Archive for July 21st, 2011

How not to get a discount…

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Things not to say to businesses when looking for a discount:

“…this is just a prototype order.  I was hoping to get a discount or get a sample for free. When this takes off I will come back and order hundreds or thousands from you.”

Yes, we make money from giving stuff away for free. It is part of any good retail store business plan.

“…I need a quote for 50,000 units of your XYZ sensor. I’m sourcing parts for my product I’m going to invent and sell.”

Really? You are going to be a big business mogul, but you want to source your parts from a retail shop? Not the actual manufacture? Hmmmm.

We hear these lines fairly often here. People have this great idea and call up thinking everyone else will also be convinced of their genius. They want us to sit around crunching numbers for absurd quotes on orders that will never happen. These comments are often followed up with things like, “I’ll need someone to help distribute and sell. We should discuss partnering up.” Um, no, we shouldn’t. I already own a business that has turned all my hair gray. I don’t want yours.

Our floor mat switches are probably one of our greatest draws for the kooky garage inventors of the world. For whatever reason, people love these things. Which is great, because we like selling them and we see lots of cool projects with them. However, it also seems every project of a questionable or odd nature needs a floor mat switch as well and that brings in some interesting questions. We have had every question under the sun about the floor mats. One would think that you could find these distributed in applications from deep sea mining to NASA simulation rooms from what people ask. “Can it support a car?” “Can it be under water?” “Will it detect a cat or raccoon?” “Can I cut it into pieces?” Everyone else in the office knows we are on one of these calls because the response has a very clear thumbprint to any seasoned TR employee. It goes like this, facepalm plus muffled sigh, “No sir, it is not an industrial level sensor. Our products are hobby level products. We don’t know how it would handle detecting agitated cattle in a barn. I doubt it can.”

A classic often retold inquiry was the gentleman who wanted to know if the mats could handle a 120V power supply going through it. Why? We asked. Because he wanted to set up something to scare the kids on his front porch at Halloween. Seriously. He wanted to electrify a mat outside on a day infamous for rain so that every child in the neighborhood could stand on it. THIS IS WHY THERE ARE WARNING STICKERS ON EVERYTHING people. Because companies like us get calls like that.

Where was I? Oh, yes, the big idea people. My favorite was the very elderly gentleman who called up asking about the floor mats. He wanted to know what kind of discount he would get if he orders ten bazzilion of them etc etc.

“Why are you asking sir?”

“I’m going to make a product.”

“Oh, what kind of product.” My morbid curiosity kicks in, I sense a live one.

“Well, I’ll tell you but I don’t want you stealing it!”

“I can assure you I won’t sir. I have too many products behind schedule of my own.” (But I can’t promise it won’t get mocked in a blog a few years later.)

“Well, I have an idea for visitors that miss me when I’m not home.”

“Go on…”

“Well, I’m going to create a doormat that can sense when there is a visitor and then it will play a little recording telling them to leave a message and record it from them. This way when people come home they can see who visited them and listen to the messages.”

“So, like a telephone answering machine doormat?”

“Precisely!”

“And you plan to sell a few dozen of these?”

“NO!” He barked back, “I plan to sell thousands!”

At this point in these types of calls we just go for the entertainment value, because well, this is how we make it through some days.

“Oh, wow, do you really think you can sell that many?”

“Hell yes. This is a great idea.”

“I see. So do you know electronics or programming or anything?”

“No.”

“So how do you…”

“Well, obviously I need to partner with someone. You guys deal with this stuff. Maybe you would be interested in working on this with me?”

Aaaaand there it is. The money shot. We have a winner.

So, the moral of the story is, if you have a crazy idea and you need a floor mat switch to pull it off. We have them. They are sturdy, but not buffalo-stampede-detecting sturdy. You are welcome to buy them, and we wish you luck on your inventing adventure, but chances are we won’t be investing. We are too busy chasing out of control robots…

Bioloid GP Don’t Care.

