Wow… what a start to the semester.  Do you know how much Collabra students have recorded in the last 2 weeks?  Over 1500+ hours!!!  That’s 15% of a year recorded in just 14 days.  Not only that, but the rate of new recordings has more than doubled each week!

That’s a mind blowing stat for someone like me, who has been with Collabra since the beginning.  While I’d like to dwell on that and celebrate I actually have a different intent for writing to you today and that is to update you on all the bugs you’ve found which have been fixed in the past two weeks; as well as some we haven’t fixed just yet.  There were a bunch, but I believe we’ve kept our heads above water and made significant progress.  We might have swallowed a bit of water but nothing too crazy :).  Anyway, I’ve broken out this update, since it’s so long, into a couple of broad topics:

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GENERAL CATEGORIES:

  • I’d like to thank…
  • Feature additions
  • Android fixes
  • iOS fixes
  • Desktop app fixes, rewrites, and the future!
  • Website fixes
  • Video quality issues and progress
  • Please update chrome to 53!

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I’d like to thank…

All of you actually.  You have been super helpful in making this site more stable and secure, and for that I am grateful.  Collabra truly is a community-built project. Your feedback plays a vital role in discovering & resolving bugs, and in determining what features to add next.  There have been some students and instructors that have gone beyond the call of duty with screen sharing and the like and I can’t say how much I appreciate all of the help!

I promised myself that I wouldn’t cry so I’m going to move on to the next thing…

FEATURE ADDITIONS 

I’m the type of guy who eats dessert first so let’s get to the fun stuff:

  1. Time Stamped Lesson Comments – Students and instructors can now add timestamped comments to Lessons.  Previously only “Bookmarks” from Instructors could be added to Lessons.
  2. Student Downloadable Lessons – We can now allow students to download lessons <– if you would like us to enable this please let us know as we must enable it on our end.  We’re working on a way for you to do it within your account, but it’s still in our pipeline.
  3. Practice Report Minute Count – Instructor reports now display the specific minute count.  This is also reflected in the reports emailed to Instructors every Monday.

Short and sweet.  We hope for this section to be longer in the future.  Most of our dev. time was spent on bug fixes.

 

ANDROID FIXES

  1. Issue fixed – Android app crashed in the middle of recording.  (Apparently, on some devices, the encoding buffer was being filled too quickly and would fall out of sync with the recording.)
  2. Issue fixed – Users could not record video to the website, via the chrome browser, due to their devices going to sleep.
  3. Issue fixed – Users could not upload videos to the website, via the chrome browser, due to their devices going to sleep.

iOS FIXES

  1. Issue fixed – If a student had more than two teachers at the same university and the teacher commented on one of their practices, it would show as another teacher.  (Weirdest bug ever)
  2. Issue fixed – Users could not upload videos to the website, via a browser, due to their devices going to sleep.

DESKTOP APP FIXES

This was a big one.  We ended up rewriting the entire back end of the desktop app in order to speed it up, as well as move it to a new host.  You should see a request to update early next week once we’ve finished our testing.

 

Ultimately, the new version should be much faster and we have some items planned to speed it up even more!

 

WEBSITE FIXES

  1. Issue fixed – Practice report links for students with multiple classes under one instructor would lead to the wrong student.
  2. Issue fixed – A security bug that occurred after turning on lesson comments.
  3. Issue fixed but not yet live – A bug where we would get an error when assigning a large number of lessons from the lesson library to students.

VIDEO QUALITY PROGRESS

One of our biggest issues to solve currently is what we call the “lizard people” effect.  People, usually recording with a mac (I think actually in all cases thus far), experience heavily pixelized video recordings.  We are in contact with our media server vendors for assistance.  We found a fix on our backend, but we’re not sure if the cure is worse than the disease, so we’re waiting to hear from some super nerds on it.  (We’re only like half super nerds… like Hercules compared to Zeus…. that comparison might have just pushed me into full super nerd territory.)

If you are having this issue please let us know and we’ll get you going on our new and improved desktop app which does not suffer from the same issue.  

 

PLEASE UPDATE TO CHROME 53!

Google has just released version 53 of chrome.  It is significantly faster and more stable than version 52 where a bunch of things were broken.  Chrome 52 was like the movie ‘Rocky 5.’  All the updates to Rocky were awesome and then they just put out 5 and you’re like “Why would they do this?  Did they not test it?”  Chrome 53 is like the newest release of Rocky ‘Creed’ where the whole series is redeemed.

Google is massive but even they are not immune to missing something.  When you get the chance if you go to “About Google Chrome” in either the chrome settings menu or the menu for chrome on your OS and it should download the update.  You’ll have to relaunch chrome before the updates take effect but then you’ll be good to go!

CLOSING THOUGHTS

 

We’ve got a bunch of additional fixes and enhancements coming out that I can’t wait to get to you all and I’m super excited!  In fact by the time you see this post some more updates and fixes might have already been pushed.  With that in mind expect another big update any day now! (that probably means a week or two)

 

Thank you again for helping us create Collabra!

 

Regards,

Ron