Theory, Practice, and Pause

Theory, Practice, and Pause
There's a saying that goes something like...

In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they're much different.

When I last checked in, we had a bug that was a bit mysterious. See, we had identified a change that needed to be made to the circuit board. And since it was a very small change, it could be simulated my manually adjusting the current test boards.... essentially adding a jumper wire between two circuits and a capacitor. We did this on our board and validated the code on it. Passed all tests with flying colors. Ready to green-light production, right?

Well, the factory replicated this change as well and they saw some strange behavior with the power button. They took photos of what they did and it was the same as our modification. In theory, the two boards should have behaved the same way.

The only way to really see what was going on was to make another small test batch of boards. Since these would be made the same way as they would actually be manufactured, if the behavior matched the one we had, we could move forward. If it matched theirs, we'd need to figure out why.

Unfortunately, the funny button behavior was still there. They sent the boards to us in order to troubleshoot. And while all the connections were "correct" in terms of leading to the proper places, two of the wires were just a bit too close to each other. This allowed a false signal to travel through the lead connected to the button and create a "phantom" press.

The fix is simple. We just need to have that wire take a different path from one point to the other, making sure it leaves more room around it. And we've already updated the specifications to the factory.

While I'm confident that this will address the issue, I still don't want to skip the step of making a test batch of PCB electronics and assembling some fully functioning timers to approve. If anything, this experience has reinforced my belief in following a systematic process.

Like the last test batch, this one will take about 4 weeks and once we have approved production and reserved factory time, I'll be able to block out the rest of the schedule on the calendar and estimate ship dates.

We've got pause!

This was the most requested function during the campaign so I really think this is going to make the device more useful! It was a bit complicated, but we actually managed to get it to go into the pause mode either by pressing the button or by laying it on its side. With this "dual input" approach there were a few things to work out like what would happen if you press the button, lay it on its side, then press the button again? (Nothing, it stays paused.) And then we had to make sure everything works whether it's facing "up" or "down".

When it goes into pause mode, the indication switches from a "breathing" animation that shows during normal timing to a "flashing" animation. And the time remaining remains illuminated. This serves as a subtle indicator as to which side is active for the timing. It's really natural to turn it back so that side is down to continue timing, or turn it the other way to cancel.

Check the video on Instagram to see how it works.

I feel like the way we did it feels really seamless. It intuitively does what you want and you don't need to think about exactly how you triggered the pause. If you're a purist and think that a time block session is ruined if you need to pause it, by all means you don't need to use it. All of the other functions remain the same whether you ever use pause or not.

I'm really excited to hear how you use pause and whether the way we've incorporated it works for you!


Jul 16, 2023 • Posted by Dave Z

Thanks Kevin! It’s quite fascinating to me as well… and pretty incredible that something like this can be made in such a streamlined and distributed way. Lots of folks in addition to myself are coordinating and contributing their passion and expertise.

Previously any electronics product would take millions of dollars of development and a large corporation, but with rapid prototyping and the ability for small teams too communicate efficiently, it’s now possible for a more specialized product like this to exist.

The last piece of the puzzle is folks like yourself who can join the journey virtually and support the project. It really is quite amazing when you think about it!

Jul 16, 2023 • Posted by Dave Z

Thanks Alfonso! I can see from your email address that you’ve got a particularly deep background in this area. I appreciate your support!

Jul 16, 2023 • Posted by Kevin Miller

Just a little pep talk: you might think your customers are annoyed by the additional delays—I’m sure some are—but this kind of stuff is quite fascinating to me as a lesson in how design and manufacturing works. Take all the time you need, cause it’s quite fun to follow your progress.

Jul 16, 2023 • Posted by Steven Eichbaum


Thanks for the update. It is much appreciated and the time it takes to get it right will reward all of us.

Still looking forward to the launch date.

“There’s never enough time to do it right but always enough time to do it over.”
– John W. Bergman

Jun 17, 2023 • Posted by Alfonso Velasquez

Electronics present sometimes estrange behaviors. Please take your time to be sure all is working OK. It is a new product and I am sure we all want a very nice product !

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