“Oh! THAT statment!”

So in talking with folks about the upgrade to 7.0 issues, two commenters, Simon and Brett, were able to clearly point out something that I really do see as a significant problem. Our iPhone upgrade information read:

This upgrade requires the latest Windows desktop version to sync your data. If you bought the desktop version before August 30, 2009, you may need to pay for the upgrade. Visit our website for all the details.

Well that’s all well and good – but if you went to our site to make sure you had the right version, we tell you that the “latest Windows desktop version” is 6.1.4.

SO if you upgrade your iPhone, it should sync fine with 6.1.4 right? Wrong!

If you want the rest of the story…read on after the jump!

You see, when we wrote that statement, it was while under the impression that it would take more than 4 days to approve our app – more like 4 weeks – but in an effort to keep us on our toes, Apple DID release it in 4 days (after we closed – the night before Thanksgiving – Thanks, Apple!)

Well, I know there are lots of folks who don’t believe it, but we really aren’t over here thinking of ways to screw over our customers or squeeze a buck out of them. I realize that Corporate America has trained us all to expect that, but that truly isn’t our goal. We spend tons of time trying to make the best choice for the largest number of our customers. It’s the reason you can call us on the phone in an age where the prevailing wisdom is that no company should be reachable by phone.

SO – we’re working on a  solution that would let you sync your 7.0 iPhone version with an update of the 6.1 desktop version. I’m not making promises here. It’s what we’re shooting for, but we just started working on this so I’m not sure what the end result will be or how long it will take. Now in theory, 7.0 will rock so hard no one will want this solution, but we’re working on it just in case.

The point is that you’ve made a fair argument with this one and we will do what we can to resolve the situation in this case. On other issues we may just have to agree to disagree, but on this one you’ve made a good point.

OK – back to prepping for the release!

- Marc

UPDATE: I just got handed a first try at a solution for the 7.0 iPhone/6.1 Windows PC issue. It will need some serious testing and likely a number of tweaks but it’s a good start.

103 thoughts on ““Oh! THAT statment!”

  1. Scott Boydman

    Marc, your explanation was pretty much what I expected, and as always, you really want to do right by your customers. In my review for the app store, I encouraged everybody to just hold on and see what the story was. I’ve used your ewallet software, well, just about forever, and your company has never let me down. Thanks, too, for trying so hard!

    - Scott Boydman

  2. MiniMe

    Well that’s very funny Marc. You’ve screwed up but you’re still blaming Apple despite the fact that it’s very difficult not to update an iPhone app once it’s released. (Anyone coming to this new should follow the “Updates and Answers” link above for detailed explanation). It wouldn’t make any difference if your iPhone update was released last week or tomorrow – the functionality is still screwed unless you buy the V7 Desktop update. That isn’t Apple’s fault – plain and simple. If you had planned to make it sync with V6 all along, nobody would be upset with you. If you release a a working version of 6 tomorrow with 7 that will sync that will sync with the new app, then I’d give you some credit for trying to rectify an awful mistake. But I don’t intend to wait around for weeks or even days for you to fix it. And I’d feel even better if you stopped trying to blame Apple and just did the decent thing held up your hand.

  3. Dino

    So, I’ve purchased an upgrade to the windows version last week only to discover it was the same version I already owned! Tech support hasn’t replied to me but as we know, I can’t sync anymore to the iphone v7.0

    So will I be able to download version 7.0 for windows for free since I’ve paid for an upgrade that wasn’t?

  4. Dan Holme

    Thanks for the constant blogging, Marc. You put a “face” on Ilium which, as you point out, is not common these days. It is much appreciated!!

    I’m sure you guys have more than enough “take away” from this fiasco but hopefully among them are:

    - Make the update message more explicit next time: “You need version x.0 of eWallet on your desktop.”
    - Can you make the update message a “pop-up” with the iTunes App Store installation/update process? I know that when I update my Craig’s List app, I get a “may contain content for >17″ popup. *THAT* message I have to read and confirm. Is there a way to do the same in this scenario next time?

    In any event, I *look forward* to paying for the upgrade to 7.0 tomorrow. Can’t wait to see what you’ve done with it! You guys do a great job and are one of the few applications that I’ve not only lived with, but have relied upon, for many many years.

    Thanks for being out there to weather this storm with your customers. It’s impressive and appreciated!!!

  5. Brent

    Seems like there is a very simple solution here. Whenever you get around to finishing Ver 7, give it to everybody who is using Ver 6 for free. That would prove your assertion that you are not trying to squeeze a buck out of everyone. It would also go a long ways towards repairing the severe damage you’ve done to your reputation by this inexcusable “error”.

  6. Marc Post author

    @Spuddey: We’ve always been the old Ilium – it’s just that (as I commented in the other post) we’ve only had around 5 hours to work on this thing. We need time.

    @Dino: We have two people answering the phones and emails here. Needless to say they are a little swamped. I am sure they will get to you. If you haven’t heard from them in the next few days send an email with Attn: Marc in the subject. And yes, if you’ve made a purchase of the desktop within 90 days the upgrade is free.

    @Ron: Again – give us more than a few hours and we actually can resolve this stuff. :)

  7. Michael

    I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. When I READ the blub on the iPhone update, it clearly stated that it would NOT sync with the current desktop version, so it was pretty obvious that I wouldn’t want to update until the desktop version was released. Not big deal…..it’s sitting in the app store waiting until the corresponding desktop version comes out, no harm, no foul. I’ve used eWallet for probably ten years – through Palm, Windows Mobile, and now iPhone – and it’s always been one of my favorite products. I’ve also found the support from Ilium to be the best, and (perhaps I’m naive) accept their statement about Apple being too efficient (which no one in their wildest dreams would have predicted). Seems like a lot of whining because a few people didn’t read the update notes.

  8. Marc Post author

    @Dan: Thanks, Dan. Yes – those are both things we’ve already put on our list of “next time” issues.

    @Brent: If you want this to be the last upgrade we ever release, I’d be happy to do that. Upgrades cost money. I wrote an entire article about this for JAMM. You may not agree with charging for upgrades but we have to do it if you want upgrades. And as for the error – within the 5 hours we’ve been open we identified the problem and are working toward a solution. Honestly – we can’t do more than that. If we can’t make you happy with that, then we can’t make you happy.

  9. Paddy Brown

    150+ comments and you only agree with 2? Boy we (your customers) are idiots aren’t we?

    The issue that has angered people is that you coupled your iPhone app upgrade with a desktop release that required payment. It had nothing to do with Apple releasing your app too soon, which was irritating but no more than that.

    If you made mistake people can understand that – rather than the patronising tone you might want to try a touch of humility in your next post…

  10. Dean Roberts

    Mark you wrote “Now in theory, 7.0 will rock so hard no one will want this solution, but we’re working on it just in case.”

    v7 will rock so hard? I look forward to seeing what you mean by this?

    The desktop version has all the functionality that I really need at this point. Not saying that you couldn’t add some cool stuff but what I want/need is more functionality on the iphone side… zoom/rotate.

    Any future updates that automatically appear on the iphone should not require/involve a paid upgrade to the desktop client.

    Many people have commented that the way it was rolled out disables the use of the “update all” button on the phone. What are you comments about this?

  11. Josh Dinh

    We’re too quick to wrath. Ilium SW should be given reasonable time to resolve the issue as Marc promised. He is pretty responsive so far.

  12. Terry

    It seems we live in a world where we have a really over-inflated estimation of own opinions. This is not American Idol. And none of us are a Simon. Even if we feel someone has blown it what’s wrong with loyalty, respect and grace? Marc, do the best you can. Thanks, I’m sticking with you!

  13. John

    Terry said “It seems we live in a world where we have a really over-inflated estimation of own opinions”.

    Not to mention the embarrasing and unbelievable sense of entitlement many of these posters have exhibited.

    Sad.

  14. Jeff Marraccini

    Amazing to read the responses to this blog entry and the one before. The amount of hostility is remarkable and I hope settles down fast, as it is marring an outstanding product (writing this as a customer, I have no other relation to Ilium!)

    This is a new method of distributing software, and as far far as I know, Apple does not allow the desktop component to be added to the iTunes Store. As Marc wrote on the other blog entry comments, Apple also does not allow setting a fixed “Release On” date and time.

    So, having a discontinuity is not surprising, and yes, I’m sure Ilium will figure out a better way for the next paid release. However, given the benefits I’ve personally experienced over the years with eWallet, I have no doubt the next release will be amazing, as the previous ones have been at least to me.

    There are days when eWallet saves me several times its purchase price in time spent looking up former paper notes, and it’s far more secure. I have no hesitation at all to pay for an upgrade, and am looking forward to it.

