Monday, December 17, 2007

75% of users who voted had significant or extreme problems - things are improving!

Things have been going a bit quieter here recently.

The poll on how you found the service in November 2007 received only 48 votes.

The breakdown was:

A: No problems : 5 votes (10.4%)

B: Rare problems : 7 votes (14.6%)
(within tolerable levels)

C: Significant problems : 12 votes (25.0%)
(difficult to tolerate)

D: Extreme problems : 24 votes (50.0%)
(causing severe difficulties)


So how is the service performing in December? Polling is now open and will run for a week into January.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

OFFICIAL BLOG: Network outage

This is on the official Mediamax blog dated 4 December. See:
http://mediamaxblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/network-outage.html

---quote begins
Network outage

UPDATE: This problem has been corrected and everything should fully functional.

We are experiencing some network connectivity problems which may result in the inability to get to the MediaMax website. This should be resolved shortly and we apologize for any inconvenience.

As always, we will update this post with updates on this issue.
---

You can't leave comments there, so leave them here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Software upgrade and upload processing

The following is on the official blog, 16 November:

http://mediamaxblog.blogspot.com/2007/11/software-upgrade-and-upload-processing.html

---
UPDATE: We're back up to speed!

Although MediaMax is fully accessible, we are upgrading the server software on a number of our servers today which has caused some delay in uploads being processed.

As always, we will post here when we're back up to speed.
---

You can't leave comments there, so leave them here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Errors in November 2007

I'll post updates on the official Mediamax blog about upload delays as comments on this entry, rather than a new one each time.

You can find it from the 'errors list' link at the side.

This has been posted today. See:
http://mediamaxblog.blogspot.com/2007/11/upload-delay.html

---
UPDATE: We're back up to normal speeds, thank you for your patience!

Just a quick note to our users that there's a brief upload delay so files won't immediately appear as per normal.

We should be caught up shortly and will update this post when we're caught up again.
---

You can't leave comments on the official blog, so leave them here.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Over 70% of Mediamax users who voted here had extreme problems with the service in October 2007

The poll of Mediamax users on this blog for system performance in October 2007 found 70% saying they experienced extreme problems, with just 5% saying they experienced no problems.

The Mediamax website continues to advertise it as a reliable back up service. Beware.

Here are the figures (total votes 121):

A: No problems : 6 vote (4.96%)

B: Rare problems : 5 votes (4.13%)
(within tolerable levels)

C: Significant problems : 25 votes (20.66%)
(difficult to tolerate)

D: Extreme problems : 85 votes (70.25%)
(causing severe difficulties)

As a graph:


So how is the service performing in November? Polling is now open and will run for a week into December.

There is now a Mediamax users club on the Yuwie social networking site. Yuwie has the functionality of other social networking sites, but users get a cut of advertising revenue - so sharing information with other Mediamax users will pay you!

Click here
to join Yuwie if you are not already a member and find the club there.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Mediamax ftp gateway beta 1

Posted on the official blog at:
http://mediamaxblog.blogspot.com/2007/10/mediamax-ftp-gateway-beta-1.html

---

Today we announce the availability of MediaMax FTP Gateway Beta 1. You can download the latest bits right here.

What can the FTP Gateway do?
The FTP Gateway lets you use an FTP client to both upload and download from your account instead of using our standard web interface.

What are the requirements to use the FTP Gateway?
To run the MediaMax FTP Gateway Beta you'll need:


Windows 2000, Windows XP or Windows Vista

Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 (we'll grab it automatically if you don't have it installed yet)

An FTP client like SmartFTP or FileZilla.

Is it secure?
The MediaMax FTP Gateway runs over secure HTTP (https) for both uploads and downloads.

Important Notes

Accounts with a large number of files may not be able to see files for downloading. You will still be able to upload to your account however

You may notice slower transfer speeds than what you may be accustomed to on the MediaMax web interface

Feedback
We would love to hear your feedback about the MediaMax FTP Gateway. To send us feedback, click the feedback link in the main Gateway window, or send us an e-mail.

Support
If you encounter serious issues with the FTP Gateway which are not covered in this document, you can contact our support team at support@mediamax.com. As the FTP Gateway is beta software, we may not be able to immediately solve all issues. Additionally, our support team will not be able to assist with issues regarding third-party FTP clients.

Where can I learn more?
You can read the full release notes either by installing the gateway or you can read them right here

THANK YOU!
We hope you find the FTP Gateway beneficial!
---

You can't leave comments on the official blog so leave them here

Monday, October 29, 2007

Files lost forever? What are the next steps?

There has been no word from Mediamax on their blog, but according to a comment posted here, Mediamax CEO Steve Iverson has said the file recovery process has completed.

Files were lost on 15 June when Mediamax botched the move to new servers. Customer services were awful communicating news on this and it was only through this blog that we learned the scale of the data loss. We were also promised substantial recovery of files.

John Hood said:
http://mediamaxusers.blogspot.com/2007/08/files-coming.html

---
We are about a third of the way through restoring access to files. I don't have a timeline for you beyond what Steve has already stated. We have more than a petabyte of files to sift through. What I can say is that 99.9998% of the files that we have tried to restore access to have been successful. We're working with our vendor to speed up the process.
---

A petabyte is 10 to the power 15.

Well, WillTRiker posted about communication with Steve stating:
http://mediamaxusers.blogspot.com/2007/10/mediamax-v6.html

"basically this is finished and according to Steve they nearly got everything back that was accidentely deleted."

Martin posted a comment on that post saying that 36% of his files are missing.

---Extract begins
File recovery. Steve Iverson says the process is finished and they got back ‘nearly everything that was accidentally deleted’. I’m not saying that Steve Iverson is lying about this although I have carefully measured that 36% (9,625 missing out of 27,107) of the files in my major collection are still showing as ‘inaccessible’ and other people are also reporting similar loss rates.

Steve is probably right they DID get back most of the files that were accidentally deleted on 15 June 2007 but they did NOT restore the several thousand files that have been affected by ‘collection rot’ over the previous years and almost certainly many of which were previously lost during the August 2006 migration from Streamload to MediaMax.

Dress it up in carefully worded half truths if you like Steve, but the net result is that MediaMax has LOST 36% of my files, and presumably affected other long term users to a similar extent. Perhaps most of these files are in fact still stored somewhere on your servers and it is just the directory links that are stuffed up. Whatever the explanation, around 250Gb of my files are gone. Actually, that probably pleases you as it is 250Gb less storage that you need to provide and goes some way to ‘clearing the dead weight on the servers’ (whether it is truly dead weight or not). Does it please me to have lost more than one third of the files painstakingly uploaded during the past four years while being continually assured that they were ‘safely and reliably’ stored by MediaMax? Well what do you think!
---extract ends

Not the 0.0002% John Hood suggested would be the case.

