Updates - glass, polycarb, glue, pcb, web site, red leds, going part time, imote app, machining.

Glass: When the imote’s glass panels finally gets in after several weeks of anxious waiting, and among many
other errors they send it to my home address, I drive home early from work (and return later) to meet up with the package about 4PM or so and arrive just when the USB van is pulling up. I rush upstairs, rip open the package and… well, the glass is not cut cosmetically. Turns out that the water jet process “pits” the surrounding surface. That and the path the jet takes puts a nice little notch in one end of the piece. In other words its not even close to looking good enough to use. So it’s a no-go on water-jet glass. It’s polycarbonate now! Eventually I’ll figure out how to get glass machined but I’ll start across that bridge a bit later.

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Polycarbonate: So the imote polycarbonate panels need to me be machined, it can’t be lasered because it apparently puts off all sorts of dangerous fumes. The quote comes back for this at about 14$/imote. Aggh. It’ll have to do for now… It, along with 17 nice anodized red aluminum pieces are headed my way on ~tuesday next week. That will be cool to get! Also acriclic is ceranly a good option if polycarbonate ends up not being and better looking that acrylic. Acrylic can be easily lasered at a much lower price…

Aluminum to Polycarbonate Glue: I’ve got a guy coming out next week or so to evaluate a solution (glue type + applicator) for bonding the imote poly panels to the aluminum center piece. The challenge is that this thing needs to look like a million bucks!

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Web Site. The website concept is up at http://www.saleae.com/test. It’s rough, but roughly complete. I made a clean little php shopping cart and it’s integrated with PayPal, or at least mostly integrated. There’s still a problem with a PayPal API that would allow me to show the user their entire order details after they compete their purchase and get sent back to the saleae.com site. Not a show stopper. What’s left? Cleanup + everything related to the imote: pictures, blurbs, etc. Shouldn’t be too bad but I need the hardware + working software…

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PCB: The PCB goes together well, works, and looks great! woo! I use a dremel cutting wheel to cut the pcbs out of the array, and then a sander attachment to clean up the tabs. That works well and is clean and fast. The parts look good on the black PCB. Looks sharp and pro even at qty 1. That’s what we’re going for!

Red LEDs: Now for the bad news. The device itself refuses to work. Took me 1.5 days to figure this out, but guess what the difference is between the two board revisions that causes the problems? Red leds, instead of blue. Go, on try and figure out why the hell that would make a difference… Apparently the red is close enough to IR that when it’s flashing (as the lights are, to control brightness) and next to the IR receiver… well, all kinds of garbage data gets reported… I’m not sure what I’m going to do. One possible solution is to simply not make a red imote. But there’s several reasons why that’s not attractive: blue costs more and offers a potential premium price point; green is lest trustworthy as an anodize color (that’s a guess), and I’ve got 17 parts right now colored red and don’t really want to strip them and do them over, adding more time and cost… That said, I may do exactly that. The only idea I have that might do the trick is to literally paint the back and sides of the IR receiver with black enamel. Or build some sort of baffle…

Going part time: Part time at Leapfrog starts… tomorrow! Which means a 3 day weekend for me — and 4- day weekends from here on out! The downside of course is that my cashflow now becomes slightly negative, and the part time runs out at the end of January. I could probably continue to work part time after that… but probably shouldn’t. Why? Because it’s too easy. More importantly because I wouldn’t learn anything or be scared out of complacency.

imote app: I started the App today. It’s going to be great, and very clean. .NET is fantastic for doing something like this. I’m using plugin architecture so people can add media player support easily — it should be simple, clean and easy. In somewhat unrelated news, I found out that Apple sells their IR remote on the Apple store — by itself — which means I could promote the fact that you could use it with the imote — i.e. have a little bit of the nice mac media experience (and elegance) on your pc. If I can’t sell it directly I could still collect referral commission for remotes bought in Apple’s online store. Also may be able to re-sell them simple by buying from retailers who offer sharp discounts.

machining: When I’m bored at work — ADDing out — I really really want to build stuff. So I’m thinking that maybe this Christmas break I’ll spend 1 week with my brother in a machine shop. Machining. Stuff. Woo!

Random: We have this old furnace in our house that runs on gas. So I fire it up last week – which took a bit of doing – and the cool thing is whenever you turn it on it flames out the bottom. This thing has no thermostat, no fan, and heats the hallway about 10deg warmer than any other room… but I have a special place in my heart for it.

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Random 2: I fixed my brakes last weekend! I had been putting that off forever… anyway every time I do that I forget how to do it and this was no exception. Anyway I end up putting these heavy things in a backpack and biking them 3 miles to get them machined… But now they are great! Like having a new(er) car….