    We all need to be reminded from time to time to practice safe computing practices – backup eWallet databases, iPods, iPhones, and our computers, etc. Then, if something DOES go wrong, or you disagree with my posting and want to revert, you can do so. Maybe this is a reminder to us all that this stuff is not perfect and we need to take action to protect our devices and interests.

  15. Brian

    Well, I’m happy to give them a little slack, but above and beyond all the uproar right now, if there is not a mac client released with this upgrade, then I’m moving on. I’ve waited far too long without the ability to sync between iPhone and my mac.

  16. Carl Taylor

    @Michael
    Actually Michael. To be fair. The upgrade text until this morning read “It will only sync with the “LATEST” version of the desktop software” At which time most of us went to the website to discover we had the “LATEST” version that was available and therefore decided it was safe to upgrade. So your comment does not make much sense.

    I do appreciate your efforts on fixing this issue Marc. But you really will need to find a way to roll out updates in the future that do not disable the “Update All” functionality on the iPhone if they are going to require a “Paid” upgrade on the desktop.

    Carl.

  17. Rodney

    @minime and other upset people, you wrote “It wouldn’t make any difference if your iPhone update was released last week or tomorrow – the functionality is still screwed unless you buy the V7 Desktop update.” But let’s think about the updating process here….

    So iLium wants to add some new and probably fantastic features….so they are upgrading there software. Fantastic. That’s what good software developers do. They have several options.

    1. They could give both applications away for free. Not a very good business model and most people agree that you get what you pay for. Free things are usually not the best deal with the most features.

    2. They could add a new iPhone app and a new desktop app. And we would have to go to the App Store and buy a new application and buy a new desktop application. We would have to buy both…which would cost more money. This would really upset many users, especially those that have just joined the eWallet camp.

    3. They could update both applications but only charge for one. Well, that’s a deal. Buy one get one free. And that’s what iLium has done here. Yes it sucks that you can’t upgrade all your iPhone applications if you want to maintain syncing functionality. But it sounds like iLium is working on a solution for those that don’t want the new features.

    iLium’s business model in this case is a good deal. Essentially, we are getting one application with major updates (the iPhone version) for free when we purchase the upgraded desktop version.

    @Marc, Thanks for your explanation. Feel free to drop any more hints about what is coming tomorrow. ;) That’s what I want to hear about.

  18. MiniMe

    @ Rodney

    ….or they could submit a brand new iphone app – free if they wish – instead of the update. What’s the difference? It could be exactly the same app as the update – so long as itunes doesn’t treat it as an update. How does that cost more money???

  19. Paddy Brown

    @John said “Not to mention the embarrasing and unbelievable sense of entitlement many of these posters have exhibited.”

    Not sure who your comment is aimed at but we do as paying customers have a reasonable entitlement to expect that the product we purchased continues to work after an upgrade.

    I agree that rudeness and offensiveness are wholly inappropriate – but it is not rude or offensive to state an opinion – even if you or Ilium don’t agree with it.

    I’m sure Ilium will come up with a solution that satisfies everyone (bar poor @Brian on his Mac of course!) – in the meantime I’d like to think that Ilium aren’t blaming their customers (i.e. me) for problems with their distribution model.

    Roll on the interim version.

  20. Marc Post author

    @MiniMe: Honestly, I can’t say it better than Rodney did. His options are on the money – and let me tell you. You want angry customers, try #2 where you tell them “Hey – buy the entire application again at the same price!”

  21. Marc Post author

    @Paddy: I simply praised two commenters for making a good, clear argument. I didn’t say everyone else was an idiot. I’d like to have the freedom to compliment people without others taking this as a slight against them.

    @Dean: Regarding iPhone features – others would say “I’d rather have Mac, I’d rather have Android, I’d rather have iPhone ListPro.” I’m sorry (honestly, I am) but we can only do so much. We do have plans for new iPhone eWallet features – they just aren’t done yet.

    Requiring a Paid Upgrade
    I think we’ve got two issues here. The first is that some people don’t want to pay for upgrades. Let me address that first. We can’t do upgrades for free. It isn’t financially possible. Other people in the Information Management sector have tried – we’re still around and they aren’t. If you want upgrades at all – if you want the option to use the same app for ten years and have it remain relevant like eWallet has – then we will have to charge for upgrades occassionally. I encourage you to seek out the article I wrote at JAMM about this – I give a lot of details.

    The second issue is that some people feel like they are being forced to pay for an upgrade. We don’t want to force anyone to buy an upgrade. As I said elsewhere – we’re still supporting eWallet 2.0! We are perfectly happy if people don’t want to upgrade.

    Now I know people don’t want to hear this or say I’m passing the buck, but the way the iPhone is setup the consumer is taking a major hit. Apple doesn’t let the customer choose to run older versions. They also don’t let the customer choose to install a copy they receive directly from the developer. Either of these would solve every complaint about this we’re getting – but neither of these very simple options are available. On iPhone, if you upgrade you’ve upgraded forever. It doesn’t matter if you lose half the functionality from a previous version (which happened to me – see below) – you’re done.

    The only other option we have (outside of what we’re doing) is going forward, to upgrade every old desktop version to work with every new iPhone version. This is expensive and over time the problem grows exponentially. Soon we’d be upgrading every old version of eWallet on desktop to work with every past version of eWallet on iPhone. We really can’t do this – the market just doesn’t support this kind of backward compatibility exspense. Not to mention added support nightmares as we try to figure out what software combination is causing problems and how to fix it.

    Update All Issue
    Which brings us to this. I don’t have a good solution. I haven’t used Update All for a year because a free app I like yanked half the features in an update so they could charge for a new version that contained those same features. So now I never Update All and I always read the new feature descriptions. If Apple let me choose which version I wanted to run, or keep an installer to reinstall the old version, or get an installer from the developer, I wouldn’t have this problem and I too could “Update All”. But I can’t – and there is nothing the developer can do for me.

    So unfortunately, if you want to use the old version on your iPhone, you’re going to have to forego the Update All function because that is how the iPhone works – we didn’t choose this system – it’s the one Apple implemented. And although we’re looking for a backward compatability solution for this release, odds are we won’t be able to do it every release due to the ongoing maintenance costs this involves.

  22. Matt Parrish

    I think there were more than two of us that made the point about being forced into the upgrade of the desktop version because of the Apple app store push design on upgrades. We would forever have to manually update every other iPhone upgrade one at a time, or accept your iPhone upgrade that would get caught in the “Upgrade All” function, thereby making the desktop sync no longer possible unless we paid the $10.

    I’m all for shelling out the money for the upgrade. I’m not trying to be cheap and I don’t think the majority of the pissed-off people in this blog are either. But what you did, whether intentional or not, must either be remedied, or you’re going to have to deal with a lot of people getting pissed at you.

    It’s fine to not make promises on the backward’s compatible feature of 6x Desktop syncing with 7x iPhone, but if you can’t make it work, the only ethical thing to do is to give the free upgrade to all 6.x Desktop users.

    You do that and you might be surprised how many of us go ahead and pay for the upgrade anyways. Leave the choice with your consumers, not with locking us in with your own short-sightedness.

  23. Marc Post author

    @Matt Parrish: Again – the comment about the two people pointing out the problem isn’t about how many people made strong points. It’s about a couple of people doing a good job of very clearly explaining an unquestionable oversight on our part. We told you to do X which said Y which meant you upgraded when you shouldn’t. That’s a clear mistake and we’re working on a fix because of that.

    As for the Update All issue – see my comment before yours – it very clearly explains where I stand on this.

  24. Matt Parrish

    Marc, I disagree with your comment about upgrading one-at-a-time on iPhone apps to circumvent developer’s crippling previously free-apps to get you to upgrade to paid version. Yes, this happens quite often, but are you suggesting that developers have no right to change the rules on future upgrades? The very thing you are, in affect, doing by hiding behind the upgrade function of Apple to force your customers into either upgrading or face a crippled sync function???

    Unbelievable. I, and a lot of people, do use the Upgrade All function, because a lot of us buy quite a few apps, and it’s a pain in the a$$ to do them one at a time. If a developer chooses to cripple a previously free app, it only takes me a minute or so to dump the app and find one of 100K+ apps in competition.

    Do us all a favor and quit responding to this blog.. you’re digging a deeper hole and just pissing us all off even more. Perhaps your time could be better spent fixing the problem, rather than spouting your views on Apple’s policy.

  25. Carl

    Hi

    Thanks marc for bringing the situation on ilium’s side to the fore.

    Like some users I back up my apps, thou I did install iphone 7 out of curiosity then reverted back after playing.

    Like I said in my earlier post ill keep buying while the product is good and have tried Ubuntu and Windows products available and always came back to Ewallet.

    Receiving flak is part of business, thou if the product is good they will be back. You can not please everyone and trying is a forlorn hope.

    In the years I have used Ewallet this is the first issue I have come across and shooting a business on one error, arguably not Ilium’s seems a little over the top.

