So, what's the current status of everything?

EvilDragon

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This time, I'm just giving a quick text update again.

No video for two reasons:
1. I'm seriously lacking time (which is also why I didn't post an update earlier)
2. I don't have anything new to show right now

If you followed my various posts here on the boards, you probably know a bit of the current status but I'll try to summarize it here - so hopefully, all questions shall be answered.
If not, let me know and I'll answer :)



1. The Preorder Prototypes

I still haven't assembled them for one simple reason: Time... and this:
I forgot (yeah, I'm getting old, seriously...) that these PCBs hadn't been checked yet for non-working keys.
As I reported previously, most of the prototypes had the issue that some keys have not been working. This was because at some time during the production run, very tiny diodes have been ripped from the boards and were missing.
We fixed all European Modem PCBs - but I forgot that we didn't do that with the US Modem PCBs yet!

And it turns out that these all have some non-working keys. I have the diodes here and just need to check which ones need to be replaced.
However, I didn't have the time to do that yet (more and that further down in the newspost), so that's the sole reason they haven't shipped yet.

But I WILL make sure every prototype preorder receives his unit before christmas!



2. The status of the cases

The order for 1000 full case sets has been placed, as they work perfectly fine now and look gorgeous.
Azouls will now order the plastics needed and take care of the production run. I might visit Greece again to show you more videos of the production run - but I don't know if I find the time.
December is always a stressful time for an online shop, and I've got tons or work to do at the moment anyways. We'll see.

It should take around 4 - 5 weeks until all sets are finished (depending on how fast the plastic arrives... planning something around christmas time is always messy) and shipping will probably take another 2 weeks, so that means we should have them all here in January, ready to be painted.

I will receive more painted samples (with some other colors) soon and will make more videos of them :)



3. The status of the remaining parts

Basically, everything is there.
Speakers, logo plates, batteries, bare PCBs, all parts needed for PCB production, LCD Cables, LCDs, Keymats, etc.

So yeah, we're basically ready for production once the cases arrive here.

Nothing more to be done here.



4. The status of the current OS

Well, "OS" is probably wrong, as the OS we use is a standard Debian, so that one is working with all programs you have on a normal Linux system.
So it's the status of the kernel and general drivers.

Toastbucket is helping out a lot! He has almost finished the battery charger / monitor driver, which is not only needed for the end user, but it's also really helpful to when fixing the prototype preorders PCBs because right now, I can only boot the system when a battery is inserted. So I have to assemble / disassemble the unit each time I want to test it. Booting the PCB without any case around it will make things a lot easier here.

aTc and Toastbucket have also worked to make the image building and package creation easier to handle and as automatic as possible.
We also switched to our own kernel GIT (which is based on the Letux Kernel) as the Letux Kernel GIT is too volatile right now. This makes it very hard to fix the remaining issues and get out a mostly working Pyra when the production starts.

It's also a lot easier for developers to help us out, as the Letux kernel git is quite complex due to the large amount of systems it does support. Having one GIT where only the Pyra stuff is a lot more overseeable.
We will also keep an eye open for Pyra fixes in the Letux kernel to pull them over and will also try to provide our fixes to the Letux kernel.

We're using kernel 4.19 for the first release, as this is the one that worked best on our testing units so far.
Our goal is to get this one completely stable with all hardware features first.
After that is done and we have a stable working OS, we will switch to a more recent kernel which will be unstable / testing after everything has been approved to be working and then this will become the next stable one.

The kernels will all be available as Debian package, so anyone can decide for himself whether he prefers the stable kernel or help out finding bugs in the testing one :)

The kernel git can be found here:
https://dev.pyra-handheld.com/kernel/pyra-kernel

And the U-Boot git can be found here:
https://dev.pyra-handheld.com/kernel/pyra-uboot

So if you want to help out there, you're more than welcome :)



5. Time issues

As mentioned at the beginning of the post, the biggest issue for me at the moment is: Time!
I'm barely managing to keep up with all the work right now, I easily have enough work that would keep two fulltime employees busy!
Thankfully, I've got a trainee who helps with the office stuff (shipping packages, etc.) and while this takes a bit of workload off my shoulders, there's still a lot more work to do.

