It's been a while since our last update, and we've had some technical hurdles that turned out to be pretty tricky. We want to catch you up with what we've been up to for the last month.
But first! Alex Glowaski, Pinoccio's hacker-in-residence, put together a fantastic Pinoccio project Instructable. Check it out here! http://j.mp/1hNtkD5
So, back to why you don't have a Pinoccio in your pocket at this moment:
Our first technical issue was finding a bug in the bootloader code. This bug only showed itself when the mesh network had a large amount of traffic. We considered shipping anyway, but we realized that this wouldn't be acceptable in classroom environments or other places where lots of Pinoccio activity was happening. Also, bootloaders are difficult to update, so we decided to fix it correctly and that set us back several weeks.
This is fixed, the new bootloaders have been tested and work great! We're now reflashing the Scouts a second time through our test jigs. As of this update, a third of the Scouts have been reflashed and are going back into boxes, ready for shipping.
Secondly, we developed a Chrome App to auto-update Scouts. Problem is, Google completely revamped their Chrome Serial handling in Chrome 32. We have Chrome 33 successfully flashing Pinoccios, but it's very slow compared to Chrome 32. Our Chrome App engineer is deep in the guts figuring out what changed and this should be solved shortly.
Lastly, we've been dealing with a reset behavior we're only seeing on Lead Scouts. This is a Heisenbug--only happens when you're not observing it--but we believe we've found the area of code that's causing this. Our entire firmware team is focused exclusively on this last issue right now.
The rest of our remaining software tasks are completed. Documentation is in draft form awaiting final edits before going live.
Putting things in perspective a bit, our team has built an AMAZING platform, and seeing it all work together is super exciting! Want to see a demo of everything working together? Frank Cohen was nice enough to record a one-hour demo we gave at the Embedded Electronics Meetup in Menlo Park. Watch it here: http://j.mp/1hsr2Jv
We also updated our status page with the last three things we have before shipping. You can see it here: http://pinocc.io/status
As always, thank you for your support and your patience during this project. It's your enthusiasm that's kept us going. We're almost there!
- Eric and the Pinoccio Team
Hey there Pinoccio backers!
We have an exciting update for you. We are on the brink of shipping your perks to you! If you have moved in the last year, please check that the mailing address we have for you is correct. You have 48 hours to update the mailing address that's listed for you here:
After 48 hours, we will begin printing shipping labels! :) YES!!!
Details on how to check your mailing address:
Please log in to your Pinoccio account here, using the same email address that you used to back us on IndieGogo:
Once you've logged in, look under "Shipping Address," this is where we will mail your perk. If it's not correct, click Edit and update your address.
Please note that we're not talking about the mailing address that's listed on IndieGogo. We are now managing this information on our own web site.
If you haven't already created a Pinoccio account:
We've previously emailed all of you with a link, asking you to create an account on our web site. Those invitation emails were sent to the same email address that you used to back us on IndieGogo. If you didn't receive that email, check your Spam folder. Please note: if you create a new Pinocc.io account using a different email address than the one you used for IndieGogo, you will not see a Shipping Address listed.
If you need help with any of this, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll help you out.
Thanks to everyone for your enthusiasm, for your patience, and your kind words as we've worked to get Pinoccio out the door, and into your hands. :)
Sally and the Pinoccio Team
Sally here again!
Team Pinoccio rendezvoused in Pinoccio West last week for what we hoped would be a week of testing & flashing boards and packing them into boxes. Sadly, we're still dealing with the aftermath of the burst pipe and ensuing flood (see our last update).
Contractors came into our office to replace the floors, paint, and ceiling tiles. They did a great job, although they created a LOT of dust and didn't cover our things before they worked. So, the team spent much of the last few days sweeping, dusting, mopping.
What does 2 days of post-flood office cleanup look like? See it compressed into 30 seconds here:
In the tail-end of that video, you can see me pulling boxes off shelves, dusting them, and double-checking for any water damage. These boxes were the only things affected by the flood, and luckily they didn't have boards inside!
On the software side...
We're continuing to knock items off our list, including "Get Chrome app flashing boards with new sketches" which was just completed. This milestone means that if the boards ship and the included sketch needs to be updated later, we'll be able to install the fix during provisioning. You can always check this status page for the latest:
Tomorrow, we'll begin testing and flashing Scouts with our bootloader code. This is huge! This is a major step towards boards in boxes.
