Camping from the Viewpoint of a Product Designer

Camping is an activity that transcends the standard social and economic assumptions. Camping is an extremely popular activity that attacts hundreds of thousands of participants each year. We come to see and experience locations and activities like:

Hiking in the Appalachian Mountains
Hiking on Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina

Hiking on Mount Mitchell in North Carolina

Sliding Down a Gigantic Rocks into 56 Degree Water at Sliding Rock

The modern camping trip is a buffet of products designed to help improve the camping experience. We bring, use and make icons, and artifacts, like:

The Venerable Coleman Camping Stove

Everyone Loves a Campfire Followed by SMores

When the Tents Leak, The Pop-Up Shelters Come Out

PVC Helps this Camper Accommodate for Missing Product Features

The podcast (below) discusses the camping experience and how we could redesign that experience to make camping more universally acceptable. Hopefully this exercise will give you ideas on how-to evaluate the experience associated with your products. Evaluating the experience associated with an existing product can be an excellent way to define new product experiences. These experience models lead to developing new, or derivative, products that make these new experiences possible.

As always, your comments, and suggestions, are welcome. Please send them to me at Have a great day!

Montie Roland

25 Oct 06 — Joint PDMA / ASME / TEC Meeting

“Integrating Consultants into a Well-Managed Design Process”
A Joint PDMA / TEC / ASME Event

Date: 25 Oct 06

Time: 6:00 PM – Pizza / Networking
6:30 PM – Keynote Speaker
7:00-8:30 PM – Roundtable Discussion with Audience Participation

Location: Lord Corp., 111 Lord Drive, Cary, NC 27511-7923 (e-mail for directions)

Cost: $10 Members, $25 Non-members, Free for Students

Please RSVP by Oct. 20th to

Keynote Speaker: Charles Lord, Triangle Advanced Design and Automation, LLC

Consultant Roundtable Members

Project Management — Sean Ahr
Mechanical / Industrial Product Design — Anthony Anibale
Computer Modeling and Performance Prediction — Michael Hiller
Dealing with Electronic Emissions — David Guzman
Software Development — Michael Izquierdo
Role of Marketing in NPD — David Chapman
Embedded Systems / Safety Issues — Coleman Moore
Balancing Available Capital and Product Development — Thomas Vass

Thanks to Our Sponsor: JMC Machine & Tool, Apex, NC

More About the Roundtable Members

Sean Ahr, Director of Engineering
Porticos, Inc.
Morrisville, NC

At Portico,s Sean is responsible for providing our customers with innovative and effective solutions that exceed their expectations. With over 10 years experience in both consumer products and aviation design and development, Sean works to ensure that our customers projects are managed with excellence. Prior to his service at Porticos, Sean worked in both mechanical design and project leadership roles in multiple divisions of Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, The New Piper Aircraft Company, and Northrup-Grumman Aerospace. He holds and has contributed to several design and utility patents, and has been instrumental in gaining compliance to regulations of federal agencies such as the FAA and FCC. Sean holds a BS in Aerospace Engineering from North Carolina State University, and has advanced training in engineering management and organizational behavior.

Anthony Annibale, Partner
Insight Product Development
Raleigh, NC

Anthony Annibale is a partner and managing director for Insight Product Development in Raleigh, North Carolina. Insight has offices in Chicago, Boston and Raleigh, and 90 professionals on staff, and is one of the largest product development firms in the United States. Anthony manages all aspects of the business for Insights Raleigh office as well as running many of the major client programs. He also shares the responsibility of managing the firm in corporate development, client strategies, and new business ventures. Anthony has more than 15 years of engineering experience in product design, manufacturing, product innovation planning and product line management. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Old Dominion University of Norfolk, Virginia.

Fredrick D. Buggie, President
Strategic Innovations Intl.

