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An open-source, wireless, Internet of Things Greenhouse monitoring and automation system for your farm or garden.
An open-source, wireless, Internet of Things Greenhouse monitoring and automation system for your farm or garden.
449 backers pledged $47,053 to help bring this project to life.

March 21, 2014 update that didn't go out

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Posting this update that I wrote March 21 but apparently saved and didn't send.  April 18th updates at bottom.

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I had hoped the web interface would be ready this week.  As previously mentioned, I hired a contract development firm, Brightbit (www.brightbit.com) to implement the rest of the dashboard.  They estimated a 6 week development cycle, which was to end this week. 

Three and a half weeks ago, I started to become concerned (around the halfway mark) that their progress ( and their billed hours ) were not in line with the deliverable.  I started to reach out to them with little success.  The work that they had done was largely administrative and what they deemed cleanup work to get started on the project, which is completely understandable that they work in a codebase they are most comfortable in, assuming they make good on the actual deliverable.  

Long story short, after two weeks of failed communication, I decided to halt any further work in order to prevent them from burning through our already limited funds with more unnecessary changes and no tangible results.  I asked for a full refund, to which they denied, finally settling on a partial refund for the hours billed.  This is just the latest failure in a string of setbacks encountered on route to getting this actually built. 

I did see this coming around three weeks ago, so I was able to switch gears and seek out some freelancers on oDesk who I've contracted out smaller portions of the project in hopes to see some more immediate results.  Additionally, our new partners (Bing and Lorenzo) have agreed to lend us their development team in the phillipines to jumpstart the process.
They should come onboard Monday and hopefully we will see a much faster rate of progress, as we've more or less stalled or false started now for some time.

Again my apologizes the news is not better. 

Mike

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April 18th

I've had pretty good results through oDesk contracting out small pieces of work to developers while my new partners get onboarded and familiar with the infrastructure and development which is already done.  It can be quite overwhelming at first to get up to speed due to the complexity of the backend systems at play.  I'm anxious to have them get started on the web interface so we can start providing demos and screenshots for you all to see and provide feedback and hopefully start earning back your trust and support with the progress.

More importantly for HarvestGeek, I am anxious to have a fresh set of perspectives and direction and insights into the decision making.  Obviously we, I , have stumbled considerably trying to get this off the ground.  I look forward to sharing the reigns with two capable individuals who have started and run their own businesses and are passionate about what HarvestGeek is trying to accomplish.  

In addition to getting them up to speed on the development they are also helping me get the business items in order.  On that front we are putting together a spending report to account for what we've done thus far, which we intend to share at least a high level once completed.  We're formalizing our business processes, business plan and setting a new timetable and milestones so we can set expectations and re-establish rapport with our stakeholders.  We're expanding our hardware testing and integrating it with the web application with sneak-peaks of the dashboard to come.  

We've set aside Thursdays to focus on HarvestGeek and redeveloping our customer relations including me giving a more concerted effort to responding to stakeholder inquiries.  

-Mike

Tusenblad, James Bilodeau, and 1 more person like this update.

Comments

    1. Creator Evolved Agriculture on April 19, 2014

      JT -- The hardware is open source, not the application.
      Mike -- As stated above, we're working towards setting a new timetable. Nothing concrete yet. Once we know, you'll know.

    2. Creator Mike McCarthy on April 19, 2014

      When can we expect a product at our door?

    3. Creator Mike McCarthy on April 18, 2014

      When can expect a product at out door?

    4. Creator JT Justman on April 18, 2014

      Hello, Mike! Thank you for the update! I would like to join in urging you to open source the project sooner than later. I have spent many years as both a client and coder on web projects and I will tell you that public scrutiny is not something you should be afraid of. If your coders are afraid to release code they are not worth their salt. I think being afraid of copycats is exactly the wrong attitude to take. You need to leverage the enthusiasm of your backers! You also need to force yourself to give frequent updates. If you open up your code repository, you get that for free!

    5. Creator James Bilodeau on April 18, 2014

      Thanks for the update, Mike!
      It is good to get an some insight into what is going on and know where the project sits. It sounds like things are progressing now. Cheers

    6. Creator Evolved Agriculture on April 18, 2014

      Carlo over at MEG team has a cool concept for an indoor fully automated greenhouse. Check out his kickstarter here. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/yradia/meg-open-source-indoor-greenhouse

    7. Creator Evolved Agriculture on April 18, 2014

      Hi Dani, I did receive the new address, however, what I ask is that you update your address through http://www.harvestgeek.com/kickstarter. You'll need to be signed in with your account.

      Karl, the hardware and the firmware are open source, but we're holding off on releasing that information until we ship. This is mainly for strategic reasons to keep copy cats at bay until we are able to release the system as a whole.

      The HarvestGeek API will be open the same way Twitter API is open. However, the web application itself is not open source software.

    8. Creator Dani Colston on April 18, 2014

      I agree with Karl, got no problems with delays, part and parcel of kickstarter, just nice to be updated :) and a very informative update it was.

      On another note, I emailed yourselves the other day as I'm moving house, can u confirm that you recieved it and the new address will be used?

    9. Creator Karl Rixon on April 18, 2014

      Thanks for the update. Although there have been issues, I personally have no problem with that as long as they are communicated, so it's good to hear that you are seeking to address this.

      Given the open source nature of this project, it would perhaps be a good idea to make the code publicly available as soon as the foundation is in place. I'm a software engineer full time, so can't dedicate the necessary hours to be deeply involved in the development, but I'd be happy to make contributions and I'm sure there are lots of others who would be willing to lend a hand too.

    10. Creator Evolved Agriculture on April 18, 2014

      My partners and I had this discussion and agree this would be a mistake, although it sounds nice in theory. We only have one shot at manufacturing a working product and fulfilling our rewards. If we were to manufacture and ship now prior to having a working solution, both hardware and software together, we run the risk of finding out that they don't play nice together, rendering the hardware a paperweight.

    11. Creator Michael Kellner on April 18, 2014

      I agree. I'd rather have the hardware in hand to tinker with it than wonder if this is just another failed Kickstarter project.

    12. Creator Anthony Webb on April 18, 2014

      Why not just send the hardware in the meantime? Perhaps us developers in the crowd can help you get where you need to be? I know I'd feel much better about the project myself if I at least had the hardware in hand to if nothing else tinker with while the dashboard is finished up.

      My greatest fear is that this is actually more than just a software problem, some hardware in hand would go a long way to restoring my faith that I didnt just buy a bill of goods from you.