Preparing for a Prototype

Grench

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As far as I am aware, I'm the only prototype purchaser that has, 'gone public'. I thought it would be fun to share those experiences here. I asked for and received ED's permission to create a blog of sorts around the prototype purchase and experience.

I almost didn't make the Prototype order. I am number eight of eight. No, I am not filthy 'rich'. I am making this purchase in lieu of updating/replacing my primary gaming computer this year (the case and motherboard are roughly 8 years old now, but has upgrades). I do have a fair idea of what I'm in for - I was also a prototype purchaser of the Tapwave Zodiac so many years ago.

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Communications

After the purchase and payment for my prototype there hasn't been much for direct communications from the team. Instead, all updates are here in the forums. There has been one exception - color selection.

The color selection email I received from ED asked me to rank order my three favorite colors. My response was:
1st - Glow in the dark.
2nd - Mutt (As many different colors as possible)
3rd - Bakelyte (which would either be mixed color pellets or a surface treatment)
4th - Red #D000000
5th - Dark Red #7E0000

ED responded that colors need to be purchased in certain quantities of at least 20kg and that would preclude the glow in the dark request - but hey, that was a long shot to begin with. From his response I will most likely be getting Dark Red.

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Considerations leading up to arrival.

With the Pollycarbonate case pieces starting to arrive with ED and the circuit boards nearing completion and early boards starting to boot, it is tempting to get as organized as I can for the prototype's arrival. Almost like adding a child to a household, I start trying to figure out what I'll need to make the addition as smooth as possible.

It is very tempting to pre-purchase SD media for the device. However, I've learned my lesson a bit years ago with the Zodiac 2 and then re-learned it with the Pandora.

For the Zodiac I had purchased 16MB cards, then 32MB cards before even receiving the unit. By the time I was 'done' with the Zodiac I was using 4GB SD (non-SDHC) cards.

During the long 2.5 year shipping wait for my Pandora, I purchased 16GB then 32GB cards. After it arrived I moved to dual 128GB currently use a 256GB card in my Pandora, keeping the 2nd slot open for data interchange.

Still, the gear nut in me keeps checking the SD card prices and capacity.
uSD has been stuck at the 200GB peak capacity for a long time now. However, that Sandisk 200GB microSDXC card has dropped in price to where it can be purchased on Amazon in the US for $99 - which makes it VERY tempting to purchase one. I'm trying hard to resist, though, and hold 'Pyra Purchases' for when I actually have a Pyra.

Full sized SDXC cards have been at 512GB for some time - and they charged a rather deterring premium for them. Looking today there is a PNY 95MB/s 512GB card on Amazon for $200. The 256GB version of the card is $80. Either are very tempting, but I'm still trying to hold off purchasing until I have the Pyra in hand.

There is a 4th card slot in the Pyra though. As a prototype purchased from the US, ED has assured me that my Pyra will be equipped with the US 4G module. These days I have my family cell phone plan through AT&T. So, I plan to add the Pyra to that plan as a 'Bring your own Phone or Tablet'. Of course the Pyra isn't listed in the Device or Brand tree - no surprises there. However, there appears to be another option. Apparently if you dial *#06# on a mobile phone or device it will reply with it's IMEI number. AT&T requires this as a first step before they will sell a SIM card. So - nothing to do there until after the Pyra is in hand.

Back when Exagear had a pre-sale-sale I purchased 2 licenses with the intention of 1 going on my future Pyra. But that was also in part to add support to Exagear's efforts - which proved out to be a good thing.

That sums up my process and thoughts to date. If anyone has questions you're welcome to ask. There isn't much I can add beyond what is already in the forums and the small details above though. I will add more information to this thread as the process and my thoughts continue to evolve.
 

levi

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FWIW I don't plan to buy any SD cards to support my Pyra purchaese; since switching back to running the OS off the NAND flash on my Pandora, I have a spare fast 64GB card that I only use for reflashing at present. And I have a 64GB micro SD card I bought in the sales currently doing nothing, but for the time being I intend to use the OS on the internal eMMC.
 

matzesu

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I like that you wants to get Puplic, because then wee have more to watch until whe get our Pyras..
I also put my Pandors Roms on the big 128 gb Card for Pyra..

I ditnt hate you for the prototyph, therefore you payd 1500 €..
 

Grench

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FWIW I don't plan to buy any SD cards to support my Pyra purchaese; since switching back to running the OS off the NAND flash on my Pandora, I have a spare fast 64GB card that I only use for reflashing at present. And I have a 64GB micro SD card I bought in the sales currently doing nothing, but for the time being I intend to use the OS on the internal eMMC.
Oh, I do intend to have the OS running on the NAND. However, EDs recent posts on the matter state that there is a very high possibility of the OS being able to dynamically switch between the NAND and the microSD card. I know that the early development plan was for it to be one or the other, but it sounds like now it may be both (with a performance hit if both are in simultaneous use).

My plan is to run the OS from the eMMC and store my persistent storage items on the microSD. i.e. music collection, games and similar that I don't plan to shuffle on-off of the unit much.

The Pyra will have so much storage capacity that it will be interesting to find use cases to actually fill it.
NAND: 16GB?
uSD: 200GB max
leftSD: 512GB max
rightSD: 512GB max

Of additional interest is that the prices on those media cards has recently fallen. It makes me wonder if they're clearing old stock to make room for bigger cards on the horizon. 512GB has been around for a long time now. 14nm lithography is becoming more the norm. So, I suspect that 1TB SD and 256+GB uSD could be on their way in the next few months to a year.
 

