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Build 45 – “Welcome, You’ve Got Mail”

We just pushed a new release (Build 45, r19635) to all users.  This release includes all features, bug fixes and enhancements in Builds 44 and 45 on our Change Log.  Notable changes include:

  • Added support for the new Yahoo Mail Platform. Those who have switched over and are using the “Yahoo Mail Classic” interface should now have email notifications again
  • Completed full support for the new Gmail authentication system including auto-login to multiple accounts

If you experience any bugs please use “Help > Send Bug Report” in the main menu to submit a diagnostic log or email us at bugs@digsby.com. If you have any suggestions, please email us at features@digsby.com.

As always, thank you for all the feedback and enjoy the new build. Remember to invite your friends to use Digsby via Email or Facebook.

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Build 44 – Private Alpha Release

We just pushed an update to alpha testers (Build 44, r19608) which introduces full support for the new Gmail authentication system along with bug fixes for two bugs we introduced in the last release. As always, you can read the entire list of new features, bug fixes, and enhancements on our Change Log.

If you experience any bugs please use “Help > Send Bug Report” in the main menu to submit a diagnostic log or email us at bugs@digsby.com. If you have any suggestions, please email us at features@digsby.com.

As always, thank you for all the feedback and enjoy the new build. Remember to invite your friends to use Digsby via Email or Facebook.

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Build 43 – Friday Treats

We just pushed Build 43 to all users.  This includes all users who are running extremely old releases that have not been updated since last May.  If you have trouble with the auto-update, download the installer directly here:

http://update.digsby.com/install/digsby_setup.exe

The release pushed out today to all users includes all the features, bug fixes and enhancements in Builds 38, 39, 40, and 41 on our Change Log. Notable changes include:

  • Implemented a completely new method of load balancing and authentication.  This will help us continue to scale reliably.
  • Fixed Gmail/ICQ connectivity due to protocol changes. Gmail will not have auto-login for now but we will bring back the functionality
  • Implemented a new version of TokBox for a better audio/video chat experience.  Just click the “Video” button at the top of the IM window
  • Added support for complex languages such as Arabic and Thai
  • Fixed numerous crash causing bugs, memory leaks, and performance issues

If you experience any bugs please use “Help > Send Bug Report” in the main menu to submit a diagnostic log or email us at bugs@digsby.com. If you have any suggestions, please email us at features@digsby.com.

As always, thank you for all the feedback and enjoy the new build. Remember to invite your friends to use Digsby via Email or Facebook.

Update 1 (12/13/2008 5:45pm): We just pushed a small update fixing an issue that caused a portion of users to get stuck in “Loading Contact List” when logging into AIM or ICQ.

Update 2 (12/13/2008 10:45pm): We just pushed another small update with a complete fix for the AIM/ICQ issue.  Thank you to the alpha testers who helped us test this fix on a Saturday :)

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Build 43 – Private Alpha Release (Gmail)

We just pushed an update to alpha testers (Build 43, r19564 r19586) which introduces many new bug fixes and enhancements along with a few critical fixes. As always, you can read the entire list of new features, bug fixes, and enhancements on our Change Log. Notable changes include:

  • Added a fallback authentication method to Gmail in case the primary authentication method fails
  • Implemented a new version of TokBox for audio/video chat
  • Fixed a major memory leak that affected a small portion of users
  • Fixed two crash causing bugs
  • Fixed a bug that caused Digsby to not show on startup even though the process will launch

If you experience any bugs please use “Help > Send Bug Report” in the main menu to submit a diagnostic log or email us at bugs@digsby.com. If you have any suggestions, please email us at features@digsby.com.

As always, thank you for all the feedback and enjoy the new build. Remember to invite your friends to use Digsby via Email or Facebook.

Update (12/12/2008 5:35pm): Pushed a fixed to a crash causing bug we introduced in preparation for pushing the Gmail fix to all users!

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Build 42 – ICQ Protocol Fix

ICQ deprecated an older version of their client earlier today and Digsby users were not able to get presence info for their buddies.  An update was just pushed to all users (r19460) and alpha testers (r19442) fixing the issue.

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Keeping Digsby Free and Ad-Free

It has been an amazing eight months since we first released Digsby into public beta testing.  We have now released 41 builds and Digsby keeps getting better.  We’ve gotten great feedback from our users and incredible reviews everywhere from LifeHacker to the Wall Street Journal.

