4/3/02 - New prices? Hackball
- Okay, thanks to a tip, I have a line on some dirt-cheap Kensington
USB mice. The problem is, I really can't justify buying a bunch
of these things, unless I know I can turn around and re-sell
them as Cheep products. I also don't want these to disappear
before I can get my mitts on 'em either. So, I'm sort of stuck.
So here's the question. How many of you would be seriously
interested in buying:
A Cheep Spinner, if
I could get the cost down to $39 (plus shipping and handling)
A Cheep Hackball, if
I could set the price at $99 (plus shipping and handling).
I just can't get the Hackball any cheaper. Including tax and
shipping, the parts from Happ alone cost me $66.50, and that
doesn't include any of the rest of the parts I have to buy, or
Of course, the same trackball from Happ with a USB interface
and mounting bracket is $155.25 without tax and shipping. So
we're still over $50 cheaper.
Something else to keep in mind, for those of you waiting on the
long-delayed Control Freak. If you
buy a Hackball and/or Spinner
now, it will drop straight into the Control
Freak later. Meaning, you would save that amount of money
off the cost of whatever the Control Freak
ends up being in the end, since you would already have those
parts. It might be a nice way to spread out the cost.
Anyway, I need to get an idea of how many of these mice I can
buy soon. I won't buy 'em, if I can't sell 'em. So e-mail me, if you're interested.
3/27/02 - What? It's March already?
Man... did I oversleep.
- No, we didn't go all Enron on you and run off to Cabo with
the company's money. That would imply that we had money
in the first place. Rather, we've been pretty busy here, working
up two new "how-to" guides for building the Hackball
and the Spinner. All the photos
have been taken (over 500), so all I have to do now is write
the things up. The revised Spinner
guide will make it much easier to build your own Cheep
Spinner - in fact almost every step of the construction
has been simplified. Hopefully, I'll have these ready soon -
but they tend to be real time-consuming.
- We recently had the chance to test out the Spinner
and Hackball under OS X. Both work
just fine without any additional wonky software - just plug and
play! We seem to be just about the only game peripheral company
that can make that claim, too. As a result, we'd like to send
a big "thank you" to Apple for not making an
OS X version of InputSprockets! Anything that helps us sell more
stuff is just fine with us. (Yes... we're being sarcastic. C'mon
Apple - get with it!)
- Speaking of the Hackball, it's
still not for sale yet. The only hold-up right now is
that Kensington has stopped making
the mouse that we use for all of this good stuff. So... we're
now looking for an alternative mouse that works as well, but
is also dirt-cheap. If we can't find one, we'll have to go with
the more expensive USB Mouse-In-A-Box.
So we just don't know what the prices are going to be, and that's
sort-of important when selling something. I've been planning
to cut the price down on the Spinner
to under $50, but it all depends on the mouse we end up using.
As for the Hackball... well, that's
going to be quite a lot more than the Spinner, simply because
the cost of the parts from Happ
runs (steady yourselves...) $53 without tax and shipping.
And that doesn't include the rest of the parts and labor either.
Zoinks! But, it's still going to be a lot cheaper than
buying a complete Happ trackball
with USB interface for a whopping $150 + tax and shipping. (And
theirs doesn't even come in a nifty stand-alone case, either.)
- I've posted up a couple more testimonials from Cheep
People in the Cheep
Info section, including one from our first Hackball
owner - Patrick McFarland, who actually got his for free! In
case you don't frequent the MacMAME Message Board, the fine folks at
Cheep Technology have held a couple
of contests over there, giving away some of our products as prizes.
Free stuff! How cool is that? (No... this is not going
to happen with the Control Freak. Get real.) We have to financially
recover for awhile before we do it again though.
- As for project updates, until the new "how-to"
guides go up, there really isn't much to report. Dave Weston
and I have been kicking ideas back and forth for the Cheep
Stick, which looks very promising. But I don't have anything
built yet. The Control Freak is
in limbo until I can afford the woodworking tools to build it.
And I've been working on a new as-yet-unnamed controller, but
I'll keep the wraps on it a bit longer until I can actually get
it to work. Again, that's another one of those "sort-of
- I did a minor update to the FAQ,
also on the Cheep Info
- Oh, almost forgot. I moved the old updates into the News Archives on the Cheep Info page. Like anyone ever reads
12/18/2001 - Cheep Technology
deluged by holiday orders!
- This month we've sold more Cheep Spinners
than in the last 9 months combined! Of course, it really wouldn't
have taken that many to do it... but it did come as sort of a
shock. Especially since the same guy bought all of 'em.
