Website gets a Facelift May 15 2014, 0 Comments

You may have noticed over the last couple of weeks that our old website was decreasing in functionality. The blog and forums became inaccessible and for months, logging in was never reliable. Our site was under constant attack from spammers and people trying to hack the site. The spike in bandwidth caused our webhost to severely cripple our functionality and the ability for people to login was limited or locked out. So, we've decided to move to Shopify as our new host, where we can have a safer and more reliable environment for our users as well as a real shopping cart that we'll be adding more stuff to. You will notice that some of the places on our old site are not immediately accessible right now, while this is a transition period, it will likely take a few weeks for full migration to happen and all of our old info to find its new home. The forum that we were using is not compatible with our current setup, but we're trying to find a way to make sure we don't lose the old posts that people had put up. Again, hopefully in a few weeks it will all be running smoothly again.

As far as bot deliveries go, we are hitting snags on a regular basis, and they are mostly logistical in nature. It get's frustrating, and sometimes it feels like everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. The problem with setting dates, is that as soon as you do, something pops up that completely prevents you from being to hit that date. So, it makes me not want to set hard dates anymore. You should know that we are working as hard as we can and that bots will go out in the order that we received the orders. The current expectation is that a few bots will go out at the end of next week, and hopefully the remainder of them in the last week of May. In the meantime, relax, and make yourself a drink the old fashion way while you still can.

I should also mention that we'll be at the Maker Faire this weekend, so stop by and say hi if you're there.

Maker Faire Bay Area


A Slight Delay with Bots April 28 2014, 1 Comment

Up until this point things were going quite smoothly with our pre-order build, but at the end of last week we ran into some unexpected surprises. A couple of our vendors made mistakes on some of our parts, and our adherence to quality dictates that the parts need to be re-done.  Unfortunately, this means bots won't go out for about another week. There's a pretty good chance we will be able to start shipping around May 5th/6th. Sorry about that. We're so close. Hang in there. Meanwhile, we have started shipping Dispensers and kits. This is an ongoing process, and we'll continue into this week as we get updated shipping addresses and calculate total shipping costs. Thanks for your patience this far. Have a great week.

Beta release of Bartendro software is available April 14 2014, 2 Comments

If you fancy yourself an intrepid cutting edge sort of person, you might be interested in the new beta software release we're currently testing. This software release still has some known bugs and rough edges that we plan to fix before doing a stable release. But, we think that this beta release is considerably better (especially when it comes to the liquid level sensors) than the previous release. If you prefer to wait for things to be solid -- sit tight. Within hopefully a couple of weeks we should have the remaining bugs worked out. The fixes and improvements we have in store for you include:
  • A new "I'm feeling Lucky!" button
  • A lot of user interface improvements
  • An improved Shots interface
  • A taster button on our drink designer
  • Improved handling of the liquid level sensors
There are lots of other features and fixes in this release, so go ahead and read the release notes for details. To give the new software a try and have a spare 4GB SD Card to use in the process, start by reading the release notes and our upgrade instructions. Please, please, please read all of the instructions before you proceed to install the upgrade to Bartendro, ok? Good luck!

Pre-Order Update March 31 2014, 0 Comments

It's April, and yes that means new Bartendro hardware is just around the bend! We had quite a holdup in the month of March, with a key component stuck in customs for over 30 days. Apparently, the weather conditions of February in the Midwest were the cause of severe delays for many, including the officers of US Customs and Border Protection. The frigid winter this year was more extreme than usual, but fortunately that's all over now. We've been doing our best to get things done in parallel, so we're hopeful that starting the week of April 21st, we will begin shipping Bartendro Dispensers, Routers, and other components that make up kits. Fully assembled bots will follow shortly after, beginning shipments as early as April 28th. Image source: nypost.com In their boozy dealings with Bartendro over the past few months, people have been discovering software quirks and bugs and telling us about them. We've been collecting those findings on a list and progressively fixing them. We've also been making continual additions and improvements to make our software more user friendly. So, thanks for the feedback! People with existing bots and kits will be able to upgrade to the latest version for free when it's available in a few weeks. I'll be posting an instruction guide soon on how to do that updating process. It may be a little bit on the technical side, so if you're not up for it you may want to find your closest teenager. As we mentioned before, we're in the in the process of moving to the Bay Area. We've found a new space and we're working on securing the lease. We'll take some photos of the new digs once we're all moved in and probably have an open house at some point where people can come by and say hi.

