “money"
    hope you earned a lot with your overloaded servers and your improved statistics.

  • hahahhaha I took the day off work….and guess what it was NOT a waste of time. That rocked

  • As a second comment - I certainly thank and commend SparkFun for sponsoring such a day. Few retailers will do something like that. I’m disappointed I wasted two hours and didn’t even get to test myself with the quiz, much less win anything, but I’m grateful for the chance.

  • Anyone else notice that almost all the people bitching registered their account between when free day was announced in December and today?
    STFU freeloaders.

    • regardless, should have no basis on site access.
      Define Free for me?
      If you look at the # of users that spent 2+ hours (reloading) and DID NOT get paid, they kinda got screwed out of their time, no?

      • so do you bitch and moan when you get a loosing scratch off ticket too? I think it was made pretty clear that server problems were expected. You knew what you were getting yourself into and chose to play the lottery. Unfortunately, you lost out today. You were wrong for expecting to win some free stuff. Unlatch from your mothers nips and grow a pair.

  • Hey the first time this all blew up it was kinda cute. To have everyone waste their time a second time is looking amateurish and mean. I think Sparkfun needs to come up with a better system if they want to keep the loyalty of their customers. I’d be just as happy to donate my slice to a charity if it means free day wont be an exercise in frustration – or just cancel it altogether.

    • I agree with you 100%.

    • What are you talking about? In the description of the event they say that they are trying to test out the server and see if it can handle it. They explicitly layout how hard it was last year and seemed to also say that they expected it to be hard this year. Sorry you didn’t get anything, but comments are silly.

  • By any measure this was an unmitigated disaster.
    To SFE - please stop trying to reinvent the wheel. There are companies who specialize in high throughput servers. See IBM, HP, Sun, EMC - and others. I don’t count dell in the list, it’s just not their space.
    Time to grow up a bit SFE and admit that you can’t be experts in everything, so it’s time to ask the adults how it’s done. You may be smart, but so are a lot of other people who have been working this problem for a long time. Ask them how it’s done and learn.

    • Scott, I really don’t think SFE is trying to invent a high bandwith sever, just test to see how well their website behaved. I’m sure if they had unlimited resources they could buy the fastest server, but they are a business. A very generous business that does things in unique ways. Good job spark fun. Ignore the sour pusses. Although, I my self was disappointed in getting nothing, I still love the idea.

    • Scott, I really don’t think SFE is trying to invent a high bandwith sever, just test to see how well their website behaved. I’m sure if they had unlimited resources they could buy the fastest server, but they are a business. A very generous business that does things in unique ways. Good job spark fun. Ignore the sour pusses. Although, I my self was disappointed in getting nothing, I still love the idea.

  • It wasn’t any possibility to connect to site . No any fun. 1.5hr of wasted time

  • Yay, got my $20 loyalty around 8:30 PST, half an hour after the load got unbearable.
    So many chrome errors of “Empty Reply” – I have a suspicion your backend servers were unable to keep up with your frontend load balancer…
    WE WANT THE AFTER-ACTION REPORT! :D
    Good thing I left my work box logging the channel!

  • Quizzed for 2 hours,
    and got $30 in just before it all ran out :)
    Thank you guys so much!
    Can’t wait to start shopping :)

  • My webserver in the basement has more bandwidth!!!!
    At least you will make out better on your taxes……

    • If your server is so good, why not post your I.P. and/or domain and let the world hammer on it and see how long it lasts?

  • I think this should have been wired up differently. It seemed that the point was more about trying to get onto the site instead of learning something about electronics (i.e. the quiz).
    Maybe next time you can email the quiz questions. That way at least everyone can feel like they are getting a shot at it (and they will likely learn something). Then tally the responses (first come, first served) and credit our accounts accordingly.
    I was hoping to give my 10 year old nephew the credit. Great. Now I’ll be calling him and lamely telling him I couldn’t even get to question 1 of the quiz!

    • So, instead of giving him the $100 you didn’t earn, why not give him $100 that you did earn thru hard work. Wouldn’t that mean a lot more to somebody than giving away something that was given to you?
      Like repackaging a Christmas present…
      Lame…

  • Well, some are happy, some had fun, some are disappointed, some are bitter, etc. I just wanted to say I admire your courage and your spirit in going out on a limb again to show your appreciation to us, as well as your generous gift to charity. Your a great group!

  • I tried and tried.. Server timeout. Finally got to the login screen after 1 hour after give away start and some give away money was still left. Tried to login. Servers timed out for the next hour trying to login. Frustrating. Was going to use previous customer giveaway as my first order was 2007. Could not even get to that offer. You need better servers.

  • Lol at all the people crying because they didn’t get free money. I didn’t get anything but 404s last year. I took my loyalty money and bought my GF an arduino :) thanks SF!

  • Irritating to se the servers not being able to keep up - yes. But, seriously, people you were warned. There are not many companies out there giving out stuff for free! I managed to get 67$ though, after two hours of F5.

  • After 2 hours of refreshing with no luck whatsoever I sprinted to my $100 :D

  • To all that got $0 and are posting their disappointment:
    C'mon, it still was a great event.
    I even answered one question (twice! I got the same question twice), and the answer never reached the server… (and might very well have been wrong, in all the excitement. 6K does not exist (in E12), and 60K is 10 times more energy saving, but not too good in a noisy environment…)
    So I got a cool $0, but it was fun to be part of the event.
    Please keep doing this every year sparkfun!

    • How was it a “Great Event” when 90% of these posters were getting a Grey “loading page”??

      • Perhaps the people who are complaining shouldn’t have participated in the first place? The money was GIVEN away to us, not inherited by us.

      • vallen:

        How was it a “Great Event” when 90% of these posters were getting a Grey “loading page”??
        Because it is unique. No shop, no website, gives away .15M to its visitors.
        Others might make a tv commercial that’s only funny once, and annoying after you’ve seen it twice. Sparkfun holds a geek-style lottery of “who has the lucky-est internet connection” while loadtesting their servers while rewarding their long time customers. And they (should) get a lot of attention by doing so.

  • Thanks Sparkfun for 50$ I got! Sure, page was very slow and was timing out as hell, but after consistent refreshing I could get like 3 questions. And then suddenly at the end it started flying - I quickly got 2 more questions, but then it was over. Anyway, thanks, and now need to figure out what cool thing to get!

  • You people are so ungrateful. Where else do you even have the chance of getting free money? I would have been happy with $10 and was expecting to get nothing. Sparkfun ROCKS for even doing this!!!

  • Thank you SparkFun! After two hours of being patient I was able to get $80. I guess I ran out of time before I got to the last question.

  • Thank you sparkfun :)
    Just wish I didn’t have to work between every page refresh :P

  • Thanks a lot :D
    I got 4 of them right before the cash ran out!!

  • It’s fun to just participate Sparkfun Freeday

  • Really disappointing, pages just not loading outside of the US for two hours despite being on the end of a really fat connection.
    Can’t help but wonder why if amazon’s cloud was used to load test, why wasn’t the site shifted into the cloud or at least the quiz part of the site - possibly on a subdomain. Servers on demand would easily have handled any load thrown at them rather than trying to run it from in house servers?

  • Never got in. Oh well. I think this server is running off an arduino.

  • Thanks Sparkfun!!! it was a way better Free day than the last year!! =) keep it up like this for the next year but keep improving your servers!!! kinda late and after thousands of F5s but i managed to get 4 questions right!!

  • The server stinks, but I got 1 question ($10 for free + $2 to charity)! I cannot complain. Thanks SF!

  • Wooo! Thanks Sparkfun!

  • Hey, SparkFun, thank you guys so much!
    I’m gonna enjoy my free-money.
    And great job on the fund-raising for charity, not bad, I guess a lot of people took the quiz

  • Well, the servers can cool off now.
    I wonder if any fires broke out?
    lol.

  • That was awesome, thanks, Sparkfun!
    One suggestion for next year (assuming there will be one) - perhaps the pictures needed for the questions could have an alt-text that gives the needed information? One of my questions couldn’t be answered as I couldn’t get the image to come up.

  • Fun stuff. got $60 through questions!
    Hope you got the data you needed….
    The way I saw it, things were slammed and like trying to swim through peanut butter for 2 hours but then… the server was rebooted or otherwise shut down.after about the 10-20mins of down time the site came back up and everything was snappyfast… remaining cash (over half) was grabbed in <5mins. I think that is what frustrated a lot of people.
    Also, to those that didn’t get anything and are complaining/angry at Sparkfun. Keep in mind that they didn’t need to do this at all. They could’ve tested their server in many other ways for a LOT cheaper. You don’t blame the lottery when your numbers aren’t picked (I hope), don’t blame sparkfun for trying to do something fun/charitable/generous.

  • Haha, oh man, I totally forgot about free day this morning! I got to work and remembered just in time to answer 4 questions before time ran out! I’m happy with just 4 questions though - my loyalty funds were $40 so I broke even, but charity got some money from me too!
    Thanks Sparkfun!
    And man that last $60k went FAST!

  • I got $60 from the quiz! Thanks Sparkfun this will really help me start my long over-do projects.

  • woot! I was just about to press submit when the time ran out… oh well, i still won $20
    ARDUINO HERE I COME!!!

  • What I dont understand is why are people complaining.
    This is a lottery thing.
    If you win you win (get on the server answer a question or too) if you dont you don’t.
    You are only out time.

  • I visited the Free Day from Austria, but I had to wait for one and a half hour. Then I answered only 3 questions because the site was loading after every question for 10 minutes!!!
    I think Free Day is a great idea and I love it, but I think that it would be better when there would be only one page for all questions, so you wouldn’t have to wait for every page.
    Thanks for the 30$!

  • Thanks for the free day Sparkfun!

  • Mad Prop’s to SparkFun! Only got to answer one question, but still fun trying to get in. Haters are going to hate, be thankful for the opportunity and quit whining and crying. You’re not special, EVERYONE had trouble, problems, lag…
    and thanks to all of you who are real and know (and understand) how much work (and money and resources) SparkFun has put into this.

  • hey budys one thing about sparkfun….they never make you stay by the computer for the whole time, so dont say they stink, they are the best, even if you, like me, have spent a lot of time tryng to get somenthing free!
    Go sparkfun, but next year try to get some more bandwith and more server responss!A lot!

  • That was rough, i only got 3 questions to load.
    $30 is better then nothing.
    Thanx Spark Fun

  • Well my F5 is totally worn down, but I got 47 bucks to buy a new one for. ;) Thanks for the thrill Sparkfun!

  • Thanks guys. I ended up with $30 before the day ended. I wish i had the opportunity to attempt all 10 questions, but 3 isn’t bad.

  • 2 hours of F5 later, I netted $40 in cool geek swag. Thanks Sparkfun!

  • nice work, no brick and mortar store has ever come close to providing this kind of experience for customers. Fighting the refresh was so much more enjoyable than reading news about governments collapsing or more dead birds in another state. A free 40 bones will get more than one project of the ground in my world. Hells yes sparkfun crew, well met!
    I formally request a 3 day IT crew paid vacation!

  • There were some serious issues with the quiz. I had to resubmit question 5 FOUR times, and then all the money was pretty much gone after that.
    Nevertheless, I got $50, thanks Sparkfun!

  • Well, I submitted the first answer (correctly I might add) four times, but none of them registered. I’m not bitter. :) Thanks to SparkFun for doing this, and for doing it for charity as well.

