I ordered the basic parts/kit for "Maxwell" from Hobby Engineering in California and expected it to take quite a while to find it's way here through the international postal network. Happily, it didn't take anywhere near as long as I had expected. We were gone over the weekend, and when we came back and sorted through the mail we found a note that the shipment was waiting at the main post office.
Unfortunately, since I didn't expect it yet, I haven't cleaned up my home office workspace... That will have to take precedence over
playing with studying everything in detail. The most I accomplish at this point was to unpack and inventory everything.
The order consisted of three basic items - the robot base (Rogue Blue Base), the micro-controller (Basic Stamp 2 Discovery Kit), and a wall wart for power. Everything was there and accounted for - at least as far as the three items were concerned. Later, when I have time to dig into each package, I'll verify their contents as well, and hopefully take photos to document everything.
The shipping container consisted of the normal brown cardboard box filled with blue-green foam peanuts. The overall dimensions of the box were about 3X the size needed for the contents, but was probably selected because the box for the micro-controller kit just fit nicely inside. The shipping clerk put the micro-controller kit box in the bottom of the shipping box, then put the other two pieces on top of it, and filled the open volume with foam peanuts. From a shipping perspective, this leaves the contents open to impact damage since there is no cushioning from the foam. Fortunately it appears that everything arrived intact and undamaged.
After work this evening I'll probably stop by the local computer store and pick up a USB to RS232 cable. The micro-controller kit only came with a RS232 connector at the time that I placed my order, and my laptop doesn't have an RS232 port. I did notice that Hobby Engineering has since added a USB version of the kit with slightly different pricing.
So far, and keeping in mind that it's very early in the process, I'm very pleased with the response and support from the staff at Hobby Engineering. I'm really looking forward to visiting their brick and mortar store in person late next month.