Down­load Watch on Youtube

A few weeks ago I did a talk on my Microwave pro­ject at linux​.conf​.au it took me a while to be brave enough to watch myself and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. The talk was cer­tainly well received, the feed­back was pos­it­ive and use­ful, there were about 150 people in the room and the you­tube copy has clocked almost 400 views so far. I also got a writeup pub­lished by Linux Weekly News.

There is a lot I am tak­ing away from the pro­cess, I don’t think I have been so unpre­pared in my life but man­aged to get away with it. The response from people was far more favour­able than I expec­ted, in par­tic­u­lar I was sur­prised that most of the ques­tions have engaged at the concept level rather than the imple­ment­a­tion details. A few people com­men­ted that they saw me settle and become less nervous a short way into the talk, in real­ity I real­ised I was blow­ing through the mater­ial far too quickly and just tried to slow down, I think I did settle a bit once the ques­tions star­ted flow­ing though. I also did not under­stand the real­it­ies of a large group prac­tising pass­ive listen­ing, for example people listen­ing while play­ing with their laptop or phone, rather dis­con­cert­ing when you look up and feel that nobody is pay­ing attention.


Some inter­est­ing feed­back was people see­ing pos­sib­il­it­ies to use the microwave for things that microwaves are not cus­tom­ar­ily used for, I con­fess I had been blind to this. In par­tic­u­lar tem­per­ing chocol­ate and sous-vide cook­ing both require hold­ing the tem­per­at­ure to set level for a pro­longed period. Other pre­cise heat­ing pro­cesses like heat­ing sugar are also inter­est­ing options.

Sev­eral people sug­ges­ted just doing the elec­tronic work and abandon­ing or delay­ing the mech­an­ical modi­fic­a­tions until the next model. This was some­thing I looked at early on and decided against but the argu­ments are cer­tainly strong enough that I will be recon­sid­er­ing it.

At the end of the talk I con­duc­ted a price point sur­vey which showed that many people felt the product was worth $500 AUD but baulked and $1000 AUD. Which doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t find sales at the higher level but life is easier closer to $500. These prices include com­pens­a­tion for the increased risk of the kick­starter process.

Dis­cus­sions on eevb­log raised that solid state microwaves are com­ing. I thought that they would be about ten years out but it looks like it will prob­ably be two to three years, man­u­fac­tur­ers are advert­ising that com­mer­cial units will be avail­able at the end of the year. This is inter­est­ing and sets a time limit to the pro­ject but I don’t feel it is a huge threat at this point. It may actu­ally be a bene­fit in the long run.

Most of the imple­ment­a­tion feed­back was pos­it­ive. One LWN com­menter spe­cific­ally noted that they gen­er­ally dis­liked the IOT trend but felt that I was doing in the right way. Other LWN com­ments talked about how the modi­fic­a­tions seemed well planned rather than a trend of adding “smarts” for no real benefit.

And com­pletely unre­lated to the talk, I also stumbled across an inter­est­ing red­dit topic wish­ing that the microwave could recog­nise QR or bar codes and they auto­mat­ic­ally apply the proper heat­ing process.

Next steps

My next step is a review pro­cess, one I am rather trep­id­a­tious about.

When I star­ted the pro­ject I recog­nised the real­ity that only 1/10 pro­jects suc­ceeds. In prac­tice the stats only count pro­jects that get fairly big and on the government’s radar, a stage I am not yet at. So suc­cess is prob­ably no more than a 1% chance.

Nat­ur­ally my pro­ject is bet­ter than those that failed, I have a real­istic pro­ject, good mar­ket etc. etc… factors that I am sure the 99% had in their favour too.

The real­ity is that like poker it is very easy to let emo­tions dom­in­ate and com­mit you to play on well bey­ond when you should fold. To try and counter this I have set up pre-established fold points to step back and review.

This is prob­ably my biggest re-evaluation point so more dry plan­ning posts com­ing up, I will prob­ably also get some inde­pend­ent eval­u­ation to help dis­tance myself.