Friday, December 15, 2006

Foxmarks named one of the "Best Apps of 2006"

We here at Foxmarks are modest folk, quietly tending to the servers and software that make your life just a little bit easier by keeping your bookmarks synchronized wherever you browse. We're not ones to toot our own horns -- unless someone else toots 'em first. Which now they have. The esteemed Lifehacker has today named Foxmarks one of the Best Apps of 2006:
... at least 3 of the LH editors agree that Foxmarks is indispensable for seamless synchronization of your bookmarks from home to the office or from laptop to desktop or any number of computers.

It's quite an honor to be recognized in the company of products like Google Calendar, Parallels, and Windows Vista (!). We'll be running victory laps and performing parade-float waves for another while yet -- at least until the espresso buzz wanes. Thanks, Gina!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Maintenance Completed

We started a bit later than expected, but the maintenance work that we scheduled earlier today went off without a hitch and the service is now back to normal operation. Apologies for the delay and any inconvenience. As always, please let us know if you see any surprising behavior.

Short Downtime Today

We'll be taking the synchronization service down today for 30 minutes starting at 3pm PST. Account signup, synchronization, and My Foxmarks will all be unavailable while we perform some routine maintenance.

We'll post here again when we start the process and when it's completed. Thanks for your patience.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Telling the Foxmarks story

People ask us questions. Who are you? What are you doing? m/f?

We've now got some better answers. Trot on over to foxmarks.com to check it out. We also continue to evolve our look over there. Let us know what you think.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Foxmarks 0.87 Released for Beta Testing

For those of you hankering to try the latest Foxmarks in a non-English locale, the following locales are now available to test in Foxmarks 0.87, courtesy of our friendly localizers:

  • ja (Japanese)

  • nl-NL (Dutch)

  • tr-TR (Turkish)

  • ru-RU (Russian)

  • uk-UA (Ukrainian)

  • zh-TW (Chinese Traditional)


We know that people have started to use the latest version, but we haven't heard any specific comments back. What do you think?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Foxmarks 0.86 Released for Beta Testing

This evening we released a new version of Foxmarks that has contains what we hope will turn out to be valuable improvements.

  • The new version substantially revises the way that automatic sync works. It should now be less obtrusive, and stay out of your way when you're making a series of changes to your bookmarks.

  • There's a new option "Sync on Shutdown" that will prompt you when you shut down Firefox to sync changes you've made to your bookmarks. If it makes sense, we may also implement "Sync on Startup."

  • We continue to make progress on the performance side, the goal being to eliminate the hiccups experienced by users with large bookmark sets. We're getting closer, but a few improvements still remain.

  • We don't yet have localizations for the new bits for languages other than English, so non-English users will want to steer clear of this release until we can get the needed translations.


This is most definitely a beta release. If you decide to download it, please let us know how it goes, good or bad. Your feedback is invaluable to us. If you're not feeling lucky (or brave), please continue to use the officially released version.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Fixes? We got fixes.

A few users had reported that they were unable to use My Foxmarks -- clicking on the folder names in the sidebar failed to cause the folder to open. It appears that it was a timing bug, which we've just fixed. Give it a shot. If you see the problem again, please let us know. As far as we know, My Foxmarks works with Firefox, IE, Safari, and Opera.
My Foxmarks: Now with 10% less suckage.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Problems accessing my.foxmarks.com?

If you've had problems logging in to your account on the web to view your bookmarks at my.foxmarks.com, to change your account settings, or to be mailed a temporary login link, we wanted to let you know that we've found and fixed your problem.

It was, unfortunately, a nasty character encoding problem that affected all users that had non-English characters in the first or last name fields of their accounts. Some users wrote to us letting us know they were having such problems, and we manually fixed their accounts to remove the problematic characters while we were fixing the underlying problem. Those users can now change their accounts back by going to our home page and clicking "Manage My Account."

Regardless, we're pretty sure we've fixed the problem. If you see any remnants of it, please let us know.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Network Glitch

Due to networking problems outside our control, the Foxmarks service was unavailable for about 20 minutes starting at 9:24a PST. Everything has been restored to normal and, as far as we know, there have been no other consequences. Our provider assures us that this was a one-time problem.

