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Thread: Best Deal Going List?

  1. #1
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    Default Best Deal Going List?

    How about a list of items that are "The Best Deal Going"?

    You know! We could come up with a list of items that are parts of laser projection systems and offer [dated] links to what is really out there for the best price!

    I'd love to be able to click and buy a really good deal on a........

    James.

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    Quote Originally Posted by James Lehman View Post
    How about a list of items that are "The Best Deal Going"?

    You know! We could come up with a list of items that are parts of laser projection systems and offer [dated] links to what is really out there for the best price!

    I'd love to be able to click and buy a really good deal on a........

    James.
    A good idea James, but too hard to maintain I think, as you would really need an open thread that all people could edit, bit like a wiki and you would always have to double check that the items price is correct etc.
    If you are like me you search the internet no end to get the best deals

    Maybe a list of suitable places that you can buy laser equipment from. When all have posted as to best place then one respected and trusted member of PL gathers up all that info makes a "final" post, maybe then locking and making it a sticky.

    Obviously if any fantastic deals come up then let us all know

    André
    Last edited by Onge; 06-14-2008 at 00:26. Reason: Just noticed I am not a Junior Member now :)

  3. #3
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    I wasn't expecting a monitored system. Just a list of bragging about what a great deal can be found at......

    Hey what is the best deal on laser show software these days, anyway...?

    James.

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    Cool

    I suppose it depends on what you want to do with the laser show software, James...

    Laserboy is free, so that sort of makes it hard to beat. However, it's not the only free software out there. (Uclinix laser and Poplescan come to mind, and then there's Carmangary's Spaghetti software too.) Each of those packages has it's own strengths and drawbacks. For example, your Laserboy does not have a point-and-click interface, and that is a significant drawback.

    As far as a commercial product, I think the best deal right now (in terms of price vs included features and overall performance) is the Pangolin FB3. At a price point of $500 for the DAC and the software, it's hard to beat. (By comparison, Mamba Black + Easylase USB - the closest competitor that offers similar performance - costs well north of $900.)

    On the other hand, if you look at total value (things like included content, longevity, expansion ability, image quality, software features, and flexibility for the future), then the Pangolin LD-2000 package is on top in my book. Sure, it costs $1500 for an intro board, but when you consider all the extras you get, it's still a bargan. (Can you imagine buying 100 shows at $300 to $500 per show? Or buying 3 CD roms worth of ILDA artwork?)

    So it really depends on what you're into. Some people simply can't afford to spend even $500 on a DAC and some software. Likewise, some people can't justify spending $1500 on a Pangolin LD-2000 system. For these folks, there are cheaper alternatives (including your laserboy software) that still allow them to experience laser shows - albeit with fewer options. And if they enjoy the hobby enough, they might find a way to upgrade in the future.

    But for the average hobbyist that doesn't have a ton of money to spend, but nonetheless wants to have a nice RGB system that supports analog modulation, music-syncronized shows, and includes numerous tools for creating original shows, the FB3 is an excellent starting point. And if you can stretch your budget a little bit, the Pangolin LD-2000 is absolutely the cat's meow.

    Adam

    Disclaimer: I also own the Alphalite XC Pro, Mamba 2004, and Mamba Black. When I upgraded to Pangolin, I first jumped to the QM-32 (which I still have), and then to an LD-2000 system. I've also had the opportunity to use both the X-29 and Full Auto packages. I have briefly demo'ed Laserboy and Spaghetti. My comments above are based on my own personal experience with these laser show software solutions.
    Last edited by buffo; 06-16-2008 at 05:59.

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    Hi Adam. I was kinda' kidding about the best laser show software... but thanks for the detailed information.

    In all seriousness, I guess if I am looking for a specific piece of hardware, like a red, green or blue laser, etc... I could just ask here and get a lot of great information.

    I'm glad you have taken the time to look at LaserBoy. I hope you are attracted to it enough to keep using it and find something it can do for you that no other software can do. Also, If there are things it does that are close but not quite, let me know! Maybe I can make a special solution just for you (and everyone else).

    I'm not sure why people seem to immediately see the lack of mouse control as a "significant drawback". What do you use a mouse for most of the time? If you say to click on menu items, then what's the difference? The LaserBoy display area is not all filled up with junk to click on. If you say to draw, well OK. I guess I can see that to a point. One of the biggest frustrations I had with the only other laser software I've ever used (what came with the QM32 and Anarchy) was that it was very hard to get to an individual vertex and effect just that one; especially if there was more than one vertex stacked up at a single location. Like I have said before, I wrote LaserBoy in the first place to be able to do things I could not do with these other tools. I thought being able to see the art in full 3D rotation and walk the vertices with a cursor would be pretty useful. An artist friend of mine said "Why not have two cursors? The you could select a segment of vertices from one to the other!" Awesome! Believe it or not, this made hand tracing bitmaps and adding blanking and coloring each segment super fast. I guess the last thing I would want anyone to do is judge LaserBoy by comparing it to everything else. The whole point is that it is so different. I also believe that if you take the time to learn why LaserBoy offers the views, transforms, settings, and so on, you will learn a whole lot about laser vector art in general. I know I did!

    James.
    Last edited by James Lehman; 06-16-2008 at 10:39.

