RoboticsConnection Blog: December 2006

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Robotics Studio, and Serializer Services Update

Microsoft Robotics Studio is an officially released product now! Microsoft has made Robotics Studio available in a Non-Commercial, and Commercial version ($399). This means hobbyists, students, and educators can play with, improve, and extend Robotics Studio services for free, and businesses can leverage those services, and develop their own for a very reasonable licensing fee.

To help us polish off our BETA release of the Serializer and Traxster Drive Services in time for the official Microsoft Robotics Studio launch (today), we employed the help of Chris Kilner, from Diversity Associates Ltd. Chris has been very involved in Robotics Studio since it's initial launch, and has developed his own set of useful services for the Devantech line of I2C devices (which can be found on our MSRS page).

Here's the changes and additions Chris has made for our Serializer and Traxster Services:

  1. Added Distance and Velocity PID Service (very cool!)
  2. Added MaxSonar-EZ1 Service
  3. Added TPA81 Service
  4. Improved GPIO Service
  5. Improved SRF08 Service
  6. Added XSLT, HttpGet, HttpPost to all services. XSLT Stylesheets are used to display service state via web pages, and provide User Interface controls to configure all services (see examples on our MSRS page).
  7. Updated Traxster Drive GUI
  8. Fixed a few communication bugs
  9. One Visual Studio solution now contains Serializer and Traxster Drive service projects
  10. Added connection status indicator in Traxster Drive GUI.

Our Serializer and Traxster Drive Services can be downloaded on our MSRS page.

This release of the services work with Serializer Firmware 1.2.0 and later. After the holidays, we will be adding a few more sensor services, and generic contracts.

Best Regards,

Jason Summerour
Summerour Robotics Corp
Microsoft MVP

Sunday, December 10, 2006 has been Overhauled!

New Logo
We are extremely pleased to announce that we've overhauled our entire website. November was a record sales month for us (by far), and I can't think of a better way to thank our customers than by offering them a dramatically improved website and shopping experience.

We overhauled the website for several reasons:
  • Our customers deserved a better site
  • We outgrew the capabilities of our prior website
  • We needed to automate the order fulfilling process to keep up with orders
The overhaul took us one month from start to finish, and here's what YOU get with the new site:
  • New RoboticsConnection Logo (see top of blog)
  • Easier navigation
  • Easier Checkout
  • Real-Time Shipping Quotes via USPS, FedEx, and UPS
  • Faster web page response
  • Improved up-time
  • Tabbed Product Information (very little scrolling required)
  • Site Breadcrumb
  • Customized Product Kit building capabilities (custom build your robot and other products)
  • Product Search
  • Improved cross-browser support

Here's what WE get with the new site:

  • Automated order fulfillment (billing, invoicing, shipping label generation)
  • Happier customers
  • More business
  • Dynamic Content
  • Improved order management backend
  • Improved Search Engine Optimization
  • Increased Website Traffic
  • Improved website maintenance
  • Time savings from automated order fulfillment can be spent on new product designs

Here's what's coming in January:

  • Gift Cards (yes, we know, too bad we didn't have this for Christmas)
  • Gift Registry
  • New Products
  • More Windows Embedded Content & Resources
  • Accurate Product Inventory
  • Monthly Specials

We wanted to continue to ensure that our customer's information is kept confident, and that the site remains as secure as possible. Therefore, we employed the help of to scan our website every few days for the latest vulnerabilities.

So, please stop by when you have a chance and peruse the new site.

We also wanted to take this chance to thank YOU, our customers, for your support and business over the last 2.5 years. We're looking forward to serving you in 2007, and we have several new exciting products coming out in Q1 2007!

Have a Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Jason Summerour
Summerour Robotics Corp
Microsoft MVP