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DAD
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You've got to be kidding, right? - 2006/08/20 14:01 I got this in my email today, and of course I replied back but this is just about the last straw. First of all, I pre-ordered and placed deposits on a Founder's Edition and a Special(Standard) Edition in May 2005. Now I'm hearing that in addition to the balance due, I will have to pay another $799.00 each for a CPU??? For those that may be A+ challenged, the "CPU" is the "COMPUTER". Everything else is a "PERIPHERAL".
Also, the attachments that came with this email from Richard Lepack conflict with the one sent to me by Sue Hardman in June. Her email mentions a "Windows package" that includes Windows XP Professional, installation and testing, etc. The attachments to Mr. Lepack's email include confusing block diagrams that have no legend for what all the colors mean, but clearly states Windows XP Home Edition in one of the blocks. Linux notwithstanding, Windows XP Pro is a complete "OPERATING SYSTEM". XP Home is freebie trial software that I won't even let lay up against the other CD's in my CD case. I told Mr. Lepack that I will not accept "trial software" even in a bundle, much less pay for it.
Apparently, this hardware/software shell game that has been going on for over a year now has deteriorated into having to pay extra for essential components. This is not what was advertised, especially in the case of the Founder's Edition. That's the one with all the bells and whistles. Now Mr. Lepack wants to bargain for the plastics vs. the CPU. If this was a drug deal, I would have already shot him.

[*THIS SECTION HAS BEEN MODERATED BY ADMIN - WE DON'T WISH TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL ISSUES THANKS*]

While we're here, has anyone noticed that Mr. Lepack says the General Availability version will cost $4995.00? That's way over the original stated price point of "about the cost of a high-end PC", don't ya think? High-end mobile platforms don't even go for that. BTW, those high-end laptops come with the "COMPUTER" and the "OPERATING SYSTEM" installed. When nobody wants to pay that much, Whitebox is going to wind up as a tax write-off for Frontline in about a year, so forget about promises of "support". I'll sell you my Harley-Davidson Sportster for less than that. With the gas you save, it'll pay for itself plus the insurance in two years and you'll get more chicks.


SUBJECT: Personal Letter from Richard Lepack of White Box Robotics



Hello PC-BOT enthusiasts, allow me to update you on our journey to give life to the world’s coolest personal robot. As you know, the process has taken longer than we ever anticipated. The engineering redesigns and thus delays, as I can see from the 914 PC-BOTS site created a few disappointed supporters. Please accept my apologies for the delay, once again. We are now finally in a position to bring the 914 to market with all of the infrastructure, support, promotion and capabilities that Thomas Burick has always envisioned. Accordingly, I’d like to give you an update on what you can expect as we approach “General Availability” (GA).



In May of 2005, we announced the merger of White Box Robotics with Frontline Robotics. At the same time we took orders for an initial limited production run of the 914. We offered two units – the 914 Special (formerly Standard) Edition for $1,199 and the 914 Founders Edition for $1,699. As a result, many of you demonstrated your support with a deposit on your preferred unit. Your patience will be rewarded as we will be going to market at an initial base price of $4,995 for newly branded Special Edition 914. I have attached an overview of these two editions (Refer to Standard and Founder's Edition Assemblies) as they’ll be initially shipping.



One point of clarity is that neither unit will be shipping initially with the plastic bodies. Due to engineering and manufacturing logistics, they will not be available until mid-October, when the 914 becomes Generally Available. We did not want to hold back the robots any longer so we will be shipping you the plastic bodies separately when they become available.



The next thing you’ll need for your 914 is a CPU. As you can see from the attached specifications (See CPU Package), neither unit includes a CPU, however as previously communicated, we are offering a CPU package separately for those who desire it. There are advantages to purchasing the CPU through White Box as opposed to buying it separately from another vendor. For example, White Box will completely support you from a technical perspective if you have any issues with the CPU kit, and the pre-loaded Windows operating system. If you purchase the CPU from another vendor, we will obviously redirect you to them for support. Understanding we are the engineers and manufacturers of the 914, having one place to go for support represents peace of mind for many of our customers. Further, to make it even more interesting for you and to try and make it up somewhat for the delays, we’re offering a special promotion only for our pre-release customers.



Order your CPU kit from White Box Robotics and you have a one in ten chance of winning your CPU kit for free. That’s right – free.



The CPU kit, as previously communicated, will be available for $799.



Now I have a bit of a twist for you. If you don’t want or need the plastic body, we are willing to provide you the CPU Kit for free instead.



Your next question should obviously be “so what can you tell me about the CPU kit from White Box?” In response, I have attached an overview of the CPU kit as it will be shipping.



Now would be a good time for me to indicate that, in the event of inventory shortages for any of the components involved in the 914, the final product shipped may differ slightly from what we’ve provided as an outline here.