Friday, November 3, 2006

Downtime Completed

All services should be back up now. If you see problems, please let us know.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Downtime

We'll be taking the service down for a few hours on Friday evening at approximately 6pm PST to play a game of hardware musical chairs. You will not, unfortunately, be able to do much of anything with Foxmarks during this time. We'll get things back online as quickly as possible and post here as soon as we're done.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

We've moved!

In the (entirely coincidental) spirit of Halloween, we've changed our a costume a bit. Our blog has moved from its old home to a new location, and in the process has acquired a brand new look. Please let us know what you think.

Thanks to Trevor and Allan for making this happen.

Monday, October 23, 2006

my.foxmarks.com's frames: To be or not to be

In our recent re-launch of my.foxmarks.com, we changed the fundamental mechanism for interacting with bookmarks to a sidebar. While there was some internal dissent about whether this was a better user experience than the previous implementation (which displayed bookmarks in a standard full-width browser page), our overall assessment was that the sidebar was more consistent with what people expected.

Now we want to put the question to you, our users, explicitly: what do you think about the sidebar? If you used the previous version, did you like that better? Why?

We'll collect comments and feedback here and use them to help inform what we do with my.foxmarks.com in the future. Thanks!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Server Upgrade: Done and Done?

It's been a somewhat grueling few days, but I'm happy to report that the new server is now up. We'll be watching it closely over the next serveral days to see how it performs under real-life load, but thus far the prognosis is extremely encouraging. Where before our hardware was fairly staggering under the load, now it's loafing.
As part of this deployment, we're also introducing a revamped look and a fairly complete reimplementation of our web presence. Check out http://www.foxmarks.com/ and let us know what you think. There's also more to come on that front.

Finally, I wanted to thank the (extended) team for going the extra several hundred miles on this project. Allan, JJ, Jared, Dave, Naomi, Trevor: gold stars, 'atta boys, and free sync accounts for each of you. Mitch & I really appreciate your efforts.

-Todd

Server Upgrade: This time, we really mean it!

Yes, you've heard our warnings and forecasts before. But this time we're serious. At 8pm PDT this evening (Monday, October 16) we will be turning off the server so that we can complete the upgrade that we started this weekend. We expect to be down for only a few hours, and when we return, we hope to be running our new server.

For those interested, I'll be posting more comments here as we go. And a reminder: during the time the server is down, you won't be able to create a new account, synchronize, or view your bookmarks online.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Trials & Tribulations: Server Upgrade

We tried both Saturday and Sunday this weekend to upgrade the server, but luck was not with us either day. We got part way through the upgrade on Sunday, but will have to take the server down again for much of the day on Monday, October 16 starting at 10AM PDT. Again, our apologies for the inconvenience.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Downtime & Upgrade this Weekend

Those of you who have been paying especially close attention lately may have noticed that we've been having minor service interruptions with greater frequency of late, an unfortunate consequence of Foxmarks' growing popularity. The elves at Foxmarks HQ have been busy working on a solution to handle the ever-increasing load, and we'll be rolling it out this weekend. We'll be replacing our entire server architecture, which has served us well beyond its original specifications. (As part of OSAF's Chandler ecosystem, our server, Cosmo, was designed for workgroup calendar sharing, not large-scale bookmark synchronization.)

We're also taking this opportunity to introduce a more sophisticated front-end on the web, which will allow us to start building more interesting web applications. As we've alluded to before, My Foxcloud is just the tip of the iceberg. And, finally, as part of an overall streamlining of our look, we'll be retiring our logo mascot (although you can never rule out that we might bring him back in a "Classic Coke"-style fiasco. Stay tuned for this).

To give us time to make this transition, we'll be taking the whole service down starting at 10AM PDT Saturday morning through much of this weekend. This means that new users will not be able to sign up for accounts, and existing users will be unable to sync or view their bookmarks online. We'll be working as quickly as possible to get the service back online, and will post here again when that happens. Our apologies in advance for any inconvenience this may cause. We hope you'll find that it's worth it once it's done.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Foxmarks 0.80 Availble for General Download

As of this morning, the latest version of Foxmarks is now available from the Firefox Add-ons site (thanks, Mozilla!). We recommend that all users upgrade, as the new version fixes a number of synchronization bugs and is also compatible with the forthcoming Firefox 2. Upgrading now will smooth your transition when Firefox 2 becomes available for general use.

