White Box Robotics Pre-order

the Artist Formerly Known as Kap'n Salty wrote:


I only "come off that way" to people who disagree with me but do not have the background to refute. :-) There is a lot of psychobable about why people may feel the way they do, but it always has to do with their own issues. I agree with Eleanor Roosevelt, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

You are discounting the fact that I may enjoy writing.

I do not know Steve Waltz, I guess I should be thankful. I always did well in debate at school and really find personal crap in a topical discussion irritating.

My skin is thick enough, it is just a lecture about "ad hominem" attacks or respond in kind, and I'd rather not stoop to that level.

You fail to recognize that this was the intended tone. The point had to be made. When people forget they are discussing a topic, and bring their person feelings into it, it makes for a crappy discussion. Why not just bring in "you're so dumb..." jokes.

Hint: Not only you :-)

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mlw wrote:

You assume a lot, more than your experience in these matters should warrant. You're not yet the expert, so stop pretending you are. Both of your assertions are meaningless because they are your perspective only. If you want to state opinions, call them opinions. If you want to state fact, get some. Do some market research.
After you do your research, you can explain why there are $800 hexapod walker kits, and $100 hexapod walker kits -- and a bunch in between these price points. They've all been on the market for quite some time; they are selling well enough for continued manufacture.

No, he's making an observation, and not a unique one at that. Several others have made the same. He's not calling you stupid (that would be an ad hominem attack) but saying you are closed minded to the people that make up this hobby. Since he's one of those people, it's a valid statement.

Why should anyone try to refute this? You've just invented "pride of accomplishment" as your argument. Out of just one sentence you previously said, no less!

Hey, you're starting to spell hobbyist correctly now!
-- Gordon
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Gordon McComb wrote:

[...]
Using a spell checker?
"Correct" spelling is really one of convention.
Thus Americans have a different idea as to what constitutes "correct spelling" than do the English.
-- John
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JGCASEY wrote:

In this case, John, there is no progression in the term "hobby" to make "hobbier" and "hobbiest." It's hobbyist, a person who pursues a hobby.
A minor point, but for a person struggling to be better understood, a small step in the right direction, in my opinion.
-- Gordon
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Gordon McComb wrote:

Mmmm, not sure of the rules for turning verbs into adjectives,
fussy fussiest
bossy bossiest
easy easiest
Before someone decided to codify the common spelling conventions there were no spelling mistakes. If you write the way you speak it actually can carry more information such as accent.
In fact if you scan newsgroups for "hobbiest" you might find it is "correct" by common use.
A "robot hobbyist" likes robots.
A "robot hobbiest" is even more hobbier.
Anyway its all a bit off topic so I better end it here?
-- John
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Gordon McComb wrote:

You are not qualified to comment on me or my experience. Try to stick with the topic. The whitebox marketing strategy.

Expert in what? Who are you to say who is an expert and who is not? I am stating an opinion. Marketing is all about opinion based on aggregates and observations.

I was stating my opinion as to why I don't think whitebox has a viable market. I detailed my assumptions about the constraints on what I see as the market. You are welcome to disagree with my assumptions, but that doesn't give you the right to comment on me.
If you don't agree say so and offer some wisdom on the subject. I HATE that you always fail to participate in a rational discussion and always try to imply something derogatory about me because you are unwilling or unable to discuss the topic at hand. I think I have practiced a great deal of restraint, but I'm getting sick of it. Please debate the topics like an adult or refrain from posting response to my posts.
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mlw wrote:

No, you made statements you wanted to be implicitly understood as fact. When you make yourself out to be the subject matter expert in so many things, you should expect others to question your assertions.
I question your approach, not your opinions. I couldn't care less about your opinions.

I don't feel you've been open to anyone else's wisdom, quite frankly.
-- Gordon
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Gordon McComb wrote:

MLW, this sounds harsher than I meant. I meant the opinions over the course of the last several messages, not your opinions in general.
-- Gordon
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Gordon McComb wrote:

I have *NO* problem with people questioning anything I say, if they can offer information or counterpoint, I welcome it 100%.

