Figetively Speaking~~ an addendum

Since there appeared to be quite a number of people who were still slow swimming in AntsyLabs “small pool”, I thought I might touch on the other fidget toys that is currently in vogue…. The Spinner.

It seems that in schools, the fidget tube is quite passé. All the kewl kidz want a spinner. While I waited on the delivery of my Gen-U- ine™ Cube, I took a flyer at one of the Chinese sites and over on eBay and ordered a couple for myself. The double ended brass unit and the wheel both came out of Hong Kong, and the black aluminum one shipped out of Chicago. Each of them was about $7.99… all with free shipping.

All “spinners” rely on the same bearings that are used in skateboard wheels. Please can very in quality quite a bit. Apparently, the very best skateboard wheels feature ceramic bearings inside a ceramic collar. The other variable is the number of actual ball bearing within the bearing itself.  They seem to vary from as few as six, all the way up to as many as 16. Needless to say, at this price point, I didn’t get ceramic bearings, and there are only eight balls in each bearing. Tony Hawk is not rolling on these.

Here you can see the brass spinner disassembled and opened up for view. In this case, it appears that the bearing is actually brass as well. The darker bearing is the one out of the black spinner.

The spinner body itself very solid and is rather well milled, although it could be better finished. You can see easily that the polishing could’ve been better done. Irregardless, it has a wonderfully heavy feel in the hand. Theoretically this heavy counter-weighting should allow it to spin for an extended length of time. Unfortunately it is made totally irrelevant by the fact that the bearing construction is so loose that the unit’s ends can be wiggled up and down 5 or 6 mm. Unless it is spun on a flat, stable surface, there is so much vibration that the unit cavitates badly and slows down within 30 to 45 seconds. This is not the “spins up to four minutes” that was advertised on the site when I purchased it. These spinners are almost always advertised as “fidget toys”, so any inability to use the toy while held in your hand pretty much makes that impossible.

It was also advertised to have an “amazing fast and stable ceramic center bearing, specially designed by our factory” and the spin-time was indicated to be 3 to 4 minutes. The good news is my purchase price on this unit was refunded in full because of these misrepresentations. Both the quality of the product you receive, and the service can vary widely among the individual Chinese vendors, but, the marketing platform they use through AliBaba provides an excellent buyer protection plan. [Interestingly enough the spin-time claim seems to have been removed from the current offering after my complaint through AliBaba, and that vendor is no longer claiming that it has the ceramic bearing]

Moving on to the very similar black spinner… This one is quite a bit lighter because it is made from some type of aluminum alloy. Is equally well machined, and it certainly has a better bearing, but it does not make it all the way to three or four minutes of spin either. It will go for just over two minutes, and it too has a bit of cavitation if you’re using it in your hand. Nowhere near as bad, but some nonetheless.

Finally, the wheel is very, very satisfactory. It has a solid brass rim around the plastic wheel, and while the bearings are not outstanding they do give something approaching a three minutes spin. The best part is that this one can easily be balanced on your finger and allowed to tilt gyroscopically. If it had a solid brass wheel and ceramic bearings I believe this would be truly outstanding as a fidget.

 

The idea of a “spinner” seems like a nice addition to your EDC, and a good compliment to your Fidget Cube. They won’t satisfy your pending clicking addiction, but they are nonetheless quite soothing. From looking around on the net, it appears like you can get pretty heavily invested in these… upgraded bearings for more and more extended spins, interchangeable parts, funkier thumb-caps that let you do balancing tricks on a pencil tip… there are all kinds of options out there if you want to spend the money.

I saw the same units that I purchased offered at prices that ranged from about $7 to around $21. I strongly suspect that you are going to be getting the exact same unit at whatever price. My limited looking about indicates to me that if you want a truly decent one, you are probably going to have to move up to the $30-$50 range. However, at that price point, I think that you’re going to be getting something that really is pretty nice. If it appeals to you, and you have the money, go for one.

EDIT~5/2/17: As regards the “peanut” shaped spinners- I saw them for sale at a smoke shop here locally. $5.99 and they had the same wibble-wobble problems as mine. Not as bad as the brass one, but enough to make the fidgeting no fun. Leave these cheapos to the grade school kidz.

Fidget Cube : Fidgetively Speaking~ The Epilogue

While Antsy Labs may have failed to live up to many peoples expectations throughout the entire Kickstarter project and fulfillment process, [and quite possibly even in your satisfaction with the final product], the one thing we absolutely have to give them credit for is having come up with the the concept of the fidget cube itself in the first place. They may have been beaten to the market on many fronts, out priced, and even outdone in the quality of product, but they gave us the original idea. We backed this Kickstarter because we thought it was cool and we were right. A fidget cube is a great toy to fidget with. 

Thank you Matthew and Mark for fun ride.

