• Several times during the day that my twine stops reporting for up to 90+ minutes at a time. WTF?
    This device is not reliable at all. I can not replicate this failure.
    The unit is about 30 - 40 feet (10 meters) away from my router.
    I just put in fresh duracell batteries (which only last about 2 weeks+/-)
    I find myself constantly wasting my time by checking to see if it is still connected. (It was SUPPOSED to SAVE me time)
    I do not get satisfactory answers from email customer support.

    WHY CAN'T THIS WORK AS PROMISED???
    I am VERY frustrated!!!
  • 39 Comments sorted by
  • Patience guys! It takes time to develop a good product, and that's what they're trying to do.

    Think of TWINE as a child learning to walk. Fall's are inevitable, but they'll get back up and try again. It doesn't help when people are pushing them over on purpose (aka criticising them). Imagine how you'd feel if you got told you were a "failure" at school because you didn't get 100% on a test.

    Enjoy your holidays and relax a little. :)
  • I am very frustrated as well... I feel myself as an Alpha Tester (who paid to get the device)...
  • The sad thing is, that given the completely closed nature of the device and the services it needs, we can't help in resolving any of the deficiencies that keep it from having a useful function. I'm thinking that the best thing is to stop wasting batteries and cluttering my cell phone with useless messages: Put it in a closet and check back in another year and see if there is anything useful that I can do with it. Until there are major changes I can't imagine anyone who has a Twine recommending it to anyone else.
  • Hardly a fail, but I am bummed that I can't get batteries to last more than two days and that I had to publish my hidden SSID.
  • @Jonathan - did you do a manual setup on the Twine and it still didn't connect to your hidden SSID? I'm extremely curious!

    @Barry - check out this post http://community.supermechanical.com/index.php?p=/discussion/comment/333#Comment_333 it appears that using a Static IP has helped Bob's twine work. I'm going to try it on mine tonight to see if it fixes the reliability problem I'm encountering



    PS - I'm not excited about the poor functionality of my Twine either, but I expected it - I backed a Kickstarter HW project, I didn't buy a product. I knew that the team wasn't battle tested in mass producing a product and I accepted this before I bought in.

    I also design HW based products for a living and these bugs are par for the course... Look what happened with Jawbone when they released their UP product last year - they flat out failed!

    I don't think that Supermechanical has failed - I just feel we have Beta run systems and the team is probably overloaded right now trying to sort it out.



  • The frustrations come from not being explicitly told "you are an alpha-tester. We are still working on this and you are not doing anything wrong. It will be fixed."

    I might or might not have wanted to be part of an alpha test, but if the device had come with a note to that effect, or if we had been given the option of taking delivery now or waiting a few more months, that would have offset a good deal of the negative comments.

    Once that was finally made clear, I could stop wasting time on it thinking that it was my fault for somehow not configuring it properly. I am now waiting for fixes as if I had never received it.

    It's easy to be non-frustrated when yours is "working fine". For those of us for whom it is still falling off the network with great regularity, it is not quite as easy.

    Again, I am fine with being told it isn't actually for sale yet and we're in alpha test. When they changed their website from "ships in 2 weeks" to "ships in 6-8 weeks", that's when I was able to feel more laid back about all this.