  • $50! Wahoo! (Plus, I learned some stuff in the tutorials. Win-win.)
    Do you sell replacement keys for Dell keyboards? I’m looking for an F5, in black. Thanks.

    • Now that’s funny! I was in a meeting with my laptop so I kept refreshing and finally got 2 questions ($20) before it was pencils down. Oh well, at least it will pay for the shipping and part of my first order.
      Thank you Sparkfun! Ignore the dorks that are upset. You told them it would be a lottery on how had the luckiest (not fastest) internet connection.

  • My suggestion for next year: Hire someone who can set you up on Amazon’s or Google’s cloud technologies for Free Day. Normal web hosting is useless for something like this and just frustrates your users.

  • I managed to get through 6 questions. That was fun. Thanks sparkfun, you are the best!

  • Thanks guys, that was… something!

  • 2 hours and 12 minutes.. 30$ yay!!!

  • Finally got it working and only had a minute or two before all the money was used up. Well 20 bucks is infinitely more than I had before!

  • thanks a bunch! what charity are you supporting this year?

  • Well I opted for the quiz instead of $20 and got two questions to submit before it ended so I guess I sort of broke even. :)
    Thanks SFE!

  • I should have taken my $10. I chose to take the quiz, and by the time it loaded Free Day was a wrap. I’m actually smiling for some insane reason :) Thanks for the fun at least!

  • awesome
    thanks sparkfun

  • This is a joke, I tried for 2 hours and could only get access to one question. What a crock….

  • Wow. Got in after 2hrs only to be told that free day is over after I answer one question. Get better servers next time. Jesus.

    • How many servers do you run in your house?
      How many requests can your servers handle per second?
      Who wrote the code that runs on your servers?

  • That really took off at the end there!
    Thanks sparkfun!

  • It took me two hours just to get to the first quiz page.

  • $57 :) thanks Nate!

  • Was the answer to the last question 10 hours or 11 hours ? I clicked as it ended so it didn’t register and as such I’m not sure what the real answer for that one was.
    Thanks for the free goodies SparkFun.

  • I got my $40 ….. Wasn’t going to work through the questions. First order was 1/27/06, just 2 weeks short of 5 years. I would tell you that you guys should round but it is free money… Thanks guys.

  • Thanks Sparkfun!

  • Love it. Thanks Sparkfun!

  • LAG!

  • Freeday was actually quite relaxing this year. I just read a book and waited for the pages to load.

  • Actually we were all just unpaid load testers, with a small prize for actually getting the overloaded servers to respond at least twice. No much effort clicking resend. Thanks for the free stuff. For those who complained…. TANSTAAFL

    • I’m very disappointed. Wasted my time (more than 1.5 hrs) and got no credit even though I answered 2 questions correctly :-(
      Lost another customer.

  • Thanks Sparkfun for the $30. I do agree it was rather mean building up all this hype then getting so many people angry because we thought your servers would preform better this time… It not that some didn’t get free stuff, it’s that they didn’t get a chance and wasting hours of time for a server test

  • Aww, man. I might have to stay home next time. :(
    At least, they see the problems in their server. It might be smoother next time.

  • got $40 from being loyal :) .. hurrah..
    sorry for guyz doing the quiz…

  • I would like to take the quiz. I don’t need a financial incentive. Is it still up somewhere?

  • Well I tried to log in from my Android handset while going through Security at CLT. I got an unhandled error. Congratulations to those who got through, and be sure to let us know if you build something cool.

  • tried to enter 2 times but not worked xD i think that was a good ddos simulation for you guys :D Will you share server loads and specs. ?

  • I see over 1200 comments so far. I think it would be quite useful to know what percentage are positive and negative.

  • if you sat there and try to reload free_day the whole time waiting for the quiz, you missed out. after you were logged in, the page you wanted was sparkfun.com/quiz

  • I just wanted to get the code for the loyalty reward.
    I was impossible to login…

  • Seems that, after reading comments, you have to understand that your browser needs to be adjusted to tolerate the delays.
    So, to do well on free day you have to understand how browsers work under long delays! Free day rewards the subset of customers who knew that.
    That should be in the instructions frankly. Would have had the following benefits
    * fairness for all
    * reduction in time wasted by customers.
    Fun times, live and learn.

  • I answered 4 questions and it took me 3 hours for that :-)
    Thanks SF!

  • After 3 hours reloading the page, I couldn’t answer any question, and this was frustrating. Therefore, I should not happen again, it sound like those promotion for employers only. However, due the great company history of Sparkfun I give a credit for the misunderstood. Giveaway money and charity is a wonderful idea.

  • Lot of complaining from new members, that’s not a problem. They probably havent bought anything anyhow. I spent good 1.5 hour without seeing a single question. Frustrating? Yes. Am I complaining? No.
    Best of luck, really hope you guys at Sparkfun learned what you hoped from this event.

  • That was unbelievable! I couldn’t even get through for 45minutes.
    I was working and can’t sit at a laptop all day.
    I am really disappointed. Deflated. Only wanted one thing.
    Sigh, no love lost still told some friends about it, but my experience didn’t make things so convincible, LOL.
    Wish this was on a weekend at least.
    Perhaps you could get a Special server just for this event. That really sucked now that I think about it. I started by using the phone. Forget about that.
    Anyway, I hope someone listens this, or at least reads this.
    Woundedly yours,
    Demetrius

  • Sparkfun is an awesome company, and no, I didn’t get anything for free day. But I damned sure will be buying more stuff from here! THey serve all of use who love our geek more than pretty much any other company in the world! I have an alterantive idea….how about we find a way to chip in and buy the folks who work at Sparkfun an awesome lunch or something—they give US so much, how about we show THEM some real appreciation for a change? I’ll pony up a hundred bucks to start–anybody else think that the people who make up such an increadible company deserve to be shown they are appreciated, and not just trashed by the selfish and ungrateful? Heck, could even be a product category “Take a Sparfun employee to lunch” :) Any thoughts?

  • Guys, maybe to spread the load you can make several random free days through the year, or just several moments on each day (i mean if you have 150k to give - that’s about $400 for each day of the year the same as to give quiz to 5 random customers each day, 5 because not all the questions will be answered :) ). But yeah that won’t look so fun.

  • THIS WAS AWESOME my first Free Day and I’ve never felt so excited as when the countdown struck 0.
    I couldn’t get to the quiz for 1,5 hours but after that I got 50 minutes in which I’ve answered 5 questions
    Thanx SF

  • this is sorta stupid. i completely forgot about free day till like i saw the tweet in the afternoon.
    but im sorta glad that i didnt do it cuz it sounds like u still have stupid servers(thought u would have learned from last year)
    i wish u could maybe “gift”(cue opra) random people some stuff. idk dings and dents stuff, stickers, a tshirt anything. so that maybe we would come back more often. maybe a rewards program.i know u wont do what i suggest. all i ask is that u value ur customers.
    thnax for being the coolest electronic site on the internet so far!

  • Its not because I dint get free stuff… but i had a science project on the line and one product worth $10 with shipping $9 could be bought just for $9 and so with the rest of the money I could buy other useful components. I was totally dismayed yesterday. The server just cant put up with the load.

  • Its not because I dint get free stuff… but i had a science project on the line and one product worth $10 with shipping $9 could be bought just for $9 and so with the rest of the money I could buy other useful components. I was totally dismayed yesterday. The server just cant put up with the load.

  • Me, like the rest of you guys tried feverishly for the second annual Free Day loot. Once again, the IP gods weren’t with me ! I spent two hours after a long night shift trying. Regardless, SF still provides us all with top quality gear along with awesome support and tutorials…..so haters shut it !
    BTW, I got to the first question….maximum digital pin input voltage for the ADXL 345 with a Vdd io of 2.0v.
    I selected 2.3v, but it never got entered into the quiz.
    Is that the right answer ?

    • If we all got the same questions, the answer to that one was 3.6V. (From memory, hopefully I recall correctly:) the highest high value is MIN(3.6V, Vdd + 0.3V). The question stated that Vdd was 3.6V, ergo, Vin[max] is 3.6V. You could also check my statement against the datasheet.
      I did get that question right btw.

  • I had several more correct quiz answers than I was credited for. The server refused to credit me for them, then crashed almost as bad as last year. Still, I made $24, so thank you for that.

  • well, having gotten over my complaint, sort of.
    just think about. IF SF had the capacity to have everyone on without a glich, that would mean at most 15000 people would have 10$.
    the money went so dang fast once the servers started somewhat being ok. I should have 10$ but the page would not submit, I took a screen shot of my correct answer anyways, thanks.

  • Thanks, thanks, thanks!
    I feel lucky.
    Last year –> $0
    This year –> $50 loyalty option.
    I have already ordered a fantastic OLED display for my accelerometer badge project.

  • I’d be interested to see what your traffic numbers are like, and how that compares to sites like Google, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, etc. With the exception of Twitter, and occasionally Reddit, they all seem to be able to manage enormous amounts of traffic quite readily.
    Offering Free Day is great, but the net effect can be bad for your users if the majority of them can’t reach the site. Their experience starts with excitement, but ends in disappointment and frustration. Is that really what you want?

  • This was so much fun – the quiz was pretty trivial, but it was a lot of fun to keep checking the site and “beat the progress bar."
    SparkFun hit #2 on Google Trends, and probably picked up a wealth of new visitors checking out the site. Sure, it’s gimmicky, but from my marketing experience, I can tell you there’s definitely worse ways to spend $150,000 to generate revenue/traffic.
    My friend only made it through 6 of the questions before the money ran out – I was able to get through all 10 of them… We both can’t wait until next year.
    You guys ought to sell replacement F5 keys :)
    Thanks again, SparkFun!

  • Didn’t get any free money today and don’t care one bit. SF is 180k poorer and all for charity and its customers old and new (hours old). I can’t believe people complained about today. The fact that their servers melted only proves its success.
    This company rules with or without a free day.

  • Thanks SF. Last year was nothing, this year I was hoping for at least $10 - I ended up helping you donate $8 to charity! Thanks for giving me something to become a “Beginner”.

  • This all i got from FREEDAY:
    SERVER IS DOWN !!
    even from my cell phone,i was trying for about 1h 1/2
    maybe next year if i’m lucky
    thanks anyone to everyone @ sparkfun =)

  • I like how people were sitting at work pressing refresh for hours when they could have just been working and made enough money to not even think twice about free day. I love SparkFun you guys are awesome

    • Heh, I thought about that too. I was sitting in study hall though. SparkFun is definitely better than studying for history exam.

  • I think that went well. I think the rules were better than last year, and the servers handled it better.
    From a fellow admin, there were 2 things I noticed that could have improved performance (well, one’s client-side performance):
    * HTTP caching: HTTP provides controls for exactly how the client caches a file. This could drastically help almost-static files like JS and CSS that weren’t changing, but kept getting reloaded.
    * JS placement: due to some braindead spec, browsers stop rendering, and wait for JS in the head. Normally this doesn’t matter, because that’s all function definitions. However, if there is actual code, the browser must stop for it. If the JS is in an external file, which can’t be reached, then the user ends up staring at a white screen, even though all the HTML is there and could be rendered.
    Looking at the HTML I noticed that the URL of the logo image is malformed, it’s got 2 slashes between the host an the path.
    Also, I found it amusing that the apple-touch-icon is fanboy.png.
    Maybe next year I can get though more than one question. (To be clear, the problem wasn’t my knowledge, it was whether the answer would go through.) Although, I wasted a lot of time resetting my password.