 

Originally, once I had gotten my AntsyLabs Fidget Cube™ (pat.pending) I had planned on doing a post comparing it with some of the clones. I’m not going to bother anymore. Other people have pretty well saturated that niche. Who cares?

At the most depressing end of the scale, my experience with the two genuine cubes shows me that the quality control within AL’s own product line is highly undependable. A lot of people seem to think their Gen-u-ine™ cubes are just peachy-keen, and a lot of people seem to a find a bunch of defects like I did. Mine were glaring enough to request replacement. But only a quick scan of the current KS comments page shows a bunch of folks reporting noticeable differences just within the batch of cubes delivered to them.

Notably there was this comment from “@Mikhail G.~  [Kickstarter Superbacker] April 9th:  Got our cubes yesterday. As others have said, build quality is inconsistent – each one we’ve tried has at least one different weird thing about it (spinner sticks, joystick is too tight, one dial seems way looser than any of the others, rollerballs have very different rolling properties, etc.), which is not ideal. Still, been fidgeting with them since we got them, so overall not bad.” 

I have my own doubts as to whether my genuine cube is actually the same in terms of quality as those that shipped in the January/February batches. Nobody writing in the comment section back then seemed to be complaining about product quality. Anyway, each one of us likes what we like, so I am just going to give a brief look-see at the cubes that have come my way while I waited on the Kickstarter “rewards” one to finally get to me.

 

I wrote in one of the earlier posts back in March:  “I am going to assume that most of you who have navigated over here from the KS “Comments” page are reasonably familiar with the clone offerings. What I ended up getting was one of the “camo” colored cubes, a black or “midnight” cube, and a white one with lime buttons. Three different sources, three very different prices. Two with free shipping, and each of them delivered within four days of order.”  Since that point, I got a white one with lime-green buttons, and I also tried to acquire one of the blue-ish clones with contrasting red buttons [along with black joystick and spinners]. One of these disappeared in the China Post sorting center in GUANGZHOU back in February, and the replacement unit that was authorized has been languishing in the same place for three weeks now. Time will tell.* [It too is now in hand…. it’s the darker gray unit in the photo… NOT blue and NO red buttons! An eBay purchase of a Carolina blue camo cube with red buttons went awry and was never fulfilled by the seller… [that was a pity because it was intended for my UNC-fan sweetie down in Carolina… to keep her calm during the ACC and NCAA tournaments] Then, because of @NialP’s recommendation, I also ordered one of the “mini” cubes with the built-in keychain loop just to see what they were like. And, finally, about 10 days ago I actually found a cube clone alive-n-kickin’ in a Five Below° brick-and-mortar store, so I picked up a Space Grey one for $5 at retail.

And, of course, after the replacement adventure detailed below, I also now have a fully functional Antsy Labs genuine Fidget Cube™ Kickstarter Limited Edition!

There was a wide range in the prices. Most of the Chi-clones were around $4 regardless of quality. The Mini was only $2.25, and the most expensive one was the Camo-Cube at about $13 from a US based seller on eBay. [US vendor cubes ALL seem to run to higher prices. This is why, as long as you are willing to wait on delivery for a couple of weeks, the Hong Kong direct units are a much better deal.]

