Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Foxmarks 2.0.43 Released on AMO

We just released Foxmarks 2.0.43 on the Firefox Add-ons site (AMO). This version is identical to Foxmarks 2.0.42 with the sole exception of incorporating some usability improvements in the Setup Wizard. We recommend that all users upgrade to this new version, especially if you are running version 2.0.41 or earlier.

General comments can be posted here; if you have a specific problem or question that requires a response, please write to support instead.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Foxmarks 2.0.42 Released

We just released Foxmarks 2.0.42 on our website. This is a maintenance release that that incorporates a handful of small improvements based on feedback we've been getting from users. The most critical fix makes Foxmarks immune to some of the odd things that occasionally happen in Firefox profiles -- files that go missing or get restored to a previous version. (For example, if you restored your profile using one of the several extensions that allow you to do so, that would previously break Foxmarks, but no more.) The previous version also broke the Chinese localization, and that too is fixed in this update.

  • If you've been seeing the message "Synchronization Error" on one or more of your computers, we recommend that you download this new version and follow the procedure outlined here.

  • If you can't download and install the extension from our website, please check out the note about that here.

If all goes well, we will make this version available on the Mozilla Add-ons site next week.

As always, feel free to post your general comments here on the blog. If you're having a specific problem and need assistance (or want a response from us), please contact support instead.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Foxmarks 2.0.41 Released to AMO

We just released Foxmarks 2.0.41 to the Mozilla Add-ons site (AMO). This version is essentially the same as 2.0.39 (the version that was up on AMO for several hours last week), but with two additional minor bug-fixes rolled in. We recommend that everyone upgrade to at least version 2.0.39.

As always, you're welcome to post your experiences here. If you are having a problem and would like a response, please write to customer support instead; we can't respond to specific customer issues here on the blog.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Foxmarks 2.0.39 Removed From AMO

As promised in our previous post, we have pulled Foxmarks 2.0.39 from the Mozilla Add-ons site. From what we can see on our end, no new problems have appeared among the group of users who have downloaded and installed this version, so you should expect it to re-appear on the Add-ons site later this weekend. As we mentioned before, we are being extremely cautious and want to make sure that everything is smooth before proceeding to full deployment of the new version.

Nonetheless, if you're interested in running the latest version, you are welcome to download it from our site -- and we encourage you to do so. It's available here.

Foxmarks 2.0.39 Released to AMO

We just released the latest version of Foxmarks, version 2.0.39, to the Mozilla Add-ons site (AMO). For the next two hours, we're going to let a sizable group download it, and then pull it back (reverting AMO to 2.0.34, the previous version). This will allow us to determine if there are any problems with this latest version. If no problems emerge (and we're certainly not expecting any), we will re-release the extension for good. This is a new process for us, but our recent experience has taught us to be more cautious than we have been in the past.

As before, if you see what seems like a new problem with this version, please let us know here. If you're having an ongoing problem and require assistance, please contact support -- for a variety of reasons, we can't answer specific questions or provide specific help here on the blog.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Foxmarks 2.0.39 Released

We just released Foxmarks 2.0.39, a minor upgrade over 2.0.38 which fixes two bugs. We'd appreciate it if you'd download it and let us know if you see anything unexpected. This is our release candidate for AMO -- if no new problems crop up, we will likely make this available on the Mozilla Add-ons site (for a while at least) tomorrow.

Separately, we believe we have resolved nearly all of the server performance issues that have caused us all such grief. Those who have had problems with auto sync over the past few weeks should find that it now works much more reliably. Monday morning will be the next big test for us, but today was certainly the smoothest day since our launch in December; we are cautiously optimistic about the future. Thanks again to those of you who have had patience with us while we worked through these issues.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Foxmarks 2.0.38 Released

We just released an update to the Foxmarks extension for Firefox. It incorporates a number of fixes and improvements to address the most common problems that we've heard about from users. If you've been having trouble syncing, we recommend you download this version, as it may well be just the thing you needed.

UPDATE: If you're having trouble installing from the wiki page, try right-clicking the link to "Save the link as..." (ctrl-click under Mac OS X), then install from your desktop by dragging the file and dropping it on a Firefox window. For more information on extension installation failures, check out Mozilla's page on the topic.

As for the server, we're making continuous strides on improving efficiency and performance. A change we completed this evening improves overall throughput substantially; this will translate into fewer "Server is unavailable" messages during our peak hours.

Version 2.0.38 also has a role in this equation. Previous versions of the extension had a not-so-well conceived backoff strategy if it found the server was busy: it would try again in two minutes. This is like everyone hitting redial on their phone trying to get through to the radio station that's giving away Celine Dion tickets: it just clogs the circuits so that no one gets through. By being less aggressive (some might even say less obnoxious) in its backoff strategy, this new version of the extension will allow more people will be able to get through in a more orderly fashion.

