Scribble and the Failings of Tech Journalism

Pen

The Scribble Pen, you may remember, is a project by bay area startup Scribble Technology that puts a color sensor and multiple ink reservoirs in a pen. We’ve talked about it before, right after they cancelled their Kickstarter campaign after netting 366% of their original goal.

Yes, they cancelled their campaign after being successfully funded. To Kickstarter’s credit, the Scribble team was asked to provide a better video of the pen demonstrating its capabilities. The team pulled the plug on the campaign, saying they’ll be back soon.

Here is the new campaign. The attentive reader will notice the new campaign is not a Kickstarter project; instead, it is a Tilt campaign. What is Tilt? It’s a platform that allows for crowdfunding, fundraising, pooling, and other ‘many wallets into one’ Internet-based projects. It’s actually not a bad idea if you’re raising funds for a charity or the Jamaican bobsled team. For crowdfunded product development, caveat emptor doesn’t quite cover it.

With more than $200,000 in the bank, you would think the questions asked in many comments on the old Kickstarter would be answered. They were. Scribble put up a new video showing the pen drawing different colors of ink on a piece of paper. This video was faked. [Ch00f] at Drop Kicker took apart the new video frame by frame and found these – ahem – scribbles were inserted in post production. The video has since been replaced on the Tilt campaign page, but evidence of Scribble deleting comments questioning this exists.

Any idea of the Scribble pen being real has been put to bed. Kickstarter threatened to remove the campaign if a better video could not be produced within 24 hours. The Scribble team cancelled their campaign to regroup and put together a better video. In two weeks, the team was only able to produce a faked video. The Scribble pen does not exist.

Case closed, you might think. Digging into videos frame by frame will tell you a lot, but it won’t give you the full picture. We know what happened with the Scribble pen, but very little about the who, why, and how this huge, glaringly obvious fraud occurred. Before we get to that, hold on to your hats – it only gets shadier from here on out.


For months, the people behind Scribble have worked hard to ‘control the message,’ so to speak, not only of what their pen can do, but who is on the development team, and how far along they are in the development process. From the outside, Scribble appears to be a finely tuned corporate organism; official statements are only made through the Scribble Facebook account, Twitter account, and as comments on the now defunct Kickstarter. It’s an honestly stunning display of staying on message, but something that does not lead to any points of contact within Scribble.

Who then is behind Scribble? The company line is simply of a startup based in San Francisco that has been working for two years to bring this product to market. There are references to an engineer and color scientist on the Scribble team, but so far, only three people have lent their names to the company.

The People

In all the media coverage Scribble has gotten from dozens of tech blogs, we know of only three people who are officially part of the Scribble team. The founders and inventors of Scribble, [Mark Barker] and [Robert Hoffman] were mentioned and quoted by several media outlets. [Kevin Harrison], another member of the Scribble team, has only been mentioned in a piece by The Guardian that has since been picked up and copied by a number of other tech and design blogs. Not one of these three people can be found on LinkedIn as being employed by Scribble, or even working in the San Francisco area in a tech startup. Outside of the many blog posts on the Scribble pen, these people do not exist on the Internet.

A Registered Company

Not being able to identify the founders and employees of a company is one thing, but not being able to identify the company itself is another matter entirely. Searching through the California state records for businesses using the word “scribble” in their name, only one such business hails from San Francisco. This business was registered over twelve years ago, and is obviously not the Scribble in question. The fact that Scribble is not a business licensed by the state of California is not evidence it is not a business in California, though; smart startups would probably register in either Delaware or Nevada. Here again, Scribble is not to be found. In fact, in all fifty states, there is no record of a company named Scribble registered in the past two years.

There is one reason why Scribble can not be found in any state registry of businesses: Scribble could be ‘Doing Business As.’ This means the founders of the company would be held personally liable for any legal action taken against the company. If Scribble does not fulfill its preorders, anyone who contributed to this campaign could file a suit, get a judgement against the owners of Scribble, and get a sheriff’s deputy to clean out their house. This would be a shocking display of ignorance on behalf of the Scribble team. I simply can not imagine anyone lacking in business sense so much they would open themselves up to this sort of liability.