SO… what do I like?~~

  • My favorite since it arrived back in January, and my benchmark in judging the others as they came along, has been the Camo cube. It was the first one I got, and also the most expensive. It is close to what AL told us a fidget cube would be. The buttons are rubber, three click/two silent, and I prefer their feel to the hard plastic. The chrome ball rolls freely, but with just enough friction to let you feel the rotation…and it does do the pen-click thing when pressed. The joystick does not click down, but because it is mounted on a metal ball bearing it had a good swivel range and snaps back to center with a resounding “chunk”. The twirl wheel is an absolute joy with no friction whatsoever…. It is easy to spin as fast as you can make your thumb move. What I most enjoy about a free-wheeling twirl is being able to place the cube twirl down and then spin the whole cube on its axis. The switch is well balanced between it’s snap-back and a smooth rocking motion. The gear-wheels do not ratchet, but have a snug fit that allows some resistance to your finger pressure. The other major difference is that this cube is made of ABS or some kind of vinyl like Antsy originally indicated. I think this provides a nicer overall feel the hand.
  • The next one that came was the solid black. It is hard plastic with hard plastic buttons, so the in-hand feel is not as good.  The joystick does click up-and-down, but the thumb pad is smaller in diameter than on others, and the first click allows the joystick to flop around randomly… a second click returns it to position. The three gears ratchet, but are quite stiff and difficult to rotate. It does have the larger chrome ball like an Antsy Lab unit… but it only rotates in one direction… side to side. You can’t continue your thumb-roll up onto the gears. The twirl wheel has such a small thumb-nub that it is hard to keep going. The cubes rattles if shaken, and overall has a cheapo feel to it. It has became my benchmark for “Meh!”.
  • The white one with lime buttons is basically the same as the camo unit. Maybe slight differences in “feel” to individual features, but a nice cube. I really like the idea of different colors used for different features.
  • The SpaceGray [lighter] unit is the one that came from Five Below°. It is actually quite decent. Vinyl, with a good switch, 3/2 buttons, the smaller click-joystick… but one that does not flop, and gears that ratchet, but require a little more force to push than I would really like. If you knew nothing about fidget cubes at all, I think you would be very happy with one of these, and five bucks is a good retail price-point.
  • The darker gray cube was supposed to be the “blue” with red buttons. It just came in the mail this morning [out of China]. Sadly, it is the new poster child for a bad cube. It comes in a couple of notches below the old black one. Hard Plastic buttons that all click the same with little range-of-motion/ A wobbly twirl wheel/A good large ball bearing, but the gears are even more difficult to ratchet/…. and most disappointing of all: The switch is very stiff and seems to have notches cut its lower side that actually “ratchet” against other teeth or something down inside the cube [like the gears do] rather than slip/flip like the switches on all the other cubes. The case of the unit is a decent vinyl, but it has noticeable gaps between the two portions. …only 1.75 pts outta 10 on this one.
  • The Mini is just that…  mini. Everything works, but it’s awfully small. The switch is not very impressive and only one of the gears seems to engage to ratchet. The one really fun part of it is that you can push down on all five of the clicky buttons at once, or roll your thumb around on them so that they kind of crackle. It sort of gives you the feel good that you get from popping bubble wrap.
  • That brings me to my [replacement] Gen-U-ine AntsyLabs Fidget Cube™ (pat.pending). As I mentioned in a post on the Kickstarter comments page, I have to eat crow on this one. After all of the doubts that I had expressed about what our final “rewards” product might be, they nailed it!  While there may very well be variations in the cubes that are finally being distributed as rewards, my replacement is pretty much everything they promised us originally. The switch has a nice light touch, and can be used silently. The gears have the smoothest action of any of the ones that I have seen [among those that do have the ratchet feature] …they have a nearly perfect balance between auditory and tactile feedback. The big, black bearing is nice and slick in its 360° 3D rotation. The two non-click buttons have a wonderful springiness or “bounce back”.  The “Glide” on this ones does indeed glide [but I miss the click-down part from some of the other joystick style units], and the sawtooth friction on the twirl wheel is equally as rewarding as the speed spinning that I liked doing on the other units. The two things I would change would be swapping the hard plastic for vinyl on the case and a soft rubber on the buttons.

 

The whole “Fidget Cube” thing was a really great concept. The genuine Antsy Labs version and the better clones are all worth having. No cube is going to be perfect for everyone. We all have our differences and preferences about how we fidget most satisfactorily. I can only give the genuine cube an “8 out of 10” because of the reported deficiencies and defects that I’ve seen on the comments page. I’m not convinced that what you will get is what I got. However, I’m not going to give the Camo cube more than eight out of 10 either.

THIS ONE??? ……… IT gets a full 9!

 

When I saw this final cube variation up for offer on a Chinese site a couple of weeks ago I was pure-tee compelled to buy it.  It was “only” $4.99 more out of the Fidgetively Speaking research budget… so, WTF.

The teak woodgrain adds a refined esthetic that none of the others can touch. This is the board room/country club fidget cube. This is the one that you show off to the rest of the blokes in your regiment at your gentleman’s club in Mayfair.

In actuality, it is not much different than the camo cube I bought originally. However, just about all of the features are slightly more refined, and slightly better fitted to my style of fidgeting. One of the most salient differences is that these rubberized buttons all have an initial, soft detent when pressed… before the”click” buttons click, they silently and squishily bottom out… this means you can use all five buttons in stealth-mode. Pressing with a little more force yields the snapback click. Everything just “feels” better on this one… smoother… better executed… more satisfying… and that’s what soothes my fidgeting Jones. It gets a nine out of 10 because I say it gets a nine out of 10. My cube, my fidget, my scale.

[The manufacturer producing this last cube is also offering them in a variety of other funky color schemes… You can get leopard, tiger and zebra skin, tiny polka-dots, three or four versions of camo,  flames and the wood grain in two tones. There are also offerings that run toward the Peter Max/psychedelic range and a starry/purple one called “Planetary” that looks like those colorized photos of deep space objects from the Hubble telescope. Some of these feature contrasting button selections as well. I suspect there will even be more funky offerings to choose from in the coming months.]

 

I now leave you with a final thought about anxiety and fidgeting in general. It is simple. Just stop, take a moment to ask yourself this question: “Do I actually have any idea exactly what-so-fucking-ever what was bothering me, causing my anxiety and filling me with existential dread one year ago today?”

I am guessing probably not….  But hopefully your cube will help.

Persevere….  Stay Calm and Fidget On.

