I hope the topic question is not out of bounds, but the end of December is upon us and I am wondering if there has been any public announcement that beta units have been shipped yet.
Nope. And they have said they will not publish who or when they where shipped.
I suspect that no matter what the status of the units, come Dec 31st “something” will go out the door to a non Glowforge employee. Even if they bubble wrapped the demo unit and drove it over to a techie, and asked for what they thought, it would technically meet the Beta shipping deadline. At least that is what I would do to keep the naysayers at bay. Even a demo unit in the hands of an independent reviewer would provide some useful test data.
LMAO! Sounds like a true product developer. Deadlines always mean midnight and shipping is a flexible thing - get something out to someone.
But not only does it keep the naysayers quiet (only for a bit, they’re always looking for something to bleat about), it keeps the team focused on tangible results and gives them a little “win” too on the sometimes difficult road to product vision fulfillment.
I’m in the middle of a software project going through similar gestation pains myself.
On Dec 2, Dan said:
“The first ones will ship in as little as two weeks.”.
"Can I talk publicly about my beta unit?
We’re working on legal paperwork, and the answer may not be the same
for everyone. For example, we might ask someone who’s active on the
board here to document their tests in public, while we might ask someone
who’s got a great engineering background to sign a more detailed
nondisclosure agreement so they can test things we haven’t talked about
publicly yet. "
All we can say at this time is the beta program has started.
Careful, “as little as two weeks” could be interpreted as April.
As in April 1…
My completely baseless and speculative guess is they already delivered a few to people around Seattle. I doubt anyone outside the Seattle area will get a beta until after the new year.
My guess would be the first batch will be “hush-hush” technical testing; second will be more open general user testing. This is also a completely baseless guess.
It’s why I never mention a year when someone asks me for a date.
I find everybody is happier that way.
For a while.
Except your fiance!
I felt a little funny asking as no one else had so far as I saw.
I’ve been in a few critical deadlines, usually on the responsibility end, so I do have sympathy for the GF team. With age comes the realization that its rarely a good idea to ship something before it is ready, especially where hardware is concerned, so I would encourage GF to get that right before the concrete sets. I’m OK with shipping something incomplete out now to technically satisfy a commitment and avoid bad press as that will also help to finalize the HW feature set.
I guess that we wait and see. I hope that the staff gets a bit of respite to spend time with friends and family during this holiday season. Sometimes a week off can do amazing things for intuition and energy.
I’ve found that’s true for hardware (maybe…at least anything that can’t be updated in firmware anyway). But in software I’ve begun to subscribe to the school of thought that says if you wait for perfect in software you’ll never ship because you’ll fall prey to feature creep and bloat. Getting software out early gets real world, real user feedback before you waste a lot of time building something brilliant that real people decide is dreck. Once you get past the minimally viable product stage, the downsides of waiting seem to outweigh the benefits of early release (with frequent updates).
I agree that delaying software to add one more thing, fix one more minor bug, run one more esoteric test case, is waiting for a perfect that will never arrive. That said, receiving updates every week is a sign of poor software development processes (sometimes the flip side of the poor processes that lead to nothing ever being released and sometimes the same ones.)
That’s actually one hidden benefit of Glowforge doing most of the S/W through Cloud services. The end user will only notice updates if new features are added or if the user interface changes. This Discourse forum for example has been updated many, many times since late Sept but the users have not noticed most of the changes and receive no S/W updates on their end.
One advantage to shipping software before it is fully formed is that it can give users a chance to provide feedback for features or preferred workflow before the developers are so committed that change becomes nearly impossible. That is probably easier with cloud software so updates can be rolled out quickly and widely. I’ve been using Onshape for the past 8 months or so. They recently came out of open beta and have been doing significant updates every 3-4 weeks. They have an active forum and actively solicit user suggestions. It would be terrific if Glowforge could follow that model.
It seems to me that hardware is quite a bit different - that better be pretty well nailed down by the time of beta testing.