Author Topic: 2015 - Put in your requests  (Read 16402 times)

Govmnt_Lacky

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Re: 2015 - Put in your requests
« Reply #45 on: December 19, 2014, 11:26:04 AM »
I feel like I should put a disclaimer at the start of this post -- Brian, my comments below are meant not as criticism, but just as observations from the past year or so. In general, I think you do a fantastic job, and the entire DIY community is better for having you. MBP is truly great, and I want it to be even more so if possible.

I do think that more transparency would be welcome here. Aside from a few sporadic updates, most of the time we're in the dark regarding new/upcoming projects. We tend to either get a random picture of a circuit board with no context every few months, or a new project will just appear overnight. I'm not saying that you should be live-tweeting your development process or anything, but think about how many projects have missed their planned release dates in 2014. Most of the time, there wasn't any explanation given when a project was delayed. I think keeping us in the loop about why these delays are happening would go a long way towards preventing frustration in your customer base; this would also probably prevent some frustration for you too, as you'd have fewer people asking "y u no releas dirtbag3??" on a daily basis. Even for the majority of us who are waiting patiently, it'd be reassuring to hear more about how things are developing. It's a little disappointing to hear "It's coming soon!", and then be told "It's coming later!" with no other explanation. More than once, we were told that this fall would see multiple PCB releases every month, but that didn't happen.

I know there are a million reasons for development to stall or be delayed, and that you're incredibly busy -- just keep us in the loop. I really think it'd make things a bit easier all around. I understand your general hesitance to even assign release dates to anything at this point, so maybe the answer is to keep up a steadier stream of info as you work, and not announce a release date at all until you're ready for it. Or if you do announce one and it slips past, let us know why. We'll understand.

I had a long addition to this however... I believe it to be more prudent to just say.....

I agree with this!  8)

madbean

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Re: 2015 - Put in your requests
« Reply #46 on: December 19, 2014, 11:50:10 AM »
Okay, I think we can address the "transparency/need to know' thing in a pretty straight-forward manner. So far info on project development gets released in three ways: the Proj Dev section of the forum, the Facebook page and the Upcoming Projects list on the Projects Page.

I think what needs to happen is consolidate everything into one dynamic page on the website proper that lists all the projects I am working on, a brief description of the circuit and then periodic updates on where the development stands, eg, "prototype ordered", or "built and confirmed" etc. Just a brief update when I have a milestone to report. That way if a member sees something they are interested in they can be informed about where it stands and ask questions if they want to. It's kind of what I've been doing in a half-assed way. This way is fully assed.

That in itself would be a bit of work to set up and maintain but I think it is probably worth it because it will help me stay organized, too.

------------------
Let me give you an anecdote on how stream of conscious I can be sometimes. Yesterday I was going through a pile of boards cause I needed to get some extra germ diodes. I came across a board that I had built that was modded version of the John Hollis Easyvibe (a project that I think would be a good addition here). I was like "oh wow...this one was good. It's verified and I should release this!".

I built that three weeks ago and had already forgotten about it. That's how bad I am about things!
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playpunk

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Re: 2015 - Put in your requests
« Reply #47 on: December 19, 2014, 11:53:09 AM »
I like the workbench idea. We can have that. For tutorials, I am imagining something bigger. A dedicated area outside of the forum for tutorials with some video compliment. Also, an area for user-sbumitted tutorials.

How about a member page section on the site? As in - if you wanted to have a small bio about yourself and a personal gallery. Completely voluntary, of course. My hope is the re-designed store will include personal accounts with an order history, so perhaps there is a way to integrate both things into a seamless experience.

I was thinking about how valuable the tutorial over at GPCB was when I started doing this. I think a "Noob" section with all the startup basics : How to Solder, How Caps Work (With a value chart), How Resistors Work, How to Box It....
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flanagan0718

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Re: 2015 - Put in your requests
« Reply #48 on: December 19, 2014, 11:55:16 AM »
Just to elaborate on the workbench thing, tools and paints. For instance I've used Cody's blog several times for tool recommendations. He has a workbench section that has a good amount of recommendations and good material. The paint section, I think, would be great too. I would, as example, post a picture of the Elephuzz that I entered in the contest and then post a picture / name, color, etc of the paint I used. That way if someone liked the color they could have some reference when they go to buy it. I have often wondered what colors some people have used for their build. Just another thought. Hope I'm not flooding this with bad ideas, my ADD sometimes gets the best of me :D

junkemail86

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Re: 2015 - Put in your requests
« Reply #49 on: December 19, 2014, 01:32:51 PM »
Consider posting any new available projects on your main page.  To make sure there are no new projects I typically read through the project names to see if there is one I don't recognize

