Hive Inspection Software

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GingerNut 

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As there a quite a few new beekeepers on the forum now, I thought I would remind everyone about the new(ish) hive inspection software that is available.

http://tinyurl.com/3y7mbyf

This is still being developed by Matt Kane (who is a member of this forum - sphex) who developed it as a need by certain beekeepers here.

I suggest taking a look at it, and if you decide it's for you.............great :)

Matt is also amending it as suggestions come in from users, so if it doesn't do what you want it to, just ask him in his support forum.

Yours Roy
PS. I am just a satisfied user of the software and I have no connection with the developer.
 

malawi2854 

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This looks excellent - thank you for pointing it out!

As a bit of a techno-geek, I had actually started making my own, which was on a similar vein - but this is much better, and much more advanced that mine!

I shall abandon mine, and get registered with this one!


Thanks again!
 

Queens59 

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One thing worries me - security. You are putting into a database, kept who knows where, your apiary address, longitude/latitude and description of the site. How can you be sure you hives won't go for an assisted walk? I think I'll stick to my record file ta. Mind you I often worry about nothing...
 

sphex 

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Hi. Thanks for the recommendation, GingerNut.

Queens59: this has come up a few times. All I can do is point you to our our privacy policy, which I've tried to draw up in such a way as to be as emphatic as possible that I'm not going to share your data with anyone without your express permission. Of course, if you think it's me that's going to nick your hives then I guess there's not a lot I can do! In that case I'd suggest maybe not putting an exact address in.
 

Firegazer 

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I have difficulties with this software.

It assumes the Hive is the central thing, with queens added, inspections done and so on. A hive's colony can have a 'parent' colony in another hive and have 'child' colonies in further hives.

The big thing I can't get my head around is that surely the 'colony' is the important thing - not the Hive. Last night, PH and I moved a colony from his nucleus hive to my Cedar Langstroth and I moved that Cedar hive from his apiary to my apiary. When I get my ordered Poly Lang, I'll move them from one hive to another without moving them at all. If I capture a swarm in a box (fat chance, but maybe one day!), it exists as a colony without yet a hive. If I split a big colony, by separating the boxes, which one is the 'parent' hive and so on.

It can get a bit tricky, this, which is probably why the 'hive' model was chosen: is a single bee on a flower a queen-less hive-less colony? You can't just count the queens, because the combs, stores, and workers are very important half-way through an AS - they are a colony without a queen (for a while).

I've tried using the feedback function, but it's an off-site service that encourages you to be more emotional in your feedback, so that more people will find it interesting (!). Hopefully, the creator will read this here and be able to comment?

FG
 

sphex 

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Firegazer: I'm here. :)
I needed to make several decisions about the models I'd use for various things. Going with "Hive" was pretty much the first decision I made, and it has both pros and cons, several of which you've identified. As with most of the app, I wanted to keep it as simple as possible, and this works for most purposes. However, there will be a lot more flexibility in tracking hive hardware as opposed to colonies when I finish the inventory features. This will be a major addition though, and it's been taking some time. That will allow you to track hardware down to whatever level you would like. Even frames, smokers and hive tools, if you need to.
 

Queens59 

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Hi. Thanks for the recommendation, GingerNut.

Queens59: this has come up a few times. All I can do is point you to our our privacy policy, which I've tried to draw up in such a way as to be as emphatic as possible that I'm not going to share your data with anyone without your express permission. Of course, if you think it's me that's going to nick your hives then I guess there's not a lot I can do! In that case I'd suggest maybe not putting an exact address in.
Sorry Sphex,
Nothing personal meant...promise. My brother is a computer programmer, and he taught me that no matter how secure YOU think something is there will ALWAYS be someone who can break in. I'm afraid he turned me from a trusting person to a suspicious ...!
 

beeboybee 

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sorry but this fear of of listing the exact position of the hives is hurting my head if people are worried about security then just don't add that info or just a area name as a reminder......you don't have to give directions to the hives!
:(
 

sphex 

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Sorry Sphex,
Nothing personal meant...promise. My brother is a computer programmer, and he taught me that no matter how secure YOU think something is there will ALWAYS be someone who can break in. I'm afraid he turned me from a trusting person to a suspicious ...!
It's ok, I understand. However, I'm not sure there are many hackers who are also interested in nicking beehives! Credit cards are more their thing, and all of our billing is done by PayPal.
 

