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Archive for June, 2017

Firmware, GUI, Company Updates

Friday, June 16th, 2017

It’s been a very busy, exciting, and challenging year. I’ll give some broad updates and focus on some of the smaller details. I’m trying to be a bit better at what I’m working on, so I’m actively updating a new status board page.

Highlights

  • We welcomed our beautiful new daughter Lily Coco Kotzin into the Flirc family and team.
  • I moved the business out of the home and into an office. We’re in a great location, and it’s got plenty of room to grow.
  • Had a booth at Maker Faire in the bay area.
  • Flirc Gen2 has had a number of fixes and improvements (more later)
  • GUI Updates
  • Finally Wrote a Manual.
  • Backend Website improvements for our new product we hope to release later this year
  • Flirc Raspberry Pi Gen2 Case should be arriving to headquarters soon

All of these things within itself were major feats. I especially want to give a loving thank you to my amazing wife, who made Maker Faire possible, and without, there would be no Flirc. She gives me constant encouragement in the hardest of times, which grow in difficulty as the company grows in size.

All these release notes can be found on the Downloads Page under What’s New.

Firmware Updates

Since the release of Flirc Gen2, there have been countless challenges. A number of issues have come up that are rare, and nearly impossible to reproduce. Rather than focusing on firmware features, I’ve been hard at work solving some of the most technically challenging problems I’ve faced. If you haven’t gotten the new firmware, please do, it’s a must. Since the release, here are the main updates

  • Fixed a rare issue on windows that wouldn’t wake up the machine
  • Performance improvements
  • Algorithm improvements
  • Bug fixes
  • Fixed stuck keys
  • Fixed NEC repeats
  • Fixes for button already exists issues
  • Will wake up the machine in S2 and S3 states now too
  • Windows media center support fixes
  • Working on PS3/PS4 fixes

Things are looking good with the current release. So I’m back to working on architecture, and feature planning. To help solve customer related issues, I’m working on some improvements to save all IR signals in your room. The intention is to basically record everything that’s seen in your room in the infrared spectrum, and then reproduce it in the office so I can get to the bottom of why our unit might not be working. Right now, I basically have to buy your remote. I wont need to do that anymore. One of the resulting features that comes from this is the IR transmitter on Flirc. Work has begun on that, and I’m excited where it’s going.

Inteset

I’m also fully engaged trying to bake in Flirc support on Inteset remotes. Flirc has it’s own special IR protocol, which will guarantee not to conflict with anything else in your living room. This infact will be the same protocol the harmony remotes use.

New Built In Protocols

I’m working with both inteset and harmony to beef up the current profiles. I’d like them to add the following:

  • NVIDIA Shield
  • Plex
  • PS3/PS4
  • WMCE
  • XBox

Because the protocols are my own, I wrote some code to generate all the key codes needed. So in fact, I will release a firmware update before them that will add these devices to everyone’s flirc, and they will be supported once logitech and inteset add the codes to their databases.

Algorithm Improvements

Huge improvements were made to the algorithm today that baked in a 10x hashing performance. This is huge, and a much needed and welcome addition. Since I do my hashes in interrupt context, I needed to speed this up. This was actually a needed addition before I add remote buddy support.

GUI Updates

  • Fixed issue where firmware can be stuck in bootloader
  • Fixed a lot of issues which would cause device to show up as ‘disconnected’
  • Advanced window for gen2, shows device sku
  • Gen2 can now do ‘force upgrade’ in advanced (Good for testing out firmware and reverting back to Stable)
  • GUI intelligently shows firmware update release notes
  • Major bug fixes
  • Controller updates (WMCE)
  • Many many more (see the release notes)

One of the biggest issues I face is letting users know of new firmware updates. I have a couple ideas to fix this.

I’ll be a bit better at blog updates, and try and post bi-weekly.

Here is a pic of the family at Maker Faire, Thanks to everyone who stopped by. It’s always a pleasure and treat when someone walks by the booth, does a double take, and says, “hey! I have one of those!”