Redesign, USA Tariff, Wooting two, Code-it and more… It’s October!

If you have paid close attention, you might have seen the Easter egg at the end of the Wooting two Kickstarter video, and noticed the baby noises during Wooting livestreams.

That’s right, I’m father of a beautiful daughter named Ms. Little CEO, Mizu.

I kept it to myself until I felt enough time had passed. Not that it is a big secret, but unlike these blogs, I’m not much of a broadcaster in my personal life.

Mizu is growing healthy and learning fast. She has already joined multiple meetings just listening me talk. Yennie (my wife) is also doing great, taking good care of Mizu and just flowing through the whole process. My wife is a real champ.

Alright, now let’s jump into the update. There’s a lot of things to share this month, including:

  • First look Wootility redesign
  • Vote now for the best code-it contest project
  • Wooting two related:
    • Don’t change your Kickstarter shipping info
    • Trump’s trade tariff warning
    • Trial production, improvements, and consequences on shipment

Wootility development

The last time we talked about the Wootility development, we were still discussing a timeline and asking for feedback.

The feedback was awesome; it gave us more inspiration and consideration. Of course, we can’t implement every part nor promise we’ll start working on any of it. Limited time and resource and so forth. But the way I see it with a constant stream of feedback, repeated features/issues always come back and automatically prioritise what’s important. Other then creating a broader line of thought when brainstorming.

Erik got started on the Wootility design overhaul and made his first draft. It’s not set in stone but it does give a good idea which direction we’re heading. If you look closely you’ll see a couple classic Erik things. We plan to release the redesign in December, but the deadline is linked to the Wooting two shipment, not the date.

We’re working on a new Wootility roadmap, because we realised that our internal plans for the Wootility aren’t easy to synchronise with the feedback given and we want to give a more clear picture of what’s in the works.

That doesn’t mean we’re ignoring the feedback, but instead of adding/working on every little thing, ramping up this endless to-do list, we rather create a consolidated solution that solves a bunch of them at once. The Wootility re-design is a great example of that.

It took a lot of the feedback, a sprinkle of planned features and mushed that together into a better format that we can build on top of. Not something that’d easily come from a single feedback card.

This is what you can expect until the Roadmap is updated:

In progress

  • Wooting two firmware
  • Wooting two Wootility compatibility

Jeroen decided to make a couple fundamental changes in the firmware in regards to the keyboard layout. This makes it easier in the future to add more other layouts to the Wootility, handle function layers better and harmonise with the RGB/Analog SDK.

V2.5.0

  • Windows disable-key
  • 1000Hz (1ms) Keyboard scan-rate (not to be confused with USB polling, which is already at 1000Hz (1ms))

This is a long-awaited update. The reason for the delay until now is due to the design/firmware implication it has. The Windows disable key isn’t as easy as adding a hotkey and a small menu button in the Wootility. It requires a different approach to our firmware, related to the above update.

We noticed during the input speed beta that a faster keyboard scan-rate also introduced stability issues when applied to a wide sample group of keyboards. One of the issues is that both the actuation and reset point are at the same point, increasing the chance it double-inputs. Furthermore, the input speed gain was nullified when somebody would use RGB effects, a very intense MCU operation. At that time, we didn’t have more time available to work on a solution.

V2.6.0

  • The all new improved double keystroke (DKS)

The current DKS works, but it’s not reliable and still in “Beta”. We want to remove the Beta tag and add up and down stroke events for more customisability. This will also allow you to make more complicated functions and is for us another step closer to making an analog-input-based Macro system.

V3.0.0

  • Wootility redesign

The shortest sentence of them all with the largest impact of visuals. This is when you can expect Erik’s redesign to take place and the Wootility to become just that bit easier to use. Other than a new UI/UX, it’ll also become responsive! The redesign takes a lot of planned features into account that will be added in the future.

We aim to deliver up to V2.6.0 when the Wooting two is at people’s front door. Depending on the progress, this update might come out together with V2.60.

Vote now! The Code-it Contest

Last month Tino proudly announced the Code-it contest and last Monday it came to an end. The Code-it contest revolved around the RGB/Analog SDK. The person that made the best connection between the open-source Wooting RGB/Analog SDK and other application/software wins.

The turnout is a lot better than what I expected and I want to give a big thanks to the contributors. You guys are awesome and your work won’t go in vain.

You can find all the submissions on the voting page, give the projects a shot (if possible) and vote for the best!

Don’t change your Kickstarter information

Just a technical thing:

In the next couple of days, we will close down the Kickstarter shipping address survey. You will receive a notification from Kickstarter 48 hours before it closes. If you’re a Wooting two Kickstarter backer, please read the following carefully.

If you had already confirmed your Kickstarter order on the Wooting store, please don’t change your address on Kickstarter. Please send an email with your required changes to [email protected] instead. Use the same email you confirmed on the store with or your Kickstarter order, so we can identify you.

If you hadn’t confirmed yet, you can make the adjustment and please get in contact with us on [email protected] to confirm your order on the store.

USA trade tariff warning

This only concerns US Citizens, if you live outside the USA, this does not concern you.

The USA and China are in a trade war with each other. The USA started levying heavy import taxes on a large list of product categories, including a lot of PC components and peripherals. At the moment this tax is set at 10%, and starting in January 2019 it’s 25%. As you can imagine, this has quite shaken the industry and a lot of companies have already announced the possible impact this will have on their customers.

This is that same type of message.

Thankfully for the both of us, keyboards are not part of that list and we don’t have to deal with the hefty import taxes. Dodged a bullet, you’d say! But, the situation is unpredictable and it can change any moment.

If the situation changes, and the USA starts levying 10% or more import taxes; we are by no means able to absorb that kind of cost and will have to charge this additional cost from the consumer. Of course, if this happens to become the case, you can expect from us to find other means to a solution and provide the most reasonable solution we can find.