Trademarks

With any sort of business that is developing something new and novel, it’s a good idea to have a trademark for your business and your product. Lucky, then, that we can search for US Trademarks. There are a few registered trademarks for products called ‘Scribble’ – a toy scooter, eyeliner, and one for corrugated paperboard making machines.

This does not prove there is not a trademark application for a Scribble pen – considering the Scribble Facebook page was set up in May of this year, we’re right on the threshold of when the trademark application would be published. Given the lack of a registered business, and any sort mention on the Internet of the people working on Scribble, it’s improbable there are any trademark applications pending.

More transparency than Kickstarter, at least

A few people at Tilt, the company powering Scribble’s current crowdfunding campaign, have been looking into the people and the company. In fact, the CEO of Tilt is looking into it personally:

 

The failings of tech journalism

The last time we mentioned the Scribble pen, I noticed something strange about their campaign. They used the Hackaday logo when the only thing ever published here was a single paragraph in a links post calling the entire project ridiculous.

Like many Kickstarters, they had a few logos of blogs and other media outlets below the fold, put there a statement of legitimacy. “These are trusted members of the fourth estate,” the creators of Scribble must have told themselves, “surely telling the world we have the approval of these fine upstanding establishments will lend us an air of credibility and legitimacy.”

There’s a problem with this. When the only thing tech bloggers and journalists have to go on are a few videos, a media kit, and a Kickstarter campaign, the only information available comes directly from the project creators. This inevitably leads to a deafening echo chamber where the same facts are repeated ad nauseam.

The idea of a color picking pen has been around for years, with thousands of people ready to throw their money into a hole in the hopes of getting their hands on one. It makes for great blog fodder and grabs eyeballs, but plugging a Kickstarter simply by repeating what a press release says does the public a grave disservice. Even the more respectable media outlets failed in this regard; the longest articles on Scribble added a little to their page length simply by interviewing the inventors who I’m not sure actually exist. The Guardian, in fact, interviewed someone who was never before mentioned as a member of the Scribble team. Remember, The Guardian is one of the best and most trustworthy news organizations on the planet and published information that cannot be independently verified.

Given the vast number of tech and design blogs in the last month reporting on the Scribble pen, someone must be held responsible for correcting these grave errors. This responsibility falls on us and other excellent blogs like Drop Kicker.

If the technical wizards and cognoscenti of electrons reading this come across a project that just makes you shake your head, do a little preliminary research and tell us what you’ve found. Since no other media outlet on the Internet is capable of doing so, we’ll do our best to scare the pants off these would-be scammers.

Comments

  1. Excellent write up.

    For more detail on the “echo chamber”, you can check out my summary here http://drop-kicker.com/2013/12/kickstarter-project-creators-like-to-quote-people-who-summarize-their-words/

  2. Guy says:

    I wonder if they’ll put HaD as a “featured on” logo again after this article? :)

  3. zakqwy says:

    Great report. I’m worried that the ever-increasing prevalence of crowdfunding scams will ruin the platform for legitimate products. That would be too bad.

  4. Jag says:

    Aaaaand drop kicker blog is down now.

  5. pcf11 says:

    This just in from the Scribbled development team:

    So long, and thanks for all of your cash!

  6. alfie275 says:

    I wonder if you could do this with an inkjet system? So rather than mixing the colors in the pen, you shoot out the colors using piezos to mix them on the page.

    • Megol says:

      I guess a wax printer would be easier to fit into a pen, have a common heater and 4 wax sticks with individual feed. Mix the molten wax just before the tip and it should theoretically work. As for the control a simple microcontroller in combination with a low cost RGB sensor and a white LED is enough.

    • bWare says:

      No way to get multiple colors close enough together. Printers move 10s of mm between laying down the cyan and megenta etc. You would have to use an optical tracker (mouse) and spray the next part of the mix the next time the pen happend to cross the same spot; this wouldn’t give your the intiuitive use people are expecting.

    • Marty Lawson says:

      Yea, I expect an ink-jet based “spray painting” pen would work. The big problem I seen is prototyping the print head. I don’t think anyone has made a print head with >3 ink feeds, and >3 heads aimed at the same spot. Heck, I expect that just finding a print head with a solo jet will be hard.