We're particularly curious about how well synchronization of the new microsummaries works. Please let us know of your experience (good or bad) either here or on our wiki.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Foxmarks 0.80 Released

Last week we released Foxmarks 0.80, which, compared to version 0.72 currently available on the Firefox Add-ons site, contains some substantial bug fixes. It's also compatible with the soon-to-be-released Firefox 2.

Please give it a try and let us know if you encounter any difficulties. Assuming that everything goes smoothly, we'll be releasing it to Mozilla for an across-the-board upgrade next week.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Foxmarks 0.77 Released for Testing

We just released for testing Foxmarks 0.77, which fixes a bug found in the new microsummary conflict resolution code.

We're hiring!

We're finally ready to start moving some of the Foxmarks magic to the web. (My Foxcloud provides but the slimmest hint of what we've got up our sleeves.) Doing so will require that we expand the current cast of Foxmarxian elves, so we've opened two engineering positions; descriptions are available here and here. If you're interested, give us a shout.

Foxmarks for Firefox 2.0 Beta

We've put together a beta version of Foxmarks for users who are interested in helping to test it against the recently released beta version of Firefox 2.

The new version of Foxmarks contains some minimal support for synchronizing microsummaries, a new feature of Firefox 2. If there are bugs to be found in this new version of Foxmarks, this is where they're likely to appear.

If you see anything unusual, please let us know.

Friday, July 7, 2006

Foxmarks Privacy Policy Redux

In response to a number of users who have expressed concerns about our privacy policy, we have produced a new revision of the policy, providing further explication and chopping out parts of the policy that some users found onerous. The new privacy policy can be found here, and there's even a nifty table that summarizes the changes.

The policy will likely continue to evolve, but we hope you find these changes to be a step in the right direction. Please let us know what you think.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Foxmarks Privacy Policy Updated

When we first unveiled our Privacy Policy last month, some users were rightfully concerned that it appeared that we were reserving the right to spam them: the policy said that we might use the email address you provided when you registered to "contact you regarding services or products that we believe may be of interest to you." And that certainly sounds like spam.

When we set out to construct our privacy policy our lawyers gave us a generic policy which we adapted to the particulars of our service. The generic policy had in place the spam provision, which, in our haste to get the policy out the door, we neglected to curtail. That's been fixed now. We agree not to spam you unless you ask to be spammed; and even then, it seems unlikely that spam will ever be part of the Foxmarks experience. From where we sit, spam is, like, totally un-foxmarxian.

If you're interested,  check out the Privacy Policy here.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Foxmarks 0.71 Released

Today we released Foxmarks 0.71 on our own website. If no problems emerge over the next several days, we'll release it to the Firefox Add-ons site next week. This release fixes a synchronization bug that several users encountered, and adds translations for French, Italian, and Dutch.

As always, please let us know if you have any difficulties with this new release.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Foxmarks looking for Sys Admin Help

We're looking to hire on a short-term contract a Sr. Systems Administrator to help build out the monitoring and automation infrastructure for our production service. If you know of anyone who might be interested in working with us, please refer them to our ad on craigslist.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Server Upgrade Completed

Today was a challenging day for Team Foxmarks. We managed to complete the server upgrade and data migration that we'd been planning for a couple of weeks, and, while I would like to report that it went smoothly, that would not be an accurate characterization of the process and its ultimate outcome.

The bad news is that we lost some user accounts in the migration. To those users whose accounts suffered this fate: we're truly sorry. Instructions for recreating your account can be found here; the silver lining in the cloud is that, since the data in your account is a copy of the data that you already have on your PC's, in all likelihood, no data was lost. (We do, however, have backups; contact us if you feel you need those backups.)

Nonetheless, we realize that this will inconvenience some users, an unfortunate irony as Foxmarks' core value is about convenience.

Our first priority is getting affected users back on board. I'll be posting more about what happened and what steps we'll be taking to prevent future mishaps.

Server Upgrade Today

As promised earlier, we will be upgrading the Foxcloud Synchronization Server to the latest and great version of Cosmo. We will be taking the server down for about two hours starting at 5pm PST. During this time, you won't be able to create new accounts, synchronize your bookmarks, or access your bookmarks via my.foxcloud.com.

We'll post here again when the upgrade is successful.

Friday, May 5, 2006

Server upgrade is coming...