Now, I can hear how some are crying "Why are you even working on other things - just get the Pyra out to us, this is most important!".
Well, yes, I can understand where you're coming from.
However, this is exactly what caused the issues with the Pandora back then: Craig decided to spend all his time to work on the Pandora and closed the shop... and that eventually lead to the issue that he ran out of money.
This is NOT what we want to happen!
Unfortunately, the Pyra has turned out to cost A LOT more than planned (due to a lot of bad stuff that happened), so money is tight and the only thing to keep things going is by pulling in money.

For example, I am producing the 2000 cartridges for the EU/US release of the MegaDrive/Genesis game Ultracore (some of you might even have preordered it).
While this eats quite a bit of my time, it actually fully financed the production of the 1000 keymats.

And of course, keeping the shop interesting by adding new interesting products also takes some time but pulls in money.

So in case you're wondering why sometimes things like finishing up the preorder prototypes or news posts take a while: it's not because I want to delay the Pyra for as long as possible (that would be crazy indeed), it's simply because I can't afford to hire more staff right now OR work fulltime on the Pyra.

It's a very delicated balancing between time, money, customer support - and, and, and... (I should run a gofundme ;)))

As you surely can see, things are moving along, even it they sometimes take longer than they should, but I hope you now understand the reason for that.

Okay, I'm off to bed now... it's 5:52am in the morning again... time runs too fast, seriously!
 

Cralex

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I know a simple text post isn’t as nice as a fresh Pyra warning up my hands, but I truly appreciate you taking the time to write it, as well as the transparency with the obstacles you are facing and the steps you are taking to mitigate them. It helps me keep the faith and that you are taking care to remain financially functional until the Pyra is ready to stand on its own.

It’s been sorely tempting to buy one of the Chinese high-powered emulation machines that we have nowadays, but that would only divert money and attention from what I’m already invested in: the Pyra. I’d rather wait patiently for something made with tender care and attention to detail, that can do more things than other current devices can and that will be polished to a mirror finish over the coming years by the developers and this community.
 

levi

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Awesome. Kernel 4.19 is a fine choice since we get security patches all the way up to the end of next year, and we'll all have our pyras by then I sincerely hope. And the feature checklist is looking a lot more promising these days. And devs can spend that year getting stuff working on 5.4 or whatever the longest term longterm support kernel is by then.

And it's great news that Grench and the other preordered will get theirs for christmas. Hopefully a few of them will have their own video camera and youtube accounts and can upload cool vids to promote it. The rest of us can wait for you to recover from the christmas rush; we've waited this long, so another month won't kill us.
 

Robert Taylor

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Thank you kindly ED! Always appreciate the update.

I am curious what everyone here who pre-ordered thinks about this idea:

There are about 1000 pre-orders. What if we all chipped in $100 euro or a subset of us bought some coupons at a greater value to help with production? That would be $100 000 euro toward the project and really give the project a push.

The painted cases look sooooo amazing and the project is going really well, I think I will buy some coupons right after I get back to the office.

What are your guys thoughts?
 

Bosbeetle

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2. The status of the cases

The order for 1000 full case sets has been placed, as they work perfectly fine now and look gorgeous.
Azouls will now order the plastics needed and take care of the production run.

This is HUGE news... so the cases are final and ordered! A big milestone! Congats ED!
 
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matzesu

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At least whe now have sort of a Date, and whe need now a lot of issues to have Januar 2021.
Take the time you need, its dosnt matter if the Pyra gets ready in 2 Months more or less,
Every € that helps to keep you from bankrupt is good

Its the same as our Shop: The Customers make work, and i cant fullfill my Dutys in the Shop when there are lots of Customers, but whe need they..
 

remjey

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Thanks ED for the update! I really appreciate all the efforts and attention you put in the project and in ways to keep it afloat financially, and that you still find time to participate in the forum and make videos and news posts. Take care!
 

Pyramancer

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Good update / status report. :) Thank you.
Basically, everything is there.

