Where Parallax Heading to

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  • Well, I for one believe that Semiconductor would have been a great place for P2. I really don’t see myself having entered the subject with P2. P1? Maybe. But I started on the stamp, which is the ultimate in educational robotics.
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  • Peter JakackiPeter Jakacki Posts: 8,580
    edited 2019-07-30 - 23:20:35
    P2 would need the C tools well in place before it is professionally marketed with anything other than "advance information" and "engineering samples" even if it is production silicon.

    But then there would have to be lots of detailed appnotes and of course the datasheet, reference manual, and programming manual. That's a Herculean effort that's required and what's more, it needs a professional showroom polish too, so professionals would be involved.

    I can't see it happening to that extent unless you team up with a big player like On Semi or somebody, but then those horses might gallop in a different direction and you wouldn't have as much control. But one thing is for sure, they'd be galloping.

    Alternatively, twelve forumistas each with code, drawings, and a write up could submit their work to a P2 coordinator who would see to it that they are turned into consistent and professional appnotes. Perhaps one of the ParaPals will do the actual work or the author themselves, but the P2 coord would be making sure it gets done, along with the tools and documentation, website etc. Of course that's a big commitment so maybe if it can be kick started on a volunteer basis with serious support from Parallax, then Parallax can weigh it up then. I kickstarted a datasheet some time ago, and even those little things take a lot of work.

    EDIT: come to think of it, it was when I was doing the datasheet that I was thinking it needed a reference schematic, and from there that led to reference hardware, the P2D2!

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  • cgracey wrote: »
    Bean wrote: »
    It seems to me (and I may be wrong here) that Parallax is putting all their eggs into the "education" basket.
    All the new products only have "blocky" or "C" drivers. I haven't seen SPIN or PASM code for any new products for quite a while.

    From the web site, it looks like they are catering to the grade-school educational market. I'm not sure how the P2 fits into that ???

    From what I've seen, the P2 is an very complicated beast. I hope there is some very detailed documentation for it when it becomes available.

    Bean

    That's what's been paying the bills. We haven't been much into the hobby or industrial market for a while. With the P2, we can go back into those areas. The educational market can keep going like it has been, alongside the new.

    Chip, I can appreciate that. You need to do that. I meant no disrespect. I was just commenting that I don't see how the P2 would fit in the current web site.

    Maybe the semiconductor web site can be overhauled and used to promote the P2 (and the P1) to professionals ? Kind of two-sides of the same coin. I realize that means more work, but I think it would worth while.

    You could have blocky and C on the educational site, and C, SPIN, and PASM (where needed) on the professional site.

    Bean
  • Bean wrote: »
    cgracey wrote: »
    Bean wrote: »
    It seems to me (and I may be wrong here) that Parallax is putting all their eggs into the "education" basket.
    All the new products only have "blocky" or "C" drivers. I haven't seen SPIN or PASM code for any new products for quite a while.

    From the web site, it looks like they are catering to the grade-school educational market. I'm not sure how the P2 fits into that ???

    From what I've seen, the P2 is an very complicated beast. I hope there is some very detailed documentation for it when it becomes available.

    Bean

    That's what's been paying the bills. We haven't been much into the hobby or industrial market for a while. With the P2, we can go back into those areas. The educational market can keep going like it has been, alongside the new.

    Chip, I can appreciate that. You need to do that. I meant no disrespect. I was just commenting that I don't see how the P2 would fit in the current web site.

    Maybe the semiconductor web site can be overhauled and used to promote the P2 (and the P1) to professionals ? Kind of two-sides of the same coin. I realize that means more work, but I think it would worth while.

    You could have blocky and C on the educational site, and C, SPIN, and PASM (where needed) on the professional site.

    Bean

    Yeah, we need to make an alternate face for the chip business.
  • Mickster wrote: »
    Mickster wrote: »
    I am by no means a programming wizard....it's only a part of what I do. I see messages on other forums where professional developers are struggling to achieve things that even I can achieve on the P1 in a heartbeat.

    Having said that; I can't get others interested in the Prop because the first impression that one gets when visiting the site is Toy & Hobby.

    The educational products have enabled the creation of the P2 by providing the necessary funding it has required for many years. You're really referring to the robots, which generate a tremendous part of our revenue.

    As we continue with P2, you will see a separate commercial presence develop from Parallax. This can only happen as quickly as we can create it with our customers. This time around we've got a tremendous dependence on the community. Our first effort is to move OBEX to our GitHub and define a system where users can contribute code.

