Comments on: Roku
REBOL Technologies

Comments on: Roku

Carl Sassenrath, CTO
REBOL Technologies
26-May-2013 18:39 GMT

Article #0529
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It's time to say a few words. Let me set-up some context. We like to do that in Rebol, right?

First, I'm still very interested in Rebol. I'll admit that I've not had any time to participate in R3 advancements, but from what I've heard, it sounds like good things are happening. I apologize for not being more involved. I feel like I've broken a promise to the community to not just open source R3 and run away.

Let me explain just a bit. I work full time at this wonderful little silicon valley company called Roku. Maybe I've said that before, but I need to say it again.

"A stack of Roku products I've been involved with"

Roku makes simple little streaming video players that are of exceptional quality and supply extensive content. They're super easy to use. Anyone of any age or experience can plug one in and get it working in minutes. Yes, it's simple, and you Rebolers know how much I like simple!

I like to give away Roku players to friends and family. Often they say, "Thanks, but I'm lousy with technology, and I'm sure I'll not be able to get it working." Then, a few days later I'll get a call, "It works!". (Hey, where have I heard those two words before?) I also detect a hint of pride that they actually got it streaming on their own. I like that.

Yes, I like making products - millions of devices that are sold in thousands of stores across the country. Roku just hit 5 million units sold. That's a lot. That's not just downloads or user accounts, but real silicon, metal, and plastic.

I've been at Roku now for two and a half years and played various roles in a number of products. I've been involved in making a super low-cost streaming player to a tiny streaming stick player that's not much bigger than a USB thumbdrive, and a few other projects in between.

As I've said privately to some of you, I'm just a bit addicted. I'll often wake at 5AM to resume the latest project and then work pretty much non-stop until midnight.

During the week a thought or two about Rebol pass over me. I tell myself that I'll take some time out -- like I do for winemaking or amateur radio -- to participate more in the world of Rebol. But, at the end of a long day, I'm so burnt out with sitting in front of a screen, I don't have much energy left. Checking on the wine barrels or putting up a new 20M antenna just seems more appealing.

And, all so much has changed over the years. It feels like it wasn't so long ago that I had the first Rebol View drawing images and Rebol IOS running it's little distributed apps (reblets). We did so many cool things... and back then we were so far ahead of where the world would go. Remember people used to say, if you're not running in a web page, you're going nowhere. We said, no, little distributed apps are the place to be. Sure, we could generate web pages, but that wasn't the big vision. Nowadays there are Androids, iPhones, and so much more that run distributed apps. The world now understands.

Back then I was driven. Driven by a vision and an incredible technology. There's still an incredible technology, and if you're reading this then it's likely you know that technology and understand the true power. It's adopted by a few extraordinary people and organizations, much to their benefit. The rest of the world knows not and cares not.

Anyway, I'm rambling on. This article is about Roku after all. A great little company of amazing people who are making great little products. I enjoy playing a part in it. (And, plug plug, we're always looking for great people to join the team).

I ran into Bo Lechnowsky recently. He's got some interesting Rebol projects going, and he nudged me to come visit the community more often and also check out the many enhancements and advancements that have been accomplished over the last few months.

I've promised before that I would. This time... I'll really try. I still believe so much in the Rebol technology and vision. If I can just pull myself away from my Roku addiction... if only for an hour or two a week to start -- just to get acquainted again and keep up with all of what's happening in the world of Rebol.

I also hear there's a Rebol conference coming up this July in Montreal, Canada. I'm hoping to be able to attend. More on that very soon.



Gerard Cote
26-May-2013 19:52:08
Congratulations! Carl for the product and the success you got with it up to now. This Roku streaming stick, combined with the 3M projector is what I dreamed for, since about 2 years ago. Do you know if the remote can be used with this projector and if yes why it is not included in the package ... Also are these streaming services already available here in Canada ? I will look for myself but maybe you already have some cues about it. It will be fun to see youy here again and in Montreal this July. As always Keep up the nice work you did.
27-May-2013 1:11:59
Hello Carl,

Welcome 'back'.

Nice Rebol shirt, do I spot a new REBOL logo there?

The trend to do everything in the webbrowser instead of a good solid application never appealed to me either. The way of interacting within a browser is often very much more cumbersome than with a good application. The 'appification of the internet' on the other hand is imo also not a thing to be welcomed with open hands. Where a local application will do the thing it is supposed to do on your hardware, an app is subdued to many other factors you cannot control. First of all, mostly dependend on the connection to the internet. Also dependent on upgrades so previous versions will suddenly not work anymore and the new version demands you to buy a new phone/other hardware because of support issues. And when the bussiness is gone out of business, so is your App. Not to speak of the protection of your (personal) data.

Are there many new enthousiastic REBOL'ers among your Roku collegues? Ever since the latest developments in the REBOL community, from open sourcing R3 to the fast progress made with Red, any job offerings that imply programming in another programming language seem less appealing to me.

Kind regards,


James Nakakihara
27-May-2013 8:11:49
The dream Carl, your dream, still lives on in us. I'm very happy you have been blessed with a vision and mission that appeals to you and keeps your family taken care of. Could this be part of the continuum you have been on for decades? Everything from the Amiga OS, CDXL, Rebol, and now Roku? (Just to mention a few of your gifts to the world)

I've often wondered if I just happened to be there when Dale approached you about the possibility of this newest adventure. That's part of my own lore. :-)

Friendship survives and not everyone interprets, or gauges the passage of time and events, in the same way. May the Lord continue to bless you and your family.
29-May-2013 0:23:08
Last night I got the pronounciation of Roku, finally. Before I read Roku as in Sudoku or Haiku. It is supposed to be Rock-You?
29-May-2013 20:09:30
Hi Carl! Remember REBOL FOR DUMMIES and REBOL: THE OFFICIAL GUIDE? A dozen years ago! Good to hear that you're still thinking about REBOL. Enjoying my Roku. --Dan Ramsey
5-Jun-2013 1:53:30
Carl, I agree the vision was great and ahead. X-Internet is now well known as Apps. Only I feel bad REBOL missed this mobile revolution.
25-Jun-2013 0:36:06
Bugs Bunny, Jealousy goes before the death.
11-Jul-2013 15:53:39
It is a fascinating device. I bought one recently. Does it have an API? A REBOL-friendly control interface could help unify your passions.
14-Jan-2015 2:41:13
Dear mr. Sassenrath, I know this is 1.5 years late, but can't you use your influence at Roku so that Rebol is used on the device as an embedded language? That would be great for everyone: you, us and Rebol :-) Anyway, not sure if anyone still checks the messages from the contact forms on or, but I have tried contacting you there.
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27-Oct-2017 10:54:12
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Guru Dhev
11-Sep-2018 7:20:13
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5-Oct-2018 5:43:41
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22-Nov-2019 7:45:10
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6-May-2020 9:35:14
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17-Jul-2020 12:00:11
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cragi mcneil
30-Nov-2020 4:07:21
Despite trying all the suggestions on the internet the Roku Express does not pick up WiFI. Support from Roku is non existent, there are multiple other people with the same problem. Roku does not want to know

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