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Introducing Version 4 11

Introducing Version 4.1

Last night, Roastmaster 4.1 went live. If you haven’t installed it already, head over to the app store, grab the update and check out what’s new:

    • Reporting
    • Tab delimited exporting of report data
    • J Type thermocouple support for Data Logging users
    • Smoother temperature display for Data Logging users
    • The Roast Analyzer now displays crack and duration averages from past roasts as gradient bars in the bottom x-axis legend, removing some of the clutter that could present in complex roast comparisons, and giving a clear way to see how the milestones of your current roast are occurring compared to the past roasts your are targeting.
    • Selected curves in Analyzer now display as gradients, making it easier to discern between multiple current and past curves
    • Tap-and-hold to clone a Bean
    • Many under-the-hood and small usability tweaks
    • Fixed a bug that would result in a crash when attempting to delete a curve from a profile or program, if that curve was copied from a roast in which it was instantiated from a curve template.
    • Fixed a bug that would prevent deletion of a curve template from a Profile or Program

 

Note to Data Logging Users

Roastmaster 4.1 uses the latest Phidgets software – build 2.1.8.20130618. For users with a PC or Mac host, please download the appropriate software and install the Preference Pane (Mac) or Control Panel (Windows). For those with an SBC host, please open the PhidgetSBC Administration Console by double clicking the SBC in the Preference Pane/Control Panel of your desktop computer, navigating to the “System” main tab, then the “Packages” subtab, and clicking the update all packages button.

Once your Phidgets software is updated, Roastmaster 4.1 will be able to link to your probes.

About the Update

As the app gradually matures with each release, I find my greatest ambition is to enhance the ways in which the data you record is made available to you as you use Roastmaster, not only in the area in which it resides, but in other areas – areas where you need to see it, and where it will be the most beneficial. Alongside of this, an ever-present ambition is to enhance the user experience – making the app as fun and easy to use as possible.

In the previous update, the Roast Analyzer screen was given a much-needed facelift. This included, among other things, the capability to display multiple roasts, and scroll through each one, seeing the current roast data compared to past roast and cupping data, to help you make informed decisions as you roast. After all, what good is dutifully recording data if you have to hunt and peck to retrieve it? That information should be easily accessible when and where you need it, in a way that makes it easy to understand and recognize patterns.

This update continues that focus with one of the most requested features this year – reporting. Whether you make your livelihood from roasting coffee, or are a coffee enthusiast who, like me, spends more than your fair share on green coffee beans, it’s important to be able to see how much you roast, blend or cup. Even if you don’t faithfully cup all of your roasts, seeing exactly what you roast is a good indicator of your own personal preferences, and is a great way to see what you like, as well a good means to bring attention to beans, countries or regions you’ve been neglecting.

What is Reporting?

Whereas the roasting mode of the home screen graph only displays totals from top-level beans in your roasts, Roastmaster’s reporting engine scours your database, descending through as many levels of encapsulation as your roasts contain to extract the exact weights of the green beans you’re using. So, for instance, if you like to roast blends that are comprised of roasts – the reporting engine will track that bean usage all the way to the beans themselves, reporting the exact weights and cost involved. Pairing this with cost analysis paints a pretty comprehensive picture of not only your roasting habits, but your spending habits as well.

Version 4.1 introduces 3 report types:

  • Bean Usage of Roasts: An exhaustive actual bean use and cost analysis of your roasts.
  • Bean Usage of Cuppings: An exhaustive actual bean use and cost analysis of your cuppings.
  • Bean Components of Blends: An exhaustive report of bean percentages and projected cost averages of beans per lb or kg of blend.

Roastmaster’s reporting engine is equipped with flexible features:

  • Advanced automatic and customizable time ranges
  • Ability to group by Region, Country or Vendor, or lump everything together
  • Sorting by Amount, Cost or Name
  • Export to a tab delimited text file, including all of the bean details, amounts and costs, for sending to dropbox, iTunes file sharing or as an email attachment. Special attention has been paid to the data contained in the export – values are normalized and label free to allow easy sorting in your spreadsheet application.

I encourage you to experiment with the reporting feature, and, if you aren’t in the habit of recording the cost of your beans, to start recording this as you receive bean shipments. The existing bean cost feature is very easy to use, just enter the amount paid, and the weight you received. For instance, you can enter $24.57 per 5 lb – Roastmaster handles all of the math when needed. This information is very helpful when using the reporting feature – especially if you’re on a budget.

This is just the beginning of Reporting. I have ideas for more reports I plan to introduce in subsequent updates. If you have suggestions for other report types that would be beneficial to you, please let me know.

Moving Forward

Lots of things are planned for coming updates. I’ve done a lot of work under-the-hood with this release to prepare for the future. In the data logging arena, I’m in the process of securing test units and the SDKs for two interesting probes: the iCelsius BBQ and the Bluetherm Duo. Both units look promising, and both have their own individual strengths. Now that this update is released, I’ll be diving headfirst into coding and testing for hopeful support for Data Logging users in an update soon.

Lots of other general features have been suggested by users. International localization, temperature-based alarms and events and iCloud syncing are among the most popular – all things I want to tackle. I’ve even got my own personal favorite ideas that are starting to get some requests – like integrating the coffee roasting taste wheel into cuppings, bean inventory lots/batches/skids to track changing costs and bean aging, and many others. Please let me know what you’d like to see in future updates – I gauge development by popularity – so the most votes win!

As alway – Happy Roasting!

About the Author

Danny HallHome Coffee Roaster and App DeveloperView all posts by Danny Hall »

  1. Minos
    MinosOct 01, 2013

    Hi Danny

    I use your app with my Quest M3 and love it.
    I’d love to use data-logging with thermocouples but your recommended set up looks pretty complicated.
    I found this Wi-Fi thermocouples EL-WiFi-TC from Corintech. Which are cheaper and way easyer to use if I could connect them directly with the iPhone.
    http://www.corintech.com/news-about-electronics.php?electronics=Corintech-launch-new-thermocouple-WiFi-data-logging-sensor
    I would be really happy if you check it out.

    Greetings Minos

    • Danny Hall
      Danny HallOct 01, 2013

      Hi Minos

      Thanks for the kind words.

      Thanks for sending me the link. I’ve put it in my backlog list to inquire about for a future update. If the manufacturer provides an iOS API, I’d be eager to try it out.

      You’re right – Phidgets are a little on the complex side, but I truly love them – they perform wonderfully.

      That being said, I’m in the testing stage of the next update which, among other things, will HOPEFULLY bring support for two more probe types – the iCelsius BBQ and the Bluetherm Duo. So far testing has gone well. If I don’t encounter any problems, Roastmaster will support those in the next update. As with any update, there’s always the possibility that Apple will reject it based on something in the manufacutrer’s APIs that communicate with the probes, so please don’t purchase anything until the update is released – just in case.

      Hopefully, I only have a couple of weeks before submitting to Apple. Feel free to contact me to see how the testing is going in the mean time. It’s worth noting you’ll need to get the mounting hardware before using probes with the Quest. I can give you a link to a source if you need it.

      Kind regards
      Danny

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