Sometime next week, we'll be taking down the Foxcloud Synchronization Server for a while to upgrade it to the upcoming release of Cosmo 0.3. The upgrade wil give us some additional headroom in terms of total number of end-user accounts, as well as allow for the possibility of non-English characters in usernames, first name, and last name fields.

During the downtime, users won't be able to sync, create new accounts, or view their bookmarks on My.Foxcloud. We'll try to keep downtime to a minimum, but the upgrade will be a bit more complex than ones we done in the past as it involves migrating everyone's data from the current version of Cosmo to the new one. We'll post here when we start and when we complete the transition.

Foxmarks and the Vision of Places

People who have been following closely the development of the next versions of Firefox -- Firefox 2 and Firefox 3 -- already know that one of the key enhancements of Mozilla's next generation of browsers is a system called Places. Places is based on the key insight that two systems that currently exist separately in the browser, bookmarks (which represent places that you've visited and want to be able to return to) and history (places that you've actually visted), could be much more valuable if they were combined in some fashion. They both exist to solve an end-user problem: how do I get back to some place that I've been before?

As envisioned by its creators, Places integrates history and bookmarks into a single database for the back end, and revamps the current UI affordances (the bookmark menu, the bookmark manager, the toolbar, the bookmark sidebar, the history sidebar, the address bar url history) to talk to that back end. Done right, a system like this really opens up a treasure trove of interesting end-user possibilities, both for extensions and for the core browser. A good interface to the Places back-end would also enable online service providers to provide tight integration -- right in the browser -- with the many different kinds of web services that have exploded in popularity recently, such as del.icio.us, digg, and furl. Despite the fact that any implementation of Places would likely require a major rewrite of Foxmarks, we've been excited about Places since we first heard about it; we have drunk the Kool-Aid, and we believe in the Vision of Places.

That's the good news. The bad news is that, in the rush to get Firefox 2 out the door, the implementation of Places falls quite a bit short of the vision. There have been numerous complaints about the number of bugs in Places in the alpha version of Firefox 2; some have observed that the new UI is not the hands-down improvement that was hoped for; and we noted that the back-end was designed without consideration of synchronization, which would have made a Places version of Foxmarks essentially impossible.

That's the bad news. The good news is that Mozilla has made the tough decision to hold off on deploying Places at least until Firefox 3, giving it some much-needed time to be more fully developed. Some critics have complained about this decision, but we think it's the right call -- something as important as this deserves time for considered development; no one would be served by releasing Places before it was ready for prime time.

Last week, Mike Shaver of the Mozilla Corporation gathered some of the interested parties in a meeting to discuss requirements for Places that hadn't yet been reflected in the implementation. Representatives from Google, Yahoo, del.icio.us, and yours truly discussed both back-end needs and real-world use-cases. I came out of the meeting with my belief in the rightness of the Places Vision reaffirmed, though there's going to be quite a bit of blood, sweat, and tears shed getting there. I look forward to seeing Shaver's notes from that meeting published for all to see.

Foxmarks 0.69

Earlier this week, we released Foxmarks 0.69, a version whose primary claim to fame is that it includes additional translations from our distributed team of volunteers. In addition to English and Japanese, Foxmarks now includes support for the following languages: German (de-De), Spanish (es-ES), Portuguese (pt-BR), and Chinese (zh-TW). If you're looking for Foxmarks in any of these additional languages, please download directly from our website. Next week when we release on the Firefox Add-on site we'll send the "update is available" signal that will cause Firefox to note the availability of the new version.

If you see any problem with these localizations (or with any other aspect of Foxmarks), please let us know.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Foxmarks leaves the nest

As of a couple hours ago, Foxmarks is now available for download from the Mozilla Addons site, the officially-sanctioned repository of Firefox extensions. What does this mean?

First of all, it means that we're now sufficiently confident in Foxmarks' reliability and stability to unleash it on users who don't consider themselves to be risk-takers when it comes to using new software. Many thanks to those of you who were willing to take a risk with us to help us get to this point. Your use of Foxmarks in real-world situations and your reports of problems encountered have been invaluable to us as we've focused on building an extension that does what you want, is easy to use and is reliable.