 

 

AFTERWORD ~~ About my replacement experience:

I finally got my “shipping” notice email on March 15th. As we all know, that didn’t mean that I was actually going to get my cube anytime soon…

However, when my Antsy Labs Gen-U-ine Fidget Cube™(pat.pending) [via Kickstarter/ Backerkit/the egregious “shipping partners”/DHL/USPS/ad nauseam] finally arrived it was defective. The Glide grated roughly and made a bunch of noise, the Roller Ball basically was too tight to roll without force, the Click-Locks didn’t click at all… they spun loosely, and you had to push down so hard on the TwirlWheel to get traction for it to move at all that it was obviously “bottoming out” and scraping in its socket. With this cube fidgeting was just no fun.

Now, there was no way that these could have occurred through “damage in handling”. In my case, the cube container was tightly packaged inside a cardboard box, the plastic container was in perfect condition, and was itself was heavily sealed in bubble wrap. The cube was still securely glued to its base, and the base was attached to the container. The defects were quite obviously in manufacturing and assembly. The unit simply never should have passed QC.

I was put in the unenviable position of having to contact Antsy Labs for a replacement. Here is the timeline for my whole experience.

  • March 15th~ first shipping email
  • March 20~ package finally arrived Compton
  • [NO updates whatsoever to tracking info]
  • March 27~ transfer to USPS [MA]
  • rec’d March 28th- It didn’t take more than a couple of minutes to determine that it was obviously defective, so I emailed “hello@” ??-ing replacement
  • no response for a week
  • April 3~ FB messaged AL re: “defective”
  • April 5th~ finally got a response from “hello@”
  • April 5th-7th~ dialog/w AL rep & a video sent resulting in a replacement authorization sent to Backerkit and on to “fulfillment partners”
  • April 7th~ replacement approved
  • April 11~ “new” shipped – estimated to arrive April 12, 2017 – May 2, 2017.”
  • April 12~ cleared Compton to USPS
  • [nothing]
  • April 17~ transfer to USPS [MA]
  • April 18th~ my replacement cube arrives at my PO… unfortunately, at that point I am gone Upptacamp with my best bud.
  • Friday, April 21st.~ cube received in-hand

I know that many people have been very frustrated by Antsy Labs inability or refusal to reply to the emails they have sent regarding lost and damaged cubes. It was also obvious by a couple of months ago that they had no interest in replying or participating in their own KS “Comments” page. I can certainly understand that this all left a lot of people feeling that they have been hung out to dry. None of my frustrations are really any worse than other’s experiences trying to deal with lost and missing cubes, slow shipping, lack of response, etc. However, it did result in both replies and in my getting a replacement cube… something that has not happened for everyone.

This may be partly due to the fact that I put a very brief and succinct description of the problem in the actual title bar of the first email. [it was something along the line of: “Fidget Cube #91,746 Defective cube received/ Dec tier backer”] That way staff could see what the request was about in a quick scan of the incoming mail. I’d also made every effort to be polite and simply focus on the details of my complaint without any bitching, moaning or complaining. “Just the facts, Ma’am”,s Sgt.Friday always told us. Face it, there is absolutely no point in railing against entry level position minions down in the dungeon. The project creators were never going to read your email, and all you’re going to achieve by being an asshole is alienating the very folks who have at least some power to do something to help you.

My own experience was that both an email and then a follow-up FB post regarding that specific email seemed to be effective. I intentionally spaced mine out about a week apart…. to give them an opportunity to reply, to not further participate in more of of the email tsunami, and to prevent any impression that I was nagging them. It worked for me. While another 10 days passed in trying to get a replacement, including sending them a video showing the unit’s failings, in the end I was allowed to keep the damaged cube… so at least I didn’t have to spend any more money shipping it back just to get what I had expected in the first place… and a replacement was authorized.

While I indeed received the same Kickstarter Green unit that I had originally ordered as my replacement, I had also given them the option of sending any color that they might actually have in stock if that would expedite a solution.

 

[The thing that I most appreciate about buying stuff out of China is that the majority of it comes with a shipping/receipt guarantee… If it disappears in the ether, they will either give you your money back or send a replacement. Antsy Labs could profitably learn a lot about this]

Fidget Cube : Fidgetively Speaking … The Disappointing Finale

I am still in the running for the #lastdecemberstanding. We have gone through several updates with no solution to the shipping problems… and even the updates have been delayed beyond what could be considered acceptable.  I have become bored with the process. I am bored with the comment section. Following the KS comment page has turned into a pointless exercise that’s at least as frustrating as following politics. Nothing I say, do, or think is going to change anything. I had planned on doing a review on here of the clones versus the “real deal”.  I’m not going to bother anymore. Other people have pretty well saturated that niche. Who cares anymore? Each one of us likes what we like.

