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Author Topic: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!  (Read 10689 times)

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engg100

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Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« on: April 16, 2014, 12:13:58 am »
Here is the Howler in action with Hyperspin and a Beta version of LEDBlinky!



Pick up your very own at http://www.wolfwaretech.com or http://www.paradisearcadeshop.com/search?controller=search&orderby=position&orderway=desc&search_query=howler

DeLuSioNal29

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2014, 01:50:21 pm »
Interesting...

Do you know if the Howler works with Xbox360 games on Steam natively?

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2014, 03:27:01 pm »
The board sports an OSHW logo but there's zip about the technical details of the board. I can't see the marks on the IC's to decide what the main IC even is. There is one brief mention about writing your own drivers and the open source nature of the board under the upgradable USB blurb.

While this board may be useful to some, I take issue with the use of the OSHW logo and the apparent difficulty in obtaining anything remotely resembling a tech document (listing the number of supported LEDs is not what I'm talking about so don't go there), a BoM, schematic or a firmware framework.

If I'm wrong, show me the page with the information.

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2014, 03:27:38 pm »
Interesting...

Do you know if the Howler works with Xbox360 games on Steam natively?

DeLuSioNaL29

I don't see why it wouldn't. However, I think the specific button per game lighting controls are done through led blinky and it supports mame natively.

Waiting patiently for mine to arrive in the mail.

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2014, 09:37:56 pm »
Waiting patiently for mine to arrive in the mail.

I am patiently waiting for mine as well.  Not that I will have time to do much with it.  My son is 13 months so I do not have the time I used to build things.

Stan
« Last Edit: April 19, 2014, 08:45:35 pm by stan2323 »
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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2014, 08:46:24 pm »
GOT MINE TODAY.  Now to find the time to use.   :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

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engg100

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2014, 01:28:19 am »
@savannahlion: I will be releasing the schematics and firmware source code very soon. I have just been Very busy getting all the howlers shipped out.

Also, i think it is very unfair that BYOC has removed my post about the howler clone device. I still have yet to hear a peep from its creator about it and them my post with hundreds of views and dozens of comments gets removed. I guess the truth isn't allowed on BYOC...

This post will probably be removed as well...

Josh

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2014, 04:05:30 am »
@savannahlion: I will be releasing the schematics and firmware source code very soon. I have just been Very busy getting all the howlers shipped out.

Also, i think it is very unfair that BYOC has removed my post about the howler clone device. I still have yet to hear a peep from its creator about it and them my post with hundreds of views and dozens of comments gets removed. I guess the truth isn't allowed on BYOC...

This post will probably be removed as well...

Josh

I am assuming you mean our I-PAC Ultimate I/O board here.

I am happy to state my position on this.

We have been producing arcade control interfaces since 2001 and have built up a business over the years which has a good reputation for innovation, quality, timely delivery and customer service. It is my full-time occupation, not a "sideline". In fact we were the first to produce an interface geared towards MAME use.

A couple of customers asked me if I had seen your project so naturally I had a look. Laying out all of your plans as a Kickstarter has benefits in terms of finance but it means you open yourself up to competition and thats exactly what I have done. I make no apologies for producing a competing product. Thats how business works. Competition brings innovation and benefits the customer. This decision was made easier by your stated intention to release all the IP into the public domain. Any sensible person in my position with an established business would have seen a need to step up to the challenge this posed.

In fact our new board is a combination of two of our existing input and output products so the design time was minimal. I took the opportunity to produce a new interactive programming utility to replace the old VB6 one, and tidy up several other areas so that lengthened the time taken.

The fact is, this market is a low volume niche market. There was a thread recently on here asking how suppliers such as us make any money. Well the answer is we survive by concentrating on the areas we do best to maximise market share in this small market. There is not much room in this market for many more suppliers so we have no choice but to compete as strongly as possible.

I will continue to compete vigorously but on fair terms and as I said, I make no apologies for this situation which will benefit the customer in terms of choice.

wweumina

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2014, 07:08:11 am »
I don't want to a appear a yes man for Andy, but engg100 you seem to be trying to pick a fight with him.  Basically you produced a product that combined the functionality of several of his products and he replied by doing the same and throwing in a different wiring solution.  Let the market decide the rest.   

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2014, 08:53:56 am »
Business is business, but I thought being released at the same exact time seems awfully odd and not coincidental. Both can coexist, and maybe it will drive more development of both products.

I did think it was ---smurfy--- for byoac to delete the thread. Should have let it live to hash things out.

