Monthly Archives: September 2008

Android – Dream or Nightmare?

With the Android G1 officially announced, and a plethora of videos of it sprouting up around the web, I thought I’d take a second to throw in my two cents. I’d also like to hear what your thoughts are as well!

Now naturally, we’re watching Android very close. Any new entry into the mobile market is extremely important to us. Will Android be a major player? Or just another neat idea that never takes off? Will they change the mobile marketplace? Or simply offer more of the same with a new UI?

If you’re interested in my take on this, or would like to throw in your own opinion, read on after the jump!

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eWallet 6.1.3

Hey, everyone! We just released a new version of eWallet for Windows PC. Based on some of the great feedback we got from iPhone customers, we were able to make a couple of tweaks that should help to avoid some of the iPhone sync problems some people have seen.

We’ve sent this version to many users now and it does seem to help with the following issues:

  • Some cases where it can’t find the iPhone.
  • The problem where it can’t find the wallet on the phone and tries to create a new one there very time.

So, if you’re running into either of these issues, give this new version a try. Just install it over the old desktop version and it will auto-register. You can download it here. And this way, if you’re still having trouble, it will let us eliminate a variety of problems.

We don’t plan a mass email about this. The reason is that while the problems are insanely annoying to the folks that see them, the iPhone sync issues are really quite rare. We hate to have people go through an update process when there is really no advantage for them in doing so. Not only that, but even “there is a new version” emails feel like SPAM to many folks. Despite the fact that lots of people like to get these, even more don’t like to get them. Even opting-in to get the notifications, people still view corporate email negatively.

So there you go – your ‘insight into the mind of an Ilium Software product manager’ for the day! And for those of you with sync issues, hopefully this will solve some problems!

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that we’re also working on a minor iPhone side update that resolves the ‘invisible keyboard’ issue some people have run into with the 2.1 iPhone update. While we aren’t entirely sure what Apple changed that resulted in this problem, we did manage to fix it! Probably a week or two and it will be out.

Avast, me hearties!

Ahoy! As ye likely know tis the finest of all holidays today! Tis the day that sends shivers of fear through the hearts of god fearing folk from one end of this great land to the other, while swelling with pride the tiny little hearts of true blooded sailors everywhere! So weigh anchor, raise the sails, and draw yer cutlass, for today is none other than:

Talk Like a Pirate Day!


The Return of Electricity

I’m happy to say our power is back on, so we’ll be catching up with phone messages and emails today. Thanks to everyone who sent good wishes, and we apologize to everyone who has to wait a little longer than usual to hear back from us.

I really appreciate electricity. It’s truly one of my favorite things.

eWallet: As seen in the New York Times…

We were pretty darn excited to discover that eWallet got mentioned in the New York Times today! Bob Tedeschi wrote an excellent article about how smartphones are opening up a new route to the internet (pg. C7). With the arrival of robust, powerful web browsers on smartphones, combined with high res screens and faster networks (not to mention WiFi), more and more people are using their phones as one of their prime gateways to the internet.

Needless to say, it’s been a ton of fun getting all this attention. Of course this also means our phones are ringing off the hook, our email server is running on overdrive, and our online store is busier than Walmart on the day after Thanksgiving!

I just want to let everyone know that we’re doing everything in our power to make sure that folks are still getting the sort of top quality support you’ve come to expect from us. Handling each contact individually, and having it handled by someone who knows what they’re doing, is a little slower than some speedy but less effective methods of support, but in the end we know we’ve done our very best to help. So we apologize if it takes us a day or so to get back to you, but we assure you that everyone with a computer here is helping out in some way so we can make sure to answer all your questions, fulfill all your orders, and reply to all your requests!

Answering questions…

Morning everyone! Today I’m going to answer a few of the specific questions that have come up. Not all of these are related to iPhone sync, but they are things we have either heard a lot or that we think should get answered.

Getting Sync Help (and the Blog)

It’s great to see so many people taking an interest in the blog. The one problem we have at the moment is that we simply can’t provide support to people through the blog comments. If you have problems, you are still welcome to post here and there is a chance another reader can offer advice, but if you want a response from us please contact technical support. Logistically, it just isn’t possible to provide good support through a blog.

“Wow! There are a lot of problems!”

Actually, there aren’t. What we have are a lot of problems getting posted here because people would like some help. Another thing we have right now is about 1000X the normal number of people using the software for the first simultaneously. Usually we have a limited group each day who have fired up the software for the first time. Right now though – EVERYONE is firing it up for the first time. As a result we are getting a lot more questions than usual.

In reality (and looking at the numbers for downloads/sales/etc.) the vast majority of users don’t have any trouble at all. We are getting far more “It worked great! Thanks!” emails than problems. Now, that isn’t to say having a problem doesn’t suck – it does. But fortunately most folks are having a great experience.

Will you add FTP/Net sync to the iPhone?

I hope to at some point. No set schedule for releasing this, though.

When an update wipes out my data on the iPhone, that’s Ilium’s fault!

