Pockethernet Forum

General => Feature Suggestions => Topic started by: zeb on October 08, 2018, 10:42:06 pm

Title: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: zeb on October 08, 2018, 10:42:06 pm
I'd like to request three things:

Apologies if this post seems negative but I believe that good communication and customer service are the key to a good product.  My PE is extremely useful but with some of the bugs I just can't rely on it and revert to the dedicated tools I have as they 'just do the job'.

Many thanks.
Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: vanaalten on October 10, 2018, 09:14:45 am
+1

On june 1 2018, developer jboxtel wrote:
Quote
We're almost finished with a software update which includes

- Report: possible to have multiple measurements on the same page, so you can run e.g. 50 wiremap tests and merge them into a single report
- Report: possibility to insert your own logo
- Report: The layout is now more compact so a full report takes only half a page (1 page with photo)
- Report: Long DHCP and CDP/LLDP infos are wrapped inside their box so that the whole text is visible
- Wiremap: We've removed the per-pair detail bars since they often lead to confusion.
- Ping: The status bar will tell you if there are mixed results in a scenario where e.g. 1 succeeds and 1 times out
- VLAN: Fix the VLAN ID setting field, to avoid -1 appearing occasionally
- Info Settings: we've fixed the way the mac address was displayed

What's coming up in 3-6 months
- IPv6
...and for now, there's only an Android-only beta release, we're roughly halfway in the 3-6 months period and developers seems to be absent.
Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: WorcsIT-Ed on October 10, 2018, 11:28:38 am
+1
Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: spiderweb1967 on October 17, 2018, 03:28:56 am
  Zeb I agree with you 100%
Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: Jivo on October 21, 2018, 05:26:17 pm
+1
Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: vanaalten on October 25, 2018, 04:14:06 pm
As far as I know, two developers were active here:
Zoltan (https://forum.pockethernet.com/index.php?action=profile;u=1)
... last active today, but last post was July 27th;

jboxtel (https://forum.pockethernet.com/index.php?action=profile;u=5619)
... last active June 22, last post June 20th.

This doesn't look positive for PockEthernet project or future support. A pity, as I like the device and hoped that the developers would have more success with it.
Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: zeb on October 29, 2018, 10:50:57 pm
I dropped an email to one of the contact addresses I have for Pockethernet a week ago but as yet I haven't had a reply!  :(  Sadly things really aren't looking good.

I suggested this before when the project seemed to stall... Maybe it's time to suggest it once again.  Why not open source the firmware and app code, then as a community new features can be implemented and bugs can be fixed.

I am more than happy to assist where I can and I'm sure that there will be many other people here who would also like to help.
Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: WorcsIT-Ed on October 29, 2018, 11:19:20 pm
I sent a couple of queries in via email 24 hours after receiving my device and got a response to both in a few hours which was good.  I do agree that more public communication would be greatly appreciated though as I think it's a shame to waste so much potential with the device.  I can't help but feel as though they have underpriced when compared to the likes of Fluke etc so maybe a more community led/open source route would be a better option and they can make the €£ on the hardware? Theres a lot of good ideas floating around on here which I'm fairly sure could be implemented fairly easily and could make Pockethernet an invaluable tool.
Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: rubberduck on November 04, 2018, 09:59:13 pm
Open source the project!

I have been using the Pockethernet for well over a year and a half and even re-bought the tool after having my original one stolen. I love the tool and it is unreplaceable for my day to day work routines, but the project support has been abysmal at best. Updates are far and few between, both software/firmware and messages from the team.

I've been keeping track of this forum for a long time and it seems that the pockethernet team is very small and is being stretched thin to work on other projects. This is fine, but when you are ignoring your userbase to do so it is not good.

Open sourcing the firmware and client side software will not only reduce the load on your team, but would make the product better in many ways:


Either way open sourcing the project would be a good idea for everyone. If you put the project on github, not only can you track issues and bugs better, but you can have the help from users to squash the bugs and improve the platform.

Anyways that is my 2 cents for what it's worth.

