25 Replies Latest reply on Jan 16, 2014 12:56 PM by stanto

    Appalling website

    fedupwithcookies

      Someone gave me a RaspberryPi as a present - it came with a memory card but nothing else. On the box it said come to this site so I did.

      First thing I did was look for a datasheet on it. Guess what? Nothing here. It would be easier to start off with a microcontroller chip than a RP.

      Then I saw the PiFace and clicked on Buy it Now to see the price. Guess What? No price.

      Then the screen clouded over and it insisted I join the community.which I didn't need to do, but it wouldn't show the PiFace until I did this so I joined, thinking it would then give me a price. Guess what? Still no price. Or any datasheet for the RP.

      If found the RP Starter kit and it said it would list the cables needed for RP. Guess what? It didn't.

      Then an error window came up saying it had lost any content and logged me out.

      I looked for a feedback link or contact for the webmaster to recommend improvements but Guess what? There isn't one, so I'm writing it here instead:

      THIS WEBSITE IS APPALLING.

      I'm a design engineer. The first thing I do with a new chip/module is look for a datasheet to see how to hook it up. If you really want today's kids to get into electronics, at least give them the same help we engineers get which at the same time will familiarise them with the way in which a design is normally started so they have some hope of a job in industry.

      What is apparent from this website is it's geared up primarily to get people to buy FEC products with scant regard to the 'community' it's supposed to support, but

      it's so bad it even fails to sell products due to a lack of prices!!

        • Re: Appalling website
          mcb1

          That is a shame that you weren't able to find the information.

          This link will help

          http://www.element14.com/community/search.jspa?q=raspberry+pi&type=document

           

          I presume you did find everything you need (and much more) when you used google and typed in Raspberry Pi.

           

          element14Dave

          Maybe this member can help make suggestions to improve the experience for the next person.

           

           

          Mark

            • Re: Appalling website
              fedupwithcookies

              Thank you for the link.

               

              I did already see the video link but I don't want to watch a video, I want a datasheet.

              I see it's a docx. Has no-one noticed that 99% of electronics datasheets are pdfs?

               

              I have an old copy of Office that doesn't support docx. Like most of Industry I have the free pdf reader. Ok I have an app that converts docx to doc but that's not the point.

               

              And why on earth is is buried in a post? It should be on a link attached to the product page !!

               

              No, I haven't yet got around to searching the web yet and I fully expect I will need to, but according to the box and the website, this is supposed to be THE uk community supporting the RP and frankly if it lived up to its name, I should not have to search the web.

               

              I'm also getting tired of the 'lost content logged you out' error message coming up.

                • Re: Appalling website
                  mcb1

                  Good points

                   

                  often there is both docx and pdf.

                   

                  It is time that element14 embraced the open source document format, so that we don't have to rely on MS.

                  It was good enough for the Australian Goverment.

                   

                  hopefully Dave Hamblin will contact you as this is good feedback.

                   

                  Mark

                    • Re: Appalling website
                      Problemchild

                      Mark, 'm not sure that even the .PDF  can be considered an open format how ever it's much better supported that the damn .docx

                        • Re: Appalling website
                          mcb1

                          Yes you're right  ... Mr Adobe owns pdf.

                           

                          I believe Open Office will open a docx, it certainly opens the new Excel xlsx.

                           

                          mark

                          • Re: Appalling website
                            morgaine

                            John Alexander wrote:

                             

                            Mark, 'm not sure that even the .PDF  can be considered an open format how ever it's much better supported that the damn .docx

                             

                            Quoting https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PDF :

                            While Adobe Systems made the PDF specification available free of charge in 1993, PDF remained a proprietary format, controlled by Adobe, until it was officially released as an open standard on July 1, 2008, and published by the International Organization for Standardization as ISO 32000-1:2008.[3][4] In 2008, Adobe published a Public Patent License to ISO 32000-1 granting royalty-free rights for all patents owned by Adobe that are necessary to make, use, sell and distribute PDF compliant implementations.[5] However, there are still some technologies used in PDF files that are defined only by Adobe and remain proprietary (e.g. Adobe XML Forms Architecture, Adobe JavaScript).

                            ...
                            The Free Software Foundation considers one of their high priority projects to be "developing a free, high-quality and fully functional set of libraries and programs that implement the PDF file format and associated technologies to the ISO 32000 standard."

                             

                            In other words, the PDF format has FSF endorsement for open documentation because of the ISO 32000 standard.  Since FOSS browsers now typically have their own internal PDF renderers and hence no longer need Adobe's plugin, there is no copyright nor patent issue in supporting the de facto standard that PDF has become for engineers.

                             

                            Morgaine.

                              • Re: Appalling website
                                fedupwithcookies

                                Thank you Morgaine, your support is much appreciated. I'm all for sharing information but the whole point of the Pi is to engage society in electronics and in particular youth, with the aim of encouraging them to seek a profession in our industry. But here's the rub - professionalism as you so rightly point out, is missing from this site.