    Best Regards

    Carl

  26. Marc Post author

    @Carl: Thanks for the support. As I’ve mentioned, we’re working on the issue. With a little more than seven hours of work on this under our belt we’re making pretty good progress.

    @Matt Parrish: Thanks for you input, Matt. I realize you don’t like my answers but for the sake of the other customers I do plan to continue posting. The very fact that we leave posts like yours on a blog we have 100% control over should serve as a testament to the fact that we believe that being open and honest is the best plan, even if it means some people like yourself don’t like the answers.

    And yes, I think developers have every right to make changes in future versions. And I also think that if one of our customers purchased eWallet 6.0 they have every right to KEEP using eWallet 6.0 without being forced to either upgrade or abandon the Update All option. I wish I could offer that functionality but there is only one agency that can.

  27. Paddy Brown

    @Marc – the functional equivalent of the previous status quo would be v7 iphone with v6.1.n desktop – then my “Update All” button works and I’m happy and I get the choice to upgrade the desktop later.

    When the ime comes release any incompatible iPhone version as a new app. Why can’t you do that. Am I missing something?

  28. Matt Parrish

    Marc, I do appreciate the fact that you’re not censoring this blog, it’s a testament to what I think are the core values of your company… the reason I’ve been a long-time customer of yours. You may be secretly regretting the decision to keep this blog open with posts like mine, but I guarantee you that if you do the RIGHT thing, I for one, will balance my posts with praise for you and your company.

    IF I really believed that your company was hopeless and that this was not a programming and planning oversight, but rather just another fly-by-night company interested in getting a quick buck, then I certainly wouldn’t bother. There are enough of those companies to go around. But for whatever reason, I don’t believe that to be the case here. I think there were some big mistakes made in the planning of this rollout and your gut reaction to blame everyone else, needs to be tempered. I agree that Apple should make the app store easier to opt-out of an upgrade.. but you are depending on a service which currently does not have that feature. Your company took on the challenges of creating an iPhone app. It’s not a perfect world, but you have to take the good with the bad and and work with those folks that have stood by your side for years and not punish them because your business model isn’t profitable with the parameters you have to work with.

    To the

  29. Frank

    @Rodney: You wrote:

    2. They could add a new iPhone app and a new desktop app. And we would have to go to the App Store and buy a new application and buy a new desktop application. We would have to buy both…which would cost more money. This would really upset many users, especially those that have just joined the eWallet camp.

    I don’t buy that. That’s the way it has always been, and that’s the way it should have been handled this time too. If there was a major version upgrade to eWallet, you always had to pay for upgrading both the mobile and the desktop versions. This is totally fine. By making the upgrade a separate app in the appstore, at least users don’t get trapped with crippled software by hitting the “update all” button even once. You leave them a real choice instead of sneaking in a new version that breaks existing functionality through the (semi-)automatic update function. People who have recently bought the previous version could be given a special discount on the desktop counterpart or perhaps a refund directly through Ilium.

    I hope Ilium do what Marc wrote in the blog, i.e. provide an updated 6.1 desktop version that can sync with the 7.0 iPhone app. If this happens in a timely fashion, I will stay with eWallet for now and maybe consider upgrading to 7.0. But I have to say this incident (and partly also the tone of Ilium’s reaction today) has left a bad taste in my mouth.

  30. MiniMe

    Oh dear Marc. What a calamity!

    I note with some amusement that this is the first time that you have chosen to address any of my remarks despite numerous posts. Presumably, you are finding hard to sensibly address the others without actually admitting that you have screwed up big time? Hey, we’re all human and I have much more time for people and organisations that own up honestly to their mistakes. A real shame you can’t bring yourself to do it. If you had at the very beginning and been honest, I think I and probably most of us would have forgiven you. But your original post was appalling claptrap! As for the point you do make to me, consider this.

    Here are 2 quotes, the first from you in this blog:

    “The only other option we have (outside of what we’re doing) is going forward, to upgrade every old desktop version to work with every new iPhone version. This is expensive and over time the problem grows exponentially. Soon we’d be upgrading every old version of eWallet on desktop to work with every past version of eWallet on iPhone. We really can’t do this – the market just doesn’t support this kind of backward compatibility exspense. Not to mention added support nightmares as we try to figure out what software combination is causing problems and how to fix it.!”

    Here’s the second form your website:
    “Don’t have eWallet for Windows yet? Because you already own eWallet on your iPhone, you can get the desktop version for our current-user discount of $9.95. Add it to your cart now”

    Now here’s the point. OK – you don’t want to release a new application that is free, but you do want updates it to be free for your customers. Very decent of you, we all agree. But the mechanism that you already have in place and described in the second quote is perfectly able to do this! So – you release a new iPhone app at your chosen price and then discount the Desktop version accordingly using the mechanism above. Then we all get to choose which versions we want to use and if we want to pay for them. OK, I hear you say, Apple will take a cut from the sale of the new app. Very true but, hey man – you are setting the price – and you can set the price to take all that into account. And you are the company that has chosen to do business through the apple store. So I ask you – what is the most reasonable business practice:

    Factoring in consequential costs of developing new products and updates and adding them to your business model

    or

    Just not worrying about it and forcing your loyal customer base to foot the bill whether they like it or not?

    And please – let’s not have any more nonsense about there being no necessity to update the iPhone app. If you want your customers to never use the iTunes ‘Download All’ button ever again unless they pay for a new product (oh – and insist that we all read the info before applying an update – Jesus half the IT industry is trying to get us to apply updates automatically to keep our PC’s and devices secure), then well…. it’s a bonkers way to do business and really I am deeply saddened and very disappointed. You really, really need to go home tonight and think this through.

  31. Dean Roberts

    Marc you said “I haven’t used Update All for a year because a free app I like yanked half the features in an update so they could charge for a new version that contained those same features.”

    I can’t believe you just put that in writing!
    You like an application that you got for free
    then the developer wants to charge for it and
    you won’t pay a fee and support them but you want every one
    to pay for your program upgrades?

    Regardless how this plays out in the end
    you should never release an update that will
    appear on our phones that will require a paid
    update to a desktop version!

  32. MiniMe

    Oh yes, and one more thing. I bet your competitors who are probably at this moment having a good hearty laugh at your expense, find a way of updating, upgrading and developing new products without making such a silly mistake – whatever the cost. I’m actually in the UK and over here we call that process ‘Marketing’. Are you unable to grasp these concepts which, by the way, really aren’t rocket science?

  33. Dean Roberts

    Let’s all help ilium out and send Apple an email
    complaining on how Apples process has left
    the “upgrade all” button disabled.

    I don’t want this to happen in the future with ilium or any other company!

    You can send emails to Steve Jobs at Apple. His email is sjobs@apple.com

    Remember this is the CEO of Apple. Emails should be to the point and professional. Steve Jobs does read his emails and responds to some.

  34. Dennis

    “…You really, really need to go home tonight and think this through.”

    Wow… listening to people like MiniMe makes one wonder what CRIME Marc of Ilium has committed.

    He also goes on to say “And I’d feel even better if you stopped trying to blame Apple and just did the decent thing held up your hand”

    Funny… Marc stated they would try and get the iPhone app to be backward compatible and MiniMe can’t stop attacking.

    Two words for you MiniMe… “Grow up”.

  35. Dennis

    @Marc,

    Been using your software for years on the PPC. Glad you have an iPhone app and look forward to v7.

  36. Marc

    @MiniMe: I didn’t reply to your earlier comments because there are too many comments to reply to them all. It has nothing to do with the content or my feelings about the content.

    Your suggestion is one I addressed in another blog post comment. I’ll summarize here:
    a) Releasing a second version of the same app people have to pay for unleashes fury far greater than anything we’ve seen here. People feel like you’re forcing them to double buy. Although desktop people who get a discount might be fine, iPhone only users (over 60% of our purchasers) get ripped off.
    b) We get no customer info from Apple so everyone would have to provide proof of purchase to get the discount. The sheer volume of sales and the necessity to handle this process manually means months to fulfill every request. This is both expensive and time consuming. Not a good option.

    OR we could work on another solution which is exactly what we’ve been doing over the past 9 hours. Seriously – give us more than 1 business day and we can probably come up with somethign that makes everyone happy.

  37. Marc

    @Dean: Please don’t take my comments out of context. The rest of my post points out that I believe customers should be able to use the version of the software they purchased even if a new version comes out.

    SO I believe purchasers of eWallet 6.X for iPhone shouldn’t have to upgrade to 7.0, just like I think I should be able to continue to use the version of the game I originally downloaded without being forced to update. No matter what you think of us, Apple doesn’t support this and that’s unfortunate.

