For the MS fans out there...

http://msdn.microsoft.com/robotics/

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    --Looks like vaporware to me; nowhere on the page could I see anything like what the program actually does or looks like. I'll stick with Parallax I think...
--
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : Dedicated to Spinachio,
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : goddess of spinach..
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"steamer"

what about download?
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Padu wrote:

You had to know it was coming. I've had a number of Microsoft employees buying product recently. There seems to be increased interest all-around.
-- Gordon
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Gordon McComb wrote:

Microsoft is _desperate_ to find markets other than Windows-on-PC. This includes a herculean - and doomed - effort to appear relevant in the embedded systems market. I get an average of one call or email per month from Microsoft recruiters. I regularly post these, and my replies, on c.a.e and elsewhere, see for instance:
<http://groups.google.com/group/comp.arch.embedded/msg/478992eb30ca7da3
and
<http://www.larwe.com/technical/wipeoff.html
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    --Better get your patents in good order; you can bet your next paycheck they're busy dissecting everything you sold them. Next will be reverse engineering to brand their own version and undercut your retail price. Ya know, the thing they remind me of the most is the China/Harbor Freight model of entrepreneurship. I ain't buying it any more, heh.
--
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : Dedicated to Spinachio,
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : goddess of spinach..
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steamer wrote:

Not much to dissect in a couple pieces of CAD-cut PVC. Budget Robotics doesn't sell the fancy-dancy stuff.
If you watch the (somewhat long) video, it's clear their software is really for factory automation. It's cool it can also be used on small autonomous mobile robots, and maybe someday it will become a standard for that. But for now I see the bigger business in writing software for running conveyor belts that push candy bits around the factory. There's more $$ for everyone in automation than in small robots, and it can be almost as fun.
You have to give MS credit for calling it the "Robotics" group, as that will get the attention of the press, and will help propel the software to deeper uses. It seemed to have captivated the developers who worked on the SDK -- you know, stuff they'd actually have a hard time keeping their NDA over. How interested would people be if they called it the "Factory Automation and Embedded Applications" group? Yawn. No one cares, though that's where the money is.
I'll depart with some of the anti-MS crowd here and say that 1) their entry into the robotics space is overdue, 2) no doubt the open source community will rise to the occasion and copy what they do and offer a Mono-like alternative so where's the beef, and 3) I don't fear MS nearly as much as someone like Google. MS is K-Mart to Google's Wal-Mart. (And no, I don't shop at Wal-Mart, but I do shop at Harbor Freight. Go figure.)
-- Gordon
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Hi,
It`s nice to get a perspective from a professional at ground level.

I`m wondering if they`ve noticed something we (homedwellers) haven`t like no home robot helpers around yet.

But most PC users use Windows don`t they? This would appear to be a "natural" introduction to Robotics from this very platform - there is potential here from the Windows drones.

So what you`re really suggesting here is that we can argue the toss.

Thanks again, all positive critiscm of course,
----------------------------------------------------------------------- Ashley Clarke -------------------------------------------------------
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    (SNIP)     Interesting! So they're planning to break into what would be considered a "mature" technology, eh? Next thing you know they'll start building cars! :-)
--
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : Dedicated to Spinachio,
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : goddess of spinach..
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steamer wrote:

They won't, but their software will. Can you imagine a robotic production line at GM or Ford stopping while they reboot the host computers from their hourly GP fault? I can hear some operator saying oh oh, got to ctrl alt delete the assembly line again! ;-)
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"Shawn B."

It's amazing how stigmas stick forever. Reminds me on how the old FIATs are still remembered, even though the new ones are one of the best cars around.
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Padu wrote:

Yeah, really. MS should pay me for the number of times I've come to their defense lately! Seriously, I have to intentionally restart my XP machine once a week, just to be on the safe side OTOH, with Windows 98 and ME, I had to reboot many times during the day. There's no question that software was crap.
It's really simple: MS will not take over the world of robotics. They can't take over the world of the Internet, and they've tried. But they can bring a legitimacy to certain types of process control software. MS's entry into any market tends to stir interest in that market. And that market grows as a result. What's there to complain about that? All you folks that were bemoaning the slow pace of hobby robotics, and this group, don't bitch that MS sees an opportunity and is exploiting it. Here's your chance to catch some of the wind they'll produce by entering the race, and you can always improve on what they've done.
-- Gordon
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They still have way too many security holes. Debugging a ms machine is a mess due lack of proper tools and abstraction layers. Performance and stability is still lacking compared to alternatives.

They will bring complex and flawed defacto protocols into the arena. And then they will use any oppertunity to rip the money out of people without any gain for the customer (win-loose vs win-win).

If you build on their IP you will be owned by MS licenses. And any future whim from them. You can't trust them.
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    --Well, yes and no. It's Microsoft we're talking about here; remember the Xbox? If someone finds a way to "improve" it they're sure to sue. I'll stick with open architecture, thanks! :-)
--
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : Dedicated to Spinachio,
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : goddess of spinach..
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steamer wrote:

Modern factory automation is anything but mature. It's one of the fastest growing industries in the world.
The *idea* of automation is hardly new. But so is an industry like carmaking. You can't say the technologies behind cars is standing still. The industry continues to evolve, which keeps people buying new cars. As factories world over change out their old mechanical processes for computer-controlled ones, the smart folks are waiting with their hands outstretched to take their dollars.
-- Gordon
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On Thu, 22 Jun 2006 11:24:51 -0700, Gordon McComb

I suspect MS is looking to make use of their hardware Xbox for a hardware control platform. There is a home automation application called Homeseer whose developers have made a box running embeded windows for professional control setups. I suspect that MS may be doing the same thing to control various types of systems in large buildings and industrial settings. I doubt that there will be much new stuff I/O wise, but they may add some slick GUI simulation that do-it-yourself types don't spend time on developing.
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