Frederick D. Buggie has over 20 years experience directing Programs that apply the group-creativity by teams of selected experts in diverse fields (prepared in advance) to generate innovative concepts for leading companies in the US and Europe, in virtually every industry, to achieve their business growth objectives … including: 1) Identification of new product development opportunities, that fit the companys particular technologies and production capabilities; 2) Fully commercializing a newly-developed, versatile product or process, by uncovering all of its promising market applications. Author of the widely acclaimed business book, New Product Development Strategies, and more than 50 articles published in trade & professional journals, including “The Four Phases of Innovation” (Journal of Business Strategy), Mr. Buggie also conducts Executive Seminars & Workshops on Innovation in Business. He is an Elected Fellow of The Institute of Directors in London, and served as President of The New York Chapter of The Association for Corporate Growth.

David Guzman
Raleigh, NC

David Guzman has been an independent consultant for 5 years and operates in the area of Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) and RF circuit design. Previous to starting his business, David held engineering positions in several companies including Square D Company, Nortel Networks, RF Microdevices and Solectron. David has spent almost 20 years working in the areas of new product development in industrial controls, RF circuit design and the design and test of circuits and systems for Electromagnetic Compatibility compliance. David holds a BS from the University of Rhode Island , an MSc. form the University of Nebraska and an MSEE from North Carolina State University .

Michael Hiller
Cary, NC

Michael Hiller earned his BSME and MSME from North Carolina State University, and he is active in ENC ASME. His consultancy focuses on finite element analysis simulation & optimization using Multiphysics ANSYS software. This best-in-class software integrates linear and non-linear structural, thermal, magnetic, and fluid/air flow & cooling phenomenas. His organization provides FEA services to designers, manufacturers, and inventors, and he also helps companies develop in-house FEA competencies if desired. He has simulated everything from snap fits, to integrated circuits, to telecom enclosures, to superconducting magnets, to bridges, to 500 marine structures (and everything in-between). Mike has worked in the manufacturing sector as well as the CAD/FEA (ProE & ANSYS) software sales channel – – his clients benefit from his unique combination of practical experience as well as software industry “insider” expertise.

Creed Huddleston, VP
Omnisys Corporation
Raleigh, NC

Creed Huddleston is the Vice President of Omnisys Corporation, a Raleigh-based company that specializes in the development of real-time control and communication systems for OEM customers. In his 11 years with Omnisys, Creed has participated in the creation of products that are deployed globally to thousands of end-users such as Daimler-Chrysler, Becton, Dickinson, and Company, and Imation Corporation. The company is an authorized consultant for Microchip, Lattice Semiconductor, and Trolltech, and it is also a member of the Freescale Design Alliance Program. In addition to his duties with Omnisys, Creed serves on the technical advisory board for Quickfilter Technologies, Inc., a Dallas-based startup producing mixed-signal integrated circuits that provide high-speed analog signal conditioning and digital signal processing in a single package. His book Implementing Intelligent Sensors Using the Microchip dsPIC will be published by Newnes in December of 2006.

Mike Izquierdo, Software Development Manager
Kidde Aerospace & Defense
Wilson, NC

Mike Izquierdo currently is the Software Development Manager for Kidde Aerospace & Defense, a Hamilton Sunstrand Company. He manages the development of safety critical software for the aerospace industry in overheat detection and fire detection/suppression systems for both military and commercial aircrafts. He developed software for the Airbus A380 Overheat Detection System and managed the A380, Boeing B787 Dreamliner, C17 Overheat Detection System and the Joint Strike Fighter. He is currently a member of the SC-205 subcommittee working on DO-178C. Hes been in the engineering field for over 20 years and has worked in the fields of ASIC and FPGA design and PCI board design of Audio/Video Codecs. He was with IBM for 15 years, received his PhD from NC State in 1997 and has been an IEEE member for 27 years.

David Chapman, CEO
919 Marketing Co.
Holly Springs, NC

David Chapman has over 20 years of senior-level marketing and business development management experience. He has served on the American Marketing Associations Best New Products Awards Panel and is a member of the National Association of Certified Consultants. Davids career path combines corporate and consulting roles, and includes stints as CEO of a national professional services firm, VP Marketing for the market leader in workforce technology training, and global Account Director for the largest global advertising agency network.

Coleman Moore
CDA Design Group

Coleman Moore is an experienced consultant and engineer, with over 25 years
of experience in the embedded systems, product design and safety systems
industries. Coleman has worked with many clients and corporations across
the U.S. and Europe. Coleman specializes in electronics product design and
in getting products to market quickly and effectively.