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2014, 11:34:15 am »
@savannahlion: I will be releasing the schematics and firmware source code very soon. I have just been Very busy getting all the howlers shipped out.

Also, i think it is very unfair that BYOC has removed my post about the howler clone device. I still have yet to hear a peep from its creator about it and them my post with hundreds of views and dozens of comments gets removed. I guess the truth isn't allowed on BYOC...

This post will probably be removed as well...

Josh

Man you gotta let that go, and let your product speak for itself.  You just shipped out your product to your backers, and haven't given a soul a chance to come back with comments.  People by based on public reaction and personal loyalty, if the HOWLER kicks ass more people will buy it.  People will support you.

There have been devices developed and Andy's following have basically bashed the competitive product in the ground.  Basically Andy's followers will buy from Andy's, the followers you develop will buy from you.

In the business world, its market shares over morals and business men will do whatever it takes to keep and protect their market share.  Folks may think that Andy's release was a bit greedy to counterpunch your work, but it wasn't necessarily wrong. 

These guys laid the groundwork for innovation, i mean, had there not been an IPAC, LED-Wiz, Pac64, would you have come up with your device, can you honestly say you didn't scour those products to assist with your developmental decision making?  Everyone borrows ideas it just is what it is.

So chillout and let the market dictate which device is superior, who cares that he cloned it, you should of expected that when you put your product out there.  I would concentrate more on my marketing and my own product development.

Be proud that you raised and all that money, and people believe in your product, and you have your name all over a device that is used globally, not many people can say that.  Your device is cool, so act like it man.

You ever just sit and think, hey a very well respected vendor just cloned my device to compete, that means your device must be kickass.  Stand by your product and dont worry about the rest of the world, cause you can't fuss about things you can't control.

You will sell more Howlers :applaud:
   

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JFlash3785

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2014, 04:58:10 pm »
I recently placed an order with Andy.  One piece was broken, he immediately replaced it.  Then I needed longer extension wires, he got custom wires done.  I was a pain in the ass during this process, might be because I was so ready to finish this product already and get to gaming.  Either way Andy has been nothing but professional, polite, innovative and in the end gets my recommendation to anyone who asks.


I read this thread over on hypersin forum and read all responses here and there.  Andy did nothing wrong and in the business sense you are about to be squashed like a cockroach (Mr. Wonderful reference).  Bring howler to the next level and compete back.

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2014, 05:43:00 pm »
Meh, right or wrong, Andy's actions are lazy and stifle innovation.  I can remember the days of the outrageously priced J-PACs and "clearly you've wired it wrong" tech support.  I'm glad to hear he's changed on that front, though.





This forum needs more threads about Arcade 1Up cabinets.

armi0024

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2014, 06:27:22 pm »
Sorry Taptalk completely bungled this post when it listed it.  So I have edited it just to make sense, not to add anything

Lots of opinions, here are some facts.

1. With the Howler you avoid having to crimp headers for any LEDs, all you need to do is strip wires for install.(this is already done on all standard kits)
2. If you purchase off the shelf rgb joysticks, .100 headers do not need to be added for Howler installation.  This means the Howler is truly crimp and strip free for full rgb (button and joystick) installations. 
3. The basic board allows for a diversity of buttons or controls from different vendors, without having to install headers, through both RGB capabilities and the open source abilities.


Now pricing:
It is true that the Ipac I/O and Howler are the same price, but the I/O comes with a harness.  However you need a few more parts to do the RGB install so it is a better comparison to look at the boards with the hardware for install.  Please note that these kits come with all wires required for install.

Howler 4 player- 309 with free shipping in the US
IPac I/O 4 player- 120 RGB joysticks, 7.50 per led button, plus 99 dollar board, so a total of 414, plus shipping

Howler 2 player - 269 with free shipping in the US
Ipac I/O- 354 plus shipping

Both of these kits include all the wires and same controls(from different companies) required for full RGB buttons and joysticks.

I have no interest in a flame war, what is listed is very simply my understanding of what is publicly available.  If I have made a mistake, pm me and I will edit appropriately.

I did do a pricing comparison directly, because it has not been done.

I have an obvious interest in the Howler and I do understand Josh's frustration as I have dealt with similar scenarios.  However I do not have any issues with Andy and have no desire to have any issues with him.

We need to, as a community, support efforts like Josh's that essentially force the market to step forward.  But when that step is forced, its only a matter of time before the others step forward to meet it.   I am sure others will follow soon. 