So, what you should be starting to see from this letter is that we’ll be shipping you a completely assembled 914. We have had extensive interest expressed about the possibility of a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) version of the 914 where we provide the key components and you assemble your own interpretation of the 914. The DIY version will not be available at the time of General Availability in mid-October; however we will have such a version available soon.



Okay, so let’s talk about timing.



We are officially shipping all of the pre-release orders over the next 30 days. That means that everyone should have their units by the end of September, assuming there are no issues with the couriers. As previously indicated, the 914 will officially be generally available in mid-October at a MSRP of $4,995.



We will also be re-launching the whiteboxrobotics.com website in early September. The site will include the ability to electronically purchase a 914 using a shopping cart and standard payment options. Hence, you can send all of your friends and family to the site and either make them jealous for what you are about to receive, or encourage them to buy their own.



To make all of this happen, we need to do a little more paperwork. And that means we need some help from you.



We will be separately reaching out via email to each of you, requesting that you verify your contact information, billing address, shipping address, etc. This will all be done online. We have requested updates from you in a previous email and hopefully have the correct information on-file. Once verified and update, it will be immediately reflected in our systems. Once we have the updated information, we will be able to determine the required shipping and handling costs for each of you based on where the order will be sent.



At the same time, we will be requesting that you provide payment for the outstanding balance owed on your 914. This will also be processed electronically via the soon to be re-launched website and it’s shopping cart capabilities.



So, with all of that said, if you’re still not sure you want to proceed with your 914 Special Edition or Founder’s Edition purchase, then I want you to know that we will refund your initial deposit along with any accrued interest. All you have to do is let us know.



So that’s the update. Again, I want to apologize for the delays and the poor communication. I also want you to know that you’re getting an amazing product that is unparalleled in the industry especially at the price you paid.



If you have any questions, please email me directly. I can be reached at rlepack@whiteboxrobotics.com.



Thanks for your support and patience.



Richard.

Post edited by: DAD, at: 2006/08/20 06:06

Post edited by: jamesbruton, at: 2006/08/20 19:06

Post edited by: jamesbruton, at: 2006/08/20 19:07
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Corinator
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Re:You've got to be kidding, right? - 2006/08/20 15:47 Ya im with you DAD.. umm i didnt order one but uh isnt it supposed to be a full thing with computer installed and ready to run out of the box. I mean no offense but this company (well it sohuldnt be called a company because in opinion no company would operate like this) is starting to sound like a deadbeat company that cant keep their s**t together. I mean this thing was supposed to ship what like a year ago now?? I mean all their have been are delays. I mean you are not going to be sending people waht they paid for which is now false advertising so you should include the compuer and everything. I mean somebody should report you guys to the better business bereua. This is just absolutely ridiculous. White box robotics home site hasnt been updated since 6/16/05. I eman that is no way to run a business. I mean almost everyhting you guys say is later contradicted by someone like windows XP pro now Windows XP home I eman what kind of bull s**t is that. I was thinking about buying one of these when they are mass produced but now since they are going to be 4995 dollars what in hell is with that. Im just going to buy a Humanoid Bipedal Robo-one J-class robot for 1 grand instead of some plastic on wheels that cost $4995. But seriously thats a total ripoff for no computer. I mean with that money you could buy a 3.6Ghz dual core computer with 4 nvidia 7900GTX and like 500gb of memory for that much. You could even buy a used Honda Civic for that price. Sorry for all the bashing but you guys deserve/need it.

Coriantor out...until later

Post edited by: jamesbruton, at: 2006/08/20 19:07
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Marcus8675
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Re:You've got to be kidding, right? - 2006/08/20 22:02 I am sorry but I have to disagree with most of your complaints. Yes, you do have a few fair points (even if overstated). Personally, I am glad the CPU package is a seperate item. This is a development platform for me and as a hardware engineer I want to select my own ITX board, OS, drives etc.. I have no desire to pay for a $200 XP licence when I am going to toss it and set up a linux buid. The hard drives, cd rom, etc... Not needed for my application. I want a low power compact flash, fanless cpu etc.. As far as packageing options, this is best. Now, the complaints about the price are prob well founded but this robot has developed into something that was not orginally anticipated. This is not your standard desktop on wheels. Have you seen the otehr projects that Frontline offers? We are talking automious patrol jeeps for military bases. The 914 is now a state of the art research platform. I can understand the complaints about the lack of comunication and delays but in the end we are getting the robotics deal of the century. A $5000 robot for $1200!!! (standard edition) Just looking at the material and not taking into account the years of R&D they have to be loseing money on the pioneers and marking it up to marketing investment. Personally, this is not the robot I anticipated receiving. It has changed over the years from a hobbiest platform to a true commercial development platform and I am happy they are still honoring the orginal price.
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jamesbruton
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Re:You've got to be kidding, right? - 2006/08/21 02:48 Just a couple of points to clarify but I'm not going to post much more right now:

XP Home is freebie trial software

No it isn't - it's just the version of XP for home users as opposed to commercial users. It's limited in that you can't join a Windows domian amoungst other things. You got an Active Directory domain at your house?. It certainly isn't free.

umm i didnt order one but uh isnt it supposed to be a full thing with computer installed and ready to run out of the box

If you had pre ordered you'd know that the computer wasn't included from as mentioned in the other posts. This is a development platform and as such you can add your own PC or other componenets as required - if you want to take it fully configured from Frontline then that's up to you but obviously it costs extra. If you don't want the CPU package and Windows O/S then go buy your own mini-itx board and build Linux on it...