    So my preference is that you could use 6.X on your desktop and 6.X on your iPhone. That’s how we’ve always done things – don’t upgrade if you don’t want to. The iPhone, however, with it’s inability to allow a customer to choose an older version, is forcing us to find new solutions. We thought the timing of our release would let us offer those solutions but it didn’t which sucks – so, as this blog post states – we’re working on something else.

  38. MiniMe

    @Dennis thing is this. I currently have 2 applications one for my iPhone and one for my Desktop, both of which I bought, that do not have the core functionality that purchased I them for. Making the iPhone app backward compatible with Desktop V6 is the least that can be done to resolve the issue. And if that compatible update is released tomorrow I’ll honestly take everything back and offer Marc and Ilium Software my sincerest apologies. But in truth I’ll be amazed if the desktop update we are talking about is released tomorrow or even in the next week. In the mean time I have some stuff that I paid for, that doesn’t work through no fault of my own and requires me to buy some new software if I want to make it work again. What’s more, the company responsible is hell bent on blaming a third party when, all along, it looks as if they had never planned to release a compatible V6 version (which is the root problem – not the early release by Apple) until forced to by this fiasco. Do you really think that this isn’t cause for complaint? Has Marc committed a crime? Of course not. Are the amounts of money involved large. No, they are trivial. Is the PRINCIPLE important? Damn right it is! And if you don’t understand that, well…. need I say more….. I’m speechless anyway.

  39. Rob

    I had 4 pending updates but I skipped the “Update All” and looked at the eWallet item alone. I scanned down past the “FREE” button to see “Minor bug fixes and improvements” then the reference to the desktop 7 requirement. I thought OK, I’ll get that later and hit the “FREE” button.

    Forgive me if the the last little bit about paying for an *upgrade* escaped my notice completely because the overriding impression was that this was a minor free *update*. Quote: “Minor bug fixes and improvements”

    iTunes itself does not help with a “Download All Free Updates” button and the reference to the paid upgrade is buried deep in the application description.

    I’ve been a faithful eWallet customer for years and years. I love this little company and their great product. But my hackles rose when I read Marcs comment “I’m sorry. We made it extremely clear…”

    Sorry Marc, just stating how I feel.

    It seems there is a big hole in the whole process that allows a user to easily apply a free minor “update” to the handheld app that then cripples its ability to cooperate with the companion desktop app without a paid “upgrade.” I don’t really think I am an idiot for falling into it but that’s how I have been made to feel.

    Luckily I like the product enough I probably would have paid to upgrade anyway – I’m saying that without even knowing what v7 will bring!

  40. MiniMe

    @Marc, I’m happy to give you another day. I look forward to seeing what’s in store for us tomorrow. And I mean it about the apology if you can turn this round. :)

  41. Brett

    Marc-

    I realize the sentiment that you can’t make everyone happy, and I also think that you are probably correct that if you released eWallet 7 as a separate app that you would have just had a different group of people complaining about that.

    However, my question would be this: is that *always* the way it’s been done for as long as software has been created and sold?

    I mean, Office 2007 comes out, and there are over time a bunch of updates available to download for free. Eventually, Office 2010 comes out, and people have to pay for it.

    Yes, there may be some people who whine and moan about features of Office 2010 that should be given to owners of Office 2007, but major updates always cost money. Always have, and I presume always will.

    I don’t intend to be difficult. I truly and honestly do not understand your chosen course of action, and I am desperately trying to. If eWallet 7 contains enough new features for you to consider it a major release (as opposed to simply version 6.3 or some such minor release), then I absolutely fail to understand why it was not just released as a separate iPhone app.

    For example, I have a fantastic iPhone game that was released with 50 levels. I love the game, but you can get through the 50 levels pretty quickly, so it doesn’t take much time to complete the entire game.

    A couple of months after I purchased it, the developer released version 2.0 of the game as a separate, paid app. Based on how quickly I finished the 1.0 game, I will admit that my initial thought was “why wasn’t the 2.0 game just released as a free update to the 1.0 release?” However, I then read the description. The developer had improved the control mechanism, had added sound effects (the 1.0 game was silent), had created 50 all-new levels, had determined that this was more than a maintenance release or a bug fix, and released it as a separate app.

    So, while my initial thought was negative, I then thought, ok, I loved the 1.0 version, will probably love the 2.0 version, and went ahead and bought it.

    Therefore, while I sympathize with your undoubtedly true statement that people would have complained regardless of which distribution method you selected, it just seems to me that choosing the “tried and true” method of releasing a major upgrade as a separate app would have been the more justifiable position.

    All that having been said, I also want to add that I greatly appreciate you taking the time today to keep us all informed of your position and the hopeful progress of creating a fix that we can all live with.

  42. Marc Post author

    @Brett: Thanks for your very civil post. I will do my best to return the favor by answering your questions.

    You are more or less right although there are some additional factors.

    Factor 1: iPhone Folks Hate 2nd App Upgrades
    You might have accepted the new version of the game but you are the exception. People have launched massive assaults against companies that release the same application as a second app and then charge for it. Isn’t that how software was always upgraded? Pretty much. Is it like that on iPhone anymore? Nope. I won’t explore why here but suffice it to say a second app would have, in our experience and opinion, created a firestorm that would have made all of this seem like a hiccup.

    Factor 2: The iPhone Version Isn’t Changing Much in 7.0
    We released our big features a few months back with 6.2. There is no way we’d ask the iPhone users to pay for an upgrade (again – to everyone out there – remember that it wasn’t our INTENT to force people to upgrade!) So if we released a second app at a new price with no new features, can you imagine the response? Only users of desktop have a good reason to update in this release. Stand alone folks probably shouldn’t bother – or they might as well depending on how you look at it.

    BUT (and it’s a big but)

    If we could just make it through one day (that’s what I’m trying to do anyhow), this would all make more sense. There really is a reason (why we called it 7.0 even on iPhone for instance) and first thing tomorrow when I come in I’ll be blogging about it. I’m not saying everyone will be happy and singing come morning, but the reason we chose this route should be clear at that time.

    I apologize if I didn’t answer all your questions – it’s been a looooong day. :) Always feel free to email me with questions as well if you feel I don’t answer them well here.

  43. Marc Post author

    @Rob: OK – you wrote:

    “I’ve been a faithful eWallet customer for years and years. I love this little company and their great product. But my hackles rose when I read Marcs comment “I’m sorry. We made it extremely clear…”

    About that – so I come in to 160+ screaming blog posts (I won’t even talk about the email) with people threatening to shoot me. Not even kidding about that. And here we thought our upgrade message was REALLY clear. Seriously – we felt like we’d really covered the bases on that one.

    Now anyone who has worked with us for awhile knows that we really do try to do anything we can to help folks out. We’ve got a freaking toll free help line for heaven’s sake! It’s like 1980! We just figured that at some point we have to say “Look – we want to help but with the options we’ve got we really have to count on folks to know what they are doing before they update.”

    BUT here is what we missed:
    1: Giant Wording Error
    As this blog post points out, we kind of missed a giant glaring wording error. Crap. For that we did (and do) apologize. It’s also the reason we’ve got a guy working even as I speak on a work around for folks. So yeah – our “perfectly clear statement” was anything but.

    2: Update All
    As I said elsewhere, I lost Update All a year ago over an app I won’t update and I blamed Apple. I mean come on – let me use older versions if I want. I pretty much thought most people were in this boat. I had no idea so many people were doing a blanket update of their apps with Update All. So many updates change things you like! So from my POV asking people not to update was perfectly reasonable.

    So yeah – I totally see what you mean and I’m sorry about that. I’ve since updated that blog post to point out the error of our perception.

  44. Jim

    Marc,

    I appreciate and respect your willingness to reply rather than go into hiding especially now that your posts indicate that you are actively seeking a solution.

    I’m not happy with Apple’s iTune policy. I want software developers to improve their software and I am more than willing to pay for improvements and frankly I don’t see how Apple’s current policy makes that workable, short of releasing a completely new application each time an upgrade is considered. As a long-term business model it doesn’t work.

    However, at the same time I also understand why people are unhappy about a “free” update that leads to a loss in functionality (i.e. no longer syncing with the existing desktop app). When something is advertised as a free update – well, people expect it to be free with no hidden costs and no loss in function. And iTunes identifies the update as free and includes it with the “update all”.

    The only solution that I can see is making the current iPhone release compatible with the older desktop version and then encouraging users to take advantage of the improved desktop version (but doing that of their own free will).

    I feel for you, Marc.

  45. Sophia

    Well, I am certainly glad of your responsiveness, Ilium Software, but I am still slightly ticked off. First of all, Apple being too fast or now, it does NOT change the fact that sooner or later we would have lost our ‘Update all” button… no matter what is said, this update was a forced one. I hope Ilium will learn from this experience.

    Second, I *DID* check the website, and it *DID* mention I have the latest version, so I *DO* think you might soften our angry hearts BIG TIME by giving a special update price… this once.