                                 

                                I think ripping the site apart and starting again would be counter-productive. IMO the site would be best improved by appending **professional content to the existing 'mess' and henceforth ensuring all relevant technical data is directly linked to products, and for heaven's sake add prices - remember, the Pi exists because it's cheap!  **A start would be a direct link to the online FEC catalogue - curiosity will entice exploration of the plethora of other electronic devices listed there, all supported by professional datasheets.

                                 

                                As for this site, for now I think it's ok to add links to posts containing links to professional info. That way, users familiar with the site as it is, will not feel alienated or lost by a professional approach and the transition to the latter could be engineered to mimic an 'apprenceship' introduction to industrial practice.

                                 

                                I'm not going to reply to Christy because your succint reply rightly expressed that he has missed the point (I followed the 'main link' he gave to the Pi but a) the page you end up on is nothing like the image he shows [no price is immediately displayed] and b) the 'full specs' is anything but). Element 14 is most likely going to support the UK so I fail to see why it is necessary to select the country before you can get a price. Normally you display a default currency and then offer the opportunity to see an alternative currency.

                                 

                                I hope Christy is following this thread and your valued input, because it describes the crux of the problem that is prevalent in so many cloud-like web sites; power to the masses is great if you have a plan but without one you have an unco-ordinated mess that may be easy to get along with, but won't build a product. Wannabe engineers brought up on this site are going to have a shock if they want to work in industry - engineering is hard, disciplined work. The reason why as you point out "Engineers like things organized cleanly and logically" is because there is a hell of a lot of information to process in a design and efficiency is the key.

                                 

                                You have to love it to enjoy it but when you enjoy it, you excel.

                                  • Re: Appalling website

                                    You're going to have a hard time finding professional documentation for anything relating to the Pi, that seems to be completely out of scope for the RPF or any other part of the 'community'.  Sure, if you go to the level of individual IC's you may be able to get some, but even there it's limited.

                                     

                                    What might save you some time is this http://elinux.org/RPi_Hub while the info on elinux isn't necessarily any more professionaly done than what you see here it has the advantage of collecting a lot of it in one place and having a lot of stuff that's never been officially documented outside of forum and blog posts.

                                     

                                    As for this site, if you stay long enough you may eventually learn to live with it and get used to where the strange organisation of the site hides useful information. I'd be highly surprised if you ever come to like it though.

                                    • Re: Appalling website
                                      morgaine

                                      angry at the world wrote:

                                       

                                      I'm all for sharing information but the whole point of the Pi is to engage society in electronics and in particular youth, with the aim of encouraging them to seek a profession in our industry.

                                       

                                      It certainly sounds like a worthwhile purpose, but if I were encouraging youth to seek a profession in our industry, I wouldn't start by marketing, promoting and selling into the residential market a device that is knowingly lacking the required residential Class B certification.

                                       

                                      The industry needs engineers with a strong sense of professional, ethical, legal, and social responsibility, not cowboys.

                                       

                                      Morgaine.

                              • Re: Appalling website
                                hawkbit

                                Try www.raspberrypi.org. Links to data sheets and other sources of info under About menu.

                                 

                                Hawkbit

                                  • Re: Appalling website
                                    fedupwithcookies

                                    Thank you.

                                     

                                    Now may I further suggest the webmaster add a link to a page containing all of the above links, and any more that contain useful information on the Pi?  (by this I mean professionally prepared information, not gossip)

                                     

                                    Of further note - I didn't know this was a Farnell website until been coerced into joining and sent an email telling me this. Had I realised my gift had been bought at FEC, I would have gone there first, for there is the datasheet.

                                     

                                    Once again, terrible website organisation from the same company.

                                     

                                    One last thing - I was puzzled why several posts in the RP 'Getting Started' forum ask for their profiles to be deleted, When I read one of them a collection of links 'close account', 'delete profile' etc, appeared at the right of the page suggesting you are supposed to click on them to achieve this. Out of curiosity I hovered my mouse over them - they all brought up an error message saying 'please contact the webmaster if the error continues'.

                                     

                                    I'm not really surprised.

                                     

                                    Oh - there's that contents lost logged out message again.

                                  • Re: Appalling website
                                    stevemann

                                    Specs I download are about 40% PDF and 60% DOCX.  Also you can download the free DOC/DOCX reader from Microsoft: Download Word Viewer from Official Microsoft Download Center

                                    Many publishers are going to DOCX files because they are smaller than similar PDF documents.

                                      • Re: Appalling website
                                        vsluiter

                                        I'm doing a lot of electronics design and I almost never encounter docx. The only occasions are rarely devkit user manuals...

                                        • Re: Appalling website

                                          I agree with Victor, I virtually never encounter docx.