In addition to providing better visibility to interested users, being on the Mozilla Addons site confers some technical benefits in terms of downloading the extension (Firefox is configured to download extensions from the Mozilla site out of the box, as opposed to downloading from our site, which requires some user gymnastics) and keeping it updated. The Getting Started process should be easier now.

Opening up to a larger community will, of course, have its challenges. Even in our semi-private beta program, the influx of new users that came every time someone posted something about us on an influential blog often revealed new problems, some operational and some in the software design implementation. Each time through one of these cycles, we learned something new and tried to improve. We think we're well prepared for the new users that will come our way through the Mozilla site, but only time will tell.

What's next? That largely depends on what happens in the next couple of weeks. We're hoping for smooth sailing, which would free us up to implement the backlog of new features that have been building up over the past couple of months. We'll post here as we know more.

In the meantime, feedback from users is always appreciated.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Foxmarks 0.66

Today we released Foxmarks 0.66, our second release candidate. It fixes a single bug that affected users who received the "New sync file detected" dialog and then selected "Download" -- the bug would cause the same dialog to appear again erroneously during subsequent synchronizations.

This is our second Release Candidate. Please don't hesitate to tell us about any problems you encounter.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Foxmarks 0.65 Released

We just released Foxmarks 0.65, which we are considering our first Release Candidate. It's a very minor update over version 0.64, including some missing items from the Japanese translation (thanks, Premier!) and fixing One Last Bug.

If you encounter problems of any sort, please let us know. Otherwise, we're shippin' it!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Foxmarks 0.64

We just released Foxmarks 0.64, primarily as a fix to a problem inadvertently introduced in the previous version that caused a spurious warning message to appear ("New Sync File Detected") for many users. Sorry about that!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Kudos from around the Web

Mitch has started blogging again, including a recent post where he's collected people's opinions about Foxmarks from their online postings.

Managing localization?

We've posted before a general query looking for people to assist in the localization of Foxmarks, and a handful of people have responded with specific offers to help us produce translated versions of Foxmarks in various languages. As noted earlier, Premier was one of the first to offer such help, and his Japanese translation has been part of Foxmarks since version 0.55. We've also received offers to help with translations in Dutch, German, Spanish, and Chinese.

The obstacle that has prevented us from moving forward on this is not knowing how best to manage the localization project. For instance, what kinds of tools and instructions do we need to provide to localizers? How do we manage changes in the UI that need then to be reflected in changes to the localization? What's the best way to organize the work of (and communicate with) localizers?

If you've been on either side of such a localization project for a Firefox extension, we'd really appreciate your input. If there's a localization project that you think has worked particularly well, please let us know.

We'd really like to see Foxmarks in as many languages as possible, but inasmuch as we're relying on the good will of our volunteer localizers, we feel it's really important to be efficient, well-organized, and have a clearly thought-out plan before we proceed.

Friday, April 7, 2006

Foxmarks 0.63

Today we pushed out Foxmarks 0.63, a release that inches us closer to exiting beta. This version fixes a long-standing problem with separators not syncing, and implements a facility for recovering gracefully from a situation in which you had to perform an upload rather than the normal sync -- the latest version allows you to merge that uploaded file with your current bookmarks, or simply download it and overwrite what you had stored locally. Finally, version 0.63 now displays the Terms of Service in the Setup Wizard when you go to create an account.

As far we know, there are no oustanding bugs other than the ones listed on the Known Bugs page, none of which are on the short-list for being fixed. So if you see anything that doesn't look right (especially any kind of synchronization problem), please let us know. We're getting nearer to wrapping this up into a formal release.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Foxmarks 0.61

Today we released Foxmarks 0.61, which contains a number of improvements. Most important for our users, we finally bit the bullet and implemented an improvement to the routine that handles "dangling references" -- you've been bittten by the deficiencies in the previous version of this routine if you've ever seen some of your bookmarks turn mysteriously into separators. We have given up on trying to handle specifically all the different ways that people can get bookmarks onto their system; this new algorithm casts a very wide net in detecting and repairing problems that might have eluded the previous algorithm, without trying to understand specifically how those problems occurred. As always, we love to hear feedback, so please let us know how it works for you.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

We're live on the new machine!

Thanks to the heroic efforts of Jared Rhine, Foxmarks' IT God, the Foxcloud Sync Server is now running on some wickedly fast hardware at a new, more professionally managed colo facility. From what we can tell here at Foxmarks Central, the transition has gone really smoothly, but please do let us know if you observe any strange behavior.

