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CyberCook-A Fresh Look-Pt. 2

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PART 1 of this blog described the fresh perspective I had after returning to using the CyberQ with CyberCook. Using it for a brief time and then returning to it after many months away gave me new insights and a better understanding on the benefits of using the CyberQ WiFi/CyberCook combinations. The other thing that happened was a new version of CyberCook, version 3, came out. and I was asked to Beta test this software. I held off writing this blog for several months until the release version was out. It made no sense to write a blog concerning the v2 software that would soon be obsolete. It turns out there were enough new features in Version 3 that I decided to write this separate entry describing what is new with Version 3.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Last year I bought and paid for CyberCook after buying, trying and disliking several other solutions. I had some questions which the developer, answered in great detail. We got into some email discussions about features. CyberCook was developed at first for completion BBQ teams. I gave him a lot of feedback on the app from the perspective of a backyard BBQer. He valued this information was nice enough to give me a code where I could get a free copy of CyberCook Mini for the iPhone. Total cost: $6.99. The update to Version 3 of CyberCook was a free update for all at the time I am writing this. If you add up the amount of time I spent writing emails with reports about the two versions of CyberCook I’ve used, my hourly rate would be measured in cents per hour. I will leave it to the person reading this whether my opinion can be bought for $6.99.



BIG PICTURE
Here I will describe some of the under the hood changes to CyberCook v3. The end user won’t specifically see these big picture changes, but they will benefit from them with a modern app with additional capabilities and features.

Code Updates: One of the bigger changes in CyberCook Version 3 was to modernize some of the code used throughout the app to reflect changes made in iOS 9. When Apple comes up with new ways of doing things within the OS they eventually stop allowing the old code to be used in some future versions of the OS. CyberCook has been updated to use all of the new modern API’s in iOS 9. Version 3 uses the new networking API’s in iOS 9 which holds promise for new features being available in the future. For now what it means to the end user is your device must be using iOS9 to upgrade to Version 3.
Alarm Interaction: This version of CyberCook no longer relies on the CyberQ WiFi to calculate and activate the various alarms. Moving the alarms into software allows more control over how the alarms work and allows features to be added to fine tune alarm behavior. This can eliminate nuisance alarms as well as add additional alarms if the pit temperature situation gets worse not better.
Updated Internal Database: Updates to the database used by the program have allowed some existing features to be improved and additional new features to be added.

GRAPHING & COOK SESSION CHANGES
For me Graphing was the Killer Feature that CyberCook brought to the table beyond what you got by using the built-in web based software. There have been some additional features added and some existing features have been modified to make them easier to use.

Quick Access to Graph: This is my favorite new feature as it relates to graphs. There is now a button on the main Control Panel screen to go straight to the graph for your current cook session. Prior to this, pulling up a graph required going to the Saved Cook Sessions screen, finding your current cook on the list and selecting it. Now you simply click on a button at the top of the main Control Panel screen and you see the graph. This saves several steps. It may seem like a small thing. but I am in and out of the graphs all of the time.
Fan Output Display: I am told this was a big feature request from the Competition Cooks using CyberCook. You are now able to hit a button and a graph of the fan output over time appears above the lower third of the graph. One use I could think of for this is to check if it may be time to refuel. If the fan output is starting to climb to maintain your pit temperature, this may signal the fuel is getting low. If this is of no interest to you, you can simply leave it turned off and you will never know it is there.
Saved Favorite Sessions: If you do the same types of cooks on a regular basis, there is no need to set up CyberCook each time. You can save favorite settings for each one: say one for brisket, another for pork shoulder, another for ribs etc. CyberCook remembers the last settings you used, but last time you may have done ribs and this time you want to do a pork shoulder. Saving favorites allows you to store not just the general information about the pit, the charcoal etc., you can save your desired temperature and alarm settings with all of the tweaks you have made to fine tune the alarms for a given pit. Fourteen different settings are stored with each favorite. These favorites can also be used to store information for cooking on different pits. Each model of pit can require different degrees of alarm fine tuning. So you can have favorites for a brisket on Pit A and the same brisket on Pit B. These favorites should prove very handy for competition cook teams that regularly do the same cooks. It will also be handy for backyard cooks with multiple pits of different types.

EASE OF USE TWEAKS

The developer of CyberCook isn’t just interested in adding new features. He is also concerned with making the program easier to use wherever possible. Here are some tweaks that have streamlined the ease of use of the program.

