Trace Systems Blog
We once got a phone call from a new HIDmaker customer. He was all excited, because he had just gotten his first USB project working only 4 hours after opening our package. We congratulated him, but then we laughed heartily and said:
"But that's OK. We forgive you. You'll get better at it!"
And it was true. Now he can do the same thing in under an hour.
Here is a direct quote from another customer:
"Hi, my name is Matt Hocking. Firstly I would like to congratulate you
on creating this great USB tool. You should be really proud of
yourself as it is indeed a high quality and well refined piece of
technology. I programmed the microchip PICDEM USB FS board to transfer
data and control I/O on my first attempt in 10 minutes, without even
reading your users guide, for VB.NET and PBP. Very impressive! I was
I then read your users guide and was again impressed with how easy it was
to understand your framework." - Matt Hocking
Actually, ten minutes is about right. That's about how long it will take you, with HIDmaker, to get to a USB project that is basically working end to end, communicating YOUR OWN data. That's a very big deal !
Now let's be clear here. We are NOT claiming that HIDmaker will make you a completely finalized product that is ready for sale, and do it all in that same 10 minutes. Customizing HIDmaker's generated code, and adding the functionality that will make YOUR PRODUCT UNIQUE -- that part is your job. But the part that HIDmaker does for you -- generating CUSTOM source code for both sides, so you get to the point where your PIC device and your PC are communicating end to end -- will save you weeks, or even months, of hard work.
Maybe we could make it faster some day, but until we can figure out how to get our software to read your mind, we will still have to make you poke along for 10 whole minutes, clicking on a few things and setting up your data. Once that part is done, HIDmaker can generate your code in just a few seconds.
("Hmm. Now where did I leave the software manual for that new Telepathy library...?")
How Much Is Your TIME Worth?
If you are a working engineer, and especially if you are in business for yourself, you have 2 problems:
- Your time costs money, and
- Failure is not an option.
Now we don't want to get too personal about how much you make, but we CAN use some average salary figures we have found from research on the Internet. PayScale.com says that the total pay for Electrical Engineers in the US currently ranges $52,742 - $103,303. (If you live in another country and don't make this much, then we're sorry. But at least the cost of living is probably lower where you live, too.)
Times are tough, so let's pick an easy number that is median of this range: let's say you bring home $78,000 per year, or about $37.50 per hour. (If you make more, then good for you. If you make less, well read on - maybe we can help you with that!)
If you were able to work only 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, that would amount to about $37.50 per hour. (Yeah, we know your company is working you longer hours than that, but this is the fictional basis under which they PAY you, remember?)
Since you don't work in Accounting, you may or may not be aware of the fact that your company winds up paying a "burdened" salary (burdened by taxes and benefits) that are about TWICE the amount that you bring home. That means that the company is actually paying $75 for the privilege of your company, for each hour of your time.
HIDmaker 32 costs close to $600. That may sound like a lot of money at first, until you realize that the price of HIDmaker 32 is worth only 8 hours of your time, at the burdened rate of $75 per hour. That means that HIDmaker makes you money even if it only saves 8 hours of your time.
Think you can write a complete USB project, with both PIC side and PC side code, and get it all working with YOUR data, in only 8 hours? With all the features that HIDmaker gives you???
Maybe. But we doubt it.
THIS is why we say "HIDmaker pays for itself in 1 day."
How Much Time CAN HIDmaker Save You?
Let's see what our customers say about how long it takes to make a USB device "the hard way."
This is a true story. We spoke to a fellow at our booth at the Microchip Masters Conference a few years ago who told us about this. He had decided that he would try making a USB project the way the chip manufacturer tells you to. It took him a lot of struggling, but he finally got it working - in about 2 months.
"Now that's not fair," you're thinking. "That was his first time!" you say. "His next project should be much faster, right?" Right! Let's see how that worked out.
Well after he finished that first project, he figured he was an expert by then, so he tried another one. As you suspected, he did get it working a lot sooner - that second project only took him 1 month!
(He was surprised and a bit chagrined at how long that second project took him. But you know how it is with us technical people: we always underestimate how long it is going to take us to do something. Just ask my wife!)
So let's see, Accounting says that an average month has 160 working hours in it. Let's see, 8 hours of engineering time is equivalent to the price of 1 HIDmaker 32...
Oh yes, on his second project, that poor guy's efforts cost his company the price of 20 HIDmakers!
