Sunday, August 3, 2008

Let’s talk about it

When it comes to debugging non-functioning equipment, (hardware and software,) I have a theory. This states that I will never be the first person on the planet to have encountered this problem, and therefore the answer is out there somewhere, usually accessible on the World Wide Web.

A number of machine vision vendors have also recognized this, and have set up discussion forums to facilitate the sharing of information. (I suspect it also reduces the load on their Tech Support staff.) The best known of these is probably the
DVT SmartList, (run by Cognex since their acquisition of DVT,) although it does have a weakness: it’s not searchable, which must mean that the same questions keep popping up over and over.

National Instruments also have an excellent
discussion forum, which is searchable. And if you want to take the road less traveled, for NI disciples there’s also the LAVA forum.

On the other hand,
Banner, whose vision products I like very much, offer no such online support. That’s a pity, and I suspect it may also be costing them business. One of the factors in the success of NI, (and I know there are many,) is the way in which their users have become an online community, sharing experience and helping the less knowledgeable.

Banner guys – please set up a discussion forum. It will help me, and it might help you too.

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