I am perfectly content with a couple of the clones that I purchased, and given all of the delays and frustration surrounding AntsyLabs failures to communicate and problems with shipping, I have absolutely no regrets at having gotten something to satisfy my needs in a more timely manner.

Now, my personal opinion is that the remaining December orders are lost in some kind limbo. I suspect they will simply be consigned to the March tier, and you will “get them when you get them”. I don’t expect AL to solve their problems for the remaining cube shipments.

I do continue to be puzzled with the fact that they somehow managed to send out 75% of their December tier orders in the last three weeks of January, and then could fail to ship the rest of them within the next five weeks.  Given that they have tens of thousands of units still to ship to March backers, this seems ridiculous, and doesn’t bode well for those still waiting. Sad Trombone…

On the upside… I was really pleased to see that so many of the large orders were intended for kids with autism and behavioral disorders. If AntsyLabs had kept better control of the details of their project, so that they had not been undercut by the clones, that alone would be a wonderful secondary market for substantial cube purchases. I took one of my clones with me to the dentist for my tooth cleaning yesterday. The hygienist asked to see it, fiddled with it, and said she’d have to see about getting a couple just to be able to hand them to people who were nervous in the dental chair. I doubt this was a type of market that ever entered AL’s mind until it came up in the comment section… pity they don’t seem to read the comment section.

 

 Enough…

Anyway, my bottom line is that I am no longer interested in following this project. I am outta here. This will be my last “Fidget Cube” post, and I’m going to close with two brief features.

The CUBE of the Future~ dreaming what it could be:

  • If the Breathe side would slide to extrude a USB memory plug from a cube edge, I’m sure it would make me the envy of the whole department.

    A “combination lock” spinning dial fidget on the Spin side. With a weight like the school locker spin dial locks. Would stick out more though... [these two from @RickyHaiku]

  • The luggage lock spinners should definitely unlock some added feature.
  • Bluetooth connectivity: all your fidgeting is recorded and statistically rendered on an odometer-style app for your phone. Every click, spin, wiggle down for posterity. Daily, weekly, monthly, lifetime statistics at your fingertips. You could try for 1 million button clicks in a month… The possibilities are endless.
  • Gyroscopic resistance/spin: there are already “exercise” balls available that do this.
  • “Fidget With A Friend”: your actions are BT mirrored on a friend’s cube.
  • A slot that would extrude single strips of bubblewrap to pop.
  • “Magnetic Levitation” over a base station for when you are not using it would be cool.

My Own “Dream” Cube~ [real (?) possibilities]:

  • The ability to engage/dis-engage the tactile feedback on the spinner wheel… Something in the form of click down/click up. I know a lot of people are enjoying the tactile feedback, however, one of the features I like on one of my clones is the complete “freewheeling” nature of the spinner. I can actually place it spinner side down, and twirl the entire cube.
  • Perhaps having three nubs on the face of the spinner wheel instead of a single one would let you twirl it more easily.
  • I would love it if the five buttons clicked up and down like a ballpoint pen.
  • Or if when initially pressed they would lock down, and you would press a different button to have the first pop back up.
  • The buttons definitely need to be rubberized; not made of hard plastic.
  • Having the joystick click up-and-down in addition to swiveling is an absolute “must-have”. Only one of the clones that I acquired does this… and when it is clicked down, the stick goes all floppy and loose. [Bad!]
  • I think the four corners of the meditation side could have individual textures like ridges or bumps and indentations. This would be a great addition for silent features.
  • One corner of the cube should have an indentation and a piercing to allow you to hook a key chain or cord.
  • The ball bearing should definitely be loose enough to spin in any direction, and absolutely must have the click feature. Again, there seems to be variation, even among the clones. Since this is my own dream cube, I would want to I have one position release the ball bearing enough that it would be able to free-wheel at a high speed.
  • The ball bearing could also be clicked to engage/disengage tactile feedback on the luggage-lock spinners. [this also would add to the silent features]
  • Barring that, perhaps only having the outer two luggage lock spinners have the feedback with the center one having some [but minimal] resistance. [and I want them to fit tightly enough that they don’t rattle]
  • On that point… The entire cube should not rattle if shaken!
  • The cube body should be made of one of the ABS materials like Delrin [not hard plastic], and the seams should all be tightly fitted.
  • More colors… Some of the clones already come in camo… The possibilities are endless.
  • And the popularity of the Limited edition G4mer cube shows that the use of more than one color for the features on any individual color cube would be really nice. The button side and the luggage locks spinners certainly just scream out for variation between the individual components.
  • A brass ball bearing and joystick would certainly look pissah on an ebony cube.
  • ABSOLUTE 100% QUALITY CONTROL SO THAT FEATURES ARE 100% STANDARDIZED ACROSS ALL UNITS !!! You shouldn’t make a purchase and discovered that the features on your unit are not the same as those others.