Let's see, the definition of Return On Investment is:
Return On Investment = (Gain from Investment - Cost of Investment) / (Cost of Investment)
So if he had bought HIDmaker and gotten his project done in 10 minutes, instead of 160 hours, then
Cost of Investment = $600 = 8 hours of his time
Gain from Investment = the 160 hours of his time that he wouldn't have had to spend making that code work = $12,000 at the burdened rate of $75 / hour.
Plugging in the numbers, this means he would have gotten a Return On Investment of 19 times, or 1900%, if he had bought HIDmaker 32.
(I bet your boss would love it if his stock broker could get him a Return On Investment of 1900%! )
"Free" Is NOT Always A Bargain
Let's put it another way. Before he came to our booth, his company didn't buy HIDmaker FS, so they might say that they "saved" $600, right? They used the "FREE" software from the chip manufacturer. Except that on that second project, using that "free" software from the chip manufacturer, they also SPENT $12,000 on engineering time that they wouldn't have had to spend if they had bought HIDmaker FS .
So, using that "free" software, they came up with a net loss of $11,400. "Free" is not always a bargain, is it?
(We're actually being kind here, by ignoring the fact that the first project cost the company 2 months of his time, which would add another $24,000 that were spent needlessly, for a total cost for the two projects of $36,000 . Using that cost as the Gain from Investment would have given us a 5900% Return On Investment from buying HIDmaker 32.)
But hey, maybe this guy's experience was just a fluke.
Maybe it's not really so bad. How about someone else's experience?
Let's take the quote from Robert Galter:
"Before finding HIDmaker FS , I read
everything I could about USB. I understood the communication requirements,
the report requirements, the enumeration process, the built in Windows
support for HID, and more. Yet, I had a tough time creating my own driver
and PIC firmware to match.
I probably spent 6 months of full-time effort to
get to the point of having a marginally working single unit interface. I
needed to fulfill a multi-unit simultaneously operational real time
By chance a colleague mentioned the Trace Systems product. I
invested about a week's worth of time with impressive results. I had a
working foundation for the successful completion of the entire requirement.
The device was recognized by Windows the first time I plugged it in with the
HIDmaker FS firmware running. Granted, no product development effort is
problem free, but at least our problems were not in the USB communication
interface. I just wish I had found HIDmaker FS before expending the first
Let's see: 6 months of effort without success: 26 weeks. Then he buys HIDmaker, and gets it going in 1 week. He would have saved 25 weeks of his time if he had bought HIDmaker right away.
At our $75 burdened rate,
Gain from Investment = 25 weeks x (40 hours / week) x 1 week x ($75 /hour) = $75,000
Cost of Investment = $600
Return On Investment = ($75,000 - $600)/$600 = 124.0, or a 12,400% Return on Investment.
But YOU say:
"Naw, Dr. Bob, that's not fair! You should consider the week he spent with HIDmaker as part of the Cost of Investment."
OK, let's run the numbers that way:
Cost of Investment = $600 price of HIDmaker + ($75 / hour) x (40 hours / week) x 1 week = $3600
Return On Investment = ($75,000 - $3,600)/$3600 = 19.83 times, or 1983% Return on Investment. (Pretty close to that first guy's figure.)
Are you noticing a trend here?
Oh, and here's one more thing to consider. Your next project (and the next one after that, and so on...) would be FREE.
What Was That OTHER Point? "Failure is Not An Option"
If you are employed as an engineer, you might kinda like to be able to STAY employed. That's especially true in these very tough economic times.
How do you do that? You do it by
- doing things right the first time,
- doing them faster than the competition,
- and doing them better than the competition.
HIDmaker can help you on all three counts. Not only that, but if you buy HIDmaker 32, you now have someone you can call if you get stuck. Expert Trace Systems tech support, directly from the author of the software, will get you up and going again fast.
We will NOT let you fail. You see, failure is not an option for US, either.
"How Do I Convince My Boss?"
"OK, Dr. Bob," you say, "I get it. I understand that HIDmaker 32 is going to get our USB device working fast, and working great. But money is tight at my company right now, and I'm gonna have to justify to my boss why I'm asking to buy this. How do I convince my boss?"
Look at it this way. A boss like yours is under a lot of different pressures. Getting the product designed and working right is just one of his problems. He's probably under a lot of budget pressures right now, too. He's got to make sure that your new product design also comes in on time and under budget. He needs to know how HIDmaker 32 will help his budget as well as your design.
You will have to talk about things that your boss's BOSS will ask: you will have to talk in terms of money.
You should tell your boss about the great Return On Investment or 'ROI' that our customers always get from buying HIDmaker 32. Show him this page, and the ROI numbers that our other customers have gotten.
And if you need to, have him call Dr. Bob, at the phone number below.