Beta +10

  • We’ve had over 200 beta testers sign up. Thanks!
  • We’ve released three new beta versions to add minor enhancements (and fix one minor bug)
  • One final beta version is in the works which will fix support for storing the password in the keychain (and ensure non-English letters (e.g. ???) display properly on the website)
  • We’ve had interest from a number of companies in the SyncBridge Enterprise Edition (where you can run your own server)
  • No-one has reported any data loss
  • We’ve managed to upgrade the service pretty seamlessly 4 times in ten days

Overall, I’m really happy with how things have gone to date. I expect the final release will follow a few days after the next beta fix, which should be in a few days time.

Blog migration, Bedouin and Beta3

We’ve moved the blog from our old server onto something a lot more stable, hosted by our friends at Yoyo. We decided to stop using Typo because it was unstable, just around the time they fixed the stability problems. Still, I don’t want to spend my time hacking on someone else’s Rails app at the moment. All the feed URLs should automatically redirect so let me know if you have a problem. (“If you do not get this message, please call and tell us…”)

I had an interesting day today – I got to spend a bit of time out and about in the city while still working. One of the things that ended up getting done was a release of SyncBridge 1.0b3, which helps improve the user experience. Interestingly, the code for that was written in three different places over the course of a couple of days. Four different places if you count my home.

SyncBridge is looking pretty stable. We’ve had very few bugs reported and we’ve been able to address them quickly. I’d like to add a few performance enhancements on the server side so that our resources weren’t being quite so greedily consumed, but other than that I’ve been very pleased with everything so far.

The two things looming on the horizon are SyncBridge for Enterprise (host your own server) and SyncBridge for Google Calendar. I’ve still not heard anything back from 30Boxes about being able to write a commercial app against their API, as their license agreement forbids it.

SyncBridge Report: release reports

SyncBridge has been out for 10 hours. We have 52 users from 9 different countries sharing 84 calendars. Now, that’s the power of the internet! We got listed on MacUpdate, Versiontracker and we’re preparing the PRs for other sites in the Mac web today. Today is one of my best days ever. It’s just really fulfilling to see people using this app and then giving us such good feedback.

UPDATE: SyncBridge has been out for 17 hours. We have 95 users from 9 different countries sharing 145 calendars.

It’s out there

We’ve taken the shackles off and now everyone can have a go.

We’ve been using SyncBridge for nearly a month now and we’ve seen the good and the bad of iCal and SyncServies for more than 6 months now and come through with a smile.

So it’s out. In Public Beta. It’s free to use for the next month and after that, the subscription starts but why am I telling you all of this – it’s free for a month so GO TRY IT OUT

I’m reminded of Aidan saying that allowing others to use SyncBridge was akin to letting his kid outside unsupervised and that is certainly the way we feel now as we had several attempted downloads even before the links went active.

This is a big deal in many ways.

  • It’s the first commerical RubyCocoa app. Ever. No, really.
  • It’s the first commercial Nitro app (apart from those written by Nitro’s creator).
  • It’s the first commerical app using ZenObfuscate.
  • Infurious is the first Mac software company in Northern Ireland.
  • If Aidan is the father of SyncBridge, then that makes me the bearded Auntie…..
  • Bearded Auntie

What’s happening? Part II

Thought I’d add a bit more to this. I finished all the code for SyncBridge on the 6th of July. I don’t just mean code complete, I mean tested and bug-fixed etc. First thing in the morning on the 7th of July I went on vacation for six days, leaving MJ to organise our new server. When I came back, we had a shiny new server from 123reg waiting to have all the code installed and smoke-tested, except we had no shell access.

One day later, we get shell access, and find a bastardised version of the FreeBSD 4.11 (!) operating system underneath (we were expecting at the very least a vanilla install). I mean, this installation had all kinds of crazy things set up in it, and most of what comes as standard was missing.

