Interesting book pricing strategies

Mon, Jan 4 2010: Filed under News

Posted by Jonathan Oxer

Dan Berry (@introdus) tweeted:

I think I have to wait a while for the book. I'm not ready to shell out $211.64 for a "Used or Rare" copy.

Seems there are some interesting pricing strategies out there in web-land. This is from the Chapters listing for Practical Arduino:

And Practical Arduino on Amazon:

Anyone found any other funny ones?

Parts for Arduino Miniconf hardware assembly tutorial

Thu, Dec 31 2009: Filed under News

Posted by Jonathan Oxer

Organisation for the Arduino Miniconf at LCA2010 is coming along well, with the schedule now pretty much set. We're lucky enough to even have Nathan Seidle of SparkFun coming over from the USA to present a session. Andy Gelme has put in a huge amount of time (and money) arranging the parts required for the hardware assembly / soldering tutorial for the miniconf, which will pair participants up to assemble a Pebble general purpose I/O shield initially designed by Andy and turned into a neat PCB by Luke Weston.

Over the last couple of days I've been helping half-assemble a pile of Pebbles so that participants won't be overwhelmed by a huge soldering job.

The pic above shows a half-assembled Pebble on the top right, the LCD module in its bag on the bottom right, and my inventory check-list for the parts for participants to assemble. As each Pebble is half-assembled I've put all the extra parts on the inventory sheet to be certain I haven't missed anything, then bag it all up ready to ship off to Wellington. So if you're coming along to the tutorial and ordered a half-assembled Pebble, what you see above is what you'll be getting!

Update: Andy pointed out that I failed to mention all the work put in by other members of the Connected Community Hackerspace. Andy and Luke have been the leads on the Pebble project but he's quite right: many other people have put in late nights and long hours on it as well. Mitch Davis did most of the parts purchases, and various other people have done assembly, testing, software development, sorting, bag packing, and all the other things along the way. I don't even know for sure how many people were involved, but it also includes Pete Yandell, Paul Szymkowiak, George Patterson, Michael Borthwick, Rob Brittain, Grant Diffey, and Rowan Doherty.

Actual hard copies have arrived!

Wed, Dec 30 2009: Filed under News

Posted by Jonathan Oxer

They're here!

Hopefully any day now they'll be arriving on the doorsteps of everyone who placed a pre-order. And if you haven't ordered it yet, here's a subtle hint

The acknowledgements page we actually wrote

Wed, Dec 30 2009: Filed under News

Posted by Jonathan Oxer

Somehow things managed to go downhill very rapidly with Apress right at the end of the writing / pre-press process, and unfortunately the end result as it went to press was in many ways not what Hugh and I had intended. It got so bad at the end that we even discussed what options we might have to prevent Apress going to print, but that's a story for another day.

One of the many things that was messed up in the version that was sent off to the printer against our loud protests was the acknowledgements page. What Apress used was the very first draft of the page, not the final text that we prepared. And to really rub salt in the wound they then edited that version themselves to add in someone who neither Hugh nor I knew by name but whose impact on the book was, we felt, highly detrimental, and who had made changes against our protests and introduced errors that did not exist in the text as we submitted it. But once again that's a story for another day.

So, to set the record straight, here is the full text of the Acknowledgements page as the authors intended it, not how it was printed.

From the Authors, our thanks to:

The tech reviewers who provided us the benefit of their expertise and years of experience: Andy Gelme, Marc Alexander, Nathan Seidle, Trent Lloyd, Scott Penrose, Thomas Sprinkmeier, and Philip J Lindsay.

The core Arduino team whose vision conjured the whole Arduino ecosystem into existence: Massimo Banzi, David Cuartielles, Tom Igoe, Gianluca Martino, David Mellis, and Nicholas Zambetti.

The parts suppliers who were so helpful when it came to sourcing the random assortment of bits needed for developing these projects: SparkFun, AsyncLabs, and NKC Electronics.

