All Things Nirvana

Bloggin' everything from tips & tricks, feature spotlights and
general feel good information directly from the people at Nirvana.

Beta Testing for New Mobile Apps

We are working hard on our newly designed mobile apps and are eager to give a limited number of Nirvana enthusiasts early access to help us prove out our code in the real world.

- iPhones/iPads running iOS 7 or iOS 8
- Android phones/tablets running Jelly Bean (from 4.1) or newer

We won’t be able to accommodate everybody—as we want to keep the feedback loops manageable—but if you’d like to drop your name into the proverbial hat, please click here to subscribe to our mobile beta testing mailing list. Priority is based on how many (additional) testers we need for each device type and release candidate.

Happy New Year!

Here’s to a prosperous and productive 2015 !
We have a number of exciting things coming this year.
Looking forward to announcing them once we’re all back to work next week.

New Stuff – Tag Colors, ETA to Done, Search Improvements

Well this took longer than anticipated.  The update should apply itself automatically with a browser refresh.

What’s New?

  • Assign colors to your tags. This makes for nice, quick visual cues when scanning lists of actions. Assign colors to existing tags by right-clicking on them, either in the main window, the context bar, or when manging tags via the tag library dialog.

    nirv-tags

  • Find out how much time you need to complete a series of actions. Assuming you’ve assigned estimated Time (effort) required to complete your actions, you can now multi-select + right-click and look in the popup menu to see a quick tally of the time necessary to get to done

    nirv-totaltime

  • Search Improvements – searching on multiple words (that don’t appear next to each other) will return results as expected. Note, we’ve removed Logbook results to help speed things up. If you really need to find something in your Logbook, start your search with “in:logbook” followed by whatever search terms you desire. example – “in:logbook adam work” → et voila.

What else?

  • Long-running action/project names no longer bleed into UI elements from the right-side. This glitch used to manifest itself mainly for people with smaller screens, but hey, we have nothing against small screens.
  • Creating a new action in Focus / grouped by state / while filtered for Due items now works as intended. Used to be that pressing hotkey N wouldn’t display the “New Action” UI properly. Now it does.
  • As a first step towards overhauling our login towards a unified system, some login URLs have changed. But as we’ve placed redirects in all of the appropriate places, any existing bookmarks should continue to work fine.

Under the hood

This release is built on jQuery 2. It’s been many many months in the making (porting) and includes significant code refactoring for better performance across all browsers.

Escaping the Time-Scarcity Trap

In case you missed it, Janet Choi from @idonethis has a compelling piece on 99U titled “Escaping the Time-Scarcity Trap.”

“When you are busy, you feel flustered. When you’re flustered you start focusing on reactive work — which makes you feel busier. And when you are busy, you feel flustered… The good news is that it’s possible to escape the trap of time-scarcity thinking by reframing how you perceive your lack of time.”

The full piece can be found here:
http://99u.com/articles/27117/escaping-the-time-scarcity-trap

At long last…

It took a lot of planning, prototyping, testing and trial runs, but we’ve finally completed our migration over to amazon/aws.

What does this mean for you? It means significantly lower chances of down-time (our systems are waaaaay more fault-tolerant now), plus tighter security (we were always secure, but now even more so).

On our end we get to breathe easier knowing that our systems are fully redundant and scalable to meet demand, and we can start deploying new updates with confidence.

Solid.

AmazonWebservices_Logo.svg


The rest of this post is a bit inside baseball, but I thought I’d share some details as we get asked about our setup quite often in support-land and at tech meetups.

About a year ago we began bumping up against walls that impeded our ability to move forward. These fell in to three broad categories: scalability, agility, and (as a result) marketing. Arguably these are good problems for a company to have (well, maybe not the marketing part), and while we had theoretical solutions for everything, the practical matter of implementation took quite a bit of time, a lot of learning and a few leaps of faith.

On the infrastructure front, our production architecture at Linode, while hyper-optimized (running arch+nginx), did not lend itself to easy scalability. Given a team of sysadmins we could have overcome this, but we’re app developers at heart. Enter aws: eb, ec2, rds, ses, s3 and route53 to save the day. While we still have a few things to tweak, we couldn’t be happier with the move. Major props to the boys at TriNimbus for giving us a hand.

On the agility front, our inability to efficiently work on isolated feature development was killing us. Branching-and-merging is not an area where svn excels. We’re now git across the board and cannot believe we waited so long to switch. We still use beanstalk for our repo origins because, well, they’re awesome. On another note, we made the mistake, in hindsight, of outsourcing some of our mobile app development. We were running low on internal man-power (as our time was getting sucked into putting out fires), but in the end having a portion of our development outsourced really killed our iterative release cycles. As we were unable to synchronously release feature updates across all platforms we got stuck in the mud. So we’re bringing development back in-house. All of it.

On the marketing front, being in a scalability bind we weren’t in a position to bring hoards of new users into the mix — though we did welcome thousands of new users through organic / word-of-mouth referrals. Now that we have the infrastructure in place to support rapid growth, we’ll be kicking things up a notch to more aggressively get the word out.

All of which is to say that it took the better part of a year to dig ourselves out of the hole we made for ourselves. Building good software and running a solid business both involve continual improvements and course-corrections, and it’s nice to be back on a path with daylight again. We’re all pretty stoked for what comes next.

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