If you don't like my opinions, please, by all means don't read them. My approach is none of your concern, nor is any opinion you may have of me or anyone else. Statements made by the wisest man or the village idiot can be equally flawed or true. Take all things based on the merit of the argument, not the falicy of authority.
You always play the "insult the poster" and not "refute the point" play. Maybe that passes for intellect or wit in your circle of idiots, but in a real environment where people think for a living, it indicates you are a moron who can't differentiate the subject of the debate from the people doing the debate, and you wouldn't last a minute.
I'll let it go if you will, but I am sick of you talking trash instead of discussing the topic.

Again, you are saying something about *me* and not about the topics. And for the record, I believe you probably lack the wisdom to contribute in the first place.
OK, I'm done. If you wish to be civil, I won't get nasty again first.

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mlw wrote:

Actually, New Guy, Gordon has a long record here of helpful and informative postings that go back for years.
Your history here, on the other hand, has been both brief and abrasive, and -- I hate to break this to you -- it has nothing to do with your ideas. In fact, I don't think anybody has managed to make so many enemies around here in so short a period since Fractal Robot Guy -- which is a shame since FRG was a total crank, and you clearly are not.
It's Usenet, after all, so you can post whatever and however, and as vociferously as you please, but I don't think you're being taken very seriously around here.
--
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the Artist Formerly Known as Kap'n Salty wrote:

If you say so.

You know, it doesn't matter if I am "taken seriously" on usenet, does it really?
On a serious note, I may be -- what did you say -- "abrasive?" that may be true, but have my facts been incorrect? Have my opinions, while perhaps contrary, been poorly considered?
I disagree with a lot of the conventional wisdom on this group, and in doing so, have had a large number of insults sent my way. Hey, I don't care about being insulted, per se', but I do dislike insults being used instead of argument. For instance:
In response to a statement, I get this: "You obviously don't know what you are talking about."
Now, the above helps no one. It is missing any sort of foundation and is meaningless. However, if someone responds:
"I think you are mistaken, because ....."
That is a valid response, it isn't merely an insult.
So, you may call be abrasive, and that's OK, I may be at times, I'm too old to change. I'm going to be one of those old men pelting pidgeon's with stale bread, but I have attempted to discuss things in a rational informitive way. I should appologize for some of my more angry responses to some of the more irritating posts, but I didn't start the personal stuff.
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mlw wrote:

At times, absolutely. At times not -- and I occasionally even agree with you.

You don't get this kind of response because you're "challenging conventional wisdom". This kind of thing generally comes after a heated exchange in which you've refused to concede a point that you should have conceded some time ago, or simply agreed to disagree.
A simple case in point: "Microcontrollers are too expensive". While you may have perfectly legitimate reasons to not want to use microcontrollers in your project, you state your opinion on cost issues as if it were a fact, and simply fail to respond when others give you actual numbers that refute this. You have answered other arguments by simply accusing the other side of being "pedantic". Which would be fine, except the argument itself wasn't pedantic while you chose to participate in it, was it?
You come off as if you are trying to sound like an authority on a topic to which you are clearly something of a newcomer, at least in recent years. Yes -- Denning Robotics... -- I know. But the repeated references to Denning are starting to wear a little thin, and are beginnning to sound like name dropping (and occasionally like attempts to argue from authority), whether you intend this or not. You and I are about the same age, and we both know things have changed greatly since the mid-80s.
All of this tends to lead folks to conclude that you are here primarily to win debates at any cost and have no real interest in exchange of ideas. Things get nasty, you get called a "turd", told you have no idea what you're talking about, people start sticking pins into wax dolls with your likeness, etc., and there you go. What can I say? You end up getting fractal robot guy treatment.

Of course it is, but as I've pointed out, insults are never the initial response.
It's not as if you showed up here, announced your intention to do a PC-only robot, and we all responded as one: "FOAD YOU BASTARD!". There are other people around here who have done PC-only robots.

Well, sure -- but expect responses to be equally abrasive, and to occasinally escalate to nastiness.

Oh cripes, grandpa -- you can't be much older than me.

