My Attempt at a $115 ADS-B Receiver Build for Foreflight

Discussion in 'Technical Corner' started by JoseCuervo, Aug 17, 2015.

  1. vkhosid

    vkhosid Cleared for Takeoff

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    Can we at least get a hint as to what this will be? Are you working on/contributing to the stratux project?
     
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  2. Archammer

    Archammer Cleared for Takeoff

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  3. ircphoenix

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    Cool!

    How does your product differ from the other Stratux ready-to-go kit/unit?

    I see you have GPS listed... is it a WAAS gps inside?
     
  4. CT4ME

    CT4ME Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'm in...
     
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  5. Archammer

    Archammer Cleared for Takeoff

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    Stratux doesn't have a "ready to go" kit. You purchase all the items separately. We have just created a completely assembled and RTF system with all of the latest and fastest hardware. We've included the best of the "mods" and upgrades that some of the contributors have created, so that way we are supporting their efforts.
    Yes the A.D.S.Bin is GPS enabled and the Stratux software is what links the WAAS for the ADSB-In
     
  6. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix En-Route

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    Ah. I was referring to https://www.openflightsolutions.com/flightbox/ which is most definitely ready to go kit.

    Your price is way better (and has my mouse cursor hovering over the purchase button), which had me wondering what the difference was.

    Thanks for the reply!
     
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  7. Archammer

    Archammer Cleared for Takeoff

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    Ahh, yes. That is just another creator of a kit. He actually wrote some of the Stratux Project software I believe.
     
  8. GLMS_NC

    GLMS_NC Line Up and Wait

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    good price
     
  9. vkhosid

    vkhosid Cleared for Takeoff

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    That's why we can't have nice things...
     
  10. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix En-Route

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    ????
     
  11. ifly4fun

    ifly4fun Line Up and Wait

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    I think this kit is still "some assembly required"
     
  12. vkhosid

    vkhosid Cleared for Takeoff

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    Ethics aside, I just don't think that monetizing someone else's [free] hard work is the "right" thing to do.

    I believe the only "assembly" is screwing in the antenna. Other than that, seems to be self-contained and assembled.
     
  13. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix En-Route

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    I'm confused. Stratux is basically software that can be applied to a variable hardware infrastructure, right? So these two options are people trying to make a buck by creating a service where they essentially source and assemble the parts for you. You still have the option of assembling it yourself for some savings.

    I'm not trying to be argumentative. Just trying to figure out where you're coming from.
     
  14. JoseCuervo

    JoseCuervo En-Route

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    Something about it doesn't feel right to me, either. Stratux is far more than "basically software", it also has tested hardware, tested software, and lots of other efforts that have gone into developing it.

    Lots of people spent time and effort creating the product, the software, sourcing/testing the hardware, etc, for the benefit of the "aviation community". That is why it has been so successful and has been adopted and supported.

    I have no idea if the people seeking to profit off the open sourced efforts are paying any sort of royalty or not. It would be interesting to see if the profiteers are willing to share their case designs, their material lists, suppliers, etc so that the open source community can benefit.
     
  15. CT4ME

    CT4ME Cleared for Takeoff

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    I don't want to get involved in the religious war of Open vs. Commercial. Profiting from Open Source software is ancient news. Even supposed "commercial" software often uses open modules or libraries. If someone, or a group, creates an "Open" project, then they must accept all the aspects of the "open-ness". If they want to do the same work and pay to have it protected by copyright or patent, they can. As an end user, I'm happy to compensate someone to build the kit for me, using their expertise in electronic assembly, and knowing what mods and upgrades are best.
     
  16. vkhosid

    vkhosid Cleared for Takeoff

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    Sourcing the parts isn't the problem....I believe on the stratux.me website, it actually provides links to the various amazon vendors, so all you have to do is click on the link, and add to your shopping cart. I could understand charging a premium if there was some soldering or coding involved. If that were the case, then sure, charging for the "work" MIGHT be acceptable. But in the case of this project, its (as you well know) LITERALLY plugging in 2 or 3 USB connectors. Thats it.

    Maybe for $5 or something, selling some step by step how-to instructions? MAYBE...