Whew. Just time enough after the crunch to send the manufacturing
department on vacation before we go into production on...
- The Cheep Hackball! The final
prototype is finally finalized! If I could pick one word to describe
how it works - it would be "smooth". However, no one
has ever accused me of not having enough things to say, so I'll
also throw in "cool" and "rockin'". I was
suprised how much better this plays than the one built out of
the Atari 2600 trackball. Prices and a "how-to" will
be posted as soon as I can get to all of that stuff. The Hackball now takes its rightful place
in the Finished
- The Cheep Spinner is now shipping
as Control Freak-Compatible! What
does that mean? Well, head on over to Finished Projects to find out. Go on
11/14/2001 - If it's not one
- I re-re-rendered the Control Freak illustration, based on
the mockup and some changes I had to make to the Hackball. Both
pages have been updated in Works
11/7/2001 - Man... that is ugly!
- I posted some pictures of the cardboard mockup of the Control Freak on its page in
Works In Progress.
It isn't pretty, but it served its purpose well enough. I slightly
changed the layout and dimensions of the Control
Freak as a result. I won't be building a wood prototype
until the new Hackball is finished
though, so I'll know how big of a hole to cut out for it.
11/3/2001 - Fun with 3D and
- I re-rendered the Cheep Control Freak
concept illustration, to show the latest design changes. The
next step is to lay everything out full-sized in cardboard. It's
a lot easier to make lots of changes there than it would be in
wood. Once I get the measurements nailed down, then it's time
to go all New Yankee Workshop on it.
11/1/2001 - R & D department
finally returns from vacation
- The Cheep Control Freak has
moved to the Works In
Progress page (read more about it there). The parts are all
here, and I'll be working on the first full prototype this weekend.
- Projects on the Works
In Progress page are each getting separate pages so people
with nothing better to do can follow the development of each
- I've posted some small updates regarding the Cheep
Hackball, Cheep Stick and
Cheep Spinner Pro, all on the Works In Progress page.
7/3/2001 - Hackin' something
- I've posted a small update (with pictures) on the Cheep
Hackball prototype, in the Works
In Progress section. Just click on the picture of the Hackball there, for a little info on
how it's put together, and where it's going from here.
6/26/2001 - Not dead, just really
- Cheep Technology is still here!
Just because I haven't updated the site in a long time doesn't
mean I'm dead. (At least
I'm still answering my e-mail.)
- Today's word is "paradigm". Can you say
"paradigm"? I knew that you could. Cheep
Technology is undergoing a sort-of paradigm shift (which
is an oxymoron - yet another big word). To wit: instead of trying
to build everything out of locally
available parts, I've decided to cave in and order some *gasp*
arcade parts! This was bound to happen with the Cheep
Control Freak sooner or later, but it became necessary
sooner because of the cost of buying off-the-shelf stuff that
really was no cheaper than just ordering the "real thing".
So I'm still staying true-to-the-faith by cutting costs to the
bone, but I'm just using a better knife. Or something.
- The first Cheep Spinners have
been sold and have long-since been in the hands of satisified
customers. Check out Cheep
People in the Cheep
Info section for gushing, embarrassing testimonials. Most
other stuff has been updated there, too.
- The Cheep Yoke has been bumped
back to the Future
Projects section. Why? Because so much other stuff has been
moved to the Works In
Progress section! Check it out. More updates should be happening
over the rest of the Summer too, so keep an eye peeled (ouch!).
2/26/2001 - Open for business!
- Cheep Technology is now open!
Not just open, but open for
business! Due to overwhelming requests I've decided to build
and sell Cheep Spinners to the entire
world! Or at least Mac users. Well, Mac users who like playing
old arcade games. Okay, so maybe four or five people. I'll take
what I can get.
- I've done a major update to the Cheep
Spinner PDF Guide. This is available in the Finished Projects section. It now includes
easier instructions for soldering and for making an encoder wheel,
plus all-new sections on mounting the Cheep
Spinner in a control panel, and adding arcade fire buttons.
- I've also updated everything in the Cheep Info section, so
if you have nothing better to do, check
- Lastly, I've put up a conceptual rendering of the Cheep
Control Freak. It's available in the Future Projects section. (click on the
small picture there for more information)
2/7/2001 - Opening real soon
CheepTech.com will officially open (probably) this weekend.
I'm updating the Cheep Spinner PDF guide, plus making an addition
to it covering how to mount it in a control panel. Once that's
done, I'll finish up the rest of the site and open it up.