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Member Since: February 17, 2006

Country: United States



Pololu Corporation LVBots (Las Vegas Robotics Club)



  • Those red benches look nice. Are they ESD safe, and can you share where you got them?

    Also, nice shirt in that second-to-last picture!

    • Jan
  • Multiple people have expressed concerns that succumbing to some of the OSHW hype is not a viable business strategy, and you are offering this ?success is not guaranteed? banality. By posting such a straw man argument (implying crwper is asking for a guarantee of success) you are strengthening what I suspect is many developers? gut suspicion that ?[being] ? good at both!? is actually extremely unlikely for professional product designers.
    On a slightly related note, I think OSHW supporters do a disservice to at least some of their stated ideals if they turn this into too much of an ?us vs. them? argument. It?s good for someone to create something valuable and give it to the rest of us, but let?s not forget how great it is for someone to create (and allow us to buy) something so valuable we want to pay for it.
    - Jan

  • I have not spoken to macetech about this, but I’m pretty skeptical about some OSHW claims, and high up on the list are claims like “altruistic motives” or “large amount of original designs”. As with open-source software, a lot of the corporate support for anything free will come from those who sell the complementary products or services; if the majority of a company’s revenue comes from manufacturing and distribution, it will want the cost of product development to be as low as possible. I think it’s great for individuals who are spending time on personal projects anyway to let others benefit from their work, and I think it’s great for companies like Sparkfun to help coordinate some of that or deal with the logistics and distribution issues that a hobbyist would not want to bother with. However, I think some of the claimed benefits of OSHW are exaggerated (e.g. OldFar-SeeingArt’s “if you create a cool widget, you are more likely in todays market to be successful with the open approach rather than the ‘try to hide’ everything approach”).
    - Jan

  • I can play: The first thing that comes to mind is an Atlas-bot that would, say, not solve a line maze while balancing a big rock above itself and eventually drop the rock on itself. A balancing bot much smaller than the rock would add to the comedy and drama value. That at least seems realistically doable (I must admit–I’m slightly tempted now!), but who’s going to spend time and money making that? I guess I just don’t think it’s actually that much of a challenge to be destructive if the problem is not well-constrained. And how do you judge the “completeness of destruction” of a burned robot compared to a smashed robot?
    Fundamentally, though, I object to the apparent disrespect for good engineering evidenced by your promotion of failure at pointless tasks. As long as it’s just talk about how big of a fish you caught or what kind of superpower you would like, it’s mostly harmless fun; once you start celebrating failure, you dilute the value of true achievement. I wish you would use the platform you have to design and promote better contests (e.g. your AVC) rather than this sort of thing that even you guys seem to be treating as kind of a joke.
    - Jan

  • I think this is a terrible idea, and the appeal to being different is a poor justification. Suicide turns your normal life cycle on it’s head, but that doesn’t make it worthwhile.
    I also disagree with the notions that coding gurus have an advantage in more traditional robot contests, that coding gurus having an advantage is a bad thing, and that being good at coding is somehow in opposition to being creative. I also doubt that this contest design of yours does away with the guru’s advantage: the self-destruction requirement is a good incentive not to invest a lot of time or effort into hardware and rather to give the simplest robot some character by doing a lot of stuff in code that you don’t have to rebuild after every test or demonstration.
    - Jan

  • I don’t see your post as boastful, and I hope you continue to share these kinds of developments at SparkFun. I don’t see the comments here as that critical and negative, and even if they are, so what? If not for your last sentence, I wouldn’t have posted, and I suspect there are many more like me. The post was definitely interesting, inspiring, and more of a cool project than some LEDs in a CD case.
    - Jan

  • Doug,
    I think you’re having a stupid emotional reaction and are trying to rationalize it by writing a long letter that you might think sounds rational but that is obviously not reasonable. It’s sad that so many have the same kind of mentality that you do. Let’s look at just a few of your ridiculous claims:
    “… with nothing to show for your money except massive amounts of ill will …” If you are remotely objective, you have to see that SparkFun’s achievement has created massive amounts of good will, too.
    “I do not believe 1000 people got ahead of me in the first 3 seconds you were open for business.” Isn’t it clear there were at least tens of thousands of people around the world trying to submit orders in the first few seconds? They were all as “first come” as you were.
    “… only to come up a loser with nothing to show for 6 hours.” That was your choice to keep trying after it was obvious there were many people doing the same thing. If the servers would have worked infinitely quickly, you still would have spent the first four hours and gotten nothing.
    - Jan

  • Nice flame! Makes me think of Wyatt’s Torch.
    - Jan

  • I’d like to stick with that 1 in 10M case since even then, there is no justification for being bothered. We’re talking about information you choose to disclose, presumably because you think keeping it private won’t benefit you more than the joy of seeing others benefit from your work. You would never have gotten any of the $10M anyway, and how is one guy getting the $10M (meaning many others must have benefited, too) any different than a million poor students getting $10 of value from your contribution and not paying you anything for it?
    Being bothered by your scenario would be like giving someone an extra apple you have and then regretting it because they really enjoyed it. You were sick of apples, so you couldn’t possibly enjoy it as much: your only alternative was to let it rot. Those who want to make exceptions for “commercial” use are basically saying you can only have the apple as long as you don’t enjoy it too much.

  • It’s great that you are not excepting commercial use since that is the kind of use that most proves its worth to the world. Shouldn’t everyone hope others make $10M real dollars?
    - Jan

No public wish lists :(