Thomas Vass
Good Business Advice
Raleigh, NC

Thomas Vass is a registered investment advisor for small high tech companies and private individuals. He helps companies raise growth capital. He is also an author and economist, and writes about the relationship between product innovation and economic growth. His new book Predicting Technology: Identifying Future Market Opportunities and Disruptive Technologies, published by The Great American Business & Economics Press, Inc., is available at

Hear Shimon’s (at Presentation on How-to Design for Experience


As product designers, we often get hung up on features. Features are important, but they are only part of the experience that the user has when he interacts with the product. The user is concerned with the experience.

Follow Shimon (a Carolinas-PDMA chapter member) as he leads us through the process of designing for experience. The presentation came from the September Carolinas-PDMA chapter meeting. This is a great way to look at design from the users point of view.

The presentation (audio plus power point) from the September chapter event (Design for Experience) is available at:

The audio only version is available at:

As always, please send your suggestions and comments to

Have a great day!
Montie Roland
President, PDMA Carolinas

Go Here for Funds for Your NC Startup!

Afternoon All,

Here is your chance (press release below) to get a grant to help fund your start-up in NC.

Their website is

Happy Hunting!


NC IDEA seeks grant applications from entrepreneurs and early-stage companies

RESEARCH TRAINGLE PARK, N.C. NC IDEA is seeking grant applications from North Carolina entrepreneurs and early-stage companies focused on information technology, medical devices or material sciences.

NC IDEA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to helping establish and develop early-stage companies through the commercialization of research innovation. NC IDEA plans to award $150,000 ?proof of concept? grants to help bridge the gap between innovative ideas and venture capital funding. The grants are designed to prepare companies for equity funding, accelerating the creation of new North Carolina companies and jobs.

NC IDEA is accepting online applications through its Web site ( beginning today, Aug. 21. Grants of up to $50,000 per company will be awarded in December.

The grants support business activities that validate potential markets, reduce business risks, and advance projects to the point at which they are suitable for consideration by private equity investors. Preference is given to companies that have not previously received equity financing. An entrepreneur who has not formed a company may apply, but company incorporation is required prior to the awarding of grant funding.

Bridging the Innovation Gap
Many new technologies are not successfully transferred out of universities and research institutions because of a funding gap between government and private equity support. Research funding typically does not include support for business development activities or development of product prototypes suitable for mass production. Yet, venture capital funds typically do not invest in companies until they have a product and are already generating revenues from customer sales.

The NC IDEA grant program provides a novel source of assistance to bridge this gap. Earlier this year, NC IDEA awarded $225,000 in grants to seven early-stage North Carolina companies.

“NC IDEAs grant program offers young pre-venture companies an opportunity that cant be found elsewhere,” said Josh Whiton, chief executive officer of TransLoc, which received an NC IDEA grant in the previous cycle earlier this year. Dr. Nimmi Ramanujam, a professor at Duke and project manager for previous grant recipient Illuminus, agreed. ?There are no other sources of early funding that can be sought to address these issues,? she said.

In addition to funding, NC IDEA and its strategic partners facilitate access to business and technology leaders who will mentor and guide entrepreneurs to help them overcome research, product development, sales and product adoption hurdles. NC IDEA collaborates with the Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED), The North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA), the North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) and Southeast TechInventures.

The initial ?pre-proposal? applications must be submitted online by Sept. 15. Approximately 12 to 15 companies submitting ?pre-proposal? submissions will be selected to participate in a subsequent full proposal submission and review period from Sept. 15 through Oct. 27. This process will include submission of a more in-depth proposal and prioritized budget for use of grant proceeds, and potentially a presentation from the company to a NC IDEA Grants Program advisory committee.

NC IDEA provides grants, loans and traditional venture capital to help young companies between seed funding and Series A financing. The non-profit company further supports these companies by leveraging strategic partnerships and alliances to help companies through research phases, business challenges and growth goals. NC IDEA is committed to supporting North Carolinas economic development by ensuring young, innovative companies grow, create jobs and become contributing business leaders. For more information, visit Media Contact: Scott Yates, Largemouth Communications (for NC IDEA), 919-649-6621,

What is a Blog?