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    Quote Originally Posted by James Lehman View Post
    I'm not sure why people seem to immediately see the lack of mouse control as a "significant drawback".
    Many programmers feel the same way you do. And it's true that keyboard shortcuts are often faster than a menu-driven interface that relies exclusively on a mouse. However, not everyone wants to memorize (or even use) keyboard shortcuts. In fact, a lot of users avoid keyboard shortcuts all together. The lesson here is that what is good for a programmer is not always good for the rest of the people that use computers.

    Today it's expected that all Winows applications will use a mouse for user input except in those specific cases where the keyboard is explicitly required. (Typing in a file name on a save file requester box, for example.) So forcing people to use shortcuts goes against the basic Windows interface design principles.
    What do you use a mouse for most of the time? If you say to click on menu items, then what's the difference?
    What's the difference between a mouse and keyboard shortcuts? Ease of use, consistancy, and predictability. Every other application on the desktop uses a mouse interface. Switching to keystrokes interrupts the flow of work. Mind you, I understand why you prefer keyboard input. Like I said, most programmers do, and in fact I was one of the people arguing against menu driven software once upon a time. (This was long ago, when word processors were just getting good, and I felt that Word Perfect was 10 times better than the early release of Microsoft Word because it was *FASTER* with all it's keyboard menu shortcuts.)

    But over time I've come to realise that most people prefer the mouse, and amazingly I've found myself using the mouse more and more for tasks that years ago I would have done exclusively from the keyboard. (I can't remember the last time I shelled-out to a dos session to copy files. Nowadays I either use powerdesk, or just click and drag icons on the desktop.) The lesson here is that just because it's what you want doesn't mean it's what everyone else wants. And if you want your software to be used by more people, then you need to make it look and feel like the rest of the software that people use. That doesn't mean you have to get rid of the keyboard commands, just that it would be better to add mouse support as well.
    The LaserBoy display area is not all filled up with junk to click on.
    You can auto-hide the menu bar when you move the mouse off the top 1/10th of the screen. And really, with today's monitors, screen real estate is not an issue. None of the other drawing programs (Illustrator, Photoshop, etc) are worried about having too much junk to click on...
    One of the biggest frustrations I had with the only other laser software I've ever used (what came with the QM32 and Anarchy) was that it was very hard to get to an individual vertex and effect just that one; especially if there was more than one vertex stacked up at a single location.
    And keyboard shortcuts make sense in this specific case, to allow the user to step through the pile of points. But that doesn't take away from the benefits of mouse control for everything else. There's no reason why you can't support *both* keyboard shortcuts and a mouse interface.
    I though being able to see the art in full 3D rotation and walk the vertices with a cursor would be pretty useful.

    Indeed. Your software is not "bad" simply because it doesn't support the mouse. It's just that a mouse interface is the defacto standard, and because your software does not support it, it makes it "different". Different enough that some people may not be willing to spend the time working with it to learn about all the other cool things it CAN do. I've read several posts from PL members who have all commented about the lack of mouse support in Laserboy. By and large, those comments have otherwise been supportive of your efforts. Still, the fact that the topic keeps coming up tells me that you've underestimated the importance of the interface.
    I guess the last thing I would want anyone to do is judge LaserBoy by comparing it to everything else. The whole point is that it is so different.
    Well, like it or not, it *will* be compared to everything else. That's how we judge utility. And just because it's different isn't a reason to start using it. You have to think about the reasons why people are using the software in the first place... Their goal is to be able to create artwork, edit shows, and so on. If LaserBoy offers greater utility at a lower price than other software, people will switch. But remember that "price" includes both the cost of the software (which is free in LaserBoy's case) as well as the opportunity cost of learning how to use it's quirky interface. I think right now that opportunity cost is holding people back.

    I'm not bashing you here. I think you've done a great job with the software, and I'd like to see it become more popular. But there are certain standards that are expected of modern software, and a mouse-driven interface is one of them. The fact that LaserBoy doesn't support this feature is one hurdle that prevents people from using it.

    Adam

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    I appreciate your comments. Thanks for taking the time to write all that. I want LaserBoy to be useful and I'm not at all opposed to the idea of adding any kind of support to it to make it more acceptable. Quite honestly, the biggest reason there is no mouse support is because I never had it in the Linux frame buffer! I have worked with touch screen devices in Linux on embedded systems, but never a mouse. I just kept working around the fact that I didn't have one. At the console of a Linux machine with a specially built kernel that supports LaserBoy running in the frame buffer, blah, blah, blah.... who cares? Now that I have been shown SDL and I can write code that works in many different windowing and console environments, I have a much more clearly defined abstract device to listen to for mouse events. It will take TOTAL restructuring of the code, but that's OK. LaserBoy should always be a work in progress. It's only been out there for a couple of months! Hopefully enough people will start using it and post lots of neat pictures of it in action so that others might see the value in it, while I am working on making it easier to use and we can all come together at some point and have a really great piece of software. I would really like for the core concepts that are already there to be fully tested and "PL Certified". I want to know how well my vector to wave algorithms are working on a variety of different systems. I also want to know what makes sense and what would be useful information to store in the headers of LaserBoy wave files. What would be super cool would be if someone would start looking at the code itself and realize that there is a fabulous base there upon which they can write their own special effects and such.

    BTW A PL reader from Cleveland came to visit me, even before I had it working in Windows. He said The keyboard thing is no big deal. Just get a keyboard and paint it up for LaserBoy! Now that's a neat idea.

    James.
    Last edited by James Lehman; 06-16-2008 at 12:38.

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