I suspect many folks here saw or in the very least heard about the new Avengers:Endgame movie that just came out. I saw it twice, and each time was in a theater with leather seating, food served at your seat, and space enough to sit back and type on a TextBlade before the movie starts.
Any time people see me typing on the TextBlade, they take notice. Often they have questions. But it turns out being in a theater full of “geeks” guarantees a lot of interest. Both times, as people were walking by, they had questions and I answered them. But one night in particular, AFTER I’d answered questions people had, I noticed the conversation about the TextBlade continued behind me (I was sitting toward the front of the theater). I heard people saying things like that it was the sort of thing Ironman would have and use (I’d agree!). People wondered (of course!) when they could get their own. I heard one person mention it was the size of your thumb (it isn’t that small). Eventually I found myself answering questions as new people walked into the theater and joined this kind of lingering conversation that was happening behind me, in front of me, and on both sides of me.
Someone said I should stand up front and before I knew it I was in front of the screen about twenty minutes before the movie started answering all kinds of questions people had. At one point I had to assure them that no, I was NOT the inventor of the TextBlade, hahah! (If only!)
One of the questions I answered was of course what the website was, but I explained in painstaking detail that there was NO assurance of when they’d receive it. I mentioned this occurrence to Waytools and was surprised when they told me there was a significant and very noticeable uptick in orders from Arizona (where I live). That surprised me because honestly, I would have thought given how careful I was to explain that there was NO WAY to know when they’d get it, that most people would be put off from ordering. Yes, I clarified it was originally announced back in January of 2015. For the people not as good with math, I literally said in that theater that Waytools began taking orders more than FOUR YEARS ago and it still hasn’t shipped. I said all that, and apparently enough people in that theater decided to order TexBlades that Waytools could notice the bump.
Clearly, among fans of the Avengers: Endgame movie, there are those that see the TextBlade as something worth investing in.
There is another thing on my mind about the TextBlade though. It is hard to quantify, but I’m going to try.
I haven’t been here since the beginning. I’m not a person that placed an order in January 2015 and that still has not been accepted to TREG. So I’m wholly unqualified to try to put myself into those shoes and pontificate about how I’d feel. I can describe how I -think- I’d feel. But I’m not living that life am I?
As I’ve mentioned before, there are things I know that not even other TREG members know. This is because I’ve been lucky enough to have Mark share more of the behind the scenes information with me. I don’t know why for sure, but I suspect that, because I’ve been doing engineering and software work my entire adult life, and that there are surprising bits of overlap in terms of what they’ve done and what either I’ve been exposed to, used, or done myself, that Mark has decided to share some extra things with me. He’s done so in confidence and to date, despite many people trying many things, I’ve done my best to keep those confidences, even among my fellow TREGers. For example, a fellow TREG member recently said something to the effect of: “We all signed the same NDA - just share what you know with all of us”. The thing is, yes, we all signed the same NDA, but what Mark shared with me was sort of a gentleman’s agreement on TOP of that, and I honor such agreements.
So here I am, again, with some information other folks are not privy to. And I try to put myself in the shoes of people that aren’t even in TREG. People that have been waiting, some patiently, some not so patiently, for the day they can use their very own TextBlade. I asked myself, what would -I- want to know, that I can share? I’m going to do what I can:
From my own standpoint, I’ll re-iterate some things I’ve said before: I am STILL amazed at how tiny the TextBlade is. How portable. How I can have it with me ALWAYS. How flawlessly I can switch between multiple devices with it. How reliable it is. How, while it DOES have a learning curve, and how, while I still make mistakes from time to time (notably getting a Z instead of an A or getting M’s when I want an N, things like that), it is the best most portable keyboard I’ve ever EVER -EVER- used!
Next up, the question I see all the time, and which I’m least able to answer: If it is so good, WHY THE HECK ISN’T IT SHIPPING YET?!?!?!? I’ve got a partial answer for you guys today. I’m hoping it makes sense.
First, take a look at these people and what surrounds them:
Next, try to imagine this room has no external access. To get to it, you need to travel through three other rooms to get to it. And each of THOSE rooms is more full than this one. Next, imagine that you need to get a Grand Piano into the room pictured above. Not easy. Now imagine you had to do it without REMOVING anything from the house. All you were allowed to do was to re-arrange things to get the Grand Piano into the room she’s in. You can kind of picture the process, and it isn’t a pretty one.
I’m not happy about it, but that is basically where the TextBlade had gotten. You’ve seen Waytools comment about it here on the forums, though in different ways than I’ve described above. And to be honest, I think they would probably prefer a different analogy to the one I used, but the fact remains - they were in a situation that was untenable - to add new features, to fix existing bugs, they had to rearrange all that had come before. I know a few of the intricate details of just what extent this had reached, and... it was bad. VERY bad.
