Blog

[ do default stuff if no widgets ]

Archive for September, 2012

Cleaning up and Getting Organized

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

As I mention repeatedly to supportive and patient customers, it’s just me here. I have a couple friends that help, but their help is minimal when it comes to the time needed. I do shipping, logistics, support, development, the web work, reaching out, manufacturing, debugging, you name it, and it’s all on the side of a very demanding full time job at a startup. It’s rough. I work 80 hours a week, sometimes a lot more. But I do it because I love it, and I’m not complaining.

But as a result of the work and attention required, I’ve been forced to get organized, and to be intelligent in the way I do things. I’ve learned a lot, and I want to be as open as possible in hopes that what I’ve learned can help someone else. Because the truth is, I’ve learned a lot from other people, to the point where I’m not quite sure how I would have gotten over some very big hurdles. Joe, the CEO of Saleae, is extremely open on his blog. He does a phenomenal job of communicating with customers. Sparkfun is another example of a company that is extremely open with their products and growing pains. I’ve at times, contacted them, or others with questions, and with no obligation, they have helped me. I was even recently featured on a sparkfun interview, and it was such an honor. I’m hoping that those who understand what flirc is, where it came from, and what I hope to accomplish feel comfortable in approaching me if they are struggling with something that I may have accomplished.

As everyone knows, I’ve been doing a lot of behind the scenes work, and I’m sorry to say software and firmware have been extremely slow going. But I’m cleaning up. I was forced to figure out how to get orders out without killing myself, and I’ve got it. Shipstation has been my saving grace. They nailed it when no other company has even come close.

I found a relatively new service to help with support called help scout. It’s amazing, clean, simple, and helps me stay on top of customer emails. Nothing will get lost anymore, and I can better keep track of dangling emails that need response. I’m very happy with it so far. I changed the website so all emails going into the support link, email to support@flirc.tv, and get routed to help scout. It no longer goes to my flirc inbox. Any emails leaving the site for registration, order status updates, lost passwords, come from noreply@flirc.tv. While that seemed obvious, for the longest time it was also coming from my own flirc email address. Customers would just hit reply, and my email box was filled with important emails and junk. Now, my email will be held strictly for business and staying on top of manufacturing, working with partners, and that’s it. I can manage support at help scout, and it will help me stay on top of everything by letting me know how long I’ve been taking to get back to people.

On the development side, I’m revamping things as well. I’m changing everything in my git repository, cleaning up all my code, re-structing all the firmware, and getting my tool chains cleaned up. Software is a mess right now and it takes too long to try anything out and deploy stuff for customers to try. I rely on Eric, my partner, for deploying the windows GUI. In fact, he does an amazing job as he’s done 95% of the GUI work. But when I want to add something, it’s too much work. I rely on virtual machines galore. That’s all getting solved. I am fixing my cross compilers, so that I’ll be able to make windows, mac, and linux GUI’s directly on my mac with one command. It’s going to be phenomenal and result in much faster beta’s that will be posted to the forums. Once that’s done, I will publish the API with doxygen, and shortly after, fix these stupid beta images, make one image that combines them all, and find out what’s wrong with waking the computer up from sleep.

If anyone is interested in hearing about some of the electrical problems that I’m having which effect yield, leave a comment and I can follow up with some pictures and how I intend on fixing them.

Thanks everyone for all the amazing support.