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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Boone, NC
    Posts
    109

    Default Official Launch of Hive Tracks

    Hi All - My name is Mark Henson. I'm a software developer and beekeeper in the western mountains of NC. I've been working for almost 2 years on a new online application for beekeepers. Hive Tracks (www.hivetracks.com) will have its official launch and débuted at the Eastern Apicultural Society (EAS) meeting in Boone, NC on August 2, 2010. Hive Tracks is a FREE service. Its not just a website. It’s a powerful online database where each user can track their yards, hives, weather, inspections, feedings, medications and more. Please take a look at it and give me your brutal, honest opinion.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,089

    Default Re: Official Launch of Hive Tracks

    Welcome. Bee careful what you ask 4.

    Right from first glance, is that a bee or a yellowjacket wasp in the upper left corner? It looks like it has a head and a body, not three body parts like insect have. That's as far as I have gotten so far. Back for more later after I get into it. But it would be nice to have more of an introduction before having to commit oneself to an account. Some people are leary of taking such a step w/out more knowledge.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Boone, NC
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Official Launch of Hive Tracks

    I can take it!s
    Its a bee (2 pair of wings). Good point on the info. We have focused so much on the database that the website bits are still weak. I intend to have a "demo" yard setup where users can actually test drive Hive Tracks before making an account. This is version 1 so there are many, many missing features. Thanks for the feedback. You are not the first user to ask for more info before creating an account.
    Last edited by mhenson; 07-23-2010 at 08:21 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Official Launch of Hive Tracks

    Well...
    Right off the bat, it is nearly useless to me.

    While I am sure the many people with Langstroth style hives will find it handy, I have only a couple of those, with the majority of my hives being tbh's.

    There are many people I know who keep a variety of hives now a days in a bee yard, not only Langs, even though langs may be the majority in their yard, they may still like to keep track of the other hives as well.

    The way people work with bees and the equipment used is very diverse and I know that will increase the difficulty of creating a fully comprehensive site. but the more options you can provide, the more useful the site will be to a wider audience.

    presentation wise, the click through screens for entering information is nice.
    the methods of using sliders and other data entry methods beyond text is interesting and appealing as well.

    I would suggest in the inspections that an area for pests be included. it isn't just diseases that bees suffer from. beetles and skunks and raccoons, even bears, depending on location are things to pay attention to in the apiary.

    beyond that, I guess what stands out most to me is the lack of options. you have selections for type of foundation except none, for example.

    same for treatments. sure, one can simply not check those items, but what if one wants others to be able to read those inspections and not have the reader have to guess that they don't use treatments or foundation or other things? "none" as an option can be quite descriptive in terms of hive management as well.

    speaking of which, are there plans for a summary or reports section where people can print or download reports and information about their beeyards and hives?

    as I mentioned in reviewing someone else's bee tracking website, online apps are great until I can't access them due to my ISP being down, your server being down or any number of database crashes, code issues, etc... data is completely inaccessible at those times and that's not a good feeling for anyone. having a way to obtain backups or working offline with one's data is a confidence building plus.

    ok. that's it for now I think. you asked, I answered.

    I'll keep watching and see how/if it progresses/improves.

    Big Bear
    No, I am NOT a bee "Keeper". Anything I post is just my opinion. Take it easy and think for yourself.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Virginia Beach, Virginia
    Posts
    86

    Thumbs Up Re: Official Launch of Hive Tracks

    Ok Mark, thanks for this, it is something I have been thinking about. I took a leap of faith and started an account. Some things that I found quickly were: In hive bulider,if you add and entrance reducer it tells you something is wrong with your set up ( not what, just something, trial and error to figure out what). We are in the derth here and many folks use an reducer (with screened bottom boards) to prevent robbing. How about a screened inner cover? Can you back date? I created two yards and noticed that in yard 2 inspections under the RX section there is sugur water, which where not aviliable in yard 1. How about combining hives?

    Thanks,
    Dave
    I'm like the weatherman- right about half of the time.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Boone, NC
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Official Launch of Hive Tracks

    Nice working on finding the issue with entrance reducers. I have a fix and will post it later today. I don't understand the issue with sugar feedings though. It should be the same for all yards... are you sure you are hitting "next" to see all the pages of the inspection? Can you elaborate?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Boone, NC
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Official Launch of Hive Tracks

    OK. Entrance reducer issue fixed and posted

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,808

    Default Re: Official Launch of Hive Tracks

    Nice site. I started an account today, although I don't know if I will continue to use it in the future. Time will tell.

    Do you mind if I ask what service Hive Tracks offers that Bee Tight doesn't? The only difference I have seen is that Bee Tight offers the addition of different types of hives (TBH, Warre, ect) while you only have Langs. Bee Tight also cost $15 a year for over 6 hives. I'm assuming yours is free indefinitely?