  • People will always complain about not getting something they think they deserve. I, for one, just registered today, but not for free day. I have been visiting the site for at least a year now, checking out all the cool stuff SF has for sale, the tutorials they make available (for free, I might add) and the help that they and other members give newbies on all things electronic. SF contributes greatly to both the hobby and their community. There is absolutely no reason to bash free day because you couldn’t take the quiz, or even log in. Remember, nothing in life is free….not even freedom.

  • I went for the loyalty funds. Easiest $10 ever.
    Thanks Sparkfun!

  • Thanks Sparkfun, I turned down 40 instant for quiz… got 20 before time ran out and had a blast. No complaints here I hope I contributed to the charity that was my goal not the free money.
    Look forward to next year!

  • :(

  • couldn’t do anything on the site… oh well. cya next year :)

  • Thanks, that was a lot of fun!

  • Well, next year I’m not sure that take an early + extended lunch (EST) because after clicking start I got only page server errors for over an hour, I almost snapped at some of my co-workers who were asking me questions while I was trying to get the quiz started… close call..
    That aside I still think Free Day is an inspired idea!!
    Even if I win didn’t anything.
    After all nobody owes me anything just because I thought I might have had a shot at FREE stuff.
    Well. I did have a shot at free stuff…it just didn’t work for me, but it did work out for a lot of people so thats a good thing.
    Congrats to all!!! Spark Fun + the winners
    Best regards
    Chris Card

  • First things first: Thank you Sparkfun for 60$/£37.
    Second - Yes, I’m a new customer. This did make me feel kinda bad, but it was the only place I knew of I could get Nokia 3310 type LCDs on a breakout board (got one from an old phone for a project but needed more), and as a college student I wouldn’t usually think of ordering from overseas (I’m in England) due to outrageous shipping costs. However the shipping costs were reasonable($19/£11), so I will definitely be ordering from you next time I need oddball/hard-to-find parts.
    Also - anyone got any name suggestions for a PIC based handheld gaming console?

  • Got $40 from the quiz, a common figure it seems. No idea what I’ll spend it on yet (projects change), gives the SF staff a break leaving that till later.
    Worked a lot better than last year, a lot more people won something. Server was generally well behaved, hardly any blank pages, just had to refresh occasionally till pages actually loaded.
    Special thanks to the SF I.T. staff, for fixing the server when it broke and reporting its status on IRC.

  • Thank you Spark Fun for having the class and thoughtfulness to give back to your customers and charity organizations. $180K is a lot of cash!

    I was logged in two hours before Free Day started. About 5 minutes before the event started I was logged out. I managed to log in again about 10 after 9:00 and was able to choose to take the quiz. Once I chose to take the quiz I could not get a response from the server for the next hour so I went to lunch (11:30AM EST). When I got back I was able to start the quiz. I managed to get 4 questions completed but on the 5th questions it would always hang. There was about 50% of the funds remaining and then all of a sudden within 30 seconds all of the funds were depleted and Free day was over. I could not figure out what happened??!! I did manage to get $40 so I’m really happy with that. It was fun to be part of this Free Day and fun anticipating this day for the last few weeks.

    I would like to thank Spark Fun for putting the event together. I know some people are not happy but you can’t please everyone.

    With all the people complaining this reminds me of a situation we had a work many years ago. The company used to give free fuel to the employees for their personal vehicles. You could have as much free fuel as you needed with no questions asked. Well, some of the employees who lived close to work started to complain that the guys who lived farther away from work were getting more free fuel than they were. These employees that were complaining asked to be compensated for getting less fuel by way of a pay increase or time off from work. Can you believe that!!!!???? The company was so disgusted with their attitude they canceled the free fuel program for everyone.

    Spark Fun, please don’t cancel Free Day, it was a lot of fun!!!!

    P.S. I’d really love to see the statistics of how many hits the servers were getting, etc…

  • I’m sad that I couldn’t even start the quiz… But I still absolutely love SparkFun and will (of course) continue buying from you guys.
    Thanks for being such an awesome company!

  • Stupid school, as in it made me miss free-day but school is important. It’s all bitter-sweet!!!

  • This was an awesome idea, with awesome execution. You have bought yourself a lot of loyalty in my books. Thanks!

  • Last year I tried and got nothing. This year I managed to get to the quiz, got 3 questions answered and next thing you know pencils down. Now to figure out how to use my $30. A little frustrating but you know what? I’ll try again next year…………
    Thanks SFE!!!!!!!!!

  • i didn’t get in!!

  • I just wanted to take the quiz…. I was logged in 2 hours before the event, and was checking… around 10 minutes before start: it collapsed.
    I got logged out (which is weird), then it took almost 5 minutes to log in again (after I got logged out), and was unable to see a single quiz question :( , even though I went directly to the quiz page (thanks to IRC page), I was unable to see the free_day page at all.
    Can you, people from SparkFun, make the quiz available so that we can take it? don’t give any price, I don’t mind, I just think it can be good and educational.
    Thanks!

  • Thanks Sparkfun!!!! I’m really glad you had the loyalty based option. Free Day is such an awesome way to give back to the community. It only took me maybe 5~10 minutes max and I was 30 bucks richer :D

    • If you don’t get on the first plane to Vegas, you’re an idiot – ‘cause you’re one lucky SOB ! :-)

  • Camp: 1st question submit-fail / disappointed.
    I love SparkFun, and I think their generosity is uncommon and admirable. I am forever their customer, supporter, defender.
    I’m disappointed not because I didn’t get something free, I’m disappointed because I didn’t get to participate. I wanted to quiz.
    Can we draw for chances next year? Instead of dogpile?
    M

  • here are a few of the reference numbers I saved from my loading page errors:

    3c478045f6fffb81bc7e07f0af92f2d7

    2be1e2589f27b5d0e402bd399a76cbf2
    8e91ee4168d720acbb9a8eb4ffb8bddb
    d0e96894b08ac70cb1615788b71709dd
    2aeb04292276b2a5cf3870f050864d9b
    16d9f86b291ee60a342ea4001c4b9d01
    3261b1682b6043c0e049d477ba5f65df
    466448ac7944bce755ebe1effd66d0b4
    02329ca07d627c49faf9c1c76c55560d
    61401e313c5fcc502fd9d94a6f41e893
    ae66bd79ead6dc847d12aadf6852ab44
    75646b52880abf682263231f52c00a3f
    b60e85d62cdd0381a16f63f28b261880
    c9dd6b6438326aebe5d6d9a2a515cb04
    632fff3a6ff62eab070670a27daf6f90
    28d2be01ff9e1a3d0ec6ba5b796a2c94
    d6db5eb71eb6d2ac11f9ceb39df63170
    013512c47c46ebe7f75230f94fc7a7aa
    bcaa9956d8488b42e3cdb83bdbc2bfcd
    644fe7f3682d0aa599ccecb223168773
    3517de0adcfe43f2cb509c59634f0ef5
    6c24a20a816917c90594c47af952b7e0
    c337905f5a5381723f6926464186a3c9
    bf5f9c02b68764e7523b9b4e396b3002
    …. in case any of this information is helpful in optimizing your servers.
    Thanks

  • I took off work again (paid) this year to do this. I was happy to have had a chance of winning anything at all. For that I want to say thank you SF for doing this again. For this year it was not about winnings, it’s about giving. We gave you the biggest slam to your servers you could possibly imagine and you gave to charities who need every penny they can get. :) BTW I got into the quiz and answered 3 questions before the 4th timed out and I had to guess. I guessed wrong, but my unlucky bucks went to help someone else. By the time it was over I was glad to have helped in some way and got a few things to boot.

  • WOW, i dont want to sound like a nagging sow, but here it is… i clicked to get my $10 free account redemption thing…. I got no code……

  • Got $50! 5 out of 5 question right! (didn’t make it to the other five my whole two hours) Bought a new soldering iron - Thanks SparkFun! Can’t wait till next year (if there’s a free day then)

  • I just wish i could have gotten passed the first question but i got a network error. bummer just got all the things i needed for my arduino powered air cannon all lined up. Also I did try for 3 straight hours during school since my teacher was nice enough to let me do it.

  • Well, here we are again. Two major camps, both with valid arguments.
    Some things to keep in mind about situations like this:
    Sparkfun is a company and as such, conducts their promotions in a way that benefits themselves first.
    These giveaways are simply another way to spend advertising dollars. The fact that some of those dollars are going to a charity is certainly a bonus. It can also help soften the blow to individuals who didn’t win anything. But ultimately, it’s about public relations and and increasing brand awareness. In this case, it also seems to be about server testing and maintenance.
    In the end, a customer makes the choice to engage. Participating in this promotion is a gamble and as such, an individual needs to realize that the odds aren’t stacked in favor of the player. If you win, congratulations. If not, better luck next time.
    If this situation bothered you, then you have the power to make a choice about your patronage to this company. If you were put-off by the manner to which the promotion was conducted, simply don’t engage in it next time. If you were bothered profoundly by it, then shop elsewhere.
    I myself spent 2-3 hours trying to win something last year, to no avail. I realized my time was worth more than what I was attempting to win, so I chose not to bother with it this year. Sparkfun still provides a nice selection, comparable prices, good shipping practices, and prompt service. Because of this, I still give them my business on occasion. However, they are not the only game in town. If they were to fall below my expectations in these other areas, I would go elsewhere.
    So my friends, the choice is yours.

  • I find it amusing that so many people are complaining about how much of a joke Free Day was and how they wasted 3 hours of their lives clicking the refresh button. It’s not like SparkFun forced you to continue clicking refresh after the first 10 minutes of unresponsiveness, or after 30 minutes, or after an hour, etc. I’m a new comer here as of today and I’m glad I found out about the site because its got some really neat stuff on it. Plus I was able to get $20 to start me off. I don’t see any other companies doing anything creative like this, so my props to sparkfun for making a fun little game and for being a great company. You’ve just made another satisfied customer.

    • Remember that you did win $20 from it and most people got stuck pushing the refresh button until it was over.

  • Anso, thanks a lot sparkfun, for sending me one last ‘fuck you’ email saying: DUR… just to remind you, you got jack shit coz our srvrz sux but rofl DUR…“ seriously what the fuck? Are you TRYING to piss people off!?

    • No need to get angry. Think of the bright side. Now you can go on ebay and buy all the stuff everyone is selling for discounted prices.

  • Again, way to go sparkfun.
    As a gift to the people who didn’t win anything, but are willing to now read through the 1000+ comments, I ended up with some dough, but I used a trick that I read on the comments from last year…
    Go into your firefox config and set the timeout time to something stupid high. That way, it doesnt time out and will keep loading no matter how slow it is.

  • If you guys are going to have a free day at all, you should think carefully about whether your servers can handle it. Rent a server farm or something for fuxake… This year, I think you pissed off more of your customers than you made happy… If your going to do it… do it right!
    People might complain that I’m stupid for being pissed that I didn’t get anything, but you know what? I had as much right to free stuff as anyone seeing as I have actually bought things from this site, and I’m completely sure I would have been able to take the quiz had I ever SEEN it!

    • Using a server farm would defeat the purpose of freeday Did you even read the news article? The purpose of free day is to hammer sparkfun’s servers for a few hours to see what breaks/melts/explodes.

  • Well, unlike last year, I actually got something this year. Sadly only got one quiz question before it was over, so I could have just taken the loyalty prize and saved an hour or so.