    I’m sorry, I am an easy-going person and not quick to anger, but I still think a bigger apology is needed. Of course you are human beings, you make mistakes, but so are we, thank you. We are not faceless enemies either, and furthermore, not every one of us is an American, and we do not “expect” anybody to screw us on purpose.

    You guys made a mistake, apology (still to be given) accepted in advance, but please, please quit the Poor-Me-I’m-Hurt-By-Your-Nasty-Messages, because, FRANKLY, I did not see too many that were undeserved. Harsh, perhaps… but undeserved… no. Except the “Shoot them all” comment, that was uncalled for.

  46. Jim

    How about staying the course and releasing a paid v7 ASAP, and then focus on retrofitting back to v6.

    That way folks who aren’t interested in the religious debate can purchase and sync with the new iPhone version sooner rather than later.

  47. Dean Roberts

    Marc,

    Everybody here seems to be complaining because they have the desktop version. If they did not have the desktop version, then the update to their phone is a mute point.

    I can’t imagine having just the iphone app and not “backing” up the data with the desktop app. I know the desktop version provides expanded features and such but backing up the data that you put in your phone is essential.

    With that being said, I would recommend charging just for the iphone app and including the desktop app as part of the purchase. Yes the iphone app would be $20.00 or more but so what. Then in the future, free updates would be free and a paid upgrade would include everything needed/new.

    There is plenty of apps that cost more than .99 cents and it’s up to you and you loyal customer base to market ewallet as worth it.

  48. Marc

    @Sophia:
    “First of all, Apple being too fast or now, it does NOT change the fact that sooner or later we would have lost our ‘Update all” button.”

    Yeah – and I gotta tell you for the long term, we still don’t have a good solution. We’re working on it though.

    “Second, I *DID* check the website, and it *DID* mention I have the latest version, so I *DO* think you might soften our angry hearts BIG TIME by giving a special update price… this once. “

    Yeah – as I said, we’re REALLY sorry about that. Until Brett and Simon drilled it in to me I didn’t see that. As for a discount, hopefully tomorrow’s announcement about what 7.0 is all about will help.

    “Of course you are human beings, you make mistakes, but so are we, thank you. We are not faceless enemies either, and furthermore”

    Yep – excellent point. And I hope that my responses have treated you with the respect I would ask in return. Well considered, honest replies without venom or malice and the underlying expecation that the other person is a reasonable human being.

    “not every one of us is an American, and we do not “expect” anybody to screw us on purpose.”

    Well first off, you don’t have to be American to get screwed by Corporate America. ;) And actually, there are lots of companies that really DO do it on purpose. Heck, I know I’m gunshy. *shrug*

    “You guys made a mistake, apology (still to be given) accepted in advance”

    I’ll be blunt here – I’ve said sorry a LOT of times in no unclear terms. And I truly am sorry for any trouble.

    “but please, please quit the Poor-Me-I’m-Hurt-By-Your-Nasty-Messages, “

    I’m sorry but many posts were completely out of line. I like to think we live in a civilized society where people can discuss problems in a rational manner, and where each side will give the other the opportunity to either make their point or in this case correct a problem. Reminding people that we’re real human beings was my way of saying that slinging accusations, calling people stupid, and similar comments get us nowhere and approach the problem with an unspoken expectation that nothing will be done and the person on the other end is without feeling. I’m sorry if you don’t like my call for civility but I stand by it wholeheartedly.

    “FRANKLY, I did not see too many that were undeserved. Harsh, perhaps… but undeserved… no.”

    And I respect your opinion. I on the other hand saw many comments that, while I understood why the person was upset, were simply attacks and accusations, often underlined with assumptions that aren’t true – as I said, I appreciate the opportunity to help fix a problem before I get hung for it.

  49. Marc

    @Jim: Not to worry. Nothing we are working on will delay the release. It is ready to launch first thing tomorrow.

    @Dean Roberts: Over 60% of iPhone purchasers use only the device side version. You and I can’t imagine working without a backup – the majority of device owners can and do.

    As for the pricing thing, being the $20 app on the store where most similar apps run Free to $9.99 would pretty much kill us. We’d like to think people would read and understand but we’ve seen first hand how that works. It really would be marketing suicide. The other problem is that we’re not allowed to do that (yes, I know – someone will yell at me for blaming Apple.) You can only sell the app that goes onto the device. Including a desktop version (even codes for it) would get us booted.

    I agree though – that WOULD be the ideal situation.

  50. Marc

    UPDATE: And just in case you’re watching the comments still, my developer just handed me a first try at the “sync 7.0 iPhone with 6.1 Windows PC.” We’ll start testing it ASAP.

  51. Sophia

    That’s a very nice reply, thank you Marc :) My faith in Ilium is coming back seeing messages like that :) It’s all we ask for… honestly.

  52. Pablo

    Since the problem appeared, I have tried 3 or 4 different programs and guess what? I uninstalled every one of them. eWallet is still the best in features, both in the desktop (PC) and in the iPhone.

    So, I don’t care if you charge me 10, 20, or 30, I will pay it.

    In your deffense, when the iPhone update appeared, it said version 7, then I came to the website and the most recent version was still 6.something, so I figured I shouldn’t upgrade, and I didn’t, so I never lost sync functionality.

    I don’t read the update messages of games and irrelevant apps, but it is a *must* to read the update messages of apps that hold your most important information, like eWallet.

  53. Dean Roberts

    Marc,

    If you have the ability to look in your records you will see that I have purchased every update ever offered for eWallet (at least it seems that way!).

    I would get an email stating that an upgrade was available and I would click the link and purchase the upgrade. I too have been a palm pilot. ppc, win mobile and now iphone user.

    The only reason I would not spend money on an upgrade this time is because I’ve switched to a MAC and I’m waiting for the MAC client.

    Either way, I look forward to the unveiling tomorrow and if it ‘Rocks” like you said, I will upgrade the windows client if the MAC client is not ready.

    Your eWallet makes my smart phone smart!

    Thanks!

  54. EJ

    I received a link to download the upgraded v7. PAID for the upgrade and installed – STILL SAYS WILL NOT SYNC WITH IPHONE VERSION.
    NEED A REFUND – Hope whatever you put out tomorrow is a better link and piece of software. ONE THAT WORKS AND IS USABLE.

  55. Rodney

    @minime you said “@ Rodney

    ….or they could submit a brand new iphone app – free if they wish – instead of the update. What’s the difference? It could be exactly the same app as the update – so long as itunes doesn’t treat it as an update. How does that cost more money???”

    Just to be clear and I think Marc explained what I was trying to say…but I was trying to say that they could have forced us to buy 2 new applications….one for the iPhone and one for the desktop. Which would really upset me and like Marc said almost everybody else. I was going to say “So I’m glad I only have to upgrade the desktop version, but since they are working on fixing sync for desktop version 6.x ….I don’t even HAVE to upgrade.

    Yes this upgrade has removed the syncing ability for version 6 owners, but they have made very clear statements today that they are working one fixing that. Thank you iLium. And they have also said that many of us will probably want to upgrade to v7 on the desktop.

    @ those who are complaining about not being able to have functionality in software that they purchased….How often do you sync anyway? Now that I’m on a mac, I’m only able to sync when I sit at my desktop at home….like once every 2 weeks. It’s a pain and not safe, but what else can I do. You all should just wait….it may take a day or two or even a week or a month…but they have said they are trying to come up with a solution.

    Like they said, they are hoping for a syncing solution. So you don’t even have to upgrade…what’s all the complaining about.

    So yeah, bad things happened…update released too early, broke syncing, bad wording…but ULTIMATELY it sounds like iLium is making EVERY EFFORT to find a solution for everybody. That is AWESOME customer service!!!! Other companies would just say, upgrade or leave. Don’t like our policies….find someone else.

    Thanks iLium. Thanks for this open blog and for working for a solution.

  56. Dean Roberts

    By the way… I like the teaser shot of the MAC desktop on the top of the “Updates and Answers page”

  57. Brent

    Well, I’m still not sure how pissed I remain at Ilium for the mistakes getting into this mess. I wish I’d known it was even a possibility. With Marc willing to engage with all comers though, they still have my respect. And thus, my willingness to stick around and see what they can do to make it right.

  58. Julian

    I live in Taiwan. Now it is Tue noon, and I have not seen the PC version 7.0. I remembered it will be available on Tue. morning as previous statements. Anyway, I am the user who use WM6, now use iPhone. I like eWallet, so use it before and now. I have eWallet on WM6, iPhone 3GS, and Windows PC for sync. I paid for these 3 environments. I hope to see the solution for my iPhone eWallet sync to Windows PC, either v7 for Windows PC, or update for v6, even tell me how to back to v6 in iPhone. Thank you a lot.

