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Build 63 – Getting Your Social Fix!

We just pushed out a small patch (Build 63 – r23635 r23639 r23681 r23848) fixing login for LinkedIn and Facebook Chat, which broke last night due to protocol changes.  The fixes are listed on the Change Log.

Unfortunately, the Facebook Chat servers no longer transmit the status messages of your buddies so the infobox will not show this info for each buddy.  However, you will still see status updates in the newsfeed if you added Facebook as a social network also.

Update 1 (8/26/09 10:35am EST): It looks like your own name is no longer shown in the IM window and your Facebook ID number is shown instead.  We’re working on fixing this now.

Update 2 (8/26/09 11:20am EST): We just pushed out a small patch with one more protocol fix.  Your own name will now show instead of the Facebook ID number in IM windows.  The new release number is r23639.

Update 3 (8/28/2009 10:30am EST): One more quick patch for LinkedIn bringing the release number to r23681.

Update 4 (9/4/2009 11:15am EST): Protocol changes galore!  This update is a small patch fixing a bug that is causing MySpace to get stuck in “Connecting” for some users and brings the release number to r23848.

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Build 62 – Crystal Clear!

Several months ago, we started testing two unique revenue models to help us keep Digsby free and ad-free for all our users.  We posted a lengthy blog post describing the changes but we want to reiterate some of that information again and share some changes that we will be making in a release later today.

Now that some time has passed since we first implemented these changes, we would also like to take this opportunity to get feedback from our community of users about these revenue models and where we should go from here.

Installer

First, we introduced a new installer that shows you several offers during the installation process for other products such as the Yahoo Toolbar and a desktop weather application.  The reason we decided to test 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.

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.  For each offer, there is an “Accept” and a “Decline” button.

There is more information about the installer in the original blog post.

Research Module

The second revenue model we started testing is a Grid Computing Module.  There is a lengthy explanation of what grid computing is and how this module works in the original blog post but the basic idea is that Digsby uses some of your computer’s unused CPU power while your computer is completely idle to do computation research for large scale projects that require thousands of computers to complete.

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 uses a much smaller portion of your CPUs overall processing power than it does on desktops.  It will also never turn on if your laptop is running on battery power.

Just like the installer, 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.

Lack of Information

While the installer is quite obvious since you use it to install Digsby, the Research Module is not obvious to new users.  An article describing these revenue models was published yesterday on LifeHacker and most of the people commenting on the article did not know about it since they don’t follow our blog and don’t read the Terms of Service shown in the installer.

We are pushing out a release later today that will include the following changes:

  • We are moving the entire “Support Digsby” section out of the “Help” menu and into the preferences window so the option to enable/disable the research module is easier to find
  • Digsby will show a popup notification telling you about the module with a “Learn More” button which links to a page describing it in detail including instructions for how to enable/disable it.  The popup will be “sticky” so it will not disappear until you click “Learn More” or “Close” to ensure that users don’t accidentally miss it.

We want to make it completely clear to all users so Digsby is not doing anything you don’t want it to do.  The above changes have been on our to do list but the article really opened our eyes about how few people know about this functionality.  Our goal is to create the world’s best IM client and social media tool. The only way to accomplish that goal is with transparency and communication so we can keep working with you to make a better product.

Moving Forward

We are still a young company that is trying to figure out our long term revenue models.  At the end of the day, we need to keep the lights on and pay salaries so we can keep making Digsby even better by bringing new features (and products, ie: mac/linux) to market.  The reason we decided to test these two revenue models is because they would allow us to accomplish this while keeping Digsby free and ad-free.

The more traditional path to take is to place small unintrusive ads in Digsby and offer an ad-free version for a modest price.  While we felt that experimenting with unique revenue models that keep the product ad-free was the better path to take, that might not be how all of you feel.

We would like to take this opportunity to get feedback from all of you about which you would prefer.

Option 1: Continue to show multiple offers in the installer along with the research module

Option 2: Show just one toolbar offer in the installer like other IM clients do and place small unintrusive ads in the product with an ad-free pro version available for a modest price

Option 3: Other – let the creativity flow!


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Build 61 – Become a Social Butterfly!

We just pushed a new release (Build 61, r23447) to all users! This release introduces some exciting new features! As always, you can read the entire list of enhancements on our Change Log. Notable changes include:

  • Brand New Look: We released a sleek new default skin called “Windows 7″ (by @Derek Erdmann). If your skin is set to anything besides the default, this will not override your preference.  If you prefer the old look, go to Preferences > Skins and choose the “QuickSilver” skin.
  • MySpace Newsfeed: In Build 60, we switched the Infobox over to a full blown web browser (WebKit).  We said that the change would make the Infobox much more versatile and this is the first example of that.  We are introducing a completely redesigned MySpace newsfeed which now includes a full Activities Stream, status updates, and the ability to browse through photos.
  • Global Status: A new Global Status dialog makes it easy to set your status across social networks and IM accounts. You can access it from the status dropdown on the buddy list or by double clicking any social network.  The Global Status dialog also has spell checking built in and makes it easy to share links (via digs.by) and pictures (via pic.im).
  • URL Shortener: We are launching a URL shortener just for Digsby users under the domain http://digs.by. In the future you will be able to access a history of links you shared and statistics about how many times they were clicked.
  • OneRiot: We partnered with OneRiot to make it easy for you to search the real-time web. Just hit “Ctrl + F” on the buddy list to search.

