The Starts and Stops of RobotWriter (A Story of Updates)

By Kevin Hodgson

From the Pear App Development Manual:

We suggest developers inject personality into app updates. While some users will ignore what you write, others will connect your writing to your product, thus creating a stronger connection through voice. You may want to hire a writer or poet specifically for this task. This strategy of company voice may be valuable as your develop further products in the future. The initial app, after all, is merely a doorway to other apps. Inside jokes are fine, but please refrain from profanity and overly geekiness. Tech talk turns users off. Remember: the main purpose of any update is to explain the patch underway. Use the opportunity to connect with your users. Profit may follow.

RobotWriter App

June 7: We’ve launched! In Beta! Sarah says no one ever reads these messages sent in an app launched in Beta. So if you are one of those few reading these words, HELLO and welcome to the first iteration of RobotWriter -- the app that writes everything for you as if you are not even there! Like a good bot should. Yes, this is a game changer on an epic scale, the kind your teachers warned you about when you were writing those five paragraph essays.

June 10: Oops. Sorry about that. The Beta of RobotWriter was most definitely not supposed to take over your phone and make calls to the Santa Claus hotline in the North Pole. This new patch fixes that. Thanks to Theo for those three long nights of tweaking the code while listening to Sleater Kinney on full blast. Sarah thinks we might have a hacker among our hackers. Not that YOU need to worry THAT.

June 16: Pear calls this version our Beta 1.0. The patch fixes that issue some of you had with the first unofficial Beta. You know, the one that turns everything you tried to write into haiku? No more haiku for you! Also, interface design upgraded. The screen no longer looks just like a fuzzy grape, as Sammy suggested in her development notes to the team.

June 23: Theo has been scouring the feedback loops to try to figure out why RobotWriter turns every name into random punctuation. This patch completely removes all names and proper nouns from the app. Problem solved. This patch also fixes the color clashes that were the source of many complaints. It no longer looks like a kitchen from the 1970s. You’re welcome.

June 29: Names are back. So are proper nouns. But there is no longer any punctuation available in the app. This is temporary. We’ve inadvertently turned RobotWriter into a virtual ee cummings engine. Might as well experiment, right? We also don’t know why there are dancing chickens popping up in the app every now and then. Beta is a pain in the butt but we’re working through it. If you think you’re frustrated, just imagine us.

July 10: You still there, User? We’re sorry about that Limerick thing. It’s no longer a problem with this patch. Sammy says it had to do with some Syllabic Equation someone hacked into the algorithm. We think he made that term up to cover himself. This patch also allows the user to turn off the robotic voice sound that often seemed to come from nowhere. We know. It was creepy.

July 21: Bad news from the design team. Theo misplaced an icon or two, and now the entire code structures have gone missing. Maybe hold off on using RobotWriter for a day or two? Or revert to previous Beta? Sorry. A fix is coming. We’ll be mailing a box of crayons to all users in the coming days as replacement writing tools. Someone also messaged us that the dancing chickens were back. Please let us know if this the case for you and we will be sure to take care of it. Chickens, of the dancing variety, are now the bane of our office.

Aug 7: Fixed! Icons found! Patch successful! Sarah was responsible. For the fix, not the problem. That was Theo. This patch also adds back adjectives and adverbs, but not prepositions. So, there’s that. All chickens are now gone.

Aug 20: RobotWriter is nearly out of Beta. Get ready for the launch of RobotWriter in its official capacity in the next week. If you’ve been waiting nearly a year to write that email letter to your grandma with the help of RobotWriter, the wait is nearly over. Maybe those dancing chickens have returned for the celebration..

Aug 31: Whelp. We’re still in Beta. In case you were wondering, given our last app announcement. Sarah has left the team. We don’t know where she has gone but we suspect she was poached by the BotWord team. We noticed a few words were missing from the office, as well as all of our question marks. You might want to call Grandma on the phone instead of waiting to write her that email letter with RobotWriter. The battery power drain problem is nearly fixed, too, according to Theo. Feel free to dissemble the anxillary solar panel attachment sent via snail mail to all of our customers.

Sept 13: It’s official. RobotWriter is now in full working mode in the Pear App Store and this final patch is full of goodies, such as detachable ink, transparent letters, the return of punctuation, the addition of Parts of Speech, and some hidden gems that we suggest you try, after purchasing our app through the Pear Store. Upgrade for just $3.99 to remove all advertisements and dancing chickens.

Sept 19: We’re sorry to report that we’re pulling the plug on RobotWriter. Pear has denied us access to the App Store. Thank you, User, for that first and only download of our app. You may want to reboot your device after removing the app. The writing virus, and dancing chickens, should then be completely cleared from your phone. See you on Android!

SEPT 21: Relaunch of Robotwriter. Humans are no longer functioning at RobotWriter. Bots are now fully in control of all app development. Current patch removes all previous error-filled updates and annoying human voice. Dancing Chickens are fully restored.. Further Upgrades available with bitcoin upon submission of humanity to the artificial intelligence revolution. All writers welcome!