So lets keep it positive, support the guys like that bring us new ideas, Aaron, Josh, Kevin, Andy, and many more, yes I will even include Randy, and remember that the guy with the next innovation may be watching (actually he's the guy writing this post :) ) and we don't want to create an environment that discourages people from contributing.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 07:02:26 am by armi0024 »

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2014, 06:38:31 pm »
Thanks for being the voice of reason, Bryan.

I have a question regarding support. If I buy a Howler from you, and there is an issue, who provides support? You, or WolfWare?
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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2014, 06:57:14 pm »
Well said.  Let the products talk for themselves and after Bryan's further investigation, it's kind of a no-brainer based on price point.  I had mentioned earlier the kits offered are a huge selling point, and with the prices well below the competition it's even more appealling.

People cloning your work shouldn't hinder you from innovation, sure as hell didn't stop Apple.  As you see in the prior replies the followers are gonna follow who they want and defend who they want.

I'm getting a howler, cause i'm cheap like that, and i think it's cool...

   

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2014, 07:04:26 pm »
Josh made an awesome board and is much more of an expert than I. However, I will be doing and install this week as I have installed everything we sell, so I can offer techinical guidance.
From the stand point of board function etc, we stand behind everything we sell.  If you have a problem, and you bought from us, we will handle it.  I may ask Josh to help or have offline conversations with him, but we will repair/replace any products purchased through Paradise where this may be needed. 

To clarify, we will accept responsibility for replacement if needed on boards ordered from us, however, as Josh has pointed out he wants to be fully involved in technical support.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 07:04:28 am by armi0024 »

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2014, 07:26:28 pm »
@yotsuya: Wolfware will be providing any technical support required. I have answered many questions already and will continue to. Email me directly josh.wolf@wolfwaretech.com for any questions or concerns. There are no dumb questions and I will try to answer as fast as possible.

Josh

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2014, 07:39:42 pm »
Thanks for the quick reply, Josh. like I stated before, I've seen the board in action and I'm pretty impressed.
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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2014, 11:22:21 pm »
@savannahlion: I will be releasing the schematics and firmware source code very soon. I have just been Very busy getting all the howlers shipped out.

Also, i think it is very unfair that BYOC has removed my post about the howler clone device. I still have yet to hear a peep from its creator about it and them my post with hundreds of views and dozens of comments gets removed. I guess the truth isn't allowed on BYOC...

This post will probably be removed as well...

Josh



I am assuming you mean our I-PAC Ultimate I/O board here.

I am happy to state my position on this.

We have been producing arcade control interfaces since 2001 and have built up a business over the years which has a good reputation for innovation, quality, timely delivery and customer service. It is my full-time occupation, not a "sideline". In fact we were the first to produce an interface geared towards MAME use.

A couple of customers asked me if I had seen your project so naturally I had a look. Laying out all of your plans as a Kickstarter has benefits in terms of finance but it means you open yourself up to competition and thats exactly what I have done. I make no apologies for producing a competing product. Thats how business works. Competition brings innovation and benefits the customer. This decision was made easier by your stated intention to release all the IP into the public domain. Any sensible person in my position with an established business would have seen a need to step up to the challenge this posed.

In fact our new board is a combination of two of our existing input and output products so the design time was minimal. I took the opportunity to produce a new interactive programming utility to replace the old VB6 one, and tidy up several other areas so that lengthened the time taken.

The fact is, this market is a low volume niche market. There was a thread recently on here asking how suppliers such as us make any money. Well the answer is we survive by concentrating on the areas we do best to maximise market share in this small market. There is not much room in this market for many more suppliers so we have no choice but to compete as strongly as possible.

I will continue to compete vigorously but on fair terms and as I said, I make no apologies for this situation which will benefit the customer in terms of choice.


Why did you really copy his work?  That doesn't sound ethical.  If you stand behind your statement regarding innovation, why would you need to?  Considering this hobby being a niche market.  Did you acknowledge his work in your clone documentation?  I am disappointed.
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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2014, 11:25:07 pm »
I'm pretty sure Andy just took his existing products and combined them on one board. It's the IDEA that is similar, not the actual schematics and hardware.  :dunno
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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2014, 11:34:12 pm »
This is primarily directed at Engg100.   As I was so graciously "even included" in the list of innovators for this community, I thought I would chime in.

