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Prop-2 Release Date and Price

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  • koehlerkoehler Posts: 598
    edited 2015-06-26 12:46
    koehler- An incredible amount of time could have been saved, and/or more productively put to use by all, if they would just give regular updates
    Heater- How exactly?

    There are hundreds/thousands of threads that are about this, that or the other thing, while waiting 2-3-4 month regular update from Chip or Ken.

    Now imagine how all those threads would look if most of them had been in response to a biweekly/monthly update from Chip/Ken, some perhaps with a particular problem he was facing.
    You, JMG and others are SME's and have given Chip excellent advice/support in the past, so I don't think its out of the realm of possibility that Chip might have been able to leverage that as he has before.

    You don't think that would have been more productive for everyone involved?
  • Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) Posts: 23,487
    edited 2015-06-26 12:50
    I don't think that "keeping the community informed" has worked out all that well for us or for Parallax. Aside from optimistic schedules raising false hopes, letting us into the design loop led to some unrealizable design decisions and consequent delay. I really don't see an upside for us or for Parallax for giving us more peeks behind the curtain. The strategy used for introducing the P1 (i.e. developing it in secret and getting all their ducks in order before its introduction) was, in retrospect, a sound one. Throwing an occasional bone to a pack of hungry dogs (that would be us) to snarl and snap over seems less productive by comparison.

    -Phil
  • rod1963rod1963 Posts: 752
    edited 2015-06-26 13:12
    Phil

    So we're hungry dogs to guys like you now. My how contemptuous.

    If this is how Parallax see's it's customers and supporters, then it explains much why they don't talk to us anymore.

    All we wanted were periodic updates to know where things stand and you clearly think we're too dumb to get it. This is insulting.

    You realize this wagon circling by you and others are doing makes it look like Chip and Ken really messed up bad. If I was a PI customer and had a design or two waiting for a PII, I'd think twice now. Especially when I start seeing a certain segment generating all sorts absurd excuses why the company isn't talking and now using 3rd party intermediaries to do so.
  • Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) Posts: 23,487
    edited 2015-06-26 13:25
    rod1963 wrote:
    So we're hungry dogs to guys like you now.
    I'm including myself in that description. :)
    ... and now using 3rd party intermediaries to do so.
    I'm not a mouthpiece for Parallax, nor have I ever been. My opinions are purely my own.

    Moreover, I don't have any kind of inside track on P2 information. I don't even ask, as info that can change in a week or two isn't worth much anyway. That's why I advocate patience with the process.

    -Phil
  • ErNaErNa Posts: 1,716
    edited 2015-06-26 13:28
    During my life time I twice nearly died: first: Siemens created a universal IO-controler incorporating timer, interrupt controller, UART and parallel I/O. We designed a single euro card microcomputer and now and then the system was frozen at the customers site. It turned out, when we isolated the bugs, that this create company had confidential information where all of our problems were described! We lost time and in the end the market. Next we invested lots of time and money to create systems based on the transputer, at that time the holy grail to us. We all know how the transputer ended. On the other hand, the prop 1 saved my life as I had a parallel processing unit for 10 bucks that could do more than needed to solve problems of motor control. I could do things noone else did before. And whenever PII is available, a new story will begin if only I am ingenious enough to use the unique features this chip will have, due to Chips ideas and those contributions of forum members that were not just "lamentos"
  • evanhevanh Posts: 13,836
    edited 2015-06-26 17:05
    koehler wrote: »
    So, Parallax, Ken, 5-10 other Engineers, and no one can keep Parallax's much bally-hooed 'community' in the loop on its most expensive project to date, because Chip is in bunker-mode?

    You still crying?
  • Dave HeinDave Hein Posts: 6,347
    edited 2015-06-26 17:23
    evanh, I like your signature line. It seems appropriate for the discussion in this thread.

    "Respect is earned, only the insane demand loyalty."
  • potatoheadpotatohead Posts: 10,242
    edited 2015-06-26 17:55
    Ending on a highnote, someone's been taking class?