So what’s next?  We are going to be making similar upgrades to Facebook and Twitter while also working on per-character formatting and group chat (which are both long overdue).  After that, will work work on getting the Mac/Linux releases out the door.  Unfortunately, we don’t have an estimate on when they will launch but you know where they are on our priority list.

We will keep pushing to make Digsby even better and want to thank all of you for your continued feedback and support.  We greatly appreciate your help in spreading the word about Digsby.

If you experience any bugs in this release, please use “Help > Send Bug Report” in the main menu to submit a diagnostic log or email us.

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Build 61 – Private Alpha Release

We just pushed an update to alpha testers (Build 61, r23296 r23311 r23319 r23406 r23428 r23447) which introduces many new features and enhancements. As always, you can read the entire list of enhancements on our Change Log. Notable changes include:

  • Brand New Look: We released a sleek new default skin called “Windows 7″ (by Derek Erdmann). If your skin is set to anything besides the default, this will not override your preference.  If you prefer the old look, go to Preferences > Skins and choose the “QuickSilver” skin.
  • MySpace Newsfeed: In Build 60, we switched the Infobox over to a full blown web browser (WebKit).  We said that the change would make the Infobox much more versatile and this is the first example of that.  We are introducing a completely redesigned MySpace newsfeed which now includes a full Activities Stream, status updates, and the ability to browse through photos.
  • Global Status: A new Global Status dialog makes it easy to set your status across social networks and IM accounts. You can access it from the status dropdown on the buddy list or by double clicking any social network.  The Global Status dialog also makes it easy to share links (via digs.by) and pictures (via pic.im)
  • URL Shortener: We are launching a URL shortener just for Digsby users under the domain http://digs.by. In the future you will be able to access a history of links you shared and statistics about how many times they were clicked.
  • OneRiot: We partnered with OneRiot to make it easy for you to search the real-time web. Just hit “Ctrl + F” on the buddy list to search.

This release is packed full of new features so we are expecting some new bugs to pop up. If you experience any issues please use “Help > Send Bug Report” in the main menu to submit a diagnostic log or email us at bugs@digsby.com.

If you would like to become an alpha tester and get new releases before everyone else, download this file and place it in the main program folder. 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.

Update 1 (8/3/2009 6:30pm EST): We just pushed out a small patch fixing a few issues that have been reported.  This brings the release number to r23311 Please keep the bug reports coming so we can make this build solid and release to all Digsbies!

  • Fixed a bug that caused auto-update to not work for some people behind restrictive proxies
  • Potentially fixed a bug that caused MySpace login to fail (if you were having trouble please confirm this fix)
  • Fixed a bug with the global status dialog to fail when using it to reply to a tweet and also setting the status elsewhere
  • Fixed a bug that caused the status dropdown to scroll backwards
  • Better error messages for network errors in the global status dialog
  • Removed timestamps from self status on MySpace because they were inaccurate due to incorrect timezone info

Update 2 (8/3/2009 7:45pm EST): We pushed out a small patch fixing a bug that caused Digsby to freeze or crash when setting your Facebook status. This brings the release number to r23319.

Update 3 (8/5/2009 5:15 EST): One more patch fixing a few bugs that all you wonderful alpha testers have reported. One feature was tossed into the mix as well.  The new release number is r23378.

  • Added spell check to the global status dialog if you have spell check enabled in Preferences > Conversations
  • Fixed a bug that prevented you from using non-English (unicode) characters in your MySpace status
  • Fixed a bug that caused pressing “Enter” in the global status dialog to close it instead of setting status
  • Fixed the “reply_to” bug in the global status dialog
  • Fixed a bug that prevented you from adding two MySpace accounts
  • If your clock is wrong, this prevents MySpace from authenticating – new error dialog is more clear about the cause instead of just saying “Authentication Error”
  • Added the ability to set a blank status, which will clear Facebook and LinkedIn statuses (Twitter and MySpace will do nothing)
  • Better error messages for Twitter errors in the global status dialog

Update 4 (8/6/2009 1:30 EST): Another day, another patch for bug fixes. The new release number is r23406. Thanks again to our alpha testers!

  • Fixed a bug causing MySpace accounts to get stuck in the “Connecting” state
  • Fixed a bug causing MySpace to show a count for “Alerts” when there weren’t any.
  • Fixed a bug that caused excessive account data syncing

Update 5 (8/11/2009 11:15 EST): Small things can make a big difference. The new release number is r23428.

  • Fixed a possible memory leak related to keepalives for xmpp-based accounts that get disconnected.
  • Fixed another bug that caused excessive account data syncing

Update 6 (8/12/2009 11:25 EST):  The new release number is r23447.

  • Fixed a bug preventing Twitter authentication errors from showing
  • Fixed a bug causing the status dialog to be populated with HTML escaped text when re-tweeting
  • Fixed a bug that caused a ‘connection failed’ error to be suppressed for MySpace accounts

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