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August 29, 2006 / TildeWill

The Deer Head That Wasn’t

As I mentioned, this past weekend I reffed at Dublin, OH with the anticipation of recieving a talking deer head as payment. Well it seems that it’s not talking deer head season so the only place you can get ’em is online. So I got a check instead. But instead of applying that money to a deer head as I intended, I decided to pick up an old prject of mine, the Fencing Software Scoring Machine.

You see, the little scoring boxes we use to determine who hit who run about $350 on up to $1,000. The problem is that a simple box is really only about $50 in parts. The price is high because the fencing market is a small one. So what I wanted to do was write some software that would do the same job. Maybe charge a few buck for a download or disc to cover my time and be done. Well there’s a little dongle, that initialy I designed to attack to the parallel port since it was piss easy to make. But many PCs these days are shipping without a parallel port, so now I’ve got parts on the way to make it USB compatible.

Since the parts are on the way I decided to at least get some of the programming out of the way. So between Sunday and today I got foil working. I ended up basing my design off the Assembly code for a free hardware scoring box (free meaning you have to update it from the 10 year old design and out dated parts list). Which meant I had to re-learn assembly. I thought “I’ll never use this” back when i took the class in Purdue. And to wit, I probably wouldn’t have if I didn’t leave the computer field and become a full time fencer.

So now I’m considering if I want to give away the software and charge for the dongles (maybe assembled or kits), or if I want to charge for the software, and just provide plans for the dongles and people have to make their own. What would be cool is if a vendor wanted to pick it up and sell it for me. MMMmmmm.

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One Comment

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  1. elsie_grace / Aug 29 2006 10:06 am

    Hey Will,

    I transferred to U of M. I noticed that they had a fencing club. If your fencers ever come up this way to compete, you have a place to stay. Hope everything is going well. Sorry I missed everyone at the housewarming. I bet it was a good time.

    -Elsie

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