  59. Bolo

    Mark

    I was a bit puzzled over the following comment you made previously …

    a) Releasing a second version of the same app people have to pay for unleashes fury far greater than anything we’ve seen here. People feel like you’re forcing them to double buy. Although desktop people who get a discount might be fine, iPhone only users (over 60% of our purchasers) get ripped off.

    But releasing a second version of the same app is the same when an upgrade comes for the winmobile platform! As a major upgrade comes up a purchase has to be made and I have never heard of any complaint with winmobile users, primarily because they were left with the option to keep the old PPC and desktop softwares unnaffected.

    I think the best thing to do is name the next major upgrade “Ewallet8″ or something similar so as not to affect the upgrade all button and any previous desktop versions.

  60. Sophia

    Well, my previous reply (and replies in other blog posts) were written in haste, and I fully admit, in anger, though I don’t think I crossed the line of civility. Tonight I have had a chance to actually read other’s responses instead of just the blog posts, and also Marc’s replies to several people including myself. One post struck my eye, and because I so fully agree with it, I’d like to copy it below. Like this poster, I too have been a long time customer of Ilium since 2001 in fact, and used both PC and PocketPC with great pleasure.

    For the record: I did spend $.99 on Ascendo Data Vault and downloaded their trial PC software as well, and not to cut up the competion, but I have only one word: BLECH. There is simply no comparison with Ilium… not even the slightest.

    Now that we have your attention :) The ONLY thing I’d LOVE to see added, and asked for on several occasions, is an automatic log-in feature to websites :D That, I would GLADLY pay for, twice over :)


    Matt Parrish says:
    November 30, 2009 at 4:53 pm
    Marc, I do appreciate the fact that you’re not censoring this blog, it’s a testament to what I think are the core values of your company… the reason I’ve been a long-time customer of yours. You may be secretly regretting the decision to keep this blog open with posts like mine, but I guarantee you that if you do the RIGHT thing, I for one, will balance my posts with praise for you and your company.

    IF I really believed that your company was hopeless and that this was not a programming and planning oversight, but rather just another fly-by-night company interested in getting a quick buck, then I certainly wouldn’t bother. There are enough of those companies to go around. But for whatever reason, I don’t believe that to be the case here. I think there were some big mistakes made in the planning of this rollout and your gut reaction to blame everyone else, needs to be tempered. I agree that Apple should make the app store easier to opt-out of an upgrade.. but you are depending on a service which currently does not have that feature. Your company took on the challenges of creating an iPhone app. It’s not a perfect world, but you have to take the good with the bad and and work with those folks that have stood by your side for years and not punish them because your business model isn’t profitable with the parameters you have to work with.

  61. Alan

    Thanks for doing the right thing to fix this mess. While I would have like a free upgrade to desktop7 it is not something you owe me. However maintaining sync function is. Can you assure the ewallet community that this kind of upgrade will never break sync again (or that a fix or workaround will be supplied free of charge if this does happen).

  62. George

    I have a great respect for Ilium and have owned eWallet and Listpro for as long as they have been around in the windows world, and hoped to keep them, moving from Windows Mobile to iPhone, PC to Mac.

    eWallet holds my critical data, at the very top sharp tip of the importance pyramid in my digital life.
    Having a robust and trustworthy backup (and that means restore availability too!!!) on tap all the times is of CRITICAL importance to me, both in my private and business life.

    I wonder at this whole rollout/sync issue. For me it’s not so much about money or even delays, but trust. I feel a little less secure about Ilium and am considering my options. I feel a bit ticked that I need to pay for an update in Windows (in the absence of a Mac solution), but aghast that the sync broke!!!

    Guys, I hope you don’t underestimate the depth of feeling on this one…

  63. Lex

    I was surprised to see how unprofessional and incompetent the management of Ilium is. They spent most of the Monday in denial, blaming 3rd parties and even customers. Even though they eventually agreed to fix ewallet 6 for desktop I’m still kind of doubtful they realize the real screw-up was planning an iphode update that would break the existing functionality so that the customers would be forced to pay for the new desktop version.

    Even if wording on your website was perfectly straight and clear it is very bad business practice that reminds me of some cheap used car salesman’s trick.

    And arguing that it’s just 10 bucks that we would spent recklessly anyway (on beer in bar) is just ridiculous. If $10 means nothing for you why don’t you give us a free upgrade to v7?

  64. Lex

    Please see how others are handling the customers when something goes wrong and learn how to talk to your customers when you screw up:

    Excerpts from toodledo forums:

    https://www.toodledo.com/forums/1/2182/0/and-were-back-from-a-very-prolonged-outage.html

    I’ve been working so hard that I haven’t had time to pre-type what I was going to announce, so I am doing that now, but wanted to let everyone know quickly that everything has been restored. I’ll update this topic shortly with a longer explanation.

    UPDATE:

    So here is the long story of what has been happening over the last 16 hours. I’ve built Toodledo on the principal of being completely open and honest about everything, so I’m going to lay everything out there, skeletons and all.

    Our servers are hosted by Rackspace, which is a great company with excellent support and top notch datacenters. At 7:15pm CDT yesterday, a severe storm was coming through and Rackspace decided to switch power to generators. During the switch there was a mechanical failure that caused some servers to lose power unexpectedly.

    When the servers came back online, we found that our database had become corrupted. Apparently, this is because the database was configured to write data to the filesystem, but the filesystem was configured to flush this to disk every 1 second. During that 1 second, that data was only stored in memory. So when the power went off, that data was lost. When the power came back on, the database freaked out because of that missing second. During this freakout, unknown bad stuff happened and the main database got corrupted beyond repair.

    Luckily, we have a live backup database (called a slave) where all the data is replicated in real time. The purpose of a slave is to act as a backup in the event that the master dies. Unfortunately, the slave is an exact identical copy of the master, so when the power went out, the slave had the exact same problem. So now our backup was toast too.

    I should say here, that this 1-second buffer was a mistake and I take full responsibility for this. It was this oversight that is likely the cause of the problems. The way that it was setup, it would have been easy to recover if the master or the slave failed independently. A simultaneous failure was unrecoverable. I admit that I did not anticipate a scenario where both the master and slave would fail simultaneously, and I did not understand the ramifications of the 1-second buffer . The database is now configured to flush to disk immediately, which should greatly help in the short term. We are also exploring other options for long term changes.

    So, now we were in the sorry state of having to rely on our nightly offline backup, which is done at 4am every day. First, we had to transfer this huge file in from offsite, which took forever. Then we had to import all this data back into the database, which also took forever. This got us restored to 4am yesterday morning. Now, what we needed to do was replay the logs from 4am onward. The logs are like a big tape recorder. Every modification to the database gets logged in a linear fashion to the log. So, if we rewind the tape recorder and then play it back into the database, it won’t know the difference from real user interaction and recorded interaction. This replay took forever. When it was done, we ran some tests and came back online.

    Fortunately, all of the data has been restored. When I say “all” I should qualify that by saying that we did lose that 1-second buffer. So, if you were using the website at 7:15 CDT last night, there is a slight chance that you may have lost the last thing that you did. There is also a slight but unverifiable chance that people who were using the website at 4:00am CDT yesterday morning might have a few edits missing. This is due to the nature of switching from the offsite backup to the tape recorder playback. The data loss should be extremely minimal, and only for a handful of people using the website yesterday at exactly 4:00am or 7:15pm.

    I would just like to say that there is nobody (nobody) more horrified by this than myself. I was sick to my stomach all night; still am a little. Even though no data was lost, 16 hours of downtime is completely inexcusable and unacceptable. I know how important it is to have your to-do list available at all times.

    I fully expect to be issuing a lot of refunds and losing customers over this issue. The only thing that I can say is that I am deeply deeply sorry and I am doing everything in my power to prevent this from happening again. Coincidentally, just last night Amazon had a similar weather related outage that affected a huge number of customers, so it can affect even the largest companies. I know that that is no excuse, I just wanted to put things in perspective.

    As a small token of appreciation for people who are willing to stick with Toodledo, I will be giving all existing Pro and Pro Plus subscribers a free month on the end of their subscriptions. Also, for the next thirty days, new Pro and Pro Plus subscribers will be getting 13 months instead of the usual 12 for their subscription payment.

    I really appreciate all the positive remarks that I have received so far from users.

    I am happy to answer questions below.

    Thanks,
    Jake

  65. Lex

    Did you notice how nicely was Toodledo talking about the 3rd party that caused their outage?

    Anyway I have one more comment about how you didn’t bother to do anything during the holiday weekend. It looks like pure ignorance. What if some of your customers had medical emergency and couldn’t read their medical data in the corrupt ewallet? What if somebody was arrested and couldn’t access his legal information?

    I think that instead of Friday shopping your employees should rush to work and fix the problem as soon as possible.

  66. Simon Dare

    Guys

    This is more about Apple’s stupidly controlling mentality. Yes Marc dropped a big one – but he has apologised and is trying to sort it out!

