I have finally received my lost data. Thanks again to everyone for the kind e-mails and for the help. I promise to transform my gratitude into hard work to get SB3 finished.
The first alpha build will go out to testers very shortly (this week sometime).
The recent request for donations to help with my hard drive recovery has created some speculation that I want to put to rest.
By making the request, I was acting alone. SquawkBox 3 development, this site and its contents, and statements I make are in no way officially connected to VATSIM. I am not affiliated with VATSIM in any way except that I am a regular pilot member. When I began development, VATSIM did make an announcement that I was beginning the work and that they were supportive, but that is the extent of the relationship.
VATSIM has a firm policy of the network and the software that runs on it remaining commercial-free. Philosophically I am 100% supportive of this. To wit, it is one feature of many that initially attracted me to this hobby. When I began development of the new version of SquawkBox, I made a personal promise to the original creator, Joe Jurecka, that I would never attempt to make money from the software. And I stand firmly by that committment. My time and labour developing SquawkBox are offerred at no charge, as is my server, USA-S3.
Despite the differences of opinion seen on the forums, one thing I think everyone is in agreement on is that SB3 should come out sooner rather than later. So my rationale for soliciting donations was to simply be forthright about the fact that this data loss is a setback that would delay the release. Enough people stepped forward to turn that into a non-issue.
In fact, the people that donated are mostly strangers that I have never met, supporting me in developing software that they have never seen. I am cognisant of the level of trust implicit in this, and I vow to honour that trust by completing the project in as short a time frame as possible.
Let me offer my most humble and sincere thanks to everyone that has either pledged or sent donations to help with the current data recovery predicament. The response has been overwhelming.
When I first started flying online, I was not only struck with how cool an idea it was but also by the strength of the community, especially considering that the software and online network were funded completely by volunteer efforts. I am encouraged by the fact that this remains a commercial-free enterprise.
The response to my dilemma by so many of you has shown me that the love for this hobby is alive and well. I am also gratified by all the moral support and kind words that so many of you have sent privately and on the forums. It really means a lot to me. Thank you again.
I am moving ahead with having the recovery performed and with any luck should have the data by the end of this week (fingers crossed). Please do not send any further donations.
My attempts to recover the data from my crashed hard drive have not gone well. After a week and a half and a couple of tries, I finally found a data recovery company that has said they can recover the data. Unfortunately the cost is high: $2125 US (see the recovery report). This is definitely a setback for the development of SquawkBox. There were some backups but they were ultimately not sufficient to not have this incident affect the timing of the release.
If the data could be recovered, the alpha could go out straightaway and testing could commence while the remaining items in the program are completed. But the high cost of this puts me in a bit of a quandry.
It is with some hesitation that I have decided to pass the proverbial hat in an attempt to help with this situation. I know there are many of you that are anxious to see SB3 released. I am too. SquawkBox will always be 100% free software to anyone that wants to use it, and it is developed in my volunteer time.
If you feel you can help in anyway, PayPal donations for the purpose of offsetting this cost will be humbly and gratefully accepted. You can send the donations to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are unable to use PayPal, please contact me directly to make alternate arrangements.