  7. John says:

    It seems like by now they would have stepped on one or two anti-fraud laws at least somewhere…

  8. Jacques says:

    Looking at the video of tilt campaign, just realized color can’t be picked up that way. If you apply the end of the pen again the surface, the region under the pen is no more lighted up. There is no color in the dark!

    • John says:

      It could have it’s own light, and more importantly this would give you a more calibrated reading than relying on varying amounts of natural light. However theirs doesn’t have a light or anything because it’s 100% phony baloney.

  9. Rumburack says:

    Some of Germanys bigger fools on the IT hill wrote a piece about them, too.

    In short: Wonderful! Buy buy buy, everything is good.

    A sad view of a failing “tech news ticker”.

    http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Scribble-Pen-Buntstift-mit-16-Millionen-Farben-2305059.html

  10. jlbrian7 says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if they are either foreign, or ex-pats. I would think that to appear American all that would be needed is a computer in SF and an internet connection. This would solve the problem of having the sheriff showing up so long as there is no extradition. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if they are in the States either. I would think that this type of scam would involve less risk than a bank robbery, and a good chance of a greater reward.

    I think that they are going to have to make villains of few people before there are laws for tighter controls.

  11. Simonious says:

    I’ve never seen use of the term, “The fourth estate”, until last month when I read: http://www.amazon.com/Existence-David-Brin/dp/0765342626/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1409858375&sr=8-1&keywords=existence+david+brin

    And now I see it here, suspicious.

    • neuromancer2701 says:

      That book was great. I wish it would have gone into some detail about the history of the 4th Estate and agreement they came to with the masses.

    • jam555 says:

      I saw the phrase maybe a few years ago. What should make you suspicious about it is that it apparently originated in France, where one of the major pro-revolutionists was a journalist who intentionally made crap up to induce homicide towards the establishment. The French Terror only ended maybe a few months after he was assassinated by a country peasant for lying. In intelligent riot prevention, the inciters are the only people that the police commonly arrest, because they’re the true trouble makers.

      tl;dr: Never trust the Fourth Estate :P .

  12. Josh says:

    I recently had a conversation with a peer about the solar roadways, and after watching the EEVBlog episode on them, I had the stance that it was a not-so-great idea and would not work. However, after listening to my peers point of view I kind of switched gears… I am of the opinion to let them dream and work toward the idea anyway if people are willing to throw money at it. So, I’m reading/watching the video, and I agree that if its a pure scam, then give them the boot. If not, then so what if it’s not possible or they don’t have a currently working prototype? If people are willing to put money toward the idea of this coming to existence, I like it.

    • jlbrian7 says:

      I agree with you about funding pipedreams, and I think that sites like kickstarter also let people see how much a person can make on nothing. When I give $20 to a bum on the street I don’t know if that was the only money he has had for the day, or if I just helped him top $500, but to keep crowd funding as a credible source of financial backing I think that there should be a strong effort to sort the well intentioned from the deliberately deceitful.

    • qwerty says:

      Solar Roadways and the Scribble pen are in very different leagues. The folks behind solar roadways appear to be legitimatly motivated to develop a product most of us, including me, consider impossible or not viable, but that money in their pockets would possibly be used to do some research which could benefit other areas or products. The people behind the Scribble are fraudsters, not a single cent of all money people will throw at them will be invested in research or anything useful.

    • John says:

      The difference is that the Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways founders are well-meaning but ignorantly misguided dreamers while the Scribble “founders” are running a bold-faced scam. Legit startups have real people and real offices and real business registrations, even if they may not have any products at the moment. Do not be decieved, no product whatsoever will come from this, ever.

      • AC says:

        …”the Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways founders are well-meaning but ignorantly misguided dreamers”…..

        Total bullshit.

        You don’t take people’s money for something that is provably impossible to make. You don’t take people’s money until you are sure you can provide the product as advertized. You don’t take people’s money when you can’t intelligently refute criticism.

        They took A LOT of people’s money and are not going to deliver anything remotely close to what they promised. It would have taken them less time to realize that their project is impossible to make in the state presented than it did for them to put together the campaign and do the advertizing.

        They took people’s money and won’t deliver what they promised. That is a scam.

        If they are a “well-meaning but ignorantly misguided dreamer” then they need to return ALL THE MONEY now that people more intelligent than they are pointed out, with CONCRETE EVIDENCE, that they can’t succeed in making what they promised. Until they return ALL THE MONEY, they are a scam.