I hope you can understand this message, and I’m giving my daily prayers to the keyboards gods (by typing) that this won’t happen.

Wooting two trial production

I’m on stand-by these last two weeks, waiting to go to China for the trial production. I expected to be there right now, but instead I’m at home. I can’t complain, happy wife and happy daughter, but not so happy project planning. It feels like this “Final touch” phase, you’re so close to the end, is taking forever.

Let’s get into what’s going on.

Switch improvements

The first trial production delay was announced when the manufacturer decided to improve the Flaretech switch stem stability. As some of you might be aware, the Flaretech switch stem is in comparison to other switches a bit more “loose” inside its jacket to ensure a longer lifetime. I.e. when a debris enters the housing it wont block the entire operation. This is a very safe choice to make if you’re releasing your first switch and can’t possibly test for all the different type of (desk) environments.

Since there’s been no such issue as of yet, they decided to take the leap and tighten the fit. This means the Flaretech switches in the Wooting two and switch boxes will all be more stable and tight. A long-awaited improvement.

It also meant the trial production got delayed by 2 weeks.

Another switch improvement

Related to above news, there was another major improvement made to the switch in the previous months. As some of you might know, the Flaretech switch stem breaks easier than your regular switch. When you tried removing very tight fit keycaps or modifier keycaps without properly clamping, it could snap the stem. This is partially due to the more stiff transparent material it’s made of, and partially due to the injection point (that small bite on the side of the stem).

The improved switch has a different injection point and is a lot less likely to break. During the last live stream, Erik took the latest sample to the test. It’s not the final version, and I still need to test it myself. But It’s promising.

Mold in transit

Switch improvement done, China visa arranged, suitcase semi-ready and credit card ready to buy an airplane ticket ✈️ . Hold it! There’s another trial production delay. The mold is currently in transit to a different factory and needs to produce the latest samples for the trial. The previous samples were not up to expectations.

A setback on the whole project deadline, as we just lost another week with the risk of losing another.

The new trial production date is now set in the week of 5 November, awaiting final confirmation that’ll be given next week.

U-oh, did I hear delay?

We set out a quite tight schedule for the Wooting two but left some breathing room for the inevitable delay. Originally I planned to ship the keyboards over ocean to save on transport cost. Now we’re at the point we have to let it fly over to be on time and we’re at the edge of not making it.

This trial production delay has already set us back nearly a full month. It’s hard to tell now, timing-wise, what things will look like. All we can do is, to our best ability, get through these final steps.

So… I’m just going to throw it out there right now and say this from experience (by now): don’t get your hopes up and expect an inevitable delay.

To clarify, it’s not delayed yet but I’m convinced it’s going to be the case.

I recommend to focus on the process and our ability to push through every step, instead of fixating on a certain date. It helps a lot more with the anticipation and also lets you enjoy the journey more.

Small text break, enjoy this cool art made by @WhiteScourge on Discord.

The reality

Not sure if I’m writing the following to rationalise or to shake off this guilt feeling. We all really set out to nail this project and get past this “delay” stigma. And now with this prospect of not hitting the deadline is.. well, disappointing.

When it comes to a technology product or long-term project, it’s near-impossible to hit the exact deadlines but they help enormously to put pressure on and add purpose to the project. When you read January 2018 CES news, there’s a bunch of stuff announced to launch somewhere 2018, and now go cross-check what actually came out on the market on those dates.

Unless it was already in production, and in stock ready for shipment (looking at Apple), it’s just a guessing game for the most part. And there’s a real simple explanation for it as well. Nobody can predict the future. The best we can do is estimate it, and work towards it. When you get lucky, you hit all the deadlines. In all other cases, delay.

Plan for the delay and create breathing room? That’s fair but add too much and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Think about those school projects that are given you at the start of a semester. No matter how much you work on it during the semester, those final days you’re fighting against time to hit the deadline. The difference here is, you can get away with a 6.0 (C- ?), we have to hit the 10 (A+ ?).

The future of Wooting launch dates

Since we often announce and share things long before it’s out *looks at the Wootility*. It also creates longer anticipation and disappointment when things don’t become a reality or you don’t hit certain dates. Did you notice that I hadn’t added any dates to the Wootility version releases? It doesn’t mean we don’t have them internally, but I’m starting to refrain from communicating them externally unless it’s necessary/makes sense.

I want to take a similar approach to product launches in the future. Place a larger emphasis on the process, and relatable releases instead of dates when it comes to external communication. It also makes everything less stressful internally and increases productivity. I’m still figuring this out, but we’ll see where it leads.

Rounding it up

Okay, this was a pretty hefty blog. There’s one more thing I’d like to share but I separated it from this month-end blog. We started working together with a new business partner that’ll help Wooting grow and give us more time to work on our goals. You can read more about it in the [business partner name ;)] blog.

Feedback is welcome, let me know your thoughts on any of the topics above. Wootility plans, the trump trade tariffs, dealing with deadlines or anything else. You know, we all have an open ear at Wooting and you’re part of the team! So show your voice in the comments below, Discord or email.

Much love <3

Calder

Calder Limmen Written by:

Founder of Wooting. Entrepreneur, gamer and any(thing)thusiast living in Taiwan.

4 Comments

  1. Alan
    October 28, 2018
    Reply

    I really don’t care if you take longer than expected, keep up your reporting – deliver quality goods. If it takes longer I’d rather wait instead of you guys rushing it and delivering a product that has some flaws.

    Take your time, looks very promising. I am hyped to receive my wooting two <3

  2. Chance Callahan
    October 31, 2018
    Reply

    I can’t wait to get my wooting two but I think quality trumps punctuality…

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