                                           

                                          However, from the link you posted:

                                          Supported Operating System

                                          Windows 2000 Service Pack 4, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, Windows Vista, Windows XP Service Pack 2

                                          Windows 7

                                          That's exactly why PDF is used, it can be read everywhere, not just on Windows.  My printer can even directly print pdf's from a usb memory stick.

                                           

                                          Interesting though that the word viewer apparently doesn't work with windows 8 ?

                                            • Re: Appalling website
                                              mcb1

                                              Windows 8 has some Office functionality built in, hence not needed.

                                              You can also get a converter for the older versions of Office.

                                               

                                              PDF's work, but cutting and pasting is slightly less user friendly than a document.

                                              Agreed that using the .doc or .docx is not the most open method.

                                               

                                               

                                              Documents aside this started as the inability to easily find information and this has been commented on in the 'New Area' discussion (in TM group).

                                              Lets not get too far from the subject at hand, otherwise those element14 staff looking at the issue could lose focus.

                                               

                                              Mark

                                              • Re: Appalling website
                                                morgaine

                                                selsinork wrote:

                                                 

                                                That's exactly why PDF is used, it can be read everywhere, not just on Windows.

                                                What's "Windows"?

                                                 

                                                Actually, I do know what Windows is, but everywhere I've gone contracting, it seems that the first thing that contractors in computing do on encountering it is replacing it with Linux.  This isn't an outlier sample point nor is it exclusive to contractors either, because I've encountered it in numerous places, and even the tech permies at most sites don't put up with Windows a lot --- I'd say 50/50.

                                                 

                                                There is usually a token Windows box left in the room, as typically some application mandated by management requires it (at one site we had to input our work hours on it each week, ouch!), but the techies usually look upon it with borderline ridicule.  The only place I've encountered a solid 100% Windows usage is among secretarial staff and also the poor abused front-line support minions who have zero choice, although I have seen the occasional Mac among the more respected office staff as well.

                                                 

                                                But getting back on topic, I agree 100% with selsinork.  Only standardized open formats should to be used in engineering.  Using a proprietary format in this day and age is only done by the extremely heavily blinkered.  We live in a multi-platform world.

                                                 

                                                Morgaine.

                                                  • Re: Appalling website
                                                    stevemann

                                                    "Only standardized open formats should to be used in engineering."

                                                     

                                                    You should realize that PDF is a closed format and you are supposed to be paying a license to Adobe to make PDF files.  Deep pocket corporations either pay the licensing to Adobe or they use .docx files.  Yes, you can find free or low cost PDF printer drivers, but read the EULA - the license is likely for personal use only.

                                                      • Re: Appalling website
                                                        morgaine

                                                        I don't know where you're getting your information from, but it's incorrect.  PDF is an open standards format now.  You may be thinking of its origins, which are indeed closed and proprietary, but that's history.  It's not objective to hold past history of an originator against a format.

                                                         

                                                        I'll repeat what I wrote in an earlier post in this thread, since some people aren't reading back:

                                                         

                                                        Quoting https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PDF :

                                                        While Adobe Systems made the PDF specification available free of charge in 1993, PDF remained a proprietary format, controlled by Adobe, until it was officially released as an open standard on July 1, 2008, and published by the International Organization for Standardization as ISO 32000-1:2008.[3][4] In 2008, Adobe published a Public Patent License to ISO 32000-1 granting royalty-free rights for all patents owned by Adobe that are necessary to make, use, sell and distribute PDF compliant implementations.[5] However, there are still some technologies used in PDF files that are defined only by Adobe and remain proprietary (e.g. Adobe XML Forms Architecture, Adobe JavaScript).

                                                        ...
                                                        The Free Software Foundation considers one of their high priority projects to be "developing a free, high-quality and fully functional set of libraries and programs that implement the PDF file format and associated technologies to the ISO 32000 standard."

                                                         

                                                        In other words, the PDF format has FSF endorsement for open documentation because of the ISO 32000 standard.  Since FOSS browsers now typically have their own internal PDF renderers and hence no longer need Adobe's plugin, there is no copyright nor patent issue in supporting the de facto, and since 2008 open, standard that PDF has become for engineers.

                                                         

                                                        Morgaine.

                                                  • Re: Appalling website
                                                    stanto

                                                    I have some bad news for you. "Word Viewer" and similar is/are being deprecated by Microsoft in favour of hosting such files on Skydrive and linking/using an in-browser viewer.

                                              • Re: Appalling website
                                                Christy-Admin

                                                I'm sorry to hear you had such a hard time on our site, and we'll be happy to take any suggestions you have for improvement as we want the process of finding exactly the information you mentioned - datasheets, price, availability, etc. - to be very easy.

                                                 

                                                In order to help us improve, could you give me some information on which urls/pages on the site you looked at that gave you difficulty?