    From the oldest and most basic school. :)

    Right now, we are right where we were with the older iterations. Chip is working to get the design to a point where it can be shared, This takes the time it takes. This time of relative silence is no different from the other times. When that changes, we will return to old Parallax mode.
  • ColeyColey Posts: 1,102
    edited 2015-06-27 03:02
    Whilst I'm not particularly bothered about when P2 will be ready, I do believe the lack of official updates is harming Parallax to the point where loyal customers are starting to lose patience.

    The problem is Parallax have already let the cat out of the bag and now it appears as though they are letting it starve, right in front of us all! (metaphorically speaking of course)

    Parallax, it would be great if someone could make an official statement even if it's 'No news on P2 but we'll update you in 3 months, until then hang on in there' (or words to that effect), then lock the thread.

    It would be nice if we could all just forget about P2 for the time being and get back to innovating on P1, this forum ain't like it used to be before P2 came along that's for sure.
    It's almost dried up of any innovations so far as I can see, nowhere near as vibrant as it once was, even OBC is scarcely seen here these days :-(

    Coley
  • ErNaErNa Posts: 1,716
    edited 2015-06-27 05:14
    We should stop the discussion, what Parallax has to do or not. Whenever there is a milestone reached that brings forward the community, this will be communicated the same minute. Noone is more interested in bringing PII forward than Chip is. I feel remembered on people eagerly waiting for the next episode of a soap operate, where the story is the product. But this is not the case here. The product will have a story. Like the P1 had, if you know about the refurbished ion beam scope that allowed to actually "repair" the first P1 prototypes, when some traces had to be removed and rebuild. So please, see yourself wether as a doctor or a patient patient, but dont create pressure where relaxation is needed!
    Or simply invest one or another million!
  • prof_brainoprof_braino Posts: 4,313
    edited 2015-06-27 07:34
    If we count the unique user ids in this thread,we would get information on the population interested in P2.
    No time myself, but I wonder:
    How many unique ID's? How many repeats?
    How many forumistas? How many 1 star or lower? Any new poster?
    Then I would try to determine info on the background of the populations, like which group tends to be hobbists and hacker, and which tend to be professionals (who use props in products for a living).

    Anyone up for a number crunch? I suppose that would be impossible.
  • Dave HeinDave Hein Posts: 6,347
    edited 2015-06-27 07:40
    Doug, you should also include stats from the other P2 threads. You may also want to include a stat on the number of people that posted to those threads, but are no longer active on the forum. That might give an indication of the number of people who have given up on the P2 and gone elsewhere for a solution.
  • potatoheadpotatohead Posts: 10,242
    edited 2015-06-27 10:51
    Coley, yeah. It's hard.

    The dynamic I see as difficult is the feature / implementation / competition discussions that happen at any detail information offering, which runs in conflict with the perfectly reasonable desire for some news.

    @all: If I've not made it clear, I too would like the news, but I'm just fine with nothing for a bit. It's fine because I won't be able to do anything meaningful with the news.

    I know what's going on, and that is Chip getting the new design into his head and thinking through all the stuff he needs to in order to master it. In all seriousness, this is likely to consist of things like, getting a couple pieces done, then thinking about all of it for a couple weeks before connecting them. Then it might be a really productive few days, only to end up with another thought problem.

    While that continues, I personally don't see any time / progress type data possible. Not until the core of the thing is firmed up and satisfactory. And that's where the feature / competition, etc... discussion may be a very serious hindrance. It may be commits to features have been made that present as very significant challenges... So another part of that is going to be balancing what is worth what. Adding to that noise means tail chasing and or an inability to get the core of it all well enough established to share and build on.

    Anecdotally, I've got a person right now working on a complicated novel project. Same exact problem. We put a very rough time expectation out there, and it's been interesting.

    People want status.

    Week, 10 percent done!

    Week 2, 10 percent done!

    Week 3, 30 percent done!

    Week 4, regression 5 percent done.

    Week 5, worked on a different aspect of it to allow a problem to breathe, 30 percent done...

    This continues, until one report is 80 percent done! What happened! A bunch of puzzle pieces came together, and it all just flowed. Great! All of that augmented by cheering and jeering, right along with people wanting to lock in their plans on a design that's not realized yet made for a mess, or complicated it all...