 

Just to close… Even with the prevalence of all the low-priced clones, I do not begrudge my $19 support pledge to AntsyLabs. THEY HAD A GREAT IDEA! My pledge was in within five minutes of seeing the post. They should, and have been, well rewarded.

Now, as the dolphins said just before the planet earth was destroyed by the Vogan constructor fleet, “So long… and thanks for all the fish”.

And as I say, “Onward Thru The Fog…”

~CIAO~

Fidget Cube : Fidgetively Speaking [8]… An-Ti-Cip-Aaaaation and Pitchforks

10AM EST:   Filling time on a blah Thursday morning here. I really don’t want to write something futile in the comments section. It is still filled with people coming in and parroting out their very useless “backer number”, asking the unanswerable, insulting anybody who tries to express a voice of reason [or experience with previous posts]

Okie-dokie… Along with the crowd of arguably 10 to 20,000 other losers who discovered themselves waiting in that last “10%” queue throughout February for delivery of my cube, I made it to March. Despite their promises of reaching 100% of the December tier shipping, I don’t have my cube yet. I did make it through without threatening violence toward the AntsyHeap, OR toward any others in the comments section over on Kickstarter, but that place seems to be breaking out in pitchforks and torches over the last few days as we await some kind of an update. It’s only a matter of time before somebody goes down like Piggy in “Lord of the Flies”.

To paraphrase the village police chief in Mel Brook’s “Young Frankenstein”, “A ri-ot dis an ugly t’ing… und I t’ink ve are haffing one now!”. Taking things as seriously as some folks are is pretty ridiculous. They seem pretty desperate for a FidgetCube to cure to their trichotillomania, their road-rage, their nail-biting or their other various psychiatric disruptions. Personally, I figure most of these cubes are going end up in the junk drawer within six weeks. 

Right now, one of Antsy Lab’s “collaborator”s has promised an actual update by the end of day today… Thursday, March 2nd. While I am still dubious of the advisability of putting out a one line update to tell everybody that there will be an update, at least it’s an update.

12:45PM~ I have just had my lunch, and would like to keep it down, so I’m going to stay completely away from the “restaurant meme” that is seating people right now. However, @ Rob put up a dandy of a new conspiracy theory:

“A theory I thought of today: I know Backerkit took responsibility for locking the March tier… BUT what if Antsy Labs actually directed them to lock it because March backers were ordering G4MER cubes for December backers… We know Antsy Labs has been lurking in the comments… I’m sure they ordered a specific number of the Kickstarter exclusive (Kickstarter or G4MER). They need pretty specific #’s as they can’t be sold outside of Kickstarter to non-backers so they wouldn’t want to produce even 1 too many… So what if Antsy Labs really had Backerkit lock the March Tier? What if? Just a theory…”

On my own, I have been wondering just how far @LeadFidgeteer and the Antsy crew will stretch the definition of “by Thursday evening”… Close of business for the shipping minions…?  6 PM… Midnight… is that East Coast time… West coast… Hawaii… International dateline? I feel like they could get a bit of credibility if they would just get an update posted before the last possible moment. It ain’t no brain surgery to write two paragraphs… And it might shut a bunch of people up.

7:30PM- The Postprandial [EST] Time-killing Update~

Even the West Coast tiny minions are wrapping up their work for the day. I was a bit heartened to see that a number of shipping notices did trickle out all day long… and it doesn’t seem that any particular colors are in actual shortages. However, and this being the important part, I didn’t get my shipping notice yet.

Just a few minutes ago I enjoyed @Jeffrey G opining that:

  •  “At first I was mad but now I kind of feel bad from them. They did so much brand damage because they had incompetent staff handling social media / lack of a community manager.” …kinda lowers the jealousy factor about anybody else getting one of the vaunted “Golden Tickets” for the next few products that the brothers might have forthcoming. Right now, I don’t think anybody in their right mind would trust “Antsy Labs” as a brand to pull off another Kickstarter if they offered “one dollar gets you five back”~ shipping and handling included!

[BTW~ thX to those who clarified that the “Backer edition” and the “Kickstarter edition” are one-and-the-same]

Friday, March 3rd, 9AM~~ The Poor Update Update:

Well, we got an update… no concrete info and thankfully only one or two gifs, but we got an update. Sad that they could wait so long [days] and still have to push it until so late in the day as well. For as little information as they had to provide to us, it’s absurd to think that they didn’t know the info in the update when the last week of February projections ended on the 25th.  I think that the boys are completely at a loss as to what is going on with shipping and delivery. Bad partners, Bad info, so all they can give us is excuses.

At this point, with over 50,000 “March” backers still to satisfy I find it absolutely inexcusable that they are having supply line difficulties with individual colors, so I don’t buy into any kind of an explanation that they’re worried about being stuck with Kickstarter editions or Gamer cubes beyond what they will use to fill the rewards. Nor that some orders are being passed over because of the lack of an individual color at a particular shipping location. If they do indeed have real problems with quantities of individual colors, it is fully on their own heads for having badly communicated with their manufacturers, and for having failed in their own distribution to the shipping centers.