    Now I just hope networking DOES get fixed!
  • With luck, I thought I might be a beta tester, but my expectation was alpha testing, both on hardware and software. Given the Kickstarter model, that is what you buy into, no matter what the hopes and dreams that are advertised promise. I never thought that I would receive a piece of hardware onto which I could load a "mission critical" ie. expensive if failure, task.
    And, that's what all of us got.
    As for support, Yes, it is sometimes slow, but that is also the nature of the beast. Personally, I have found John Kestner to be responsive to issues, and doing his best to get on top of issues. And, I am fully aware that I am not the only one tugging on his coat.
    And yes, there are kinds of things we might wish from Twine, but that will probably have to wait for 2.0, and I figure right now we are at about 0.4. With luck and patience, at the end of a few more months, we'll be at 1.0, that which the developers hoped they'd ship, but then they ran into the realities.
    Also, some of the issues being complained about are, frankly not Supermechanical's fault, such as creaky SMS gateways at hundreds of providers all over the world that do not comply with the current SMS model (I am the victim of one of these). Nor can they be held responsible for stupidly restrictive email spam filtering by, again, hundreds of ISPs. If you are not getting email from Twine, first check your own spam settings, then those of your ISP, and adjust as possible. The odds are good the problem is at your end, not at Supermechanical's.
    Kickstarter is never going to be a place to go and buy products that work exactly or even approximately as described; when you buy on Kickstarter, you are investing in a dream, and in being part of realizing that dream. If you want stuff that works more or less as advertised, Best Buy is your place, and even there you will sometimes be out of luck.
    All that said, I've had my money's worth of fun,, and, with limitations that are not serious, actually have a device that will do a task for me that otherwise would require a person. Meanwhile, all of the experience gained by Supermechanical people will eventually lead to very different hardware, using some of the same principles, that will do the magic most people seem to think would be available in this start-up.
  • Robert and frjps... Gerry has hit the nail on the head. The child learning to walk metaphor I used earlier is still very apt. As Robert implied, put it away until they've had time to develop it more if you're finding yourself frustrated at it at the moment, then you can come back to a product that's working like you expect. Perhaps you could sell yours to someone who will enjoy watching a product develop like many of us are doing. As someone who designs "stuff", I appreciate seeing the awkward times they're encountering, and I do my best to support them through it too (like this post).

    The same goes for Barry too, however I didn't notice at first that you bought the "product" instead of the KickStarter project. These forums, project updates, and other sources could have well informed you about its infancy status. It's to be expected that bugs will be slowly ironed out. Do you write to Microsoft Windows to complain about updates and service packs... I doubt it. And I doubt they would give you a personal response if you did, they probably wouldn't even care much about an individual. Alpha & Beta testing is a basic test, almost nothing is flawless when it's fully released. It's just the nature of manufacturing.

    And before anyone takes this as any sort of personal insult, it's not. I don't know any of you so I don't claim personal knowledge. I just know what it's like trying to get a product off the ground, it's not easy, and reading words like "FAIL" doesn't help development, it slows it. Give the guys a break, let them have Christmas without having to worry about posts like the ones above while they're trying to enjoy time with friends and family. The inconvenience of your TWINE not working as you expected really can't be that bad.

    Last but not least, if it's supposed to be so easy to do all the things that you expect TWINE to do, why hasn't it been done before? and why haven't you or I done it? (Rhetorical) The answer is: Because it's not easy, it takes time, mistakes, corrections, money, reputations, blood, sweat and tears. Sometimes it takes failures. But the only way this will become a failure, is if they give up, and they haven't done that.
  • I wasn't involved a year ago, but I'd say we are part of a young start-up as early adopters. Embrace it. Now that the guys have shipped the device and more people are 'using' it, give the guys a chance to review all the feedback and data they are collecting, and smooth the rough edges. If you don't want to be involved, sell your Twine and move on - there are other IoT projects and commercial devices out there.
  • Maybe the implied rules of buying into a Kickstarter offering are not made clear enough, but anyone who is familiar with that crowd-funding model realizes that what you are buying into is a dream. The descriptions may well bear some resemblance to what actually shows up in your mailbox, months after you thought it would, but you are going to be part of a great beta-test, at the end of which you may have what you thought you were buying, but more likely, close but no cigar.
    As for Twine, at least half of what people are complaining about are not the fault of the Supermechanical folks. Using available information, they could not have know that on many ISPs each user needed to "turn on" the email to SMS gateway that Twine would use for text, and to boot specifically list "@supermechanical.net" as an allowed sender? (I didn't, and I had in fact enabled that gateway years ago, before I left my Blackberry for an iPhone - who knew those settings don't survive a platform change?) they couldn't have known that many email servers do not like the form of email address that your Twine has; some at least allow you to add that address or its domain to a safe list, those of you using Apple only may have discovered that Apple simply deletes email it doesn't like, without notifying either sender or receiver?
    And as for some of the hardware issues, they will be resolved in time, but perhaps not until Twine 2.0 - but remember, if you are sticking with this experiment, that you are a part of a dream of a new product that is unlike anything presently in existence.
    Me, I remember a time when I was on the faculty at University of Waterloo, and a kid by the name of Mike Lazaridies was going around with an idea for a communications start-up that eventually became Research in Motion. Sadly, not a lot of us thought he stood a chance.
  • unfortunately, we are all alpha testers. that is the fact.
    I have mine on a static IP, and am using it as a moisture sensor plugged into my outlet for power. The last two weeks, it has worked perfectly (but not as advertised).