    So that person went home for a time, radio silent. It's about done now. Won't be too long, unless it is. See what I mean? We are coming up on the time expectation too. Not sure it's going to make it. And it's here that various strategies and business needs all play out. If it absolutely has to happen on time, a review would be needed, and a few earlier on. Some very serious hacks, feature changes, requirement questions, and so forth would be applied to bend the thing into something useful during the time. In that scenario, we get what we get in the time allotted. On the other hand, if the requirements are absolute, then it's going to take the time it takes however painful. There are other ways to resolve this too.

    Honestly, I wouldn't mind knowing that from Parallax. It might help considerably with some of this discussion. What trumps what? Good to know, if they know.

    Rather than attempt to mesh other things with this project, it's been better to just do other things that make sense. When it's done, and the core can be committed, then the meshing can happen, and it's going to be all about the details. Probably will be lots of smaller scope things done, iterating on that, and a move toward a full commit to produce it. Quite a bit of work got done more than once. It's wasted because the development took a path that just wasn't expected. With novel things, this happens!

    I consider the P2 a novel thing at this point. It's inspired by P1 obviously, but that's about it.

    And it's important to understand the differences in dynamics inherent to the novel vs merely derivative or incremental. The latter can be scheduled, and the vast majority is known. Precision in the schedule can be a problem, but often not too big of a problem. The novel is novel. It's not schedule friendly.

    P2, on the last iteration was novel and we didn't get real exposure to it, until the thing was actualized enough to work with. Once we did get that exposure, the design got flexed and very significantly expanded and that could happen at a fast clip due to Chip having a good understanding of all that was in play.

    This iteration is novel, and we aren't going to get exposure to it, until the same basic status has been realized. So we wait. I really see it as simple as that, and that all is where I believe Parallax is on it. Until Chip gets that core "lock" in his head and firm, it's open ended because it has to be. And we've got some little bits of news. Enough to know the rough parts in play, and that's probably about all that is meaningful. We probably will get a few more on the way to that sharable state.

    We want the news, but what will we do with it? Really?

    As for the people who stepped away...

    Why not? If we are at the open ended create stage, and I believe we have to be given how strongly the design had to change based on the information learned in the prior one, what else is there to do?

    To me, the question isn't who stepped away for a bit. That's kind of expected. Do other stuff, have fun, build projects, whatever in that time. We've all got our time, and we need to use it.

    The question is who will return when we've got something to return to?

    We won't really know that, until there is something sharable.

    And a choice was made too. Step away from the novel and produce a more incremental and derivative of P1, or reconsider all that was learned and go for the novel P2?

    Again, it's worth noting there was one of these periods prior to each iteration. This one is no different in that respect.

    The big difference I see is we were all interacting with a P2 and we want to continue to do that, which makes this period more difficult, IMHO.

    It is for me in that regard.
  • twm47099twm47099 Posts: 867
    edited 2015-06-27 21:39
    I believe that Chip's last update was on 5/15/15 (1 month and 12 days ago). Rereading it, although I am not a chip designer, I would have guessed (based on previous updates and what he said had to be completed) that what he had to do would take significantly more than 43 man days to complete (assuming 7 days/wk with nothing else to do).

    I've led R&D programs and have had to give updates to upper management that ranged from quarterly to daily or 2x per day. Those updates were needed because management needed to plan and take action based on projected completion dates or provide additional resources where it was needed. Where the project was a simple qualification project with well defined tests and analysis methods, the projections were pretty accurate. Where requirements had to be defined, methods invented and validated, and where creativity was needed to expand beyond current SOA, projections were problematic, and we had to work to make sure management didn't run with them.

    We had 3 kinds of projects - 1. time constrained (get it done on time, in budget with the best results that could be achieved), 2. requirements constrained (It has to do THIS, time and money be damned -- those were fun, stressful, but very rare), and 3. high risk feasibility investigations (what can be done to expand the SOA, basis for 1 or 2).

    It seems like P2 is a lot of #2 with some #3. Having purchased software and high end cameras that were obviously developed under a #1 type program (with the added characteristic of 'bugs are features' and 'let the consumer test it'), I think that Parallax needs to keep to the #2 strategy. Yes, maybe they underestimated the difficulty of a full up P2 and should have done a P1B first, but that water is well past the bridge and out to sea.

    I'm not sure what the community can do with monthly updates (and potatohead's status reports sound very familiar), particularly since there is so much more that needs to be done (each with potential time delays) before a commercial chip will be available.