For a bit of historical background, GroovyGameGear was the first to bring the following innovations to this community over the last ~12 years;

4/8 way, above panel switchable mechanically restricted joysticks
LED and general output arcade controller
LED controller with gaming inputs
Gamepad-type arcade interface
RGB pushbuttons
RGB trackball
High-resolution arcade trackball encoders
High-resolution spinner in a pushbutton-footprint
High-resolution push-pull Spinner
Multi-mode, hardware digitally "restricted" joysticks
Natively multiple-switch-type compatible arcade pushbuttons, to include true leaf switches
User-Adjustable microswitches via integrated set screw
Leaf-switch based HAPP joysticks

If one looks at this list, and compares it to current offerings from other vendors, it's not difficult to see how often, and to what extent ideas are "borrowed".  While I feel your pain, and have personally experienced some of those very same feelings at times, I learned early on that it is others who set the rules of this game.   Unfortunately, you have no choice but to play along and adjust your moral compass to match that of your competitors.  But don't feel bad, because there is no business sector, nor online community, where this is any different.

This community and what it does, started out as a small group of innovators and interested individuals, helping one another realize their dreams of building a home arcade machine/panel.  As usually happens, the solutions to many of the problems faced when doing this, extended beyond the reach of average DIY home builders.  From that grew opportunity for vendors to supply solutions, which opened the hobby up to more individuals, thereby increasing the demand even outside of this community to other more specialized ones.  Once demand reached a critical mass, it caught the attention of off-shore, low-cost parts producers, who often copy and rarely innovate, starving out financial backing and incentive of the long-time innovators.  This has induced a need for those who have a real passion for supporting the needs of the community, and who aren't doing this as a sideline business, to become a bit more aggressive in order to make sure they are still going to be around to bring that next innovation to fruition. 

Crowd source funding is another new element in the equation.  If you look at the innovation in this community over the last decade and a half, you would likely realize that they were also funded by the community, but in a very different, and much riskier way.  Even now, vendors come up with a new idea they believe in strongly enough (through experience) to invest their own capital in, and if they are right in their thinking and execution, it is rewarded by the community.  If it's a "stinker", it is a personal loss, not only in investment capital, but in the time and resources which went into producing it.  No advance orders or guaranteed sales.  As crowd source funding is used more and more to provide advantage over established vendors, it will no doubt become necessary for those vendors to also explore that option to even the playing field.

I know that little of this is likely to make you feel any better about the situation.  But hopefully it will provide a bit of insight as to why things like this occur, and maybe help you to understand that without all of the similar innovations in function preceding your product, there would be no pre-established market to offer it to.  Good luck with your product and kudos to you for taking the open hardware approach.

« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 11:47:31 pm by RandyT »

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #22 on: April 22, 2014, 12:07:44 am »
I am not an IP lawyer but Ultimarc is based in the UK and follows the directives set by the EU.

By Andy's own admission via a previous post on this board (IMO) this could fall under EU Directive 2001/29/EC.

If I was Engg100 I would have a look at that and get some legal advice.

I studied this in University. In our ethics class, and was on one of my final exams.
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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #23 on: April 22, 2014, 12:19:00 am »
This is primarily directed at Engg100.   As I was so graciously "even included" in the list of innovators for this community, I thought I would chime in.

For a bit of historical background, GroovyGameGear was the first to bring the following innovations to this community over the last ~12 years;

4/8 way, above panel switchable mechanically restricted joysticks
LED and general output arcade controller
LED controller with gaming inputs
Gamepad-type arcade interface
RGB pushbuttons
RGB trackball
High-resolution arcade trackball encoders
High-resolution spinner in a pushbutton-footprint
High-resolution push-pull Spinner
Multi-mode, hardware digitally "restricted" joysticks
Natively multiple-switch-type compatible arcade pushbuttons, to include true leaf switches
User-Adjustable microswitches via integrated set screw
Leaf-switch based HAPP joysticks

If one looks at this list, and compares it to current offerings from other vendors, it's not difficult to see how often, and to what extent ideas are "borrowed".  While I feel your pain, and have personally experienced some of those very same feelings at times, I learned early on that it is others who set the rules of this game.   Unfortunately, you have no choice but to play along and adjust your moral compass to match that of your competitors.  But don't feel bad, because there is no business sector, nor online community, where this is any different.

This community and what it does, started out as a small group of innovators and interested individuals, helping one another realize their dreams of building a home arcade machine/panel.  As usually happens, the solutions to many of the problems faced when doing this, extended beyond the reach of average DIY home builders.  From that grew opportunity for vendors to supply solutions, which opened the hobby up to more individuals, thereby increasing the demand even outside of this community to other more specialized ones.  Once demand reached a critical mass, it caught the attention of off-shore, low-cost parts producers, who often copy and rarely innovate, starving out financial backing and incentive of the long-time innovators.  This has induced a need for those who have a real passion for supporting the needs of the community, and who aren't doing this as a sideline business, to become a bit more aggressive in order to make sure they are still going to be around to bring that next innovation to fruition. 