                                                 

                                                In the meantime, our main Raspberry Pi page: (Raspberry Pi) has links on it that take you to the product information for each one that includes the price and link to the datasheet right on them. Without knowing what region you're in, I'm not sure which of our eCommerce sites you'll hit, but here is an example link to the Raspberry Pi Model B page on our newark.com website: RASPBERRY-PI/8GB-USD - RASPBERRY-PI - MODEL B - 8GB SDCard W/ NOOBS PRE-INSTALLED.

                                                 

                                                The datasheet, immediately to the bottom right of the product image, is a pdf on this page.

                                                Screen shot 2014-01-10 at 8.3646AM.png

                                                It's true the process of ordering from our company is different in Europe, but hopefully this url may be helpful to you (you can append the country code for your proper country to the end of the url): https://export.farnell.com/jsp/raspi/orderPad.jsp?&country=GB

                                                 

                                                We are sorry for any difficulties you encountered and hope we can work with you to make it easier for you and our other members to find this kind of information on our site in the future.

                                                 

                                                Sincerely,

                                                Christy

                                                • Re: Appalling website
                                                  ardy521

                                                  Here's a website that is devoted to the Raspberry Pi. It's a monthly free magazine with a lot of technical and interesting data available. Hope you enjoy it. I have.www.themagpi.com

                                                  • Re: Appalling website
                                                    morgaine

                                                    angry at the world wrote:

                                                     

                                                    On the box it said come to this site so I did.

                                                    First thing I did was look for a datasheet on it. Guess what? Nothing here. It would be easier to start off with a microcontroller chip than a RP.

                                                    Then I saw the PiFace and clicked on Buy it Now to see the price. Guess What? No price.

                                                    Then the screen clouded over and it insisted I join the community.which I didn't need to do, but it wouldn't show the PiFace until I did this so I joined, thinking it would then give me a price. Guess what? Still no price. Or any datasheet for the RP.

                                                    If found the RP Starter kit and it said it would list the cables needed for RP. Guess what? It didn't.

                                                    Then an error window came up saying it had lost any content and logged me out.

                                                    I looked for a feedback link or contact for the webmaster to recommend improvements but Guess what? There isn't one, so I'm writing it here instead:

                                                    THIS WEBSITE IS APPALLING.

                                                    I'm a design engineer. The first thing I do with a new chip/module is look for a datasheet to see how to hook it up. If you really want today's kids to get into electronics, at least give them the same help we engineers get which at the same time will familiarise them with the way in which a design is normally started so they have some hope of a job in industry.

                                                    What is apparent from this website is it's geared up primarily to get people to buy FEC products with scant regard to the 'community' it's supposed to support, but

                                                    it's so bad it even fails to sell products due to a lack of prices!!

                                                     

                                                    The observation above, is at its heart, completely accurate.

                                                     

                                                    Top Members and new recruits alike have been saying it for a long time, there is very little engineering-oriented organization on this site, despite being purportedly intended for engineers and technical enthusiasts.  The intention may have been there, but the execution seems to have been done by marketing or web content designers or arts students, because no engineer would have produced something like this --- meaning extremely disorganized, extraordinarily overburdened with irrelevant complexity, and not structured by object and process but by chatting.  I've commented on this many times in the past.

                                                     

                                                    Christy asked above for details of which pages or links proved unhelpful, but unfortunately that misses the point totally because it's a site-wide problem and treating one symptom isn't going to help much.  Let me give you an analogy of a person wanting to find a LED, but instead of finding a store with a Semiconductor department containing a subsection of Optical within which there is a shelf labelled LED, he or she is instead directed to an enormous superstore of christmas trees draped in flashing decorations and welcome messages and special offers and sales pitches and miscellaneous advertising and countless diversions of myriad kinds, without any rational navigation system to direct people through this maelstrom of hyperactive irrelevance.

                                                     

                                                    Engineers like things organized cleanly and logically, and any place that isn't organized that way is a turn-off.  We old timers have become accustomed to the mess here, but I really do have sympathy for newcomers who arrive at E14, particularly professional engineers expecting to find a site organized in an engineering way, or at least a clean way.  It is the exact opposite of clean.

                                                     

                                                    To turn this site into a cleanly structured engineering support site, you would have to remove 95% of page structure, and I mean that literally.  Those 16+ tiers of ranked menus with no orthogonality between them, they'd all have to be torn down.  The multiple boxes in side columns and top and bottom panels, they would all have to go.  This is a situation of "To get there, I wouldn't start from here."  I've never seen any site so unstructured in my life, with the possible exception of some truly dreadful tabloid newpaper sites.  It's clearly designed on the "more is better" principle.

                                                     

                                                    I don't know if there's an easy solution, given the magnitude of the problem.  It needs a full site redesign.

                                                     

                                                    Morgaine.