    Tom
  • Dave HeinDave Hein Posts: 6,347
    edited 2015-06-28 05:32
    Tom, are you referring to the post about the Cordic engine? Here's the beginning and end of the post:
    cgracey wrote: »
    Last week I wrapped up the hub-based CORDIC solver.
    ...
    Cluso, I should probably start understanding what we need for 12MBPS USB CRC'ing.
    There wasn't any indication in that post about when Chip thought the FPGA image would be ready. In the post he mentioned that all that was left was hub exec and some work on Smart Pins. The only posts after that one answered a few questions about the Cordic engine and talked about wok burners. Maybe Chip got diverted by USB support, which seems to be a feature he hadn't considered before.
  • twm47099twm47099 Posts: 867
    edited 2015-06-28 06:40
    Dave Hein wrote: »
    Tom, are you referring to the post about the Cordic engine? Here's the beginning and end of the post:

    There wasn't any indication in that post about when Chip thought the FPGA image would be ready. In the post he mentioned that all that was left was hub exec and some work on Smart Pins. The only posts after that one answered a few questions about the Cordic engine and talked about wok burners. Maybe Chip got diverted by USB support, which seems to be a feature he hadn't considered before.

    Dave,
    From that status and the one in December, it seemed to me that things Chip felt would take a short time were taking much longer than expected. Did he intend to take so long on the CORDIC? Or did it grow in complexity as he started building it? Ever since HUBEX was originally proposed he has stated that it was going to be "hard", unlike most other features that were easy. A number of forum members (and Ken) have said HUBEX is very important for P2, but I can see where it would take extra time to develop.

    For example, how would it actually work? I could see Chip developing it with one set of assumptions, get to a certain point, and then either reach a limit he didn't like or think of an improvement (in something) that a different method/protocol would give, either of which would result in a restart or significant modification. From what I've read of the reasons for wanting HUBEX, it is something he needs to get right, and would fit the type 2 with some 3 project I described in my post above. Some companies I've dealt with in the past would have simply released anything, called it HUBEX, and the dealt with complaints about its limitations by talking about user unrealistic expectations. I don't think that Chip & Ken work that way.

    Tom
  • evanhevanh Posts: 13,836
    edited 2015-06-28 06:41
    I'd say he's still on HubExec. There wasn't any indication of a caching scheme being planned but there'll have to be one added, surely. Then all the cache handling instructions ... It shouldn't make the chip any hotter but I can see HubExec bulking up the silicon a bit.
  • prof_brainoprof_braino Posts: 4,313
    edited 2015-06-28 08:51
    Dave Hein wrote: »
    Doug, you should also include stats from the other P2 threads. You may also want to include a stat on the number of people that posted to those threads, but are no longer active on the forum. That might give an indication of the number of people who have given up on the P2 and gone elsewhere for a solution.

    No need to pad the results to be negative. This thread is P2 release date and price, and attracted 400 something posts and 18,000 something views in a couple days. Unfortunately, it is ASKING about P2 release date and price, rather than TELLing us release date and price; but still sucked in a lot of people and generated excited conversation.

    In my humble opinion, Parallax and the Graceys constantly release all the relavant information as it develops, any interested party just has to follow along in the florum threads, and we will know pretty much what they know. In my limited experience, demanding hard dates for deadlines and constant status reports (that end up saying "we STILL don't know yet, same as when you asked last time 5 minutes ago") do not have much benefit and simply waste everyones time.

    Think of what we mean by "deadline". If the deadline is exceded, who will die? Will anyone be affected in any way whatsoever? If the answer has been and continues to be "No one", and "No", then why have a deadline in the first place? The whole concept is wrong headed and not suitable for this context.

    Trying to apply more pressure just so we can have a new toy to play with slightly sooner is foolish and selfish. I have observed and been told by experts that the suitable course of action in this situation is (for me) to shut the H311 up and let the man do his work. It gets done when it gets done, and the more patience we display, the greater the likely hood of a good outcome.

    As you say, if this is unacceptable we can go elsewhere. It looks like up to 18,000 something folks have not.