    But charging a premium for plugging in 3 connectors...I wouldn't do it. But hey, as someone once told me...thats my own problem...
     
  17. vkhosid

    vkhosid Cleared for Takeoff

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    Obviously, anyone is free to do what they wish. And as you've said, nothing is stopping anyone from selling this product for a profit. I guess my issue is a moral one...of profiting from someone else's work.

    EDIT: And sure, compensating someone for assembling it for you is fine...but what should that compensation be? A beer? Lunch? $100?
     
  18. Jeffythequick

    Jeffythequick Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Go to Thingiverse.com and search for Stratux. There are some projects in there that have parts lists on them.

    If you get the Pi 3, you don't need the wifi dongle.
     
  19. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    Maybe you're new to how open-source software works?

    You have the choice to buy the list of commodity hardware pieces and self-assemble to run the software, or take the code and put it in a commercial product, or anything in between. Could even take the code and put it in proprietary hardware as long as you follow the rules of the license for derivative works.

    RedHat has made quite a business out of the efforts of hundreds of thousands of coders. As have others, for an example.

    If the Stratux folk didn't want this to happen, they could have chosen different licensing terms for their code. They knew. This type of customization for a fee is nothing new.

    (Heck, I just had a commercial software vendor tell me I had to buy their HP server to run SuSE on it plus a copy of their software for managing large printers they make, or the whole package wouldn't meet their support requirements. 95% of the work in their product was done for free by people they didn't pay. This is just how open source software works.)

    And, truth be known, Stratux itself is based off of other open-source works that have nothing to do with ADS-B, from pieces that handle the SDR, all the way down to the boot loader and the kernel and OS tools and commands. It's not a from-scratch software application, it's an extension of existing free code.

    This is all very common (including commercial derivatives and hardware) in the open source world. I believe some portions of Stratux are using GPL which places limitations on derivative software works that say, a license with more actual freedom like the BSD license, don't. There's even multiple versions of the GPL license.

    Totally normal.
     
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  20. vkhosid

    vkhosid Cleared for Takeoff

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    I completely agree that there's nothing illegal or nefarious going on with offering to sell the stratux unit as a "completed" and "assembled" package. As I (think I) have said before...I just think that its moral/ethical issue.
     
  21. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    One decided in advance by the choice of license, not by the person who creates things because the license allows it. Correct.

    If you don't want people doing this, you don't license "open". Simple as that.

    Hell, you don't even have to publish the source, as long as you didn't make any material changes to any other open code used to bootstrap or provide an OS for yours.

    And if you distribute binary only, you can license only on your hardware combination if you like, or via a software key that you'll only issue to those who have bought hardware from you.

    A million ways to skin the cat, the authors of this work obviously knew about them and made the choice in advance, so that you and I don't have to worry about it at all.
     
  22. JoseCuervo

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    Nothing about it being legal or illegal, and the license is not the issue.

    There were many people who freely gave testing, hardware, and design input. Hell, I even did one of the first "how to assemble manuals" on the first few posts of this thread.

    People gave to make the product better, and affordable. Not to do the leg work for somebody to come in 10 months later after all the "bleeding edge" activities were done and benefit.

    Again, it is an ethics/morals issue, nothing to do with the license.
     
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  23. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    It is. An ethics or moral issue chosen by the author and nobody else's business. If one doesn't want to participate in it, one doesn't have to.

    All of the largest companies on the planet make far more money from open source than they can possibly ever return to it in value. They can make token gestures and release a bit of code here and there and that's plenty, or release nothing at all. Whatever they want to do.

    They make far more off of open source code than any dude in his basement charging $100 for a plastic case for a Pi and plugging some cables in.

    You can claim it's immoral or not immoral, I've been involved in the discussion since the early 1990s, and it's clear from long study that it's simply not. It's a license. Plenty of ways to close even open source derivatives, or contribute to them.

    Open is open, and includes guys like the basement case guys and gals. They've done nothing wrong by following the licensing offered. The authors chose the license and it's between them and the derivative makers.
     
  24. JoseCuervo

    JoseCuervo En-Route

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    Again, only you think it is a licensing issue. And, as someone who has WRITTEN more software licenses than I care to remember, read a bazillion more software licenses, and negotiated a ****load of software licenses with the likes of MSFT, Adobe, RedHat, etc, I can assure you this is not a software license issue.