Crowd source funding is another new element in the equation.  If you look at the innovation in this community over the last decade and a half, you would likely realize that they were also funded by the community, but in a very different, and much riskier way.  Even now, vendors come up with a new idea they believe in strongly enough (through experience) to invest their own capital in, and if they are right in their thinking and execution, it is rewarded by the community.  If it's a "stinker", it is a personal loss, not only in investment capital, but in the time and resources which went into producing it.  No advance orders or guaranteed sales.  As crowd source funding is used more and more to provide advantage over established vendors, it will no doubt become necessary for those vendors to also explore that option to even the playing field.

I know that little of this is likely to make you feel any better about the situation.  But hopefully it will provide a bit of insight as to why things like this occur, and maybe help you to understand that without all of the similar innovations in function preceding your product, there would be no pre-established market to offer it to.  Good luck with your product and kudos to you for taking the open hardware approach.

Well said Randy.  I have just one small question for you.  I tried looking on you website, but for the life of me, I cannot find your J-PAC clone or Aim-Trac clone.  Can you point me to it?   :P
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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #24 on: April 22, 2014, 12:21:27 am »
I am not an IP lawyer

But you like to play one on the Internet, right?

If the open source plans were out there, and Andy directly copied those to make his device, I could see that being an issue. But Ultimarc has been selling these items for a long time, and combining the two doesn't seem like such a stretch.

Stop trying to stir up stuff. Both Randy and Bryan pointed out that ---steaming pile of meadow muffin--- happens, and you just move on. Did these guys throw a fit when the KADE guys made their device? If they decided to make a KADE LED controller, should they ask Randy, Andy, and Josh if it's ok? Hell no.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 12:24:48 am by yotsuya »
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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2014, 01:04:40 am »
If they decided to make a KADE LED controller, should they ask Randy, Andy, and Josh if it's ok? Hell no.

Actually, we had an open source contribution that can make the existing miniArcade run as an LED blinky compatible controller with some very slight tweaks but we decided not to push that as a feature since it didn't enhance the existing hardware landscape for the hobby.  I appreciate Andy and Randy's honesty because the rules the full time vendors play by are now very clear.

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2014, 01:10:04 am »
If they decided to make a KADE LED controller, should they ask Randy, Andy, and Josh if it's ok? Hell no.

Actually, we had an open source contribution that can make the existing miniArcade run as an LED blinky compatible controller with some very slight tweaks but we decided not to push that as a feature since it didn't enhance the existing hardware landscape for the hobby.  I appreciate Andy and Randy's honesty because the rules the full time vendors play by are now very clear.

And, see, that's the point. If I could buy a KADE and have it work as a keyboard controller for 3 buttons, and a LED controller for those same three buttons for the same price because that's all I need, that's a great innovation, and I wouldn't have to hack a keyboard.  :laugh: And I wouldn't expect that at any time, if you did decide to push through, that you would have asked the guys who sell LED boards if it's "OK".
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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #27 on: April 22, 2014, 01:42:41 am »
And I wouldn't expect that at any time, if you did decide to push through, that you would have asked the guys who sell LED boards if it's "OK".

If Randy had come out with the LED blinky just a few weeks ago and I was going to basically clone it, I'd at least give him a heads up.  I contacted Josh to ask his thoughts about the new iPac and he was blindsided.  I get that business is business and having a little shop for the love of the hobby and solving technical design problems for it is different than trying to feed your family off it.  I still think this whole thing sucks.

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #28 on: April 22, 2014, 02:24:07 am »
I am not an IP lawyer

But you like to play one on the Internet, right?

If the open source plans were out there, and Andy directly copied those to make his device, I could see that being an issue. But Ultimarc has been selling these items for a long time, and combining the two doesn't seem like such a stretch.

Stop trying to stir up stuff. Both Randy and Bryan pointed out that ---steaming pile of meadow muffin--- happens, and you just move on. Did these guys throw a fit when the KADE guys made their device? If they decided to make a KADE LED controller, should they ask Randy, Andy, and Josh if it's ok? Hell no.


I'm sorry I forgot you bring electronic products to the market.  You had to have come up with a design, through various R&D methods, which incur monies from shareholders, perform testing trials, change management, iterative design modifications while listening to your customers and shareholder requests.  Devote all your time and energy to market electronic products.  I can go on.  I bet you are a wizard at manufacturing.