  • I think that Free Day is a great thing, even though I did not get anything. I do, however, have a few suggestions.
    1. It would be better if it were on a weekend, what with all the refresh-ing required.
    2. There’s a huge bias against the questions because of needing to get all the pages through. An alternative might be to have to go to sparkfun.com to begin the quiz and then submit answers by email, first come-first served. (there would be a code). Or have offsite bandwidth for the questions themselves.

    • Meanwhile, I have been kind of disgusted by the sore losers. And I’m not sure that SFE does this just to test servers. They’re an e-commerce site, I doubt that they are normally going to be so overloaded.
      Another possibility: What about giving away money over several days? If there was a limit for each day and repeatedly refreshing would not help too much, you could get a lot of traffic, but in a more controlled way, without so many people getting blocked not only from the giveaway but from the site itself

  • Hey why didn’t i get my loyal customer credit?

  • Thanks Guys and Gals at SparkFun. Today was fun trying to get a chance to earn some of your cool products for the fee of participating in free day. Hope you all enjoyed this morning as much as me. Please keep up with this business practice as i think it should be a model for other companies. Good job IT guys I felt I had more of a chance this year than last.

  • best ever guys! i went with the quiz option and free day ended as i was submitting my 10 question. this was fun!!!

  • MikeGrusin:

    Regarding the wording on the email
    I realize the wording of the email would of been worked out well before the result of people not even seeing a question would of been realized.
    It’s a fun free day, I will buy from again real soon, but probably skip the next free day.
    Greg

  • At the end of the day, it is just not fun to try and know it will be a failure. I won’t do this next year. Given how many times I tried and failed to get even to the cart let alone the quiz, it is just too frustrating to be worth the time and distraction.
    Kudos for doing it at all though. It is generous.
    Using the net is just the wrong approach. How about using the old “telephone operators are standing by”!
    At least then if you get a line in, you get the goodies.

  • Guys I forgot about free day. The reason is that I know how to set my expectations low when everyone says this will be a server test and most likely it will take hours of hitting refresh to get probably nothing.
    Please please people, set your expectations accordingly next year, enjoy the party and feel happy for the ones who got something for free.
    Thanks SF for giving away some stuff for some customers. I feel truly sorry for the frustrated ones, but it’s always fun to read some creative complaints.
    Just like every year, I will come to FD again as soon as the sign reads Free day is OVER! and still have fun.

  • I didn’t get anything, but so what!? I spent three hours trying to get in too, would have $20 if I could remember the account details I ordered with last year and clicked the freebie money instead of the quiz…
    What I’m more concerned with is congratulating you guys @sparkfun! My server can handle maybe 1000 simultaneous visitors before you don’t even get to see an error page, just page not found! I’m interested to see what the cause was this year, whether or not it was the same denial of service as last year or something new…
    To people with complaints, it’s simple spend lunch in the gym, save up the lunch money mommy and daddy gave you and BUY SOMETHING, or cry in the corner. Whoever taught you to moan when people don’t give you something you want for free, should’ve given you up for adoption…

  • The plan is to put the quiz back up so people can take it again (or for the first time) for fun.
    Regarding the wording on the email, we certainly didn’t intend to offend people who couldn’t even get to the questions. We thank everyone who participated, no matter how far you got.

  • so as a sysadmin, I’d be interested in what you guys found out. Where are the weak points and bottlenecks? How did your bandwidth provider cope? Did that affect your performance? Were there any outside factors beyond your control that had a significant impact?
    I didn’t get any freebies, but I’d be happy with some snazzy graphs and charts!

  • Thank god that’s over.
    I just wanted to order some parts lol

    • Indeed, SparkFun should give shipping priority to people who haven’t used any store credit code. And I say that as someone who did use a store credit code.

  • Hey Guys….girls. I tried for the free day but couldn’t get connected. I thank Sparkfun for the opportunity, thank them for the support and products.
    Sparkfun…don’t pay attention to the negative comments.
    You have a great customer base and growing!

  • I tried on and off for several hours. I got to the first screen asking if I wanted the quiz and because I a new member I picked the quiz. I never saw the first question. I got a variety of page timed outs, errors (w/ burning computer icon), and the Sparkfun webpage asking me to login again. I am not sure if reloading the page was the right thing to do or why I was asked to login again. I got a nice email a few hours later saying I had answered zero questions.
    Anyway, I think this is a great way to give back to the community even if I my internet connection was crushed by the crowds. I told my kids I would give them the quiz after the fact and split the money with them. It got them to read some of the tutorials. I am still planning on doing it with some of my own cash, but at $1 a question.

  • HessiaNerd:

    Please put the test back up, no answers till the end. I wanna see how well I would have done had I had the chance to answer them all…
    Yes please put it back up. Only thing worse than pressing the Quiz option and not seeing a single question, is the email that says I didn’t attempt any questions, WHAT QUESTIONS?
    That email is like having salt rubbed into the wounds.
    2 years up till 5am trying, 2 years no luck, if it runs again next year I think I’ll just read about it after it’s over and get some sleep.
    But seriously I want to have a go at the questions, or at least see a copy.
    Greg

  • I took an hour off work to take the quiz so I lost about $10. I only got through 1 question and gained $10 before things totally bogged down. I’d say it was a good experience to be surfing the web for $10 instead of brewing beer… I guess :)

  • Really Nice. With a lot of refresh, I won 27$. At question 4, the free day was Done. This was fun!
    Thanks SparkFun.

  • Guys, just let people vent! That’s all there doing. Even the people not complaning have to addmit that free day can be SUPER fustrating.

  • that is a lot of comments.
    Please put the test back up, no answers till the end. I wanna see how well I would have done had I had the chance to answer them all…
    I feel better about this year over last year. It seemed fairer in that it wasnt all or none. The quiz is a great idea too. I thought it has the potential to keep away the folks who just want to re-sell. Yet it was not so hard that novices such as myself could answer the questions (if you could get them).
    GJ, thanks for the $40!

  • when i got a chance i took 10$ and ran

  • Thanks for doing this guys. I’m new to the field and find the products you sell to be interesting and educational at the same time. I really appreciate getting $30 off my order.

  • While I didn’t win anything, congrats to SparkFun! Rewarding the people that kept this site going is awesome. I hope that I can contribute more to SparkFun in the coming years.

  • When is the full quiz getting public? I would realy like to know if I knew all of them (6).

  • Host a server on an alternate data center with an alternate IP. Give a DNS pointer from quiz82347.sparkfun.com to this new IP. (82347 is a randomly picked number) When the first 1,500 people get to the page, redirect them to the other site. Then put everyone else into some sort of holding pattern. (Sorry, try again.) That way, the selected first 1,500 people will get to have an actual chance at taking the quiz with decent latency. If they fail the quiz and there is still money left to be given out, have the quiz server communicate to the main WWW server to let a few more people in. The quiz server will be unknown to anyone not given access. (For even more security, pass a token from one server to the other and require it on the URL.) Separating the server that takes all the DoS hits/etc and the actual servers used to take the quizes is a GOOD thing. Maybe next year. (I got $0 out of this because the site was completely useless all day.)

    • There is no need for the DNS record to be unknown. Security by obscurity is never a good idea.
      A simple cookie which applies to the chosen sub-domain would be sufficient.

    • Part of this process is to give the servers a run for the money. While yes that would work to keep the site more functional, it would defeat the purpose. If they just gave 1500 people $100 or close to it, then they reach less people. At least this way more people got some, not just the first 1500 people.

  • Awe.. but I just got home..:(
    Sounds like it was fun and I really wanted to have a hand at it.. Hmmm Maybe a quarterly freeday..:)

  • As someone developing eCommerce software for a living, I find unfortunate that Sparkfun was not able to handle the server load again. Doing this the first time and fail is OK, but when you do it the second time one should be really prepared.
    A quick calculation: 150,000$ means (as worst case) 15,000 correct answered questions, so lets say we need to show 30,000 questions. You need 30,000 logins (if everybody sees only a single answer - we’re talking worst case here). This means we need to show 30,000 times 4 pages (home, login, question, answer). 120k pages in 2 hours means 1000 pages per minute or 16 pages per second. Even with a safety factor of 10 (which means they would have 150 thousand people trying to get into the quiz) we have 160 pages per second.
    On Twitter, it was mentioned that traffic is normally 11MBits and was 70MBits during free day. We have customers who would see this as a low traffic day. And no, they are not Google or the like - there is no magic involved :) It’s mainly rough-less testing and knowing which switches to use.
    That said, I was looking forward to an entertaining quiz this afternoon (in germany it was 5pm). My only real concern was answering the questions fast enough. But after the start is was frustrating not getting through to questions (took me one and a half hour).
    But I got 30$ out of this, and I’m thankful to Sparkfun for that. They gave me a nice new toy to play with :)
    For next year, maybe SFE will get it right - and then everybody will complain that the quiz is over after 5 minutes…

  • lets be honest, for most of us free day sucked.

  • Something broke.
    …not to worry. We’ve logged this error and will be looking into it.
    Reference #8feda7c18db26077848be7a5b6567eaf
    Reference #a577e49341ff0ddd0a3afd0d90f641dd
    Reference #bca4d5f6502299eaf4078e83c6f591bd
    Reference #73b474b145b01ac000efa6fe2443c4b1
    Reference #f5afa24494adb1a0aff9eb08c43fa55d
    Reference #45013b133b0eb1acdcf37677a047d0e0
    Reference #4b876159f5b9a88922b890a053a13db4
    Reference #fffd09291bde4b6a205fb6d78a50e312
    Reference #c673039fa515c506a738ecb30e98fbeb
    Reference #9a7f0669a2850138d93359530bec5590
    Reference #f1a7cdc9a200c23a788aebe15fe73393
    Reference #377073090068579424915101dc910613
    Reference #42a83c9f752336e070fdbfdbcf8f9db6
    Reference #e17abf991b62ae14afdc4fc378446aa8

  • I never did get the server to send the first question.
    ;(

  • A bit annoying that due to a major bug (from what I’ve read in the IRC channel), pages were not loading at all in the beginning (for nearly two hours). Once it got fixed, however, I didn’t even have time to answer more than six questions before it was over. My 6th reply didn’t even make it in time even though I’m sure it was right. Oh well, at least pages were loading pretty fast at the end, so I can only blame myself for not answering the questions fast enough.
    However, with five good answers, it does mean I was able to afford a new marquee display for my mini-arcade cabinet project (http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=94770.0). The current LCD display has bad viewing angles, is square and is smaller.
    I’m hoping this OLED display (http://www.sparkfun.com/products/8543) is much better. The dimensions fit, the viewing angles are much better and even the aspect ratio is nearly a perfect fit (vertically) as the Neo-Geo arcade marquees. I can’t wait to receive it to make the modifications!

    • Never mind the OLED display. It doesn’t support a file system or regular file formats for the images on the micro-SD card.

  • Looks like sparkfun is getting a stress test of their comment system and comment depth as well!

  • I think I’ll just buy my $400 wish list somewhere else now. Would have been worth it with the $100 off but not anymore.

  • I wish that once you started the quiz you were allowed to definitely finish, instead of being kicked out mid way. I am not complaining I am just making a suggestion for next year.

  • I’m curious… Did anyone who was outside North America get anything?

  • I had to wake up at 3AM to try this since I live in Australia.
    For 2 hours the only thing the server would load was the index page.
    Time to give up I think :‘(

  • How did it get from $90,000 to $150,000 in only 5 minutes, since it took 2 hours to get to 90???? Followed on twitter.