    Ken Gracey
  • Ken GraceyKen Gracey Posts: 6,440
    edited 2019-07-31 - 04:05:44
    cgracey wrote:
    We haven't been much into the hobby or industrial market for a while. With the P2, we can go back into those areas.
    Perhaps bringing someone on who knows those areas and how to market to them would help. It's way different than selling to a school or to an individual student.

    The P1 is still a made-in-heaven chip for industrial applications, and "Parallax Semiconductor" was a great idea; but IMO the execution fell a little short of what it would've taken to make it fly.

    -Phil

    Nah, I don't believe you truly believe that having semiconductor marketing staff in our company would really be productive. You know us, Phil. We're sorta dysfunctional and entirely engineering-driven when it comes to P2. Can you imagine a marketing person trying to do their job, persuading Chip what the next P2 variant should be? Sounds like a culture clash. Or, would you rather see such limited funds be used to set up a code repository, develop tools, and simply get the parts into distribution?

    Phil, you are our marketing person. Same for every person on this discussion forum. You are our investors, marketing professionals, application engineers and customers too (listed in order of ascending priority).

    Ken Gracey
  • Bean wrote: »
    It seems to me (and I may be wrong here) that Parallax is putting all their eggs into the "education" basket.
    All the new products only have "blocky" or "C" drivers. I haven't seen SPIN or PASM code for any new products for quite a while.

    From the web site, it looks like they are catering to the grade-school educational market. I'm not sure how the P2 fits into that ???

    From what I've seen, the P2 is an very complicated beast. I hope there is some very detailed documentation for it when it becomes available.

    Bean

    We don't have the resources to properly serve both customer types (education and commercial). Commercial customers expected the P2 as soon as it was discussed. They also expected frequent releases. Meanwhile, we generated 90% of our revenue from educational customers. The hard work of our staff for education has enabled the funding required to create P2. All the courses we've taught, the Blockly products we've supported, the recent micro:bit robot with Python, and the books we create are part of our educational efforts.

    We've bootstrapped it to here. As we begin to generate revenue from P2, we'll put it right back into P2. We all want the same thing, I believe. We promise detailed documentation and working tools, but the rate of their release may be slower than you wish. We can only speed this effort with all of your support.

    Ken Gracey


  • Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) Posts: 22,418
    edited 2019-07-31 - 05:59:50
    Ken Gracey wrote:
    Phil, you are our marketing person.
    Ooh, now that's a scary thought! :)

    I turned down an offer to teach AP calculus at the local HS next semester because I didn't feel qualified. But me, marketing? It makes AP calculus feel hand-in-glove by comparison. No, I can throw spaghetti against a wall to see if it sticks -- over and over and over -- but I'll never be able to convince anyone that making it stick is an accomplishment worth noting, much less paying for. That's what marketers do.

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • People from educational... will grow to professionals
    So if P2 is working well for educationals, they will remember on professional side

  • Buck RogersBuck Rogers Posts: 1,618
    edited 2019-08-01 - 21:10:09
    Yow!
    That means that back when Microcenter was selling Parallax items, every potential customer for the other one, the Arduino, that I steered towards the P1 or the Basic Stamp, and became customers; meant that I was a successful marketing person. Nice.

    In fact I frequently use the Stamp for running my projects, and do explain what the <BLEEP!> everything is doing in step with what the Stamp is doing. I hope some day to do that with the P1, but it's adherence to being a 3v3 logic chip is sortof a problem. I've got the pieces to a PEK so I might make use of them to do the convincing.

    Next steps? A P2 at work. And in the same function as the P1.
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  • To gain more exposure, why not leverage what's already out there?

    We are not all circuit designers but some of us have endless ideas for the Prop:

    If I had the skills and the time available, I would create a P1 & P2 host for the Click modules.
    Failure is not an option...it's bundled with the software.
  • Failure is not an option...it's bundled with the software.
  • Ken Gracey wrote: »
    Bean wrote: »
    It seems to me (and I may be wrong here) that Parallax is putting all their eggs into the "education" basket.
    All the new products only have "blocky" or "C" drivers. I haven't seen SPIN or PASM code for any new products for quite a while.

    From the web site, it looks like they are catering to the grade-school educational market. I'm not sure how the P2 fits into that ???

    From what I've seen, the P2 is an very complicated beast. I hope there is some very detailed documentation for it when it becomes available.

    Bean

    We don't have the resources to properly serve both customer types (education and commercial). Commercial customers expected the P2 as soon as it was discussed. They also expected frequent releases. Meanwhile, we generated 90% of our revenue from educational customers. The hard work of our staff for education has enabled the funding required to create P2. All the courses we've taught, the Blockly products we've supported, the recent micro:bit robot with Python, and the books we create are part of our educational efforts.

