The Kickstarter project for the isostick is up: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/elegantinvention/isostick-the-optical-drive-in-a-usb-stick
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I have twenty-five of the production boards on hand and they are all tested and functional! Some will be used for in-house testing, the remainder are available through the Early Adopter tier on the Kickstarter (more about that below). They are all functional and I am extremely happy with the PCB fabrication and assembly quality, which was handled by MyRO PCB. MyRO has done an exceptional job at an exceptional price, they’ve been cooperative at every step of the way and I highly recommend them.
So you may be wondering, what the heck happened to the public beta!?
Let me start by saying you can still be an early adopter on the Kickstarter page! The Early Adopter tier is the same pricing and specifications as the beta units would have been, and they will ship out as soon as the Kickstarter is funded. Non-early-adopter purchases will be shipped out some weeks later as we ramp up production and such
Originally the public beta was to be paid for by private funding, and I was expecting to sell the units at a slight loss. Unfortunately there was some confusion between myself and the enclosure manufacturer regarding the minimum order quantity. Because of some of my specifications, there is a minimum order of 250 units. I’d like to be clear that this is a reasonable figure and I am not in disagreement with this. However, this is outside the realm of possibilities with the shoestring budget I had set aside for the beta, and I simply cannot handle the cost alone.
Up to this point the isostick has been developed on a shoestring budget, which has been tricky to manage, to say the least. The budget just wasn’t big enough to cover 250 enclosures plus setup fees plus the first production isostick boards.
So anyway, that’s where we’re at. I have to thank everyone in #sparkfun on Freenode IRC for their continued support and encouragement, my good friend Stephen for his mad coding skills on isosel, Mike P. for letting me borrow his JTAGICE mkII which is absolutely invaluable. If I forgot your name I apologize, thanks to everyone, really!
Please help by funding the Kickstarter so we can get the isostick into full production and start making life easier for computer technicians and geeks everywhere!!