Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I know there is no Free Lunch...

I am a little annoyed. Annoyed at not getting the promised 'free' programmer kit from TI. I was made to believe that a programmer and chips of my choice can be sent to me; I just needed to say which ones I wanted. Turns out that the gentleman wanted me to fill out a form with zillion types of information about my department and all other statistics. I simply dont have that kind of time to gather that information. And further, just filling out this form wasnt the end of the story. The gentleman said and I quote "I will let you know if we have granted your request". Holy Moly.

I have quietly expressed my inability to take time out to fill out the form. Although what I meant was, Thanks but no, thanks. I dont wish to be judged. Not for something that costs as little as $100.

I have thrived on 'free' stuff. But please understand there is no free stuff. Never has been. Its always a give and take situation. Big companies give out 'free' samples, so that the customer can avoid the hassle of going through the entire drill of making an invoice, getting approval etc etc. just to evaluate a component. This saves a lot of time on the customer's end. If he does get to evaluate the sample there is a good chance that he would place order for larger quantities. One of the best sample offering companies is Maxim. You simply fill out a few details, end application etc and samples are on the way. To be fair, TI also offers free samples in a similar fashion.

So why am I complaining?

When you expect something more than free chip samples (say an evaluation board), you must do something to compensate the company in other ways. What can that be? How about some publicity? How about an article in a well read magazine/journal etc? Remember, 2"X1" advertisement in a reasonably popular magazine costs in the range of US$1000. I know, since I pushed the publisher of my first book to insert a small ad in Circuit Cellar a few years ago and they said it cost them $1000.

This arrangement of mutual benefit has worked reasonably well for me. I have contacted numerous companies across the world, with requests for 'free' whatever they had that interested me and most have responded favorably. And its not because I cant afford to buy it. Its because of all the red tape that exists in India. More so with importing stuff. I am currently trying to get a (free) shipment from Atmel released from the local customs.

In most cases I have managed to do something useful with their 'free' stuff and eventually managed to publish it in various journals.

The upshot of all this is, that the beginning of my affair with MSP430 is going to get postponed. Although I am not going to let this little irritant come between me and MSP430, as it turns out that MSP430 has a built-in bootloader that allows you to quickly download your program from the PC using a standard RS-232 port, into the flash memory of the MSP430 and test it as quickly.


Dhananjay V. Gadre


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Freescale also offers very good samples facility. They deliver in a jiffy, let you track the order online and above all send your chips packed in a humungous amounts of packing - 3 to 4 layers of packing usually .In Lajpat Rai the boy in the shop just scoops out the chips with his hands from the plastic box in which they've stuffed all the chips-these chips have been working fine for me till now, so much for the elaborate packing procedure !

8:30 PM, March 03, 2006  
Blogger Dhananjay Gadre said...

Yes, they do so at Lajpat Rai market and many other markets I have seen (Mumbai, Pune)...

8:34 PM, March 03, 2006  

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