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Introduction to ISOstick


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#26 sambul61

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 12:17 PM

elegantinvention

Of course, different people have different views on your marketing strategy and device features & potential. Its normal... :)

However, since you're on the right website for what user category you're shooting this device to sell, why don't you setup a separate multi-query Poll Thread with questions like this:

- would you buy an Isostick?
- if not, why?
- for what purpose?
- for what price?
- if it has what features?
- with what warranty term?
- etc.

You may have several preset answer choices for each of your questions, plus an empty text field (I assume the forum allows that), if a user can't find the right answer. Plus, users would be able to leave separate posts in that thread with more explanations, why they chosen certain answers. Ideal target market survey opportunity... :1st:

I can suggest the following so far:

- Virtual Disk boot capabilities
- USB3 support is a must for IsoStick
- One extra pass through USB3 port
- One extra SD Card slot if you find the Thumb appealing to mass market
- 16 / 32 Gb Thumb
- No separate USB Hub product - they won't sell anymore
- Don't look at U3 features - they're scrapped by most manufacturers - study the reasons why...
- Fast flash memory suitable for the price and IT market

In suggesting this, I just look at what I use my 2.5" external Service SATA HD for, what ISO & VHD & IMA choice I permanently keep on it, ho much space does it take, why I don't use USB2 HD and neither Thumb flash drive for service tasks, what I miss in free bootloaders so far.

Having said this, I'd try to concentrate on making it appealing to a mass user feature wise - you'd need to do some market research for that. Because IT Pros would mostly prefer to use Grub4DOS and similar free tools to boot ISOs than pay $75 for about the same functionality. However, since Vboot author is also asking ~$75, try to look at what market he targets and how presents his product to make it appealing (assuming he has some sales) - just look through Vboot forum. You might be able to compete with HW solution on that market too, but it may need specific features. :dubbio:

#27 Nuno Brito

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 01:17 PM

Hello!

A sub forum for feature requests was created at http://reboot.pro/forum/135/

Please post a new topic there with your requests so that they can be discussed individually. This is also a good way of assessing which features are more popular than others.

#28 MedEvil

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 04:52 PM

Because IT Pros would mostly prefer to use Grub4DOS and similar free tools to boot ISOs than pay $75 for about the same functionality.

No IT professional would waste his time on something, if he can just throw company money at the problem.

If it were the other way around, Photoshop would have went belly up, when Gimp was introduced.

The cheap skates are never the pros, which could also make an inferior product work.
The non-professionals, who burn their time, like it had no value, just to save a few miesly bugs, those are the ones, who would not spend a dime, if they could get an inferior product for less.

75$ that's not even an hour worth of work.

:cheers:

#29 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 05:24 PM

75$ that's not even an hour worth of work.

I am happy to know you are seemingly very well paid. :)
Wonko

#30 MedEvil

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 06:03 PM

Well paid? :confused1:
You seemingly have no idea, about the total cost of an employee.

For that money, you could not even get an hour of a PC-Shop technician, much less a really highly quilified one.

:cheers:

#31 elegantinvention

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 06:14 PM

For individuals the price of an isostick is kinda high, no argument there.
I'd love to see it selling much cheaper so every geek/technician/whoever can pick one up without thinking twice, but I can only go so low and still make a living ;)

Even if I can't do anything about it right now, these critiques are important and appreciated. :thumbup:
I can't wait to see what wonderful ideas everyone comes up with in the new Requests sub forum, I look forward to implementing as many as I can!

And now, I must go bury myself in isostick firmware code so I can get it ready for a demo video :crazy:

#32 sambul61

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 06:33 PM

MedEvil

It might depend on the company state, size and IT budget a lot more then on the professional level of its employees who can make purchasing decisions. Still waiting to hear from someone: "I'm a decision maker, and will buy one Isostock for each of our 200 IT guys." That's why I suggested a Poll Thread in addition to separate Suggestion threads that don't have means to reflect the vote results on the forum.

#33 bblaauw

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 07:28 PM

I'm already convinced by the ISOstick, as it's a much smaller formfactor compared to a Zalman VE-200 with internally a 2.5" old-fashioned harddisk, a solid state disk or a hybrid like the Seagate Momentus.
What I'm currently experiencing though is that my system BIOS configures a USB2 controller/port (combined with a USB2.0 flash drive that can do 20MB/s sequential read speed) into USB1.1 speeds without possibility to get into the interface's full speed.