    As Twine is not a single purpose service embedded into an everyday device, my fear is that it will remain "hobby". However, it will help spawn the technology into everyday devices built for specific purpose.

    I often wonder if this wasn't the true intent: Build and test the use case in mass, then wait for the licensing agreements to roll in.
  • Fine, but it seems line they'd be better off with solid support from their beta-test (or is it alpha-test) crowd before opening publicly. Which would mean getting this working on our networks before soliciting orders for immediate delivery.
  • When I ordered the twine and its sensors, I told myself that this is not something I need, but it will be fun to play with. So far I'm not disappointed. My hope is that twine will perform some task that more expensive devices already on the market can do.
  • Hi,

    I bought my twine one or two weeks ago from the website.
    I took the magnetic switch sensor.
    First I had to pay an extra 44 euro to the post office because of taxes (not supermechanical's fault but frustrating).
    I installed it on my door.

    since it's installed I received eratic email notifications. The twine blinks when the door opens but I don't receive emails or receive them in batches 30 minutes later, sometimes not at all.

    So I came to the forum to seek for a solution. I discovered something worst that I espected :
    - false advertising (maximum 30 days instead of the 6 month promised)
    - unreliable triggers and notifications
    - bad support and customer communication

    In my living room I have a small chinese video camera, it's wifi connected and sends email when it sees someone. This costed about half of my twine and works better.

    I didn't sign up for a "beta program" or anything. I bought a product, wich was expensive for what it was supposed to do. And it doesn't work.

    I'm sure that getting an ardunio and doing it myself will get better result.
  • i have now changed my router for brand new one, and still it is unreliable.
    grrrr

    :-(
  • I have to agree. This still feels like alpha quality even though the delivery date was March 2012 (9 months ago). There are around 3,900 backers. It seems highly inefficient to have all of us discover the same (known?) problems. I know Dave and John have spent an enormous amount of time and energy on this project but that doesn't forgive the lack of communication at this critical stage.

    Dave and John, you may want to try this:
    1. Apologize to your many fans for the frustrations they have experienced
    2. Publish the list of known issues, with work-arounds (if any)
    3. Publish a release schedule for updates and stick to it

    I honestly don't mind the bugs. I don't mind the missing features (vibration sensing, analog inputs, more flexible rules etc.). What I mind is the wasted time trying to get things to work that you know are broken. The lack of good, frequent communication is dashing my hopes and crushing my spirit. I know you guys can do better, and we need you to do better.

    "Listen to your world, talk to the Internet".
    Your fans are your world. You need to talk to them. Sorry, couldn't resist :)
  • i just want what i paid for to work
  • i agree with berry. this device at this point is no more than a hobbiest device. if this was placed on my grandmother it would be a hit or miss if i got notified in time if she fell down and needed help. text messages sometimes come outside chronological order. support staffing needs to increase to fix all the bugs. going live and having users identify problems is not proper system development. in order to monitor more than device a twine is needed so this becomes expensive and now you compete with fully supported commercial devices like twine.
  • a statement from the manufacturer that they are acknowledging problems and that they are addressing them would be appreciated, however, I have not heard anything at all.
  • Barry you need to look harder. Throughout these forums are many comments from SuperMechanical staff saying that they are working on all these things. I've had great support so far, including personal email responses. Mine is working fine, and the extra features should be available shortly.
  • I always thought that being an alpha-tester was obvious from the very nature of the Kickstarter project. Not every idea on kickstarter turned out to be a success, and by putting our money up early we gave people a chance to try. If I wanted a tried and true product I would have bought it elsewhere.

    That's not to say that Twine won't be successful, but it came with no guarantees.
  • i bought the twine from the manufacturer's site, and not from Kickstarter. Thank you.
  • Barry, I think your expectations were set much too high, considering the "product" you "bought".

    Like others have mentioned, I didn't buy this device because I saw it as a finished product that I could rely on; I bought into a hobby that requires effort on my behalf to help turn it into a finished product.

    If you feel let down, it's your own fault. I'm sure they would be happy to accept your return, and you could go purchase a suitable replacement...
  • Um...NO!

