Growing Pains

The past 9 months for us at RoninDojo have been a quite the journey to say the least. We implemented new processes and strategies, which saw great success, with great (and rapid) success comes adversity. We encountered kernel bugs, hardware defects, supply chain issues, and burnout. But as the old saying goes "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger". We felt it was best to be transparent about what we struggled with and how we overcame these challenges.

Let's recap some of these growing pains, where we are currently, and what we have planned moving forward.

Painful Lessons

Black Friday and Kernel Bugs
Leading up to Black Friday, we had some reports of some very odd behavior that we couldn't reproduce at the time. We soon found the Kernel Bug, with no solution at the time of discovery and no consistent reporting to determine the level of impact this bug had on Tantos set aside for Black Friday. I admittedly made a poor decision to push forward to meet the growing demand for Black Friday Tantos. Which ultimately, was a mistake on my part, and a lesson I'll never forget.

What we took away from this and have adjusted, was increasing our software Quality Assurance AND the Hardware. This allowed us to ship our January pre-sales with confidence that every Tanto is working exactly as expected. Which also lead us to our next painful lesson...

Hardware Defects
With the increase in hardware QA, we found that a large batch of boards directly from Pine64 were failing to complete the IBD after a normal Dojo install. It was also particularly hard to pin down the root issue, since most of the team and software QA members never ran into this issue with their own (older) nodes. We were able to determine that there was a dysfunctional RAM component causing the new boards to have failures when they get maxed out during the initial install.

Beginning in February, until the time of writing this blog, we have been in constant communication with Pine64 to rectify this situation. In the meantime, we've been able to find an appropriate workaround and have these changes in QA at the moment. So far, things are looking bright on the test results for this.

As team lead, this was a particularly challenging aspect for me. I pride myself on my experience in leading teams, accomplishing goals and tasks on time, and taking care of my team. I've dealt with burnout personally and with many individuals throughout my life who have gone through the same. Which is what made this even more difficult in hindsight. As a small team of highly passionate individuals who've worked on this for no compensation (or next to nothing), no one wanted to admit they getting burnt out. Being a "decentralized" team made the problem worse, as I don't get to see the look of burnout on a persons face.

Thankfully we are recovering from this. We are still as tight a team as ever, and still hyper passionate about the path forward.

Road Ahead

Now that we got all the negatives out of the way, let's get to the fun shit!

Open Beta Tests
Beginning with v2.2.0, we will be opening up a telegram group for the RoninDojo community to help us battle test our software before final release.

"Will it nuke my node?" Highly unlikely, as our QA team will still do an initial round of testing before ever pushing the newest features to the beta group for testing. This feedback and community support will be critical for us and really help expediate our releases. So if you've always wanted to contribute but didn't know how, this is a great way to do it!

Spoiler: Yes, Mix to XPub is in the upcoming release

Sir, Tanto wen?


Your demands for the return of the Tanto has not fallen on deaf ears.

As I mentioned earlier, we are taking every precaution we can to ensure that when you buy a Tanto you are getting the true plug-n-play experience. We value our community and customers too much to make the same mistakes.

We can thankfully say, we will be opening up pre-orders later this month! We will announce on twitter when pre-orders are live.
Estimated shipping date will be ~2-4 weeks

What's Next?

Given everything we've learned the past 12 months, we've made the decision to take the remainder of 2024 to enhance our community experience. What you can expect moving forward:
- 2TB upgrade Kits
- Enhanced backup drive support
- More RoninUI updates
- and more

While this is happening, the backend development team will be working (and have already begun working on) RoninDojo v3. This will be a complete re-write, will be compatible with x86 and arm boards (RockPro64, Rpi4/5, etc). Not to mention the end result will be faster, more resource efficient, and empower RoninUI to have even more tools at your disposal. RoninDojo will be even more robust, more secure, and more compatible then ever before.

Closing Thoughts

All in all, I can confidently say that this project has grown tremendously the past 12 months, and I personally have learned a ton. We've seen outstanding support from our community and we are excited to deliver you the tools to keep you private and sovereign.

2024 is about the RoninDojo community.
Thanks for being with us!

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