Computing stuff tied to the physical world

What’s going on

In News on Feb 21, 2011 at 00:01

If you’ve been following this weblog, then you may have noticed that things have been quiet around here…

There are a couple of reasons for this. The first one which triggered it all, was an unfortunate – but ordinary – flu, which swept me off my feet for a couple of days, and then sapped all my energy for a few more. I’m sorry about that, and I’m happy that this is all behind me now.

But there’s more to it than that.

In the beginning, I often had a queue of over a week of weblog posts pending and ready to go out on a daily basis. At that time, the weblog was working out exactly as planned: as a way to report on my adventures in the fascinating land of Physical Computing…

However, over 730 posts later, that buffer has been steadily decreasing, and I’ve often been forced to write a weblog post on the day before its publication. Sometimes this was ready only minutes before the deadline. No fun, and in the past month or two, this ended up happening more and more often. The reporting task became a recurring “what shall I write about today?” challenge. Somewhere along the way, the adventure got lost.

And finally, there’s the web shop, which has taken off much faster than I expected and anticipated. In a way, that’s good: a well-running shop means it provides funding for everything else – from keeping that shop going to being able to start new projects and work on fun stuff. Which is the point of JeeLabs after all.

Except… I’ve been swamped. It’s been a while since I’ve actually been able to “start new projects and work on fun stuff”. And some products added to the shop haven’t gotten the attention they need and deserve, such as writing more software examples and documentation to make things interesting, useful, and practical for everyone. Not to mention some stock problems (there are still a few right now).

One solution would be to “scale up”, i.e. to invest in larger amounts of stock and bring in more people to help with production, packaging, and sales. That’s probably what most people would do when presented with such an incredible “business opportunity”, right?

Ah, but there’s the rub… you see, my goal is not to create a large business and become the boss of something “big”.

Let me tell you a story I heard many years ago…

There’s this guy somewhere on a island, sitting under a tree. He takes a little branch, and patiently carves it into a magnificent little flute. He loves making his flutes, and does it all day long, day in day out. His family and friends enjoy what he’s doing, and everyone’s happy. Then, one day, a visitor comes along and sees him sitting there under his tree, amidst his branches and flutes. He walks over and says: “Wow, that’s amazing what you do. You ought to make lots of flutes, I think you could sell tons of them!”

The guy shrugs, and continues with his flute.

The visitor goes on: “Imagine how much money you could make, and how rich and famous you could become. Man, you could teach others to make these flutes, set up a factory, hire a workforce, and rake in the money! You’d be free to do anything you like. Wouldn’t that be incredible? Now tell me, if you were rich, what would you really like to do most of all?”

The guy looks up and says: “Me? Oh, nothing, just sit under a tree and make flutes.”

I’m not saying I’m exactly like that guy. But close. I want to spend my days exploring new things. And for a while, it’s been happening less and less.

Don’t get me wrong. I do want to share. I do want to encourage others to explore and learn more about all sorts of new and fun technologies. And I do want to continue with Open Source Hardware and Software. The mix of software, hardware, and electronics is absolutely fascinating and oh so worth sharing, and I love to be able to encourage people in those directions. But I don’t want to let the weblog or the shop run my life. My life is not about business, revenues, power, or even success. Heck, it probably wouldn’t be, even if I tried ;)

Dsc 1970

Just for the record: JeeLabs is not going away. On the contrary, I intend to find a way which makes sure that it will last and stay around for many years to come. I want to keep the weblog, as a source of unique posts with 100% original content. I want to keep the web shop going with kits and products which help anyone interested in Physical Computing to try things out, experiment, explore, and learn about it all.

But I need to take care of the inner fire and energy source which drives me. And that requires time to concentrate and the liberty to run off in lots of directions. I’m back into a bit of that right now, and it’s doing wonders for me.

There will be only a few more posts on the weblog this month. I’ll respond to emails and forum posts as before, and I’m committed to keep the shop running in a responsible way, with proper support and doing my best to maintain sufficient stock levels to keep everything listed available for people who want it. In fact, I expect this activity to increase, as more and more larger projects are starting up and several workshops are currently under way. But my focus will be on streamlining things, so I can recover that precious time I need for the longer term health of everything at JeeLabs, including myself.

Take care, and please don’t let the radio silence on this weblog affect your plans and activities. There are lots of old posts to go through which might interest you, just use the search box or go through any of the archived months at the bottom of this page.

When I figure out how to best take this all forward, you’ll be the first to know.

PS. Thanks for all kind emails and encouragements. It makes a very real difference.

  1. Being a Maker is one thing. Documenting everything is another. I sure appreciate all you do in sharing both your designs and knowledge. Take a well earned “blogcation”.

  2. I honestly don’t know how you managed to keep up the pace this long! I tried to do a blog once, I only aimed at doing one entry a week, and I barely lasted three months!

