Ship SDK with starter kit

I’ve now worked with both Spider and Cerberus, and had various and sundry issues getting the firmware up to date. The underlying issue is that the firmware on the chip doesn’t match up with the latest-version download links posted on TinyClr (which is itself somewhat unintuitive for a total beginner), and so the first thing one has to do on opening up their new FEZ kit–even before the hello world app–is spend an hour or so flashing and reflashing the firmware to get it into a deployable state. While I’ve had enough exposure to embedded systems to understand that “easy” is a relative term, this situation isn’t really conducive to hooking people on Gadgeteer and I would definitely consider it a roadblock to the platform gaining wider acceptance.

So, why not include a CD-R with the version of the NETMF and GHI SDKs that matches the FEZ device’s current firmware version? That way people can get going with it quickly, even if it’s an outdated version, and worry about getting up to date later when they’ve got some experience. Maybe see if MS is okay with including VC# Express too so it just works out of the box.

On a related note, it might be a good idea to offer powered USB hubs as an optional item when buying a FEZ kit. “FEZ works best with a powered USB hub. Would you like to add one for $20?” sort of deal. This is another one of those non-intuitive things that people learn the hard way.

I do understand your point, but I think that this might only lead to bigger challenges down the line when an SDK update comes along that someone then takes and doesn’t realise the process to update it.

The other factor that’s hurting things in the past few months is the fact that there’s been some teething issues with drivers; previously these were not something I had any exposure to, and in fact the process worked flawlessly for me when I was a beginner.

Perhaps erasing the firmware from the device at the end of the testing process is a better idea - that way you can’t run those first few apps without applying the firmware and you learn the process from day 1.

Or a big red sticker stuck to the mainboard that says “read the firmware update process before breaking this seal” :slight_smile:

Brett, I am not sure if you know, but that suggestion was made about two years ago and implemented by GHI.

This will be simple once we release final 4.2 very soon.

obviously it’s been a while since I got a new mainboard :slight_smile: Where’s that Cobra2 ? :wink:

Right here, of course… :wink:

http://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/398