We spend a lot of time talking about the product on this blog and almost no time talking about the company.  So, here is a little info about us.  We are a startup.  We are a team of RIT graduates based in Rochester, NY.  We hated the inefficiency of managing multiple IM, email, and social network accounts…. so we created Digsby!

People often ask us how we plan to make money since Digsby is free.  Since our public beta launch, we have focused completely on fixing bugs, adding features, and improving performance.  However, at the end of the day we do need to keep the lights on so we can keep making Digsby even better!  With that in mind, we’d like to share two revenue models that we are currently testing.  We are posting this info so everyone understands how each one works, how it affects (or doesn’t affect) you, and how you can opt-out of anything you don’t want to participate in.

Installer

We’re currently testing a new installer that shows you offers during the installation process for other products such as the Yahoo Toolbar and a desktop weather application.  The reason we are testing this revenue model is because we believe it is better to show you ads once during the installation process than to plaster banner ads all over the product like other IM clients have done (ie: AIM, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ).  We want to do our best to keep Digsby free and ad-free and this is one way we are able to do so.

This is different from our previous installer so it’s important to clarify exactly how this works.  All the offers shown to you during installation are 100% optional.  You don’t have to install any of the products advertised in the installer and none of them will be downloaded or installed to your computer if you choose not to install them.

This is not a unique revenue model and many other products do this including Java, DivX, CCleaner, Trillian, etc.  All the mainstream IM clients also offer the option to install their toolbar just like we offer the Yahoo Toolbar.

We’ve tried to make the offers as clear as possible to make sure people don’t accidentally install something they don’t want.  You are clearly given an “Accept” and a “Decline” button.  It is not a “Next” button with an obscure pre-selected checkbox somewhere on the screen.  The installer also has a list on the left-hand side of all the products you have chosen to install and clearly shows what is being installed at the end of the process.

The installer we are using, InstallIQ, is TRUSTe certified and in order for them to maintain that certification all offers are virus scanned before they are added to the list of products being advertised.  There is also a link to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy of each product being offered along with clear instructions on how to uninstall it later.

Research Module

There are numerous research projects that require a massive amount of computing power to complete.  One option is to run these on a supercomputer but there are very few of these in the world and renting time on them is very expensive.  Another option is to break the problem up into many little pieces so each of the little pieces can run in parallel on thousands or even hundreds of thousands of regular computers.  This is called Grid Computing.

A few examples of popular grid computing projects are: Help Conquer Cancer, Discovering Dengue Drugs, FightAIDS@Home, and The Clean Energy Project.  Besides these non-profit projects, there are many commercial applications for grid computing such as pharmaceutical drug discovery, economic forecasting, and seismic analysis.

Now that you have an understanding of grid computing, let’s go over how this fits into Digsby.  We are testing a revenue model that conducts research similar to the projects mentioned above while your computer is idle.  Unlike the installer revenue model above, which is commonly seen in many products, this is much more unique so we’d like to clarify what it does and how it works.

The module turns on after your computer has been completely idle for 5 minutes (no mouse or keyboard movement).  It then turns off the instant you move your mouse or the press a key on the keyboard.  We did this so it would have absolutely no effect on your computer’s performance and only uses processing power while your computer is not being used.  It also runs as a “low priority” process so if any application on your computer asks for CPU power it will always get it before the research module gets it.  On laptops, it will use a much smaller portion of your CPUs overall processing power than it will on desktops.  It will also never turn on if your laptop is running on battery power.

So what exactly does it do?  It downloads a very small chunk of data and runs it through a mathematical algorithm to get an end result.  It then reports the result back and gets another chunk of data.  The process repeats on thousands of computers until the computation problem is solved.  The data it gets is kept in RAM while it is being processed so the module does not access your hard drive at any point.  It does not store any data on your computer and it does not access anything at all that identifies you personally.

The idea is to make this both a revenue model and a feature!  Some of the research Digsby conducts may be for non-profit projects like the ones mentioned above and some may be for paid projects, which will help us keep Digsby completely free.  So, using this module keeps Digsby free and contributes to research projects that will make the world a better place.