And no news or apology on the official blog!!

The Mediamax website still promises:

---
MediaMax, powered by Streamload, gives you a private and secure place to upload, store, access, and share your personal videos, photos, movies, music, and files.

* Store files securely on the web. Get 25 GBs of FREE online storage.
* Access your files from any web browser.
* Share all your files quickly and easily, without file size restrictions.
* Host videos, audio, images and more on the web.
* Backup your files and data safely and reliably.
---

Here is a screenshot:

Click on it for the larger version.

I haven't explored the terms and conditions, and perhaps there is a disclaimer saying that 'secure storage' means that all your files may be lost without compensation. But even if there is, it seems to me that advertising a service that the company has no track record of delivering successfully and continuing to bill customers who are not receiving that service is a little suspect.

So I'm tagging this entry with 'legal action' for anyone who is interested in pursuing this line or offering advice on it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mediamax v6

Someone has posted the following comment on a previous entry following communication with Steve Iverson, CEO of Mediamax:

---
As Iverson explained to me on the conference call, Version 5 is a lost cause. I don't expect much improvement in it. I think from what he showed me about version 6 those who cancelled are gonna be regretful. Steve Iverson is very honest about the lost files and the problems of version 5. I think Version 6 is gonna be a huge improvement.
---

If Steve can comment further, please do.
WillTRiker has seen a demo of Version 6 and posted the following comment. Great to know this blog has served a useful purpose for Mediamax.

Allright, a try at a somewhat more indepth view of the demo I attended yesterday.

First of all one has to realise that V6 is still in development and that design clearly wasn't yet implemented ... i.o.w. it looked reasonably crappy, but I wasn't paying attention to how it looked, but as to how it functioned. Also I have to take into account that was just a demo on a limited database that can't compare with the MediaMax community as a whole so whatever I say is based on this demo. Final judgement will hopefully reflect the same feelings, but will not be made until I have experienced the final product myself.

During the demo Steve and John Hood said that they had taken a look at the wish list on this blog and that basically everything that was on there was or will be build into V6. I didn't see every wish being implemented during the demonstration, but these are the ones I can confirm and I have no doubt the others are or will be there as well. From my own list I saw item 2, 6, 8, 15-17 and 19-21. Afaik, there are no more demo's but if there is another one I'd love for people that attend to see if the others are already there as well.

Now for some highlights / points of interests:

- FILE RECOVERY PROCESS: basically this is finished and according to Steve they nearly got everything back that was accidentely deleted. Now I know Martin here has different figures which may have something to do with the entire system being unstable as I've seen files coming and going. The problem of file availability should be clear when the next step is taken ...

- CONVERSION: in order to go from V5 to V6 were going to have to endure another conversion. This is inevitable since they rewrote the entire code and atm this is expected to last 2-4 weeks when they flip the switch. A special note of interest is that MM will NOT convert links to files that are corrupt or no longer there. What this means is that every file you have in your V6 account is actually there and that there will be no more dead links or unavailable files like we had previously. Now in relation to file recovery process this means that basically until we're in V6 mode there will be no sure way to tell which files have been lost and which have been restored. I can only hope that MM is right about the number of files they have lost. Time will tell.

- SENDING: MM has reworked their sending system which may not to be everyones liking, but my guess it's a question of getting acustomed to it. Whether or not it solves one of their problems I'm not really sure. One of the problems MM is having is that their database is spiraling out of control with the number of lines it has to index/maintain.

Basically atm it works like this. If person A sends a folder to person B, then the database creates a copy of the the database lines for every file in that folder of person A and puts that into the account of person B. The problem seems to lie in the fact that people often send eachother a massive amount of files while only a small number is needed. Still the database has to make duplicate entries for each and everyone of those files.

In order to try and cut back on the number of lines their database has to create / maintain the new system will work like this (I hope I remember this right as I had a lot to keep up with attending the demo so correct me if I'm wrong): Person A sends person B a folder containing several files while person B is only interested in one. Instead of receiving that folder in the inbox like we were accustomed to, this folder now will be put on a share page from person A. If person B really wants it then person B has to go to the share page of person A, select the file and save it to his own account. Only when that has been done the database will create a new line for person B for that one file only and ignore the rest. To be honest I have my doubts if it will really work like this as what is to prevent someone saving the entire folder and then still only download the single file from his account?

- STORAGE: I'm not sure exactly how much is plan/wish or just mere thought, but it might be that MM is going to take a look at the amount of stuff people have stored. From what Steve said paid users will get a certain amount of space to store stuff on. People that have the same files will have the file counted against their storage capacity as file size divided by numer of people having the file (so a 100MB file present in 2 MM accounts, will count for 50MB against both accounts).

This will turn out to be a problem for large account holders that serve as an archive as they usually retain everything while the rest of the community benefits from that. You can rest assured I have mentioned this to Steve already. He said they basically don't want to change the way people use MM, but he said that some people are using MM in a way it was not intended storing massive logs on it and they they were looking at a way to clear of the dead weight on their servers. While I can understand their motive one of the edges MM has was their unlimited storage so cutting into that is not exactly the way to do it imho not to mention the fact that I (and others in my position) will be hurt by this. I do forego the probable grandfathering of old accounts, but it will mean that potential customers that are looking for a storage company probably will be put off. Also with the total amount of revenue they get they should be able to afford expanding their server capacity faster then we can fill it.

- UPLOADING: I'm told by someone who attended another demo then I did that FTP is postponed for now until at least the new service is operational, but that the old SL uploader will be back in a revamped fashion and that it will replace MM XL which is to be disbanded. Also I'm not quite sure how I should interpret this, but it was said that the processing stage of files in V6 will no longer be present. If you upload something it will appear straight away in your account.

- SHARING: basically the same thing what we now call hosting only in a working fashion and with a lot more options like auto expire, only visible for other (designated) MM account holders and a couple of more things I can't recall right now.

- FRIENDS / GROUPS: there was only minimum 'footage' of the Friends part. The only thing I recall offhand is that your friends will be incorporated in a quick list so if you have to send stuff regularly to the same account(s) you have short cuts for sending to them.


I hope I at least provided some glimpse as what V6 aspires to be and what is or may be to come. As I said earlier, I realise that this is only a demo and the real test will first be when we're allowed to alpha/beta test it, and after that when the MM community as a whole will be switched. IF, and I repeat IF, they manage to make the new system run as was presented at the demo then I think most of you will be happy to see the MM system back into action as it should have been from the beginning of V5. I've also made it clear that they will not get a 2nd chance. Failure this time is not an option. When they release V6 to the public they better be absolutely sure that it is indeed stable and reliable.

