• Weeks 216-217

    20 February 2017

    A busy couple of weeks, which is why I appear to be writing them for two weeks, not one. Ah well.

    Selworthy saw a deployment that integrated and released a pile of new features – that was good to get out, and thorny, given it involved changing some of how we stored data on it. I also started working on a new export format for the application, which is probably the most painfully difficult file format I’ve ever worked with. We’ve certainly had an ‘interesting’ time testing it – it turns out the edge cases are very badly documented, so that’s been a lot of publish/test/fix going on.

    menting it; it turns out the edge cases are very badly documented.

    Over on Longcrag, I made another spreadsheet. Not a BOM this time: instead, a burndown chart of all the products in the range and what’s left to do on all of them. It’s… only moderately intimidating. I’m concerned some of the later tickboxes actually hide a lot of work, but for now, the goal is to get BOMs, PCBs and panels all completed so that I’m ready to send a large order to Elecrow.

    That is, if they prove satisfactory. So to test them, I ordered a set of prototype boards from Elecrow: a baby step towards manufacturing in Asia. We’ll see how they turn out. Finally, I sent some emails inquiring about wholesaling the products, which is the other big GO/NO GO step for the project – hopefully we’ll hear about that soon. But a GO from a wholesaler and a quality board from manufacture means three or four products are probably ready to go.

    I also took the sketch I made the previous weekend and built it up on a breadboard and microcontroller. The MCU code I wrote on the sofa worked first time, and led to a huge grin as I realised quite what this thing could be. So I continued to bash out a first pass at a front panel and get to a circuit board that could be made. A slight digression from the products I should be focusing on, but it’s very exciting, and good to have things in the pipeline. By the end of Week 217, a prototype of this was ordered up, and a few friends I showed initial footage to seemed excited by it.

    Gisborough hit a bit of a speed bump; some things that felt clearly defined turned out not to be, which has led to me taking a step back briefly whilst the project refocuses itself – more to come in the near future, I’m sure.

    And to cap it all, I failed to do weeknotes last week. So a fortnight’s worth this week, and let’s get back on the wagon next week.