    The point raised, is the ethics/morals of someone taking a "product", including the software, testing, material lists and all the benefits of the "community" who developed the product, without giving anything of value back to the community.

    Nobody is accusing the "profiteer" of breaking the law (although, it would be interesting to see his RFI/EMI certifications on his product). And, I would guess the first time someone uses his "product" and crashes into another plane, there will be a widow suing, so I hope he has some liability insurance.

    Again, ethics and morals are personal, and your standards might be lower than others, hence your lack of issue.
     
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  25. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    It's not. If the author doesn't wish someone to utilize their software in a derivative software or hardware product, they simply say so in their license terms. If they didn't, they already made the decision that they do not care.

    The authors make the decision. Not you, and not me. You can pretend they wanted something they didn't state they wanted, all you like. It's just your opinion. The license clearly states what can be done with the software. No limitation on commercial use or hardware derivatives, means no limitation on those things.

    As far as my personal morals go, they're quite fine, but good job breaking this site's rules again on personal attacks like you've done before.

    The maker of the "product" added non-software value. Not a value that you or I think is worth much, but perhaps is to someone. Individuals and companies do this all the time with open source software, packaging it up inside their own hardware "product" and re-selling it. It's nothing new. The area I'm most familiar with is GPL licensing (I haven't looked but assume the various bits that make up Stratux are licensed GPL, probably v3 or higher) and without additional license terms added to it, there is no limitation on such a derivative work.

    If the authors wanted to mandate some sort of "giving back" there's nothing stopping them from doing so. All they have to do is mandate it in their license terms and you have an argument. Without it, they've done exactly the opposite and said they don't care. GPL places limitations on derivative software works, but not hardware packaging.

    If they don't like derivative hardware works, they can easily ban them by adding appropriate wording to their license terms. It's unlikely worth the effort however, since they'd also then have to prosecute anyone who does it anyway, but then you'd have a case for a moral problem. As it stands right now, there is none, because their lack of license terms banning it is explicit permission to do whatever one wants to with their software, including packaging it into a commercial product, even a weak commercial product like an overpriced case and a couple of cables.

    With all your vast knowledge of software writing, you should already know this. What you don't explicitly state is inappropriate use is essentially, fair game. The only "automatic" protection afforded software is copyright, with no license terms attached. Which doesn't apply to derivative hardware packaging. Never has, never will.
     
  26. ifly4fun

    ifly4fun Line Up and Wait

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    If the market sees value in a turn key product, than this vendor's product will be successful. Plain and simple.

    How easy it is for those who chose to take the shopping list, price it out, order from various sites, wait for it all to show up, assemble it, hope all the pieces aren't defective and the time associated with troubleshooting is our choice.

    I can definitely see value for someone who is nervous around electronic devices, doesn't have the time patience to deal with procurement, or whatever other reason they chose to be able to goto a website, click buy, and 3-5 days later have a turn key working box. This vendor has placed a fair price on the product for that value. The software is irrelevant.

    At $205, I'm surprised hes able to source the parts for that price. I know I paid more for all of my parts. The market will determine his success.

    I don't see how this is any different than buying a dell with CentOS on it.
     
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  27. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

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    Have you ever put together a pc, from parts, a system board, processor, ram, whatever else, got a few hours into it and wondered why you didn't just buy finished build? Similar right? At some point, your time is worth more than screwing with something that was supposed to be easy. Lets say you got a defective part in your self assemble package, how much time would you waste figuring out which puzzle piece wasn't working vs. someone who is putting them together all day long. And you might want something that isn't held together with duct tape. I can see value in a pre-assembled 'self build' kit.
     
  28. vkhosid

    vkhosid Cleared for Takeoff

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    Really?

    Rasp Pi, with SD card PRELOADED with stratux software, and a SDR dongle: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...de=as2&tag=stratux-20&linkId=ONPZ3IB6BTOKAIGT $84.99 (Free SAME DAY shipping with Amazon Prime account)

    Battery Pack: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...de=as2&tag=stratux-20&linkId=BIMTSODXG7LYJQ3L $30.99 (
    Free SAME DAY shipping with Amazon Prime account)

    Total: 115.98.....and you're done! Add another $15-20 for a case and $10 for a "fancy" antenna.

