Thursday, January 7, 2010

Well, I Guess We're Here Now

Following up yesterday's note about SparkFun's free day - the meeting was a non-issue. The SparkFun site was down for pretty much the entire time, and we had some 'net connectivity issues on our end as well (ensuring that even when the website was up, I still had a hard time getting any page to load). I guess I won't be making the jump to Arduino just yet (don't worry - I still love my NXT's and I'll keep using them - I just wanted to try out something new without the risk of being out $100+ if I couldn't get much done with it). A good recap of how free day went can be found at

I had a similar experience trying to get a Linux thumbdrive working on my Toshiba recently. Who the hell, in the '00's, thinks it's more appropriate to have a Floppy Disk Drive option on a BIOS than a USB thumbdrive option? Any sane person would assume (as I did) that that would be a good option for trying a new operating system, but apparently Toshiba thought otherwise (but thought the BIOS should account for FDD's, even though there ISN'T a floppy drive on the computer). I'm still putting off buying a new PC, but no one's making that easy for me.

In more exciting news, an 8880 Super Car (more descriptive links and photos can wait for another post) arrived at the house yesterday. I feel a great need to drop everything and build it (I was up until about 2 AM last night getting it started...)

On a more depressing LEGO-related note: the manager of the local LEGO store has apparently decided to start enforcing somewhat arbitrary rules of "family friendly" content on WITC displays. He's begun turning away spectacular models (and no, the one he turned down after it arrived for January was not unkosher in any way) and asking for photographs for pre-approval before anyone brings anything in. Way to turn what used to be a fun privilege into more of an obnoxious chore. Yes, it's the store manager's decision to make, but he clearly made the wrong decision here and I've never seen the company commit such an atrocious affront to the community before (and yes, I remember the grey/bley debacle). I had signed up to do a July display with fireworks in the background, but I'm not entirely sure that I'll follow through anymore - I have enough things I'm more excited about building for myself, and the last thing I want to do is work out a fantastic mosaic using tiny translucent parts only to be turned away for "endorsing explosives", or whatever other whim the manager has that day.

By the way, we were already getting the shaft on the WITC front. Most groups are allowed to use non-LEGO shelves to add height (say, a clear shelf to hold up a spaceship or display planes above a town) - but that's long been declared contraband at this location. I've also been told that minor discounts and payment have even been offered in some places to people contributing window displays. We, on the other hand, put in ridiculous amounts of effort to achieve heights on our models without using any non-LEGO parts, and are then "thanked" for it by these sorts of comments. Is it any wonder that there's trouble getting the fan community here excited about participating in events at the store? Heck, we can't even get our own group displays together 95% of the time. I'm becoming disillusioned with the whole process of group displays (just in time to plan LEGOPalooza next month!).

Enough of that, and the rest of the AFOL-community politics. I'm building myself an 8880, because I'm awesome (although not awesome enough to actually drive a car that nice...).

EDIT: The higher ups and LEGO Brand Retail have since done away with the Window Into The Community displays entirely. Which, given the mixed experiences with it and issues that have arisen in some stores, isn't entirely surprising.

No comments: