It’s been a while since we’ve had an update. We’re writing this time in particular to the Heirloom backers who have been patiently awaiting delivery of their hand-crafted units. Thank you again for your amazing patience in the process. While crafting the Heirloom units has been one of the more rewarding things I’ve done in my life, it’s also been one of the more trying exercises because the expectations and quality standards are so high.
About 2/3rds of the Heirloom units have just shipped, roughly in the order of backing. The remaining 1/3rd of the units are in the final stages of quality control and checking, and should go out within a month. The project has taken much longer than expected, and the Novena team thanks Kurt Mottweiler for all the long hours and overtime he’s put into the project. At the end of the day, each unit cost us more than we had projected, and we want to thank and acknowledge Kurt for graciously sharing in that burden.
Please remember that every unit is a unique, hand-crafted experience. Every laptop has its own particular combination of wood, grain, and stain, and so replacing damaged or broken parts is a challenge. Also, the individuality of the Heirlooms made them particularly tricky to construct and test. If you do encounter any workmanship issues, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll do our best to make it right.
From the firmware standpoint, we’d like the Heirloom users to note that the original Kosagi repository public key has expired since we imaged the machines. You’ll need to manually update the repository key by following these instructions (http://www.kosagi.com/w/index.php?title=Updating_novena_repo_key). Significantly, we had pre-configured each unit to pair with the integral Bluetooth keyboard prior to shipping, but the firmware update contains several fixes which improve the reliability of the pairing mechanism (in particular, if the keyboard fails to pair, you can tap the right button on the speaker bezel to re-initiate pairing). Thus, if you’re not getting the keyboard to connect during the first-boot experience, you may need to plug in a USB keyboard and pull in the update to get all the drivers up to snuff. The firmware update also includes a patch for Senoko (you’ll need to push the reflash button on this board during the update to apply it) which improves battery longevity and communication reliability to the host system.
From the hardware standpoint, the laptop units are shipped with the battery disconnected. This is to prevent accidental discharge during shipping. Plug the battery in by first inserting the four-wire balancing tap, and then the main Molex connector for power, and you’re ready to go.
As a general note for all users, if you don’t plan on using your laptop for a while (several weeks), we recommend discharging the battery to a level of 50% and unplugging the battery to preserve its health. Leaving the laptop plugged in and constantly at 100% charge, or unplugged and allowing the internal leakage to fully discharge the battery will both ultimately lead to reduced battery life and ultimately permanent failure. This property is true of any lithium battery pack, not just ours, but we thought it’d be helpful to include this remark in case some users were unaware of these storage recommendations.
Thanks again to everyone who made this possible, for all your support, understanding, and continued involvement in the Novena user community. We’ve committed to making the Novena motherboards available for at least 5 years from the end of the campaign, so those will be in stock for the foreseeable future. Crowd Supply is managing the supply of all the other accessories for the Novena ecosystem.
-bunnie & xobs