  • I really want to thank you.. But I can’t. This is my second year spending multiple hours refreshing multiple tabs in an attempt at a customer reward.. Maybe offer a discount day? or week? I’d be happy to get 10% or 20% off an order once a year.
    I had no loyalty points despite being her for longer than a year because I didn’t order until early last year… But even after being on the website before 11am I never got to see the first question. Farthest I ever made it was the choice page.
    I had a problem of it logging me out. It seemed I had to log in again multiple times. I know it was successful because each of the half a dozen times I had to log back in it took me to my account page. But I still never was able to load the mystical quiz page.
    How about a loyalty proportional to dollars spent? I’ve spent hundreds here… But two denied free days have kind of left a sour taste in my mouth. You guys do have competitors with reasonable prices, but I choose to purchase from you. They don’t offer free days.. But what’s a free day if I get nothing? Not trying to be greedy, but realistic. It’s like I buy presents from Santa all year long and he says if I’m in my living room at the exact millisecond he’s coming by then I’ll get one for free. Except I missed him, even though I spent two hours in my living room I stepped into the next room for a couple of milliseconds.

    • They’re giving out free money. Some lose. Some win. There’s no point in complaining and talking down on Sparkfun. There’s no goodwill. This is an obvious publicity stunt.

      • I’m not really dissing them. I love their products and their tutorials. I read through every bite size primer in preparation for this day. I’m just saying free day, while a noble cause, is not really a wonderful thing. Though other companies don’t offer free day, I get just as much free stuff from them by comparison. I really tried. I am a loyal customer who spends hundreds of dollars here, yet I’ve never received a single discount for it. Most sites I’ve shopped from at least offer a discount at some point. I tried hard to earn some free cash.. And failed. And it seems unfair (Yes, I know the argument why I shouldn’t whine) that some people get through while others don’t get to see a single question. Even a lottery for free day would reward customers without the heartache.
        What’s more important, testing the servers or genuinely offering a token of goodwill to your loyal customers? Because this method really does a bad job at the token of goodwill, as I am one of many in here complaining. It is essentially a lottery, except you get your hopes up that you can actually win. Heck.. I’ve bought Woot bags-of-crap, and missed those as well. But the fact that I won occasionally and actually had a shot was nice.
        I mean seriously–A free shipping coupon occasionally would be enough to make my day.

    • Why are being so bitter? Sparkfun is good because they make good products and tutorials, they are there to help and their support team are very helpful. No website gives away things for free so be grateful that your were even given the opportunity, if you didnt get anything you’ve lost out on nothing at all. Your selfish to say you should get something and that it’s Sparkfun’s fault that you didn’t.
      All you haters are pathetic, get over it, you missed on some free stuff, too bad. If you feel that bad then don’t bother coming to Sparkfun anymore, they don’t want people like you who are ungrateful. I didn’t get anything and I don’t care because I never expect to get free stuff randomly, I still love the site for what they do.

      • its just cause taking 2 hours of your time to refresh web pages is really pathetic if you didnt win anything. I think everyone who was logged in should get $10 and then the rest goes to whoever can make it through the questions. At least you get something for trying so hard

  • Hi! Can I see this year questions anywhere?

  • How about everyone that is complaining do us a favor, walk into kitchen, get a knife and place it under your ears, go from one ear to the other, thanks. If you’re going to create a profile 1 or 2 days before the event and then complain, just keep your comments to yourselves. I spent over an hour on sparkfun as well and only got to 4 quesions, but its FREE. I wouldn’t even consider these people sore losers, they have lost nothing, except maybe a few hours of free time.

    • Don’t get me wrong, i was frustrated at my ability to spam F5 on SF, but its disappointing people are so quick to point fingers when something doesn’t work out in their favor.

    • dang - now i have a cut on the back of my neck

    • I mean, on the one hand, yes, i would agree that the people saying they won’t buy from Sparkfun again are insane, but I think it’s fair to be frustrated. Sure, people only lost time, but it was still valuable time. Hell, I have nothing to show and I spent an entire class not listening to the lecture trying to get in. Probably made a bad decision, yes, but I’d still like to have something to show for my effort.

  • sparkfun + free_day = spark (no fun)

  • http://cgi.ebay.com/SparkFun-com-promotional-code-80-purchase-/150548305056?pt=US_Gift_Certificates&hash=item230d60d4a0 This is where it ends up, such bullcrap.

  • Yep.. an entire day spent trying to reach the just the front page ):

  • WTF?

  • Free DAY failed!
    I know you do for charity, but I spent 1 hour trying to load you initial page….
    I vote for: “Next time try having a system that can handle the load."
    Thanks.

  • dang.. i didn’t even know this existed until it was too late! well theres always next year!

  • I live in Brazil. I was using a 15 mbps connection and never reached the first question.

  • On top of getting 0$ on “free day” after giving up, i still needed to go back to the site to look up the datasheet for a breakout board im using too bad the site was down for 2 hours fml.

  • Woo hoo! I got $100!
    Just kidding. I got zip.

  • frustating day… talking hours to a server who can’t talk anymore… hope a yesterday subscriber member get some free stuff…

  • I couldn’t even get one question answered. I logged on almost exactly at 9:00a.m. and only got 2 pages to load. The servers did NOT do their job. I got a lot of “oops, something broke, we know about it” pages. Sorry folks this was crap.

  • Quick Question…..
    Can I buy more than one item with the free money I won..?
    Thanks

  • Quick Question…..
    Can I buy more than one item with the free money I won..?
    Thanks

  • The problem with the loyalty is that a lot of your oversee customers are buying from local (like in my example freeduino.eu or watterott.com) distributors because it just makes economically sense with regard of lower shipping costs.
    Then again you can never make everybody happy I think.

  • Couldn’t even get my loyalty money, was only at 20,000$ when I finally managed to log in… And done when I next saw anything. :[

  • I connected within about 10 minutes of the start and I went for the loyalty, but when I hit submit, it went 404 an that was that - disappointing

  • darn… I was going to take my $40 but I couldn’t even log in. My own fault though I was 25 mins late.
    I guess this means that you still have some upgrades to do on your servers.
    Have you though about using some kind of service like amazon ec2 for on demand capacity?

  • if only the servers didn’t get over loaded :(

  • It’s sucks big time! I was on the site loged in at 7:59 and it was working fine then suddenly at 8:00 it glitched and I couldn’t open any links until the free day was over.
    Is there anybody at all that got something?

  • For all the people complaining about it being a bad idea on how to test their servers.
    Their main objective is to get new people into the world of electronics, and build a customer base. Whether it does or not- that’s what was planned. A side affect of this day is to test their servers.
    People complaining about spending 3.5 hours? what are you smoking? I logged on at 10 after it started, and it had ended in less than 2 hours. Where did the extra hour and half come in? Did you get all antsy like little children and wait an hour before it went live? Seeing the comments now on this post a little before 9pm shows people commenting OMG LAG BLAH BLAH. way to help the servers.

  • Really - is everyone really that stupid? Is anything really for free? Does your time not have any value at all? Bunch of engineers focusing on the details. Take a step back, and ask what a consulting firm would pay for a “real-time” test such as what you provided. Well over 150k. So you clowns just spent a bunch of your time .. walking away with a whopping $20 for 3 hours of your time … and you feel grateful …. wow business needs more people like you …

  • Damn Comcast failed me dropping the area node for maint. from 9 to 13 EST here in Jacksonville, FL.

  • Yeah, that didn’t go well at all. Nothing but request timeouts for like two hours straight. Never even got to the first question of the quiz. :(

  • Got the 1st Q right!, couldnt see the rest.
    I’m still gunna take the quiz when its back up.
    GJ SF
    I hit the refresh button > 100x out of rage, just for you.
    :0)

  • I guess not that they’ve tested their server they can conclude their web site realy sux.SUX.Now they know.

  • You know what free day reminds me of?
    The ARRL SS contest, trying to get through a massive pileup on 20 meters to snag a rare section.

  • Free day sucks. I couldn’t get in at all and even my comments are having trouble posting. This is really a bad way to treat customers if you ask me.

  • Well in case you were wondering if your server was up to the task, eh it was not. Then again in might not have been your server, it might have been your ISP. You might need ‘fatter pipes’ to the internet. I couldn’t even get to the first page to choose between my ‘earned points’ or questions. I wonder if people on the west coast (closer to your QTH) had better luck than us on the east side of the country.

    • Well, it would have more to do with network topology than raw distance, and I doubt if there are enough of us in any one spot to overload any router except for, as you point out, one at the last hop ISP.

  • While I greatly appreciate the generosity of Sparkfun (donating to charity = awesome), I think that when a company promises a promotion to it’s users, it has a responsibility to follow through. I spent two hours trying to get in - and managed to answer 1 question before Free Day ended. That was extremely frustrating. I think Sparkfun needs to focus less on the promises and more on the delivery. Thanks anyways!

  • Free day sucks. After clicking the quiz I waited for hours and it never came up. I didn’t even get to the first question. This is a bad way to treat customers if you ask me.

  • Hey Sparkfun!
    Even though I couldn’t even get pass through the login page, I congratulate you for the initiative. For the next year I will get some of the share !! :-P

  • Me too, but that was the purpose as I know understand. Better luck next time!

  • can we put two coupons together from different friends on one order?

  • Aww man i missed it i was in school

  • Here’s one thing SF didn’t expect to learn on free day: paginated comments are needed very, very badly.

  • I am glad for those that were able to access the site.
    My experience was not positive. I could not get a single non-errored refresh after clicking the QUIZ button.
    Very disappointing after the hype and buildup. Sucks but that’s true.

  • Another frustrated new member here. Loyalty dollars offered was 0, but was looking forward to the quiz! Patiently reloaded and was able to answer the same question 3 times. However my answer was never accepted (rejection is so depressing).
    How about a 15% discount code for those who participated and were unable to receive any benefit? SF received a benefit from my participation. Not looking for free dollars here, just an acknowledgment of everyone’s efforts.

  • I 2 hours click on refresh.
    It sucks. I win my 1st question.no more
    10 dolars…… fu** lags

  • What a waste of time. Couldn’t get in until it was over. This will be the last time for me.

  • Can those of us that only saw the first couple of questions get a chance to see the rest of the quiz, just for gittles and shigs?

  • I was looking forward to taking the quiz. I never made it to the first question so I got neither my $10 credit nor was able to get any quiz points… You would think I would still get the $10 carry over but I guess I would need to click pass on each question.

  • I just received the following by email.
    “You chose to gamble with the quiz questions. You attempted 0 questions. Unfortunately, you didn’t win any money this time around."
    What an insult and a joke since I did attempt a question. In fact, I attempted to answer the first quiz questions over 100 times but the page would never load.

  • I’ve had the disappointing experience of preparing for both free day’s and missing out on both.

    • replying to my own post here… but I’m not complaining. I think it’s awesome that Sparkfun does this, but the first time my alarm failed on me and it ended before I woke up. This second time, I managed to get $10 bucks (I’ve been visiting since late ‘07/early '08), shocked me to learn I didn’t buy anything til '09). I would have liked the chance to go for the full $100, but when it takes 15 minutes to get the home page to load I thought it better to go the other route.

  • Note to self: Don’t bother with this “promotion” next year.
    While I laud SFE’s rapid growth, self-promotion, enthusiasm and charitable donations and like the company and its products in general, this was silly.
    I guess congrats are in order to those that actually got a page to load…

    • You’ll be back. People can’t stay away from free stuff.