    My expectations are for exactly what was advertised on their website when I made my decision to purchase this product. So far, there is no "vibration" mode, there is no "6 month battery life" (my brand new duracell batteries last approximately 11 days for each set), and above all, there is limited connectivity. I just want what what was promised to me when I purchased what was advertised! This wan not advertized as a 'great hobby', and I was never offered a refund.

    ....so how is this MY fault?
  • I absolutely agree with Barry. I honestly wish that I had not backed this project at all. In my eyes, it is also a big FAIL.
  • Back when I first joined Kickstarter (this was the first item I ever sponsored) it was not at all obvious to many of us that we were backing dreams with no promises of success. I thought I was funding the production of a product, not its initial development, and I thought that it would be completed as promised and at the stated delivery time.

    I think Kickstarter now has rules requiring clearer language, to make it clear what the risks are when you fund a design project, than they did way back when.

    So, here we are. I'm still hopeful that this will turn into a working product someday!
  • Hrmmm. They are now shipping in 2-4 days (and even faster if you order from Amazon) and still no resolution of all the connectivity problems or any recent communication from support despite my long-since open ticket.

    Is there new firmware coming? When?

    You'd think they'd want to take care of this before they start selling on Amazon or they're going to get tons of 1-star reviews.

    If they are shipping with newer firmware that fixes all the issues, it would be nice for them to mention it to those of us who have been waiting a month already since receiving the units.
  • Since when was it ever implied that just because an item is on kickstarter that the products are beta. If this was the case how would anything get funded? I'm sure no one in there right mind is just going to through good money away on beta products.
    Yes you might be funding the odd dream or three that won't come to market, but surely the idea is to make a product that works and that people are going to buy?
  • ....still nothing....(crickets chirping)
  • With regard to the device "hanging"....
    Mine had the same problem. I followed the procedure of giving it a static IP address, and for the last couple of days it has worked without any problems. It now sends an update every 45 seconds without fail. It was also sending low-battery notifications which have now stopped. (Same batteries). It still has the Oct 31 firmware.
  • No fail here! I got mine to monitor for water leaking in my father-in-law's basement. Three email rules: temp drops below 50, orientation to back (if someone is flips it over messing with it) and email if water. Sure the battery life sucks so I have a USB charger plugged in.

    We're a society where we expect everything to be as cheap as WalMart but work like Mil-grade.

    The guys at Twine have done an excellent job. And I'm looking forward to the updates for new features. I'd like a simple "ping" or "keep alive" notification rule.
  • For those of you for whom it's actually working, that's great. For the rest of us, it is beyond frustrating to have paid for, and spent hours trying to debug, a device with flaws that they are aware of and might fix someday but who knows when, or even if.

    If one of you for whom it is working great wants to buy a second one, I think I'm ready to sell. Personally I think they should stand behind their product and offer to repurchase it from those of us for whom it is clear it will not work for a long time, if at all, but they have said they won't do that.
  • On top of all the networking problems I am having, I am finding that the Twine doesn't fire rules when it is supposed to, and fires spurious ones.  Today I moved the twine, and instead of firing on the orientation change it fired the rule that says the temperature had gone up (which was not the case).  In addition, it sent the email but did not send the text I had requested.

  • I am very happy with mine. Has been very reliable. Battery life very good.
  • ok than supermechanical should come out and say putting our device to monitor critical situations than caveat emptor until we feel this device is more than a hobby diy device.
  • BTW I am using eneloop rechargeable batteries. Have only swapped twice since receiving (I received at start of shipping). Using as a door sensor with mag switch for a door we use often daily.
  • i had updated to v.1.2 last week. As you are all aware from my first post, I had reported that my batteries last only about 2 weeks (more like 11 days).

    Now my batteries last 6 days.

    great.
  • And, by the way, "twine.supermechanical.com" isn't working for at least 30 minutes right now...
  • I'm going to return my twine this week. Christina from tech support promised me the November modem firmware update 10 days ago (which is supposed to take care of my connection issues) and I'm still waiting. Even worse: all my emails asking for a status update on the issue have been left unanswered. That's jut crazy.

    Ayways, so happy that I ordered from Amazon so that my best experience with the twine will be the hassle free return. Should've listened to all the 1-star review on amazon. I sure will be adding mine.

    Ciao (for now) and good luck you guys!

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