        • John says:

          Wow, a bit bitter are we? Were you one of the backers?

          Ignorance is not malevolence.

          Being a fool does not make someone a scammer. The Solar Roadways guys are utter fools, but they legitimately intend to attempt to build their tiles. They are not smart enough to realize that their dream is completely infeasible from every angle, but their intention was not to advertise solar road tiles while concealing their identity and running off with the money. The solar road tiles may not end up being technically or economically viable, but they already exist and their performance (or lack thereof) is already known. The rewards listed are fulfillable and will probably be fulfilled. The backers are not being scammed out of their money unless the rewards are not delivered or the funding money is not spent on the advertised purpose: research and production of solar road tiles. The fact that you cannot power a nation or even get net positive power generation from them is irrelevant.

          Staying that the Solar Roadways guys are scammers because their engineering knowledge is small is equivalent to saying that anyone is a scammer any time they do anything without being a foremost expert in the subject. There’s a guy in the Hackaday Prize trying to get a lawnmower to fly. Is he a scammer for entering the contest without being an quadcopter expert? No, and I wish him well on on his educational journey.

          On the other hand, the Scribble “guys” not only knowingly spread information they know to be blatantly false, they go to great efforts to hide their lies and their identities, as well as silence or censor any dissent. That is a scam.

          • AC says:

            Would you call me a “well-meaning but ignorantly misguided dreamers” if I took in hundreds of thousands of dollars to work on a perpetual motion machine? What if I really really really really really thought I could make a perpetual motion machine?

            In case you don’t know, physics says it can’t be done. It would take about 2 minutes of research to unearth this minor little detail. This is not some new revelation.

            So if I indeed did take in LOTS of money and told people I was going to make a perpetual motion machine, that would make me a fraudster. Simple. Backed up by facts.

            What the solar roadways guys are advertizing won’t work. Simple. Backed up by facts.

            If the solar roadways guys come to the conclusion that what they are trying to do is ridiculous and return ALL the money, then you can make the point of the “well-meaning but ignorantly misguided dreamers”. Until then, I’m sticking with fraudster.

            It’s one thing to dream, it’s another thing to ignore reality ….. repeatedly…. and take people’s money.

          • Qabbin says:

            Summary of this thread

          • millsy says:

            “Would you call me a “well-meaning but ignorantly misguided dreamers” if I took in hundreds of thousands of dollars to work on a perpetual motion machine? What if I really really really really really thought I could make a perpetual motion machine?”

            Well … yeah. That’s pretty much the definition.

          • jam555 says:

            @AC: Personally I would call you an idiot, but yeah, well-intentioned. I’m fully aware of how those people’s minds work: they think that the scientists are too isolated, or stubborn, or obsessed, or just haven’t looked in the right place, all of which really have happened before (Tesla himself seems to have occasionally fallen into the “stubborn” camp, and it can be argued that Einstein was in the stubborn camp in regards to quantum mechanics, as his contributions were apparently a legitimate attempt to prove it to be quackery). These guys look at the fact that people thought airplanes were impossible, and say to THEMSELVES: “If they were wrong about that, they could be wrong about anything”; and under a technicality they’re right, though it’s so unlikely that if they actually pulled it off then the particle physics community collectively kiss them and throw prize money at them, for the fun of figuring out all of the new experiments they could do: so they wouldn’t pull it off, but technically them have a point.

            Fraud is when you knowingly and intentionally deceive, which means that if you think that you’re being honest and forthcoming in you solicitations, then you’re not committing fraud. You might not have done your due diligence, but that IS something completely different.

          • AC says:

            Ok… Ok. I get it. You guys think the world should be financing every idiot with a “dream” that obviously lacks the experience or knowledge or researching skills to actually follow through.
            Fine..

            Just a minor point about Einstein. He had a day job at the patent office when he wrote his groundbreaking papers. He didn’t get millions of dollars of funding. Just saying. It wasn’t until AFTER he proved he knew what he was talking about that people starting supporting him. And are you really equating Einstein and the solar roadways guys?

            My question again is, at what point do these “well intentioned idiot” solar roadways guys become responsible for all the money they took in and never delivered what they said they were going to deliver?