Lastly, we have made this module 100% optional.  You can disable it in the main menu by going to “Help > Support Digsby” and disabling the “Help Digsby Conduct Research” option.  We linked to this blog post in the FAQ section of our website and we’ll be adding more info explaining this feature into Digsby itself, as well as, more extensive options like the ability to set how much of your CPU to use.

Conclusion

In starting to test these two revenue models we made one major mistake.  This blog post should have gone up two weeks ago when we first started testing them instead of right now.  We have been a user-focused company from the day we launched Digsby.  We pride ourselves with the level of customer support we offer and our development process is guided almost entirely by the feedback and suggestions we get from our users.  We want to do our best keep this reputation as we keep pushing harder than ever to make Digsby an even better product.  Not announcing this before we started testing it created the misconception that we were trying to hide something when in reality we just didn’t want to make a big announcement like this blog post until we decided to make these things a permanent part of Digsby.  It was a PR mistake and we learned our lesson.  As a young startup we have many more lessons to learn and we will keep doing our best to provide you with a useful communication tool.

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Build 41 – Private Alpha Release

We just pushed an update to alpha testers (Build 41, r19423 r19427) which introduces many new bug fixes and enhancements. As always, you can read the entire list of new features, bug fixes, and enhancements on our Change Log. Notable changes include:

  • We’re testing a completely new method of load balancing and authentication. All alpha testers will log in to a new server that is running this new code. We’ll keep a close eye on the server to make sure everything is working properly so we can push this to all servers and users in the near future. If you are not able to log in, please email us your diagnostic log.
  • Fixed a bug that caused the IM window to fall back to incorrect fonts if the font being used by a theme or in a conversation is not present on your computer

If you experience any bugs please use “Help > Send Bug Report” in the main menu to submit a diagnostic log or email us at bugs@digsby.com. If you have any suggestions, please email us at features@digsby.com.

As always, thank you for all the feedback and enjoy the new build. Remember to invite your friends to use Digsby via Email or Facebook.

Update 1 (12/8/2008 5:50pm): We just pushed a small update taking us to r19427.   It fixed a bug that prevented a few people from logging in using the new load balancing / authentication mechanism.

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Awards Galore!

LifeHacker

We’re proud to announce that we’ve been named one of LifeHacker’s Best New and Improved Software Products of 2008. The other products to make the list are: Firefox 3, Google Chrome, iPhone 2.0, Google Android, iPhone JailBreak, Xbox Media Center, Ubuntu Linux, and Gmail.

It’s humbling to be listed with these other amazing products. This award belongs to you as much as it belongs to us.  Thank you for helping guide our development process with all your feedback and suggestions.

Crunchies

Nominations for the 2008 “Crunchies” are still open. The Crunchies is an award ceremony organized by TechCrunch, GigaOm, and VentureBeat to honor the best startups of 2008. You are allowed to vote once per day between now and December 10th. Please show your support by nominating us for any (or all) of the following categories:

Mashable Open Web Awards

Thanks to all your votes, we made it to the final round of the Mashable Open Web Awards!  We need your help in this final round so we can bring home the award for Best Social Networking Application!  You can vote once per day using the widget below.

Update: Mashable voting is now closed.

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Yahoo Servers are Down

Yahoo servers for both Mail and Messenger authentication are down.  There are intermittent periods of successful login but most attempts are failing.  We’ll  update this post when they come back online.

Update (7:15pm): It looks like everything is back to normal.

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Build 40 – Private Alpha Release

We just pushed an update to alpha testers (Build 40, r19328) which introduces many new bug fixes and enhancements. As always, you can read the entire list of new features, bug fixes, and enhancements on our Change Log. Notable changes include:

  • Added support for complex languages like Arabic and Thai
  • Fixed numerous bugs with right to left support in the input box

If you would like to become an alpha tester and get new releases before everyone else, follow the instructions here:

http://blog.digsby.com/archives/57

Keep in mind that as an alpha tester you may get a release with a few bugs every now and then.  We are looking for people who are proactive in reporting these issues so we can fix them before builds go out to all users.

As always, thank you for all the feedback and enjoy the new build. If you experience any bugs please email us at bugs@digsby.com or use “Help > Send Bug Report” in the main menu to submit a diagnostic log. If you have any suggestions, please email us at features@digsby.com.

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