Upload processing - offical blog

New entry on the official blog for 24 October. See:
http://mediamaxblog.blogspot.com/2007/10/upload-processing_24.html

---
We have resolved the upload processing issue. Uploads will process immediately now. If you are continuing to have issues please email us at support@mediamax.com. Please type "Uploads" in the subject line.

Thanks again for your patience and support!
---

You can't leave comments there, so leave them here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Upload processing

Entry today on the official blog.
http://mediamaxblog.blogspot.com/2007/10/upload-processing.html

---
We are currently having issues with upload processing. It may take as long as an hour for your uploaded files to appear. We will post here again when the situation is resolved and thank you for your patience!
---

You can't leave comments there, so leave them here.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Billing problems resolved - they say

This is from the official Mediamax blog. You can't leave comments there, so leave them here.

http://mediamaxblog.blogspot.com/2007/10/site-update.html

---quote begins
Friday, October 19, 2007

Site update

We've heard from several users that they've had issues trying to purchase a subscription or to upgrade their account. Thanks for your feedback! This situation has been corrected.

---quote ends

Remember, if you are wanting your billing rolled on to compensate for the service not being up to spec. see the post via the quick links.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Uploading problem fixed - so they say

Two entries from ther official Mediamax blog on 17 October 2007. You can't leave comments there, so leave them here:

http://mediamaxblog.blogspot.com/2007/10/current-site-issue_17.html

---
We have resolved the upload processing issue mentioned in the previous post. The backlog has been processed and any new uploads will appear immediately. Thanks again for your patience.
---

And earlier:

http://mediamaxblog.blogspot.com/2007/10/current-site-issue.html

---
We are currently experiencing processing issues. Uploaded files may take as long as 70 minutes to appear in user accounts. We'll post here again when the situation is resolved.

We apologize for any inconvenience. Thanks for your patience.
---

So how is uploading for you now?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mediamax alernatives

This is from a comment on an earlier post:

---
There's a mass exodus going on, all the old time streamload forums are changing, adding rapidshare, and torrents while phasing out streamload. People are leaving in droves, and that includes me. I'm sticking to demonoid from now on, they don't even ask for my money, much less take it and screw me out of my paid for services.
---

http://www.rapidshare.com/

http://www.demonoid.com/files/

See other tagged entries for other alternatives.

A message from Steve Iverson

You know how the Mediamax website has logos and links to sites that have either reviewed the site (in the days before it became inoperable) or had other information posted?

If you follow the Demo link, it has a film clip of Steve Iverson explaining at the 2005 show how wonderful Mediamax is.

See:
http://www.demo.com/demonstrators/demo2005fall/55108.php

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Mediamax blog 11 October 2007

The following has been posted on the official Mediamax blog (though no updates on the previous entries on the 401 error or maintenance). As you can't leave comments there, feel free to leave them here.

http://mediamaxblog.blogspot.com/2007/10/current-site-issues.html

---Mediamax blog quote

Current site issues

We are currently experiencing issues with our uploading system. This situation has caused user uploads to take several hours to process after the initial upload. We are working on resolving the situation. We will post here when the sitaution has been corrected.

We apologize for the inconvenience. Thanks for your patience.

---ends

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

File availability audit 2 October 2007

This is from Martin:

My latest file collection audit made around 2 October, shows only very minor improvements. Overall 35 more files have been restored. That leaves 9625 files still missing. See graph
http://martinsotr.dnsalias.com/mediamax/Mediamax%202007.10.02.gif

Included here (click on it for a larger version):


The tiny slivers of pale green indicate the minuscule improvement made during the past week.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Poll shows Mediamax had severe problems in September 2007

The results of the poll of Mediamax users on the service in September 2007 has now closed (it ran a week into October).

They show that over half of the 58 voters find severe problems with the service. As Mediamax has not responded to the request for service status information on the site, I guess this provides us with a good indication (also see the file availability postings).

Here are the figures (bloggers rounding calculation means the percentages don't add up to 100%):

A: No problems : 1 vote (1%)

B: Rare problems : 6 votes (10%)
(within tolerable levels)

C: Significant problems : 20 votes (34%)
(difficult to tolerate)

D: Extreme problems : 31 votes (53%)
(causing severe difficulties)

As a graph:


Now it would be cycnical to assume that John Hood is resonsible for the 1 vote for 'no problems' (votes are anonymous). But if there is one satisfied customer out there, I hope it does not make Mediamax complacent!

Voting for the service in October is now open - this is posted a week into October. The poll will run for a week into November.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Mediamax off line

This was posted on the Mediamax offical blog on 3 October:

---
We'll be performing routine maintenance this evening from 6PM until 8PM Pacific Daylight Time. We apologize for any inconvenience. We'll have the site up and running again as soon as possible.

Thanks for your business and support!
---

There has not been any update on the blog of 19 September about the 401 error.

See the quick link at the side for leaving comments on errors in October.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Errors in October 2007

Since 19 September the official Mediamax blog has been reporting :

---
We are currently experiencing technical issues with our site. When attempting to access the site users may get a 401 error saying that they "are not authorized to view this page". Our IT team is working on correcting the situation. We will post here when it is resolved.
---

Nearly two weeks later and nothing has yet been posted to say it has been resolved.

Other known problems are files failing to upload, though you get no warning of this. They just do not appear.

Many files are inaccessible. Mediamax say they are working on it. See the quick link to the latest file availability audit on the right.

People being billed incorrectly. If you want to add your name to the list of those who want billing frozen until problems are resolved and dates rolled on by months already lost, then see the quick link on the right.

There are issues with the bulk uploader not working.

The Mediamaxusers poll for performance in September gives system reports as follows (30 votes at the time of writing):

No problems : 0%

Rare problems (within tolerable levels) : 4 (13%)

Significant problems (difficult to tolerate) : 13 (43%)

Extreme problems (causing severe difficulties) : 13 (43%)

If you didn't vote on your experience in September, you still have the first week in October to do so.

See the post previous to this one with suggestions for how Mediamax could improve status reports:
http://mediamaxusers.blogspot.com/2007/09/mediamax-system-status.html

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mediamax had extreme problems in September 2007

Let's see if we can help Mediamax.

JD posted a comment on the last entry:

---Quote begins
I got a response from John Hood about this automatic reply they are sending nowadays which basically says why tell bad news and scare people away and there is nothing to report anymore.
.....
Thanks for writing. It's kind of a lose/lose situation isn't it? If we send out updates we get ripped, if we don't send out updates we get ripped. This is all the latest news. That's what we're trying to communicate to customers.

