View Full Version : Nuts & Volts

Tony Boersma
04-08-2007, 11:29 PM
I picked up a copy of the latest nuts & volts magazine, I didn't see the Stamp Applications article. Am I blind or was it not in there? That is one of my favorite parts about the magazine.

Ken Gracey
04-09-2007, 12:00 AM

Stamp Applications is published every other month. If you want to see it more frequently, e-mail Larry Lemiux at editor@nutsvolts.com and make your request. We'll continue to post the columns as they're available.


Ken Gracey

04-09-2007, 01:26 AM
Ken Gracey (Parallax) said...
...Stamp Applications is published every other month. If you want to see it more frequently, e-mail Larry Lemiux at editor@nutsvolts.com and make your request. We'll continue to post the columns as they're available. ...

There's more to it than that, really. Jon Williams' friendly writing style, creative programming style, interesting applications and hardware blending, along with the focus on Parallax products, is what made the monthly anticipation and enjoyment palpable.

N&V will have to search very hard to replace Jon's missing months, if it can't convince him to return to such a demanding schedule. His is an art form, not simply technical writing.


Ken Gracey
04-09-2007, 08:17 AM

The decision was from N&V perspective, not Jon Williams.

That's why I suggested contacting the editor to make your point.

I concur on the other points, of course.

- Ken

Tony Boersma
04-09-2007, 09:32 PM
I will do that. I'm not super thrilled with the direction the magazine has gone lately, and those columns are what got me interested in Parallax in the first place. It just doesn't feel like a hobby magazine anymore, I miss the fuzzballs.

Kenny Gardner
04-10-2007, 03:41 AM
A lot of the articles have become too self serving. Written by people with a product to sell. It's one thing to write an article around a Stamp, PIC, or AVR, since they are main stream microcontrollers, but to hype your Basic Stamp clone, month after month is a bit too much.

04-11-2007, 11:36 AM
Hi EveryOne

I have to along with you·on this one....Tony Boersma (http://forums.parallax.com/member.php?u=43823).....I'm not super thrilled with the direction the magazine has gone lately

·I have to along with you·on this one.....·Kenny Gardner (http://forums.parallax.com/member.php?u=40692)...A lot of the articles have become too self serving. Written by people with a product to sell.

I hope this not that the magazine is not have money problem and going under like two other magazines have in the past which i will not name
but the same thing·start happing and they kept changing there format then they join together and a year later they where both gone

This would be a very sad day if this where to happen to this magazine as well..........http://forums.parallax.com/images/smilies/confused.gif.........http://forums.parallax.com/images/smilies/sad.gif

··Thanks for any·http://forums.parallax.com/images/smilies/idea.gif·that you may have and all of your time finding them


04-11-2007, 11:49 AM
I stopped subscribing since it seems as though they are shifting towards complete advertising. All the articles inside are either very simple projects such as plugging a fan into a ups or using non mainstream products.

Loopy Byteloose
04-11-2007, 03:54 PM
I purchased a lifetime subscription to Nuts & Volts when they were just starting out. And I have gotten my value many times over. At the core, the founders are very nice folks that provided a lot of value to hobbyist. But these days they are in or near retirement and have deligated management to a new generation. All such transistions are dubious in how they take hold.

Nuts & Volts has always been dependent upon a community of contributing author/engineers to provide content. In general, magazines make their profit from the advertising dollars. They depend on their circulation numbers to get more from their advertisers. The content is what builds circulation and attracts new subscribers. Also, have a diverse community of products rather than one dominant vendor is important. Readership tires of being sold the same thing again and again. In sum, it is a tough business to keep in balance.

It is not only Nuts & Volts, but magazines in general that have gotten locked into publishing articles that are self-serving to their advertisers AND finding that circulation drops UNLESS the content has some more universal appeal. For example, the Nuts & Volts Q & A section is quite important and unrelated to specific vendor.