Regarding their failure to reach their previous projected goals they use the phrase, “at the time [we] were conservative”… No. Reaching the goals ahead of time would’ve been conservative. Failing to reach the goal meant that they were overly optimistic.

Regarding backer numbers they go on to say, “We’ve heard this question being asked, and we wanted to take another moment to reiterate that the answer to this is fairly irrelevant, due to how rewards are being sent out. As mentioned previously, rewards are being shipped in order of backer number and available stock (meaning we have surpluses of certain color schemes and shortages of others, and are only able to fulfill rewards as availability allows). ” So….? Are the backer numbers relevant?… Or are they being used together with supply to determine shipping order? The statement is self-contradictory. You can’t have it both ways. We are seeing people who have numbers in the four digits who were only just now receiving shipping notices.

I’m going to stop now. I am disappointed in the sparsity of real information in the update were provided last night. The comment section makes it obvious that most other people share that opinion, So I’m preaching to the choir.

The bottom line is that after 30 days I am still in the “less than 10%”… I haven’t seen a shipping notice, and my order is for one single cube. Their current projection of 100% delivery on the December orders is next Friday… that’s seven days away. They are averaging 12 days between updates. That means I’m looking at the Ides of March for the next time I’m told that I’m still in the 10%.

I think the today’s post here will be my last one until I have actually receive an authentic, genuine Antsy Labs Fidget Cube [no™], and can go ahead and do a review. Thanks for everybody who has dropped in. Your interest actually pushed my stats over 100 visits per day for the first time in the three years since I started the blog. Come on back and visit again soon. Once this madness is over I will be back in the swing of reviewing great camping gear. I have a really amazing hammock and top quilt due in any day, a complete [affordable] hammock setup, a bunch of cook gear to update, a new stove, and a bunch of diddly stuff.

Ciao~ Rattattoo

Fidget Cube : Fidgetively Speaking [7]… random comments and cogitations

Just hanging around the Château here in the fog, so I figured I do another post to kill some time.

  • FYI~ I am waiting on only a single quote “backer” edition cube and my number is up around 93K… I apparently ordered in the afternoon of the day they closed the “December” tier. I am “locked down’, and waiting around like everybody else
  • Like everybody else, I’m disappointed that the brothers are not responding with ongoing updates. It seems like a small enough chore to delegate to a minion when they are sitting on $6 million plus of our money. That simple fact leads me to believe that things are so kludged up in the supply/delivery chain that they are is clueless as we are
  •  I am still searching around for one of the really cheapo clones for review purposes. Twice now I have ordered cubes, thinking that that is what I am purchasing based on the photographs, only to have a duplicate style to a cube-in-hand come in the mail. [the one I am looking for is the variety that has a very long, especially flimsy looking joystick… in photos it seems to be smaller in diameter than others, has a very obvious casting nub in the center of the flat disc and an equally obvious, rough mold separation line around the edges] [if anybody has one of those that they’d like to contribute for review purposes I’d be happy to pay the shipping, but I’m no longer buying anymore of the cubes… I’ve spent too much of the fidgetative cash reserves already on this silliness]

I sincerely hope that Mark and Matthew end up making good money on this campaign. The simple fact that we are so anxiously awaiting the delivery of our units is proof and validation of the accuracy of their concept. Hoping for 750 backers and ending up with 150,000 indicates to me that they were on the right track. However, if I were in their shoes, I would certainly have come to conclusion that the cubes no longer have a long-term business potential, and would be planning on pulling out as soon as they have fulfilled our orders. Their marketing niche got gutted by the clones. [Without them, it would’ve had some long-term potential after the campaign rewards were satisfied]

Having said that:

