Call for general questions to IAP

General Discussion about the Rigidbot Printer

Call for general questions to IAP

Postby spiderdaddy » 15 Sep 2014, 21:12

On Tuesday morning MNT, I will have a call with Michael. The main topic will be international shipping. However I want to start getting a list of other topics which can be put to him. Initially by e-mail, but the goal will be to get into a two way conversation as required, rather than just weekly updates.

I have already asked about domestic shipping of filament and change of address requests.

See also: https://plus.google.com/114585698463851 ... jyaXXdTDUs, I will pick up questions from both threads.
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Re: Call for general questions to IAP

Postby Scatterplot » 17 Sep 2014, 00:05

Edit: Whoops missed the time cutoff. Whatever, point still stands ;)

I think Michael doing an AMA on reddit would do wonders for his trust. He can respond to questions as he sees fit, and the community can upvote/downvote as they please. I'm sure the mods of /r/rigidbot would love to have him. SO MANY PEOPLE are clamoring for openness- this way, he can answer people publicly.
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Re: Call for general questions to IAP

Postby spiderdaddy » 17 Sep 2014, 22:08

Scatterplot wrote:Edit: Whoops missed the time cutoff. Whatever, point still stands ;)

I think Michael doing an AMA on reddit would do wonders for his trust. He can respond to questions as he sees fit, and the community can upvote/downvote as they please. I'm sure the mods of /r/rigidbot would love to have him. SO MANY PEOPLE are clamoring for openness- this way, he can answer people publicly.

Oh I didn't know there was a reddit channel for the RB<blush>.
Actually there are too many channels, and that is part of the problem. IAP just does not have the resources to fire on all channels with quality.
So, one step at a time.
I'm trying to get a conversation going with questions back and forth. We need to get the Intl. Packages out of the door and on their way.
After that I think that there will be a chance to decide and agree on a sensible place which can be moderated so that information can flow.
Until then you've got me doing this on my free time.
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Re: Call for general questions to IAP

Postby Scatterplot » 17 Sep 2014, 22:40

Yeah, the RB subreddit has a very, very small user base, and has something like 8 posts. I only mentioned it because of the easy-to-use public format. G+ hangouts and public forums all face the same linearity issue, in that everyone would be screaming for attention at once, and it would be easy for things to get lost in the mix, and for people to feel ignored. On reddit, all of the posts would be laid out, and the most popular user questions could be upvoted to show community interest. All in all, the upvote/downvote system is a good way to get an idea of what a majority of people want/need to know, and a moderator is only needed to delete spam posts, not to pass questions from the community to the person asking the questions.

Thanks for doing all this spider. Hopefully Michael will do one one of these days!

Appendix A: For those of you unfamiliar with reddit and/or reddit AMA's, reddit works on what's called an upvote/downvote system. Each post on the main site, and each comment under each main post, have a tally of points associated with it. Users can either upvote or downvote a post (or ignore it). Upvoting adds one point to the post, and downvoting subtracts one point. The posts are then sorted (basically) by the number of points a post has.

AMA is short for "Ask Me Anything". Someone who would like to do an AMA simply starts a reddit thread entitled "My name is Scatterplot/Michael/etc, AMA!". This part is similar to a forum post. At this point, anyone who is interested in asking a question posts a reply to the original thread. The difference between a forum and an AMA is that a forum orders the posts chronologically, while an AMA sorts them based on point counts.

The idea is that the community upvotes good questions and downvotes bad ones. When the person running the AMA looks to answer questions, he can easily see the most popular ones, and answer those. Each post can have a chain of replies under them (also with point totals), so you can have a full conversation about one topic, and easily find it later, following all branches.

What this means is that posts like "Hey I'm from [Country], when will our packages be shipping?" applies to a large number of individuals- so lots of people would upvote it, and the post would go to the top where it's easily seen and replied to. Posts like "IAP sucks, shipping times are awful :(:(:(" would get downvotes (since they add nothing to the discussion) and they aren't easily seen.

Questions that are asked of Michael would be seen by everyone, and everyone would see his replies- so he might reply to question A with answer A, and while he's replying to question B with answer B, someone else could ask a clarification question on answer A, and so on.

Basically, it parallelizes an interview, which is typically a serial process.

All in all, the format works really well- the community self-moderates everything so you don't have to have a dedicated question and answer man trying to filter out pertinent questions. It would be wonderful to see one of these from Michael at some point.
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Re: Call for general questions to IAP

Postby spiderdaddy » 23 Sep 2014, 08:24

Q&A From Monday 22nd September

International Shipping
229 backers have added to the shipping fund, 209 international backers who have paid FedEx and 20 donations.
Michael says thank you to all of you for taking this option or donating.