But you don't, and that is why you are not qualified to advise engg100 to just grin and bare it.  Andy has his own products to sell, unless business is so bad.....
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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #29 on: April 22, 2014, 02:36:34 am »
But you don't, and that is why you are not qualified to advise engg100 to just grin and bare it.  Andy has his own products to sell, unless business is so bad.....

And you are because you took an ethics class at the university?  ???

I'm not telling engg100 to grin and bear it. I've publicly posted as well as privately PMed him that his energies are better spend promoting his product than posting inflammatory threads on Pinside (which was deleted), Hyperspin's board (which was locked after a mod stated "Closing this thread now as it's not helpful to any of the vendors that support our hobby") and KLOV, where the reaction has been overwhelmingly negative (with comments like "If you can't compete and have to resort to bitching because you have a competitor, I don't want your product. ").  None of that does ANY good to him or others who might be invested in distributing his product. I completely understand why he might have felt "blindsided", but he also said he expected it to happen. Ok, so it's happened. Get over it and get on with it. Tell me the merits of your product. Don't worry about what the other guy is doing.

I have seen the Howler. I've stated many times that it's a good product. Like others have said in this thread, let the product speak for itself. I respect anyone who can do what he has done. That's why I hate to see the negative effects those threads have caused. Honestly, if you're buying Andy's product, you're probably already buying the buttons and other pieces that go with it. If you're a DIYer/tinkerer, the Howler is probably what you want. It's pretty clear to see. Each one caters to a specific market/buyer. :dunno
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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #30 on: April 22, 2014, 03:23:14 am »
But you don't, and that is why you are not qualified to advise engg100 to just grin and bare it.  Andy has his own products to sell, unless business is so bad.....

And you are because you took an ethics class at the university?  ???

I'm not telling engg100 to grin and bear it. I've publicly posted as well as privately PMed him that his energies are better spend promoting his product than posting inflammatory threads on Pinside (which was deleted), Hyperspin's board (which was locked after a mod stated "Closing this thread now as it's not helpful to any of the vendors that support our hobby") and KLOV, where the reaction has been overwhelmingly negative (with comments like "If you can't compete and have to resort to bitching because you have a competitor, I don't want your product. ").  None of that does ANY good to him or others who might be invested in distributing his product. I completely understand why he might have felt "blindsided", but he also said he expected it to happen. Ok, so it's happened. Get over it and get on with it. Tell me the merits of your product. Don't worry about what the other guy is doing.

I have seen the Howler. I've stated many times that it's a good product. Like others have said in this thread, let the product speak for itself. I respect anyone who can do what he has done. That's why I hate to see the negative effects those threads have caused. Honestly, if you're buying Andy's product, you're probably already buying the buttons and other pieces that go with it. If you're a DIYer/tinkerer, the Howler is probably what you want. It's pretty clear to see. Each one caters to a specific market/buyer. :dunno

Lets hypothetically say you are Happ during the 1980s and you are bringing a new arcade controller board to a tradeshow.  I managed to sneak into your booth and make a few notes, call my development team and bring a similar product to market, exactly at the same time as Happ brings its board with exactly the same features.  I go on Coinslot magazine and tell everyone how I got the idea.  Business is business, right?  Somehow I do not think I would get away with it.  Probably against an outfit called David, but not a outfit called Goliath.


Your deliberations please.
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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #31 on: April 22, 2014, 03:37:52 am »
Just a couple of points:

Firstly, I am hesitant to post further on this thread which was essentially a "new product announcement" thread but the OP did imply earlier that he had "not heard anything" so this seems to be an exception to the accepted rule that other suppliers should not post on this type of thread.
 
The Howler does not contain any functionality which has not been provided by our products for 5 years or more. Look at it this way: We have been producing boards which use LEDBlinky and have input capability for keyboard, game controller etc, then someone comes along with another board which uses the SAME software and has the SAME input capabilities. Who is copying who here? I was first made aware of the Howler by someone who emailed me and basically said "Look at this, someone is copying your boards".

Just to point out an issue raised above, our board and accessories are designed such that nobody has to crimp 0.1in pins. Our LEDs come with plug-in wiring attached and we supply packs of pre-crimped wires and header housings they plug into, for people who wish to use alternative LEDs. There is a product differentiator here, rather than go down the "manually wired" route I decided to focus on a modular plug-in approach. Again, nothing new for us, all of the wiring harnesses we have had in stock long-term as they are the same as on our existing products.