Thanks
Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: oktmighty on November 12, 2018, 06:57:51 pm
+1
Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: settecplus on November 13, 2018, 11:48:11 am
+1
Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: Gordon_Keenan on November 13, 2018, 05:50:31 pm
+1 - Still waiting for the IOS update to come... and losing the will to live with no activity happening on here.
If it was a £50.00 device then I could shrug and move on with life... but it wasn't, and while I appreciate the limitations on the number of people working on this project etc, surely they have to know that user frustration can make or break anything out there! C'mon guys, we all know that there is a struggle happening somewhere, so why not keep your believers out here informed in some way so we can be a little bit more relaxed over things.
Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: rubberduck on November 19, 2018, 12:21:24 am
Update from me on the RE attempt as it appears none of the admins have told me to halt progress as of yet.

Over the past who knows how many weeks I have been REing the client and protocol on and off. It has been a bumpy ride because lets face it, disassembling java is painful. Although I have gotten to the point where a semi decent PoC has been completed.

This PoC has some faults though. One of which I am trying to solve is that disconnecting the blue wire on a Ethernet cable causes invalid packets to be received. I am not sure if this is due to my code or a side effect from the pockethernet hardware. The android app seems to parse the data correctly, so I am leaning towards my packet transport consumer is faulty under highly specific edge cases. Likewise a similar edge case happens with the white-brown wire, but has a different reaction.

Other than those bugs, the PoC is semi functional, but I would not use it in a production environment as this is just an educational project and not to be relied on for actual testing (yet).

The current feature set includes:

Here is a example video of the PoC in action. The video shows a wiremap test with all the pairs connected, and then one of the pairs being disconnected:

https://asciinema.org/a/0KJ3zGsBWmwnKV9Lk8umGB9ce
Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: vanaalten on November 19, 2018, 07:52:58 am
@rubberduck: I *did* send an e-mail to info @ pockethernet.com pointing to however still reads that mailaddress to this thread... but so far no response.

I'm definitely not knowledgeable enough to help out reverse engineering or coding anything more than "hello world" in basic, but I do appreciate your effort on this - whatever the outcome, thanks in advance!

I'm wondering - you're focusing on reverse engineering the smartphone app, then aiming for an improved app? Is reverse engineering the PockEthernet firmware itself also on your to-do-list?
Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: rubberduck on November 19, 2018, 03:21:07 pm
An improved application is not really my goal. I see myself as simply laying out the ground work for the documentation of the protocol so that others may make applications. If my application ends up better than the official then that is just a coincidence. That being said, I do have plans to attempt to implement most of, if not all, existing features of the official application for documentation purposes.

This is just an educational hobbyist project though. I likely put in 3-5 hours a week into this research, so progress is slow and limited. Although once the main framework is finished as stated above it will become easier to implement real features rather than fixing bugs all the time. So the 3-5 hours I do put in will become more productive... Eventually.

As for the PE firmware itself. I have taken a quick peek at it, but unlike the phone application which can be disassembled into fairly readable psudo code, the firmware requires much more time and patience than I probably could muster. First step would be finding the architecture of the cpu on the hardware, because without that thy byte code could mean anything, as each cpu architecture interprets the same byte code differently. Then the fact that everything is in assembly doesn't speed things up. Also, I haven't even extracted the firmware from the device or the update applications, so that would need to be done even before doing anything firmware related.

Anyways if the staff kindly asks me to stop I will do so, but until then I will keep working away at it. Once the framework is bug free, I think I may put the project on GitHub. For others to fork and play with.
Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: vanaalten on November 20, 2018, 08:30:06 pm
...in the meantime, I got an e-mail response from Zoltan when I pointed info <at> pockethernet.com to this thread and the suggestion to open-source it. I'm not going to fully copy/paste it here, but essentially they're changing the communication strategy (which, I guess, means only support via e-mail, not via this forum); also they're still working on the app updates, going slow but they will come.

He also stated that open-sourcing it would require more effort than just finishing the app; plus, the community is too small for open source to work.

The last part sounds reasonable. Too few users to have sufficient development effort. The first part... hmmm, I hope that they will indeed finish the app update, but I think the complete project suffers quite a bit on the lack of progress and communication.
Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: rubberduck on November 21, 2018, 12:54:44 am
...in the meantime, I got an e-mail response from Zoltan when I pointed info <at> pockethernet.com to this thread and the suggestion to open-source it. I'm not going to fully copy/paste it here, but essentially they're changing the communication strategy (which, I guess, means only support via e-mail, not via this forum); also they're still working on the app updates, going slow but they will come.

