We wanted to let you know that we’ll be transitioning to a new support service during this week.
Ooops! You probably figured that out if you received an email from my Sandbox testing a few minutes ago…
I forgot to turn off a ‘Welcome’ email flag on the sandbox system when I was testing the user transfer routine – sorry about that.
You will get another one from the “live” user transfer shortly [without the SANDBOX as it were].
Why are we doing this?
It’s partly about time-saving so we can handle your questions and problems faster; that plus improved ticket tracking, analytics, and being able to support multiple channels of communication from a single source. Web, Email, Twitter, Facebook will all be connected.
Yes, you can use multiple identities; multiple email, twitter, etc. and see everything under your one account. You can now do voting on community suggestions, questions and topics. The search is vastly improved (IMO) over the previous support system. You can enter your post using a text-editor that doesn’t require knowledge of Markdown to do simple formatting.
There’s a bunch more — and we will do some more customizing over the next few weeks to add even more features. And we’ll be putting more up-to-date knowledge base information into the system in the coming days as well.
What does this mean for you?
You’ll be asked to verify your email address and create a new password when you login for the first time. Wish there was a way around this, but it’s a one-time thing that we hope you won’t find too onerous.
What about all of the great posts on the existing forum?
We’ll be leaving the existing help.nirvanahq.com in place for a few weeks as there is a wealth of information and great discussions here, but please start all new forum discussions and support requests over at support.nirvanahq.com.
We are looking at ways to preserve some of the more interesting discussions here, either by importing them into the new system, or as an evergreen archive that can be referenced to some other way.
We know there will be some transition pain getting used to the new system, but I think we all will benefit going forward.
You might have noticed we’ve been a bit quiet in the last week. We’ll be back to work shortly.
We lost a member of our family, and for us family is always first — nothing else really matters during those moments when we need to give and receive the comfort of our loved ones.
He’ll be remembered for his service to country and community, but mostly as a good son, brother, cousin, nephew and uncle — a good man, whose time among us was too short.
Semper Fi, Eric.
As I was going through support posts, I noticed the occasional question being raised about how and where application data is stored, reliability concerns in offline mode, etc. With answers scattered about through various posts, making it difficult to see the whole picture, I thought I’d summarized here, FAQ style, and later put this information into our knowledge-base.
Where are your servers?
Nirvana currently runs on a cluster of servers at Rackspace/Slicehost.
Is my data encrypted?
Yes. Nirvana transmits data over secure https connections only.
Is my data being backed up?
For sure. We run an incremental database backup every 10 minutes: all of your projects, tasks, contacts, etc. We also perform a full database backup every hour. And we take a snapshot of our servers in their entirety every 24 hours. That’s every byte of application code, all databases, server logs — everything.
Can I get a backup copy of my data?
Of course. In addition to our own system backups, we provide several data export options. While the original Nirvana only exports data as plaintext, the new Nirvana 2 version lets you export your data as CSV (comma-separated-values, think Excel), XML, or JSON.
How do Nirvana 1 and Nirvana 2 differ?
Nirvana 1 — the original (N1)
With Nirvana 1 what you see on your screen is what’s on the servers. As you add, update, and move tasks and projects, those changes are posted to our servers and then your browser reflects the changes as they are sent back to you. This is the traditional request-response pattern found throughout the web. No data is stored on your computer beyond what you currently see on your screen. If your computer crashes, no worries, everything is still on Nirvana’s servers. Just reboot and re-login.
Nirvana 2 — the new (N2)
Nirvana 2 uses a relatively new standard call local-storage — a mechanism for storing web application data in your browser. As you add, update, and move tasks and projects, those changes are written to your browser’s local-storage first, and then pushed up to Nirvana’s servers every few seconds, assuming you have an internet connection. If not, Nirvana 2 will let you keep working, but in the background will periodically attempt to find a connection, and when it does will push your changes up to the servers at that time. This is the magic that allows you to use Nirvana 2 even if your internet connection is flakey or temporarily awol.
This means that to run N2, your web browser must have local-storage capability! Lack of, or a poorly implemented, version of local-storage is one of the primary reasons that some older browsers are not supported by N2.
Since every piece of data in Nirvana is time-stamped, synchronizing multiple devices is supported. Each data item is compared to make sure it’s the latest version before being updated.
A key thing you should be aware of regarding what Nirvana 2 does with local-storage — if you simply close/quit your browser, your data stays in your browser. This is naturally what you’d want, so that you can still get at your Nirvana 2 data on your laptop without a connection, on a plane for instance. If you want to clear your local-storage data, be sure to logout — definitely what you want to do if you’re accessing Nirvana (or any other online service!) from a shared/public computer.
So what happens if my computer crashes running Nirvana 2? To an extent, the same as Nirvana 1… just reboot and re-login. If you were working offline for an extended period of time, and your hard drive is completely toast (worst case scenario, and you’ll probably be crying about a whole slew of other things you lost at that point), Nirvana will still have all of your data on our servers up to the last time you were connected to the internet.
What happens if Nirvana’s servers crash?
Well, given all of the redundancies we have in place that’s rather unlikely. But since you ask — your exposure to a catastrophic event at Nirvana is the 10 minute window of the incremental database backup if you’re running Nirvana 1. If you’re running Nirvana 2, you’ve got your local storage to bridge the gap. That’s right — as soon as Nirvana would come back online, your browser would automatically reconnect, sync up any changes to our servers, and everything would be restored to where it should be — no data loss at all!