PLEASE NOTE:- I do not work for WBR or FLR but I do moderate this site. Please remember this is the FAN SITE for the product. Please keep comments clean or I will delete them and ban you.

I will be reviewing what has been posted and potentially moderating it. This is a family show.

Post edited by: jamesbruton, at: 2006/08/20 22:17
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DAD
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Re:You've got to be kidding, right? - 2006/08/21 06:19 Yes, I've got an Active Directory Domain at my house, if it makes any difference. My full tower runs Server 2003, which is even more stable than XP Pro, and way more stable than buggy XP Home, but I'll probably convert it to Gentoo Linux before it's all over with. (It's a tedious install, but nothing is much more stable than a specifically tailored Linux kernel, eh?) Ten computers, two routers plus a storage server. Also a CCNA/CCNP lab with three Cisco routers and a Catalyst switch. My two pre-ordered PC-Bots (that name, and Tom's original stated concept of a "PC-based architecture", implies a windows operating system of some kind) would make for a total of 12 hosts, if they'll ever get here and of course, boot up. I'm a professional, and that's why I'm interested in a professional development platform that works out of the box, as it was professionally advertised. My development is not, however, going to focus on reinventing what they have already tested and proven on the inside. My focus is applied AI behaviour development in a network environment, so the vague "development platform" statement doesn't necessarily translate to "essential components sold seperately". If they want to offer a choice of different operating systems, motherboards and CPU's as tested working options within that same total price, GREAT, but just the promised Windows XP Pro with the interface software loaded will be fine, thanks. Based on Tom's stated concept, I never expected anything more than a tested Windows-based system from day one. Sue Hardman DID send an email that said Windows XP Professional, not XP Home, regardless of whether some are content to deal with that buggy incomplete OS that Bill Gates uses to line the bottom of his birdcages or not - oh, wait, actually he uses $100.00 bills from people who think they really need to pay for a retail version of XP Home. Fun jabs at Billyware aside, once again, this is the Founder's Edition we're talking about here, not the final standard release in whatever bundled or unbundled consumer format they may have chosen LATER. Not the stripped down gray box where you buy only what you want and nothing you don't, either. Founder's Edition = complete system with yellow paint job and black guards with the light that comes on just like the picture at the top of this page. I'm not saying people should have to pay for it even if they don't want it. On the contrary, if somebody doesn't want the $799.00 CPU kit at all, if that's how much they think it's worth, then that figure should be SUBTRACTED from the STATED TOTAL price as offered over a year ago. (Then again, it seemed pretty clear to me at the time that if you didn't want the total package, then you shouldn't order the Founder's Edition!) There was never a caveat for anything less than a total price for a complete working product. The Founder's Edition offer did not specify that it was only an estimate for a partial kit. It didn't really say what it would come with or come without, but the picture implied a complete working unit out of the box. The Special(Standard) Edition was a bit more ambiguous, but that one had several pictures, including one of a complete basic system (powered up with the light on again) with a lot of blanks in the bays, and one shot without plastics to show the internal chassis, and OH LOOK, there's a motherboard with a processor on it peeking out!
Yes, it was pretty clear that they were going out on a limb to generate working capital at the time, and yes, we've been waiting for our investment to mature through three promised and missed delivery dates for what will be 18 months before the last sets of plastics are finally delivered in October, if we can believe that promise. Sure they lowballed it. Sure they underestimated it. Too bad! A deal is a deal. Nowhere in my Paypal reciept does it say "incomplete system" or "CPU not included". Bottom line: Show me a screenshot of the original webpage of the Founder's Edition offer where it said that, and I'll stand corrected.
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jamesbruton
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Re: right? - 2006/08/21 06:45 I'm a professional
So you want AD for what reason again?... (sorry, brought up on Netware/NDS)

My full tower runs Server 2003
Nice... VMware on blades anyone?

As far as I was aware, the CPU was always seperate - I believe this was communicated by email from Sue Hardman which you state that you had recieved. If you have an issue over what was agread when you paid then it needs taking up with Frontline directly - as I understand you already have done so and a reply will be with you shortly if it is not already.

Of course you always have the choice of a refund with interest. But, I'm rather hoping that the current 'pioneers' can become valuable members of the community here instead of 'injecting negativity'. Any chance of that please?

This is all meant in the best possible way of course

Post edited by: jamesbruton, at: 2006/08/20 23:17
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