You don’t have to be a regular follower of the blog here to notice that it’s been pretty quiet lately…  It’s not because we finally got to take that post-2.0 launch time off we’ve been dreaming of but because we’ve been insanely busy. We’ve finally gotten a breather long enough to write an update about it all.

Features and Bugs

Every since WWDC back in March we’ve been running flat out. The only new feature added has been syncing Pick/Reject flags after Adobe added support for them in Lightroom 4.1. Everything else has been a mad scramble to find and fix bugs that users were experiencing.

We’ve been told [regularly] in the comments here, via support, twitter, and iTunes Reviews that v2.x wasn’t as stable and fast as v1 and many lamented the regressions.  For those experiencing these problems (a small but real fraction of users) we can only apologize.  You are correct, new progress should not come at the expense of stability or usability.  Precisely because these problems were only affecting a small portion of all users and that we couldn’t reproduce them ourselves it has been very hard to track down.

But we think we finally have the bead on it thanks to a couple of dedicated users who’ve helped us collect debugging logs directly from their devices. After analyzing their problems and the logs we’ve found that there was a path through the code that would a) create duplicate images and b) fail to recognize those dupes and randomly pick one or another image when only one was expected.  We’ve since fixed all the paths that could lead to the dupes and added checks to prevent them from re-occuring. We believe this will fix a large number of the bizarre and hard to track problems we’ve been seeing.

We’ve also fixing a lot of other smaller bugs.  These fixes are now in testing among our staff and select beta testers and will then be uploaded to Apple in the first part of this week.

GoFlex

Despite setting the bar pretty high for volunteers we received more than enough well qualified folks to help us with our testing.  And they came through in fine form.  Despite a very technical set of circumstances to test they were able to accomplish them all.  Unfortunately, their results only mirrored our own indicating we made the right decision to hold back GoFlex from launch.  We still have one or two more ideas on ways to work around the problems we’re seeing. However, making the core app 100% solid is a far higher priority so we can’t say yet when we’ll have those ideas implemented.  At least now, when we do, we have an army of folks to test it.  We’ve personally invested a lot of effort into see GoFlex support enabled and we know a lot of you folks are clamoring for it to so please know that we are not intending to just drop it.  However, if it’s not reliable there’s no point so we have to balance that too.  We’ll keep you updated.

Other news

We’ve also recently redirected Nico to work on our website. It’s never been the reflection of the app that we wanted it to be and our needs have evolved over time.  Originally, it was purely a blog engine to track development progress of the app pre-launch.  Then we’ve added a few description pages and video content.  But, we’ve never had a true “sales” site and we’re at the point where we need that in order to keep sales growing and the app supportable. But don’t worry, we still intend to keep the blogging going. We’ve heard from many of you that you really enjoy that part of our operation.

We had also started looking into do some print and web advertising to help with sales growth but that is temporarily on hold until we feel that the app is back at the quality levels that we demand of ourselves.

 

So, all in all, it’s been a very busy time that’s found us dividing our forces up in order to conquer everything. Keep the business going (and growing) as a side job in the evenings has been extremely challenging and we (and especially our families) are looking forward to a breather as soon as the dust settles. From there on we still have many great ideas on where to go next with the app.  We have some more revolution ideas (unproven yet) as well as a lot of steady progress that we are planning.  Exciting times for sure!

Posted in: Current Progress | 12 Comments

12 Responses to “Breaking the code[ing] of silence”

  1. AJ says:

    Hi. I am new to photosmith and love what it can do. I realize you are looking to fix the external hard drive compatibility issue. Can you advise if the hyperdrive would work? Can you estimate how many photos the new iPads would cope with in photosmith if the files were “raw and jpeg”. Thanks for your help. Aj.

    • Chris Morse says:

      Thanks to the way iPad is locked down each type of external harddrive needs it’s own special API to access it. Some of the newer products are using industry standards like WebDAV but they aren’t APIs we’ve used in the app before so we’d still have to spend time writing for it. Bottom line: yes, other drives may be possible in the future but they aren’t high on our todo list until more critical issues get solved.