Thursday, July 21st, 2011
This is the Bioloid GP. Watch it run in slow motion. It’s pretty bad-ass. Look, it runs all over the place. “Woah, watch out!” says that bird. Ew it’s got a snake? Oh, it’s chasing a jackal? Oh my gosh! Oh the Bioloid GPs are just crazy! The Bioloid GP’s been referred to by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most fearless animal in all the animal kingdom. It really doesn’t give a shit. If it’s hungry, it’s hungr-ew what’s that in its mouth! Oh it’s got a cobra? Oh it runs backwards? Now watch this, look, a snake’s up in a tree. Bioloid GP don’t care. Bioloid GP don’t give a shit, it just takes what it wants. Whenever it’s hungry it just- ew! And it eats the snakes. Oh my God watch it dig. Look at that digging. The Bioloid GPs really pretty bad-ass. They have no regard for any other animal whatsoever. Look at him just grunting and- ew! Eating snakes! Ew what’s that, a mouse? Oh that’s nasty. Oh, they’re so nasty! Oo look! It’s chasing things, and eating them.
The Bioloid GP’s have a fairly long body, but a distinctly thick set, broad shoulders, and you know, their, their skin is loose, allowing them to move about freely, and they twist around. Now look, here’s a house full of bees. You think the Bioloid GP cares? It doesn’t give a shit. It goes right in to the house to bees to get some larvae. How disgusting is that? It eats larvae. Ew, that’s so nasty. But look, the Bioloid GP doesn’t care, it’s getting stung like a thousand times. It doesn’t give a shit, it just, it’s hungry. It doesn’t care about being stung by bees. Nothing can stop the Bioloid GP when it’s hungry. Oh what a crazy fuck! Look! Ew, it’s eating larvae, that’s disgusting. There it is running in slow motion again. See, now what’s interesting is that other, other animals like these birds here the just like to wait around until the Bioloid GPs done eating and then it swoops in to pick up the scraps. It says, “You do all the work for us Bioloid GP and we’ll just eat whatever you find, how’s that? What do you say, stupid?” Look at this bird. “Thanks for the treat, stupid!” “Hey, come back here” says the Bioloid GP. Birds don’t care, and you know what, the jackals do it, too. Look at these little dogs. They’re like, “Thanks, Stupid! Thanks for the mouse! See ya later!” The Bioloid GP does all the work while these other animals just pick up the scraps.
At night time, the Bioloid GP goes hunting, cuz it’s hungry. Look! Here comes a fierce battle between a king cobra and a Bioloid GP. I wonder what will happen. Look at this, there’s the Bioloid GP just eating a mouse. And then look. “Get away from me!” says the snake, “Get away from me!” Bioloid GP don’t care. Bioloid GP smacks the shit out of him. The snake comes back and it lashes right at the Bioloid GP. Oh! Little does the Bioloid GP know, FYI, it’s been stung! It’s been bitten by the snake, so while it’s eating the snake- ew, that’s disgusting- meanwhile the poisonous venom is seeping through the Bioloid GPs body, and it passes out. Look at that sleepy fuck. Now the Bioloid GPs just gonna pass out for a few minutes and then it’s gonna get right back up and start eating all over again, cuz it’s a hungry little bastard. Look at this! Like nothing even happened, the Bioloid GP gets right back up and continues eating the cobra! How disgusting. And of course, what does a Bioloid GP have to eat for the next few weeks? Cobra.
The Bioloid GP.

Bioloid_GP

This is the Bioloid GP. Watch it run in slow motion. It’s pretty bad-ass. Look, it runs all over the place. “Woah, watch out!” says that bird. Eww it’s got a snake? Oh, it’s chasing a jackal? Oh my gosh! Oh the Bioloid GPs are just crazy! The Bioloid GP’s been referred to by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most fearless robot in all the robot kingdom. It really doesn’t give a crap. If it’s hungry, it’s hungr-EWW what’s that in its mouth! Oh it’s got a cobra? Oh it runs backwards? Now watch this, look, a snake’s up in a tree. Bioloid GP don’t care. Bioloid GP don’t give a crap, it just takes what it wants. Whenever it’s hungry it just- ew! And it eats the snakes. Oh my God watch it dig. Look at that digging. The Bioloid GP is really pretty bad-ass. They have no regard for any other robot whatsoever. Look at him just grunting and- ew! Eating snakes! Ew what’s that, a mouse? Oh that’s nasty. Oh, they’re so nasty! Oo look! It’s chasing things, and eating them.

The Bioloid GP’s have a fairly long body, but a distinctly thick set, broad shoulders, and you know, their, their wires are loose, allowing them to move about freely, and they twist around. Now look, here’s a house full of bees. You think the Bioloid GP cares? It doesn’t give a crap. It goes right in to the house to bees to get some larvae. How disgusting is that? It eats larvae. Ew, that’s so nasty. But look, the Bioloid GP doesn’t care, it’s getting stung like a thousand times. It doesn’t give a crap, it just, it’s hungry. It doesn’t care about being stung by bees. Nothing can stop the Bioloid GP when it’s hungry. Oh what a crazy robot! Look! Ew, it’s eating larvae, that’s disgusting. There it is running in slow motion again. See, now what’s interesting is that other, other animals like these birds here the just like to wait around until the Bioloid GPs done eating and then it swoops in to pick up the scraps. It says, “You do all the work for us Bioloid GP and we’ll just eat whatever you find, how’s that? What do you say, stupid?” Look at this bird. “Thanks for the treat, stupid!” “Hey, come back here” says the Bioloid GP. Birds don’t care, and you know what, the jackals do it, too. Look at these little dogs. They’re like, “Thanks, Stupid! Thanks for the mouse! See ya later!” The Bioloid GP does all the work while these other animals just pick up the scraps.

At night time, the Bioloid GP goes hunting, cuz it’s hungry. Look! Here comes a fierce battle between a king cobra and a Bioloid GP. I wonder what will happen. Look at this, there’s the Bioloid GP just eating a mouse. And then look. “Get away from me!” says the snake, “Get away from me!” Bioloid GP don’t care. Bioloid GP smacks the crap out of him. The snake comes back and it lashes right at the Bioloid GP. Oh! Little does the Bioloid GP know, FYI, it’s been stung! It’s been bitten by the snake, so while it’s eating the snake- ew, that’s disgusting- meanwhile the poisonous venom is seeping through the Bioloid GPs body, and it passes out. Look at that sleepy robot. Now the Bioloid GPs just gonna pass out for a few minutes and then it’s gonna get right back up and start eating all over again, cuz it’s a hungry little bastard. Look at this! Like nothing even happened, the Bioloid GP gets right back up and continues eating the cobra! How disgusting. And of course, what does a Bioloid GP have to eat for the next few weeks? Cobra.

The Bioloid GP.

And just in case anyone is wondering what the hell is going on. Click here.

–Andrew “Robot Biologist”