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Hard At Work, or an Update on the State of RoastLog

November 18, 2010

It’s hard for me to believe that Thanksgiving is less than a week away. I spent three weeks last month vacationing in Spain and the few weeks since then catching up with all the work that piled up while I was gone. Now it’s November, the eve of the busiest time of year for many in the coffee industry. Although RoastLog isn’t in the business of selling coffee we’re managing to keep ourselves pretty busy along with the rest of you.

Ryan has been hard at work over the last few months interviewing roasters about inventory management and conceptualizing solutions that will meet their needs. The system has been mapped out and the heavy lifting has begun, as both Ryan and Brian have started writing the code that will be our inventory management system. It’s way bigger than any of us expected. In order for the inventory system to integrate with the existing version of RoastLog, virtually every section of the website needs to be modified. When will the inventory system be finished? Well, we’re not exactly sure at the moment but we do know this is not the sort of thing that is going to happen overnight. We want to do it right, so we are planning a comprehensive testing series before introducing the system to a wider audience. We expect that inventory management will be ready for primetime in April when the SCAA expo rolls around.

And speaking of the expo, we got booth #445 secured for the show in Houston. I was just looking at the floor plan for convention hall and it looks like we’ll have some good company around us — we’ll be right across the aisle from Intelligentsia, Cuvee and Sweetbird, while just the Catholic Relief Services booth separates us from many tasty shots from the fine folks at Slayer.

What’s this about Coffee Informatics? That is our new and official business name. RoastLog is Coffee Informatics and Coffee Informatics is RoastLog. At some point we realized that the technology needs of the coffee industry go far beyond logging roast data. As I mentioned we’re introducing inventory management in a few months, and our intention is that this system will work just as easily with RoastLog as it will without it. Basically it will be an independently functioning system and, as such, different from RoastLog… although those who use both won’t even notice. Anyway, we thought Coffee Informatics would be a, um, descriptive name for a technology company that is dedicated to the coffee industry. So there it is, someday we hope to have a roster of programs available to help make the lives of coffee roasters, cuppers, buyers and importers much easier.

Probably the number one question I have been fielding about RoastLog is, “When will the multi input data bridge be ready?” Well, nothing worthwhile in life comes easy, and that’s proving true for our four (that’s right, four) input data bridge. Mike, our electrical engineer is working with a new chip that is more accurate but also more sensitive than the first generation Data Bridge. With that sensitivity comes more noise and with that noise, a need to filter it out, hence a slower development process. We’re getting closer but the engineering stage is not finished. As soon as it is we’ll have a prototype. The prototype will need to be tested and, once testing is complete, we’ll need to have the boards manufactured and assembled. There will also be more design and programming needed so everything looks good and works well within the RoastLogger client application. We are confident that the bridges are going to be available in April at the SCAA expo, and we certainly hope a little sooner than that.

Finally, the hard work of getting the word out about RoastLog continues. Props to MC Hammer for helping us do that! Our goal for the foreseeable future is to talk to as many roasters as possible about RoastLog. We know that our system can help make life easier and coffee quality better. Help us spread the word and feel free to contact us with any questions.

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