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Programming Nightmare

Discussion in 'Nautilus Lifeline' started by Bhtmec2, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. Bhtmec2

    Bhtmec2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Puerto Rico
    493
    120
    0
    Programming Nightmare


    OK This week has been a very challenging one.

    I stopped by on Wednesday at lunch to LDS who I encouraged after my results with my Life Line to get theirs out for sale. I have been telling the about the Pro's and Con's of the software night mare's I and other people have been having as noted on various threads here on SB. They asked if I could help them set them up. I commenced to setup their Brand New Win7 computer so they can assist customers in setting up the new purchases so they would have a better experience.

    Well sitting down with the LDS owner I installed the software, created his MMSI and printed out the MMSI registration info. I followed the process as outlined in the instructions and connected the cable to the computer and then connected the Lifeline. It would not connect. Did all the trouble shooting from the WebSite and after 2+ hrs I got it to connect but it turned the Lifeline into a brick. NOW we are both PO'd.

    I tried the 3 button reset to no avail. I had to do what I hate and ask the company for help. I called the company and got a Tech and we went through 20+ min trying the same things I had already done. Well No Joy and he contacted another Tech who called in 15 min. He went through the same things and then we tried another Lifeline and it turned into a Brick. No Joy in Resetting it but we were able to get the original one working in 20+ min. To date the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] one is still a brick. We are still waiting for a call back with a solution for this unit.

    The LDS called the next day and tried for hours to fix the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] one to no avail. They took their 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] one and finally got it setup on another PC.

    What this tells me is the average person is going to spend $300 USD+ for one of these devices and is probably not going to get it working with out a lot of time and a lot of help. THIS IS NOT GOOD for a Life Support/Rescue piece of gear.

    I work with electronics and computers for a living and this program and devise should not be this Non User friendly. These problems need to be resolved and the interface needs to be fixed to be user friendly or customers will look for other solutions. LDS can not afford to sell this item and have the customer go through what we have had to go through. They will bring it back and demand their money back.

    I hope this feedback will help the company and other owners. Please let me know what we can do. This is frustrating and we need a solution as valued customers.

    PS: I have not done the Firm Ware update on mine as I am afraid of turning it into a brick and as long as it is working I will never connect it to the computer again until we get feed back that these problems are fixed.
     
  2. Bhtmec2

    Bhtmec2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Puerto Rico
    493
    120
    0
    Anyone else having the same problems?
     
  3. Nautilus Mike

    Nautilus Mike ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

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    Hi.
    Mike here from the Lifeline. Sorry to take so long to reply. Took me a wee bit before I noticed your post.
    Job # 1 for us is to ensure that you are 100% happy. That's not happening right now and we need to fix that fast. I want every single Lifeline user to be very satisfied and happy with their unit and we will do whatever it takes to make that happen.

    We had an immediate design team meeting when I came across your note and one of our guys had a brilliant idea to solve the ongoing problem we are having with the many variants of security protection on Windows 7. From what I understand of your situation, the first computer that was used in the dive store was a very recent model with the most recent security software that was configured to prevent the connection of usb sticks. which is a problem when you plug the Lifeline in!! the software thinks the Lifeline is a usb stick and says "no, I'm not going to talk to you".

    Our breakthrough at the end of last week was to prepare code that is essentially "repair software" to solve this problem. This software will be available in a weeks time (more or less) with online firmware update v.58. We strongly encourage all users to update their firmware on a regular basis to ensure the best performance from their Lifelines. I can promise you that if your unit turns into a brick we will give you our full support and solve the problem even if it means shipping you another unit. The firmware on the unit is stable but our engineering team is continuing to tweak small improvements as well as address situations like the one you encountered. Our tech support team makes notes on all calls and problems which are reviewed weekly to enable us to streamline and improve both software and firmware and provide the most intuitive and user-friendly experience. Most of my time this last week was spent working on materials to simplify and better explain the registration process for example.

    ***** Note from one of our programmers follows ********


    We have tested the Lifeline Desktop Software and the firmware upgrade process on a number of different systems and versions of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. While it worked on our test systems, there are thousands of different configurations manufactured by dozens of different computer manufacturers, loaded with many different variations of software, device drivers, hardware, and firmware.


    We believe this situation was due to the Universal Serial Bus (USB) controllers on the actual computer used. Though the computer was very much brand new, the USB device drivers would not allow the Lifeline to properly connect as a removable device and our updated firmware could be loaded. Our technical team was able to work with the dive shop employee to get the first "bricked" Lifeline running with updated firmware using an older computer.


    We cannot guarantee that the Lifeline Desktop Software and the Lifeline firmware upgrade will work on "every" computer. However, we will work with any customer that runs into this, or any other technical issue to get their Lifeline updated and working in top form.


    We very strongly recommend that you upgrade your firmware to the latest version (0.57 as of this writing) as it provides critical performance changes to your Nautilus Lifeline.

    ******** following comments are from our director of technology ********

    I'm now better informed as to the problem here. It appears, this problem was with a windows 7 computer, but, one of the lifeline units was later correctly updated on a different computer. I may have some insight now into what the problem on that particular computer is.

    Allow first a detailed description of the firmware update process.

    1) Lifeline is plugged into the computer, and enumerates to the usb subsystems as a 'serial device'. This is the normal running mode of the lifeline.

    2) When the desktop software starts the update process, the main portion of the lifeline firmware is erased, and the unit resets with a minimal firmware left on board, the 'boot loader'.

    3) When the boot loader starts, it re-enumerates on the usb subsystem, with a different 'device id' than a normal running lifeline, and presents itself to the computer as a 'usb disk' rather than a serial device. At this step, a normally configured windows or mac computer, will mount the disk and present it to the end user as a drive letter on the windows machine, or a mounted disk on the mac.

