As you may have read I’m new to this having swapped a refurbished and re-celled PLEO for Jibo, the Ugobe PLEO was a similar story too with the PLEO being dropped as Ugobe went bust and the new company released a new incompatible PLEO. PLEO owners had similar issues with updates released that killed the old Ugobe PLEO. So I spent some time figuring out how to get enough details together to fix and re-flash PLEO so I can bring them back from the dead. The previous owner of JIBO I know as we both got screwed over with buying NAO Humanoid v3 just as the company produced V5 and stop support for v3. That wouldn’t have been too bad but they took down the V3 Website (that had the Apps it needed down - sound familiar) I got a new V5 last year only to be screwed again when they stealthily release V6 completely ditching V5 with no upward compatibility. Normally these devices are only sold to academic institutions on the grounds that they are near impossible to use, but the reality is all institutions are constantly spending other peoples cash, so they will buy the massively overpriced tech to try out (guilty as charged) and the developers take little responsibility for the end users as the users move on to the next tech toy with money from the next grant. I also got stung with the EPOC EEG headsets I have, overpriced but originally supplied with Overpriced Development tools that allow you to get all the data and upgrades, suddenly no more upgrades, new releases are on massive monthly subscription and incompatible with all the original gear. 1) I think some laws need to be brought in to make KickStarter Escrow mandatory, i.e. if they fold the owners of the gear get full access to hardware and software. 2) If things are server based then monies taken upfront should be used to take out insurance on the server and code upkeep before any monies are taken out from sales by shareholders etc. If a project fails and is dead to its end users the board should not be able to continue to advertise and promote the product as if it were an ongoing success. So what do I think about the JIBO saga, I think it was an academic research idea portrayed to the public via kickstarter to obtain funding the Universities were unwilling to invest in. It was a Kickstarter Research Grant where the end users thought it was a futuristic product development and sale (they thought they were getting one cheap as it came with the package of promises. The lack of response to ‘customers’, the continued use and portrayal of Jibo as success by the Prof, all stem from the Research Mindset, I don’t believe the Prof ever saw the Kick-starter funders as CUSTOMERS they were merely FUNDERS. In the Research arena Funders are supposed to be happy with a few nice slides, pretty videos and big ideas in Peer Papers. Given the high failure of Kickstarters I would say few, if any academics dreaming up kick-starters, ever see the end result as ‘customers’ needing ‘product’. If any body is expecting the Prof to feel bad about the funders, forget it, academic life is one research bid after the next, they don’t dwell on failure as failure can’t happen in Research all of it is publishable results. What she must be really pleased about is that she managed to get other people to pay for her research Toys, she also has stacks of them to last for years, they will act as draws for aspiring Ph’d students to come to her lab to use them and she owns the research patents on the idea and code. Its a complete win win for her despite it being a disaster for the honest Customers who were sucked into funding this. I for one think we the end users have as much right to the code and ideas in JIBO as without the funders and end users there would have been no JIBO. All I’m asking is the code to be changed to allow jibo to exist on his own, with the communication with his Apps to be maintained so I can create some nice interactions for the Autistic kids I help out with (allegedly this is one of the Prof’s ends) and killing off JIBO for the rest of the owners but keeping her own MIT clique licenses I see as immoral. All in or all out, otherwise its like she is rubbing JIBO funders and owners noses in it. In the UK this behaviour would be covered by the rules of an academic ‘bringing the institution into disrepute’ in that MIT is sponsoring an academic whose behaviour is not up to the high standards expected and in keeping with the reputation of the institution. If it was a UK prof I’d be writing to the Chancellor or Vice Chancellor to air my grievance and highlight why they should have a word with said academic to ascertain what they are doing to rectify this situation.
There’s a simple solution, whatever modification MIT have done, are planning and have implemented to JIBO to allow him to continue when the big servers go down, should be offered to owners to enable them to continue to use JIBO and the Apps accepting its limited functionality. But your all in the states so I don’t know how it works over there. The other thing institutions don’t like in petitions that can get to local and national media imagine the headlines Malcolm aka @fixed1t #KeepJiboAlive