He also stated that open-sourcing it would require more effort than just finishing the app; plus, the community is too small for open source to work.

The last part sounds reasonable. Too few users to have sufficient development effort. The first part... hmmm, I hope that they will indeed finish the app update, but I think the complete project suffers quite a bit on the lack of progress and communication.

The first part is up in the air for me. If they are still working on the updates then that is good news for all of us. To be honest even if they incorporated a blog on their main domain and simply posted "No work done, taking the month off" every month, would be a far cry better than what is going on now.

As for the open sourcing part, I completely disagree. The entire point of open sourcing a project on a collaborative platform is so that if others wish they can contribute a bug fix or new feature. If no one does help, then you are still left with the in house devs working on it at their pace. The only disadvantage of switching is you now have to commit code to the public and you may have to take some time out to review peoples pull requests before committing it to master. There are practically zero losses, if someone decides to help, YAY! If no one helps, well there is no impact on anyone since they will still be the soul developer. Although it is their choice at the end of the day. Unless they plan on monetizing the apps at some point I don't see why they decided not to open source.

Either way it is good to hear that work is still progressing at any pace it may be.
Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: zeb on November 22, 2018, 09:55:38 am
but essentially they're changing the communication strategy (which, I guess, means only support via e-mail, not via this forum);
They're changing their communication strategy‽ Well, they couldn't make it any worse, could they?  Maybe they could communicate this change of communication strategy to the community or isn't that in their new strategy?

My email (on the 22nd October) to info@ remains unanswered!

I've therefore changed my rating in Google Play to one star and updated my review accordingly.
Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: vanaalten on November 22, 2018, 01:22:51 pm
Quote
They're changing their communication strategy‽ Well, they couldn't make it any worse, could they?  Maybe they could communicate this change of communication strategy to the community or isn't that in their new strategy?
Yes, they should have communicated this. Especially since it can be seen (https://forum.pockethernet.com/index.php?action=profile;u=1) that Zoltan has visited this forum yesterday, without leaving any notification. Communication can certainly be improved. I'm not overly optimistic at the moment, but I do hope they are able to release an update for us soon.
Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: Zoltan on November 22, 2018, 10:10:46 pm
Please see an update here: https://forum.pockethernet.com/index.php?topic=344.0 (https://forum.pockethernet.com/index.php?topic=344.0)
Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: eits on November 23, 2018, 09:29:40 am
requesting regular communication as a feature is somehow sad, but very understandable
Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: rubberduck on November 25, 2018, 03:01:06 am
Fixed the transport backend. The issue of the missing bytes from specific packets was due to Bluez RFCOMM applications. Opening an RFCOMM socket directly to the device resolved the issue.

Now that everything is fairly usable I released the proof of concept. Wiremapping still has bugs where when a specific wire is disconnected it reports other wires being modified, but I am not quite sure how to resolve that yet. I am parsing the packet response as per the android app, and the packets are the same from the offical android app to my app, but yet it still comes out weird. It will require more information and looking into.

https://github.com/RubberDuckQuack/PE_PoC

Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: rubberduck on December 02, 2018, 12:34:47 am
I haven't been working on my project due to lack of time due to real work. Although I took a few moments to just review some of the android client code and I stumbled accross indications that there was support added in the v30 android application for wiremap ends with specific numeric IDs.

A theoretical total possible number of ends is 255 (or 256 if you are 1 based) since the wiremap ID consists of 8 bits inside the packet. Unfortiently I am not sure when the hardware specifically toggles this byte in the wire map packet and would probably have something to do with the way the pins are configured in the wiremap end. At this point my code does not bother with checking for this ID byte since I have no way to test its functionality.

Hopefully by mid to late december I will have some free time to start polishing and adding a new test or two to the code base.
Title: Re: Feature requests: Regular communication, firmware updates and a bug tracker
Post by: eits on December 02, 2018, 06:36:20 pm
cool news