    If you are offering it for free, what type of server space do you have? Will you be able to handle hundreds of individuals opening free accounts? What if a few of them are commercialists checking it daily, with thousands of hives? The last thing I'm interested in doing is putting all my data on a website that crashes in two months.

    Is it possible do download your data and back it up on your own computer? Just in case?

    I also would be very interested in a printable form, to share with others, take with you as you sell to another, or just keep as a paper copy.

    Bee Tight also offers barcodes for each hive that you can print off and put on the hive. If you have a phone that reads barcodes, you can even do it all from your phone out in the yard. You may not be able to offer barcodes, but some form of hive identifiers would be helpful.

    Generally speaking I can't say that I'm for using computer software to track hives at the moment. My out-apiaries are over an hour away. I don't have computer access there, so I have to either remember the information and hope I remember it correctly by the time I make it back home, or I have to write it down to transfer it into the computer later. If I write it down, why transfer it into the computer? If relying on memory, the data isn't very accurate anyway. But those are critiques on the system as a whole, not so much on your site.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Boone, NC
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Official Launch of Hive Tracks

    Thanks for the input Specialkayme. Hive Tracks is just coming out of version 1 development and will have lots of new features added later this year including many of the ones you mentioned. As for using a computer, the idea is not to replace pen and paper, the idea is to get the most out of the information. If you just write stuff down its really hard later to find trends, sort stuff, find min and max values, compare hives in one yard to hives in another, keep track of what you did to a hive even if you did not write it down. As you use Hive Tracks, these things are automatically tracked. In later releases we will have reports and geo-maps with honey flows, trends in pests and correlations with weather and other stuff that can only be done with a computer. This is the true value of Hive Tracks.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,808

    Default Re: Official Launch of Hive Tracks

    Quote Originally Posted by mhenson View Post
    In later releases we will have reports and geo-maps with honey flows,
    Now that is something I would be interested in!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Virginia Beach, Virginia
    Posts
    86

    Thumbs Up Re: Official Launch of Hive Tracks

    Quote Originally Posted by mhenson View Post
    Nice working on finding the issue with entrance reducers. I have a fix and will post it later today. I don't understand the issue with sugar feedings though. It should be the same for all yards... are you sure you are hitting "next" to see all the pages of the inspection? Can you elaborate?
    Opps, my bad. Thanks for the quick turnaround on the E-Reducer
    I'm like the weatherman- right about half of the time.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Birchleaf, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Official Launch of Hive Tracks

    Are you able to move a hive from one yard to another or do you have to delete and create again?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Boone, NC
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Official Launch of Hive Tracks

    To move hives is a Cut-Copy-Paste thing:

    1. Go to the yard page that shows the list of hives in a table.
    2. Check the checkbox for the hives you want to move
    3. Hit the "Edit/Cut" menu item. You will see a scissor icon on the hives you are "cutting".
    4. Select the same table view of yard you want to move the hives to and hit the "Edit/Paste" menu item.

    This will move the hives with all their inspections, photos and other attributes to the new yard.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Andover, Ma. USA
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Official Launch of Hive Tracks

    I commend you for doing this. I know it is a lot of work but I think this will be the trend for beekeepers, especially as smart phones become more popular.
    A thought; Add "Swarmed" to the inspection, This happens to me often enough to be significant and I like to look back at swarm dates for hives.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Boone, NC
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Official Launch of Hive Tracks

    Thanks Dave. New features are in the works (starting in August) including a record of swarms. Stay tuned!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Boone, NC
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Official Launch of Hive Tracks

    A recent comment about rain reminds me... one of the big features in Hive Tracks is weather tracking. Each time you visit the site we record the current weather at all of your yards (we space the readings out by 5 or 6 hours). Right now we record a LOT of weather data but are only displaying the highlights. We intend to correlate this data with trends in pests and bee behavior later. If you like you can force a weather reading any time as well as include a weather reading in your inspections... check out the "Weather" tab on the Yards page and in the inspection dialog.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,995

    Default Re: Official Launch of Hive Tracks

    This type of thing can surely be useful. I use the BeeTight service. It's a competitor, but competition can make everyone better...

    http://www.beetight.com/


    Adam

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Belize, Central American
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Official Launch of Hive Tracks

    Really a good tool.
    I am now a member. Only USA ? I'm an American living overseas. Couldn't change long.&Lat. settings since there based on US zip code. Used old Fla. Zip. to sign up. All in all very nice, it will be of good use. Thanks man!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Boone, NC
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Official Launch of Hive Tracks

    Only supporting USA zip codes at the moment but we have international on the planning board. We are trying to maintain very tight control over geographic data thus the USA limit for now. Thanks for the kind words!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Boone, NC
    Posts
    109

    Re: Official Launch of Hive Tracks

    Hi All - I've added 4 new hive components types to the site: Queen excluder, Hive Top Feeder, Shallow Super (do different really from Honey Super) and Screened Inner Cover (I did not know about these!). Let me know if anyone has trouble using these new types.

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