Upverter is Sleepy!

We pushed a major set of features today. Hopefully it should feel a lot less broken for our Alpha users. We are a few days away from our next push, and maybe a week away from Beta after that. So there is lots going on! We are blitzing as fast as we can to our public launch – so hold tight! But right now, after a week of heavy duty pitching and schmoozing Upverter is sleepy. We promise to return in the near future with useful blog posts on interesting things. But right now we are going to bed. To sleep. A lot.

Open Source EVERYTHING!

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In this case, why not build a tractor from scratch? These guys have taken on the very admirable goal of building an opensource version of the most common of hardware (like real hardware, welders and cnc mills, etc) for the benefit of all of us. Opensource thrives on the fact that sharing knowledge isn’t zero sum. We all benefit much more from sharing than any one person loses by not keeping it to themselves. Upverter will always go out of our way to support the community in any way we can, be it homebrew cellphones, or tractors – so just let us know if we can help. And really, seriously, from all of us here – props. Way to fight the good fight.

How GitHub Changed FOSS: What’s Missing in OSHW?

We are blitzing our go public release and are super cramped for time right – so today’s is a short post. Honza Pokorny wrote a great article on how GitHub changed FOSS, see here. And I liked it so much I wanted to draw some parallels to OSHW. Here are my 4 favourites and the ones that I think are very applicable to our community.

Unified place for all your projects

There isn’t one right now. We need this badly, but it also needs to support, or integrate with tools for actually doing hardware. It can’t be a dead space, where projects go to die.

Design discussions

I want to collaborate on designs, and I want that collaboration tracked. I want to look back and understand a bug fix, or why a resistor is 1K. Nothing makes this possible right now, and its a barrier to real collaborative electronic design.

Publish your hacks with ease

This is huge! I need a zero friction way to share my hackery, or else I just wont! The project sites that exist either need to focus on lowering this barrier, or someone else needs to fill the void. Again tool integration is huge here – but is possible. So many great hacks are wasting away in basements!

Discover new projects

Why is this so hard? The harkopen guys are helping, and instructables is good too, but I want a hackernews style occasional, cool project of the day, or week. Hack-a-day does a good job of this on the epic side, but I want stuff that I can obtainably build and make better.

Here at Upverter we are fighting to make these headaches go away. But its a hard fight, and the more people in the space working together the better we can all be. So I guess this is a bit of a cry out for us all to get better, and a bit of a push for stepping back and looking at the landscape. Lets build a github, or at least lets do the same things they did right for OSHW.

The Pitch: Upverter in 30 Seconds

The Pitch: Upverter in 30 Seconds

  • Hi I’m Zak, Mike, Steve and we’re Upverter.
  • We make web-based software for designing electronics.
  • The existing tools were all designed before the web and isolate their users.
  • But because its on the web our software allows collaboration and sharing; designers can finally work together.
  • We are all electrical engineers and we’ve built the software we always wished we had.
  • There are 10’s of billions of dollars in our market.

March 2011 Update

March 2011 Update

So my ma calls me the other day and tells me its -27C at home (Toronto, Canada). And right after cringing and being thankful we aren’t up there right now. We got to thinking, isn’t it supposed to be spring!?!? Like snow melting, flowers growing, spring break = spring? We don’t really know if its spring or not because the weather never changes much here from day to day (Mountain View, California). But we are pretty sure that one one of the things we learned in grade 3 was that girls punch you when they like you, but also that March = spring, and spring = new and fresh (not -27C!). So in the interest of spring, of new, fresh, and exciting, we figured it was about time we sent around another email!

The first big piece of news is that we have finally got users! About a week ago we launched our closed Alpha, which is super exciting for us. To be finally working with our users building the tools they want and need, and to have this incredible base to build on top of is just awesome. We are working tirelessly to add every feature requested, respond to every email, and get the tool to the point where its useful and not just super cool. And I must say we are so grateful for all the incredible feedback! Thanks again to our Alpha users – we really do appreciate it!

So in the interest of setting ourselves up for a lot of sleepless nights ;), I thought I would layout the next big milestone for us. We want to go public as soon as possible. We want to scale, and grow and provide value to as many users as we can. But right now the tool isn’t ready. The following are the tasks and improvements that we are working on right now, and the features that we think once we have, we will be able to open up to a much wider audience. We will probably call this our Beta.


  • Attribute labels

    : This one is a pretty trivial issue. It should be done in an hour or so ;), but without it, its pretty hard to do anything useful!

  • Part editor / Symbol editor / Attribute editor

    : This feature will allow people to start contributing content to the system. You will actually be able to get in there and create the parts the library is missing.

  • Export Netlist / PDF

    : We think this is pretty important to people, and we think its going to be pretty fast to churn out. It might not be super complete early on, but this feature will allow you to add Upverter to your workflow.

  • Public Embed-able Viewer

    : We think this is one of the secrets to getting a ton of people interested in what we are doing. This feature would allow users to add a schematic to their blog, or instructables posting.

  • Import Eagle / Altium Files

    : We are scared of this one. We have no idea how much work its going to be. But as our most requested feature we are working to add it in as soon as possible.

And thats really it for the update! We are continuing to invite people everyday to join the tools and give us feedback and so far the response continues to  be incredible, people really are dying to have better tools! We are here in Mountain View hacking away for another month, and we are enjoying our time, learning lots, and meeting tons of incredible people. It really is a very powerful startup scene down here, and we are so grateful to get to participate in that. Oh, and if you haven’t yet gotten an Alpha key, and you want one, send me an email and we will get you in there right away! Cheers, The Upverters