Arduino developers everywhere. The amazing success of Arduino is due to the strong community that has blossomed around it. It's a beautiful thing when imaginative people have new tools placed in their hands, and the results have been inspirational to us both.

Michelle Lowman and James Markham, our editors at Apress who had to turn out of bed early to catch us in a totally different timezone on our weekly update call.

From Jon:

More thanks than I can express to Ann, Amelia, and Thomas. Their patience during this project has been amazing.

Thankyou to my parents, Michael and Jenny, who never imposed restrictions on my wild ideas and taught me that no dream is too big to pursue. And for buying me a subscription to an electronics magazine when I was just a little tacker with a burning curiosity about the way things work.

And to Hugh Blemings, my partner in crime whose patient discussions during many late-night phone calls helped me understand far more about Arduino.

From Hugh:

A profound thankyou to Lucy and Rachael for their love and support, for tolerating the smell of solder from the end room and for making the greater journey so worthwhile.

My thanks also to my parents, Brian and Rosemary Blemings, who raised Kay and I to have enquiring minds and happily answered innumerable "Why..?" questions during the formative years. My father also helped me take that first alarm clock apart :)

Thank you Jon for inviting me to be a part of this project and for kind words during some tricky periods in the writing process.

Arduino Miniconf coverage in iTWire

Wed, Dec 23 2009: Filed under News

Posted by Jonathan Oxer

The Arduino Miniconf that I'm helping organise as part of 2010 in Wellington, New Zealand, in January just got a really good write-up by Sam Varghese in iTWire. Check it out:

Sam also managed to throw in mentions of the Connected Community Hackerspace here in Melbourne, Practical Arduino, Lunar Numbat (as part of White Label Space), a previous article about Geek My Ride, Linux Australia, Internet Vision Technologies (my software business), and even my previous books. Thanks Sam!

Registrations open for Arduino Miniconf at LCA2010

Tue, Dec 22 2009: Filed under News

Posted by Jonathan Oxer

Well, for the hardware assembly / soldering tutorial, anyway. The Miniconfs at LCA are normally just "throw open the doors, see who walks in" events, but because coordinating the hardware assembly / soldering tutorial means we have to provide space, tools, and materials it's important we have some clue how many people will turn up. The call went out on the LCA chat mailing list yesterday and so far we have 11 people registered, which is great. For more info on the Arduino Miniconf check out the LCA wiki:

Final cover design

Sat, Dec 19 2009: Filed under News
Posted by Jonathan Oxer At last we've seen what the actual final cover will look like when it comes back from the printer (any day now!). When I picked a theme for the Practical Arduino site I tried to make it match the look of the initial draft cover, which was black and yellow. Even the soldermask and overlay colours for the protoshields I had fabbed were derived from that colour scheme, as was the logo we put on the shield. It was also used on the title screen and credits for the videos I've done so far. Turns out the final look is nothing like the draft, and I'm pondering redesigning the site to match. It's too late for the videos but I can live with that. The new cover is much more restful visually! It suits the blue colour of official Arduino PCBs, too.

Toddler + Arduino + Twitter = Twoddler

Mon, Dec 14 2009: Filed under Cool Stuff
Posted by Jonathan Oxer Thanks to @arjenlentz for pointing me in the direction of this project! Combining a Fisher-Price Activity Center with a couple of Arduinos and an XBee module allows it to sense activity and send Twitter updates as it is used. Creepy or cool? Read more on the original site to find out more.

Quick look: AsyncLabs WiShield

Fri, Nov 27 2009: Filed under Reviews
Posted by Jonathan Oxer I love the AsyncLabs WiShield. Find out why in this short video. Direct link:

Quick look: NKC Electronics Ethernet Shield

Thu, Nov 26 2009: Filed under Reviews
Posted by Jonathan Oxer A few days ago I grabbed a video camera and shot a couple of quick segments discussing bits of hardware I played with while writing the book. First up is the NKC Electronics Ethernet Shield. Watch the video to see what I think of it... Direct link:

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