I can't think of any company that refers people to an outside blog. We won't be doing that
---quote ends

The Mediamax strategy at present seems to be as follows:

1. It states on the site right now: "MediaMax, powered by Streamload, gives you a private and secure place to upload, store, access, and share your personal videos, photos, movies, music, and files" - with no indication that the system is no longer secure and that many users have been unable to access a significant proportion of files for months.

2. The contact details page lists loads of media articles praising Mediamax, but none of the postings on the internet about the problems with the system.

3. There is no 'current status' link to enable a check on how the system is.

4. There are contact details for support, who we know are variable in the information they give out, and there is a link to the official blog, which hasn't been updated since reporting the 401 error problem on 19 September.

Now, John Hood points out in the quote above: "If we send out updates we get ripped, if we don't send out updates we get ripped."

So what do we want Mediamax to do? I know the short answer is: Fix the system!! But they tell us they are working on it. I'm thinking specifically here how do we want communication about system status (see the quick link to 'wish lists' if you want to post about other things).

I can see that having some sort of more frequently updated status report on the Mediamax site is a problem for the company. They don't want new visitors to their site, who have perhaps read some of the glowing media reports, to know how the system has fallen over. But it is dishonest to the point of false advertising not to give clear status information while promising security and access.

So I'd like to see something like a daily updated report giving information such as:

1. File availability as a percentage.

2. Upload success rate.

3. Average time for an uploaded file to appear in the Filemanager.

4. Current problem list.

These could even be automatically updated, but I don't really want to divert the engineers from other work.

John provides this information to us if we shout enough, so why not add it to a status report every day? It would surely take less time in the long run. As an interim step the official blog could even be used.

Having clear status information may even help Mediamax should it be accused of misrepresenting the reliability of its service.

It wouldn't be an innovation. Sites like http://www.btconnect.com/ have clear links on their first page to system status information.

What do the rest of you think?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Errors in September 2007

Since 19 September the official Mediamax blog has been reporting :

---
We are currently experiencing technical issues with our site. When attempting to access the site users may get a 401 error saying that they "are not authorized to view this page". Our IT team is working on correcting the situation. We will post here when it is resolved.
---

A week later and nothing has yet been posted to say it has been resolved.

Other known problems are files failing to upload, though you get no warning of this. They just do not appear.

Many files are inaccessible. Mediamax say they are working on it. See the quick link to the latest file availability audit on the right.

People being billed incorrectly. If you want to add your name to the list of those who want billing frozen until problems are resolved and dates rolled on by months already lost, then see the quick link on the right.

There are issues with the bulk uploader not working.

I'll do an entry each month where we can report and track progress. Follow the quick links in the side panel to the latest entry and the 'entries by subject' links for past entries.

We can also try a monthly poll. So the current one is what do you think of the Mediamax service in September. You can vote now. I'll run for this a week into October so we can register how the month has gone and then start a poll for October.

People also have wish lists of improvements (top is getting the current system working!!). Follow the quick link to the latest postings on wish lists.

Wish lists

You'll see some new links on the right hand panel. One is for wish lists. That will link to the latest entry on this topic. Add your comments to it and I'll update from time to time. Relevant entries will be tagged so you can look back over past entries too by following the link from 'entries by subject'.

Here are some of the lists left as comments on recent entries:

---
Martin's Wishlist of MediaMax features:

Here are my suggestions. What do others think?

1. Files able to be uploaded quickly and reliably. My own preference is for FTP as I can throttle upload rates and restart interrupted uploads, however if these options were included in a MediaMax product more like the much missed slick and efficient Streamload uploader, I'd happily use that instead. MediaMax XL is worthless in its current incarnation (and also the new version by preliminary reports). It is huge, slow and manages to set new benchmark highs for unreliability. The browser upload option still fails 20%-30% of my uploads and I don't dare upload multiple files because no files get uploaded unless they all complete. There is no resume option. If an upload fails at 95% you just start again from scratch.

2. 100% file availability and retention guaranteed. It is just not acceptable that large numbers of files vanish and the only option is to reload them.

3. Easy 'rehabilitation' of lost files. For the huge number of files that have already been lost, these files should be able to be 'rehabilitated' by uploading them again. Surely it cannot be so hard for MediaMax to work out that a file being uploaded with the same MD5 checksum as an existing directory entry corresponds to a dead link and actually store the file. If I can identify dead links from here then MediaMax certainly can too. It is ludicrous that the only way to rehabilitate a dead link file is to modify its checksum and upload it again as a completely different file. Streamload did not have this limitation and neither should MediaMax.

4. Fix the 'random directory relocation' bug that seems to plague users with large collections. This bug has destroyed the last two sets of files I have sent out.

5. Davcin's MediaMaxExplorer be made the preferred interface to access MediaMax. Offer Davcin sensible money for his product, get the few remaining limitations sorted out and forget about the browser interface which is frustratingly slow, a waste of time and never shows enough of a filename to be useful.

6. Restore sensible reporting of usage. Streamload had primitive but useful reporting of file downloads. MediaMax only tells you the total amount downloaded and expects you to believe the number.

7. Respond to support emails. I know you are receiving an uncommonly large number of support emails at present, but there are few things that irritate an already irate customer more than being ignored. Regular customer communication through official and unofficial blogs and even individual emails containing honest status reports rather than spin, even if the news is bad, goes a long way towards keeping customers on side. I would much prefer to know 'There has been a server failure hence 25% of recently uploaded files have been lost. Please reload them.' rather than just finding that 25% of my recent uploads have vanished and not knowing why.

That's my wishlist. Any additions?
---

WillTRiker said...

Additions you ask? How much time do you have? A long time ago (checks date on thread, yep september 29, 2006) I made the last addition to a thread about this subject on my homeboard and after that I didn't bother really with it as finally getting rid of bugs was AND STILL IS more important then introducing new features / re-introducing features we had in V4. Since you asked however I'll add my short (yeah right) wish list ... first however some small comments on a couple your own list (some stuff I get to in my own list).

1) Files able to be uploaded quickly and reliably.

I'd like to add that it shouldn't matter the method of uploading one chooses as I've learned from experience that experience per method differs from person to person. One should be able to upload a file without any problems and it should show up nearly immediately after the upload is completed. So no more errors and no more none-processing.

4) Fix the 'random directory relocation' bug that seems to plague users with large collections. This bug has destroyed the last two sets of files I have sent out.

Troubles with sending? That's a new one. Anyway, I want to work in my file manager again dammit ... I've been waiting for a fix for this since octobre 2006! It's also not just relocation ... if only that were true. I can personally attest this bug makes stuff dissapear totally ... and I mean totally ... you won't even find it back in your trash can.

5) Davcin's MediaMaxExplorer be made the preferred interface to access MediaMax.

While Davcin's product is worth of every bit of praise it gets and I would like MediaMax to start at least sponsoring it I wouldn't want it to be the preferred interface.