            They took in over 2 million dollars according to Wikipedia. Lets say they spend a whole 1million dollars determining what they wanted to do won’t work (they could have also figured that out in about 2 hour of research and spending 0 dollars, or maybe consulted a real engineer for about 1 hour and paid them like 100 bucks and been on their way). At that point they are sitting on 1million dollars left of supporter money and have no project left. If they go off and buy themselves a house, or 1 million dollars of beer or something is that OK with you guys?
            What should they say to everyone then? “We tried out best but this damn reality thing got in the way. Thanks for the rest of the money!” ??

            For all the bitching people do about poverty and hunger and poorly financed school systems and all that, you would think these guys pissing away millions of dollars on something we can prove won’t work would bother you more. I guess all idiots get a free pass or something. And some of us suckers went to engineering school instead.

          • jlbrian7 says:

            How much is lost in the stock market every day? If business executives were being held to that level of accountability/intelegence there would be a lot less people seeking business degrees.

            What is the difference between Enron and RadioShack? RadioShack isn’t trying to lie about making bad choices.

            And I think that it should be mentioned that Bill Gates sold a product he didn’t have to IBM, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs both dropped out of college in their first year, and I don’t think that I need to say anything about how that worked out for them.

            Furthermore, I am personally aware of more than one engineer that is better at blaming/hiding their mistakes than they are at engineering (which means that anyone working with them is the sucker). I think that to place too much significance on formal education is foolish, and that the moral of the story is that if you can’t afford the bet walk away from the table.

            There will always be bad people out there and some of them are engineers. There will also be people who make mistakes (Tacoma Narrows Bridge comes to mind). Whether retribution is found for failed investments or not, investors should always take the time to educate themselves.

          • Josh says:

            I find it amazing that none of you seem to have this viewpoint. I will draw another parallel! In America if a idiot is elected and does a bunch of stupid things… It could be said that it’s the peoples fault. We would have a conversation about voters don’t have to be informed… They have the right to vote regaurdless of how knowledgeable they are etc….so in both these cases(scribble and solar roadways) you have people who have the right to give their money to who they want and if they choice not to care about the feasibility, credibility, or any info beyond what the author writes then who are we to say what they can and can’t spend their money on.

          • AC says:

            I had this whole other long post about how because of the division of labor you cant expect the average non-technical person to have the knowledge to effectively evaluate the validity of modern technology. I had a bunch of examples of that and relating it to the same concept in politics, but it got super long and rambling. Here is the abridged version.

            I agree with you that people need to be responsible for their own actions, but the only way for the non-technical person to make an informed decision when it comes to technology is to trust someone who does understand to help them on a really high level.
            If someone who should be a trusted authority makes a plausible claim people are going to listen and not really be able to validate it themselves. If that authority was being dishonest, then they are fraudsters taking advantage of their position.
            The whole solar roadways concept passes the initial non-technical plausibility test. The problem is that past that point it breaks down fast. Really fast. Your average non-technical person is never going to get to that step on their own as witnessed by the 2million+ dollars in support.

            At the time I didn’t really understood why we had to spend so much time in engineering school talking about “engineering ethics” but this is exactly why. It’s too easy to scam people with claims of advanced technology.
            The solar roadways guys not only continued to take in money in spite of the evidence in the fields necessary to engineer the tiles saying there were some serious show-stopper problems with their plan, but their replies to specific technical criticisms were targeted to give false confidence to the non-technical supporters not as technical details proving their design is feasible.
            When presented with real engineering problems, instead of stopping and trying to solve those problems they brushed them off, made up some non-technical replies to give false confidence to their non-technical supporters, and kept collecting money. That is what makes them fraudsters. This is a separate issue from supporter accountability.

    • fonz says:

      kinda like you can give the catholic church money and they’ll give you a place in heaven?

  13. tz says:

    It could be worse. At least the Quinnspiracy and #GamerGate has not spread to this shore.

  14. Stu says:

    Now hold on, it’s clearly stated on the KS page below the big green button that they will only be funded after the target is reached AND when the time span has passed. Surely KS haven’t paid the f**kers given it was cancelled before the deadline.

  15. Bob Baddeley says:

    Just wanted to say that this was a great article. You totally piqued my interest with the teaser before the read more, and did not disappoint in the body. It’s well researched and thoughtful pieces like this that make me happy to read HaD. Thank you.

