Target audiences


It may be that the blog reaches more people on RCGroups than DIY Drones.  The audience of both tends to be the same RC pilots, not electronics designers, but RC Groups tends to be frequented by more electronics designers while DIY Drones is frequented by more absolute beginners. 

Because of the lack of jobs, the Marcy class aircraft have tended to shift more towards a product than an open source hobby.  Had a rare opportunity to fly her in a large room, because someone paid to have a pretty difficult autonomous feature put in Marcy 1.  For a few days, only 2 people in the world saw a vehicle do what she did, for the cost.

Also got to fly her manually, in a large room.  The 1st manual indoor flight in her 3 year history showed exactly how stable she is. 

So that difficult autonomous feature is top secret & the brains of Marcy aircraft are becoming more secret, over time.  15 years of doing 1 open source project or another have never yielded any career benefits from the open source aspect of it.  They might care about the final product or the experience from developing it, but no-one ever offered a job because the source code was free & no-one who copied my source code to advance their job ever offered a pat on the back.

Part of the problem is it takes a lot more support than development for the open source aspect to gain enough popularity that it enhances your career.  You have to be more of an organizer & the development has to be more in line with what the masses look for in other products right now, not a science project.  Compromises like a 4Hz update when you'd like 30Hz or a clunky touch screen interface when you'd like a bulletproof tactile interface have to be accepted, because the platform has to be what the masses want right now.

In open source RC projects more than web servers, the developers tend to have jobs other than programming.  They're competent enough at programming to make a career out of it, yet they're not offered jobs & they don't seem to seek any. 

What seems to be happening is people who work on web servers are interested in software for its own sake.  People who work on RC projects are using software as a tool to solve another problem that they're more interested in.  The economy is based on very specialized roles, performing exactly 1 task for their entire life.  Programmers are supposed to write software for their entire life, without regard to the application.

If technology is allowing 1 person to do the work that required 3, years ago, shouldn't jobs become less specialized?  Business leaders are all saying no & continuing to just hire specialists.  Programmers are just supposed to program, because the amount of skill required to be competitive requires committing your full attention to just 1 thing. 

The maker revolution seems to depend on the opposite, because you don't have the budget to hire a full time, lifetime specialist in Ruby on Rails.  Money is made by generalists who fabricate, program, & solder, while the specialized work of perfecting the tools is unpaid.

Exactly which model will be required to survive is unknown.  A modern government can impose any model it wants, through flexible currency & credit.  We only know that business leaders using the traditional model continue to dominate the economy & the economy hasn't produced more than it has consumed in many years. 

Who knew there were once people who spent their entire lives lighting gas street lights. 



There were once people who spent their entire lives manually adding transaction amounts in books, before computer spreadsheets.


19th century ledger

Hard to believe the reason today's jobs seem ridiculously specialized isn't because the same type of evolution has continued.

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  • Love your writing! Good on ya mate. I agree with what you said. The future is sure going to be interesting.

  • so a comment on "Stability"

    It isn't clear to me that the Marcy design is inherently stable or dynamically stable.

    By the look of the wing "dihedral" this design would appear to be inherently stable - making it rather more difficult to maneuver.

    I believe maneuverability is the critical characteristic of a flying machine. I'd like to see the wing re-weighted so it lays flat in the air, and they see how quickly it can delta V.


  • Compass Systems, Inc. is seeking an entry level Engineer (job posting details), experience with RC/Hobby Aircraft is preferred.

  • Jack . . . check out University of Minnesota's UAV Research Group . . . they are looking for a Specialist Coordinator (job posting details) for low-cost, open source UAV flight research facility.

  • Hey Jack, great work, love the dedication. I can sense your frustration but part of the problem may be the lack of promotion. Commercial or open source products (or a paid gig) requires exposure. Anyone can have a great product (or technical experience) but if nobody knows, it really doesn't exist. Next step, self-promotion through a dedicated "Marcy" website - you may be amazed what connections (opportunities) open up. Side note: check out this open source model for DIY brick (pizza) oven.
    CHEERS! Mike
  • Hans has a great point...

    To make money out of these open source projects you can 't sell source code. You need to sell everything around that.

    Take, for instance, the UHU servo board. It has been around for years. Boards are cheap (I just bought 3 for testing them in DIY CNC project), schematics are available several places, yet the developer maintains control of the code for the controller chip... and sells them at a very reasonable price. It is not really an open source effort but an example of the shifted facts of electronics/firmware business. The product is subject to being used on very expensive machinery and the developer(s) caveat is that they are not responsible if you destroy your machine (or raw materials) with their product. Just yesterday I discovered another developer that now has an improved drop-in replacement for the original chip.

    Technology is always victim of time and thought.

    Jack obviously has talent and skill. Let us hope he can be gainfully employed at something he enjoys. Marcy X, though fascinating to watch, has little hope of being a consumer product. Why? I think, because novelty peak for such a product has passed due to the WowWee Bladestar.

    The control system of Marcy X, and the algorithm is uses, would probably be used in a totally different application to find some commercial success.

    Homepage Huber
  • I am a member at the TechShop.  The other day I was down their and a couple of acquaintances were talking about how they could not afford to open source their designs (they were amazing, one was a quad, one was a portable electric vehicle).  I give away what I make, because I have a job doing something else (that I enjoy), these guys had no choice.  The shame of it is, what I build is not nearly as nice...  Jack, the world needs more generalists!  I think everybody who comes to DIY drones would agree.  

  • Developer

    That's amazingly stable.  You rock.

  • I do not understand the lack of jobs thing. If you can program, understand electronics, sprinkle on mathematics then finding a job in engineering or science should be easy.

  • Moderator


    I agree with you the open source business model in the makers point of view is not good enough .

    I try to reinvent it . I'm working on it . I think that for continue to develop good opensource product we need to identify a right strategy to raise found for our project. At the moment the people that can raise money in opensource world is only who sell electronics board. But normally for develop an hardware need only 1 month for develop good firmware on that platform could be necessaries also 1 or 2 years of work.



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