december 31, 2019

The year 2019

Hi there,

Wow! The year 2019 passed by, and although we didn't write any blogs this year (except for this one), we were still busy helping all those Karotz in the world to have a happy life. So let's look back on the last day of this year, to see what 2019 brought us.

In 2019, we welcomed 72 new Karotz from all over the world. France is still the country where the most of our rabbits live, but we have also seen new rabbits from Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands, Canada, Switzerland, Hungary, and even Morocco, Algeria and Australia.

We maintained the apps. Some of the French podcasts disappeared, and we had to find an alternative to be able to play the podcast from an archive. Some podcasts switched from http to https. Because Karotz cannot deal with modern https-content, we had to find a solution to download these podcasts to our server, and stream them in a way Karotz likes, to still support these podcasts.

There were also some new apps added to the Timebutton-Appstore in 2019: take a look at the Trivia-Quiz-app if you like to test your knowledge, or find out who is in space right now using the Astronauts-app.

I want to highlight two events from 2019. One is happy news, and the other is sad. Let's start with the sad news. 

You probably heard of Jibo, a social robot, started as a project by Cynthia Breazeal from the MIT university and founded on Indiegogo in 2014. It took a long time before the first Jibo's were delivered: the first batch shipped in October 2017. In the same year, Jibo was on the frontpage of Time Magazine. 

But in 2019, Jibo announced that his servers would shut down soon. A lot of people who adopted Jibo had the feeling that they would lose a real friend. Today, functionality is limited, but its servers still exist. But when they will shut down, Jibo cannot be used anymore. This sounds like what happened to Karotz. Jibo is completely depending on cloud services to operate, like a lot of other social robots. And when these services disappear, the robot cannot operate anymore.

This brings me to the happy news. Before Karotz, we had the Nabaztag rabbits. One of the founders of Nabaztag started a campaign on Ulule, a French crowdfunding platform. It is now possible to change the innerparts of Nabaztag with modern hardware: they developed a new mainboard to replace the existing outdated hardware. This board is running on a Raspberry Pi Zero, and all of the code is open-sourced and available on Github. The Ulule-campaign was a huge success, and as I understand, 800 boards will be produced in the first but only batch. They are sold-out already, but if you own a Nabaztag-tag, you can add yourself to a waitinglist (just like we did).

Hopefully 2020 will give someone the idea to do the same with our beloved Karotz. We wish you all a happy new year, see you in 2020!

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