First, a quick update about something I mentioned earlier on the blog. A few months back I talked about a big summer project that I would be involved in. Although that project is not yet complete, I’ve completed the most time-sensitive part of it, so I’m now able to put more time back into my Etherkit work. I’ll be sure to share more about the project later, when it’s closer to being finished.
This brings me to the main point. Now that I’m in the home stretch of bringing OpenBeacon Mini to market and I’m tidying things up and whatnot, I finally came to grips with the ridiculousness of the moniker. Yes, it started off with the intent to be a small project, hence the ‘Mini’ part, but you know, feature creep. I’ve taken a lot of justified, well-natured ribbing about the name, and I finally decided that it was time to change it since I’m in the last big push before bringing it to market. Henceforth, the old half-baked OpenBeacon 2 project on GitHub was renamed OpenBeacon 3, and the Mini is now going to claim its proper title as OpenBeacon 2. If OpenBeacon 2 is at all successful, OpenBeacon 3 will simply be an extension of 2, based on the same design but with some additional features such as on-board GPS, support for an external reference, and perhaps a few other things.
So what are the next steps for OpenBeacon 2? The design is pretty much locked down now. I have a few minor errors to correct on the PCB and of course I need to change the silkscreen, but that will be easy to do and I expect to order the latest PCB spin very soon. After that, I’ll finally get the wide beta test going and put together the preorder campaign. The firmware mostly needs some polish and tweaking; almost all of the core functions are there. The PC sync/remote control program has all of the basic functionality written and is built for X86 Linux, Rapsberry Pi ARM Linux, and Windows.
Finally, a brief mention of some other unfinished business. A few years back, I had a Patreon account and from the help of some very generous folks, was able to count on a bit of extra funding every month to help me in paying for parts and tools used for development of hardware, firmware, and software. It was extremely helpful, as we are on a pretty strict budget and Etherkit doesn’t really make money at this point in time. Eventually, Patreon ended up changing their terms and I ragequit. Since then, my work output has been spotty at best and I never found a suitable alternative, so I never tried to replace it. However, I recently saw that OpenTechLab got back to making videos and also started a page on SubscribeStar. Since I wanted to support him, I created an account and figured I might as well make a page for myself as well. This is just a soft launch, since I haven’t really done much to earn it yet in 2019. I am ramping back up after yet another lull and I do hope to produce enough open source content to earn some funding again. Also, is there anything I could offer to subscribers to sweeten the deal a bit? I’m uncertain if there are any extra benefits I could deliver that would make a subscription worth your while. Let me know in the comments (or personally if you’re someone I regularly chat with). Anyway, if you are happy with what you see in the future from me, please consider a recurring subscription at that time. Thank you!