TrashyMG

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Wish I had gotten on that, didn't even know there was a prototype program. That's too bad.
You would've had to pay well over a $1000 USD to get one. I was so tempted, but glad I didn't financially speaking.
 

Mr_Loon

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Thanks Grench, keep us posted. Not sure society is ready for glow in the dark hardware ;)
 

Grench

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You would've had to pay well over a $1000 USD to get one. I was so tempted, but glad I didn't financially speaking.
There are some misconceptions around how much this really was.

The charge from OpenPandora GmbH, shipping included, was 1462.00 EUR which via PayPal with exchange rates resulted in a 1704.82 USD charge.

Some people will say, "Wow you overpaid a lot!!!" Maybe I should wrap some perspective around that. I expect a base Pyra to price somewhere in the $550 range. The unit that I am receiving will have the optional 4G module that was at one time rumored to add $100 to the price. So, with shipping, roughly $700 of that $1700 winds up being what I would have spent on the unit itself. I also have a history of donating towards Pandora fulfillment. In this case the roughly $1000 could be considered almost a donation to help finance the prototype run - except for the other factor - that I'll get a unit pretty early. Whether that is days, weeks or months before general release is an unanswered question. So, I'm chipping in what I probably would, in the end, put into the program anyway and getting the excitement bonus of being in the prototype launch.

So - that is probably enough information around the financial side of it. I'm looking forward to more conversation around the unit itself as we get closer to such units actually existing.
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Thanks Grench, keep us posted. Not sure society is ready for glow in the dark hardware ;)
What I had in mind would have looked more or less clear in any standard lighting, but would have had a somewhat subtle nuclear green glow when the lights go out. Something like this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/111760961396?ul_noapp=true&chn=ps&lpid=82

I wish it were possible, but I can understand why it is not. Although I do wonder what that 20kg minimum order of material with the glow in the dark effect added would really cost... If it is under $100 I would be very tempted to pay the up-charge.
 

TrashyMG

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The charge from OpenPandora GmbH, shipping included, was 1462.00 EUR which via PayPal with exchange rates resulted in a 1704.82 USD charge.
Honestly if I didn't pay $10,000 USD to replace my broken furnace around the same time the pre-pre-order happened I'd most likely have hopped on board. Now that my devboard seems to be dead, I kind of wish I did, heat in the wintertime be damned.
 

Grench

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Honestly if I didn't pay $10,000 USD to replace my broken furnace around the same time the pre-pre-order happened I'd most likely have hopped on board. Now that my devboard seems to be dead, I kind of wish I did, heat in the wintertime be damned.
Ouch - I've been there - around 2005. At the time I replaced my furnace and AC units with a low efficiency furnace and a high efficiency heat pump - working off of the assumption that electricity would become cheaper than natural gas. Then fracking became a word. Heat pumps are temperamental beasts. If I had it to do over again I would have gone with just a mid range furnace and higher efficiency plain AC - no heat pump function.

Sucks that your devboard died though. Depending on how large it looks like the gap between prototypes and production units is, I might consider having my prototype circulate a bit within the US to a few developers for a week or so per dev so they can test their most important ports/programs. Obviously I would need to work out some way to insure it's travels and ensure it's return - something to consider though. Inviting the devs to visit a Pyra prototype here probably wouldn't work out so hot - unless they're within 100 miles or so of Omaha, Nebraska.
 

matzesu

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I think these Gaming Notebooks arent meant to play these A1 Titles on the go, more to use it mybe on Camper or Hotel Champer whit acces to an Wall Plug..
So nothing to compare whit the Batterie Time..

@Grench do you wants to stick whit the Prototoyphe, or do you wants to got you also a normal Mass Produktion Unit, because the Prototyphe is too expensive for every day carry and use??
 

Grench

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I think these Gaming Notebooks arent meant to play these A1 Titles on the go, more to use it mybe on Camper or Hotel Champer whit acces to an Wall Plug..
So nothing to compare whit the Batterie Time..

@Grench do you wants to stick whit the Prototoyphe, or do you wants to got you also a normal Mass Produktion Unit, because the Prototyphe is too expensive for every day carry and use??
Some of you may cringe at the idea, but my plan is to use it just like I would a production Pyra. I am not purchasing this to seal up in a vault to sell to a collector 20 years from now. I'm purchasing this to use, learn from, and hopefully to make the project better.

Paying the extra to purchase a prototype is one thing. Using it to help test, spot issues and thereby contribute to getting things in as good of shape as possible for the general release would potentially add more value to the project than just contributing to the prototype creation run. I have participated in several beta tests in the past. Normally what I've worked on gets so tied down with NDA restrictions that I still can't talk about most of them. About the only ones I can publicly acknowledge now are OS/2 Warp 4 (Operating system from the late 90s) and the Tapwave Zodiac (I was a beta tester for the OS, music playback, storage systems and several games.) More generically I have also worked on GPS systems projects and statistical analysis packages.

So, in that light, I plan to put my Pyra in my pocket and haul it into work. If I fly somewhere, it flies with me - just as my Pandora would. It will charge on my nightstand and ride in the center console of my truck while four wheeling. At some point it will probably get used in a tent while camping during a downpour. The camping I do involves backpacks, tents, fire and no electrical service - most times there is no wireless phone signal. The case will get scratched and the key surfaces worn. Although I won't deliberately try to damage it, I'm not going to keep it in a case behind glass either.

In short, I plan to use it. The more it's capabilities expand, the more I plan to use it.
 
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