I'm going to write this newsletter in the "1st person", as I want to personally accept responsibility for the issues in the 6.7 release. Quite often, humility is a good thing.
This release has revealed that there were many things we could do better. Actually, a few in the team knew and had expressed concerns about the timing of the release and the completion of testing. In the end, we had a business meeting where we discussed the risks and the "pros & cons."
The number of new defects in each release has been nearly zero for almost 3 years now. That's given us confidence to make these decisions. It's just that the risks in this case were higher than in most other cases.
As business leaders, we made the decision to publish the release. I'm running this company and I'm accountable for this decision.
We had 15,000 people contacting me asking "When will we release 6.7?" Then we released it and the other 15,000 are letting us know that I pushed it out too fast. On the positive side, customer engagement is WAY up. We're hearing from people on our Facebook page and in the Ham Radio Deluxe community in our peer support forums. Thank you for that.
This has been a long and hard release. The work that was done in this release to correct defects reported by our customers worked a lot like a loose thread on a sweater - pulling on it leads to another row... leads to another row... and so on. In particular - fixing the callsign lookup defects that were there opened up a Pandora's box of things to fix; and without any documentation about how it had been built or was intended to work.
I expected some negative feedback. I just didn't expect to get any reports of serious defects. In addition to the beta testers and support team testing, I test this stuff personally. In the end, there were about 6 things that were missed in testing and 1 more that we couldn't reproduce until after the release.
In the interest of full transparency, I'm publishing the list here:
One of these items has already been corrected. We are actively working to correct the remaining six things and I want to get them tested and released ASAP.
I want to see a maintenance release out within days.
These are the priorities.
Yes, I have heard and understand your frustration about FT4 matching in LOTW downloads, about the panadapter, and the QSL labeling topics. I have all the feedback I need on those topics and I respectfully request that you refrain from sending me replies to this email expressing more negative feedback on those things. At this point, the replies just gives us more work to do managing the replies, rather than managing the work related to thee items (newsletter replies to into the help ticket system where I read and respond to them). (We recognize that we need to get some setup guides published for the panadapter feature. Sorry about that.)
So again, I'm taking the responsibility for the 6.7 release. But I'm also working on-behalf-of all of you to get these corrections made, tested, and delivered to you as quickly as we can safely get it done.
Finally, for those who have expressed concerns that "the owner has moved to Australia", let me assure you that the location of my pillow has nothing to do with how this company is run. I made a career choice (regarding my "day job") and it has taken Tammy and I to this wonderful place - Brisbane, Australia. Oddly, there is almost no overlap or contention for my hours when I'm 15 hrs ahead of the Central US. That said - we've got wonderful people handling the day-to-day operations of this business.
This company has never had an office. It's a virtual workplace in the most modern sense of the idea. Support members live in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Amsterdam. Developers live in Seattle, Austin (TX), and San Jose (CA). The sales staff live in Pennsylvania, Texas, and Australia. As for the owners - Randy (K0CBH) lives in St. Paul (MN) and I now live in Brisbane (AU). It's always been this way and it works quite well.
Please watch for additional information about a maintenance release.
Mike Carper, VK4/WA9PIE
HRD Software, LLC
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