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PICList Thread
'New ideas'
1997\10\28@201128 by William Chops Westfield

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   >> I don't agree with you on this - PAX has spent a long time without
   >> significantly improving their products and just raking in the profits.
   >
   >I disagree. They promoted a good idea through ads, trade shows
   >and they developed the product line over time. Their continued
   >promotion continued to develop a market for the Stamp and
   >Microchip PIC based products.  They tirelessly promoted neat
   >solutions to complex problems.

   This new subject being, did Parallax *first* come up with the idea?

   If they did, I would agree with you that they should enjoy some sort
   of protection.  They didn't.  The earliest reference I have for this
   idea is in my 1982 Intel Microcontroller's databook with an 8052
   burned with a BASIC interpreter.

Um, I think I missed part of the discussion.  Is Parallax getting fussy
over basic-stamp-like machines?  They didn't seem too be for a long time
(to their credit), but perhaps they were entitled.  The 8052-basic was
an entirely different sort of beast.  The core of PAX's "innovations"
were twofold:

1) Using a serial eprom containing pre-tokenized interpretter code to allow
  small and low-pincount "high level language" products without
  sacrificing (too much) performance.  (lump in here cross-platform
  developement, which was a good idea but not at all new.)

2) coming up with a set of somewhat basic-like primitives that were a good
  match with features required by the embedded programming community. (and
  also picking a useful subset of basic.)

Intel's 8051-basic chip was neat, but it stored a full basic interpretter
(including floating point), and full basic source code for the user
application, in the roms, and to do controller type things I think you had
to start using "standard" basic functions like peek and poke for all your
external pin access and whatnot.  (Now, split things up and put a bytecode
interpretter with no floating point in an 89C2051 with bytecodes in serial
EEPROM, and you'd be getting interestin again.)

I think the basic stamp was patentable, but I don't think parallax patented
it, and we should be slightly thankful.  (Certainly there have been messy
patent issues over (impossibly general) ideas that were less innovative.
Look at things like the Solderblum (?) patents covering "all token ring
like networks".)

If this isn't what we're talking about, I'll shut up and go away...

BillW

1997\10\28@215008 by Walter Banks

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William Chops Westfield wrote:


> Um, I think I missed part of the discussion.  Is Parallax getting
> fussy over basic-stamp-like machines?  They didn't seem too be for a
> long time (to their credit), but perhaps they were entitled.

Let me quickly put a stop to this before the rumors start. As far as
I know Parallax has not changed their position on the basic stamp
technology.

This thread started as a one sentence comment I put in a post I
wrote last night in a longer item about virtual devices. The
comment referred to stamp technology and was,

   ãIt is a shame that so many companies have chosen
    sell reverse engineered derivatives of those
    products and discourage many creative developers
    from promoting their ideas in hardware and
    softwareä.(end of soapbox)


Bill, I agree with the last sentence of your comment that
implies that Parallax has been very tolerant.

The opinions expressed were entirely mine.

Walter Banks

1997\10\28@215438 by Myke Predko

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At 05:09 PM 28/10/97 PST, Billw wrote:
>Um, I think I missed part of the discussion.  Is Parallax getting fussy
>over basic-stamp-like machines?  They didn't seem too be for a long time
>(to their credit), but perhaps they were entitled.  The 8052-basic was
>an entirely different sort of beast.  The core of PAX's "innovations"
>were twofold:

I apologise for my previous rant.  I'm still pissed at what happened last
week.  PAX got attacked because Walt brought them up.

I'm all right now,

really.

myke

1997\10\28@221608 by Wayne Foletta

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Myke:

Don't feel that you are along even as an author publishing circuits and
code that others attempt to claim. Every time I have come out with a
product, product improvement or even a product name I have been hit with
legal action of one form or another. All of them but one were settled
without major lawyer involvement, but took my time and effort to support
my side even so as you know. One case seemed so good that even our
insurance company backed us all the way to Federal court trial after
years of effort. There I learned the lesson that no matter how good your
case is, the legal system is weighted to whoever wants to spend the most
money. I my case it was Tandy's $ millions against our $100K. Now I do
everything to make the other guy go away without getting lawyers in the
loop.

Good luck anyway.

-Wayne


{Quote hidden}

1997\10\29@022600 by Bob Lunn
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Bob Lunn
10/29/97 05:26 PM


>> There is a difference between clean room clones
>> and reverse engineering.
>
> Please describe the difference.

    Sure.  A 'clean room' approach extracts a
    _design_ specification from a working system,
    and then builds a new system based on that
    design.

    A 'reverse engineering' approach extracts an
    _implementation_ specification from a working
    system, and then re-implements that specification.

___Bob

1997\10\29@060203 by Mike Smith

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-----Original Message-----
From: Wayne Foletta <waynespamKILLspamELECTROTEK.COM>
To: .....PICLISTKILLspamspam.....MITVMA.MIT.EDU <EraseMEPICLISTspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Date: Wednesday, 29 October 1997 13:47
Subject: Re: New ideas


{Quote hidden}

Get a little of your own back by putting up one of those "drifting" web
sites that throw sh*t at _____ (substitute your enemy)  Works reasonably
well against companies who like their image (case in point McDonalds) -
Tandy , or Radio Slack, fall into this category.

MikeS
<mikesmith_ozspamspam_OUTrelaymail.net>

1997\10\29@161918 by Andy Kunz

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>an entirely different sort of beast.  The core of PAX's "innovations"
>were twofold:
>
>1) Using a serial eprom containing pre-tokenized interpretter code to allow
>   small and low-pincount "high level language" products without
>   sacrificing (too much) performance.  (lump in here cross-platform
>   developement, which was a good idea but not at all new.)

Pcode tokens in EEPROM is hardly an innovation.

>2) coming up with a set of somewhat basic-like primitives that were a good
>   match with features required by the embedded programming community. (and
>   also picking a useful subset of basic.)

I guess adding PEEK and POKE, INP and OUT, and such would be about the same
in my ballpark as the extensions they added.

Andy

==================================================================
Andy Kunz - Montana Design - 409 S 6th St - Phillipsburg, NJ 08865
         Hardware & Software for Industry & R/C Hobbies
       "Go fast, turn right, and keep the wet side down!"
==================================================================

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