    Remember if Marc could upload updates in his own timescale and with direct access to his customers (like PPC and all other mobile OS’s) this problem would not have happened.

    And yes the update all button is an issue – why do you think it was not always on the apps store on the iphone – my guess is it will disapear again sometime soon!

    Well done Marc, you have as far as I see it saved the situation finally!

    Simon

  67. David

    My feeling is that I’m perfectly fine with “forcing” people to pay for eWallet 7. The iphone app for 7 should have been a separate app, and if people want to upgrade to it and or the desktop, that’s fine. I’m 90% sure I won’t see the need to. And if they had left version 6 alone, then 80% of this uproar would never have happened.

    The other 20% would have been from people upset at the thought of having to pay for a version upgrade for an iphone app, much like the griping that people had when that one twitter app came out with a separate new version and people didn’t like the idea of paying again. Hey, as long as the vendor isn’t crippling the old version, then it’s up to you if you want to pay for new features.

  68. MadCap

    Marc ia full of shit on blaming Apple. There are ways (or at least one) to publish apps on specified dates, he just don’t know them. Standard procedure is to set release date long in the future, get approved, set it back to proper dat, done. Other thing is the warning – Marc is probably not an iPhone user or one of the few who actually go through the updates by hand – wast majority just do update all with thanks but no thanks result in this case. Thinking about customers and making it backward compatible should be the approach – not this shallow appology for forced upgrade and blaming the mistake on a 3rd party. What a shame:-P

  69. Chris D

    I’m kind of grumpy, but hoping for a good resolution. I too have been a eWallet user for years and years, following the progression from PPC, desktop, smartphone, etc. My phone died a couple weeks ago, so I finally broke down and crossed to the dark side, buying an iPhone. A big factor for me was knowing that eWallet was on iPhone now. Well, I REALLY don’t like the limitation of having to sync via wi-fi… a world of difference from how easy the auto-sync was when I charged my previous phone from my computer. But this app update thing has been a bit annoying, too. If I had known there would be limits, I wouldn’t have done the update. Yes, some of these problems are really tied to the iPhone itself, which is disappointing for such a great device. But I’m hoping that Ilium comes up with a way to overcome and fix these to give us the eWallet iPhone performance that should be happening. Looking forward to seeing version 7.0, hoping it’s a good update, and that Ilium might sweeten the incentive a bit with this app update problem, too.

  70. Chris D

    Oh, and I also want to emphasize just how critical the information is that I’ve got stored in eWallet. It’s not a fun game or useful utility. Ilium has created a program that stores information VITAL to people’s lives now, and it’s critical that the program work right, every time, fully sync up with my other eWallets, and never, never, NEVER lose any data. The standards are high for realiability, but it’s only because of the nature of what Ilium has created!

  71. Albert

    Hi Marc,
    Like so many other I am also using eWallet since iPaq (2001 or so) and paid through a number of upgrades and for the iPhone version. I won’t repeat what others said so much better than me, but please count my vote also.
    One thing that nobody wrote about (or I missed it somehow) is that Thanksgiving is mainly a US ‘thing’. Over here in Europe and I am sure also in many other areas of the world, we went to work normally on Thursday and Friday. Not to mention that for us Monday morning was at least 6 hours before US woke up, so try and put yourself in our shoes also. We *are* your customers and the fact that we take the time to write to you shows that we care about ‘our’ software therefore about you. Would you have prefered that everyone silently moves to another solution ? I hope not.
    When you explain that ‘I had only 5 hours to deal with this’ I can accept that, but please do not forget that some of us had full days to deal with disfunctionaly software and silence from your part.
    I also am trying to make profitable some software business and provide a nice work environment for my 7 employees, but it would never cross my mind to close the shop completely for such a long weekend, knowing that a major update/upgrade is already in the appstore approval pipeline. Especially when having customers all over the world !
    Another extra note about life-threatening posts – I honestly believe that if you left those on the blog, it would have helped us better to step in your shoes and see your point of view. Probably most of the people that send this kind of things regret it by now.
    Sorry, I can’t help it, another extra note: c’mon, I do not believe you honestly ignore the fact that a) on the iPhone people update apps in ‘batch mode’ so they cannot read the smallprint b) the users never read these messages, when they see a button they click on it straight away. Every software developer that had his software actually used by a human knows that ! We can use it to dodge responsibility, but in all fair conscience we know the users almost never read these texts.
    I really hope we all learn from this experience, but I am sorry for you the trust your userbase had in you took a big hit this weekend. Trust is something you build soo slow but you can loose so fast.
    I really think you can still limit the damage if you convince us that a) it was not an intentional move to force us buy an upgrade b) it will never happen again.

  72. DaveU

    I think it is more than “a few” who choose to go through updates by hand. Personally I think it is madness to allow auto updating of any bit of random software onto a PC or mobile device. Even for Microsoft updates I have always set my machines to download and notify, but never auto install. I then take a look at what the update offers, and then make an informed decision as to whether I want it. A good example of this was IE8 – Microsoft was trying to install this long before it was fully compatible with many sites, therefore I was able to choose not to install it. Same goes for the eWallet 7.0 update – I read the text that was displayed with the update, which clearly said that it may need a new version of desktop – so I didn’t just hit the auto update button, and as a result still have a fully functioning product, which I can choose to update when the situation has been resolved.

    Sounds like Ilium are planning to resolve this issue pretty quickly, and really can’t understand all the angst around this. Sure it’s a bit annoying how it has happened, but get some perspective – It’s not life and death. Everyone can still access their vital data, but there’s just going to be a few days when it can’t be sync’d until the solution is published.

  73. MadCap

    For me, it’s a long wait. My eWallet on iPhone is not synced and currently can’t be. So “pretty quickly” was too late 4 days ago.
    Oh and the updates -> even while hand checking the updates (I do it from time to time when some of the apps catches my mind, but I wasn’t thinking about it this time :( ) I tend to “update all” after crawling through them (because every update kicks me out of the appstore and it takes forever for 10 updates for example).

  74. Paddy Brown

    What is it you Americans say? “Enough already!” Marc has now apologised to any who’ve been offended (which includes me) and a forwards-compatible revision of the Desktop is now imminent. Lets wait and see how good things really are :-)

  75. Marc Post author

    @MadCap: You mention that I am “full of shiat” about the update timing. If you set a release date it takes the app off the site. So if we had set a later release date for eWallet 7.0, on Thursday night it would have pulled the app off the iTunes store which has its own set of perils. So unfortunately, you really can’t set the dates for an update release.

    @Anyone Outside the US: Sorry – when I say “Tuesday morning” I mean “Tuesday morning US” since those are the hours we work. And as far as the holiday goes, I am sorry that you got hurt by us being gone for the holiday. Although you don’t take those days off, it meant there wasn’t anyone here to make major changes. I absolutely understand the timezone/holiday thing and I’m sorry when that messes things up for folks overseas.

    @All: At this point I’m working at moving on with releasing 7.0 and implenting some fixes. I understand that there are still unresolved issues but I can’t really discuss them here right now – not because I don’t want to – it’s just that I need to work on the tasks at hand.

    BUT HERE IS AN OPEN INVITATION!

    If you still want to discuss this, have questions that weren’t answered, or just want to vent (or heck – I’ll take compliments too!) send an email to info@iliumsoft.com with ATTN: MARC as the subject and it will go right to me! It might take a few days due to the release but I WILL reply to you.

    Thanks again for all the feedback and I’ll keep you updated about the release and 6.1 sync fix (which we’re testing right now!)

  76. Carl

    Hi

    @Marc + Team. Well done for being up front and personnel over the last days and dealing with the issue with diligence and concern.

    Although I can understand the frustrations of people unable to access their important and valuable information, which in cases may have affect their business activities. Which company (the answer is none) can say nothing has ever gone wrong from strategy to implementation.

    Thou I still believe it went a little over the top and quite worrying to be honest at times from intelligent folk. If an issue is raised with a supplier they need to be given chance to rectify the issue, whatever the cause and not have it get personnel its business.

    This kind of dedication and giving a rats about customers is why I trust Ilium with not just my online access and details, but everything to insurance details and every other bit of info I need secure but within easy reach.

    Also I am aware that what is stored in my ewallet is not making its way into marketing associates of the business product I use.

    Im not one to give praise often, thou I have never had to call for support since I started using the product so no hastle here.

    So when we get the scoop on the big update ;-).

    Regards

    Carl

  77. JoeDr

    Marc, you folks are doing a great job and I will be glad to put out a few dollars for 7.0 ESPECIALLY with the teaser @DeanRoberts picked up on too. I am a Mac guy. Just waiting for the website to have 7.0 on it.

  78. Marc Post author

    @Carl and JoeDr: Thanks! :)

    @All: And to let everyone know – the release is “in progress”. It requires the simultaneous launching of web pages, online store components, retailer files, retailer descriptions, and a bunch more – takes a couple of hours to get it rolling but we’re working on it!

  79. Dean Roberts

    Marc said:

    mac? mac? MAC!!?
    I’ve got something for you – not exactly what you’re expecting but I think you’ll like it! Check back tomorrow!

    I’m so curious to see what this means!

  80. Frank

    Guess the cat is out of the bag:

    http://www.iliumsoft.com/site/ew/ew_70.php

    “With the release of eWallet 7.0 we’re completely reshaping how you buy the product. Now, you can use eWallet on any device we support for one low price. So if you switch devices in the future, or have different devices for work and home, you can use eWallet on all of them. No extra versions. No extra purchases. Because when you buy or upgrade eWallet, it’s for you, not your device.”

    But I guess the iPhone version will still be a separate purchase through the appstore (for new customers), whereas all other platforms are supported by the “universal” version you can buy directly at Ilium, correct?

  81. Michael

    Just downloaded the new desktop version and LOVE IT! Thanks, Marc. The product is, as usual, terrific, and the price is more than reasonable.

  82. Marc Post author

    @All: Some of the pages and downloads are already working. I’ll post the official announcement shortly!

    @Frank: Right – there is no good way for us to do the universal thing through iTunes. I won’t go into that here BUT you can still by iPhone for $9.99 and then upgrade to the full package for $10.00 more. The end result is (for most folks) the same thing.

    @Michael and Simon: Cool and thanks! :) We’re really excited about this.

  83. Daniel

    Does this mean …

    that the purchased key will also be valid for your upcoming Mac OSX-Version?

    On the iPhone, will it now be possible to create new cards based on custom-made templates created on the desktop application?

  84. Pingback: eWallet 6 to eWallet 7 iPhone Sync Compatibility « Ilium Software Blog

  85. Marc Post author

    @Daniel: I’ll start with the easy one. No, template sync was not included in this version nor was custom template creation on the iPhone but it IS on the update list (that is, things we ARE planning to do.)

    As for the pricing, I am not sure if the Mac version will go out as part of a free upgrade or part of a paid upgrade, but either way, once you own the full eWallet package, the upgrade price gets you any new features AND any new platforms. So in a worst case scenario you’d be paying the reduced upgrade price. It would not be a new purchase.

  86. Carl

    Ello again!

    Sync to Firefox, yay can dump I.E I had for Ewallet only.

    Mac version in reach. Come on home straight.

    Thou this is my third post (in 2 days may I add) since i brough Ewallet moons ago, its a record.

    Why do I feel im spamming ;-) Ill stop now.

    Good work guys and gal’s, I feel kind of sad (grinning) over a piece of software but its a key part of my setup.

    Kind Regards

    Carl

  87. Allison

    I’m curious why the iPhone customers apparently have to pay for the upgrade if they purchased eWallet over the past few months but other users do not? Thanks.

  88. Matt Parrish

    @marc

    I am glad that you guys are making the steps to correct this mess. As promised before, I will work just has hard to praise your company’s efforts for making this right as I did complaining to make you understand our position. If you guys follow through with making this right, not only will I purchase Desktop 7, but as my role as IT Director for a retail corporation, I will give serious consideration for the next round of software upgrades/purchases.

    You may be surprised, even in this economy, how generous and loyal your customers can be, if you show them the same loyalty.

  89. Marc Post author

    @Allison: The policy is the same for everyone. iPhone users who purchased eWallet for desktop within the past 90 days get the upgrade to the complete package for free.

    If you only purchased the iPhone version and didn’t add the desktop, even if you purchased in the last 90 days, the iPhone version is the only free upgrade. You need to already own the desktop version to get the free or updated pricing.

    @Matt Parrish: Thanks, Matt. And check the other blog posts! You’ll see we already released the update that lets you sync eWallet 6 on Windows PC with eWallet 7 on iPhone.

  90. MiniMe

    @ Marc.

    OK – I’ll offer my complete and humble apologies. You have obviously done very well in getting out a syncable version of V6 desktop. Well done!

    Actually, I should be thanking you – but I don’t think you’ll appreciate it. Because of the fiasco attached to all of this I have spent some of today looking at competing applications. And I have found one that is very similar to eWallet both in Desktop and iPhone – (don’t think it’s fair to say which one here) except for one detail which hugely enhances the functionality of the iPhone app. What is it? Autofill! I can now link directly to a website in iPhone Safari AND it will autofill the login details. As I tend to use strong passwords, that functionality is HUGE! And it’s only cost me a couple of dollars more than your upgrade would have.

    I do think you’ve tried very hard and you deserve credit for that even though some of the stuff you’ve written here still doesn’t stack up. So I wish you luck with your launch and I might even consider coming back if you add autofill to your iPhone app.

  91. Allison

    @Marc-

    I guess I’m dense. So users on other platforms who purchased their eWallet (with or without the desktop) recently receive eWallet 7 gratis (and eWallet 7 includes the PC, or, desktop, version) but not the iPhoners? I don’t find any reference that non-iPhoners must have purchased the desktop version.

    I must be missing something here. If I’m not, why the discrimination?

  92. Marc Post author

    @Allison:

    eWallet for iPhone is $9.99 on iTunes. That gets you eWallet on iPhone only. You do not get a desktop version for this price.

    If you want to use eWallet on your desktop, there is an additional cost of $10.00. It doesn’t automatically come with the iPhone version.

    If you paid the $10.00 for the extra version for desktop in the past 90 days, you get eWallet 7 on the desktop for free. If you paid the $10.00 to add eWallet for desktop more than 90 days ago, the upgrade is $10.00.

    This isn’t just for iPhone people. If a person bought eWallet for Windows Mobile but NOT the desktop version, they too would pay $10.00 to add the desktop version.

    The ONLY people who are getting desktop upgrade for free, are people who paid for it less than 90 days ago. Everyone else (whether an iPhone user or not) pays for an update.

    Hope that helps!

  93. Frank

    @Allison: I can’t speak for Ilium, but it may be because the iPhone app has always been less expensive for new customers than any of the other pre-7.0 versions were. If recent iPhone buyers got the “universal” version for free now, they would get the total package (i.e. iPhone + “universal”) for $10, while everybody else has paid $20 or more. And remember that iPhoners get the 7.0 upgrade of the iPhone app for free.

  94. Marc Post author

    @Frank and Allison: Thanks, Frank. Basically, eWallet is now $19.95. If you buy it in two parts ($9.99 at the AppStore + $10.00 to get the universal package) or together (WinMo users who pay $19.95 directly from us for instance) it’s the same price. In fact this release is even MORE fair than previous ones in that everyone pays the same price. Iphone just makes things a little wonky because we can’t offer the universal package direct (wish we could) but the end result is the same.

    NOW MAYBE you are asking about “If I upgrade my iPhone to 7 for free, do I HAVE to pay for an upgrade?” If that is the question the answer is no. See the newer blog posts as I handle that there.

  95. Matt Parrish

    @marc: Thank you. I downloaded and it worked great. You guys did the right thing and I think I can speak for a lot of us that are greatly relieved. You have re-affirmed my belief in your company and your great products. I read MiniMe’s comments above about using this time to find a competitor’s product that was supposedly better than yours. Personally, I don’t care if the competition is better (which I personally doubt), you’ve earned my loyalty back today and that’s something far more important than features.

    Now I’m off to go buy Desktop 7.0!

  96. Marc Post author

    @Matt Parrish: Thanks, Matt! We all really appreciate your response. And to make sure the lines of communication stay open during this release (which is pretty much the biggest thing we’ve ever done) I am posting Release Updates at the bottom of the announcment blog post to keep people updated as to what is happening.

    Thanks again!

  97. Allison

    @Marc,

    That does help clarify things…thanks. I guess the “package” price, irrespective of platform is $20. I guess an exception would be those who received preferential pricing as a result of coming over from a competing product?

    Regarding eWallet 7 for iPhone… I see there is a sync solution between it and the eWallet Desktop 6… I don’t find much information around eWallet 7 for iPhone in terms of how it differs from eWallet 6 for iPhone. Is it simply an update in order to sync with the changed desktop version?

    Thanks.

  98. Marc

    @Allison: You wrote:

    “Regarding eWallet 7 for iPhone… I see there is a sync solution between it and the eWallet Desktop 6…”

    That’s what the blog post after this one covers. It includes a download link to a build for WIndows PC that solves this issue.

    “I don’t find much information around eWallet 7 for iPhone in terms of how it differs from eWallet 6 for iPhone. Is it simply an update in order to sync with the changed desktop version?”

    It doesn’t differ much. We actually rolled out new iPhone features a couple months back as part of the 6.2 iPhone release. Additional iPhone features are in the works now.

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