Currently FedEx Shenzhen have made contact with the warehouse and are discussing how they will process the boxes which will go via FedEx. FedEx Shenzhen will also now print the labels, so Michael does not need to do this before he goes. This relaxes the deadline somewhat for people to sign up as it is not dependend on when he gets on a plane. (There is a faint possibility that they will manage to send some packages as early as tomorrow, but don't hold your breath).

IAP will begin updating the backer accounts, starting today as follows:

- Everybody who signed up for FedEx will get a new item on their order: "FedEx shipping" or similar. (This may take till wednesday to get everybody registered).
- As soon as they get tracking numbers these will be sent or added to the order (the same as domestic backers got theirs).
- They will also add a link to a commercial invoice for the order for you to print for customs if required.
- On the invoice will be the actual amount paid and NOT the FedEx cost. Michael will check if FedEx put some cost on their documents just in case this will cause an issue if there are conflicting amounts.
- The shipping amounts will be indicated for the package in question and not the whole order.

Michael said that they will check for all the people who's FedEx cost is less than their credit. If you think that is the case then you can help by just booking a minimum amount (i.e. 1$) via PayPal with your order number. This will 'trigger' you in the system and will mean that they definitely check your order.

So if you haven't taken this option there is still time.

His visa has not arrived yet (10 days turnaround was today), but from now on he will get on a plane as soon as it arrives and not wait till the 27th.

Regarding checking the Kits again:

- The first kits kitted by the factory were for US backers, the kitting factory took a while to get their process working, Michael thinks a lot of the missing parts were in these early kits. The international kits were done last and were more systematic.
- When they came to do all the international shipments they went through every box usually down to level 2 in order to add options (lcd, cover, etc.), he did not check to level 3 on many of them (where the heated beds are).
- For some of the first international kits they swapped the new heater block, main board and cable but after a while this was too time consuming so they just added them in, so some of you will get old and new.
- Given all that, they won't re-open the boxes again.

Outstanding Backer Deliveries
Michael said most of the people who in the last few weeks have not got their printers usually had not updated their account. The best thing is to call them.

Assembleds, there are about 30 Assembleds to go out. 4 went out today. They are working through them now and currently reckon they can ship 4 per day. (BTW the assembleds are made from a supply of non-kitted bulk parts, so they are separate stock).

RB Bigs are missing the heated build plate. Extra stock had to be made in China. The order was placed and they are currently 'in production' and will be shipped via Air to Utah. When Michael gets a delivery date he will let me know.

Inventory

There are no RB Bigs in stock (other than stock for the Assembleds, see above). Currently more stocks of 300 big kits and 100 Regular kits are on the water. Michael will get me a container number to track this. They also have 40 regular kits in stock.
IAP also have enough stock (Main Board, thermistors, screws) to cover returns and missing.

Parts shop
The parts shop is ready, however Michael is worried that if he opens this before all backers get their printer then he may run into trouble with covering any problems. So he wont open this up until it is clear how many returns need to be done. I will ask this again once the FedEx deliveries have arrived as it is probably possible to extrapolate that number to account for the ones taking longer via CP.

Ticket State
There are now 104 open tickets, the oldest reply sent to an open ticket was from the 17th September.
I sent Jeni a list of the issues from the KS comments for her to look at.

Next call is on Wednesday depending on flight arrangements
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Re: Call for general questions to IAP

Postby spiderdaddy » 24 Sep 2014, 21:05

Wednesday IAP Call Minutes

Until the International shipping is really sorted Michael and I are keeping the conversation going every other day. I get the impression that Michael is cool with this because this way there is regular information to the community and we can reduce the churn of individual queries.

So keep the questions coming, it's not quiet AMA, but this will do.

Support Tickets
Jeni told me that she is managing to process most tickets within 5 business days, so please be patient with her.
If you don't get a reply after a working week, call.

In the last few days I have scanned the g+, forum and KS comments and passed on any issues mentioned. She said that some of these people did not have issue tickets open, so if you do have an issue and it's not answered here then please open a ticket.

Michael passed on the information about the incorrect E-Mail sender address to his provider, so hopefully they will fix that one. I reckon a lot of the issues about people not getting responses has been due to this.

Shipping
260 Backers have taken the FedEx option so far!

FedEx Shenzhen are setting the Warehouse up as a customer. There is now a representative of the warehouse working with FedEx Shenzhen organising that the Warehouse can print labels. FedEx have assigned two staff in Shenzhen to get the labels on boxes. I don't see boxes going out today, but there is progress. More importantly it is happening without Michael being present although the time difference is not optimal.

The Chinese Embassy insisted that Michael get a stamped invitation from the warehouse which he has had to submit today. So now he had to pay an extra $180 for an express Visa. This means Friday is the earliest he can fly. So backers remaining with CP will not get any good news before he gets there.

(I think that Murphy, Sod and Parkinson all moved to Provo, Utah in the last year).