So why did it get that way? Why didn’t they plan ahead enough to keep it from happening?
The short version is that they planned ahead, but they didn’t plan FAR ENOUGH ahead. They had a lot more space in the device originally than they thought they’d ever need. But over time, what they had implemented in the way of bug fixes, required functionality, and yes, new features that weren’t in the original specification, like Jumps, they ran out of room. Not only did they run out of room, but they had to find new ways to store the things they already had. Refactoring, being creative, literally finding space to put things that they hadn’t originally intended to put there. You name it.
You could make the argument that they went so far down that road of cramming things in that they should have known better long before it got as bad as it did (and maybe they knew that, I don’t know!). You could make the argument that they should have stopped development long enough to fix this problem rather than making it worse.
I choose to say that they went sufficiently down this road to determine what truly had to be in the solution, sufficiently down this road to confirm they COULD DO all the things they wanted to do. And then, after reaching that point, they knew they needed to fix the problem. They knew they couldn’t ship their product while it was in the state it was in. They knew they wanted to be ABLE to add a Grand Piano, several Grand Pianos. And they knew they wanted to be able to do that without re-arranging everything in the entire house.
I’m aware of some of the low level details of how they made a set of changes, how significant they are, and what those changes will enable. I’m going to try to characterize it as follows. This is what we will have when the new firmware is shipped out:
A wide open FIELD, tons of room, ready to do whatever you’d like. How easy would it be to place a Grand Piano into that field?
How long will it be before you all get to know more of what I know right now? Well, considering I was hopeful last November that more information would have been made public by now... yeah. I don’t want to get overly zealous, but I think I can safely say this: Based on my most recent conversation with Mark, I’d be surprised if you don’t know more in less than two months. Hopefully significantly less than two months from now. Does this mean the world ends if we don’t get that information in the next two months? No. Does it mean Mark guaranteed ANY timeline about when more information would be made available? No. So please read this as I intend it - I’d be surprised if we are here, two months from now, and you STILL haven’t gotten more meaningful information. But I can’t guarantee anything other than that I’d be surprised.
With all this talk about “WHEN WILL WE EVER GET TO GR”, what about after GR? I know people here are (understandably!) loathe to discuss what might happen AFTER GR when they’ve been waiting years just to get to GR... But I still think it is worth talking a bit about life after GR. In a nutshell, things don’t stop. I think if anything, they accelerate. Right now everything is gated by the simple and IMPORTANT question: “Is this thing we’d like to work on going to get us to GR quicker?” AFTER GR, it simply becomes “Is this something people would want to have?”. I am also privy to a lot of the things they are hoping to do soon after GR. Many of these things I’ve been aware of for a year or more now. So in a sense, for ME, these new features are like the TextBlade itself is to YOU (I’m talking to the people NOT in TREG right now). Knowing what I do about what is coming, I’m -MORE- excited for all of that than I was to originally get the TextBlade! So what I’m saying is - as great as the TextBlade is, as much as you are hoping to get yours, know that there is so much more to come that even after you get your TextBlade, you will be right back here, hoping for something that isn’t out yet. But the difference will be - THEN, after GR, the TextBlade will be real to you. You’ll have it in your hands, you will KNOW it was worth waiting for. And so, as you lust after the things that will come after GR, you will have confidence they will see the light of day.
I’ve never forgotten that there are tons of people here in the forums (and people not even on the forums) that have been waiting for their TextBlade longer than I’ve KNOWN about the TextBlade. I advocate for you guys and gals. I think about you. I don’t forget you. And I fight to get us closer to GR. I know NONE OF THOSE THINGS has put a TextBlade into your hands up to now. But I want you to know that I care about you and I haven’t forgotten you. And I never will. Until MAYBE the day you all get your TextBlade. But even then it is worth remembering that it is all of you that made this thing possible. Without all the customers backing the TextBlade, there wouldn’t be investors willing to finance all the work being done to get it into your hands.
P.S. I haven’t been on the forums much since November. We have been incredibly busy - we are STILL working to adopt our little “almost two year old” son that we’ve had in our care since right after he was born. We have another court date on May 10, and are still PROBABLY several months out from being able to adopt him. But the good news, the INCREDIBLY good news is that his bio parents have finally realized that they are just not in a position to be able to parent their child (they LOVE him, they just aren’t able to provide the environment he needs to thrive). We knew this because we went through this whole process with his sister (who we have already adopted), but understandably, for loving parents, they wanted to try to do what would be best - for THEM to parent their son. Not only have they come to realize they aren’t able to do that, they have told the court they truly want their son to be placed with us for adoption! The road we are on is still a long one and it will take months to get there, but this is the foundation upon which we will finally be able to have this amazing tiny little man permanently become a member of our family.