Well, it's now the next day after my call with Mark. We ended up talking for almost 2 ½ hours. I definitely want to share what I can. Just like others have said before me, it was a pretty in-depth call regarding how and why the TextBlade functions, as well as the reasoning behind many of the decisions.
Firstly, I wanted to address this comment:
I definitely understand the frustration of feeling like time is being wasted on phone calls instead of working on getting the TextBlade to general shipping. Up until last week, I had pretty much given up on the idea of getting to be a part of TREG. That means I was in the same boat, waiting and waiting to finally see this product in real life.
There's one important thing to note here: In my case, and presumably in the case of others in TREG, Mark is taking his own personal time to make the call. He's taking away time from other things, not taking away time from actually working on the TextBlade. While on the surface it seems frustrating, there's still a bigger picture to see, even for just one person's life.
One other thing that Mark mentioned (and I hope it's OK to share here) is that not all TREG testers get the one-on-one call with Mark. It's mostly only the people in the forums.
Mark did go through and explain a lot of the technology in the TextBlade, and just how it compares to what's currently on the market. When you realize that each of the keys on the TextBlade is essentially a mini iPhone screen, you can quickly see how the tech and software running the TextBlade is actually more impressive than what's in the iPhone. One simple example is that you can push a character on the TextBlade with only your fingernail, and it will still detect the correct character. The iPhone can't do that.
We also talked about the TREG program in general. One thing that I found encouraging was that Mark said that the more people they get using the TextBlade, the fewer edge case problems there are to fix (or something along those lines). But that wouldn't have been possible without getting different people with different backgrounds to physically test the TextBlade and provide input.
This actually brings me to another point: I had wondered whether I would actually be able to provide any new input as part of the TREG program, since I'm coming in "late" and others have reported countless issues already. But right on the call with Mark, I discovered a minor issue in the app itself that no one else had noticed, possibly due to my background as a web developer. I don't say that to brag, because it's certainly not that big of a deal. But it proved to me that all of the TREG input is valuable, even mine. The end result is a product that will be well refined and easy for everyone to use.
One other impression: Mark is certainly very excited and devoted to the TextBlade, but it really comes as a result (from my perspective) of wanting to make a product to really help people. We didn't talk only about the TextBlade, we talked a bit about our families and background. In short, I felt like we connected. He may not be able to do that with every customer, but it really felt like he cares about every customer.
If all I've said makes anyone feel more angry that one more person has been picked instead of them, and there still isn't general release yet, I'm sorry for that. But like others have said, try to remain patient. I've only been using this keyboard for a couple days, but it was already hard to go back to a full-size keyboard. Waiting will be worth it.