If you were using SSL before the transition, you'll probably find that that no longer works. We'll be getting that straightened out this evening; in the meantime you can either select HTTP instead of HTTPS in the Foxmarks "Other" panel, or wait until we get the appropriate certificates installed.

Happy syncing!

Foxcloud Sync Server is Moving

We're in the process right now of transitioning the Foxcloud Sync Server to a new machine in a new facility. We expect the service to be back up in about an hour. I'll post here again when we've made it through to the other side.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Foxmarks 0.59

Today we released Foxmarks 0.59. If you've got a large set of bookmarks (or a not-so-fast PC), you'll want to upgrade to this version, especially if you've noticed a "mini-hang" while Foxmarks was doing its work. This latest version attempts to chop the overall synchronization process into a sequence of chunks, none of which should take longer than 1/10th of a second to execute.

It also fixes a long-standing problem that has tripped up many users: in previous versions, Foxmarks was unable to know that you had imported bookmarks, so imported bookmarks would not sync properly. This is now fixed.

Give it a shot, and let us know what you think.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Foxmarks 0.56

Today's release of Foxmarks 0.56 fixes a few superficial bugs (e.g., the display of error messages) and one serious bug that affects users doing an initial merge.

We believe we're in the final stretch of our beta test now, so please let us know if you encounter any behavior that seems wrong.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Foxmarks 0.55

So much for our weekly release rhythm! Version 0.55 contains fixes a bug that was introduced in the display of the last sync date, and incorporates Premier's latest version of the Japanese localization.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Foxmarks 0.54

With today's release of Foxmarks 0.54, we seem to be getting into a rhythm of one release per week. Version 0.54 essentially completes the internationalization work that we started with version 0.53, so now the entire interface should be localizable. There's also a single bug fix -- for a a bug that caused a crash, reported just a few hours ago.

Which brings me to another topic: please report bugs if you find any. We feel like we've flushed out the vast majority of bugs, but we rely on you, our faithful beta users, to tell us about problems. If you see something strange, please don't assume that we already know about it. We'd rather have 10 people tell us about the same bug than have no one tell us at all.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

my.foxcloud.com: Memory problem resolved?

Several users with large bookmark sets have contacted us to say that they were unable to view their bookmarks on my.foxcloud.com because our server was running out of memory.

Now that the Foxmarks extension seems to be heading towards stability (fingers crossed), we finally were able to spend some time today looking at the problem with my.foxcloud. It turns out that the parser we grabbed off the web, while complete and accurate, turned out to be a total memory hog. So we wrote our own, and life seems much better now. In one our test cases, we reduced memory usage from 100 MB to 8 MB.

So, if you've got a large set of bookmarks and you've been denied by My.Foxcloud in the past, head on over there, give it a shot, and let us know whether it works for you now.

Foxmarks 0.53

Today we released Foxmarks 0.53 (upgrade instructions here), a release that includes a number of fixes and improvements. It also takes an important first step in the direction of Internationalization, as all strings have been removed from XUL files (which implement the UI for the Settings Dialog and the Setup Wizard). Thanks to user Premier, we also have our first localization, for Japanese. There's still a fair amount of work to do to enable the localization of various alerts and error messages -- which we hope to include in 0.54 or 0.55 -- but we're excited about Foxmarks being able to speak to users in their native tongues.

Those of you who responded via email to my earlier post asking for volunteers to help in localization will get an email from me when we've completed the remaining internationalization work. Thanks for your offer to help.

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Foxmarks 0.52 Released

Today we released Foxmarks 0.52, a maintenance release that fixes a few bugs that beta users have recently uncovered.
Instructions for upgrading to the new version can be found here. Many thanks to our beta users who continue to help us find and diagnose problems.

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Foxmarks on Connected Internet

The kind folks at Connected Internet yesterday included Foxmarks in their list of "10 Useful Firefox Extensions That Don't Get Glamorised." While we might take exception to the suggestion that our trusty bookmark-toting mascot is in need of a makeover (not to mention the spelling of "glamorised"), we humbly appreciate the hat-tip by our fans in the UK. Thanks for the  support!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Foxmarks 0.50 Released

Today we released Foxmarks 0.50, a maintenance release that fixes a number of bugs and makes a number of improvements to the synchronization algorithm. Users who have large bookmark collections may find that this version of Foxmarks operates more quickly.