In fact I will state here and now that I dont have any intention of producing a board which has screw terminals for LED connections as I believe the number of connections required is too great to use this method. So the Howler will always have the market for people who prefer a screw-connection LED board.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 07:56:38 am by AndyWarne »

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #32 on: April 22, 2014, 03:57:38 am »
Actually, we had an open source contribution that can make the existing miniArcade run as an LED blinky compatible controller with some very slight tweaks but we decided not to push that as a feature since it didn't enhance the existing hardware landscape for the hobby.  I appreciate Andy and Randy's honesty because the rules the full time vendors play by are now very clear.

I'm not sure you understand my position.  From my perspective, where one can move something forward in a meaningful way, or offer an option which might fill an otherwise unfilled void, then it's good to have those options.  Ark asked above where my clones were of a couple of existing products, and my answer would be along the same line of reasoning as yours.  Simply splitting an already very small market share, without offering anything more in the way of value or capability, leaves less capital for other innovators to continue to do what they do, and usually not much in the way of reward for the effort involved in doing so.  It's also not much fun.  I always try to push forward, or at least diagonally, instead of directly to the side.

I have no horse in this particular race, nor am I likely to.  No interest, and the reasons are not relevant.  Just attempting to bring light to some things which aren't considered (or really cared about) by most, even though some of them can affect their options.  I agree that it sucks for Josh, and as I stated earlier, I know first hand what he's going through.  I also know first hand that, if his overall implementation is better, or in any way more capable, word will get out to that effect and he won't have any concerns.  The rub is that it can take some time for that to happen, if this ends up being the case.

Lets hypothetically say you are Happ during the 1980s and you are bringing a new arcade controller board to a tradeshow.  I managed to sneak into your booth and make a few notes, call my development team and bring a similar product to market, exactly at the same time as Happ brings its board with exactly the same features.  I go on Coinslot magazine and tell everyone how I got the idea.  Business is business, right?  Somehow I do not think I would get away with it.  Probably against an outfit called David, but not a outfit called Goliath.


Your deliberations please.

Ethically, it would be off the charts smarmy, but it's not really an apt comparison.  It would be more like HAPP taking out a full page ad in a trade mag, describing the details of a joystick they want to have produced and looking for pre-orders, having not procured any sort of IP protection (assuming it was even eligible for any) prior to doing so.  IANAL, but I seem to recall "publishing" a design being an act of placing into the public domain.  Copyrights are different beasts, and probably not applicable to a joystick design.  This is why these funding sites are extraordinarily bad, without IP protection (again, if eligible) in place beforehand.   They pretty much provide would-be competitors enough information to duplicate, or even render obsolete, a potential product before the first one is ever shipped.   You can bet that a lot of companies monitor those sites for pending IP violations, as well as a means to get a "heads-up" for anything which might cut into their market share.  It probably plays a role in the Chinese R&D world as well.  Unfortunately, it's a rough world (and getting rougher.)

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #33 on: April 22, 2014, 04:29:30 am »
http://www.oshwa.org/definition/

The whole discussion about IP from Josh's position is a bit of a wash here.  :dunno

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #34 on: April 22, 2014, 04:30:18 am »
Just a couple of points:

Firstly, I am hesitant to post further on this thread which was essentially a "new product announcement" thread but the OP did imply earlier that he had "not heard anything" so this seems to be an exception to the accepted rule that other suppliers should not post on this type of thread.
 
The Howler does not contain any functionality which has not been provided by our products for 5 years or more. Look at it this way: We have been producing boards which use LEDBlinky and have input capability for keyboard, game controller etc, then someone comes along with another board which uses the SAME software and has the SAME input capabilities. Who is copying who here? I was first made aware of the Howler by someone who emailed me and basically said "Look at this, someone is copying your boards".

Bryan, our board and accessories are designed such that nobody has to crimp 0.1in pins. Our LEDs come with plug-in wiring attached and we supply packs of pre-crimped wires and header housings they plug into, for people who wish to use alternative LEDs. There is a product differentiator here, rather than go down the "manually wired" route I decided to focus on a modular plug-in approach. Again, nothing new for us, all of the wiring harnesses we have had in stock long-term as they are the same as on our existing products.

In fact I will state here and now that I dont have any intention of producing a board which has screw terminals for LED connections as I believe the number of connections required is too great to use this method. So the Howler will always have the market for people who prefer a screw-connection LED board.

I don't blame you for being hesitant.