Davcin's Explorer, at least at this moment, is to dependent on MediaMaxs internal workings which in my eyes only increases the risk of the system not working. Also Davcin's explorer is, atm at least, a standalone application that has to be installed and especially for people that want access to their MM account outside their home it's not a given that they can install an application on the PC they happen to sit behind.

7. Respond to support emails.

or if you can't respond to everyone (with the same problem) individually then post on the Blog that you have been made aware of a
certain problem ... and don't wait with posting until a week after the problem has surfaced.


Now for my own list:

1) Recognition of identical files and grouping them together.

The only thing MediaMax reckognises atm is if files have the exact same name. Especially if you have to rename files like we often have to with files being written in different titles depending on the uploaders preference the current system is completly worthless. At the moment, in principle we could have a folder with 10 files with the only difference being the added -1 behind it while in reality none of the files would be a duplicate. On the other hand we could have 10 files with 10 different names which in reality could be 10 duplicate files. Like I said, utterly useless. This was a V4 feature btw and we want it back.

2) More file information (especially MD5 AND CRC values)

Especially for older files in our archives the MD5 / CRC value was the only thing we had to rely on checking them against a 3thd party
database. Also it's vital, especially in light of the upload problems, to be able to check these values against their original counterparts on our HDs. The MD5 value WAS a part of V4, the CRC value was not.

For video files and pictures it should be almost be a given to see Height and Width being mentioned as a standard in the file manager.
This was also a V4 feature.

3) Visibility file/folder names

Some of the names I'm forced to use (as it's no more then the official title of things) are so long that you can't read the full name (including extension) of a file/folder as MediaMax auto cuts them off. I'd like to opportunity back to decided for myself if I want file/folder names to be cut off or not. Again, a missing feature from V4.

4) Abilitiy to resize navigation panel

An other aspect of long folder names is that at times in order to see where we are going in the File Manager we have now have to scroll horizontically which is way to awkward. In V4 we could resize the
navigation panel to our own desired width and we would very much getting this feature back. Yup, another V4 feature.

5) File count (number and total MB)

There used to be in V4 al line at the bottom of the screen stating how many files where were in the folder you were looking at and what the total amount of MB these files was. A small thing, but especially if you work in a group a very quick way of checking folders against eachother (not totally error proof, but still very handy).

6) Creating a folder when moving/copying

In V4 you could select files, browse around in your file manger to the desired location and if need be, make a new folder where you could put in what you had selected. Now you first have to browse to that place in the file manager, make the folder, go back and select what you want moved / copied and then place in the newly created folder. The V4 way makes a lot more sense.

7) Be able to tell what is moved/copied

In V4 when you moved / copied something there was a small screen that would tell you what you were moving /copying (if you didn't select to much at once). Nothing big really, but it's just that little bit of extra security that what we are moving / copying is actually what we intend to move / copy.

8) See the last 5 folders that you moved/copied to

Another small V4 thing, but appreciated especially by large archive holders like me as it acted as a shortcut to folders and acted as a little extra feed back to verify that your previous action went to the intended destination.

9) Going to target folder after move/copy

We'd like to see the option back that you could select that made you 'follow' your move / copy action to the target folder.

10) No auto expanding of folders

When you move / copy stuff and click on a target folder and that folder happens to have subfolders MediaMax allways reads the target folder and expands it to show the subfolders. Meaningless and extra strain on the system, if we wanted to go deeper in the folder structure we'd use the + sign, that's what it's there for.

11) After sending put us back in the file manager in stead of Mail.

When you have send (or tried to send) something MediaMax puts you into the Mail area of your account. For people that send to more then 1 person in succession this is highly annoying, because we now loose time loading the mail area and then the file manger .... granted, you can click on the file manager button as soon as the Mail area starts loading, but it will still re-load the file manager again which is an excercise in futility as nothing changed in there.

So basically, after a send put us back in the file manager without reloading it ... basically putting us back in the folder we last accessed. The same sort of applies if you, after a send, choose for "Send another mail", choosing that option we also want to be put back in the file manager in the last accessed folder without a reload.

12) Inbox view to files only

People are missing the ability to set the view of the inbox to files only. If you have 10 emails in MediaMax you have to enter each of those 10 individually and save them to Saved Attachements folder and then delete the emails. Some people found it much easier to just see the files in the inbox and be able to copy all of them in one go to the file manager .... no matter how many emails had been used to deliver them. After that they could switch back to viewing emails and delete them all in one go.

13) Go back button ... doesn't go back in Mail area

Some kind of bug makes it that if you use the go back button of your browser you'll find yourself either in the file manager of in the composer screen of a new emails instead of one step back from where your previously were. That is eh ... wrong.

14) A working Search Function

An actual working Search function would be novelty and while we're at it some extra features like the search to include the Mail Area and the ability to limit the search to part(s) of your file manager would be greatly appreciated as well.

15) Hosted files not so user friendly

Since MediaMax it seems that if you host files people that want to download them can no longer select files and thus making a bulk download, but have to click every file to receive a download. Not very user friendly if you have a couple of dozen of files to download from a host.

Also the window for hosted stuff is WAY to small. You can only see 3 items for goodness sake.

16) Missing "Copy URL to Clipboard"

MediaMax only supports either GetRight or MediaMax XL for bulk
downloads. A lot of people however have their own preferred download manager. While you can use the generic URL that's being produced (at least in Flash Get you can) we're missing the option "Copy URL to clipboard" that V4 had.

17) Download Information is seriously lacking

The Download info that is currently provided is woefully inadequate. We want our detailed reports back so we can see on a day by day, byte by byte basis exactly what was downloaded and by whom (Ip logging) and also again being able to see how much bandwith was used from Hosting files just like we had in V4.

18) Mass deleting

We have mass editing (my heartfelt thanks for that), but we could use a mass deleting funtion for the Mail Area and especially Trash can as well.

My Trashcan currently boosts a rather impressive (even if I do say so myself) 13489 files and folders in there. If I were to lighten my account by kicking that off I would need to go through 135 screens to be able to delete that ... not to mention the time it would take for MediaMax to actually to delete these 100 entries page by page. My Trash in the mail in comparison 'only' has 2044 items in it. Mass delete button PLEASE!

19) Results per page up to 1000

At the moment the current maximum is 100 entries per page. We'd like it back to 500 and if possible 1000 as some of our folders are so big that 100 entries just don't cut it.

20) Uploads go in 1 place

Ah, back in the V4 days. When you uploaded a file, no matter if you ventured into the abyss of web-uploading, were lucky to have an FTP account or used the good old SL uploader ... your files would appear in your inbox. Since MediaMax your choice of upload app determines where your files are going to end up and can up in My Uploads, Uploaded files or just the root of the File Manager. Could we get our upload please in one place?