    4) When the desktop software detects a mounted 'lifeline disk' has been plugged in, it proceeds and writes a new firmware file to that disk, which the boot loader writes into the flash memory. The lifeline will then restart internally and come back as a normal lifeline again.

    I believe the problem we see here, has to do with windows security settings on the computer in question. Some view the auto-mount of a usb disk to be a serious security problem, and a vector for malware to find it's way onto computers, so they dig into the windows registry with various utilities, and turn this feature off. There are numerous security programs available that will do the same. This is quite common on a 'locked down' corporate machine, end users are prevented from using usb stick drives on corporate equipment.

    This issue for us in this area can get quite complicated and involved. Troubleshooting and repairing windows problems, is a billion dollar industry, and, we can invest a LOT of effort and resources into understanding all the variations of windows issues, over WinXP, WinVista, Windows7 and soon Windows8. But it doesn't matter how hard we try on this subject, we will never be able to defeat each and every potential problem, just replicating and understanding all the various ways this type of lock down can be created, intentionally or by accident is a daunting task, and, not likely to be successful if we have to resort to manually walking thru the windows registry settings over the phone, with end users.

    But, we do have on the website already, a bootable iso image that's intended to allow mac users to do a firmware update on mac systems. The elegance of this boot disk, it's a stand alone linux bootable image, and, not subject to all the issues of various windows security lock down and prevention techniques. If this image is burned onto a bootable cd, it'll work just fine on a mac, but it'll also work just fine on a pc.

    I'm going to slim down and streamline that cd image. Ideally I can get it down to a very minimal setup thats not a couple hundred meg image for a download. In the interim tho, if we can get the customer with this update problem to download the current image, burn it onto a cd , then boot from that cd, it will almost certainly update those lifeline units correctly. BUT, there is a caveat, as always. In dealing with a person on the other end, we have to make sure that they burn the bootable image correctly, because 'drag and drop' will not burn a bootable image, it'll just put the iso file onto the cd as a file. Most cd burning utilities that come pre-loaded on these computers are capable of correctly burning an iso. With pc's, again, it depends on how the computer is configured in the bios settings, they wont all boot a cd by default, and we have to figure out how to make that particular one boot from the cd. With most modern pc configurations, if they dont automatically boot from the cd when it's in, very early in the boot process, they give a screen option to hit F10 or F12 for a 'boot menu', and, you can select the cd from that menu item.

    Downloading a cd image is an easy thing, everybody can do that. Lots and lots of folks are well versed in how to burn it onto a blank cd, then boot from it. But, it's not exactly the same on every pc, it depends on what cd burning utilities are installed. the real issue we have in many cases is this, and I think this applies to this particular case. The folks in the dive store have had a local 'expert' help them set up the computer. That 'expert' made a bunch of configuration changes intended to protect the store folks.

    I'm working flat out now on streamlining all this so that we can release as firmware update v.58 hopefully end of next week.
     
    Bhtmec2 and lowviz like this.
  4. lowviz

    lowviz Solo Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Northern Delaware or the New Jersey Turnpike
    7,248
    4,163
    3
    Yes! let us know when it is sorted out. THEN I will connect mine.

    Potentially brilliant device...
     
  5. Bhtmec2

    Bhtmec2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Puerto Rico
    493
    120
    0
    Mike

    Thanks, I understand the problems with product development and fielding..... I hoped that posting feedback (Positive/negative) would help in fixing future problems.

    Just put dive 46 on my Life Line...... It was 81F and 2-3 foot sea's and two great Boat dives with no need to use any emergency device. I hope to get a lot more dives carring and not using my LL.

    I will try the fix when it comes out. The shop sold another LL the other day and set it up for the customer on the spot. It was one we had checked out during the initial setup there. They plan on checking and setting up all when they get them and programing/registering each for the customer as they sell them. By doing this they hope the customer will have a better experience and help sales.

    Thanks Bryan
     
  6. Nautilus Mike

    Nautilus Mike ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

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    Hi Lowvis
    V.58 firmware update is good to go and available on our website. Easiest way to download is to pull up your Lifeline desktop software, go to our website Nautilus Lifeline VHF - GPS Radio for Divers and click on "update". If you connect your lifeline to your computer via supplied usb cord, you will be prompted if you want to update your firmware. answer is yes. you may well be asked if you want to update your Lifeline desktop software at the same time. answer is yes.
    hope this helps??
    please don't hesitate to call (1-604-241-1918) or email us directly if you have any problems or for assistance.
    safe diving
    Mike
     
    lowviz likes this.
  7. Nautilus Mike

    Nautilus Mike ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

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    Bryan
    Thank you.
    v.58 firmware update is fully tested and good to go.
    that will hopefully take care of any problems OTHER than security protection regarding usb drivers on that computer at the dive shop.
    We are working on a fix for that "Lifeline setup/repair utility" but I suspect that it will be a couple of weeks before that's finished and fully tested.
    Please don't worry about your unit becoming a "brick". We should be able to talk you through any difficulties. absolute worst case we will ship you a new unit by FEDEX if there is a problem.
    Warmest regards
    Mike
     
  8. lowviz

    lowviz Solo Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Northern Delaware or the New Jersey Turnpike
    7,248
    4,163
    3
    Mike,

    just updated. No prob, seamless.

    Thanks!
     
  9. Bhtmec2

    Bhtmec2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Puerto Rico
    493
    120
    0
    Mike

    Well I finally got the time and nerve and tried the update for my lifeline. Well it took some time and it finally worked. My lifeline is now up to date.

    Thanks
     

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