    We've bootstrapped it to here. As we begin to generate revenue from P2, we'll put it right back into P2. We all want the same thing, I believe. We promise detailed documentation and working tools, but the rate of their release may be slower than you wish. We can only speed this effort with all of your support.

    Ken Gracey

    Ken, Thanks for replying. I am encouraged by your comments. All things in their good time...

    Bean
  • Ltech wrote: »
    People from educational... will grow to professionals
    So if P2 is working well for educationals, they will remember on professional side

    Exactly. It worked for Apple. It is the only reason that people still develop in Java. A lot of market momentum is created in the education market.
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  • I'm thinking the main thing that P2 can contribute to education is a direct camera interface...
    You can add a camera to a P2 board for very low cost.
    Or, looks like you can digitize color NTSC camera video as another low cost option for low resolution.

    This, plus the ability to compress the image using jpg (P2 should be fast enough for this) for sending over WiFi will expand the possibilities...

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  • TubularTubular Posts: 3,664
    edited 2019-08-25 - 23:56:18
    Can it do Color NTSC though? I think Saucy's latest demo (the capture part) was in B&W, Chip mentioned a 1.5 MHz rolloff on the analog front end (there was talk about increasing bw but they didn't eventuate), though I think Saucy did some previous captures on P2ES1 silicon that were color?

    Agree about what the P2 can offer education. Also, we should eventually get usb webcams working
  • I respectfully disagree.
    The emphasis, in education is overwhelmingly "robotics"...and quite rightly.... But where are the robots? Little wheeled devices that run around the floor?

    If I ran an educational course, it would involve inverse kinematics (anthropomorphic arms) and closed loop servo theory. The P2 supposedly supports quadrature decode but all I am reading about is video stuff. I used to visit the forum 5+ times/day but after 9 years, I am losing interest and now visit, at most, once per day.

    Failure is not an option...it's bundled with the software.
  • Mickster wrote: »
    I respectfully disagree.
    The emphasis, in education is overwhelmingly "robotics"...and quite rightly.... But where are the robots? Little wheeled devices that run around the floor?

    If I ran an educational course, it would involve inverse kinematics (anthropomorphic arms) and closed loop servo theory. The P2 supposedly supports quadrature decode but all I am reading about is video stuff. I used to visit the forum 5+ times/day but after 9 years, I am losing interest and now visit, at most, once per day.

    Once the chip is ready, I imagine we will all move into thinking more about applications. I am looking forward to that phase.
  • I have not said much lately, and I must admit that I have not read much of this thread, BUT as I see it, even though education has been the big income earner for Parallax, in my opinion, Parallax and the P1 simply have not been properly recognized as a contender in a very serious fight. Once again, in my opinion, the P1 has always been a contender to be dealt with, and with the upcoming debut of the P2, I can only imagine the KOs in the market place. Personally, I have not given up on Parallax, although I have been tempted many times, their products and innovation have always seemed to fit my needs, better than others, especially with the support of all the wonderful people of the forum and outstanding support from Parallax staff. Without going into detail, I now have the time and desire to move forward with several ideas, all of which pertain to some type of machinery or another and Parallax products.

    Cogs are a wonderful creation :) Thank you Chip.


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  • jmgjmg Posts: 13,838
    Mickster wrote: »
    ...The P2 supposedly supports quadrature decode but all I am reading about is video stuff. I used to visit the forum 5+ times/day but after 9 years, I am losing interest and now visit, at most, once per day.
    That's likely because the Quad counter is only fixed in the ES2 silicon.

  • I encourage all of you to hang in there and you'll soon see that we'll have applications, support, and hardware for the P2. As soon as we get a final schedule from ON we will be flipping several switches internally to activate a new web site, unveil the OBEX-to-GitHub conversion, and start the applications.

    Had we stayed strictly in the prior market of hobby/maker electronics we would not have been able to support P2 development financially, I assure you. It took Chip's diligence and the rest of the team's hard work to get us to this stage. It's a long process.

    Ken Gracey
  • Ken

    You must work on getting Kuroneko back :tongue:


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  • Cluso99Cluso99 Posts: 15,303
    edited 2019-08-26 - 09:18:00
    Some of us are still here Ken - we're here for the long haul :)

    P2 has been a monumental task and it's almost here. It's not the originally conceived P2 but the wait has made it sooo much better. I'm hopeful that there are enough goodies in the silicon to grab some good engineers eyes to find some large volume use.
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  • Ken Gracey wrote: »
    I encourage all of you to hang in there and you'll soon see that we'll have applications, support, and hardware for the P2. As soon as we get a final schedule from ON we will be flipping several switches internally to activate a new web site, unveil the OBEX-to-GitHub conversion, and start the applications.