What is a blog?

A blog is a specialized version of a website. Blogs allow users to concentrate on providing content (usually editorials) rather than worrying about the technical aspects of creating a web page.

Modern web publishing tools such as Microsofts Front Page allow just about anyone to compose relatively simple websites. Front Page has made the task of editing simple websites almost as easily as using Microsoft Word. Even though the software is straightforward to use, running a website requires the user to establish a web space to publish to, and to deal with the issues related to publishing to the web. These technical hurdles keep most people out of the web publishing business.

Blog software streamlines the process of web publishing. Websites such as have streamlined workflows that allow users to quickly and cheaply (often free) create their own blogs. The combination of; the open source software movement, PHP (a scripting language on web servers), and MySQL (a database program, similar to Oracle) has allowed even low-budget websites to host blogs that reach huge audiences.

Why is blogging so popular?

Non-technical users can now easily create and maintain their blogs. The biggest cost of creating and maintaining a blog is the writers time. This allows writers to concentrate on creating their content. Bloggers can easily add text and pictures to their blogs. Once text and pictures have been added, or updated, that content is almost instantly available on the internet. Bloggers get the instant gratification of having their writing and images instantaneously available around the world.

Bloggers can also add content to their blogs from anywhere in the world. All they need is a computer with an internet connection. It is now common to see a press release saying ?He will be blogging from?. What this means is that magazines and other media outlets can have their bloggers add content while they are at venues such as trades shows, planned events, the scene of natural disasters, or even from their tent in Iraq. A good example is the proliferation of blogs written by soldiers from their duty stations in the Iraq war.

Readers can subscribe to one, or many, blogs, often for free. Subscriptions are maintained by aggregators. These aggregators allow the reader to tell the aggregator website which blogs they want to monitor. Some aggregators only monitor specific blogs (maybe only blogs they host). Other aggregators maintain directories of active blogs (this is common for podcasts). Subscriptions are much more convenient for the reader than having to visit the blog each day to check to see if there is new content.

One of the secrets of the success of the meteoric rise of blogs is the use of the RSS feed. Every blog has an RSS feed. RSS stands for ?Really Simple Syndication?. RSS feeds use a standard format to encapsulate the content of the blog. The use of the RSS feeds also allows the encapsulation of audio (podcasts) and video. From a broader perspective, its important to consider that RSS is as important to blogs as news services such as the Associated Press have been to traditional media. Make no mistakes, blogs represent a new media. The adoption of RSS feeds (and the subsequent support of these feeds by blogs and aggregators) creates a path for the distribution of blogs.

To put this in perspective there are three main ways to find a website on the internet. The first is to search for a topic, maybe through Google or Yahoo, and then visit a site that has information about that topic. Another way is to see, hear or be given a website address (maybe in print, TV, or radio) and then type in that address in Internet Explorer to go there. The third way is to see a link on another website or electronic document. You then click on the link and the website comes up.

Without RSS, most blogs would languish in obscurity as web pages that never got read. The aggregators now use RSS feeds to provide potential blog readers with choices of blogs to read. A good metaphor is to think of an RSS feed as a TV channel. For example you may turn to Fox to see a program on Thursday nights. RSS turns the blog (or podcast) into an outlet. Your computer can bring up the RSS feed and present you with the content of that channel. Combine this with the directories of blogs and podcasts that aggregators create and you have the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of channels, all on-demand. With the TV, you have to have TiVo, or a VCR, to record the programs that you miss. With RSS feeds, you can download the content and listen to it at your convenience. You can even search it.

Make no doubt blogs and podcasts represent a new media, both for entertainment and information. In the past, being ?media? meant massive investments in airspace, equipment, and personnel. Now one individual can sit at his, or her, PC and share opinions, thoughts, wisdom or knowledge just by sitting down and typing it into his computer and hitting ?upload?. Pictures, video and audio and are now easily integrated into blogs and podcasts. Just the ability to take a picture with your digital camera and have it passed through the RSS feed to thousands of subscribers is massive. This is a powerful tool, one which will affect the way we perceive the flow of information, thoughts and ideas for a long time to come.