As a nit: I'm not calling you abrasive -- I'm saying your postings come off that way. I don't know you personally, so I'm not really qualified to comment on your personality. Maybe you've just spent to much time in cola, dunno. Personally, I think os advocacy ngs are bad for the psyche.
Here -- because I'm just that kind of guy, you can have the last word.
--
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the Artist Formerly Known as Kap'n Salty wrote:

It is easy to say you think someone's ideas or opinions are "poorly considered," but without an explanation as to why, the statement doesn't count. This is something on this newsgroup that amazes me. No one seems to ever support what they say with any fact or argument.
If I say you are a 12' tall gorrilla without any basis what so ever, it would be a meaningless statement. A mere disagreement about something does not mean that something is "poorly considered." You have to understand why there is a disagreement.

If I backed down every time people disagreed with me, I would never have accomplished anything in my life.
It is OK to disagree with someone, is it not? You and I may disagree, and we may both think each other wrong, but more often than not two seemingly opposing positions can both have merrit given different perspectives. It is not clear that either side of a disagreement is "misinformed" without any clear evidence.

What does a microcontroller cost? That is the question. There is unit cost. There is the cost of any tools required. There is a cost involved with integrating it into your design (communications, power, etc.). There is also a psychological cost of dividing development across dissimilar platforms.
From my perspective, the cost is too high.

The tone in which I write is based on years of writing whitepapers, documentation, and business proposals, and is the *only* way to write about a subject. One does not write a technical document in a wishy washy "I'm writing this but don't really know what I'm doing," tone. So you don't like my tone, or feel challened by it? I'm sorry, that's your own problem and you'll have to cope with it on your own time.
As for "expert," no one on usenet is an expert. All statements should be met with skeptisism and checked for accuracy. Challenge the poster with facts and reason if they are incorrect.

I would say that at least I provide support for my arguments, the reasons behind what I say.

And you think that is a reasonable way to behave?

Oh yes they are and you know it.

No, but when I've had the nerve, the nerve! to say I don't need micro-controllers, what was the response?

I don't mind abrasive, just not personal. Only in the last few posts have I allowed myself to get personal and I don't like it.

yea, but I'm stubborn too.

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mlw wrote:

<snip>
I do appreciate the backgrounder. Always helpful. Since day one you've used a handle, and even your new Web page doesn't say who you are. Only by looking you up in whois is it possible to even find out your name. You can't say you've been open about who you are, or what you've done.
In any case, my work in this field is more than two books. I've written 5 or 6. I've edited a series of robot books, I've contributed regular columns on robotics to four different magazines, I've written professionally on the subject in publications since 1983. For 3 1/2 years I worked for a firm in Hollywood developing automation systems for film handling equipment, and for the last three years I've run my own part-time robotics company, specializing in low-cost components for students and teachers. None of this has been my full-time job. I'm currently a consultant to Technicolor, exploring digital cinema technologies and markets.
But my expertise doesn't matter here, it's the one you'd like people to think you have for ALL aspects of this field. It's the way you come across. My particular objection which you quoted was your assetions about markets. I see little in your background to suggest you're an expert here, or by inference, that marketing is so simple anyone can figure it out without the need to do actual research. I am not the one who has concluded this or that about the robotics marketing, which is ever-changing in any case.
Maybe you don't use enough IMOs. I don't know. But you come across as a braggart who tends to express his ideas like a bull in a china closet. This is not to say you don't have good ideas. I think you do. It is merely the style in which you present those ideas, and like it or not, HOW you come across is as important as WHAT you have to say. This is just my opinion, of course, but juding by the other responses, I don't think it's an isolated one.
Reply if you must, but frankly, I don't have the interest to keep arguing with you, and you're free to have the last word. I'd rather build robots.
-- Gordon
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Gordon McComb wrote:

It is not altogether wise to be plastered over the internet. It is not intended for mystery.