  16. RandyKC says:

    You could have easily have said, “the failure of journalism” and still be accurate.
    That begs the question, “Is it journalism’s responibility to investigate or just report what they are shown?”

    • Galane says:

      Journalism is supposed to be observing and reporting, without insertion or alteration based on the journalist’s ideology, opinion or bias.

      Investigative journalism is doing the above plus digging for facts and presenting them as-found, again without insertion or alteration based on the journalist’s ideology, opinion or bias.

      Or that’s the way they are supposed to be done. But apparently journalism teachers just whiff past the section on ethics, if there is even still such a section in the curricula.

      • RandyKC says:

        What we seem to be missing is “Skeptical Journalism.”

        • static says:

          Skepticism certainly has it’s place, but the modern word wouldn’t exist if the skepticism of some, prevented others from experimenting and/or investing in what skeptics dismissed. History has many examples where skeptics have been wrong. The grand prize for winning the current contest that Hackaday is administering is one; flying machines where impossible, space flight was impossible, private space flight is impossible. As for “Skeptical Journalism” it wouldn’t be magically immune from bias. Being skeptical of the skeptics, could be in order as well.

      • jam555 says:

        Journalism teachers supposedly get past this with some claim that you’ll insert a bias even if you try not to, which I will agree with. It seems to mostly happen in the form of what the journalists cover in the first place (wouldn’t you disregard some random nonsense that you thought wasn’t important? this sort of thing happens everywhere), but they do have a point. This seems to have resulted in a slow return to the “party-press” of the early 1900’s, but they do have a point.

        More importantly, though, is that journalists for the “mass media” need to create a sort of “story”, even if a short analysis does quickly render it to just a flavorless stream of facts: otherwise people will just stop reading. Further, investigative journalism is liable to ultimately be driven by ideology: you’re more likely to perform a deep investigation of something that you (or your editor) deeply care about.

        Finally, America at least seems to currently have a large number of people who are obsessed with “doing good”. This led to viewing Obama as a sort of Magical Unicorn, then becoming disillusioned with the realization that he was a real person (I myself am conservative, so I just decided to change “a prettier version of McCain” to “prettier THAN McCain”). This sort of thing leads to people like Cole Bartiromo to step over the ethical line and think that it’s necessary. To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, someone who knows they’re doing it for themselves is liable to be less extreme than someone doing it as part of a moral crusade. Unfortunately, the implications of compensating for this are obvious.

    • static says:

      Even it in investigative journalism the investigator/reporter has to rely on what they are told or shown, or what another has written down from a previously.

      • Greenaum says:

        In investigative journalism you go LOOK for the truth, and you fight to get to it. You don’t just slightly re-jig a press release. Press releases now make up about 80% of the news stories on anything. The stories that aren’t sent from on high by Rupert Murdoch and his oligarch chums.

  17. andre7th says:

    On another note, 1 GB of internal memory?! assume3 bytes to store rgb data (there’s no reason more accuracy would be needed), that’s about 1/3 of a billion colors. And 24 bit color ‘only’ provides a little over 16 million colors. Hmm, maybe you can sync your music to it too?

  18. static says:

    I believe I have an idea where to look for those behind this, look in the US financial sector. Evidently if you are well placed any fraud you commit is unlikely to prosecuted. Immune to the point where what actually wrecked the word economy, quickly fades away Crowd funding is such a possible game changer for the status quo it’s going to be crushed one way or another. That was the conspiracy theory of my comment.:)

    A great article Brian, and an example of why I don’t have a narrow view of what HAD articles, should or shouldn’t be. I wouldn’t have read of this, if HAD didn’t have what is, in my opinion well rounded, content. In regard to “Tech Journalism”, you done all you can be expected to do. No one can be expect to find every detail on a subject that exists on the we, and that’ where a comments section get’s to shine by adding additional sources of information, hopefully in a non-critical to an article’s author manner.

    The video said take from prototype to production, but common sense says they don’t have a prototype that works as presented. In the event if they did ,they would have venture capitalists in a bidding war, if this could be manufactured and sold to the consumer at the retail prices suggested at the project’s tilt page at a profit. The project’s tilt page initially suggests that a mere $100,000 needs to be pledged, but when you scroll down $400,000 needs to be pledged to to begin producing the product that’s being promised. I don’t have a problem with using crowd funding to raise development funds, but that has to be stated very clearly and explicitly.