      • I will likely still buy goods from SFE as I have done for a couple of years now but simply won’t fall for – or bother with – the next Free Day “promotion."
        And if they’re sincere about "loyalty” rewards they shouldn’t tie such rewards into a DDOS lottery.
        Just sayin'.

  • I couldn’t answer a single question. Next year I will spend those 2 hours on Pokestars. Even if I lost $100 there I wouldn’t be so frustrated. At least it will be a fair game.
    I know it’s free money, but why leaving so many people frustrated? You could just come up with a fair game where everybody has a chance to play and win…

  • just got this email from SFE
    “You chose to gamble with the quiz questions. You attempted 0 questions. Unfortunately, you didn’t win any money this time around”.
    kind of bad wording, since I certainly did attempt to answer a question. Their servers just wouldn’t let me.
    Was Free Day good, or bad ? It’s a customer good will deal. That’s the idea. So, overall did it create good will, or destroy it ? that is the correct measure of success. So, did Free Day create or consume good will ?
    Remember, the worth of an unhappy customer. Remember the worth of a loyal and happy customer. Would you do this if it were your company ?
    For me, if I were going to create good will I would create good will, and not frustrate so many people in the process. It’s one thing to get a question wrong, another to get the “were broken” page followed by a too bad message.

  • I couldn’t answer a single question. Next year I will spend those 2 hours on Pokestars. Even if I lost $100 there I wouldn’t be so frustrated. At least it will be a fair game.
    I know it’s free money, but why leaving so many people frustrated? You could just come up with a fair game where everybody has a chance to play and win…

  • I spent an hour trying to get to the quiz.

  • well I’m done pitching my rant for 2 wasted days trying to win something for nothing 2 years in a row but I will say congrats sparkfun for raising $30k for charity but I hope next year you just donate it all to charity and the he** with the freebies and the crashed servers and getting dropped from overloaded servers .I’ll be ordering some breakout boards when I can afford them Ha Ha.But at least show the quiz and the answers for all of us that at least tried to get there . and skimask it was 2 years in a row that I was up all night browsing the catalog and trying to get in and get a piece of the freebie pie .
    thanks again sparkfun I hope the servers quit smoking soon ! ! !

  • Isn’t it illegal in the US to conduct contests where all entrants don’t have an equal chance of winning? I tired getting to your servers, but got so many errors I could not take the quiz.
    You should cancel this mad rush, or make it so that like other contests, everyone has an equal chance of winning.

    • This is as logical as saying Wal-Mart should not have Black Friday sales. Obviously, not everyone will get the PlayStation for $50 and the gum off the bottom of their shoe.
      It was advertised very accurately as to exactly what the deal was. There is no foul play here - it was your fault as much as anyone else’s that you didn’t get the sale.
      Just think, you’ve got a whole year to let the bitterness subside and try again ;)

  • I will NEVER come Back to sparkFUN I will go to other sites this was a rip-off. I will NEVER patronize a Business which uses bait and switch tactics.

  • gonna send sparkfun a bill for the 3 hours they owe me for server testing.

    • They did state that one of the reasons for the Free Day was load testing on the server. And the Free Day text stated that last year led to effectively DoS like behavior. Today was no different. The down side, is that tweaks did not fill the service holes they’d hoped from last years Free Day.

      • Yeah, they did state that Free Day was being held partially as a load test for their new servers. However, they didn’t say that one’s chances of receiving credit were dependent upon the outcome of that load test; they just said that one’s chances were based on whether or not one answered quiz questions successfully before the money ran out. I realize that you can read between the lines and see that the implication is that server loads may be so heavy that you might not be able to connect, but it seems like a poor idea to offer a financial incentive to people in order to instigate a load test when a large number of those people are not even going to have a chance to receive credit, especially when there was no mention in the rules of this being the case. And at any rate, this was a pretty poor load test if predicted traffic and the resulting server setup was so far off the mark that the entire exercise was disaster for all but a handful of users.

      • lol…good way to get cheap testing!

  • I’m livid about not even being able to successfully open the quiz page. And I’m not mad just because I didn’t receive any credit - I’m mad because I wasn’t even given the opportunity to receive credit, an opportunity that other people were able to take advantage of. This is not a lottery, as some people have said; there wasn’t anything in the rules saying “you may or may not win based on whether or not you’re able to connect to our servers”. The rules just said that you take the quiz, and if there’s still money in the pot when you answer the questions then you receive credit. Also, most of the people here who are happy with how Free Day went and are chastising all the “haters” seem to be the same people who successfully took the quiz and received credit. It’s easy to be happy when you’re not on the list of people who got screwed.

  • Well after 3 hours of quick refresh pull-down F5 button nothing happened.I really wonder why such an small organization with an small server would like to try they'r load capacity,when i am sure that no more than (lets say) 500 customers can buy from them everyday.What is the purpose loading the server with more than 1500 people(theoretically 150k divided by 100 buck for each),begging for some loot,when the server can not hold 100 online?Do you guys try to race with Google or something?Wake up to reality.

  • I opted out of my $40 and chose to “gamble” and I wasn’t able to answer a single question before the end.
    I won’t complain much about losing what was never mine, but I would like to know how the equivalent of 15,000 people could log in and answer ten questions while I couldn’t manage one question in two hours.
    Better internet connection? Hit refresh more/less? Lives closer to the server locations? Luck? Smarter and more attractive?

    • Correction: 1,500 not 15,000.

      • Could be 15,000 if they each only answered one question before “pencils down”. By the number of comments about only answering one question, I suspect that there were a fair number more than the minimal 1,500.

  • Well, at least this year i made it to the home page, login page, then was able to click the quiz button. That’s way better than last year!
    Maybe next year.
    You do know that Amazon was able to withstand a DOS attack from the friends of that wiki links jackass. You might want to ask them for some advice about their servers. ;)

    • Wishful thinking. I participated on Free Day last year and after reading the comments, it looked like deja-vu to me.
      I doubt that everything will be just fine next year.

  • no change for german customers :-(

  • What a time wasting crock of poo. If you are only going to give money to long standing members say that and don’t waste our time

  • They didn’t crash? I couldn’t even get the page to load 10 mins after it started. I just gave up. I spent an hr last yr hitting refresh to no avail.

  • Member6448:

    It’s a server load test. Don’t be silly.
    If it was a test, then they learned the system was grossly undersized. I kept getting;
    Something broke.
    …not to worry. We’ve logged this error and will be looking into it.
    Reference #12c14ef822c67cfda7b0a31941138a9c
    Reference #ed7992492265db617fa7059a3c3c5a34
    etc.

  • I dont want to bash on free money but the quiz system completely sucked, i chose the quiz about after 20 minutes of trying since the beginning and couldnt start the quiz until two hours later when it told me pencils down, wtf! i never even grab the pencil! and i couldnt even grab the 10$ i had from the charity, server suckage at the max.

  • Hobbles | News - 2009.11.23 | November 28, 2009 at 6:41 PM
    I will stab my self if i forget about this!
    Lol this is what I posted after hearing about it last year.

  • Another Freeday and another broken F5 key. Sparkfun should stock a “keyboard repair kit” after each freeday to patch up all the wounded soldiers :P

  • Nice one dudes, servers gone in flames, lost 2 hours of my life before I finally gave up.
    Next time maybe yo do upgrade to take the load so everyone has a fair chance accessing the stupid quiz…

  • Sigh, I got so excited over this, logged in ahead of time, and then watched the meltdown.
    I’m not mad about the money, but I really wanted to participate and never even saw the first quiz question.

  • I’m very interested in hearing how $60,000 was used up in less than 4 minutes…

    • I am interested in knowing the same!
      I got $30 .. and was refreshing twitter every now and then… seemed like it went from 96K to 150K in a couple of minutes.
      FreeDay 2010: $0 in 2 hours
      FreeDay 2011: $30 in 45 min
      You guys are improving.
      Thanks Sparkfun!

  • Darn, fun to learn stuff but not worth getting up (again) at 5am (New Zealand time) for :( I did see one page lol. Do I thank sparkfun for this pain or not? Next year I hope the emperor will wear some clothes :) lol thanks sparkfun for online game.

  • Post the quiz questions!

  • Hooray!
    Thanks so very much SparkFun!
    $30,000 for charity. Great job everyone.

  • I am looking forward to seeing the redux on the system performance during the event. Most of what I got was a whole bunch of non-response from the servers and the resulting unhappy browsers. (I tried Firefox, IE, and Chrome.) I’d logged in 5 minutes before the start of festivities without a problem. It was a tad sluggish, but perfectly workable. As soon as the timer got to NOW, though, maybe one try in 20 didn’t timeout. I was never able to get to the free_day page. I did get redirected to the login page at one point and from then on I didn’t get anything useful back. Maybe 10% of the page load attempts got me an error page back from the server.

  • You guys should post the quiz so we can play with it when the servers are actually accessible. Great job on making this free day more interesting than last year (even though I didn’t get anything).

  • Thank you SparkFun! I admit it was frustrating to have to hit F5 every few seconds, and only getting to answer one question. But hey, I got $10 for free!

  • F5F5F5F5F5F5F5F5F5F5F5F5F5F5F5

  • I am very disappointed in myself that I got greedy and went for the quiz. After 2.5 hours of pressing refresh and answering the first question right for 3 times, without the server responding, really is a bummer. Serves my right to not just go for the 10 bucks allowance and instead ending up with nothing.
    I’ll see you a load balancer and raise you an installation of Varnish! ;)

  • The email said “You attempted 0 questions."
    Ok, I guess studying up on the ‘bite-sized primers’ and hitting refresh for 2 hours wasn’t really an attempt after all.
    I guess next year I’ll just take my $10 loyalty money.
    Good to see all the charity donations too!

  • damn how did you guys get in? I tried intermittently for 2 hours

  • To all those disappointed by the amazing amount of frustration freeday caused, I’m sorry. I was in your shoes last year. This year, knowing that it would be a replay of last year, and as I have a strong feeling that SF hasn’t the most customer friendly of attitudes, once you get down to interacting with them. You can ask the community, and it’s wonderful, but if you point out a possible flaw, or ask a question that reveals a flaw in a product, you’re ignored, deleted, etc. It seems that they’d rather just slip it by you.
    Per example, I asked if the conductive ribbon has insulation. That’s important, cloth does overlap and fold in the course of wearing it, and it’d be awfully easy to get a short. I asked, and was told that the product “was made to sew into clothing, not overlap”. Which, for me, reduces usefulness to a rating of ‘very little’. So, I feel it’s a pretty much a cop-out of answer.
    Yesterday, I posted a comment suggesting to other to simply quit at the first sign of fustration. The odds simply aren’t with you, and the quiz addition seemed to just make a hard thing harder. So I didn’t bother this year. Sparkfun doesn’t care about me for a customer. So I no longer give them money. Adafruit’s getting into breakout boards, SF’s original contribution, and I’ve got a Jameco catalog that’s lots cheaper, I feel my business is appreciated, and so; I give them my money. And hey, if I need a breakout, it’s not real hard to make yr own. Just a little practice. But I don’t think that the SF attitude of fostering building with only their products is a hindrance to the community, rather than a boon.
    And most importantly, because you’re not going to get it elsewhere, I will apologize to you for your frustration. I know you tried really hard, and got very first in line, and normally, that would be good, but the concept of ‘fair’ doesn’t exist outside of people with proper manners and games. Take it as a life lesson. And please, go get some air, get yourself a tasty snack, relax. Forget about this mess. It’s not worth it- Your happiness over some electronic trinkets? I could have used some as well, I’m unemployed and broke, and yearning to build; but it’s not worth the upset. Go hit up one of the usual suppliers and make a little order for yourself, what you can afford. Maybe harvest your pile of junk electronics for some parts. And build something- You don’t need this negativity, you need to create and do what you love.
    My best,
    cm
    (add guire at gmail behind my initials to contact me directly, I care not to wade through these comments.)