Quote
Laying out all of your plans as a Kickstarter has benefits in terms of finance but it means you open yourself up to competition and thats exactly what I have done. I make no apologies for producing a competing product. Thats how business works. Competition brings innovation and benefits the customer. This decision was made easier by your stated intention to release all the IP into the public domain. 

That's a doosy.  Question I have is:  Is the IP for the Howler design, currently in the public domain?

Your product is not a new product.  It is Josh's product, which you are bring out to market.  You are describing it  like a modern day story of a guy walking with a chocolate bar towards a guy with an open jar of peanut butter and they collide.  Presto a new product!

The problem Andy is I champion your products to my friends and clients.  Excellent customer service and innovated products.  Hearing all of this is very disappointing and rather sad. I hope you pull your product from the market and let the Howler get some business.  Do you honestly really need this product so badly?

Quote
Unfortunately, it's a rough world (and getting rougher.)

Agreed Randy, but that is why EU Directive 2001/29/EC is in place, to protect companies that are based in the EU, and its trading partners, large and small.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 05:08:39 am by ark_ader »
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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #35 on: April 22, 2014, 04:41:35 am »
http://www.oshwa.org/definition/

The whole discussion about IP from Josh's position is a bit of a wash here.  :dunno

Yes just like how Linux is protected. You can use whatever you want, but you have to show where the original work came from, in the documentation.  You can sell products too, but you have to show where the work or idea came from.  Its like me copying and compiling Linux and calling it my own software, and company called Bluehat. I have to show tracibility.

I'm sure there are contingencies in this OSHWA definition for such issues, as there has been with open source in the past.
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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #36 on: April 22, 2014, 05:07:12 am »


The problem Andy is I champion your products to my friends and clients.  Excellent customer service and innovated products.  Hearing all of this is very disappointing and rather sad.



Thanks for the compliment but I really dont understand why this is "disappointing". As I have said, I see someone bringing out a product which replicates the functions and uses the same software (LEDBlinky) as our long-established products. I have not gone onto a forum and banged-on about this, I have reacted in a business-like way.

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #37 on: April 22, 2014, 08:01:37 am »
I can remember the days of the outrageously priced J-PACs and "clearly you've wired it wrong" tech support.  I'm glad to hear he's changed on that front, though.

I was going to let this go but its praying on my mind. The price of J-PACs has never changed since we launched it.

I wonder if you could PM me your email address so I can check what I actually said as I would never intend to reply to a support question in such a way.

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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #38 on: April 22, 2014, 08:34:55 am »
I can remember the days of the outrageously priced J-PACs and "clearly you've wired it wrong" tech support.  I'm glad to hear he's changed on that front, though.

I was going to let this go but its praying on my mind. The price of J-PACs has never changed since we launched it.

I wonder if you could PM me your email address so I can check what I actually said as I would never intend to reply to a support question in such a way.
My experience with Andy has been nothing but excellence! I've been dealing with him now for over a decade and the customer support he has provided has been the best I've ever seen. Honestly, I don't know how he does it... he has got to have a lot on his plate than to deal with the business end of everything while he also takes care of the customer service.
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Re: Check out what the Howler Controller can do!
« Reply #39 on: April 22, 2014, 08:41:25 am »
Thanks for the compliment but I really dont understand why this is "disappointing"...  I have reacted in a business-like way.
I feel the same way, have been a big supporter of Andy's and am disappointed.  My dissapointment is based in the culture and definition of OSHW: http://freedomdefined.org/OSHW#Open_Source_Hardware_.28OSHW.29_Statement_of_Principles_1.0 
Josh released his product under this definition and the ultimarc product is clearly
Quote
4. Derived Works
The license shall allow modifications and derived works, and shall allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original work. The license shall allow for the manufacture, sale, distribution, and use of products created from the design files, the design files themselves, and derivatives thereof.

but is lacking
Quote
6. Attribution
The license may require derived documents, and copyright notices associated with devices, to provide attribution to the licensors when distributing design files, manufactured products, and/or derivatives thereof. The license may require that this information be accessible to the end-user using the device normally, but shall not specify a specific format of display...

Josh has no requirements for attribution in combining the functionality of commercial products that are closed source into what was a unique form factor with enhancements.  According to the principles of OSHW, Andy does have a requirement to provide Attribution.  This is true even if the OSHW specs were derived from the kickstarter pages instead of formal OSHW design files.

It can be argued that Andy made design improvements that warrant the release of a  derivative.  If the market gets exposure to the Howler compared to the ubiquitous I-Pac brand, the market will decide.

I again want to thank all involved for the frank discussion and to the mods for letting this tread play out (and not deleting this thread like happened previously).