Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category
January and February is always an interesting time, with new projects kicking off and a renewed energy to get things done.
Even though we lament our clients for lumping all of that “urgent” work on us just before the Christmas break, it pays off in January and February with a clean slate, and some new exciting projects to work on.
New projects can mean new quotes, which means time estimation. The simplest way to make better time estimates is to look at past projects of a similar size, and take that as a starting point, which is obviously far easier if you track your time. And don’t forget to use the “time limit” feature in 88 Miles, so you can compare your estimate to your actual value!
How can we make your life easier?
We are right in the middle of a huge revamp for 88 Miles which should make tracking your time easier and more convenient. I’m really excited about some of the new features, as well as the new look and feel, and I can’t wait to launching it!
But before I can do that, I want to ask you what features you would like to see in 88 Miles. What would make your life just that little bit easier?
I’d really appreciate it if you could take the time to fill in this short survey (It would be less than a minute – promise). You feedback is really important, as that is the only way we can make 88 Miles better!
We’ve had a busy new year so far at MadPilot Productions, but we’ve still managed to push some updates to 88 Miles this week. The main change is a new payment system, which means you can better manage the credit card that you have used to sign up with, and we can now offer pro-rata credits when you upgrade and downgrade plans! This means you aren’t paying twice if you decide to change your account mid-payment cycle.
If you are an existing customer, you will need to re-enter your credit card details – unfortunately, our credit card merchant can’t migrate your card numbers from one system to the other. You will get charged the full rate again, but we’ll credit you back the pro-rata value (This is a manual process, so it might take a couple of days to sort it out). If you have any problems during the process, flick us an email from the contact form.
The other advantage of this upgrade, if that you are are now able to download proper invoices from the system directly now (Which will no doubt make the tax man happier). Again, this doesn’t go back in time, so you will only be able to get invoices for after you update your credit card details – if you want previous ones, we can generate them manually for you (Again, shoot us an email).
That’s it for now – we have some big plans over the next couple of months, so stay tuned!
Happy time tracking!
Well, our server upgrade is all done, and with it brings a new user interface. We have also revamped the API, so if you are a developer check out the new documentation to see what you can do!
We also have a twitter account, which will have smaller announcements posted to it, so make sure you follow us.
We would love any feedback you might have – leave us a comment, or send us an @ reply on twitter.
88 Miles is getting a server upgrade and some spit and polish on Sunday 20 Jun 2010. The site will br unavailable for around 30 minutes starting at 2:00 PM (GMT +0800 – Click here to convert to your local time).
We are quite excited about this upgrade, and it has been a long time in the making, so we would love to hear your feedback on Monday!
88 Miles will be pushing a fairly major UI update sometime next week, which is very exciting. However, we have decided that it is time to drop support for Internet Explorer 6.
It doesn’t look like this will affect too many people, as IE 6 is less than 3% of our traffic, but if you are still using it, we would recommend upgrading your browser.
More details of the new roll out shortly. Oh, and if you want to try out the new version before it goes live, send us an email!
Some of you may have experienced some problems when trying to create invoices in 88 Miles and saving them to Saasu. Good news: the problems are fixed!
If you are still having problems – Drop us a line!
The MadPilot Produtions office will be closed from the 24th of December until the 5th of January.
Whilst I’ll be periodically checking that 88 Miles, I won’t be checking email very regularly during that time, so by all means, continue sending any email, just don’t be offended if you don’t get a response until early 2009!
So have a safe holiday season, and I look forward to tracking your time in 2009!
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been experimenting with some optimisations at all points of the 88 Miles stack — everywhere from code to database queries to database optimisation and Apache configuration. Because of the downtime today, I though I’d finish off some of those optimisations and push them live.
At the server level, 88 Miles is now running Passenger (aka mod_rails) instead of Mongrel, which better utilises memory and doesn’t require the overhead of proxing. It’s also a lot more reliable and stable (especially when it comes to restarting or pushing out new versions). Although I must admit, this mornings downtime was more to do with some overzealous settings than anything else — I think we are at a sweet spot now, so I don’t think I’ll need to touch it again for a while.
Much of the code for the core functionality was written quite a while a go, and was in dire need for a clean up. There was a lot of unnecessary iteration and object instantiation that resulted in really long load times for the main page (as well as for punching in and punching out). By pushing more of the work to the database and utilising the fact that a DB is better at searching for things than my code is, I managed a 4x speed increase.
However, that wasn’t quite enough! By adding some database indexed to regularly used foreign keys, I managed to bump that speed increase to nearly 10x! And this is just the start — the priority at the moment is the speed and stability of the system.
Hopefully you will notice the speed increase — there is, of course, things out of my control, such as network latency and server load — however on the whole, you should be getting a much snappier 88 Miles experience.
Just a quick update — due to some people complaining about the speed of the reports, I’ve just pushed some fixes that by my less than scientific calculations speed things up by between 300%–800% depending on the number of projects you have!
The speed up also applies to the “View recent shift summary” function too.
Many on you would know that 88 Miles has had OpenID, OAuth and webservices for a while, and I’m quite a proponent of all three.
I’m lucky enough to be presenting a talk at Web directions in Sydney at the end of September. If you are lucky enough to be going to WDS08, please drop me a line!