So, a week-end later, after struggling to install a new version remotely, we get to Monday and tech support who tell us that we can’t install vanilla FreeBSD on there. By the end of Monday I have a P4 FreeBSD box installed and ready with the SyncBridge code on it, courtesy of excellent service from Exist (who chatted with me online from initial contact through to delivery of server details). Getting SyncBridge up and running on there was literally just a few hours work, installing all the necessary infrastructure.

I’ve now smoke-tested everything, and hopefully we’ll be able to get the beta out there this evening. The inaugural Cocoaheads (Belfast chapter) meeting is tonight, so we might unveil it there and get some beta testing done at the same time.

What’s happening?

Loads of things…

  • New Server for SyncBridge (yay for EXIST, and boo for 123-reg and dedicatedNOW)
  • Syncbridge.com is ready to go, but not live.
  • We got the SSL certificate up and running on the new server.

It’s ALMOST ready to go. So close I can taste it. We’ll have a formal announcement once we’re sure the new server is running fine.

Today, July 17th, also happens to be iCal Day. It’s the default date for iCal before you launch it because it was introduced to the public on July 17th, 2002.

Other news…

Andrew Gribben has his blog up for his new artistic lifestyle experience caf??? CreatiV. I must say – the combination of caf??? and art technology shop has me intrigued and he promises me that Aidan and I have a seat reserved for our Bedouin activities. I’ve given him a few ideas here and there on stuff he should be doing and I’m glad to see he thinks they’re good ideas!!!!

Tomorrow night (Tuesday 18th) hosts the first Northern Ireland Cocoaheads meeting in Roast on the Lisburn Road in Belfast 🙂 I’m going to be so out of my league, it ain’t funny.

We’re also going to be migrating the blog to a new server to make it a little more responsive.

And we’re on EirePreneurZ…

James at EirePreneur is running a series of in-depth intreviews with Irish startups which he’s dubbing EirePreneurZ. The first was with Karen Jackson of Gardini which is a Dublin based company founded to provide Gardens for Balconies, Patios, Yards, Terraces and Roof Tops and planters for House fronts and Windows.

Next up, he has a great interview with us on the same site. I must say, we’re quite funny. I think it’s a good sign that the second interview in the EirePreneurZ series comes from North of the Virtual Border.

PJ on video. Lookit! He moves!

PJ, enjoying the success of no longer being a starving hopeful artist, has started vidcasting (which is a name I’ve invented now because vlog sounds silly and vee-casting sounds worse).

I especially love the intro where he says “Oh, hello…”

Reminds me of Jackanory which is decidedly old hat now and probably superceded by CBeebies Storytellers.

Like it’s a surprise that the camera is switched on? That’s years of drama training there 🙂

Anyway, I’m going to be watching regularly, same bat-time, same bat-place….

$10000 to call BillG out.

Wil Shipley is crazy.

He’s still someone I totally respect – though I’m not up there on the “man love” thing. Jobs is still my role model but Wil is such a good writer that I think it’s terrible for the rest of us that he can write prose as well as code.

Today, he’s displaying his crazyness by challenging Bill Gates to a bet. Call me picky, but the bet is a bit of a sure thing and I don’t reckon that Wil will have to pay out a single dollar of the $10000 bet that Vista will not ship by January

Vista is a shambles. Downloading the beta LEGALLY and using it for a wee bit just showed me how much of a shambles it is. Already they’re tweaking the UI alone just so that if you don’t have a kick-ass graphics card it doesn’t look like mud splattered your screen.. The new theme isn’t much better to be honest but then again when have we ever turned to 4000 engineers to ask them what constitutes good UI design. What did they do to fix it? Turned the grey to blue. Whoop-de-doo.

I don’t have $10000 to wager and to be honest, that’s a kind of vulgar way of making a point. Vista may ship on time but it’ll be awful. We know this.

On the other hand, in true retaliation for calling him out, BillG could just redirect all of his daily spam for a single day to Wil’s main email account. Can you imagine?