21) Global file recognition

I'm pretty sure MediaMax still lists the MD5 values of files somewhere like they used to and I'd like to see them use this again to re-enable global file recognition. For the people not being familair with this term .... in the old days (even before the end of V4 if memory serves) if someone completed uploading File A (MD5 value 00101) and another person started uploading the EXACT same file after that then that person would have the file uploaded in about 5 seconds. In essence, nothing was uploaded, but Streamload would recognise from the MD5 value that the file being uploaded was already on Streamload and would create a link to the original file and put that in the inbox of the 2nd uploader. It was THE way to get files back that were on Streamload, but where the database link leading to it was messed up. Also it prevented people wasting their (and MMs) bandwith uploading thing twice.

22) Webinterface speed improvements

Imho, the speed by with actions are executed ... wether it be moving, deleting or renaming ... leaves still to be desired. It's not uncommon to see MediaMax busy for 30 seconds or more to perform such actions and the more files/folders selected the more time it takes. It could be me, but the copy function seems the only one up to speed.

23) Build-in link validator

While in essence we're paying MM to keep our file safe and intact, a 100% guarantee I think can't be expected. I would be nice though if there was a way that we could make a report about (part of) our file manger that shows what file links are dead. I'd like to restate that in principle the list that would be generated is supposed to be SHORT and should have close to nill entries.

Sorry for the length this took, but Martin asked and I like to be thorough ... besides, there is an off chance John or even Steven sees this and realise that even if they finally manage to get the bugs exterminated there is still much work to be done.

If you guys want to excuse me, I need to cool of my fingers.

---
Ultimately, for me, a fully working, reliable and trustworthy service would be the best possible recompense, and I would happily write off the last year if that was forth-coming.

Since the migration to MediaMax, I have kept a list of various functionalities that have been lost since the days of Streamload, and brilliantly, Willtriker has saved me quite a lot of typing, since his list contains everything that is on my list! Willtriker's entire list is spot on, but my personal wish list are numbers 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 14, 19, 20 and 23 (is this a Chinese takeaway!?)

Since the majority of my use of MediaMax is by way of a backup (I am almost constantly uploading) I would like to add my voice to the calls for the re-instatement of FTP, or at the very least a faster running MediaMax XL (I am still hoping to receive a link to the trial version from John). That is my personal number one priority. I used to be able to leave the uploads running for days on end without having to continually check the source PC, except to add more files, and long for this to return!

I'd be keen for an update on the progress, not only of the file restoration, but also on things like the upload speeds and getting back the FTP server etc.....

We're getting so close, I can almost taste it.....
---
Add you comments and wishes to this entry.

File availability audit 23 September 2007

The following message was sent to Mediamax and posted as a comment on an earlier blog entry by Martin Hood. I thought it would be useful to have here. I'll add a permanent link at the side so we can update progress on this entry and start tagging entries by theme:

---
An Open Letter to MediaMax
(accompanying the graph for MediaMax Files Audit #4 2007.09.23)

MediaMax File recovery progress graph http://tinyurl.com/2tuyxx
(included below).

MediaMax,

I first posted this graph 5 weeks ago to show that you WERE recovering he missing files. It was my intention that it would provide encouragement to those who doubted that the recovery was happening and would support your assertions that things were getting better. Regrettably the end result seems far removed from my hopeful optimism of 5 weeks ago.


Even the most casual look at the graph will show that it contains very disappointing news. By your own predictions, your file restoration process should be pretty much complete by now. Certainly no spectacular changes to the number of restored files would be expected at this late stage.

There was a temporary reversal in the week leading up to 16 September, when the number of missing files from those uploaded between April and July 2007 jumped from close to zero up to 30% - 40% missing. John Hood indirectly explained this in one of his blog postings by mentioning that some servers had been taken off line as part of the recovery process during this week. That also probably explained why about one third of recent uploads became inaccessible during that week. Most (but not all) of these files are now accessible again.

In the past 7 days a few minor gains have been made. The slivers of orange on the graph are the only improvements apart from the large area of orange between May and July 2007 which is just clawing back gains that were undone by the offline servers during the previous week.

Regrettably the broad summary result is very gloomy indeed.

Upload time period lost /total = %lost
2007 Jan - June 418 /3503 = 12%
2006 Jul - Dec 1009/4856 = 23%
2006 Jan - Jun 1592/4195 = 38%
2005 Jan - Dec 2242/7753 = 29%
Pre 2005 5012/7872 = 64%

Fortunately the restoration process has done a better job for more recently uploaded files with some months almost completely restored, although 12% average loss rate can hardly be called 'a complete recovery' by even the most liberal interpretation of the term.

Unfortunately the loss rate gets progressively worse the further back we go with some spectacular peaks. What did happen at Streamload in November 2005 that has caused the loss rate to remain at a whopping 91%?

Anyone who has files uploaded prior to 2005 is looking at a devastating 40% - 75% (average 64%) loss rate for these files. This is completely unforgivable for a file storage 'service' that still claims 'Store your files SECURELY on the web'. Anything above a 0% loss rate is NOT secure. 75% loss rate is patently INSECURE.

I CAN get over losing 9656 out of 27472 files (35%) that were stored on MediaMax given that local copies still exist, but I certainly cannot even consider uploading them all again. Some people who trusted you when you said their uploaded files were 'secure' have learnt a very hard lesson when they did not keep local copies.

Time and time again during the botched migration from Streamload to MediaMax in August 2006 your spin was 'Your files are safe and secure'. I know this because I kept a copy of the free-for-all Streamload blog from 22 August to 2 October 2006 and indeed the old blog pages are still on-line at http://blog.mediamax.com (archives). I cannot confirm that the files were in fact 'safe and secure' 12 months ago immediately after the migration from Streamload to MediaMax, but they certainly are not 'safe and secure' now.

You have been much less forthcoming with comments during this latest debacle and unsurprisingly, neither of the words 'safe' or 'secure' has been used anywhere in the recent MediaMax blog.

On behalf of all MediaMax users I ask the following questions:

1. Will you yet recover a substantial portion of the files that still show as missing (or indeed any of them) or are they lost irrecoverably?

2. Will you work with your user community to develop an efficient mechanism to identify lost files and provide a way of rehabilitating these files without having to upload modified copies?

3. What assurance can you give that files uploaded in the future will in fact be 'safe and secure' given that your track record to date has been woeful?

Martin Hood

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Do you want your Mediamax account rolled on to make up for the down time?

In response to my question about rolling on billing dates, John Hood of Mediamax responded on this blog with a comment that he would do so, if I send my account name.

That is very welcome.