OK.
As I said in another post, marketing is *always* opinion regardless of how much data you collect. Even when marketing reports are accurate, they can be very wrong.
However, as a point of reference, one company with which I have an affiliation and I have been studying the hobby robotics and computer experimenter market for over a decade. I have been trying to get a small self-contained digital I/O interface system (and software) on the market for at least 10 years. I'll spare you the details, but it is aimed at very low cost and a pretty box and truly easy user interface. I know it may sound like nothing big, but software is a BIG part of it, and some of the early surveys of educators and professionals show a real interest.
We all like the idea, but unless we can get some investment, we are better off working on the gigs that pay directly. To get investment, you need to clearly understand and can target the market, and try as I might, I have not been able to see a market place -- at least not in the volume or reachability as required.
So, even though it should only cost $39.99 and come with a CD, there is no way I or my buddies can sell it for less than $200, and that is clearly out of range with what we see as the market.
Anyway, my point is I have a bit of experience in the marketing realm, both in my own endevours and in previous companies at which I've been employed. I've been a private consultant for about 4 years now, and before that I was the CTO at a dotcom that (of course) failed, not becauase of the technology, we accomplished everything we set out to do, but because the marketing wasn't done to verify that our objectives were correct. It is a mistake I care not make again, I lost a lot of time and money.
Even so, as I've said, there are no experts on usenet. Everyone is both a genius and an idiot. Verify the facts if you are interested in the topic.

This is something else I have to take issue with. You have written professionally. I have been published myself, perhaps not to the extent as you, but whatever. I also write business proposals, patent descriptions, internal documentation, white papers, etc. You do not write from a perspective that you don't know, you write from a position of confidence.
If, in a business proposal, you tend to express things as "maybe," "i'm not sure," "in my opinion," or etc, you'd never get business. If you're wishy washy on a subject, why write about it at all? If you are wishy washy on a subject, why should anyone read what you write?
So, you write solid text based on what you know. If a person disagrees or can find factual inaccuracies, then you discuss the issues and if there are indeed factual inaccuracies, you correct them. While there should never be anything factually inaccuracte as you should understand and research what you are writing about, we are all human and sometimes mistakes are made.

My dad's expression was "bull in a china shop," but I digress.

I'm not sure why you guys have a problem, maybe it is a usenet thing. I have written, what I think at least, are a few pretty interesting posts based on a good deal of experience in dealing with hard timing constraints on non-real time operating systems. I had written them in a way that one would see in any corporate whitepaper or internet HOWTO. Because I didn't use IMHO or whatever, you get sour?
I guess my problem, if indeed it is a problem at all, is that I disregard unsupported statements. If someone writes something, I want to see some theory or facts supporting it. Maybe it is the bad habit of an engineer, but while I does have the tendency to ruffle feathers, it has served me well professionally, and quite frankly, have come to expect the same quality in other engineers.

Actually, that's why I took so long in responding. I have upgraded my robot to the 2.6 kernel and have to do some rewrites. Those are pretty much done, hense the reply.
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mlw wrote:

Ok. I will just have to wait and see.
Looking at your most recent pictures the motors appear to be scrapping the floor, almost?
Have you decided what kind of obstacle sensors you will be using and their arrangement?
I obtained similar toy motor/gears/wheels and have decided to build a light weight robot base as well, with a handle on top so it is easy to carry around. I will be using MSDOS until I know enough to port the code over to a Linux OS.

Again. I will just have to wait and see :)
- John
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JGCASEY wrote:

No, I have a good 3 inches clearence.

I'm looking for some cheap ultrasonics, and thinking on how to do the bumper system.

I would go right to Linux, and if you want I can help you port the code. You tell me what DOS API you need and I can help you implement it in Linux.

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cheap ultrasonics: Polaroid cameras. Thrift store and swap meet.
Bumper system: microswitches from keyboard, junk toys/radio etc. front bumper: 6 switches, with 3 bumbers. Coat-hanger wire between two switches:
/-----\ /-----\ /-----\ * * * * * *
you can detect obstacle at 11,12, and 1 o-clock.
Best done on all sides, for total of 24 switches.
Rich
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Okay, but what happens when you want to use the robot at some other time, say 7 o'clock?....
-- Gordon
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Ok,
compass directions.
ne, n, nw
If you want to use at 7 oclock better have it running autonomous.
any time after 6 is time for beer, and you don't want a RUI.
roboting under influence.
Rich
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