Update follow-up

I intend to get a lot more into the latest update but, as it worked out, the update came on the one day where I’ll be busier than normal for awhile. So I’ll start with just one thing:

There was the issue of Macs sometimes not handling the data that the TB sends to them. The key part was:

We’re hopeful Apple will correct this soon.

This brings up two questions:

  1. Did Apple actually say anything about solving this or are you just hopeful they will?

  2. What if Apple doesn’t do anything or at least doesn’t do anything for a long time? Would it be a gating issue? That would be kinda bad if Apple doesn’t do anything!

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Okay, now I can work through the rest of the update:

We settled many fine points in areas like Bluetooth, keymaps, battery life, durability, the TextBlade companion application, and its help content. We have most of these items resolved, and we’re seeing reduced reports of new items. We’re hopeful there won’t be a lot more user reports on our list for General Release. If the list doesn’t get longer, we’ve got a shot at finishing the firmware at the end of winter.

I think this is the only part that refers to upcoming shipping estimates. Good to know ‘most’ of those problems are solved, but it doesn’t tell us what things are left that would be considered gating issues, of course.

The comment about having a shot at finishing the firmware at the end of winter is interesting. “Have a shot” doesn’t sound real good in one sense but, I believe it is the first time this far into a seasonal estimate that they have even said that much. So maybe that can be taken as a positive.

With hardware seemingly still good, does solving firmware mean it would be ready to ship in short order? Or are there other things in play that could cause longer waits?

The New Workstation

Not real important to me since I already know these things (probably most here do), but it reminded me of the many comments we’ve heard over the years about how people “just” want a keyboard and I contrast with the Steve Jobs comment that says something like, how do the people know what they want before you show them? Now, I think Jobs overstated this point, but it is valid. There are many things I didn’t think were important to me until after I had them. For example, years ago, before any kind of smart type phone, I got email at home. Didn’t feel it was really necessary for me to get it on my phone. Or, if someone wanted to leave a phone message, I’d see it on my answering machine at home. But once I got these things on a mobile phone and used them, I sure wouldn’t want to be without them now. While I’m sure they’ll be plenty of people who won’t do anything special with the TB, I think a lot of people will be surprised at how much they like the other capabilities.

Most of these reports affected about 5 percent of users. For these users, they’d see these issues intermittently, so it took several iterations to capture full logs.

Always good to have numbers - in this case the 5% figure. Before anyone thinks, “It’s only 5% and intermittent at that, so ship” remember that it seems to be saying that each of those issues may have affected 5% - in total it would be more. As for being intermittent, well, that can mean a lot of things. Something that happens once a month is quite different than something that happens once a day, etc. We aren’t going to have such detailed data that WT has.

The solution was to identify some extender cables and ferrite noise suppression rings to allow Bluetooth devices to connect to those ports without interference.

I would add that cables from (and may to) usb 3.0 stuff can be a problem too. I learned this from a well known company I bought a hub from and, sure enough, I had trouble. They told me that the interference can come from the ports and the cables. So I had to consider both when setting things up.

I already covered the next item - the problem Apple has with their Bluetooth stack - in my first post in this thread.

It’s great to get these issues sorted before we’ve scaled to 1000X more users in general release

An interesting numbers issue. 1000 times what? If only counting the known forum Treg members (101, I think), that COULD translate into about 100k orders. But they said Treg started out with “hundreds” and only about 20 of those were from the forums. Even if we take “hundreds” as being the minimal of 200, that still adds 180 at least. So orders could be about 280k or more at this point. Or, it could be referring to present and anticipated future orders which means we can’t tell much at all! Maybe WT would elaborate? :slight_smile:

Jump slot 6 erasure protection locking system. In progress now.

I’m guessing here, but I assume that has to do with the dongle. I don’t know if all testers get them now, but those that do have had their dongle already paired with slot 6. But sometimes the user mistakenly erases that slot so they can no longer use that dongle (at least not without some special steps that I really never got into). So it is important that it can not be accidentally overwritten. Yet, imo, I think it should be possible to overwrite it should the user want to make a change. Just make it a multiple step process with warnings - maybe something in the app that has to be switched on first.

To identify any of these hardware units before shipping, we’re now building a more extensive battery profiler for both factory and field use.It can detect even subtle signs to predict potential latent battery anomalies. Most of the code modules are now working, and we’re currently in debug of the integration.

Well, that’s something new we didn’t know they were working on. Makes sense. Maybe the ability to test our own batteries can be added later in OTA. But certainly they should do any testing they can before shipping.

we’ve already gotten very good data on longer term wear characteristics.Overall, TextBlade has proven pretty sturdy and stood up well even under heavy daily usage.

This is also good to know since, if it had not held up well, it could cause big delays all by itself.

The favorable long-term performance of TextBlade has increased confidence in our production tools and process, and this helps reduce the probability of service needs during general release, which is a very good thing.

Absolutely! I’ve always felt that one factor that would impact shipping is if any support service they have could be overwhelmed with too many calls. Anything that reduces this is a big plus.

Lots of other things about progress is in the update, but I just covered some. But, to me, the most important one for @waytool to clarify is in my first post!

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Thanks WT it was a detailed update with a few new pieces of info.

For me 2 things stood out:

“If the list doesn’t get longer, we’ve got a shot at finishing the firmware at the end of winter”

Seems to be code for not a 1st half of 2018 launch if best case they expect to finish firmware in a month or so. And “IF” there are no new issues, only THEN things could go into production.
The only thing that impacted me negatively of this update is that there never seems to be an end in sight. After 3 years of following the blog daily some of these topics are getting pretty old.
At this pace, there is an underlying fear that in a blink, we could be in 2020, and we could be touching base on very similar nuances of the same topics. (Macs and Win with newer BT standards that break old code, etc).

It would be ideal if WT could set a date, communicate it and commit to it. But I know they won’t. I understand why. But for us non-treggers the wait seems interminable. When will it end ?

Faster release is preferable, but one upside of the longer test release period is that we’ve already gotten very good data on longer term wear characteristics.

This is like spreading salt over a wound. It is like saying if the original Ford T was delayed up to now and still in development, how it has helped us to add seatbelts, wipers, improve durability of the rubber of the gas pedal, etc.

Guys we are +3 years after the original launch date. For us that have been patiently (or not so patiently) waiting that long, only 2 things matter:

a) general release right now

b) getting into TREG right now

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