Having a standard format allows aggregators to monitor blogs. The aggregators have programs visit (also called spider) each blog at regular intervals and check for updates. RSS feeds even contain a tag that suggests to the aggregator how often their blog is updated. This allows bloggers who update frequently to have their RSS feed checked more often.

Aggregators check the RSS feed by visiting the website hosting the blog and downloading the RSS feed. The potentially new RSS feed is automatically compared to the previously downloaded feed. Once new content has been detected, the aggregator then alerts any subscribers to the fact that the blog has been updated and new content is available. An example of an aggregator is Other aggregators include:

Bloggers may also use a service like to alert major aggregators if their blog has been updated more frequently that usual.

There are several ways an aggregator can alert subscribers to the presence of new blog content. The first way is through an e-mail. The subscriber receives an e-mail from the aggregator (or from the blog website itself) letting the subscriber know that new content is available. Bloglines uses a program (downloaded by the subscriber) running in the background on the subscribers machine. This program checks the RSS feeds from a list of subscribed blogs for new content. Once new content is available, the reader can visit the blog and read the new content. It is important to note that the software that downloads new podcasts (podcatchers) works essentially the same way.

There are also search engines that concentrate on blogs. A good example is

How do you create, publish and syndicate a blog?

There are two different ways to create a blog. The first is to go to a website that provides blogging services. These sites include:

Generally, creating your first blog is as easy as creating an account and starting to add content. However, many of these sites require you to agree to terms that include the reassigning all copyrights to the hosting site. This means that to use their services you may have to give them the rights to the content you are adding to your blog. This can be very important if you decide to reuse that content later (or you want to control how the content is used), since you may not own the content in your blog any more. This is one time that it is critical that you read the terms before you agree to use ?free? blog services.

The second way is to integrate blogging software into your website. This requires more skill and an on-line presence. There are several different ways to achieve the creation of your own blog. One is to use software that is built for the sole purpose of allowing the creation and maintenance of blogs. These may be written in CGI, Perl or PHP. PHP blog scripts often use a MySQL database. Most presence providers (such as support PHP and MySQL. Sources of blog scripts include:

At we use a slightly different approach. We wanted to support an on-line community, as well as, a blog. The on-line community is powered by a script called PHPbb. PHPbb is available from This is an open source script that is used on tens of thousands of websites around the world. PHPbb has spawned several widely used variants such as Post-Nuke. There is a good chance that any time you are looking at a forum on the internet, it is powered by PHPbb or a variant (such as Post-Nuke).

We then use a program called PHPBlog from PHPBlog allows all the topics on a specific forum to be posted as blog entries. Each time a reader visits the blog (, the script searches the forum database to create the blog page and compiles the RSS feed.

We also use CuteFTP to move files around and to edit the script files. Unfortunately, in order to install PHP scripts you will want FTP software to upload files to your website and edit PHP files directly while you are installing and upgrading software. It is necessary to upgrade software as security issues are fixed. You can do FTP transfers (moving files to and from your website to set up and configure the PHP scripts) with Microsoft Internet Explorer. Many tasks can be automated with a program with CuteFTP and that is a huge time saver.

You will also need to be familiar with an image editor. The web gives you the opportunity to present full color images to the world at almost no cost. Once you have a blog and begin adding content, there is a good chance you will want to add pictures, sound (podcasts), and maybe video. Youll also need to create a banner for the top of your blog. Youll also need to do more mundane things like resize pictures that you want to show off on your new blog. There are a couple of tools that come with Microsoft Windows that work fairly well. There are also many image editing programs available commercially, and some even for free. Learning to use a simple one will be a huge help as you discover how a simple image from your digital camera can add to the power of your written words.

Once you have all of this set up, you will want to use tools like those available at and to properly syndicate your site.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, Montie can be reached by e-mail at, or you can visit his website at: Montie is a consultant providing product design services. He is also the President of the NC/SC chapter of the PDMA (