Friday, October 30, 2009

Microchip PICKit 3, Web 2.0 and social networks, Check it out mate

Short time ago Microchip Technologies introduced a new Programmer/Debugger tool, the PICkit 3. The plan is that this new programmer will replace the previous PICkit 2 version.

In the engineering community we were very excited about this new product because it now has a PIC24FJ256 MCU, much faster and with more memory than the one used on the PICkit 2. But we've got a little bit disappointed since the new product didn't seem to take advantage of the new MCU and many of the features available for the PICkit 2 were not present on the PICkit 3.

It didn't took long until comments started to show up on the Microchip User's Forum, but Dave Jones from Sydney who runs a very interesting electronics video blog put together a this video with an entertaining review of the PICKit3.

While some argue that Dave's review is not 100% accurate, he really pointed out many of the issues with the PICkit 3.

What Microchip did ?

Did they sue Dave ? No
Did they force him to remove the video ? No
Did they threaten him to shutdown his video blog and You Tube account ? No

They took it as a serious and honest message from the engineering community, and their response started with a direct call from Microchip's CEO, Steve Sanghi.

Dave provided the following update on his blog:

"Since this blog has gone to air and made it’s way all around the Microchip HQ, I have received a phone call from none other than the Microchip CEO Steve Sanghi. In a totally unexpected and rare show of honesty from any corporate person, let alone the CEO, he thanked me for the blog and for raising the issues. They took it as serious constructive criticism (as it was intended). He pointed out a few factual errors on my part which was fair enough, but admitted they could have done the PICkit 3 better and most importantly are working to fix the issues and give customers what they expect.

Any other huge multi-billion dollar corporation probably would have got their lawyers to give me a dressing down, if they cared at all, but Microchip really do care about their products and will happily take constructive criticism seriously at the top level. Such a thing has to be unprecedented surely?

I am absolutely blown away by Microchip’s honesty, and it starts from their CEO down.

Two thumbs up to Steve Sanghi and Microchip!

Not only that, in the era of the Internet, Web 2.0 and social media, Microchip is using the same tools as its customers for a two way dialog. There are several groups on Facebook, you can follow Microchip on twitter, they constantly add videos on YouTube, and guess what, Dave got his video response from Microchip ... Check it Out !!

By the way, the product development team for the PICkit 3 is active and providing updates on the Microchip User's Forum, and not only they are planning to add the features we expected for the PICkit 3, they also plan to release all source material for the programmer, just like with the PICkit 2, including the source code for the stand-alone GUI that is under development.

Thanks Dave, and so long Mr. D :-)