Anatomy of a Bug Fix: Desmodus Versio Firmware Patch!
About six weeks ago, we released Desmodus Versio, our stereo reverb and DSP platform. Maybe you saw it. If you got a DV and you’ve been using it in your patches, we hope you’ve been enjoying it! We’ve loved listening to all the DV patches that you’ve been sharing.
At Noise Engineering, my (Markus) official title is Chief of Destruction. While you mostly see me on the blog, a huge part of my job is testing things before they’re released to the world (yes, I DO get paid to play with modules!). Rarely does a week go by where I’m not nitpicking upcoming NE products, to the dismay of our engineers. I report the most pedantic of bugs. We made three early firmware revisions on the DV (our most complicated module ever) because if you set a couple of parameters a certain way, the input LEDs would be the wrong shade. What you’re probably getting from this is, “Wow, Markus sounds really annoying to work with!” And you’re right. But it’s because I care. And the rest of the team puts up with me because they care, too.
Of course, I am but one person, and we are but a small team. And despite our testing, nothing compares to the scrutiny of all of you putting a module in your collective systems. The day we release a module, we have more eyes on it and more hours of test than we could ever have with our small team alone.
And that brings us to the topic of today’s blog post: a pal of ours managed to crash his DV. He could describe the crash, but wasn’t quite sure what caused it. With little to go on, we were unable to replicate it. Clue 1: It was hard to get to.
While we were trying to figure this crash out, two other people also found it and reported it to us. We always appreciate hearing from our community no matter what the subject, but we especially want to hear from you if you’re having an issue with a module. We want your experience with our modules to be nothing short of fabulous. These lovely humans were able to give us a couple more clues about it...but also could not seem to easily reproduce it. So we set about trying to break our module. It took a bit of time...but we did it.
Once we found it, Stephen got to work on a fix while I tested. Then there was the question of delivery. We had planned to roll out our application that allows updates in a few months when we had another firmware for you, but now that needed to happen ASAP… so it was go time for everyone. After staring at all of these things for a long time, we owe a debt of gratitude to the customers who helped us gather enough data to sort out what was going on. We are grateful to Chris, Joska, Olin, Todd, and René for helping us troubleshoot, and for beta testing the whole updating experience to help this next bit go easier for you.
How to flash a firmware fix onto your DV
OK, let’s get down to business. You want that firmware fix onto your DV. We have a handy website to make that happen, and some easy instructions. All you need is the browser Chrome and a micro-USB cable.
Follow these steps:
Note that you need to use Chrome for the flash app to work, but you can be on either Mac or PC.
Click the purple “Instructions” button at the top of the site, and follow the written instructions or watch the tutorial video on how to flash your module. The processes are slightly different for Mac and PC, but we did our best to make sure it’s as simple a process as possible, and it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes on either OS.
Once your module is flashed, install it back in your case, and you’re good to go!
If you notice a difference in the LED colors on startup, this is normal.
If we ever run into this sort of thing again with this or any other firmware, updates will be posted along with revision notes on the product pages. We’ll let you know via newsletter and social media, too.
What about all those other firmwares and open source support?
We’ve gotten a lot of questions about alternative firmwares for the Desmodus Versio, and quite a few DIYers have asked about our promised open-source support. Have no fear: these are all coming soon. Look for announcements on our social media or here nearer the end of this year or possibly into early 2021, depending on what else 2020 has in store for us. When we have them, you’ll be able to flash your DV the same way, or just buy the module preflashed with the firmware you want. We have a lot of ideas (25 last we checked, and it seems like every time we have a team meeting, we add another!) for the DV hardware, and have pretty good progress on several, but we remain, as always, #workinonit.