Declaring the Drought is Officially Over
by Jason Kridner
It was April last year when I wrote about how we were going to fix the board shortage. Demand and activity have only increased since then, but the additional production capacity has paid off and there is now inventory of both the official BeagleBoard.org BeagleBone Black manufactured by CircuitCo and the logo-compliant BeagleBone Black manufactured by Element14 in every major region. In the US, major electronics retailers are stocking BeagleBone Black including a Make-produced getting started kit at Radio Shack and a $39.99 sale at Micro Center for most of this month.
Distributors are now starting to do more promotions with BeagleBone Black, including Element14's daily give-away of 2 BeagleBone Blacks drawn randomly from individuals who sign up on their community site and refer a friend who signs up. MCM is doing a free case give away until February 2nd. I'm sure there are a bunch of other promotions I don't even know about.
Now that boards are out there, we can get back to showing people how to make the most out of their BeagleBone Blacks. One of the biggest gaps I've found in hackathons is a lack of awareness of the expected out-of-box experience. That is, most people never check out http://beagleboard.org/getting-started leading to the tutorial served-up by the on-board web server. From there, most people never discover the Cloud9 IDE with its highly-functional Linux command shell right in the browser. After that, the next biggest struggle is opening up people's minds to what they can create. Blinking an LED is easy, but it isn't hard to find blog posts or even a book on building BeagleBone Black Super Clusters. Fortunately, that isn't the only topic for which there is a BeagleBone book for which you can learn about the amazing things these boards can do.
Current list of BeagleBone Black books: http://bit.ly/bbb-books