A Year Ago Today... March 01 2014, 0 Comments

A year ago today, we introduced Bartendro to Kickstarter, and the World. Up until that point, Bartendro's prior incarnations had only been visible to our friends and family. A quaint side project that we had worked on for about 5 years became transformed overnight. Putting it into the public eye brought about a certain cachetor credibility to the project. The month of March was a roller coaster, we went from being elated to overwhelmed in mere moments, then switched back and forth. Going through the Kickstarter process was enlightening and quite fun. We learned that we were in new territory where the rules weren't quite written yet and it liberated us to be creative in how we went about solving our problems. Days were unconventional. In the process we visited dozens of maker spaces, learned about numerous hardware accelerators, and toured factories of all flavors. The people and suppliers we've met have encouraged us and supported us along the way and have restored our faith in American manufacturing, ingenuity and quality. We've learned about many new manufacturing techniques and learned what it really means to commit to making a product. It's a lot of hard work, but when we look back at what that year has produced, we are proud to stand by what we've put out there, and are motivated to build on the accumulated knowledge and momentum that we've gained. It's still a pleasure to hear the reactions of people that use our machines, and Bartendro will only be getting better over time. There are some changes that are coming up, including a move to the San Francisco Bay Area which we will talk about more in a future post. For now, we're excited to keep doing what we're doing. Thanks for following along.

A Better Dispenser Board in the Works February 11 2014, 1 Comment

We've been working on improving many things since the beginning of the year, one of which is the brains of a Dispenser, the Dispenser board. At first glance, you might not see a lot of differences between this board and our previous rev, so I'll walk through some of these changes. Take a gander at what the board looks like in our PCB layout tool.

Dispenser Rev 3We've been listening to feedback and have added several features by user request. Here they are in no particular order:

A push button has been added and can be used to do things like directly drive the motor. This is useful for many hobbyists, and since it's user programmable, it can even be used as the main interface for dispensing, depending on your application. To make the boards more cost effective for some, we've allowed the most expensive component on the board, the liquid level sensor, to be optional. It was soldered on before, but now can be added easily after the fact by anyone. Simply insert the component into the header and screw it down with the 2 screws provided. The motor driving circuitry has been changed to add the capability of driving the motor in both directions. The reverse feature will allow liquids to be emptied back into the bottle if desired, making cleaning a little easier. An added bonus is that the motor can now be stopped more suddenly allowing for even higher accuracy when dispensing small amounts. We have added more protection circuitry so that when a board is plugged into a system, any voltage spikes won't do any harm. And finally, we have added many testpoint pads on the board that will allow us to do more thorough testing during production so that we continue to ensure that every single board is tested before it gets shipped to you or built into a bot. We're getting ready to get these boards on order this week, so that puts us on track to still being able to deliver in April. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Party Robotics Lives On January 07 2014, 0 Comments

Dear Community, We are pleased to announce that we will continue to be your premiere source of cocktail robots and open source cocktail robot components. We are grateful for the support we've received and excited to start developing the next generation of features and additions to both software and hardware. We have some partners and distributors that we will be teaming up with as well, and we will tell you about those relationships in the coming months. Also, there's a software update that's currently in the pipeline and Rob will be talking about that soon. For those who placed pre-orders, we will be charging the deposits at the end of this week and getting to work to get all of your hardware to you by the end of April. We will continue to accept pre-orders until we switch over to a conventional shopping cart experience which will also be happening soon. Pre-orders received before the end of January will likely be able to be shipped in the same timeline. Thank you for keeping us going, now let's build some cool stuff!

Selecting ingredients for your Bartendro January 05 2014, 1 Comment

Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Aleta, Rob's partner, and have been a silent supporter of this project for quite some time. I decided it was time to step up my involvement and share some of the insights I've gained while helping demo Bartendro at various events. You'll see more blog posts from me as well as activity in the forums. When reviewing the forums today, I noticed that a few people have mentioned having difficulty with the process of selecting ingredients to load in the bot. I've noticed that the number of drinks on the menu will vary greatly depending on the combination of ingredients I load into the bot, and at times it will offer a surprisingly small number of drink options. With each drink requiring between 2-6 ingredients, it can be difficult to select the right combination to create a menu that is both well-populated and diverse. For this reason, I'm posting a few combinations for Bartendro 7 that we've had success with at various events at the bottom of this entry. Notice that the total number of menu options that the combinations below produce is still just slightly greater than the number of pumps on the bot. While intuitively it seems like a good idea to offer as many options as possible, we have found that as the list of menu options gets longer, people are more likely to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices. They often don't want to read a long list and contemplate their options carefully; they just want a tasty drink quickly so they can return to the party. At Roboexotica in Vienna, Austria I helped serve drinks from the B15 four nights in a row, and many people took a glance at the menu and then asked me (or one of the other human slaves operators) for a drink recommendation rather than reading the entire list. When we're serving a large group, the amount of time it takes to read the list of options and decide can make a big difference in the length of the line waiting for a drink. Once I've selected the ingredients, I tweak the menu further. To increase the diversity of options, I may choose to hide beverages that are nearly identical, and add a few new recipes to the database using the ingredients at hand to add a fun twist. If I am planning on serving drinks to the same group again, I will check the pour totals at the end of the night from the "What's Popular Now?" list to determine which drinks were most popular and cull (hide) some of the drinks that are not popular. Moving forward, we're considering adding a button to pour the most popular drink of the event to help those who get dizzy in the face of so many options. We also have a more sophisticated tool in the works that will create a more personalized experience for admins to help you select ingredients, but that will take more time before it's ready. In the meantime, I hope these tips and the combinations below are helpful to you as you prepare for your next event. Have you found a good ingredient combination for B7 or B15?  Share it in the comments.