    And remember this is "standard" pricing. I assume if you're buying the parts in bulk, you're getting a reduced rate per unit...

    Also, this was me going to the Stratux.me site and clicking on the links provided. I'm sure if I spent an additional minute, I could find better pricing...
     
  29. vkhosid

    vkhosid Cleared for Takeoff

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    To be fair, assembling a PC from components is quite a bit more involved than plugging a USB stick in. Building a PC you have to do your own searching to see if the parts you want are compatible with one another. Not so in the case of the stratux project, since all pieces have been tested for compatibility.

    However, to use your example, have you ever purchased a computer online and had something not work? You don't simply send it back without an explanation. You have to contact customer service...then they have to tell you that the CD tray is NOT a cup holder...then they have to make sure you are well acquainted with the restart procedure of holding the "power" button for at least 5 seconds and seeing if that fixes your problem. Only then do you get the RA number to send the computer back to be troubleshooted. That requires you to package it back up again, go to the post office, and send it back.

    Sarcasm aside, the point i'm trying to make is that there's still "wasted time" with a pre-assembled product as well...I'd say that the time is about the same as putting it together yourself (sort of).
     
  30. ifly4fun

    ifly4fun Line Up and Wait

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    Really?

    "...and you're done!" Oh, and add $15-20, and $10... So I guess you're not done? How about an additional $15-$20 for the second SDR? How about an additional $20-$30 for the GPS chip?

    Using the cheaper of all those scales now we're at $175 and that doesn't include any shipping. So for him to put it all together, test it, back it, market it, and sell it for $205 seems like pretty slim margin. Like I said, market will determine its success. I see value.
     
  31. ifly4fun

    ifly4fun Line Up and Wait

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    Have you actually put one of these together? With the AHRS/GPS chip? Granted I was an early adopter, but I had to get out the soldering iron, which is a far cry from plugging in USB sticks.

    And the other linked package you referenced states in its own details you need pliers and a screw drivers, so thats a lot more than screwing in antennas.
     
  32. vkhosid

    vkhosid Cleared for Takeoff

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    Your numbers, like mine, are based on the MSRP of the components. I'm guessing that if you're selling them in bulk, you're getting a discount on the parts. So $175 may not be the right dollar figure either. Can we just agree that assembling the unit yourself would cost you less?

    To answer your question, I have an assembled stratux unit at home. I did buy the stuff on amazon (and got them same day delivery, actually), and assemble everything myself. I did not, however, use the RY GPS/AHRS chip that requires soldering. Instead, I held out (originally waiting for the AHRS functionality to be available) and bought the VK-172 USB GPS unit. So yes, ALL of my components are plug-n-play USB.
     
  33. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    Bulk? How many do you think the dude is selling?! Hahahahahahhahahaha. Bulk discounts on this stuff don't kick in until at least 100 units.


    And that unit costs how much compared to the RY?

    I think you just got caught having a hissy fit over a guy in his basement making $20 on a horribly time consuming project to assemble crap for people who he doesn't realize yet are going to be a huge pain in his ass wanting "support" anyway, if they can't plug in cables and follow directions.

    I've been involved in volunteer tech support teams for users who are clueless. The dude doesn't know what he's in for.

    Just last week I watched a 25-30 message long email chain between one of the other volunteers and a clueless owner of a similar non-aviation radio to Linux interface "product". The entire gist of the email chain was "do this and report back" dude would do twenty other things and screw his entire configuration up. Volunteer would say, "stop doing other **** and follow directions. Now do ONLY this and report back." Guy repeated that stupidity 10-12 times.

    I called up the other volunteer on the phone and laughed with him at the moron. "Glad you answered that one before I did!" "Seriously! WTF is wrong with that guy?" "Good drugs apparently. Want me to jump in?" "Nah. I want to see how many times he will do this... It's actually strangely fun to see how stupid he is now." "Haha. Cool. How's your wife? You guys retired fully yet?" "Yeah she's still working and I'm 'enjoying' this crap in retirement!" "Everyone needs a hobby!"
     