  19. Andrew C says:

    I would like to see if the micro-fluidic system could be scaled down to something close to this size. There are pumps available in the size range, with the required flow rate (measured dosing to boot), like this little number: http://www.dolomite-microfluidics.com/webshop/pumps-piezo-pumps-c-38_50/stainless-steel-piezoelectric-pump-p-231

    This would be a device a little bulkier than the advertised unit, but I think the idea could be made feasible. A cast acrylic body with the capillary channels can be mass manufactured (but it would have woeful failure rates).

  20. Brett says:

    just watched the tilt video….

    the voices of the 2 live narrators have been altered. thought the sound was a bit fishy and bad production quality for a professionally produced video at first but the more i listened and watched the more the voice altering became apparent.

    why on earth did they alter the audio of their voices but leave their faces clearly visible?
    they are obviously masking their voice print for some paranoid reason but the faces are clearly visible… confusing

    • RandyKC says:

      Voiceprints are admissible as evidence in a court and could provide a link to the people behind this, altering could mask an a distinctive characteristic.
      Easier would be to just hire actors or someone off the street that couldn’t be traced through an agency.

  21. bitknitting says:

    Excellent. Thank you.

  22. RandyKC says:

    Sad, but if you were to just pull out the color sensing and the stylus you would have a viable and useful product. It’s the ink mixing and the form factor that push this over the top.

  23. pusalieth says:

    This is awesome Hack A Day took a stand against this. This shows a great deal of compassion, character, and caring. We the hackers have a great opportunity hear to help those less technically inclined, lazy or don’t care about the truth. To me the intrinsic nature of Hackers is perfect to help people in need and search for the truth, even when its not (insert excuse here). Kapla

  24. Gunnar says:

    From the scribble blog:”Unfortunately, the folks at tilt.com have recently closed our campaign without reason. The issue at hand seems to be whether or not we have a working prototype of Scribble, despite clearly stating that this was not a condition of raising funds on their site prior to the start of our campaign.”
    So they’re admitting that they don’t have a working prototype?

  25. You’re missing a name. From https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/230659454/scribble-a-revolutionary-pen-that-draws-in-any-col/comments the Kickstarter validated name associated with the account is Jonah Grinage. I’ve gone through the creator process before; to validate your name requires a process about as in-depth as requesting your credit report online.

  26. signal7 says:

    ” If Scribble does not fulfill its preorders, anyone who contributed to this campaign could file a suit, get a judgement against the owners of Scribble, and get a sheriff’s deputy to clean out their house. This would be a shocking display of ignorance on behalf of the Scribble team. I simply can not imagine anyone lacking in business sense so much they would open themselves up to this sort of liability.”

    Maybe it’s different in other states, but I successfully sued a drunk driver for over $1000 in damages to my vehicle and no one was going to spend time cleaning out their house. The judgement was almost useless because the person in question didn’t own their house and they were under no obligation to respond. I wasn’t until I did some research on the laws in my state that I found out I could have their drivers license revoked for non-payment of the judgment and that only applied *if* the amount was more than $1000. Strangely, when they got a letter from the DMV telling them their license was being suspended, it was suddenly important to do something about it.

    If the amount is small enough, good luck getting anything done about it. The law does not provide much in the way of enforcement for small claims.

  27. Aim says:

    I was, of course, totally in love with the idea of this pen and have been following its evolution closely. Getting kicked off two crowd funding sites with no good reason made me go “hmmmm…” At some point I had signed up to be a beta tester, and got an email today that I was selected. All I have to do is send them $14.99 shipping and handling…so glad I researched. I guess they’re still trying to get money any way they can? Ignoring that email and leaving the mailing list now!

  28. aurelsfr says:

    Hi there, I just received a copy of this beta tester e-mail. Of course I won’t send them any money, after reading a bunch of articles about their scam.
    Does anyone noticed the links errors in their “Privacy policy” page ? They all link to a sckarol.com URL, which now a parked domain… Can anyone get the whois informations, so we (you, they) may be able to identify these scammers ?

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