So my questions for Isostick:
* can Isostick configure itself and the interface to USB2.0 (and in future USB3.0) speed? If not, possibility to have your commercial product license the PloP bootmanager? It has an ability to set 2.0 speeds (not always working)
* Within IsoSel, is there a MEMDISK-style option to read/duplicate the ISO in system memory?
* How can the Isostick still be ordered? I know of your Kickstarter project, but that original period is over. Adding (more) money to that funding isn't guaranteeing an Isostick. Besides a website accepting Paypal, creditcards, money transfers / direct debits etc, would be more convenient.
* which USB3 controllers/chipsets/cards are bootable under BIOS (using BBS, which is theBios Boot Specification) and/or UEFI? NEC controllers for example are already rumored to be non-bootable.
Despite USB2.0 ports being abundant, personally I see no use for a (future/faster) Isostick unless it's bootable when inserted into an USB3.0 port.

The 'shim' that was proposed (isostick as hardware boot manager for people's own storage) appears to be an interesting idea.
My intent for an Isostick would be booting Memtest+, some Linux distro's, install Windows, run FreeDOS and test ReactOS

Thanks for promoting your product here and goodluck.

#34 elegantinvention

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 08:39 PM

* can Isostick configure itself and the interface to USB2.0 (and in future USB3.0) speed? If not, possibility to have your commercial product license the PloP bootmanager? It has an ability to set 2.0 speeds (not always working)

Hmmmm... :dubbio: Good question! :confused1:
That's a tough one. Isostick just shows up as an optical drive over USB, no boot managers involved. If the BIOS isn't smart enough to activate USB2.0 High Speed, that could be a problem. I wonder if whatever you're booting would be smart about it -- for example, if you booted an installer disc, if that installer would be smart enough to load some High Speed drivers for the USB chipset and re-enumerate the device(s).
Given the way isostick works though, this is largely outside it's control. I'll make a note anyway and be sure to look for this during the beta tests.

* Within IsoSel, is there a MEMDISK-style option to read/duplicate the ISO in system memory?

No, isosel is a very small bootloader which just relays your selection to isostick, which then inserts that ISO into its optical drive, and then isosel reboots the computer so you can boot into the selected disc. The BIOS sees an optical drive on the USB port and boots from it.

* How can the Isostick still be ordered? I know of your Kickstarter project, but that original period is over. Adding (more) money to that funding isn't guaranteeing an Isostick. Besides a website accepting Paypal, creditcards, money transfers / direct debits etc, would be more convenient.

Currently there is no way to order one :pinch: , I'm still working around the clock to get the firmware finished and get the Kickstarter units shipped. Please watch the Kickstarter updates for details. I will be sure to post in this forum when they're available for retail purchase.

* which USB3 controllers/chipsets/cards are bootable under BIOS (using BBS, which is theBios Boot Specification) and/or UEFI? NEC controllers for example are already rumored to be non-bootable.
Despite USB2.0 ports being abundant, personally I see no use for a (future/faster) Isostick unless it's bootable when inserted into an USB3.0 port.

That I'm not sure, I haven't looked into USB3.0 much. USB3.0 does generally have a USB2.0 fallback though, so perhaps that would be used for booting. I really don't know though. Definitely something to watch out for if/when I do a USB3.0 version! :good:

Thanks for promoting your product here and goodluck.

And thank you for the interest! :cheers:

#35 MedEvil

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 08:57 PM

It might depend on the company state, size and IT budget a lot more then on the professional level of its employees who can make purchasing decisions.

Yep, there are morons everywhere. My predecessor made our technicians take the car even for long distances, because airplanes are for executives. :frusty:
Don't even wanna know, how much money that guy send down the drain.

Still waiting to hear from someone: "I'm a decision maker, and will buy one Isostock for each of our 200 IT guys."

I very much doubt that there will even be a request.
The image for the sticks is created/updated centraly, so there is no need for an on the fly solution like isostick, especialy when it is so much slower than the 4GB SLC sticks they have.

:cheers:

#36 bblaauw

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 09:08 PM

Are the sticks being delivered empty or are you planning to put some freely distributable operating systems on it already so the stick becomes usable right on the spot?
Let's say Ubuntu (or Linux Mint), ReactOS, FreeDOS, Memtest86, PartedMagic, HDT.

#37 elegantinvention

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 09:58 PM

They're being distributed empty, and when they go retail they won't have internal storage, otherwise I'd consider including a handful of free software.

#38 sambul61

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 01:03 AM

If you mean by this that your IsoStick won't have any memory at all, and would need a user to buy another card to function - this seems a serious marketing error. I do understand intent to extend memory with SD Card. But it should complement - not eliminate entirely - any memory inside IsoStick. For some consumers 4 - 8gb internal might be enough, if the price is right. But if there is no memory inside - the demand will be VERY slim: you can't convince a typical user that the flash will die soon anyway, because in real life a Thumb seldom dies before a user throws it away due to its capacity is getting too small, and its memory is too slow compare to newer dirt cheap Thumbs. What's critical is speed, since many service packages aren't so small and fast to boot.

