Last time I wrote I signed off by worrying that the mobile apps would take a long time. Sure enough, app development has been a crawl.
iOS App Update
I think the iOS app is just about release-ready. It’s lacking bells and whistles, but core functionality comes first. Here’s a quick video.
Though the individual functions might all look somewhat familiar from previous demo videos, a whole lot has changed under the hood:
- iOS 8 is supported
- Firmware compatibility checks and over-the-air updates are supported
- Connection process is smoothed out
- Settings exposed to user in comprehensible way (for previous demo videos I was setting a lot of registers manually)
- Many, many miscellaneous bug fixes
In the comments section of the last update, a reader (Thanks Beat!) alerted me that although you can usually get away with shipping one or two radios through USPS, shipping hundreds will likely cause packages to be returned. International shipments would likely be a problem as well, as customs in many countries find it suspicious if a package is sending out radio packets.
The most obvious solution would be to ship the meters without the batteries installed. But this has many downsides. Shipping the meters disassembled is not viable because the meters are very delicate in the disassembled state. A battery pull-tab like you find on many consumer devices is not a good option because the enclosure is almost sealed. And I don’t want the user to have to go get a screwdriver and disassemble+reassemble their meter upon first receiving it.
The best solution I could come up with was having all the meters go in to “shipping mode” before I mail them. The meters will not be broadcasting radio packets. Instead, they will be hibernating, waking every few seconds to see if someone has shorted out the resistance measurement input. If the resistance measurement input is shorted, the meter wakes the radio and behaves normally. I’ll put a little instruction sheet in all the shipments, but this means you will receive a working meter, no assembly required.
In the app development process I turned up a bug in the bootloader that was based in the meter firmware. The bootloader is the part of firmware that cannot be updated on the fly. This is very frustrating, because the bootloader had already been loaded on a few hundred meters. So those meters had to/have to be disassembled, reprogrammed, recalibrated, and reassembled. *deep sigh* Such is life.
The iOS app needs a little bit more polish, then will be submitted to the app store. The Android app is further behind. I’m considering polling the crowdfunding group to see who uses iOS and who uses Android, so I can start releasing meters to iOS users first while the Android app development continues. More on that soon. I’m really eager to get meters out the door ASAP, especially since we are approaching the Holiday Warp.
Apologies again for the delays, this Thanksgiving I am thankful for your patience.