    Dave, didn't you promise to give up on parallax and go elsewhere if a June deadline passed? Or was that a misunderstanding on my part?
  • twm47099twm47099 Posts: 867
    edited 2015-06-28 09:01

    Dave, didn't you promise to give up on parallax and go elsewhere if a June deadline passed? Or was that a misunderstanding on my part?

    I certainly hope that Dave has a lot more patience and stays. I have learned a lot from him and look forward to what he develops for us with the P2. I understand his frustration, and I hope that the P2 capabilities make it worthwhile.

    Tom
  • Dave HeinDave Hein Posts: 6,347
    edited 2015-06-28 14:01
    Dave, didn't you promise to give up on parallax and go elsewhere if a June deadline passed? Or was that a misunderstanding on my part?
    Doug, it wasn't a promise, but more of an expression of frustration with Parallax. I do find it a little odd how you fixated on that statement. I did see your post back in April where you expressed pleasure that I would leave the forum. I chose not to respond to your post back then because I found it a bit insulting. It appears that you have since deleted that post.
  • User NameUser Name Posts: 1,451
    edited 2015-06-28 14:33
    twm47099 wrote: »
    I certainly hope that Dave has a lot more patience and stays. I have learned a lot from him and look forward to what he develops for us with the P2. I understand his frustration, and I hope that the P2 capabilities make it worthwhile.

    Ditto. If someone has to leave, let it be the b_ee guy who can never resist the temptation to declare that P2 should never be made. That sort of blather is more destabilizing than any other influence here, imho.
  • TubularTubular Posts: 4,475
    edited 2015-06-28 15:21
    When you've been around as long as Parallax you'd know there's a wide variety of opinions and expectations out there, and all have some validity

    The 'silence' could also mean Chip may well be closer than we think to getting something out. However the "P2 hot" iteration showed that you really need to follow through deep into the process, to check power consumption and other metrics, to have a sure way forward.

    And the newer architecture could still burn a fair bit of heat. The "p2 hot" may have had a lot of pipeline flops toggling, but there were also a lot of flops associated with pixel rendering, cordic, serial etc, that would have been sitting idle most of the time. The newer design doesn't have the pipelining, but it has 16 rather than 8 cogs and a egg beater hub.

    The other thing i'll say is I've always found Parallax responsive by email (and/or phone) when it comes to production related enquiries
  • jmgjmg Posts: 14,979
    edited 2015-06-28 16:44
    Meanwhile, I see ST now offer a M7 core ...

    http://www.st.com/web/en/catalog/mmc/FM141/SC1169/SS1858?icmp=ss1858_pron_pr-stm32f7_sep2014&sc=stm32f7-pr

    1M flash, 216MHz, 320K RAM, USB HS & FS, Dual-mode QuadSPI Flash & Ethernet. ADCs DAC etc

    The Eval Board looks interesting, & covers an area Parallax could investigate.
    ST have plenty of very low cost 'Discovery' Boards - this time they chose to bundle a decent screen, for a different offering point
    4.3-inch 480x272 color LCD-TFT with capacitive touch screen
    and a price point of ~$50

    and I also note Nuvoton are pushing down their M4 offerings :
    As small as TQFP48 here
    http://www.nuvoton.com/hq/products/microcontrollers/arm-cortex-m4-mcus/m451m-series/?__locale=en
    and up to 176 pins with Ethernet here
    http://www.nuvoton.com/opencms/products/microcontrollers/arm-cortex-m4-mcus/nuc442-472-series/?__locale=en
  • T ChapT Chap Posts: 4,086
    edited 2015-06-28 18:20
    Is the ST part you linked mentioned as an alternative to the P2 or something to be used in conjunction with it?
  • jmgjmg Posts: 14,979
    edited 2015-06-28 18:43
    T Chap wrote: »
    Is the ST part you linked mentioned as an alternative to the P2 or something to be used in conjunction with it?
    It can be both. There will be some designs, where devices like this mean P2 is not needed at all.
    There will be other designs where HS USB and Ethernet demands dictate some other MPU is used, even if a P2 is chosen for some tasks.

