Anyone bothered by the lack of updates?


#1

Is anyone bothered by either the lack of substantive updates or the (seeming) prioritization of updates? Since day one I’ve been bothered by the inaccuracy of the camera/placement of materials, the inability to track using the pass through, or the inability to upload a large job and have it complete. It’s always about workarounds and wasted materials. I was able to let it slide without much complaint before the product was sold to any and all. But now that the product is being sold to the general public, it is getting more difficult to do so. It is especially irksome when I read about the progress being made on the iOS app, which in my view should be a low priority given that most people are (most likely) using either a computer or an Android device (around 60% of US smartphone users use an Android device and it’s even higher in almost all other countries, except Japan).

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.

By the way, here is a link to an old list of features promised/delivered. I’m not sure if a more recent list exists.


#2

I’m lucky in that my unit has very good placement accuracy over the entire bed. However, I don’t do a lot that requires placement accuracy and the few times I do cutting a jig from cardboard hasn’t bothered me. If I did this type of work a lot, I would certainly be frustrated with it.

I’m getting impatient for this as well.

I’ve never had a large job not complete. I’ve only done a small number of 2-3 hour engraves (including one that took 3 hours, 0 minutes, 0 seconds - I’m still fascinated by nice whole numbers even though I know it’s meaningless.) I don’t have any vector designs with tens of thousands of nodes.

Different users want to use their laser differently and how you want to use it will have a big impact on the amount of frustration you feel. I get the people who are reaching or are at the boiling point, but there are also some of us who aren’t feeling it that much. As to the updates, my job consists of providing updates so I understand why dan’s taking his approach and I’m actually a little jealous. I’ve also had to explain to my bosses why we could have made an inch of progress on a priority with the resources we used to make a mile of progress on something they didn’t care as much about. I’m hoping that is the case with the iOS app. I’m probably not the normal user experience here.


#3

Yes, many of us are bothered by the lack of updates. There are a few active threads on the topic right now.


#4

I just want my glowforge.


#5

I just put things under the camera if I want them lined up accurately. Even out at the edges, I can generally position things to come out pretty close to where I want them. If I want perfection, I spend a couple of minutes more to make a cardboard jig. It’s not a big deal. I’m much more interested in having a machine that will do the same thing in the same place as it did the last time, and it does that extremely well.

My guess, having managed a software dev team in the past, is that someone on the team has a skillset more appropriate to app development than the main software project, and had finished whatever their previous task was, leaving time in their schedule that couldn’t be used productively otherwise, so they were put to work on developing an app because it made more sense than wasting their talents on answering phones or something. It’s efficient use of resources, and it gives the users a perk to play with while they’re waiting on the big stuff that person (hypothetically) wasn’t working on anyway.

The few times I’ve run into this, the size of the job has invariably been a product of my sloppy (mostly, in my defense, due to lack of expertise and experience) design work; not optimizing paths/nodes and such. I take it as a challenge to learn ways to design more efficiently.

My two main complaints to date are these:

  1. The Spring Feathers aren’t symmetrical (completely minor and inconsequential, but it annoys me. So there you go).

  2. The packaging of PG materials for shipping is crappy. (I did get my full order on the last try, but it was a close call – the air packs inside were all burst, and only one small strip of tape was still intact and holding the box closed and my stuff inside.)

If I had a Pro I might be upset about the passthrough stuff, but I don’t, so it’s not something that’s eating at me.

OTOH, I remain supremely impressed at @dan’s complete unflappableness and unfailing politeness, not to mention his willingness to admit where he’s failed and try to make it up to us (loving me some store credit!). I have never yet seen him make even a hint of a snarky remark, even when it was completely justified, or try to make excuses when he’s criticized.

I would be incapable of having held my temper and kept my mouth shut through many of the accusations that have been hurled at him. He never tries to refute things or defend his actions, even though (at least lately) some of the accusations have strayed pretty far over the line where I would professionally diagnose paranoia. And I’m board certified and licensed to make that assessment in GF’s home state, so don’t bother trying to argue it or I’ll throw my DSM5 at you. 'Cause much as I’d like to be, I’m just not as nice as @dan! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


#6

Nope. :smile:


#7

I am mostly bothered by lack of communication. I think there have been improvements in the software as I’m seeming to have fewer issues in the app, but it could be that I’m just not running into things.

I would be much happier with a short monthly update that said, “these are the issues we fixed, these are the new things we released, and these are the things we are working on”. It would also be very great to see a rough list of the next 5 things that they are going to work on.


#8

I completely forgot about that post and haven’t touched it since Sept. Please let me know if anything is out of date and I will update it.


#9

When I managed that software team that management was driving to do impossible stuff faster than even possible stuff could be done, they ALSO wanted detailed daily progress updates. Which would have meant interrupting what we were all slaving over without even taking lunch breaks so we could spend a couple of hours writing reports to answer all of their questions about where we were on each piece of the project and why we weren’t where they thought we should be and trying to explain how the nuts and bolts actually worked to people who had no clue what a nut or bolt even was, but seemed to think you could just throw a bunch of them in a bucket and magically have a working machine.

I eventually ended up handing my development tasks over to others on the team because the constant interruptions made it impossible for me to make any progress on anything. After that I just focused on providing ample amounts of coffee and Nerf guns to help fuel productivity, and shielding my team from the stupidity so they could actually get some work done. Which meant spending a lot of time on the phone yelling at clueless managers about how complying with their unreasonable expectations that we do something nobody else had managed to succeed at, in 'way less time than anyone else had taken to fail at it, meant we could either DO STUFF or TALK ABOUT DOING STUFF, but not BOTH, so they needed to frigging decide whether they actually wanted a working product, and if so, let us build it.