Regarding customs, FedEx supposedly deal with this and have electronic registration of customs forms. I have said that I will send him any specific details so he can pass this on to the FedEx rep. +Jonathan Roscoe please send me those UK numbers again. +stefan holzhauer: anything FedEx could get wrong for Germany?

Michael will also do spot-checks on random boxes once he arrives.

Inventory
I didn't get the exact picture of the Bigs last time, so I clarified:
- Remaining Domestic Big Kits are on the water to Utah. Michael is meeting the shipping company today and will get a tracking number for the container.
- Any Big Assembleds are awaiting heated beds but these are not in the air yet. Ditto with tracking number.

They are checking the number of main boards in stock again. Michael originally thought they had enough, but several people said that they were waiting on replacements. I'll post an update here when I get it.
IAP have ordered more new boards, this time from a local manufacturer.

Store
I threw back on this one. IAP will open a store for the parts they know they have enough of. I didn't push him on a deadline because I want my RigidBot shipped ;)
Question: What parts do people want to order?

Documents
- Board plans: Michael will post these in the downloads section of the website (wherever that is, he'll send a link).
- Manual: The manual is still draft. I persuaded him that he should post what he has to the website and we'll rip it to shreds^d^d^d^d^d^d^d^d^d^d^d^d^d^d^d^d er, 'review' it and give feedback. ;)
With both of these I also won't force a deadline till I see printers shipping.

Next call will be Friday.
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Re: Call for general questions to IAP

Postby spiderdaddy » 30 Sep 2014, 00:02

FedEx
Michael told me the story of his weekend. So at COB on the 24th FedEx requested the list of those who chose the option so that they could create a batch job. This was nearly everybody who signed up other than a few who paid in the following days.
Anybody who missed this or pays from now will go in the next batch.
Over the weekend FedEx finalised all the addresses on this list, checking that all the data was correct, country codes, contact phone formats and various other oddities. They generated labels for all of those and someone in the warehouse has taken out all the packages and put them in a separate area. All of these packages are going to be picked up this morning in one go and taken for delivery. When the truck leaves Michael will get a list of tracking numbers which he can put into the system.
Apparently FedEx have been great and done a massive job to get these 200+ units ready for shipping.

Michael has instructed that any packages with issues should be set aside rather than stop the whole delivery. There have been some quirks; the current import rules for Moscow (bizarrely just Moscow, not the rest of Russia) requires a special dispensation, so this package may take longer. FedEx were aware of a range of different country requirements so they seem to know what they are doing.

I've asked Michael to give me any news if there is any during the day.

So now the not so good news. FedEx have pushed so hard on this one because China closes down for a week on Wednesday. (FexEx doesn't but the Warehouse does). So, while they are confident that this shipment will go, and his visa should arrive today, it now means there is no point in going to China till the 8th. Any earlier and there will be nobody to work with.

Michael also told me that he did contact several companies which people recommended, but none of them came back with offers cheaper than FedEx and several were just not interested because of the diverse number of countries. There are now about 400 CP kits remaining, if anyone has a definite contact of a shipping company in Shenzhen who he could make contact with then PM me and I will ensure that it goes directly to him. Michael said that if there is a company who can offer to do these at a similar price to CP but are easier to work with (i.e. pick it up in one go), then he will jump at the offer.

Invoices
The on-line invoice download will be available tonight, this is for all backers still shipping.

Main Boards
A new local supplier has been organised, the PCBs have arrived but the componenting is still to be done. Until then expect a wait on replacement boards. Certainly two weeks.

Domestic Filament
They are now entirely out of stock. The new stock is all in the shipment I posted in the previous update. (HLBU1017419).

Next call Thursday
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Re: Call for general questions to IAP

Postby spiderdaddy » 22 Oct 2014, 07:41

Here is the latest answer from IAP about FedEx shipments. G+ is down at the moment.

1. What is the status of the remaining 49 FedEx shipments? - The 49 shipments were sent to FedEx on the 15th. I have not gotten a list of tracking numbers as they have been promised, but I finally heard back from China Fedex today and they should have them to me by tomorrow.





Here is a list of box numbers that were submitted in the shipment of 49 on the 15th.



Order Number

100514

100851

100865

100883

100939

101069

101080

101105

101121

101146

101198

101228

101256

101261

101309

101339

101424

101673

100854

100862

100864

100874

100880

100890

100892

100895

100898

100905

101008

101009

101027

101029

101101

101109

101114

101132

101134

101137

101161

101169

101189

101202

101325

101335

101341

101346

101368

101425
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Re: Call for general questions to IAP

Postby spiderdaddy » 22 Oct 2014, 10:53

If you think you should have received a box by FedEx and you are not in the list below, please mention your box number here: https://plus.google.com/114585698463851 ... tbKY6MCQkc
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