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  34. vkhosid

    vkhosid Cleared for Takeoff

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    I dont know how many he's buying/selling...

    And the VK-172 is very similarly priced to the RY...might even be a few dollars less.
     
  35. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    So you were making crap up about bulk discounts as a rationalization of your fears that some dude will make $20 in his basement handholding idiots scared of USB plugs?

    Haha. Ok. My goodness.

    Sounds dastardly indeed. You've convinced me your "outrage" is quite justified. Haha.

    If anything, he's going to end up a middle man keeping the really low functioning users off of the main developer's backs and saving them a lot of time, if you really think about it.

    Probably why they would license their stuff in such a way as to not care at all if someone wants to package up the thing and deal with the low end of the power curve of the masses for them. Pretty common sentiment amongst hobby developers, really.

    "Here's the pieces -- some assembly required -- you must be this tall to ride the ride -- you break it, you get to keep both pieces."
     
  36. Jeffythequick

    Jeffythequick Pre-takeoff checklist

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    There is a benefit to having someone put it together and test it, and have it work out of the box. We've all had that first car that you prayed that it would start, first thing in the morning. After a while, it's more profitable to have a car that starts, but some people like tinkering with their cars, and making sure they work to their taste. Those people live two doors down from me.

    As an EE, these things are up my alley, but for those that don't know about these things, having a sure hand putting it together is very much value added. Going on Macintosh sites, I see that the iPhone 6S+ costs about $300 in parts. Having someone that knows how to put them together is worth it for me, that is willing to pay $800 for a phone that lasts me 2-3 years.

    Getting back on point, is it worth it to pay $50 for someone to put your first Stratux together? I'd say, "yes". Your second one? Well, you can open it up, and see how an expert put it together, and make your own decisions.
     
  37. vkhosid

    vkhosid Cleared for Takeoff

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    Why is my assumption that he buys all the components in bulk and gets a discount incorrect, and your assumption that he buys all the components at full retail price correct?

    So you were making crap up about paying full retail price as a rationalization of your fears that some dude will only be making a tiny profit, so its okay if he monetizes others' efforts.


    Sounds harmless, indeed. You've convinced me your ambivalence is quite justified. Haha.
     
  38. JimNtexas

    JimNtexas Pattern Altitude

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    I follow the Stratux Reddit feed. After reading countless posts from guys who have had all sorts of issues with their homebuilt Stratux's , many of which seem to be parts quality related, I decided that buying the parts from Amazon seemed like a hit or miss proposition.

    I've built lots of electronic geegaws, from my HealthKit HW-16 to several Raspberry Pi projects and many generations of PCs. I decided to pay the extra few bucks and get the Flightbox kit, which has worked flawlessly for me.


    That was before Shane started selling his kit. I know Shane personally, he's a great guy has been marketing various aviation products for a long time now. I know several local pilots who swear by his custom painted headsets. I'd have no hesitation in buying anything from him.

    If paying for a product based on open source software bothers you, please never buy a router from any vendor!!! Every darn one of them is mostly open source software that someone has customized for their particular hardware device.

    Don't buy Foreflight either, since if you check their about box you'll see a lot open source code that they use also.
     
    exncsurfer likes this.
  39. vkhosid

    vkhosid Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
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    Display name:
    94V
    The bold text is my main point. The point of open source software is for people to take it and manipulate it for their own needs.

    Also, since I guess it needs to be said...I'm not questioning the quality of Shane's work. I've read the reviews of the members here who have purchased his stuff, and all seem to be very happy with his quality of work.

    To sum it up in one sentence once and for all....I think it is in bad form to charge someone for something that they can get for free somewhere else. That's it.
     
  40. ifly4fun

    ifly4fun Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
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    Display name:
    Jeff
    And in one line you negated the entire service industry profession. Why hire a mechanic? Painter? Handy man? Landscaper? Why buy an assembled airplane? Car? Computer?

    Time has value. If I can make $100/hr doing x then paying Bob $30hr to put this together for me makes more sense. Not my situation.. Just an example.
     
    Jeffythequick and Somedudeintn like this.