      As far as estimating space: our internal catalog is very small, less than 1MB total, and we don’t store cached images anymore so you can pretty safely estimate the number of possible pictures by taking the free space remaining on your device, subtract about a 100MB for safety factor, and then divide the remainder by the RAW+JPG size of your camera.

      • AJ says:

        Thanks very much for your reply Chris. I will just keep my fingers crossed that the GoFlex issues resolve soon. Absolutely love photosmith but just dying for more space! Thanks again. Aj.

  2. Claude says:

    That is good news. When will the next version be submitted to the app store?

    • Chris Morse says:

      We’re targeting the end of this week but it will depend on how testing goes and if the changes we made to fix the problems work. We’re having to [ab]use some users to test for us since we can’t reproduce some of these problems in our lab.

  3. Dave says:

    Have you considered allowing Photosmith to back up images and metadata to an FTP server? That would allow use of CloudFTP as an alternative to GoFlex. There are a few feature requests already logged for this, but I don’t see your comments on them.

    • Chris Horne says:

      We’ve considered it, and have looked into what it takes to do it. CloudFTP is definitely a good alternative, and something we’ll likely pursue going forward.

      However, right now, we’re focusing 100% on bugs and stability – there’s a number of people still having trouble, and we’re doing everything we can to make sure the app is working as expected before we add new features.

  4. Steelandt says:

    With last version of photosmith and its plugin (2.1.2) I still have many difficulties to sync a large photo collection between Lightroom 4 and photosmith over the air (wifi)

    Why not allow USB cable sync through iTunes as some apps already proceed to manage documents transfers (iCab browser, 1calc, iThoughts, ….) ?

    Wifi transfer is too slow and seems to be hardly debugged.

    I am wondering if I should not leave photosmith anyway because time I have already consumed to try to sync photos would be enough to manage photos directly to Lightroom.

    • Chris Horne says:

      Several users have contacted us about problems syncing collections with several hundred to several thousand images. There’s a bug somewhere that we haven’t been able to track down – either memory related or related to the Photos app (it seems to get fairly unstable when really pushed). We’re about to release the next incremental update to address many bugs, and have fixed almost all known bugs, but are still working to make things more smooth for hundreds or thousands of images.

      re/ USB cable sync: Apple does not allow access to the USB cable for access to the PC. If there were a way, we would.

      re/ WiFi transfer: The latest release speeds up existing image syncs quite a bit and also addresses a number of bugs.

  5. DaveH says:

    Have had Photosmith for nearly a week (iPad 2 – v2.1.2) and still unable to sync to LR3 (Lion and SnowLep OS’s), just gets less than half way and hangs, only recovery is to reboot both apps… makes the app totally useless.
    Did get a response from Will @Photosmith but that was several days ago and am about to give up on Photosmith pending help or an update…. or a refund !
    Love the idea of a cable sync but will this help other than speed up the crash :)
    Any news guys, looks a great app but fails to live up to the hype. If its targeted at professional photographers then is should just work.
    Dave

    • DaveH says:

      Apologies for being over negative but yesterday the app kept bombing out whilst moving images to collections. After a crash it reported that I should quit the Photo app, but Photo wasn’t running. I have always force quit Photo before running photosmith, this is a pain but even this workaround fails.
      Sorry guys, losing faith rapidly.

      • Chris Horne says:

        Dave-

        Sorry to hear you’re having trouble – as Morse posted, we’ve been hard at work addressing every known issue that has been reported. As I mentioned in another comment, the latest build is due to be shipped to Apple tonight with a lot of bug fixes (both big and small).

        Photos app (and the underlying API) is unstable, inconsistent, and buggy. Unfortunately, it’s the only way to retrieve images from the iPad. For the particular error you’ve reported, you may need to reboot the iPad and relaunch Photos app, thus causing Photos app to refresh its own database. This almost always happens when you delete photos directly off the iPad when connected to the PC.

        You’re right – it should just work. And we’re committed to making it work – it’s a very complex problem and takes time to work through. I wish we had more resources or this was our day job, but until then, we’re working with what we’ve got, and appreciate the feedback from our users such as yourself.