But it raises another question. Are there any Mediamax users who do not deserve to have their accounts rolled on (or a refund if they prefer it)?

My experience is that this service has not been performing since June. I used to have regular meetings in Second Life using hosted mediastreams. I haven't had any since June because streams I wanted to use had disappeared. Now momentum has been lost and I don't know when there will be any point trying again. I also lost podcasts until I found another server to host them.

My view is that if Mediamax wants to make amends to customers, it should roll on billing dates by the number of months lost from June. The clock is still ticking, of course, as the service is still not properly usable. Indeed, new problems arise. The official Mediamax blog reported a 401 page timeout problem 4 days ago and still no update to say it is fixed.

It seems to me, the simplest thing is for Mediamax to freeze its billing process and when they do have things working, add on the lost months already deducted before they start the billing process again. I appreciate that creates cashflow problems, but, hey, isn't that a good reason to get things fixed and to ensure outages of 3 months or more do not occur again?

I would like to suggest anyone who wants their account rolled on in this way add their user name in a comment here. If you do not want to make this public, contact Mediamax at support@mediamax.com

I'll post a quick link to this page in the side bar so we can find it again. If you think you deserve more than the months lost since June, please say so.

By the same token, if there are any Mediamax customers out there who have been unaffected by the problems of the past months and want to publicly acknowledge receiving good service as advertised, then please also leave a comment. It would be interesting to know if there are any.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mediamax 401 error

This is the latest post on the official Mediamax blog:

http://mediamaxblog.blogspot.com/2007/09/current-site-issues.html

---
Current site issues

We are currently experiencing technical issues with our site. When attempting to access the site users may get a 401 error saying that they "are not authorized to view this page". Our IT team is working on correcting the situation. We will post here when it is resolved.
---

I'll aim to add a new post with the update as soon as there is news from Mediamax. As you can't comment on the Mediamax blog, feel free to leave comments here.

There have been some specific responses to comments from John Hood of Mediamax so please do look back over past posts.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Updates from Mediamax - comments from John and Steve

There have been several comments posted here from John Hood of Mediamax and even CEO, Steve Iverson. More on those in a moment, with news on having account billing rolled on.

First, below is the latest posting on the official Mediamax blog. Comments are not possible there, so leave them here:

---Quote begins
A few updates about what's up at MediaMax.

DATA RECOVERY

We're about 80% of the way through our data recovery project. We'll make an announcement here when the project is complete. Many thanks to all the users who have written to us acknowledging the return of their files.

WE CONTINUE TO GROW

We've added more staff in order to better serve our users. This week we increased our customer support staff by 40% and hired a Director of Engineering.

MMXL

We're close to releasing the latest beta version of our XL application. We'll announce it here just before it is launched.

As always, thanks for your business and support!
---quote ends

The above covers many of the points made by John Hood in recent comments here. Regarding the newsvine article and history and connections between Streamload/Mediamax and Nirvanix, the response is:

---From John Hood response on earlier post
Bottom line here is that most of the Streamload senior management (and the bulk of the staff for that matter) went to Nirvanix. Steve and I moved across the street to start MediaMax. It's close to both of our homes. Simple as that.

Again, MediaMax and Nirvanix were spun off from Streamload. All of the people that you have mentioned were senior managers at Streamload and now hold the same positions at Nirvanix. None of them has EVER worked at MediaMax, Inc., which started business on July 1.
---extract ends

Regarding the removal of the Newsvine article, Mediamax CEO Steve Iverson replied here:
----
> re: the NewsVine article

Note: MediaMax did not request that article or comments to be taken down - that is patently wrong. I can only assume someone from Nirvanix requested that but I have not confirmed with them yet. I know for certain that John Hood and I did not contact NewsVine in regards to that article.
---extract ends

I asked through a comment about why customer service agents had responded to reports of problems with uploading files as if it was the first they had heard of it and the possibility of having account billing rolled on.

John replied on the post as follows:
---
1. I read that exchange and agree that it was annoying and patronizing. I have spoken to all of the reps about this.
2. I'm more than willing to roll your billing dates. Just let me know your username.
---extract ends

I was thinking it should be an across the board roll on for all customers, not just those who asked for it. Are there customers who have been unaffected? Anyway, I'll post something shortly so we can perhaps make a group request for this.

I think the above covers most things. There are still discussions going on in the comments about the possibility of switching on ftp access pending Mediamax's own utility for ftp uploading being available and for making a fix available sooner rather than later for bulk processing of files in the filemanager. I'll flag up any news on those if and when it appears.

And if Martin Hood - a Mediamax customer - can explain how he does his bulk file accessibility audits as reported on the last post, several people are interested.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mediamax article censored - and how file restoration is progressing

In the last posting here I linked to an article posted on newsvine. The author reported that he had been forced by newsvine to enable comments on the article as Mediamax wanted a right to reply. This is ironic as Mediamax does not allow people to comment on the postings on its own blog.

All the same, the author enabled comments and many began to appear, supporting his report of lousy service from Mediamax.

As you can see from the last post, the link is now dead. Newsvine removed the post anyway. Why? Good question. One thing we do know is that Mediamax did not exercise its right to reply - perhaps fearing that people would point out any errors it may contain.

You can read the original article and others on Mediamax/Nirvanix (a Mediamax spin-off company) at:
http://nirvanix.nfshost.com/

And you - and Mediamax - are able to comment on that site.

Mediamax is not only able to comment on the Mediamaxusers blog - many of us are appealing for it to do so!!

We want some feedback. Emails from customer services are often useless - as past postings and comments here show. There has been no post on the official blog for over a week.

So this blog is the place to come for updates that actually have some bearing with reality.

Thanks to Martin Hood for his comments on the progress with missing files returning. This is his most recent:

---quote begins
It's true, the files ARE coming back!

Let me state at the outset that I am no apologist for MediaMax. I am a long term subscriber with a collection of some 30,000 audio files stored on MediaMax and like everyone else was horrified to find that almost all of these files became inaccessible on 15 June. Dismissal was very light retribution for the former employee who was responsible for this debacle!

The 30,000 files have been uploaded regularly since July 2003 and should provide a representative sample over time of the restoration of files by MediaMax.

I have performed a 100% audit of the availability of all these files on August 18 and again around August 31 and there was a marked improvement at the second sampling with the overall inacessible rate down to (only!) 45% from more than 80% a fortnight ago.

The availability improvement varies greatly with the date that the files were uploaded and this graph shows how well the file restoration is proceding for the files uploaded during the past four years.


There is still a long way to go before all files are restored and my own estimates of how long this will take are are 6-8 weeks and are consistent with those quoted by John Hood of MediaMax (no relation).