#10

I managed an engineering team for about a year before leaving to do other things…same thing. Managers are put there to do the worrying, and fill out reams of reports and time cards showing just how much everyone on their teams was doing.

Total waste of time for certain self-motivated groups of people. Probably why I only stuck it out a year before leaving to start my own company with the hubs.

Leaving worked out though, so that was the correct decision in retrospect.


#11

Was the Chief.Engineer on many larger H/W and S/W projects than GF. Some took longer either on purpose or because of unforseen problems, but I always had a good handle on status and always saw good progress.

That said, I’m not able to sit in on their reviews. So no, I’m never bothered by stuff outside of my control. Most things aren’t.


#12

I’m sorry for those who have had the unpleasant experience of working on dysfunctional project teams. It’s far too common in the software industry. I believe the primary reason is the lack of awareness that product, project, and people management are professions. My observation has been that most of the time, people are put into these roles with no training or experience. The PM doesn’t know how to PM but their job depends on having something to sell to the customers, so they demand “impossible” things from the engineering lead who thinks their job is just to write code and who gets ticked off at being asked to meet deadlines and business goals. The business, meanwhile, is funding all of this and just wants to know how their money is being spent and whether they’re getting a return on the investment, but nobody will give them a straight answer to what seems to them to be a straightforward request for a status report.

Everyone comes out of that experience believing it’s everyone else’s fault and from now on they’ll drag all of this baggage along with them, unwittingly infecting future teams with the bad habits they’ve learned.

Not that I would know anything about this, of course. I’m far too smart to have ever gotten caught in one of those patterns!


#13

I was too stupid and/or dependent on the 6-figure salary to leave of my own accord. The aforementioned managers were living off the fat of the dot com boom and most of them were useless bodies drawing large salaries and not really adding any value to the company. In the post-911 tech crash they decided to lay us all off rather than shave their own salaries, which in retrospect was probably the best thing that could have happened, at least for me. It gave me the chance to realize that the job was killing me and I wanted to do something that actually meant something in the whole scheme of things. We ended up going bankrupt, but I was able to start over again in a whole new career. I still end up yelling at people on the phone a lot (insurance companies), but now it’s about making people’s lives better, not just padding some corporation’s bottom line, and it feels 'way more worthwhile. :slight_smile:


#14

I gave them weekly status reports. That wasn’t good enough for them. They also couldn’t decide on one person to delegate to be the go-between, so I had to respond to the same questions multiple times from like 5 or 6 different high-level managers on any given day. The only saving grace was that we weren’t located in the same state as the home office, so they couldn’t come barging in on us whenever they wanted, but were constrained to phone and email. :slight_smile:


#15

On the other hand, my team was incredible. We did magical things together, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.

We had already saved them from a fatal Y2K flaw they discovered at the last possible minute, and a database developer who was basically holding the company hostage by having a kill switch in his code that would take the enterprise system down if he wasn’t there to enter a password every two weeks. Totally illegal, but they couldn’t afford to prosecute because they knew he’d take them down while they battled through the legal system. We designed and developed a complete new enterprise system to run every aspect of the company in only 8 months, managed to extract the data without him discovering it, and interfaced the whole thing with the accounting software package they bought right in the middle of the process without our input (even though the accounting software company said we wouldn’t be able to interface with it like we needed to and make it work), creating the entire thing in total secrecy so the original developer couldn’t get wind of it. We managed to take it live with no ability to beta test or run in parallel with the old system, since he trashed the old one the second he got wind of ours. Which meant not only did it have to WORK, but it had to be intuitive enough for the sales and support staff to figure it out on the fly, and we had to design their modules to do what they needed without being able to get their input on functionality.

And we did it. And they didn’t have a single day of downtime.

As thanks, we got their expectation that we could pretty much do anything in the shortest amount of time possible with the least amount of guidance. I guess we kind of deserved it. Nobody but us will ever really understand the enormity of what we accomplished, but we do, and it was awesome.

Actually the company that made the accounting software wanted us to do it for them too, but we’d seen far more than we ever wanted of the insides of their databases, and wanted nothing to do with it, for any amount of money! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


#16

Thank you all for the replies. Appreciated.


#17

while i understand others’ comments about managing large projects, i think this is something that could be done better than it is without turning it into an “extensive weekly status report that the FNLs have to approve.”

lots of companies doing software incremental updates. they generally come with release notes. and you get told, because it has to be installed on your system.

the problem is here that there are updates made, but nobody tells us unless it’s a big deal that they can announce. we have no idea if/when they’re made unless they get to announce something. i’m not a developer, but i know you’re supposed to document your code. there have to be some sort of release notes being made internally. should it really be that hard to document them out based off of those notes in a very simplistic fashion along with a version number somewhere that tells the users what’s going on with their software?


#18

I agree entirely. They have the option to communicate. They choose not to.


#19

No denying that communication is poor, whether intentional or just because they don’t know better. But, my two cents, about half of what folks claim as changes, updates or firmware loads never happened. But what you say certainly applies to the real changes.


#20

I think some of the innovations in the design of the glowforge are difficult to perfect. I think about an established company like FSL who rushed to emulate the glowforge after seeing the success of the 30 day pre-sale, and in their rush flubbed the idea of the Muse so badly they decided to give up and sell the design rights to Dremel. That to me is an indication of the difficulty involved in bringing these innovations to perfection.
That’s just my speculation, but one thing I am quite sure of is this team is doing their level best. For that, I am grateful - and I look forward to the continued evolution of this machine’s ability.

As to the level of communication from the company regarding development, That is their prerogative. I’m just glad to have this laser at my disposal. I can wait for the machine to mature. I waited more than 2 years to get here, I guess that lesson in patience took.