Charles Web Debugging Proxy

Monday, October 8th, 2007

We recently were debugging issues with our document uploader in Intervals and needed to throttle the bandwidth on our desktops so we could test the progress meter over our LAN (Typically, the LAN is too fast and the progress meter never appears).

We settled on using the Charles Web Debugging Proxy, which did a fine job of throttling the bandwidth down enough that we could use the Request Viewer to monitor the request / response headers.

A definite thumbs up for this product, as we were easily able to troubleshoot and debug the document upload in a matter of minutes.

More and More Amazon S3 Uses

Thursday, September 6th, 2007

We are utilizing S3 for a few of our customers here at Pelago and we are contemplating switching over to it for Intervals document support.

This mashable.com post covers a variety of uses and applications for S3. You really can do a lot of different things with it and more applications roll out every day. Utilizing 3rd party file storage helps level performance spikes and potential scaling problems if you happen to have a popular web application.

Here in Santa Barbara, a company named Right Scale is building a dashboard and tools to help manage the variety of Amazon Web Services that exist. This is definitely needed. When we used S3 for the first time the first question that our client asked was “where is the GUI so I can see my files”.

Intervals Tops $10 Million Worth of Work Managed

Monday, July 30th, 2007

Today we issued this press release:

(CSRwire) SANTA BARBARA, CA- July 30, 2007- As of today, businesses across 37 countries have tracked a total of $10,574,054 worth of work performed in Intervals (www.myintervals.com), the popular web-based task and time management system built by Pelago (www.pelagodesign.com). This is the estimated value of the 97,490 hours that have been tracked to date by worldwide users, and is based on the actual hourly rates used by Intervals customers.

For companies that rely on hourly billing, the importance of properly keeping track of the time that a business spends on client work cannot be understated-simply put, tracked time translates into revenue, while time not tracked translates into potential financial loss. Intervals enables users not only to track time spent on client jobs, but also to measure the time spent on non-billable activities. Small businesses in particular tend to be overburdened and quickly max out their capacity; Intervals helps them make sure time and resources are being spent the right way, in real-time.

But time tracking is only the most visible and immediately measurable aspect of Intervals, which features web-based tools to help small businesses and creative services firms manage projects, track time, keep version histories of files and documents, run detailed reports, and prioritize ever growing task lists.

And for those wondering about the value of keeping track of their own time, the Intervals web site (www.myintervals.com) has a Lost Time Calculator that serves as an irrefutable reminder that time does equal money. You can punch in your own hourly rate and estimated hours lost per day per worker to see how much your lost time may be costing your business.

For more information about Intervals, please visit www.myintervals.com.

About Intervals
Created by Pelago, Intervals was originally designed to solve Pelago’s own struggles with tracking time, billing clients, and knowing where projects stood in real time. Targeted primarily to creative and communications services companies and small businesses, Intervals is a powerful tool for anyone who wishes to ease the daily stress of organizing and managing people, workflows, projects and time. Learn more about Intervals at www.myintervals.com.

About Pelago
Pelago is a Santa Barbara, California-based web design and web development firm founded in 2000. Pelago specializes in developing highly intuitive web sites and reliable web-based applications, and injecting them with solid business sense and functionality. Pelago clients include JD Power and Associates, Nexxus, Xplane, Network Hardware Resale, and TenetCare. Learn more about Pelago at www.pelagodesign.com.

Intervals Logos

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

Dug up some logo ideas from the archives. Here are some of the logos we tossed around for Intervals before settling on the final one.

Intervals Logo Ideas

Ubuntu continues to gain momentum – can Linux gain ground in the desktop realm?

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

It seems like every time you turn around there is a new Ubuntu announcement. For example, it is being ported to handhelds, and Dell announced that it is going to sell computers with Ubuntu 7.04 preinstalled. With all of the virtualization growing in the marketplace with VMware and Parallels for the Mac, it seems like Linux should gain ground in the desktop arena. I have a Dell laptop with Ubuntu on it and I am able to do pretty much everything I need with it. Also, with the advent of so much hosted software (like our service Intervals) it seems like a ripe opportunity for Linux based desktops to grow in popularity. The need to be connected is at a premium, but the need for installed software seems to be lessening. If you have an internet connection, Open Office, and a chat program you can do much of most people need to do. I am curious to see where things are at in year.

Maximizing Parallel Downloads

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

While developing Intervals we found the download times being limited by the number of items on the page. To alleviate this, we’ve done two things.
1) We implemented lighttpd to serve up all static content — images, javascript, css.
2) We have setup wildcard DNS entries to handle multiple aliases to trick the browser into downloading more than a set number of items. Intervals is using four aliases.

The tricky part with solution #2 is finding the sweet spot for the number of aliases across which to distribute the static content. The Yahoo! User Interface Blog says “Our rule of thumb is to increase the number of parallel downloads by using at least two, but no more than four hostnames.”

Read about it here: Maximizing Parallel Downloads in the Carpool Lane

Web 2.0 Expo

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

Strolled through the exhibition floor of the Web 2.0 Expo in San Franciso this week. The general buzz was a lot different than what I am used to seeing through our mostly online experience. The business world is grappling with what to make of this trend, as was evidenced by some slick and impressive branding and marketing, and the often heard words ‘private beta’. The buzziest themes were Collaboration, Frameworks, Mashups, and Social Networking.