Control Panel Clock: One of the great things about the Control Panel screen when used on an iPad is the high degree of visibility. I can be working anywhere in my Kitchen and see the temperatures display on my iPad. You now have the ability to display a clock at the top of this screen. In one glance you can see your pit status and the time of day.
Easier Data Entry: Some of the data entry fields were changed from the spinning tumbler style picker to a field where you type the data in.
IP Address Confirmation: The program confirms the IP address entered for WiFI settings is a valid IP address.
Reset Deleted Tumbler Picker Data: The data entry areas that use a tumbler style spinning picker (pit, charcoal, smoking woods) allow you to add or delete items on the dial. You are now able to reset the default data on the dial to recover items you deleted. Any custom items you have added are retained when the defaults are restored.

ALARM CHANGES
There has been a lot of work done on the alarms and how they worked. I am going to hit the highlights here. One of the nice things about CyberCook is it comes with a full Users Manual. The manual explains not only how a feature is set up, but the logic behind its use.

Pit Alarm Settings Menu: A new pit alarm settings menu was added to access and control the alarm behaviors.
Warmup Mode: The user is able to set a low temperature number in the settings to trigger Warmup Mode. If the CyberCook comes on and sees the pit temperature of the CyberQ WiFi is below this setting it goes into warmup mode. Until the desired pit temperature is reached, you will get no low temperature alarms.
Alarm Reset Temperature: This allows you to fine tune the temperature where the alarm is deactivated and reset to come back on with future pit variations. Your pit may have reached the allowable +/-XX degree temperature deviation you have set to trigger a pit alarm. The alarm is reset to off. Some pits may be right at that set point and experiencing small deviations around that point as it continues to recover. You may go down a degree or up a degree and you could get nuisance alarms while this is happening. You are able to set an allowable deviation around your main set point, before an additional alarm is triggered.
Reactivate Threshold: This is an additional alarm which can be set to go off if the pit temperature continues to go to high or fall too low after the initial alarm goes off. If you turn off the initial alarm, this additional alarm will give you a second alarm if things keep heading in the wrong direction.
Alarm Smoothing: There is an additional setting to avoid nuisance alarms after the pit temperature alarm has been triggered. It is intended to be used in the event that the Reset and Reactivate settings do not give you enough control over your particular pit.

MULTI-DEVICE SUPPORT
Previous versions of CyberCook allowed you to view the data from the CyberQ WiFi from multiple iPads or iPhones. But best practice, prior to Version 3, was to use only one of these devices to reset any settings on the CyberQ.

Multiple Device Reset Capabilities: Now you can make changes to the CyberQ from any device running Version 3 of the software.
Reset Alert: Now when changes are made from one device or the CyberQ itself, a warning is displayed on the other devices running CyberCook v3. When you say OK to this dialogue box, the settings are accepted on that device.

CONCLUSION
CyberCook v3 is a solid upgrade to CyberCook. If you are are a competition BBQ cook or other high end power user, the new upgrade offers some new features that offer a great deal of precise control. If you are a backyard BBQer the upgrade offer you some new ease of use features. Either way a great program has been made even greater.

SOME RELATED LINKS

CYBERCOOK WEBSITE
  CYBERCOOK  Developers website.

2016 CYBERCOOK BLOG ENTRY PART 1
   CYBERCOOK - A FRESH LOOK - PT. 1   A fresh perspective on using a Pit Controller after some time away from it.

2016 CYBERQ WIFI BLOG ENTRY
   EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL - 2016  A fresh perspective on using a Pit Controller after some time away from it.

2015 CYBERQ WIFI BLOG SERIES
   EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL - Part 1  What is a Pit Controller & why would someone want one?
   EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL - Part 2  Why did I choose to but the BBQ Guru CyberQ WiFi?
   EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL - Part 3  WiFi Networking overview and setting up an Adhoc WiFi connection on the CyberQ WiFi.
   EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL - Part 4  Setting up an Infrastructure mode WiFi Network Connection. More difficult but more capabilities.
   EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL - Part 5  Attaching the CyberQ to a grill/smoker.
   EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL - Part 6  Attaching the CyberQ to a grill/smoker.

2015 CYBER COOK CYBERQ SOFTWARE BLOG
   CYBERCOOK - CYBERQ WiFi SOFTWARE iOS Software that enhances your use of the CyberQ. It makes it faster and easier to use & adds capabilities such as Logging/Graphing your cooks.

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