    Finding a subject to write about, and then writing a nice explanation with pictures et al every day for two years is no mean feat! Sir, I salute you!

    I’ll be lying if I said I won’t miss your daily blogs, I will, and I know there are quite a few of us who have developed a 23:01 GMT/UTC twitch that sent us towards our bookmarks! I’m sure you noticed this in your logs ;-)

    I hope you’ll be able to continue soon (all be it at a reduced rate).

    Techies always did prefer fiddling with gadgets and fun “stuff” with wires to documentation ;-)

    • Same here, I haven’t written on my blog for a very long time. I very much appreciate all the effort you put into this.

      One idea to get some rest is to invite some people for guest blog posts. It does get a bit less personal then, but from time to time, people on the forum are doing very interesting things.

  3. It’s good to develop focus now. Thank you for all your inspiration.

  4. Wish you all the best ! On one hand it is great to see jeelabs become so popular, on the other it would be really a pitty if you can’t do what you really want to: making flutes (erm exploring new things ;-))

    The guys at Dangerous Prototypes do their own research and write about it but have outsourced production to a production house ( SeeedStudio). They get a kickback fee for each unit sold to fund new projects. Might be (or not) a workable model for JeeLabs too.

  5. Hi JC,

    Best of luck, I hope you’ll find a good strategy. Just want to say that I really appreciate what you do.



  6. I think I’m not alone in saying that, although I would miss the daily posts, less-frequent posts about new and exciting things you’re working on would be much appreciated.

    You could also perhaps have guest bloggers talking about their own Jee-projects.

  7. Hi JC,

    Good to hear that you’re on the mend! Like the others I really do appreciate what you do. All the time and effort that you put into it is phenomenal, and the finished products are amazing pieces of work!

    Doing what you love is one of the most important aspects of life, and you’re on the road to doing it well :-) Hope it all works out as planned, and in a way that lets Jeelabs flourish too!


  8. Hi Jean, I like your projects and I like very much the way you write your posts.

    You have style.

    From now on just take your time. It’s better a quality post from time to time than getting headaches trying to post every day interesting stuffs and do all the things you do, all as a “one-man-band” (along with your regular job, your family and the time for yourself). We’ll be happy for you.

    Best of all, John.

  9. Hi JC, as you might remember, I’m just new to jeelabs and I am VERY impressed what you have done within the last few years. I can really understand your problem because I know (from my work) how hard all this documentation and organization stuff is.

    So I wish you all the free time you need to play around to develop new gadgets and also would appreciate if you share your discoveries with us (I’m sure you will;-)

    Thanks a lot and keep on jee-ing! Christian

  10. Hi JC,

    I appreciate all your works : share jeenode ressources, weblog, forum and everything in your jeelabs :-) I hope will find a way to continue to enjoy electronics stuff and sharing with your blog and shop!

    I agree with jklu, outsourcing production and shop (that is eating most of your time as we can see) might a good deal…

    Best regards,


  11. Find that inner fire and stoke it.

  12. JC,

    As all the others wrote before me, please keep up the good work you do, and do it in a way that keep the fun in it – I must admit that I got a bit worried the last few days of no JeeLabs weblog updates, worried that something have happened to you. So it was nice seeing some activity today. Looking forward to your next post.


  13. Keep the fun. may I suggest you ask a few of the regulars to write an article sometimes, you could generate a few subjects or organize a “what do you want to hear about” questionnare in the forum. nowadays, social (i.e. putting the buggers to work themselves ;-) ) is all the rage.

    just focus on what you would like to do (either when famous and rich, or right now).

    Onwards! but at the pace that suits yourself.

  14. JC

    I totally agree with and support all the comments which others have made. It has been a privilege to find a site such as yours – your dedication and enthusiasm are simply infectious.

    Best Regards

  15. Do it the way yo want to do it!

  16. I cannot really add to what the others have said – I truly value your gift to all of us and wish you well during this period of realignment.

  17. Hi jcw,

    ditto the comments above ;) I appreciate your blog comments, but would prefer the more occasional one rather than you running yourself into the ground.

  18. JC,

    Just to add my appreciation and thanks to those above. You have created a fantastic resource here. All the best with whatever you do going onwards!

  19. A passion doesn’t let itself be forced. It will flow once there are no plans for the future and no anchors to the past.

  20. Hello jcw,

    There’s little I can add to the above, but I also want to say that what you’ve created at Jeelabs is really phenomenal and certainly inspiring to me.

    Often I wondered how you can keep this incredible pace. Sounds healthy to me to switch to an event driven blog instead of time driven.

  21. Hi jcw,

    Keep up good work, your project keep me inspired!


  22. Hello jcw, Thank for your daily posts. Keep up the good work.

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