    Had we stayed strictly in the prior market of hobby/maker electronics we would not have been able to support P2 development financially, I assure you. It took Chip's diligence and the rest of the team's hard work to get us to this stage. It's a long process.

    Ken Gracey

    The OBEX-to-Github conversion is a good thing. I have checked the OBEX and struggled badly to find many useful codes and examples inside.

    I appreciate the effort done to write better complete code examples and debugging which P1 lacked on. When I worked with Microchip products, I found very clear examples and documentations for each module, example DMA. Similarly, we have the ESP32 with a complete set of bare-bones examples for SD-Card, RMT module (Remote Module) and the others without writing too many things on it. Their examples are straight to the point and no-nonsense.

    Meanwhile, on the P1, many years back I had trouble getting the SD-Card to work, and the examples seemed to be scattered all over the place, or had to do a lot of work just to strip them to a bare-bones example. In the end, it wasn't worth it, and the examples in Arduino or anything else worked better and faster. After almost a decade, I revisited it again (because I found these chips when I searched for my stuff) and documented it here for reference: https://hackaday.io/project/167189-propeller-weekender-sd-card-experimentation

    In this time nowadays, people want to have a fast turn-around time, and could not bother reinventing the wheel. They want to focus on writing actual code to do something, example getting a prototype ready in a short time. Not wasting time fiddling or messing around with things that don't work properly at start. That is why Arduino and its ecosystem worked - the stuff inside are very close to plug and play. You can prove or prototype something that you want to do in a mere few minutes (or hours, if the work is big).

    I'm not here to pour cold water on your products - I admit the P1 is a fantastic chip itself, I love how I can instantly load the code into the Prop without waiting for minutes, and I love how I can delegate some tasks to other cores without the worry of stalling. However, the basic libraries for the peripherals needs a lot of improvement. I very much believe P2 can have better and cleaner code examples, like ESP32.

  • As I have said in other threads, most potential customers do not have the skills or the time to write libraries to interface sensors displays....
    At the moment there seem to be at least 3 different paths of software: Spin/pasm, micropython and c/c++. It will be difficult to ramp up the libraries for so many paths in parallel. OBEX has still poor support for C.
    My personal feeling is, that it would be better to focus on C than on Spin/pasm!!! The benefit of the compact byte code is no longer needed.
  • PublisonPublison Posts: 10,914
    edited 2019-08-26 - 15:27:21
    As I have said in other threads, most potential customers do not have the skills or the time to write libraries to interface sensors displays....
    At the moment there seem to be at least 3 different paths of software: Spin/pasm, micropython and c/c++. It will be difficult to ramp up the libraries for so many paths in parallel. OBEX has still poor support for C.
    My personal feeling is, that it would be better to focus on C than on Spin/pasm!!! The benefit of the compact byte code is no longer needed.

    There is also Basic support, and Blockly which generates C code. Blockly is well supported now.
    Infernal Machine
  • Publison wrote: »
    As I have said in other threads, most potential customers do not have the skills or the time to write libraries to interface sensors displays....
    At the moment there seem to be at least 3 different paths of software: Spin/pasm, micropython and c/c++. It will be difficult to ramp up the libraries for so many paths in parallel. OBEX has still poor support for C.
    My personal feeling is, that it would be better to focus on C than on Spin/pasm!!! The benefit of the compact byte code is no longer needed.

    There is also Basic support, and Blockly which generates C code. Blockly is well supported now.
    Good thing there are lots of people volunteering work on languages. That's a lot of languages to support out of the gate!

  • The ideas about high-quality drivers and shared internally at Parallax, too. We're all thinking alike.

    One thing is certainly necessary: it's going to take the power of the community to make the P2 go in this way. We can provide the infrastructure and some gatekeeping services for the code, but we ask the community to provide as much as possible.

    Thanks,

    Ken Gracey
  • Ken Gracey wrote: »
    The ideas about high-quality drivers and shared internally at Parallax, too. We're all thinking alike.

    One thing is certainly necessary: it's going to take the power of the community to make the P2 go in this way. We can provide the infrastructure and some gatekeeping services for the code, but we ask the community to provide as much as possible.

    Thanks,

    Ken Gracey
    Do you know yet if BlocklyProp will continue to generate C for P2 or will it switch to Spin? If it will be C, do you know which compiler you'll be targeting?

  • We currently have no plans for BlocklyProp support for P2. - Ken
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