So, you better shoot for a fully functional product with ability to extend. I think the idea to include a light OS might not be so bad, at least as an option easy to erase to free memory.

#39 TheHive

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 05:55 AM

If you mean by this that your IsoStick won't have any memory at all, and would need a user to buy another card to function - this seems a serious marketing error.

I dont agree with that. Let's say IsoStick developers buy a bunch of SD Memory before producing IsoStick and by the time they are ready to ship they see that the price to buy SD memory has gone down. It will be to a disadvantage to IsoStick developers budget. Or then again IsoStick can be offered with or without a SD Card with different prices. Most people as stated before, already own an SD card. And prices for SD card might be cheaper in ones own home town. I still think a way to insert an external USB Device would add great benefit to buyers.

#40 steve6375

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 06:57 AM

Nor do I. The IsoStick should have a user accessible SD slot with a Micro SD card adaptor. Just from a commercial standpoint alone - the profit margin of selling the IsoStick with no memory would be about double that of selling it with memory. I really hope that you copy a case design as used by USB pen card readers (there are many examples) rather than a USB Flash pen design. That way you have a ready made case. The Write protect switch is not necessary as Micros SD adaptors have a 'lock' switch built in. So all you need do is obtain a source of these Card reader cases and design your PCB to fit.
heck - you could even buy the card readers + adapter for <$2 each and throw away the PCB inside and fit your own PCB!

http://www.diytrade....ard_reader.html

#41 sambul61

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 12:36 PM

Profit margin is a meaningful term only when there is a profit. May be the author can try these 2 approaches and see, what he can sell and at what price to make a leaving... :)

#42 anfield

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 05:21 PM

Where can i buy one of this great tool isostick.

please give me an adress.

We are living outside the US.(germany)

Whats the price ?.
Thanks a lot. !!

Greetings Anfield

#43 elegantinvention

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 05:23 PM

Where can i buy one of this great tool isostick.


Thanks for the interest!
Unfortunately they're not available for purchase just yet, we're still in the final stages of development.
I'll be posting on here as soon as they're available, though, so keep an eye out!

#44 Lodovik

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 02:13 AM

This Isostick is a great idea! I also agree that it should be sold without any MicroSD card, just the Isostick itself. I feel rather limited by the 32GB limit of the MicroSD format. If you have install ISO of both Vista and Win7 in 32 and 64-bit versions, you already used 11GB. Do you plan to support the SDXC specs in the Isostick? Could this be added later with a firmware update or would it need a hardware redesign?

I'd like to have 64GB to fit all my ISOs and then have some space left. Sandisk has already announced a 64GB MicroSDXC card but the price is around $200 US so no need to rush on it for now... Eventually the price will fall quickly and having the option to use one of these SDXCs in the future would be a real plus.

Keep up the good work!

#45 elegantinvention

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 03:01 AM

Do you plan to support the SDXC specs in the Isostick?

Yep!

Could this be added later with a firmware update or would it need a hardware redesign?

It'll be added in a firmware update. The only catch is you won't see the speed benefits of SDXC, it'll still run at the same old speed due to hardware limitations. You'll get all the storage space, though!

#46 Roland Pantaleo

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 03:09 AM

Posting to make sure I get the update ASAP!

I missed out on investing on Kickstarter. Oh well. Amazing idea. Can't wait for them to go on sale for the non backers.

#47 elegantinvention

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 10:30 PM

Just updated the original post with the new enclosure design, it adds removable microSD, and a big easy to use read-only switch. The red side of the read-only switch is exposed when the device is writable so it's very clear that your data is not write protected.

It's been slow, but it's still going! Now that this enclosure stuff is getting wrapped up, things should be back on track.

#48 MedEvil

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 10:35 PM

Looks really great! :thumbup:

Where/how gets the micro SD card inserted?

:cheers:

#49 elegantinvention

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 10:40 PM

Looks really great! :thumbup:

Thanks! :cheers:

Where/how gets the micro SD card inserted?

You can see the slot on the side here: http://www.flickr.co...in/photostream/
That's a photo of a 3D-printed prototype that just got done earlier today, used for verifying that everything fits before ordering the real things. They haven't even shipped to me yet, can't wait! :hyper:
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#50 MedEvil

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 10:53 PM

You think that will work like that?
The card would need to stick out a bit, so that one could remove it.

If you use a socket with 'push-in throw-out' mechanic, you might get away with just a little vertical slit, wide enough to use a fingernail to release the card.

If you use a simple socket, i would rather go with a recess, than to let the card stick out.

:cheers:




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