Justus

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Re: 2015 - Put in your requests
« Reply #50 on: December 19, 2014, 02:15:54 PM »
Just to elaborate on the workbench thing, tools and paints. For instance I've used Cody's blog several times for tool recommendations. He has a workbench section that has a good amount of recommendations and good material. The paint section, I think, would be great too. I would, as example, post a picture of the Elephuzz that I entered in the contest and then post a picture / name, color, etc of the paint I used. That way if someone liked the color they could have some reference when they go to buy it. I have often wondered what colors some people have used for their build. Just another thought. Hope I'm not flooding this with bad ideas, my ADD sometimes gets the best of me :D

In the "noob" section it would be very nice to have example photos of different ways to finish out a box.  But for color matching, perhaps it might be better to simply have a suggested "information form" for people to use when posting build reports?  I'm brainstorming, but a simple copy & paste numbered list could have information about the circuit, any mods, how the PCB was acquired, any special components, how the box was finished and what materials/special tools were used.  Then all a member has to do is fill out the form, add comments and pics, and post.

aballen

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Re: 2015 - Put in your requests
« Reply #51 on: December 19, 2014, 02:50:58 PM »
How about a MadBean wiki?  I really like the idea of user profiles... Easy to do on a wiki, also I like the idea of better organized build and mod pages too.  If an MB wiki gets just a fraction of the input that the forum does there will be one hell of a lot of info, and likely more organized.

I would suggest you organize the "top" pages and then let the community take it from there.

The forums should remain a place for questions, conversations and such, the wiki could become the place for documentation.

This would be a good spot for the etchers paradise as well

lincolnic

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Re: 2015 - Put in your requests
« Reply #52 on: December 19, 2014, 03:24:13 PM »
I will address one point though about the BB PCB since you mentioned it: sometimes it is good to grab some "low hanging fruit" to ensure that the money train keeps rolling. Without that, none of the big stuff can happen. That's just to give you a little of my perspective on why some things might suddenly appear when other long promised projects are not put first. If I can turn a project over fairly quickly (and it is a good one that I believe in ((the only kind I do))) I can keep a little cash flow to fund other things.

I hear you -- I totally understand that some things happen just to keep the lights on. I'm guessing the 2014 PCB redesigns were for similar reasons (or at least, some of them were). For the record, I have no beef with the BB project. It was just an example I saw of something that happened this year and made me go "Well, that's cool, but what about all the other stuff?" It's good to have something new around, and it's good that projects like that can fund other stuff in development.

Okay, I think we can address the "transparency/need to know' thing in a pretty straight-forward manner. So far info on project development gets released in three ways: the Proj Dev section of the forum, the Facebook page and the Upcoming Projects list on the Projects Page.

I think what needs to happen is consolidate everything into one dynamic page on the website proper that lists all the projects I am working on, a brief description of the circuit and then periodic updates on where the development stands, eg, "prototype ordered", or "built and confirmed" etc. Just a brief update when I have a milestone to report. That way if a member sees something they are interested in they can be informed about where it stands and ask questions if they want to. It's kind of what I've been doing in a half-assed way. This way is fully assed.

That in itself would be a bit of work to set up and maintain but I think it is probably worth it because it will help me stay organized, too.

I think consolidating your development info is a great idea. Not everyone follows MBP on Facebook, and it's not always easy to spot a new development on the Projects page if you're not specifically looking for them. I hope you'll keep posting the periodic pictures of stuff, though -- even when they're not info-heavy, it's still fun to get excited about a cool-looking PCB.

Again, thanks for the chance to talk about this stuff. It's great to know that you're just as interested in your customers' input as you were at the start. Really looking forward to 2015.

Also us posting photos should give you rights to use them as "finished product photos" if you want to use them to show a finished product of your PCBs.

Respectfully, this doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Most of us (all of us?) use other photo-hosting services for our pictures here; if Brian's not providing space for the images, then there's no real reason he should have any claim to ownership of them. Personally, I think if he wanted to use someone's photo of their pedal, he can just ask them if it's okay. I can't imagine anyone would say no!

wgc

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Re: 2015 - Put in your requests
« Reply #53 on: December 19, 2014, 03:52:01 PM »
Organization is a tricky one sometimes, at least for me.  (Some of us a filers, I'm a piler.)  You can add sub forums, sticky threads, etc. but if its not immediately obvious, someone might not even know to look for those.  Also context changes over time, and the info you're looking for might be buried in a thread that had nothing to do with that initially.  I tend to bookmark things but find I rarely use them in favor of search.

So maybe an option to add "tags" to threads or posts?  Might help the search function and take some of the worry away with regard to "where should I put this?"  It doesn't really help the existing stuff but maybe there's a way they could be treated a bit like wikipedia, where people can edit the tags on older threads?  I can see it getting crazy quickly but keeping things a bit general could help, ie "build report" "mods" "germanium"  "tubes" "smd" "tutorial" "paint" "envirotex" "waterslide" "lifted pad" "desolder" etc

Maybe a list of 20-30 tags available when you create a post, and ability to add a custom one.  Not sure how hard it would be to do this or if there's a script available but thought I'd put it out there.

And/or perhaps a way to add "personal" stickies to threads or posts we would like to keep for reference?

Also, how about an option for those of us with things to sell (pcb's, amps, guitars) to buy "advertising"?  It doesn't have to be much, but why not?  After all, there's a lot involved in maintaining a forum like this, and you've been very generous.

Anyway, thanks for all you do.  There's a lot behind the scenes and its appreciated. 
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selfdestroyer

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Re: 2015 - Put in your requests
« Reply #54 on: December 19, 2014, 03:52:44 PM »
Also us posting photos should give you rights to use them as "finished product photos" if you want to use them to show a finished product of your PCBs.

Respectfully, this doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Most of us (all of us?) use other photo-hosting services for our pictures here; if Brian's not providing space for the images, then there's no real reason he should have any claim to ownership of them. Personally, I think if he wanted to use someone's photo of their pedal, he can just ask them if it's okay. I can't imagine anyone would say no!

That's what I meant. I was trying to word it so it would makes sense and I still failed at it. I did not mean ownership but I meant if we post it in that section then its safe to say he can use it for "marketing". Ownership was the wrong word, sorry for the confusion.

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icecycle66

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Re: 2015 - Put in your requests
« Reply #55 on: December 19, 2014, 04:44:53 PM »
Also, how about an option for those of us with things to sell (pcb's, amps, guitars) to buy "advertising"?  It doesn't have to be much, but why not?  After all, there's a lot involved in maintaining a forum like this, and you've been very generous.


I am simultaneously for and against this.

ggarms

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Re: 2015 - Put in your requests
« Reply #56 on: December 19, 2014, 08:21:05 PM »
I have a few ideas, but didn't have time to read this whole thread, so if someone has already suggested this, forgive me. I see a big problem a lot of people have is clarity, communication, expectations, ETC. I think having a scheduled AMA (ask me anything) chat with the bean each month would be cool. This would allow everyone to ask all of the questions they otherwise would email you about separately. I think this could be pretty efficient and if it were scheduled it would give everyone a chance to participate. I don't know the best way to do this (i'm sure other members can help with that, but the idea is a start.

wgc

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Re: 2015 - Put in your requests
« Reply #57 on: December 22, 2014, 10:41:46 AM »
Also, how about an option for those of us with things to sell (pcb's, amps, guitars) to buy "advertising"?  It doesn't have to be much, but why not?  After all, there's a lot involved in maintaining a forum like this, and you've been very generous.


I am simultaneously for and against this.

"Advertising" might be the wrong way to describe this.  Just thinking that if you sell something on here, you're gaining a solid audience and security you might not otherwise have. That's worth a few bucks imho and far safer/cheaper than some other options. Could be entirely honor system based.

Love the ama idea.
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agoldoor

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Re: 2015 - Put in your requests
« Reply #58 on: December 22, 2014, 04:18:18 PM »
I know this won't be popular, but I might suggest no release dates, implied or explicit. That removes false expectations for us, and I imagine takes the pressure off for you. We'd still like to hear what you're working on, but you could release as fluidly as you like without folks feeling like they're missing out.

I couldn't have said it better myself. I held off on posting to this thread until I saw lincolnic and others mention the release dates.

I think that all of us are so incredibly grateful that you're doing what you do, and that you put SO MUCH of yourself into MBP and to making MBP a really top notch place with a great community.

But I, like others, have been bummed by slipped release dates. I would much rather either hear about the background story (even in the smallest littlest way) to what you're up to than have a hard date that has to be changed out.

And I should say that I COMPLETELY understand how this happens. I have a couple of fairly simple builds that for friends that have been delayed over a year, due to life getting in the way, parts supply problems, etc. So I totally get it. But when you made your post, this was the number one thing that popped to mind.

Thanks for everything you've done Brian!

agoldoor

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Re: 2015 - Put in your requests
« Reply #59 on: December 22, 2014, 04:24:02 PM »
Consider posting any new available projects on your main page.  To make sure there are no new projects I typically read through the project names to see if there is one I don't recognize

Yes! ditto this! I do the same thing!