Firegazer 

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Hi sphex,
I think the presentation is cracking and if I could get it to do things how I'd like, it might just be easy enough to combat my natural laziness to document things :)

You say you are going to add the inventory stuff. I'm not sure this will help the issue of colony vs hive. If you split a colony into two, one half doesn't do well, and you reunite it with the first, I can see that being traced by keeping track of colonies:

1) Colony A (queenright) in hive 1 (made of floor 111, brood body 234, brood body 345, etc)
[now we AS]

2) Colony A (queenright) in hive 1 (now just the floor, one BB and the roof); new colony B (queenless) in hive 2 (a new floor, the second BB from hive 1, a new roof, etc

3) new virgin appears in colony B

4) queen now mated in colony B, laying etc

[we want to reunite, so kill off queen in Colony B]

5) Colony B is now queenless in hive 2 (made of blah blah)

6) add colony B into colony A, hive 1 now has an extra brood box, new floor and new roof moved to 'spare kit', hive 2 vanishes.

So a hive is a transitory grouping of equipment.

A colony is a group of bees with certain characteristics (a home of some sort, lots of workers, some stores - maybe in bees and/or in combs, possibly some combs, possibly a queen, possibly QCs).

Some aspects of an inspection refer to the colony (queen spotted?) some may refer to the hive (roof leaking, location too sunny), some refer to a combination (is there enough room in this hive for this colony?).

I can see why you had to simplify things to make any progress :)

It's probably the case that your model and webapp will be a big help to nearly all beeks, and if others want to track things in perfect detail, they'll have to do a few extra things on paper as well.

FG
 

rae 

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I'm quite happy with the "Hive" model - I simply consider what is in a particular brood box, and I would make notes as to what I had put in there. So Hive 1 may contain a particular colony, I could AS it, and instantiate a new Hive, and that would be quite normal. If that AS failed, then the New Hive would simply be empty for a period.

Clearly this is an excuse to get an iPAD, and extend the wifi network out to the apiary.

Now, on to the technical questions...

- Security - not a big deal for me, unless there is a lot of data about location. Beekeeping records are not high value items to 3rd parties.... but...

-...they're very important to me. If you're hosting my records, then I need to be confident that they will be protected from physical and logical error. I'm not going to worry about EC2, I'm more worried about backups...and you, the developer. What happens when you go on a blinder to Ibiza, and don't have the mental capacity to read an SMS, let alone fix a filesystem? : )

- Say you get bought by, er, Omlet (stranger things have happened) and they decide that as they have 5000 captive customers they'd quite like to increase the charges to some ludicrous level. Can I get the raw data back out?

Note - I think this is a great idea, I'm just asking the obvious questions. The analytics capabilities underlying this could be stunning. You could potentially have data on colony loss, build up, treatment, effectiveness of treatment....which could answer a lot of questions far more quickly that we could today. This is exactly the sort of direction medicine is going in with drug response data.
 

beesrus 

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Awesome, thanks for posting.
 

sphex 

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Hehe. Well, let me put it like this: the weekend after I got married, while I was on a weekend mini-moon in Padstow, I got an SMS alert saying one of my servers wasn't responding. While sitting on the side of the dock, I logged-in, diagnosed the problem and restarted Apache, all from my phone, and was back in the pub before my wife had time to get too annoyed with me. The point I'm making is that I have procedures in place that I use for my day job that I also use for Beetight. The absolute worst that could happen is that you don't have access for a few hours. All the data is snapshotted every hour, so if the Amazon datacenter explodes or something, that's the most that could be lost.

I already have CSV export for inspections, KML export for apiaries and I am just finishing off JSON export for hives, inspections, apiaries and todos (the JSON being mainly for the offline app, but will be available directly). I am committed to making sure you can easily export absolutely everything. I hate lock-in as much as you. I want to keep you using it because it's great, not because you're forced to. If someone does buy me out (give me a call, Omlet!) then the privacy policy will still apply, as will existing paid accounts.
 

sphex 

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I'll add that when the offline version is launched it'll work with the iPad even if the wifi won't reach! It'll sync automatically once you get back in range.
 

Firegazer 

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Wow - that would be clever.

So an iPad could really be a taxable expense for my loss-making beekeeping 'business' which I can offset against my earnings from the day job?

:)

FG
 

sphex 

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Sounds like it could be! I'm working on the app at the moment and it's looking great. Much faster and slicker than the normal web app, and the offline stuff works really well. It will support offline use on iPhone, iPad and Android at first, with support for newer Blackberry phones coming later in the year after Blackberry OS 6 is released. It'll just be for Pro users though, so sign up if you want to try it out! ;) I'll be putting out a preview release in a few days.
 

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