Introducing Labs, Pulse Swift, Mark & Stefan

19th January, 2015 — Aral Balkan

Oskar the husky dog, dressed as a scientist
Oskar Kalbag, lead scientist at Labs, welcomes you.

Moving forward

In my last update, I mentioned that we are taking steps to focus’s limited resources on a single product and a single platform. The platform we chose provides us with a unique combination of a wide consumer audience coupled with a business model that is not spyware.

We knew this would not please everyone. We refunded the donations of anyone who was upset and requested one (and we’re happy to do so for as long as Stripe’s systems allow us). At the same time, however, donations have also continued to roll in following the announcement so things balanced out quickly.

And then, unfortunately, there was the really nasty stuff.

One Google employee went so far as to suggest that I was using the Paris attacks “as an excuse”.

Needless to say, that is a hugely hurtful remark to read.

How do you even respond to such a thing? Maybe you don’t. Maybe you focus on the wonderful, positive sentiments shared by those of you who do understand where we’re coming from:

“I just read your mail. Thanks a lot for your support. Your mission is humanist, to provide the people with a true freedom of speech and privacy on the Web, which I believe, like you, will be of major importance in the near future. Your pain is mine, ours, and your kind words are heart warming.” – Adrien Luxey (from France, via email)
“I’m so proud of you. From France, I just want to say thank you. For everything, your work and what you said about freedom.” – Valentin Baraise
“Your letter hit me deeply. Thanks for keepin it Real” Reuben
“[N]ice to read your newsletter on this special day after. Thanks & Cheers, from Paris.” Ghita
“I hope most of us donated because we believe in your vision. Freedom and focus are the way to deliver it” George Richardson
“I think I’m going to pay more attention to your indie project now” Kevin Klinkmuller

I just want to take a moment to thank you all for your many lovely messages of support following the announcement – both publicly on Twitter and privately, over email. They give me hope that you understand that we’re not some corporate entity with dastardly intentions and a public relations department. We are four human beings, like you, who care about the world, who get affected by the events around us, and who are working in the best way we can to make things better.

Needless to say, none of the personal attacks will keep us from vocally challenging corporate surveillance or the powers that be.

So, we made a difficult decision and now we are moving forward. It’s now time to look at some of the new things happening at this week. Labs

Universal Player, an accessible & responsive HTML5 video player is one of the projects on Labs

We have just released an update to Labs, making it the central location for all things developer-focussed at In the Labs, you can find:

And, we have some exciting news on the Pulse side of things.

Pulse Swift

Pulse lets you synchronise files between devices.

We have a fledgling new Pulse in town.

Mark Spanbroek and Stefan van den Oord have joined our our extended family and are working on a Swift port of Pulse in their spare time. Folks, it’s wonderful to have you on board. I know it’s early days yet, but I have high hopes for Pulse Swift and what it will mean for the future of Heartbeat.

Until Pulse Swift is ready, we’ll be continuing to use the Go version of Pulse, which, as I mentioned last week, we’ll no longer be supporting as a separate end-user product.

We will of course, continue to develop it.

Pulse is a core component of Heartbeat, and we’re in the process of streamlining it for that very purpose. It goes without saying that other developers might find it useful for their projects, and we’ll be supporting Pulse as a developer-facing component.

Finally, we’ve re-forked Pulse from the last MIT-licensed version of Syncthing so that we can have full control over our codebase and have the option of publishing Heartbeat on the App Store.

Onwards and upwards

Well this has been a long update but I feel that it was necessary.

I’m hugely excited about welcoming Mark and Stefan to our extended family and very excited about the positive effect Pulse Swift will have on the user experience of Heartbeat.

I also hope that the designers and developers among you will enjoy the projects we’ve shared on Labs and look forward to your contributions.

Right, time for me to sign off and go back to hacking on Heartbeat. There’s still a lot to be done before the pre-alpha but it’s coming along, one line of code at a time.

Thank you again for being part of our journey.

Here’s to brighter tomorrows.