    • Markets do shift and there are always going to be up and comers that will learn from others mistakes. So lets all put our few dollars where they will do the most good. I hope the ‘Server Test’ results offset any negativity generated. You know the price of snowballs in Hell just went up.—

      • Bard:
        I do agree with that, this DIY bubble isn’t going to last forever, and a time will come when poor customer service will be much more detrimental to a companies bottom line than when there’s loads of revenue. And concerning with putting your dollars where they will do the most good; I prefer to put mine in businesses that at least appreciate my money, however small it may be in comparison to other customers. Call me a stickler for good service, but as having worked in the area, and having a time of figuring out how to do it properly, I learned that people like to be treated at least pleasantly while parting with their hard-earned money. And so, I consider that important in making my own purchasing choices, as I’d like to be treated at least a little nicely while I’m helping them keep their lights on and business going.
        Best-
        cm

    • I accept your apology on behalf of SF. For an unemployed guy, you’re oddly uplifting. Thanks.

      • Linux:
        Well, it’s the very least I can do.. it’s a horrid feeling. I’ve just gotten more ‘no’ than ‘yes’ concerning dealings with the commerce side of SFE. And that makes for poor customer service- Smart-alec replies to inquiries, higher prices (which I’d gladly pay if the customer service were there.) and a few other negative aspects I’d rather skip over.
        And last year, Oh! I planned for so long, had a wonderful list, was ready well before time, Figuring I had all my ducks in a row. But then there’s this server load thing, which I really don’t recall hearing of first. And so begins two hours, nearly fustrated to tears, and ending up sad and dissapointed. I just didn’t want others to feel the same. It truly doesn’t matter in the long run, and in this sense, quitting can be winning, if you stop pounding refresh the moment you get that bad feeling.
        And thank you for thinking of me as uplifting. I’ve been out of work for two years now, I work seven days a week sending out resumes and trolling about for anything. Unemployment won’t last more than a month, now. Can’t get a painful cavity filled, there’s no resources here. I’m in a county with 10+ percent unemployment, and it’s already not much a center of commerce. One of four houses foreclosed on. Of the three neighbors I have, two are out of work, and they have families. But you’ve got to keep a good attitude- I used to think that was such crap, but being able to face the most dire of circumstances with a smile, and to take on that day with a winning attitude, you will eventually prevail. It’ll keep you going when you can’t give up. And sometimes, it’s all you have.
        Best, Chris

  • This is funny, I like the email I got.
    “SparkFun thanks you for your participation in Free Day 2011!
    Free Day 2011 has come and gone - thank you for participating. Initial reports are that we’ve given away $150,451.00 to our customers and set aside another $22,988.00 for charity. Be sure to watch for the Free Day 2011 Recap for final numbers, statistics, and pretty graphs!
    You chose to gamble with the quiz questions. You attempted 0 questions. Unfortunately, you didn’t win any money this time around.
    Thanks again for participating in Free Day 2011!"
    Correction, I was asked 0 questions. I should have taken the $40, it would have been better than $0. Oh, another wasted attempt at free day, at least I did not waste as much of my time like I did last year.

  • What a waste of time, entirely unfun and earned you guys absolutely no goodwill. Couldn’t even get a response from the web site until it was all over. I’m not complaining about getting no free money, but think you could find a much better way to give something back to those that suport you and doesn’t waste everyone’s time (except for a very few).

  • Hit refresh about 250 times during the two hours. Only was given opportunity to answer 3 questions, then times up before I could submit 4th answer. Credited $30. Very frustrating to hear others reporting that they where able to answer all questions and place order and checkout before my first question even loaded. I also feel lucky not being one of those that never got to see the first question. Wish there was a way that every user had equal connectivity. Still, how can I complain about something that was free? Thanks SparkFun.

  • at least i learned alot reading the tutorials

  • What a disappointment. I tried since 9 AM to get to the free day quiz. Now it’s over. Sparkfun was 404 for hours.
    I was going to buy a digital scope from SF. Now I am going to buy a scope directly from the mfg and cancel my SF account.
    Thanks for making me feel like just another sucker.

    • Seriously, what is your problem? Don’t worry I will more than make up for your ridiculous threat of lost business. Time to use Sparkfun to buy parts for my university project.

  • congrats 2 years running and both times your site managed to piss me off and raise my blood pressure to unheard of numbers at least this time I managed to get into your site 5 or 6 times only to get dropped off without ever even seeing the quiz questions.I got a great idea for next years event just take all of your money and just donate it all to the charities and let your customers sales decide which of the charities to get the funds that way I won’t have to rack my brains trying to find out what products I’m going to try and get for free.thanks for the high blood pressure and wasted time.

    • Member since December 2010.
      So exactly how is it that SF has pissed you off 2 years in a row when you’ve only ‘been a member’ since December of last year?
      You’re a “member” alright.

    • Hope SFE shares the results of “FREE DAY”. It would be interesting to see some graphs.

  • Yeah, it sucked for sure. I never could get the site to load.

  • Server never loaded any questions for me. So much for that. Would have liked to get my cart worth of stuff. Guess I have to wait until next pay day.

  • Well, I am happy, however not sure if I just messed myself over. I got one question right, but couldn’t get to the button to get the redeeming code. Is it linked to my account somewhere and I just don’t see it or am I completely out? Awesome freeday btw.

  • That sucked a whole year of waiting for the next free day and 4 hours on the site 1 in advanced and 3 just trying to get through I couldn’t even load the quiz page. I love the site but it was a complete suck fest about 5 mins before it started and is very depressing, to think telling everybody how I was not gonna miss free day this year and how awesome it is. So I’m kinda excited about next year but after this I’m not gonna expect anything better, because more people are going to hear about it that will probably counteract any improvements made to the server. Also amazingly by like some crazy thing of fate I was told the day before that I had today off and later realized that my random day off happened to be on free day, if I didn’t have today off I doubt I would’ve gotten anywhere on my cellphone. Lol and just got an email saying I tried the quiz and answered 0 of the questions I’d like to know when that happened.

  • bogus! I try getting on before lunch to get my certificate and couldn’t. Now i get on and it’s over. WTF Mate?

  • Spent 2 ½ hours just trying to get through to answer a question but just as last year, to no avail.

  • I got in right away, then got booted when I tried to answer the first question. Good test. Shows it failed the stress test.

  • Well, that blows… Never got to even see the quiz page at all! Sad, because all I wanted was my GPS module…. Better luck next year I guess…

  • well aint that crappy. so much for everyone getting in on this. couldn’t get in and now its all gone. Guess I’ll be holding off on that order I was going to place.
    Good will towards users/members…would’ve been a 20$ gift card or something for everyone, not just those that camp out on black friday waiting for the store to open 72 hours in advance.

  • I think SparkFun just got some massive freebies themselves. Calculate the users time in attempted page-loads x # of unsuccessful page loads, multiply that by a freelancer’s wage in a web testing environment.
    Someone got screwed.

  • bah. i had it in my calendar and everything but completely forgot about it. sigh, better luck next year!

  • I know some of you are really angry after reading some of your post and I don’t blame you. I knew i wasn’t going to pass the quiz so i just took loyality funds. You know what would have made FreeDay better. They should have made it were they give you $100 to spend instead of taking the quiz to get it. Now that would have been way better. I had to refresh the website to get in the entire time. Overall, it was worth it.

  • So… Free day… Amid attempting to connect I experienced: 2 login timeouts, 4 times seeing the first quiz question and being unable to get my answer through, 2 correctly answered question, and 1 question I’ll never know whether or not I got right. So out of this I got $20 toward some Arduino shields and something interesting to do/talk about while doing work.

  • I started trying 3 minutes after Free Day opened and finally got in but it ended before I got my first question.
    I was also disappointed that even though I have been a customer from the beginning the system does not recognize this. My email address has not changed but maybe I purchased as a guest, IDK.

  • And yet again, effed by their Egos. Just PLEASE use S3 or similar next year. :-(

  • New rules for next year, Account must be atleast 2 years old to play :)

    • Better yet…member that participates in ‘the game’ must be more than 2 years old mentally! :)

  • So I got two questions answered (and stuck trying to submit the third)….but I tried to get my code and 404 page not found?

  • Lost customer here.

    Complaining for not getting something for free feels a little foolish and greedy.
    But as a promo, I thought, what the heck.
    But shame on me for wasting my time with this silly game. I’ll stick to companies that aren’t ‘luring’ me by appealing to my idiotic side.
    I was going to buy your inventors kit, but I’ll take my money to MakerShed, Digikey, and Mouser.
    Funny thing is, I was set to buy all this stuff a few days ago, before I knew what freeday was, or even what SparkFun was, and waited to see if I could get a discount.
    My time is definitely worth more than this.
    Shame on me for falling into a silly trap!
    If anybody else is interested:
    http://conductiveresistance.com/arduino-starter-kit-comparison-chart/
    See ya; it’s been real!

    • Ya know, nobody forced you to spend time playing the game. It cost you no money – only your own time and if you didn’t think that through ahead of time, why slag on Sparkfun? Your choices if you didn’t want to play the game: a) order yesterday, b) wait a couple of hours and order today. Why is either of those bad? Whining because you didn’t get something free is just bad form. Yeah, I lucked out this year, but not last year. It’s a game. If you don’t like the game, don’t play.

      • Nope. Nobody forced me.
        That’s why I said shame on me. Did you read my post?
        I didn’t slag on SF, I’m slagging on myself for devaluing my own time.

      • Do you understand the concept of wasting someones time? It appears you do not. If someone told you they were going to buy you lunch, and to meet you at X place you would go there assuming there would be some incentive. You arrive, twenty minutes later that friend texts you saying he decided to go somewhere else. According to you, youre out nothing. Youre a pushover

        • It appears you don’t understand the Free Day concept. If you view it the same as a personal commitment from a friend, you are way off track.

        • Troll troll troll your boat…

    • Seems you joined the site yesterday. It has been real! Real short!

    • Pleas read my reply to your posts, submitted ‘standalone’ further down. It was written while I still viewed your words as more than trollbait and weasels.

    • awesome, thanks for the links. found what i was looking for elsewhere for even cheaper than sparkfun. order placed

  • Although I didn’t get anything it would of been nice to even see what the questions where after reading through the whole tutorials section. Maybe SparkFun you could post the questions as a separate quiz with no rewards so at least we could see what they were and test our wit. :)

  • What the frak who thought that it would be that hard. maybe devise a method like the mmo’s use and only allow so many ppl into the quiz at a time or spread free day out and go my member sign up date and let ppl choice

  • Well,
    “You made $17 for free today! Not only that, but we’re giving $4 to charity because of your valiant effort! Yeah!"
    Thats $7 more than the give me money option. and more people got money this year, or i should say parts. and a bonus i donated 4 bucks.
    Some Time/Load charts would be nice too.
    So, what do you say to $300,000 dollars next year? Sound reasonable?

  • I tried for 2.5 hours to login in. no luck You think a tech company would have upgrade the servers for the volume of traffic. I am disappointed.