Newpapers toss in things like horoscopes, comix, and crossword puzzles to build loyal followers who may not read the whole thing, but buy a copy regularly. I suppose that if Nuts & Volts had more regular sections on circuit analysis and fundamental programing practises, they could afford more coverage of specific products. I would love to see more on using SPICE programs to analyize a design. [Win32Forth actually offers a FREE shareware version that would be quite suitable] As it stands, they have gone through several cycles of ups and downs as their contributors come and go.

Parallax started to advertise in Circuit Cellar. That is a more steady, but a bit higher level publication. From the beginning, it seems to have showcased many new components and concepts with a hands on approarch. You do have to have deeper pockets and more knowledge to implement its designs. But that has alway been a hurdle in hobby electronics. Good stuff ain't cheap.

The dilemma remains that they really have never commited to 'staff writers' and all the expense that entails. There many not be enough cash to pay for such. Additionally, they have expanded into SERVO which is their new, more robotics pub.

Whatever they do, I wish them well. But, does anything last forever?

"If you want more fiber, eat the package.· Not enough?· Eat the manual."········

···················· Tropical regards,····· G. Herzog [·黃鶴 ]·in Taiwan

04-12-2007, 12:25 AM
I appreciate the kind things expressed about me and my writing. As Ken indicated, the decision to go every other month was not mine, it was made by the magazine. Also, everything has to be a construction project, hence the use of ExpressPCB each article this year (in 35 years of experimenting I've had my share of point-to-point and am not going to unleash it on my readers). For as long as I continue with N&V I will do my best to serve their desires (construction projects) and what I perceive is the desire of the readers: to learn to use microcontrollers effectively, and to be able to use what an article presents in other projects. For those that haven't heard I'm writing book on SX/B for Parallax, so those that like my style will get a whole book worth of me not too far down the road.

Again, thanks for the kind words; it's nice to feel appreciated for what is oft-difficult work.

PS: For those wondering what's coming up in May: an SX28 based animatronic controller that is driven by a host PC. I'll show you how to receive serial data and control up to eight servos and eight ULN-buffered digital using interrupts. The project files include a simple VB test panel that lets you move the servos from your PC in real time. For an idea of where I'm ultimately going with this thing, have a look at PJMonty's cool web site: www.socalhalloween.com.

Capt. Quirk
04-14-2007, 12:37 PM
Also, everything has to be a construction project

It sounds as though you would rather be able to do more reference articals like "Sweet 16" ?

I don't understand the magazines point of view, It's so my generation (I am 47) and not the·present·generation. I grew up building all kinds of model airplanes. To this day I would much rather design and build my own planes than buy a kit or even worse, an ARF (Almost Ready to Fly). These days, kits don't sell and·neither does building supplies. This generation wants it now, not an ARF, but RTF (Ready to Fly), model cars & boats·must be RTR (Ready to Run).

This industry is so·lucky that it has a fresh infusion teenage and young adults getting involved with microprocessors (so many other hobbies are not so lucky) and Yet Nuts n Volts is squandering it's chance to keep the interest up amoungst readers in this generation. How are they going to relate to an artical, that has nothing to do with their current interests. Jon always shows a method to his madness and the material can always be applied to other projects.

But how can this generation realize that, if they can't even make a connection to the title.

They're not going to look at the the project.

I think if they pulled off Jon's creative restraints, that Nuts n Volts and the readers would benifit.

And why do they seem to market Nuts n Volts towards my generation and Servo to the younger generation?
Can't Nuts n Volts be more current without being as goofy as some parts of Servo.

04-15-2007, 09:27 PM
Capt. Quirk said...
It sounds as though you would rather be able to do more reference articals [sic] like "Sweet 16" ?

If you read my articles since the format change you'll see that things haven't really changed for the reader -- I still make my column about learning to program and, hopefully, teaching techniques that apply to a variety of projects. But... I now have to move a circuit from a PDB into a schematic capture (I use ExpressSCH) and then to a PCB (ExpressPCB), order parts, build it (board version), take photos of the completed board, etc., etc. In the end, it's just costing me more time and money to support the educational material that the column (started by Scott Edwards) is known for. Other embedded programming authors may think it's okay to knock-up a bit of hardware and leave out the actual details on programming (or hide them in a custom library), but I always feel ripped-off by that style and certainly won't do it to my readers.