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!!
Incredibly good work for what you’re working with and against.
I do so hope that a later revision will have removable media. It’s frustrating when a project’s intended path has to be detoured by economic or similar constraints. From that?
I respect well that this is your project and vision. There’s a certain elegance about no detachable parts too.
Though, a few potentials caught my imagination. One of which might be additional internal microSD cards- hardware switch selectable. That way- each of the internals can be isolated or even perhaps mounted in parallel? The potential of a “Graceful Degradation” mode allowing switch deselection for memory cards that eventually wear out is worth considering too.
One hack I thought of for sheer “Last Resort First” effect- the tail end of isostick revision whatever..gets a standard USB port in host mode. Thus- plugging in any bog stock USB flash medis including of course- USB housed microSD.
I’d be *REALLY* interested in an un-shelled microSD socket bearing “Hackerspace” version. That might also sell to LUG’s and Makerbot users.
EDIT: OOPS! I wrote this yesterday, but wordpress immediately marked it as spam and I didn’t catch it! Sorry for the delay 😐
Thanks for the kind words! I agree, it is very frustrating both for the customers and myself that the storage isn’t removable in this iteration.
Additional microSD cards that you can switch between is a good idea, I’ll keep that in mind! I love the “pass thru” idea where it goes from USB plug to USB socket. Indeed, such a device has been in the research phase here! I think it would be a fitting follow-up to the isostick, perhaps it could be called isoproxy or isohub. Without internal storage, it must be very inexpensive. I thought about using two AVR32s (for two USB ports, host and device), but it is too pricey, so I’m waiting on a few chips to reach the market so I can evaluate them for such a product. I’m also considering an FPGA-based design for that, to support USB3.0. That wouldn’t be so cheap, but perhaps USB3.0 support would be worth the extra. Anyways, it’s all up in the air right now but I am working on something like that, for sure 😉
I’m totally willing to make a more hacker/maker-targeted stick that would be lower cost and not have all the messy plastic stuff to worry about! Probably one of the single biggest hurdles with this has been the enclosure. I’ll have to consider the design a bit: whether I should use the BGA part, or the more hackable but much larger TQFP, etc etc, but I’ll definitely get something done in the coming months!
– Eric Agan
I’m curious as to why you are limiting the number of $75 donations to the kickstarter project. I can afford $75 but I can’t afford more than that. So without that option, I won’t be able to contribute.
If it is based on the current number of available sticks, I would be willing to wait until more become available.
As you thought, the $75 donations are limited as they are coming from the batch of 25 units that I already have on-hand, so I can ship them out quickly. It’s a stand-in for the public beta. I will consider adding another beta tier with the same disclaimers (cosmetics may vary, it’s beta so it might not work quite right, etc).. Due to the high cost of ramping up production this may not be possible, but because I’ve had so many requests I will see if I can squeeze something in, no promises though.
Thanks for the interest, and hopefully I can lower cost in production after the Kickstarter to a level more people can afford!
– Eric Agan
I stumbled across your kick starter project and found this to be a great solution to a problem we have. We are a colocation solution provider with several thousand servers of various hardware configurations. We will be getting a couple of your sticks through the kick starter, but if you need some beta testing on a bunch of different platforms, we would be interested in helping to improve this project. We’re located in Chicago and if this is something that you are interested in, please let me know and if not, no worries. Keep up the excellent work!
Thanks! Any help is appreciated, for sure!
I’ll be sure to get you access to our Bugzilla site so we can work with you on any issues you may encounter 🙂
– Eric Agan
Eric, I would love to see the ISOstick in a more hacker friendly version. Perhaps a more bulky version with easy-accessible MicroSD port, with cheap removable or non-existent casing. If you can lower the cost by selling us the stick without case, and/or without an SD, I’ll definitely buy that instead of the cased one with SD. I have plenty of SD cards already 😉
Looking forward to ordering.
It looks like a nice product. How much would one cost after the kickstarter project?
If you had a cheaper option without an SD card I would easily buy that.
Not sure on the retail price yet, but it is likely they will use removable storage after the Kickstarter, since that has been so widely requested.
– Eric Agan
this is a great solution to my problems as an administrator as most of the time you do is load custom ISOs to servers and workstations, or even just to clone the drives using clonezilla and other great tools out there. Most computers nowadays do support boot from USB which eases the work tremendously. I have been looking into making one myself as I was unable to find one to suite my needs until I came across your kickstarter.com isostick page.
Will you actually be going opensource someday? I would love to get my hands dirty at putting one together myself.
Thanks in advance and keep up the great work.
Yep, it will be open sourced at or before the time we stop supporting it.
– Eric Agan
When may that be, if I may ask?
Is there a possibility for me to purchase an ISOStick?
Please reply to me via email. I would be very thankful.
Hi. I just found your site, and was unfortunately late in the kickstarter page. I would like to purchase a unit. Perhaps you could update me via email on this.