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September 7, 2008
News - New Product Friday: Actob…
about a year ago
The glyphs and nomenclature of the dozenal system are disputed and incomplete. Some of the proposals are impractical in real life (e.g. rotated-2, for dek, is orientationally ambiguous; backwards-3, for el, is problematic on transparent media). Otherwise, I’d agree with you! Duodecimal is very promising.
1) Sparkfun, You RULE!
2) Kudos for choosing aluminum and stainless!
3) Worms and racks, please.
4) I’m in the U.S. Regardless, I am foaming at the mouth, twitching with rage and disbelief, that anyone would continue to promulgate U.S./Imperial units of measure. If nothing else, the arbitrarily changing denominators on Imperial rules and drill bits, and the old numbered/lettered standards, are a spectacular waste of labor and source of accident/error. It’s hard to find metric tooling and supplies in the U.S., and that might even be a niche opportunity that Sparkfun could dominate. I’m currently awaiting a dubious set of miniature metric taps and dies that are on a slow boat from China. I would have preferred to order from an outfit like Sparkfun for faster delivery and the implicit quality assurance that you provide. Sparkfun is pro-active and pro-education. Please get on board with the metric system!
about 2 years ago
Apparently, the RJ-45 plug may emit a soft click sound when it is only half-inserted into the handle. When the plug is half-inserted like this, the device may work intermittently. It fooled me for a good 10 minutes or so. Each time I pointed the scanner at a barcode, it would beep loudly, blink, and refuse to scan anything. I felt dumb when I realized it wasn’t plugged in properly.
While I’m happy with this barcode scanner, in the future it might be cool to have a scanner that supports Stacked Omnidirectional GS1 Databar, POSTNET/PLANET/IMB/OneCode/4CB, and maybe QR.
I like that the auditory beep can be silenced, and that this device doesn’t require a software driver. Cool product!
about 3 years ago
Thank you for making available MakerBeam in North America for a relatively affordable price.
It would be useful if SparkFun sold the longer M3 T-bolts and cap nuts. MakerBeam now sells 12 mm studs, but their website suggests that shipping alone from the European Union to the United States will exceed EUR 17.50 (USD 23), which makes that a mighty expensive little bag of screws for those of us not importing large quantities.
Hopefully, SparkFun can help build market demand for these mechanical prototyping kits so that the economics will improve for everyone. I welcome SparkFun’s growing selection of mechanical parts and actuators!
Edit: I would also welcome a clear anodized version of MakerBeam, if it doesn’t drive the price up too much. Anodization at home is possible, but it involves hazardous materials; and I’ve not figured out the proper safety and environmental protocols. So a commercially-finished product is desirable, if you can offer it.
News - What We Learned at ERP Bo…
about 4 years ago
“There ain’t no way, but the hard way. So get used to it."
Many advise you to flee outside solutions. Heed this. To buy what you need, you must understand it yourself. Cultivating this understanding is arduous and expensive. By the time you’ve done so, you might as well have written the software, too. Outsiders oft lack the patience, competence, and incentive to work with you in the way you need.
As others said, one indication of bad enterprise software is employee turnover. Bad software embodies invalid assumptions. As a result, the "system” puts your employees into conflict. Rather than cope with internal and external conflict, good workers leave. Others retire on the job.
Also, your business agility becomes limited by your software agility.
Rise to the occasion in-house. Make your people strong. Hire, seek consultation, experiment. There is no easy way out but delusion; and that is the path to Enron, et al.
It never gets easier, it only gets different. So love the journey!
about 4 years ago
A few words of warning: The WiFly Shield is a 3V device. MANY Arduino boards are 5V devices. 5V Arduino boards are even listed as ‘related products’ for the 3V WiFly Shield. DO NOT PLUG A 3V WiFly SHIELD INTO A 5V MAIN BOARD UNLESS YOU HATE MONEY.
Last year I bought an “Arduino Main Board” and an “Arduino WiFly Shield.” I foolishly plugged them together and started programming — because of course they’re designed to work together, right? There goes $90 down the toilet! The 5V main board signals seem to have killed the NXP SC16IS750 SPI-UART bridge on the 3V WiFly Shield: the bridge does not respond to SPI commands.
I should have double checked the data sheets before plugging these ‘related products’ together. The boards should have been designed so that 5V and 3V devices could not be connected accidentally. The website should have overtly warned that the WiFly Shield is not compatible with most Arduino boards. Shoulda, shoulda, shoulda… Buyer beware!
News - What is it you say you do…
about 4 years ago
Mix and match as appropriate:
“SparkFun makes it easy to build custom electronics."
"We provide tools, materials, and instruction."
"We also sponsor fun events to build enthusiasm and innovation."
"We cater to novices and busy professionals in (NUMBER OF) countries."
"You should come visit us at (EVENT) next month. Bring the kids. It’ll be fun! I’ll hook you up with free tickets. Here’s my card. Check out the videos on our website!"
"Check this out! (HOLD UP PHONE/TABLET) Here’s a photo of our equipment being launched into space by a customer. Here’s a video of a killer robot created by a high school student. Here’s a photo of a custom built industrial whatchamacallit that does goodthing."
"Unlike massive industrial suppliers, we make it easy and personable."
"We sell starter kits and building blocks."
"Our community of customers provides product reviews on our website."
"We have an online forum where our staff and customers show off and help each other out.”
News - OSHW Definition V1.0
about 4 years ago
When is SparkFun going to start selling these open-hardware nose rings I keep hearing about? I want mine with a banana plug, for grounding to my antistatic workstation.
I like the (H) logo. It looks good in one color, reduces legibly, and is sufficiently generic to include non-electronic items. It’s also not jagged. And it lends itself to ASCII representation: (H).
If we see only a capacitor symbol, I think that reflects our tribal cognitive bias. Would a mechanical engineer, chemist, or physicist immediately think of a capacitor and feel excluded when presented with the logo? I think not. Open hardware (H) logo for the win!
News - Arduino: The Documentary
about 4 years ago
It would be nice if Sparkfun would promote better alternatives to this limiting board.
Can you suggest alternatives to Arduino for users of Mac OS X?
Arduino development tools work on the Mac without much hassle, and the developer documentation is openly available. I liked the fact that I could peruse the development kit documentation before investing time and $$$.
I’m grateful that Sparkfun supports the Arduino platform. I’m grateful that Arduino works with the Mac. I welcome uC alternatives that don’t require Windows and a serial port.
about 7 years ago
AAHH MY EYES! IT BURNS! IT BURNS! Pro tip: Bend the leads on the LED by 90 degrees prior to mounting, so that the axis of the LED is parallel to the circuit board. That’s what I would do, if I still had my eyesight. Excellent kit, otherwise. My compliments to whoever was responsible for the silk screen. The silk screen was very informative and greatly aided assembly.
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