Collaboration
Companies are finding different ways to sell collaborative tools to niche markets. The emphasis is on tweaking online applications to match the subtle differences in company workflows. For example, Octopz provides online image markup tools for creative shops. ThinkFree is offering a complete online office suite coupled with collaboration features, such as Flickr, del.icio.us, and its own DocExchange community space. A third player in the collaboration race , clearspace offers a suite of features for businesses, ranging from forums and blogs to content syndication, and certainly understands the problems businesses are having with services that provide too much or too little. The word ‘collaboration’ is quickly becoming overplayed, which is why we’ve intentionally niched Intervals to small businesses in need of accountability through time and task tracking.

Frameworks
The most impressive aspect of the framework evolution is that businesses are providing applications that don’t require any knowledge of code. The applications build applications, kind of like robots that self produce. Bungee labs had the most impressive product, and may spawn a new practice of social engineered web services. The openfire platform looks like a great starting point for developing on an open-sourced java framework. The trend is removing barriers to application development, including source code. It’s all about churning out record numbers of applications in record time.

Mashups
The number of web applications and blogs is overwhelming. The mashup companies promise to aggregate all of this content, regardles of its format, into one service. Then that aggregated data is again syndicated into RSS feeds and APIs. A potentially endless cycle of content aggregation and regurgitation. Kapow technologies offers a server solution aimed at businesses. Topix is another impressive mashup focused on aggregating news.

Social Networking
The prize for the coolest and most popular booth goes to Cambrian House, which is fitting for a social networking company. Like the collaborative tools, companies are trying to find niche angles on the social networking front. Wether it’s tracking your stuff or meeting your neighbors, someone is building a social network to accomodate it.

I left the expo feeling better than when i’d arrived. There are a lot of ideas out there. And the ideas that are popular among the web development community are different than those that will succeed in the business world. This is what businesses are grappling with, including Pelago; how do we create a product that will be than just the latest-and-greatest and be useful to small business?

Internationalization & Email

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

Pelago is gearing up to launch International support in our Intervals application. The biggest hurdle, by far, has been encoding emails in a format that supports international character sets.

Intervals encodes all of its data in the UTF-8 format because of its language support. However, its an 8bit format that isn’t fully supported by mail software. We found that encoding our emails using the UTF-8 character set and 8bit encoding was working for some of our clients but not others. The culprit is the MTA servers that an email gets routed through. If any of those servers don’t support 8bit mime, the email gets garbled.

We found the solution was to retain the UTF-8 character set, but to encode both parts of the email, the text/plain and text/html parts, using quoted-printable. This ensures that the message is encoded into a 7bit format that can easily pass through any MTA. We are using the Pear Mail and Mail_mime packages to build and send the emails, which apparently, automatically mime encodes the UTF-8 headers.

No one seems certain as to how widely supported 8bit mime is on the majority of email servers. Our experience is the support is not enough. At least half of our outgoing emails were passing through a non-compliant MTA. 8bit is going to have to wait a while longer.

Press Release for Intervals Document Support Launch

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007

Intervals Revs Up Online Suite of Business Management Tools

New document support feature completes robust task and time management system

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Pelago announced today a major upgrade to Intervals, its flagship time and task management system. Intervals now features full document support, including upload, transfer and version tracking capabilities. The new functionality turns the robust web-based suite of management tools into a complete and fully mobile business application.

Intervals document support represents a new trend in asynchronous web applications, which give the user real-time interaction and feedback and which leave other applications still operating in linear interfaces far behind. This has far-reaching implications for the business world, as it strives to figure out what’s real and what’s hype in the Web 2.0 space. Pelago has filtered out the practical from the hypothetical in this brave new world of the web and built a solid and responsive business application.

With the document support upgrade, users can now work with virtually any file type, retain full version histories, link documents to specific projects and tasks, search for files within projects or universally, and share files with other team members regardless of geographical location or time zone. Documents can even be tagged with keywords for easier searches. Storage quotas depend on the type of account the Intervals user has.

The new functionality peels away yet another important layer of inefficiency experienced daily by designers, programmers, writers, producers, project managers, and their clients: the email attachment. Documents sent by email can be easily lost or confused with earlier or later versions.

Even FTP, iDisk, and other file sharing mechanisms fall short, as they are stand-alone solutions that cannot be fully centralized and integrated with a company’s workflow. With Intervals, all of the pieces of a project sit in one organized, centralized work space: team member and client accounts, tasks, files, notes, instructions, timesheets, fee structures, and work modules.

“The impact of the Internet on business today cannot be overstated,” said Braden Jones, Pelago’s CEO. “Companies are demanding full workflow centralization and 24/7 universal access, and Intervals delivers on both counts.”

About Intervals
Created by Pelago, Intervals was originally designed to solve Pelago’s own struggles with tracking time, billing clients, and knowing where projects stood in real time. Targeted primarily to creative and communications services companies and small businesses, Intervals is a powerful suite of tools for anyone who wishes to ease the daily stress of organizing and managing people, workflows, projects and time. Learn more about Intervals at www.myintervals.com.

About Pelago
Pelago is a Santa Barbara, California-based web design and web development firm founded in 2000. Pelago specializes in developing highly intuitive web sites and reliable web-based applications, and injecting them with solid business sense and functionality. Pelago clients include JD Power and Associates, Nexxus, Xplane, Network Hardware Resale, and TenetCare. Learn more about Pelago at www.pelagodesign.com.

Intervals launch press release picked up by postgreSQL.org

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

The launch of Intervals (web based task and time management) was picked up by postgreSQL.org.