    Note the Eval board also has
    128-Mbit Quad-SPI Flash memory
    128-Mbit SDRAM (64 Mbits accessible)
  • T ChapT Chap Posts: 4,086
    edited 2015-06-28 19:10
    My experience with mirco's is limited to the propeller only. I cannot imagine how I would migrate 8 cogs to the ST. Seems like a single core device at a glance, but maybe it can be used as a multi core. For example, can you run a PID loop for motor control simultaneously with serial i/o, and various other timing sensitive stuff all at the same time?
  • jmgjmg Posts: 14,979
    edited 2015-06-28 19:20
    T Chap wrote: »
    My experience with mirco's is limited to the propeller only. I cannot imagine how I would migrate 8 cogs to the ST. Seems like a single core device at a glance, but maybe it can be used as a multi core. For example, can you run a PID loop for motor control simultaneously with serial i/o, and various other timing sensitive stuff all at the same time?
    MPUs use a slightly different approach from P1.
    Rather than trying to do everything in SW, on a core-each, they have features like

    * AXI and multi-AHB bus matrix for interconnecting core, peripherals and memories
    * Two general-purpose DMA controllers and dedicated DMAs for Ethernet, high-speed USB On-The-Go interface and the Chrom-ART graphic accelerator.
    * Peripheral speed independent from CPU speed (dual clock support) allowing system clock changes without any impact on peripheral operations

    So they way they manage "a PID loop for motor control simultaneously with serial i/o, and various other timing sensitive stuff all at the same time" is to use interrupts and DMA.
    Note also that if your "timing sensitive stuff" includes Ethernet or HS USB, then you will need other devices, as well as P2.
  • tryittryit Posts: 72
    edited 2015-06-30 02:52
    Whether or not the Prop-2 is a good idea given the myriad of new and exciting devices enumerated in this thread is academic at this point.  Parallax has bright people and the Prop-2 path has been chosen.
    I'm troubled by the lack of communication though, especially since Parallax decided to open up the project to the community.  Every new endeavor has its challenges that impacts cost and schedule.  This is normal and this is not a problem.
    What is problematic is this lack of communication, especially for a company such as Parallax who values education and makes money on it. Communication is a core element in education.  Is keeping the community in the dark the lesson they want to convey?
    For myself, a succinct 1 or 2 sentence status would be sufficient.  At this point, I'm not even sure the Prop-2 is moving forward.  Clearly, Parallax values feedback too.  There is plenty of it in this thread.  I'm confident they'll do the right thing soon.



  • So, Parallax, Ken, 5-10 other Engineers, and no one can keep Parallax's much bally-hooed 'community' in the loop on its most expensive project to date, because Chip is in bunker-mode?



    You still crying?

    Rather than rebut, make it personal.

    Happily, its not a trend here.
  • koehlerkoehler Posts: 598
    edited 2015-06-30 07:56
    Prof_Braino and twm47099,

       I also work under projects ranging from 1-3 as mentioned.
    There is obviously inherent and disproportionate delays implicit with all of them.

    However, at almost anytime of the day, week or month, I can give at least a paragraph or two of where I am at, whats working, what isn't, whats seemed to be be an unexpected delay, etc, etc.

    I'll disagree and say it certainly isn't some sort of large time drain or flow interruption to do the above.  I dare say it wouldn't take more than 5 minutes at the end of a Friday/month to give a brief recounting of current state.

    Do I think having multiple features rated at 10%-100% repeated, changed, increased/decreased useful?  No, of course not.

    However, knowing that feature a-c are basically 'done', cordic is 'done', USB is 'in-porcess', HubEx is not started, certainly would be 'nice' to know.

    I mean, as Prof_Braino said, 400 posts and 18,000 views in several days sure as heck means some people are interested, doesn't it?

    Just as this new forum software rollout personifies, I think Parallax is doing things inexplicably wrong when doing them right would be no harder and simply yield much better results for everyone involved.

    Parallax may overlook losinh long-time members of singular value, on the assumption that when the PII comes out everything will go back to the go-go days of the 2000's.  I'm hoping they see what a risky gamble that is.


    However this is a big risk right now, and is simply
    getting bigger every day as more and more devices come out, especially
    mmcu.   If the go-go days don't come back, I fail to see where/how a P3
    would ever be able to be considered.

    Again, I am looking at this from more of a volume customer vs shiny-shiny new toy me.
    I'm not sure many others are though, and think the R&D capex is just always going to be there...



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