I won’t blame anyone for being angry if this happens, but seriously, we have zero control over this. The entire installation/update/etc. process is handled 100% by Apple. There is no special code we can include, no settings we can change, and no system we can tweak to affect this. I REALLY wish we could. Fortunately, with sync out, it will be easier to back up wallets now if Apple does zap your data.

Does AutoPass work on the iPhone?

No. This feature has only ever been available for Windows PCs using a helpful plug-in offered by MS in Internet Explorer. We are looking at ways to add this to mobile device, but at this time it is only available on the desktop.

Will my background images sync?

No. Background images do not sync. This isn’t something eWallet has ever offered ALTHOUGH we are working on adding this for a future release. You can still add backgrounds on the device or on the desktop, but the images do not sync yet.

What are those extra backgrounds and icons for?

The extra backgrounds are all included on the iPhone already. The extra icons are for Windows devices. We have put some things in place that should allow us to offer additional icons for the iPhone in the future, but at this time they are a Windows only feature.

Where is the BlackBerry version? Did you abandon it for iPhone?

Nope. We are working very hard with WebIS to get the BlackBerry version out. As I’ve mentioned before, there were some problems that we had to resolve. We will continue to push forward on that project.

When will the Mac version be out?

We are shooting for the end of this year. That’s our target date.

When will ListPro for iPhone be out?

I don’t have a release date scheduled for ListPro at this time, but we are working on it.

Why are people still seeing problems with sync? Did you test for these?

Absolutely. We did insane amounts of testing. The challenge with any sync release (and we saw this with out other platforms as well when they first went out) is that there are a near infinite varieties of environments people will be using this in. For instance, we’ve already discovered that when set up certain ways, Zone Alarm, Windows Firewall, and Norton Anti-virus can cause sync problems. This isn’t something we would typically warn folks about because it depends completely on having the “perfect storm” of settings/environment. Many people will sync just fine even with these in place.

Not only that, but it’s one thing when you have dozens of people working with a product. You will find a LOT of problems that you can fix and resolve doing that. Send that same product out to thousands (nearly 3000 people downloaded it in the first few hours it was out) and now you’re going to find out things you never dreamed of.

And a lot of what we are seeing aren’t “bugs” but simply finding out what advice we need to give folks as they setup sync. In some cases we can tweak the code to handle certain scenarios better, but in a lot of cases it will come down to finding better ways to provide the instructions to avoid the issues.

Why do I have to start sync on both sides? Why do I need this partnership?

Security and ease of use. First off, the partnership allows you to establish sync and then easily perform secure synchronizations in the future without going through a lot of verifications. So by building a partnership between eWallet on desktop and eWallet on iPhone, you create a trusted network. Now some applications just say “pick a device to sync with” and show a picture of a computer. You click. You sync. That’s handy, but it means that one of the following things are happening:

Your computer is constantly broadcasting that it is ready to sync. Not only is this a waste of resources, it’s extremely insecure. You don’t want a constant “sync with me” message shouting from a secure info manager every time you use it (or even when you aren’t using it!)

Your computer isn’t verifying who it is synching with. Unless a clear, secure partnership is in place, you might not be synching with who you think you are. Just firing off the data and hoping the right person picks it up is terribly insecure.

So yes, it’s an extra step, but frankly I designed it in a way that would make ME feel safe with my own data when I sync. In the long run, I feel that this is a better design choice than sacrificing security for ease of use.

And so…

Again, we’re really happy so many people are getting the new version. The response has been fantastic as have the comments. To those of you having problems, we’re sorry you’ve run into trouble and we hope that you’ll contact our support folks. We brought in extra help to make sure that anyone who is having trouble can get the help they need in a timely fashion.


eWallet Sync Troubleshooting

Hey everyone! As I announced, eWallet sync is out and it’s going really well. For most folks it’s a simple process and is working like a charm. Of course as one would expect with the number of folks we have upgrading right now, some people are running into some problems. Fortunately, most of these are pretty easily fixed.

So if you’re one of the folks who are having some trouble, read on. I’ve got some easy fixes, and if you’re still having trouble let us know via our support lines! We’ll get you up and running. Continue reading

It’s Out!

In case you hadn’t already heard the news, eWallet iPhone sync is out! It went out yesterday evening. Thanks to everyone here who worked so hard to make this happen, and thank you to all of you out there who stuck with us and gave us your support along the way. It’s great to hit the “finish line!”

So, on to the other sync topics!

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My Release Philosophy

I know everyone is waiting with bated breath for the release of the sync component for iPhone. I’ve heard the grumbling and I don’t blame people for being impatient. And what I talk about here isn’t meant to make you feel happy or wash away frustrations. I just want to address these concerns, especially for folks new to dealing with Ilium Software, so you understand the way we do things.

I’m also writing this because when we first created this blog, we told you that we’d give you a little insight into what happens behind the scenes at Ilium Software. The things I talk about here really highlight the sort of decisions and challenges we face everyday. So if you’re interested, read on after the jump! Continue reading