What's up with backpacks?
Way back during our campaign, we thought we'd be able to provide backpacks by the time perks were shipping. Oh we were so young and naive! Back then, we had done our homework and we knew that the only way we could possibly afford to produce the backpacks was to bring assembly in-house. We knew this would be difficult, but we thought that the difficulties would be mostly with learning how to use the line. Well, it turns out that financing the purchase of the equipment has been incredibly difficult. Our company is simply too young.
What we've discovered is that lenders here in the States require companies to be in business for a minimum of 2 years before you can get an equipment loan. There are some exceptions to this, but they involve ridiculous interest rates. We looked into other options, but long-story-short, we have not yet been able to get our in-house line. The good news is that if we had gotten the line set up, it would have been soaked in the flood. We'll keep you posted as we have updates about backpacks.
Gird your loins, grab your umbrella, and prime your brainhole for the flood of good vibes that are about to wash over you ...much like the flood that our brand-new beautiful Pinoccio West office experienced this weekend. Yes, that office. The one we just moved into, like 4 days ago. Reno's temperature dropped to 4 degrees fahrenheit, and — if you can freaking believe it — a pipe burst and showered our office with all of its watery glory. Peep this:
But, being that our team is comprised strictly of champions, we did not let this dampen our spirits. Nor did it rain on our parade. Actually, we got really lucky — only some of our boxes got wet, no electronics were affected.
Phew! Even still, we had to move completely out of the office. Nora ever-so-generously donated her guest bedroom to be Pinoccio West v2 temporarily. Thanks Nora!! This is where we will be packing your perks in the coming days:
As I write this, I'm sitting in the Phoenix airport, siphoning WiFi, waiting for a connecting flight to wisk me west-ward, so I can join the team and pack Pinoccio perks into packaging with pep and... words that starts with P!
On the software side, moments ago, Eric finished the Scout test jig code! YES DUDES!! Here's what that glorious moment looked like. Ready for it...
BAM! Now, that might not look exciting, but it is! Come hell or highwater, we're getting these perks to you SOON!!! :D
Double Brainbow all the way!
Did everyone have a good Thanksgiving/Hanukkah/Holiday/Break? Good, great, let's get on with it...
This is Jake (you may remember me from such gifs as "guy-who's-way-too-excited-about-dashboard-design") - I'm working on Pinoccio HQ, and I just wanted to give you a little update about some progress the team's made in the last couple weeks (you can follow along as we march towards "Ship Day" on our status page, http://pinocc.io/status)...
Chrome App Advancements
We've built a Chrome App that talks to Pinoccios over USB - this gives you a super-lightweight, always-up-to-date way to set up (or upgrade) your Scouts, since you don't have to download and maintain a huge standalone IDE.
We've recently landed full support for flashing boards through the Chrome app, and what you're seeing in the rainbow gif above is an example of the HQ website talking Serial to the Scout via the Chrome app, over USB - piece of cake!
Mesh Routing and Bus Rides
As you may know, Lead Scouts are in charge of routing all of a Troop's communication to-and-from the internet, via the wifi backpack. Well, our Lead Scout and provisioning code got a bit upgrade this week, and everything's working great! We were able to "chat" with a Field Scout, via the Lead Scout, from the web! Sally was participating in our daily standup from her phone, on a bus, and she could instantly run commands on my Field Scout! Here she is turning the led a nice shade of cyan...
All of these boards, boxes, and bodies need a home, and that home is Pinoccio West, in Reno, Nevada (that's the office in the pic above). We're in the middle of tearing out a wall to make room for our manufacturing floor, and things are shaping up nicely! You can see some pictures of the move up on Flickr.
One of the most important additions to Pinoccio West is Nora, our new Production and Operations Manager! Nora is working closely with Bob, our Hardware Technician (who just happens to be Eric's dad) to bring assembly in-house. She's only been on the team for a few weeks, but Nora is already turning this place into a well-oiled machine.
We've made a list and we're checking things
Eric mentioned this in his last update, but the Pinoccio Status Page is the best place to get updates on our shipping status. Things are really coming together this month, so keep checking in!
~ Jake and the Pinoccio Team