Speakers, logo plates, batteries, bare PCBs, all parts needed for PCB production, LCD Cables, LCDs, Keymats, etc.

So yeah, we're basically ready for production once the cases arrive here.

Nothing more to be done here.
Hmm... reading this literally, it sounds like the mass production will not begin at all until the cases have arrived.

From an uninformed outsider perspective at least, it would seem to be better to populate the PCBs in parallel with the case production, so that when the cases arrive the boards are ready to be assembled into Pyras.

What are the reasons for delaying the population of the PCBs (if I have understood correctly that that is the plan)?

Also, I wonder about the box/packaging/manualette? You have said in the past (I think?) that this is the last thing to be done / thought about. But this too could be done in parallel with case production [or could have been (mostly) done anytime over the past couple of years] so that it doesn't add a week or two at the end before units can ship.
Azouls will now order the plastics needed and take care of the production run. I might visit Greece again to show you more videos of the production run - but I don't know if I find the time.
Perhaps Azouls can post pictures and videos of the production and save you the time needed for the trip to Θεσσαλονίκη.
Unfortunately, the Pyra has turned out to cost A LOT more than planned (due to a lot of bad stuff that happened), so money is tight and the only thing to keep things going is by pulling in money.
Maybe add a "Donate" button on the Forum and Wiki webpages? Although people can donate to the project at the DragonBox Shop, doing so requires a deliberate and conscious effort and people are not likely to do it for small donations -- if they remember at all that they can donate there. "Out of sight is out of mind". Whereas an unobtrusive but ever-present "Donate" button could garner lots of little impulse donations that might help. Someone at a café reading the forums and drinking their $10 coffee might randomly make a $5 donation on the spur of the moment.
As mentioned at the beginning of the post, the biggest issue for me at the moment is: Time!
time runs too fast, seriously!
Borrow some children. For such creatures time runs like molasses. With an offer of sweets or a dragon's spell, relieve them of their burden of excess hours.
 
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EvilDragon

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Good update / status report. :) Thank you.
Hmm... reading this literally, it sounds like the mass production will not begin at all until the cases have arrived.
Yes

From an uninformed outsider perspective at least, it would seem to be better to populate the PCBs in parallel with the case production, so that when the cases arrive the boards are ready to be assembled into Pyras.

What are the reasons for delaying the population of the PCBs (if I have understood correctly that that is the plan)?
Once again: Money. If I start the production, I have to pay the boards shortly afterwards. But to do that, I need to ship the Pyras so I get the remaining payment from the customers :)
As often said: If you have millions of USD lying around, things are a lot easier as you can simply do stuff when you want, without planning more careful.

Also, I wonder about the box/packaging/manualette? You have said in the past (I think?) that this is the last thing to be done / thought about. But this too could be done in parallel with case production [or could have been (mostly) done anytime over the past couple of years] so that it doesn't add a week or two at the end before units can ship.
Oh, we had sample boxes already years ago and I'll stick with them.
About the Box design... it's already being worked by someone for a few months (the one who made the Japanese boxart of the Pandora).
We won't reveal it though - you'll see it when you receive the unit :)

Maybe add a "Donate" button on the Forum and Wiki webpages? Although people can donate to the project at the DragonBox Shop, doing so requires a deliberate and conscious effort and people are not likely to do it for small donations -- if they remember at all that they can donate there. "Out of sight is out of mind". Whereas an unobtrusive but ever-present "Donate" button could garner lots of little impulse donations that might help. Someone at a café reading the forums and drinking their $10 coffee might randomly make a $5 donation on the spur of the moment.
Yeah, there is a way to donate, but I'm not doing a huge fuzz about. You are all already supporting the Pyra with so much money, I'm really thankful and don't want to be greedy :D
 

docbroke

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Once again: Money. If I start the production, I have to pay the boards shortly afterwards. But to do that, I need to ship the Pyras so I get the remaining payment from the customers :)
As often said: If you have millions of USD lying around, things are a lot easier as you can simply do stuff when you want, without planning more careful.
You may mail pre-orderes to make the remaining payments (after all we are so close to mass production), if that can speed up Pyra production I will be happy to do that.
 
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