  • Got my $30 loyalty bucks in less than 10 minutes by opening multiple tabs in Firefox. When one timed out I would open another. If you only used one window you wasted your time.

  • I love that you guys are so generous, and generally awesome, but it really kinda sucks to get up, sit down, try to load the home page at 8:00:05, and completely fail to get anywhere. I’ve been a customer since 1/2006, and I’m not about to stop, but this is more of a random drawing than anything I really have control over.

  • What was the percent increase in people getting loot, given the 50% increase in funds to be looted?
    By the number of “I only got to answer N question(s)” comments, I suspect that the number of successful looters is up by WAY more than 50%!
    BB (N=1, and happy for the discount therefrom)

  • Not disappointed about the awesome giveaway, but personally disappointed I could never get the quiz page to load. A lot like last year. Maybe the 3rd year will be the charm?
    Need to have friends with proxy servers in Colorado. =)

  • how do i get my code if i lost the page that showed the code?

  • What was with the cash giveaway bar display anyway? In the last 15minutes of the giveaway, I finally had some traction and answered a few questions (took all of one minute, all the rest of the time just waiting and resubmitting). In the last 5 minutes it showed around 50% complete on the giveaway bar as my 5th question finally loaded and then it jumped to 100% complete and the was giveaway over! Either something was wrong with the calculation/display, or something hinky happened there in the last few minutes.

  • just like last year. being in europe reduced my chance to 0.0001% to get even one question. on global scale only those living within a certain range of sparkfun stand a chance to get anything. im starting to hate Free-Day. sofar it only dissapoints many non-american users.
    few ideas for next year: Cloud-computing,Limit to number of parralel quiz takers(maybe with a cue system),limit per region, disabling all of the site except the free-day(no new customers,orders or browsing just the login and the quiz).
    as many have said before me:
    good idea,lousy execution

  • I curious what everyone did to get through (that did get through). Was it just clicking and waiting? A special browser plugin to increase timeouts? A sacrifice of some type?
    I got to the two buttons for loyalty or quiz, and that was as far as I got.

    • Not that I had much luck, but I tried…
      - Direct connection from a New Zealand IP.
      - SOCKS proxy via a US host.
      - VPN via a US Internet connection.
      For all those complaining about people in the US having an advantage… I have no idea what they are talking about. Locality had nothing to do with it. The servers were not accepting sockets, an additional 200ms round-trip to the other side of the world wasn’t going to make any real difference compared to the browser timeout.
      I managed to get $10, when the servers mysteriously became responsive, literally moments before the end of the quiz.

  • http://fandlelctronics.blogspot.com/2011/01/first-post-what-is-this-shit.html

    • free day is always the samething… waste of time, frustration day, sparkfun on trends, f5, stuff like that … that’s why I believe a normal day is better than free day… imagine what you would be doing if it was not free day… but you got up a lot excited for no reason, saw an irc channel with around 1300 and less than 5% of them could speak… and the best: GOT NO FREE MONEY… free day means free stress.
      last year, I was kinda nice about free day, I got nothing but was a nice thing to make, you know, give money for free etc… I accepted that… but this time again, same stuff, I was able to only see one question… I answered it without even thinking…
      but got nothing… after answering this first question got a window saying “free day is over” lol
      thank you sparkfun for making something you can’t handle…
      free day was like 9Am - 11am mst… wich means 2 hours… if had no delay, no errors, nothing… it would end at 10 minutes or less =x

  • Free Day was just a big Ole' “loading page….” sequence for 2 ½ hours. Which does the opposite of it’s intent… driving me away from Sparkfun and over to the 30+ other competitors.
    Love you guys, but that was lame and poorly executed.
    I had promo launches on 2001 technology that loaded better under stress.

  • This server upgrade sucks, you should get your money back. Waste 3 hours just to answer the first question then “free day is over”.

  • Next time, please just give the money away in a lottery. At least then we won’t have the illusion of this actually being a fair challenge.
    The thought and giveaway were nice ideas, but really, really poor execution. In the end, I think you just ended up angering more people than you made happy.
    For the record, I tried for over an hour, and submitted the first question 6 times (the number of times it actually loaded the first question)

    • Lottery?? :P Better this way where people have to earn it. Offer a lottery and you’ll have non-hobbyist come out of the woodwork to sign up for free stuff.

  • Wow, that was a waste of time……..
    2 hours of refreshing for nothing….

  • Too bad, couldn’t even load the front page…

  • Managed to get only to question 2… But then again by the time I pressed the answer the quiz was over… pencils down…
    Site was down all the time… refreshed like a million times and spend all this hours for only $10… :( I could get only $10 if I choosen to go by the years I’m registered client… :((((

  • freeday :(

  • Wow that was fast - the negative replies that is.

  • wow, once again could not get through and on top of that they make me do homework… i was really really counting on this free day for a project i am doing. pretty lame.

  • Well that was time wasted for me….did get to answer one question. Hope our pain serves the Sparky IT guys well. If you are going to brag about how large your server is best just lay it on the table next to a tape measure. Hey just for grins post the quiz so we can take it for self-esteem. Hope you'all had fun!

  • Thank you Sparkfun for the $37! Those questions were pretty fair, as I’m an electronic engineering student and either knew the answers right out or had to revisit some previous notes from other classes. Hope this happens again next year, it was fun :)

  • Good fun! Didn’t get nothing! Had a blast nonetheless hitting F5.
    Last year, Sparkfun didn’t give me anything for free, and they got my money later.
    This year, Sparkfun didn’t give me anything for free, and they’re still going to get my money.

  • I came,
    I saw,
    It crashed,
    and when I came back it was over.
    So sad…

  • I couldn’t even get to the first question - well, it was fun to dream, but if it really does take 2 hours of continual button mashing I don’t think I’ll bother if there’s another free day next year. :/
    However, thanks SparkFun for a super generous and nifty promotion! Full points for Awesomeness! :)

  • I spent 2+ hours trying to connect and ended up only getting to answer 2 questions. Even after I was able to login and see my first question, it took another 20 minutes to be able to submit my answer. I walked away with $7. I guess I should consider myself lucky!
    I thought the free money was to help beginners get acquainted with electronics. The questions were NOT geared towards the ‘beginner’.

  • bummer man, no free cash for me. I would love to see the statistics on the load we all sent SparkFun. Like customer locations, successful customer locations, total number of customers, etc.

  • Enter, but in the answer of the first quiz say the quiz done!…. :(

  • cant complain too much about missing free money i suppose, but you disappointed, or atleast frustrated the hell out of, many of your customers.
    next time have some people who know what they are doing run your servers.
    after several hours of trying, i got to answer several questions, and got credit for none. thanks.

  • I am amazed that people were able to take the quiz. After 2 hours of trying to just get to the quiz, I finally got my first question, answered it (about pullup resistors) and then got the “pencils down” page. I love Sparkfun, and will always be a fan, but you really need to look into cloud services for your site if you want to be able to handle these huge loads. I am going to re-post my comment from last year’s free day… It is still valid: “So, can we expect to see the Sparkfun servers featured for sale in the "Dings and Dents” category soon? Even though my order didn’t go through, I think this was an amazing offer. You guys should consider hosting your site or parts of it in the cloud (Amazon EC2, images in S3, comments in simpledb, use CloudFront to host content closer to the users, etc.) Let’s do it again next year!"

  • well that was a bad experience for sure. wasted 2 hours trying to get to the quiz and then get it to take my answers. could answer 2 questions until game over…
    wont even bother ordering something because shipping seems to be higher now than when i checked some days ago and i would have to pay customs on top.
    so here is $20 for whoever comes first:
    276bf52f76dc

  • Thanks for the free day Sparkfun!
    I believe someone mentioned that you can retrieve your promotion code at a later point. I have already exited out of the page thinking that there would be a link for me to get back to it on my account.
    I can’t seem to find it anymore. :-/

    • It shows up at checkout when you go to pay, its on the right side of the page

  • I’m shocked people tried for 2 hours. I tried for about 15 minutes and gave up. I figured if I ever did get through to a single page I would grab the free money. The quiz seemed like a no-go with so much server load.
    Good idea, poor execution.

  • Totally uncool I have been trying from the last 2 hrs and could never log into page, by the time I was in the free day was over. Totally sucks

    • I missed it D: like the last commenter I was trying to get in and it wouldn’t load for me, this is sad

  • awesome, an hour to get to the first question, read it, and click my answer, pressing submit and attempting to resend that answer for another 90 minutes, and finally seeing ‘pencils down’ when i thought perhaps it may have moved on to question two… /cry
    oh well, still think it’s a wonderful idea, just wish i could have submitted my only quiz answer :(
    doesn’t help much that i’ve been trying for almost 30 minutes now to put this comment through either…

  • I should have took the 10 $. It was the only question i could answer

  • I start order parts from sparkfun since 2008, but for unknown reason, they count me as two year customer

  • oooooooooooo no its over…not our “free Day”

  • In Spain… no connect
    bad server

  • Bugger, after 5 minute cycle home all gone. Maybe next year, although thats what I said last year :-S

  • That was sooooo frustrating, I couldn’t validate my first answer too …

  • I was here watching the countdown clock tick down.. when it said “NOW!” I tried to get to the quiz. Kept getting timeout errors, website errors, kept having to log-in again. Finally got a quiz question (wrong).. by the time I answered question 2 it was over. Fought with the site for the entire time the promotion ran.. like many others.. and couldn’t do a thing. Pretty underwhelming.
    Next year, see if you can hook the site up to Deep Thought or the Earth Mark II..

  • I got in, took my $30 freebee and ran… only took about 10 mins :) . When the servers were erroring before 9AM, I knew there was no point in even trying the quiz. It sucks that I slacked on ordering my first order… a couple weeks sooner would have got me another $10 :P .

  • :( :( :( Aside from the hundreds of “something broke” errors, page not connecting, sparkfun homepage the worst part is I never even saw a question. Forget the money I would have gotten I didn’t even get a chance to have some fun… :(

  • You guys should seriously upgrade your servers…… spent 2-3 hours getting nothing but no-reply / timeout from the servers… and I’m sitting on 100Mbit fiber line, so the problems isn’t at my end :)

  • Frencil said that you wouldn’t get forced to log back in! BUT, when Free Day started, I GOT KICKED OUT!
    It took me an HOUR to get logged back in, the $%&! quiz wouldn’t load,
    AND, JUST now, I got to a page that actually loaded, and the banners said “FREE DAY Is LIVE!” and I thought “Holy $#!+, I can still get in on this!” so I logged in.
    It took me 2 SECONDS.
    And then the banners suddenly said: Free Day is OVER!
    I don’t know how I could possibly express my disappointment in words!
    P.S. Get some airbags for next time! Your servers were crashing almost every frickin' second!

  • It would be great if you could post the quiz somewhere. I just want the quiz really…(denial: free stuff sucks anyways)

  • Several hundred refresh attempts later, I was never able to log in, and thus unable to take advantage of free day, again. :-(

  • I saw fewer successful page loads than last year…That is, if you don’t count the little “Something Broke” messages. Soon it got to where even the little flaming computer graphic was broken!
    I never saw a single question, but it was fun while it lasted. Thanks for the opportunity, even if the Network Gods weren’t smiling. Better luck next time.

  • Dang there are some really bitter people. Bummed I am, pissed off, NO. Thanks SFE

  • Last year I spent 4 hours trying to add something to my cart. At least this year I was able to successfully add 1 thing to my cart in the 3 hours I wasted.