Instructions for upgrading to the new version can be found here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Foxmarks on Mozillalinks

Mozilla links has published both a nice review of Foxmarks as well as an interview with Mitch Kapor, Foxmarks' godfather.

Check it out!

Foxmarks 0.46 Released

We've just released Foxmarks 0.46, a minor upgrade over version 0.45.

Version 0.41, it turns out, was a real stinker. If you're still using that version, we urge you to upgrade.

As always, please let us know if you see any strange behavior.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Foxmarks 0.45 Released

We just released Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer version 0.45. It has some substantial bug fixes in it related to synchronization. All users should upgrade, especially those who have been having synchronization difficulties since the last release. We believe that we've now fixed a wide swath of problems that have been dormant in the code for a long while.

Let us know how it goes for you.

Friday, January 6, 2006

Foxmarks in Other Languages?

Are you interested in seeing Foxmarks available in languages other than English? Leave us a comment indicating the language(s) in which you'd like to see us make Foxmarks available. If you're willing to volunteer to help us create the translation, mention that, too. Or drop us a line at mailto:feedback@foxcloud.com.

Foxmarks 0.41 Released

We've just released Foxmarks version 0.41, a minor upgrade that includes some improvements in the security of the synchronization algorithm. New users will automatically be downloading this version; existing users can upgrade by following the procedure outlined here.

As always, please let us know if you have any difficulties.

Thursday, January 5, 2006

International Characters now Work in My Foxcloud

There was a bug in some library code that was causing any non-ASCII characters (e.g., any non-English characters) that you might have in bookmarks synchronized via Foxmarks to display incorrectly on My Foxcloud. It's fixed now. Please let us know how it works for you.

Many thanks to Brian Kirsch, OSAF's international guru, who tracked this down.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Welcome to the Foxcloud Blog!

We've long known that we wanted to have a blog as a means of communicating news and updates to our users. Recent events related to the service outage (which we'll describe shortly) convinced us that we really needed to make the blog a priority. So here it is.

We hope to use the blog as a forum for communicating timely information and for engaging our users in whatever dialog makes sense. We'll continue to rely on our Wiki for reference information.

We want to hear from you. Please feel free to drop by and leave us a comment.

What Happened when the Lights Went Out

As you probably noticed, the Foxcloud Synchronization Server was down for about five days, starting early morning of December 31st, 2005. We realize that you may be curious about what happened, so here's a synopsis.

At about 5am the morning of December 31st, the data center that hosts the Foxcloud Synchronization Server (FSS) lost power. Some of the details are still murky, but our understanding is that the power outage was related to a more general storm-related power outage. You may have heard about the heavy rains and flooding that affected much of the San Francisco Bay Area during the holiday week.

The power remained out for about 8 hours. When it returned, the FSS attempted to restart itself, but failed midway through its restart process. Here's where it gets a bit complicated. See if you can follow this:

The FSS is based on Cosmo, an Open Source sharing server that is being developed by the Open Source Applications Foundation, Foxcloud's organizational cousin. Cosmo, in turn, relies on Jackrabbit, an open source content repository package being incubated at Apache. The problem stemmed from a bug in the Jackrabbit code that is executed during restart. Given the holidays and the somewhat complex, distributed nature of the development of this project (we're in San Francisco, but the lead engineer on Cosmo is in New York this week, and the lead Jackrabbit developer lives in Switzerland), it took us until today to isolate and develop a work-around for the problem.

We're taking steps to reduce the chances of this kind of problem recurring. We're in the process of preparing to move to a different data center that can provide us with better guarantees about power reliability and better onsite management of our servers. Also as part of that move, we'll be moving onto more robust hardware that will be more fault tolerant than what we're running on now.

We'd like to be able to promise you that the Foxcloud Service will never go down again, but the reality is that this is young software and we're still working out the kinks. These kinds of outages are an unfortunate part of that process, but we'll be working to make them shorter and less painful. And now with this blog we'll be able to communicate with you better about what's happening.

Feel free to drop us a comment to let us know how you think we're doing. We're still excited about Foxmarks and the Foxcloud Service, and hope you are, too.