  • The folks I don’t have any sympathy for are the ones who made “purchases” of large numbers of “reward” units with the intention of reselling them for a profit on things like eBay. Anyone who did this was looking to leech off of Ansty Labs vision, project, and efforts directly. If they’ve waited to be some of the last to have their orders fulfilled because of the larger number of cubes involved and there ain’t going to be no profits because of the flood of clones on the market… well, it sucks to be you. Karma can be a bitch.
  • Now, I have said this before… I don’t begrudge the folks who started turning out the clones. I am sad that Antsy Labs didn’t get to profit from the secondary market to the extent that they might have. However, from other peoples reviews already it is obvious that these are not the finalized product that we will receive as our rewards. Unlike the leeches above, the clone-clowns actually had to put some initiative and something more then just a few dollars of their own capital at risk. As I also said previously, it is naïve of us to expect that successful products, whether a Swiff-It,  a vuvuzela, a pair of touchscreen gloves, or the FidgetCube won’t be imitated. The rag merchants down on 6th Avenue in NYC have been rushing knockoffs of fashion-house designer’s clothing to market for decades, and who hasn’t seen imitation Louis Vuitton handbags down at their local fleamarket… It’s not just the Chinese.
  • [in all my”research” into the clones, I have not yet found them available in any brick-and-mortar stores… even in Chinatown. You still have to make your purchase somewhat blindly on the Internet, And wait for delivery]
  • We supported a Kickstarter product development campaign with our contributions of approximately $20 each. None of us should have actually believed that a “fidget cube” had a $20 value. I for one can see the $5- $8 range [that the clones are being marketed at] as being far more realistic. I think that the only way to feel really great about participation in KS campaigns is if you are one of the fortunate few who get in on one of the early bird reward tiers, where your contribution will be substantially below a retail price once it goes into full marketing. That’s the only way you’re going to get a warm and fuzzy feeling, otherwise you simply are a “supporter”.
  • My rationalization and justifications for my position on this whole thing, are exactly these points set out just above. If this were my project, I would’ve been disappointed that anybody profited from my project directly. I would not have hung my hopes out on the idea that I would have a lifetime income on a single product even if it were trademarked and patented. And I would’ve been deeply gratified to have simply met my KS goal… Anything after that is gravy.

A friend of mine with an already successful business recently started a Kickstarter campaign for a new product. He wanted enough venture capital to be able to supply a finished, high quality product right from the start. He funded within the first week. Once I saw that he had reached his goal, I elected not to subscribe. Even though I looked into it within a few hours of starting, I had missed out on all the early bird specials, and if I now decide I want the product I will simply pay retail… I know what he charges. Plus, I don’t have to hang on a delivery date for my reward.

Enough for now. Let’s all hope that an absolute blizzard of shipping notices will blanket the comments page ASAP. Barring that, let’s hope that we get at least an informative update from the folks at Antsy Labs.

CIAO and chill… here’s a pretty picture>>

sunrise

Fidget Cube : Fidgetively Speaking [6]… A Truly Antsy Backer™ Escapes Upptacamp

My buddy, TOG [The Other Geezer] and I escaped up into the Northwoods for a couple of nights, and I got to take a break in the incessant refreshments of my emails. TOG teaches at the vo-tech, and we always get up for a couple or three days during the February school break. This was about the 10th year in row.

We are fortunate to be able to get away Upptacamp at least eight or 10 times a year… Mostly during the better weather. This fall we missed out on a two, and the last time we had been up was Columbus Day weekend. Since we’re only 4 miles from one of the nicer, and taller, ski mountains, TOG was actually heading back up again the day after we came down to go skiing with another of our friends. I don’t do the falling off the mountain thing.

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We had to cut steps into the six-foot tall whitewalls to get out of the lane, and then TOG stamped out a path up top with the snowshoes while I excavated a slot just wide enough to walk through out of that lump on the porch. We were actually walking over nearly 3 feet of snowpack. There’s a flight of steps that go up to that deck in the picture below… four by my memory.

[Also, note the 2 1/2 foot long “brow” hanging off the snow shed roof]

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This is the view out back to the trout stream. Yeah, IT’s under about 4 feet of snow because of the drifting.

file_000-3 We also like to eat.

I brought along Frenched rib lamb chops, venison, and fresh burger. TOG raided his meat locker for bacon and sausage from his pigs, and a dozen fresh eggs from the chickens… his pets make him breakfast.

We spent a lot of time reading our Kindles with our eyes closed, and I’m happy to report that I didn’t worry about the cube crisis for a single moment. And, of course, I came home to no shipping email.

[today, back home here in lower Maine at the Château, I had 72° on my porch]

Fidget Cube : Fidgetively Speaking [5]… in days long gone

If any of you people haven’t figured it out by now, I’m old. I’m older than dirt. I have been a Truly Antsy Fidgeter™ for my whole life. I bought this “fidget stone” in the Beijing thieves market sometime back at the end of the 18th or in the early 19th-century when I was a Shaolin monk… [this was prior to my joining the Monks of Cool*]

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It is Chinese, and is made from nephrite, a type of jade. One side is carved with two fu-bats**, the Peaches of Longevity, and a monkey [the Trickster] reaching to steal the peaches. The obverse is a dragon*** carved into some of the matrix from which the jade was removed.

Keep Calm and Fidget On…

* The monastery of the Monks of Cool is found in a laid back valley in the lower Ramtop mountains. They are a reserved and secretive sect and believe that only through ultimate coolness can the universe be comprehended, that black goes with everything, and that chrome will never truly go out of style. To become a fully accepted Monk, a novice is given the following test. Several outfits are laid out in front of him and the tester asks, “Yo, my son, which of these outfits is the most stylish thing to wear?” The correct answer is “Hey, whatever I select”.

** in Chinese the word for good fortune – “Fu” [福] is a homophone for the word for bat

*** potent and auspicious powers