This last bit won't yield visible benefits until the new version is in wide use. So if all goes well, we'll be making this update available on the Mozilla Add-ons site for general distribution later this week.

If you see something strange in this new version that you'd like to alert us about, please feel free to post here. If you have a problem that requires a response, please send email to support.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Syncing in the New Year

Happy New Year!  We know we're behind on our blog posting, and we apologize for the blogospheric silence.  We've been very busy trying to iron out the myriad wrinkles in our upgrade process during the holidays, and it's time to give you a report.

First, our overall status is that well over 95% of our users are now syncing happily with version 2, but we've still got a list of problems that we're working through. (Actually, we think the number is 97.98%, but we don't want to bore you with precision.)  Thanks to everyone who has been so very patient with us during the last few weeks, especially those of you who have helped us to understand some of the problems you were having.  We realize it isn't very comforting for you if you are in the remaining 3%, but we continue to work nearly 24x7 to resolve your issues as well.  We are committed to getting everyone syncing successfully.

Here are some of the problems remaining that you may be experiencing:

  • During high traffic periods (approximately 8am - 4pm EST or 1300-2100 UTC), auto-synchronization may fail repeatedly.  This will cause the little icon in the lower right corner of your browser to display a red question mark.  (If you are the type to examine your logfile, you'll see some errors with a 503 status code.)

  • Foxmarks 2.0 is not very forgiving about corrupt bookmark data, unlike its predecessor.  A very small percentage of users seem to have some corruption in their data which Firefox hides gracefully, but Foxmarks does not, causing errors when users attempt to sync.  If you are using the latest 2.0.36 release (not on Mozilla's site yet, but linked from the post below), you may see an error message that explicitly tells you that you have this corruption in your bookmark data. (For the technically curious: the problem is the same bookmark -- not a copy, but the very same bookmark -- appearing multiple times in your set of bookmarks. We don't know what produces this situation, but it's definitely abnormal -- if you have a clue about what might cause this, please post here. If you delete one of these cloned bookmarks, your vision will go fuzzy for a moment and then the other member of the cloned pair will disappear too, leaving behind only an empty bookmark. Creepy.)

  • If sync for you seems to take forever or you see a message saying "Foxmarks is busy" each time you try to sync, you have likely encountered a proxy settings problem.  This may only affect one of your machines and is applicable even if you are not using a proxy. (Again, for the curious: if you have enabled Firefox's automatic detection of proxy settings, Foxmarks 2.0.34 will crash if it makes its first network request while auto detection is underway.)

  • You appear to have lost all your bookmarks after you installed the 2.0 version on a new machine (or you recently reinstalled Firefox). This is due to our new 2.0 server not talking to our 1.0 server.  We were relying on you to upload your bookmarks to the 2.0 server, but in between versions you lost your local copy so the new server only sees the default set.

The good news is that all of these problems are addressable or are fixed already by the 2.0.36 version.  Further, we've identified several operational and performance improvements that will help with our peak load, and we are working on a new version of the Foxmarks extension to address these.  We hope to have a fully tested upgraded extension available on the Mozilla Add-Ons site within a week, but we will of course make it available here first for those of you who are willing to help us test it.

Meanwhile, if you are having problems with the 2.0 Foxmarks extension, here are some things you can do today to make things better:

  • Upgrade to 2.0.36 from here -- note that it's not available on the Mozilla Add-ons site yet.

  • If auto-sync doesn't seem to be working for you, try a manual sync (Ctrl-Shift-S on Windows/Linux, Cmd-Shift-S on MacOS).  Better yet, try again at a low traffic time if you have that luxury.

  • I think we mentioned this before, but please upgrade to 2.0.36, especially if you have a computer that has never successfully synced. You can download 2.0.36 here.

  • If you suspect you may have corrupt bookmark data, you can fix it by following these (slightly tricky) instructions.

  • If you think you've lost all your bookmarks, but are willing to believe that they still exist on the old Foxmarks 1.0 server, there are some instructions that will help you fix it here.

  • If you're having a different problem, or nothing seems to fix it, we want to hear from you! Please email our support, and if possible include the last few dozen lines of your log file.  Instructions on how to send us your log file are here.

We're not sure how many times we've apologized for the messiness around this upgrade, but we continue to be grateful to all of our users who have been patient with us, and who have shared advice with others on this blog.  We have definitely learned some valuable lessons, but we're sorry you had to be the ones to teach them to us.  We promise to do better next time.  And once again, please know that good things are coming.  Do you have lots and lots of bookmarks?  Your syncs will be faster.  You still waiting for that cool new feature we promised you? It's on the way.  Firefox 3?  Soon!

As usual, please feel free to share your experiences here, but if you are having problems, we hope you'll contact support, because we're not able to track and handle individual issues via the blog.

Thanks to all, and Happy 2008!