Bartendro 7 (B7) drink selection suggestions, ingredients, and menus:

Sweet and Creamy Drinks (16 options)

Baileys, Tequila, Kahlua, Orange Juice, Vodka, Milk, Amaretto

  • Mudslide: Baileys, Vodka, Kahlua
  • Iguana: Vodka, Tequila, Kahlua
  • 2nd Period: Kahlua, Milk, Baileys
  • Screwdriver: Orange Juice, Vodka
  • Baileys & Amaretto: Baileys, Amaretto
  • Black Russian: Kahlua, Vodka
  • Screaming Orgasm: Vodka, Baileys, Kahlua
  • Tequila Screwdriver: Tequila, Orange Juice
  • Brown Cow: Milk, Kahlua
  • Baby Guinness: Kahlua, Baileys
  • Girl Scout Cookie: Baileys, Kahlua
  • Mistofoles: Kahlua, Vodka, Milk
  • White Russian: Vodka, Kahlua, Milk
  • Pure Ecstasy: Vodka, Baileys, Kahlua
  • Blenheim: Vodka, Kahlua, Orange Juice
  • Toasted Almond: Amaretto, Kahlua, Milk

 

Fruity and Tropical Drinks (10 options)

Dark Rum, Grenadine, Tequila, Coconut Milk, Light Rum, Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice

  • Saoco: Light Rum, Coconut Milk
  • Tequila Sunrise: Tequila, Orange Juice, Grenadine
  • Rum Screwdriver: Light Rum, Orange Juice
  • Beach Bum: Dark Rum, Pineapple Juice
  • Tequila Screwdriver: Tequila, Orange Juice
  • Pain Killer: Dark Rum, Pineapple Juice, Coconut Milk, Orange Juice
  • Calypso Baby: Pineapple Juice, Light Rum, Grenadine
  • Piña Colada: Coconut Milk, Pineapple Juice, Light Rum
  • Florida Sunshine: Tequila, Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice, Grenadine
  • Bahama Mama: Light Rum, Dark Rum, Grenadine, Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice

 

A mix of things (14 options)

Baileys, Vodka, Kahlua, Milk, Tequila, Orange Juice, Vodka

  • Mudslide: Baileys, Vodka, Kahlua
  • Black Russian: Kahlua, Vodka
  • Iguana: Vodka, Tequila, Kahlua
  • 2nd Period: Kahlua, Milk, Baileys
  • Tequila Screwdriver: Tequila, Orange Juice
  • Screwdriver: Orange Juice, Vodka
  • Screaming Orgasm: Vodka, Baileys, Kahlua
  • Blenheim: Vodka, Kahlua, Orange Juice
  • Baby Guinness: Kahlua, Baileys
  • Girl Scout Cookie: Baileys, Kahlua
  • Brown Cow: Milk, Kahlua
  • Mistofoles: Kahlua, Vodka, Milk
  • Pure Ecstasy: Vodka, Baileys, Kahlua
  • White Russian: Vodka, Kahlua, Milk

 

Orange-juice centric menu (8 options)

Vodka, Tequila, Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice, Dark Rum, Grenadine, Light Rum

  • Calypso Baby: Pineapple Juice, Light Rum, Grenadine
  • Florida Sunshine: Tequila, Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice, Grenadine
  • Bahama Mama: Light Rum, Dark Rum, Grenadine, Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice
  • Tequila Sunrise: Tequila, Orange Juice, Grenadine
  • Screwdriver: Orange Juice, Vodka
  • Rum Screwdriver: Light Rum, Orange Juice
  • Beach Bum: Dark Rum, Pineapple Juice
  • Tequila Screwdriver: Tequila, Orange Juice

Pre-Order Extension December 30 2013, 0 Comments

2014 is just around the corner! We hope your coming year is full of success and happiness. For us, this is somewhat of an inflection point and I think our futures will be exciting no matter which way we go. Fortunately, more pre-orders have been coming in, and we're getting closer to our goal, but we're not quite there yet. This time of year can be challenging to get things accomplished with so many people taking holidays. So, after several requests and people promising to place orders in early January, we have decided to extend our deadline by a week. We will now be making the final call on January 7th. We'll let you know in another few days how we're doing. Happy New Year, and all the best!

Crowdfunding Update December 23 2013, 2 Comments

For those following along, we're trying to raise enough money by the end of the year to determine if we will be able to continue going with this project. Many of you have contributed already, and for that we're very grateful. At the moment, we are over 10% of the way there, but there's still a long way to go. If you haven't already, please help us by spreading the word. Thanks and Happy Holidays, The Party Robotics Team