I am encouraged by the results of this research but will reserve judgement about the effectiveness of MediaMax's file recovery until the end when I see what the residual loss rate is. Even a modest 2% final loss rate will be totally unacceptable for me as this will be 600 files that need to be reloaded and 15Gb of bandwidth. With the current frustratingly unreliable uploading options, that is a huge amount of work.
---quote ends

Wow! That graph is pretty frightening. The area under it is the black hole of missing files. There seems to be no connection between date of upload and return of files. And there is an awfully long way to go.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Mediamax demands right to reply

Mediamax has apparently bullied an author on Newsvine to allowing comments on an article there about the problems with the company and its associated companies. It wants to be able to set the record straight.

As the author notes, it is ironic that Mediamax succeeds in bullying Newsvine into forcing the author to allow comments (with the threat of deleting the article), but disables comments on its own blog which is full of misleading posts about problems being solved when they patently have not.

I became aware of this through a comment left on this blog.

So watch out for the Mediamax response on Newsvine - as comments are enabled there you will have the chance to comments on its accuracy. Click here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Mediamax on data recovery and re-uploading

There is an new entry on the mediamax blog, which I'll give below.

But first my useless response from customer support about files not uploading. If John Hood is reading, can you please tell your staff not to be so patronising. We all now the system is totally unreliable.

This is the reply:

---From Mediamax customer support
Thank you for your email. I am sorry to hear of the issue uploading your file. I have just uploaded a file to my account and it uploaded in minutes. The way the files are uploaded changed a little. When the files upload they do not upload to the upload folder they upload to the file manger folder. Please check all the pages of your file manager. I have found changing the file page to 100 makes it easier to find the new file. I am sorry for any inconvenience please let us know if the issue persists. Thank you for your time.

Cheers
Vincent
MediaMax Support
---end of message from customer support

And now the new entry on the Mediamax blog. As usual, leave comments here, because Mediamax doesn't allow them on its blog:
http://mediamaxblog.blogspot.com/2007/09/site-update.html

DATA RECOVERY

We're pleased to announce that the data recovery project is running ahead of schedule. Most files have been restored to most user accounts. We've still got a ways to go and expect the entire project to be completed in 3-5 weeks.

RE-UPLOADING INACCESSIBLE FILES

In order to re-upload inaccessible files you need to change more than the file name. You need to edit the metadata to change the checksum of the file. A new upload should then result in a working file.

Here's a tip from one of our users on how to do that:

Tag&Rename (a music files tag editor that easily handles all popular
digital audio formats.)

To batch change enough tags to enable the "Checksum" to appear changed to
the mediamax servers

They do a 30 day unlimited trial here

http://www.softpointer.com/tr.htm

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

More Mediamax site news

The missing file I was monitoring for signs of progress is now back! I'll do a more systematic test to see if the rest are too.

This is new on the official Mediamax blog. As usual, you can't leave comments there, so leave them here. Hopefully someone from Mediamax will drop by some time to address some of the points people have been leaving in comments:

http://mediamaxblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/site-update_28.html

---Mediamax blog quote

Site Update

Thanks for your feedback regarding FTP availability and MediaMax XL performance. We're listening to your concerns and in response are in the process of doubling our Engineering staff. This will enable us to respond faster to user issues.

As we've mentioned earlier, we have a completed FTP product that we are in the process of QA'ing. It's taking a while, but we need that time to ensure we release a quality product that you will enjoy using.

MediaMax XL is still a beta product. We hope to release the newest beta release shortly. We've gotten a lot of good customer feedback that will greatly enhance the usability of this product as it evolves.

Upload performance continues to improve. We had another record week in this area which is reflected in a decrease in support queries regarding uploading.

Thanks for your business and your support!
---ends

I wonder what it means when they say they are doubling engineering staff. We have learnt through this blog that less than a dozen people work at Mediamax. Take off the CEO, Customer Support manager, at least a few customer support staff (there have been a few different names appearing), accounts, security, reception etc. then 'doubling' could actually mean employing one more person!! Two if we are lucky.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Site news from Mediamax

The following is from the official Mediamax blog. See:
http://mediamaxblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/site-news.html

You can't leave comments there, so leave them here.

---quote begins

Site news

We've made a lot of progress this week and wanted to share that with you.

We're making a lot of progress in improving upload performance. Not only is uploading faster, but fewer uploads are failing. The site will now, once again, re-try your command instead of having your upload fail. As a result, we've seen a 20% increase in the number of uploads per day. There's always room for improvement, so we'll keep pushing for improved performance everyday.

Our data recovery project is moving along on schedule. This project will be completed in 5-7 weeks.

Finally, we've restored the automated granting of downloads to all accounts.

To keep users better informed on site status we'll be creating a second blog that will be dedicated to site maintenance. We'll be debuting the maintenance blog within the next two days.

Thanks for your support and business!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Finally a bit of disclosure

The following is from the official MediaMax blog (not sure why it opens 'Hi MediaMax').

Finally we learn a little of how our files have been inaccessible due to 'operator error'. The posting finally admits it will take 6-8 weeks to recover files. As you may recall I helpfully told MediaMax how to do the calculation on a past blog as it seemed to be beyond them.

It is a shame getting this information disclosed from MediaMax wastes so much time. They have already wasted so much of our time. So how about rolling on billing periods by 6 months as recompense?

TechCrunch article clarifications

Hi MediaMax,

Michael Arrington at TechCrunch recently did some good investigative reporting and released some details about MediaMax and Nirvanix that were supposed to be confidential information for several more weeks.

On August 7th, the following article was posted on TechCrunch. Now that it's public information, we wanted to post the article here, and also add some additional clarification to ease some concerns that have been raised by our customers.


Nirvanix To Challenge Amazon S3

Look for new San Diego-based Nirvanix to launch in the next few weeks. It aims to compete with Amazon's popular S3 storage web service and provide web developers another choice for online storage.

The company, which is affiliated with online storage startup MediaMax (aka Streamload), should also be announcing a $12 million round of financing in the near future. It's not clear exactly how affiliated Nirvanix and MediaMax are, and the company is keeping the specifics of the relationship quiet for now. There has clearly been a technology swap, though, and MediaMax is now using the Nirvanix service to provide the back end of its storage product. Also, former MediaMax CEO Patrick Harr is now running the show at Nirvanix (MediaMax founder Steve Iverson has retaken the CEO spot at MediaMax).

While the company is keeping quiet about the funding and exactly how it's affildiated with MediaMax, they are saying that they'll be filling some of the perceived holes in S3. Hopefully they'll be offering a service level agreement (Amazon doesn't).

MediaMax, meanwhile, has been trying to pull through a hellish technology transition (my guess is it was related to the changeover to Nirvanix) that plagued them earlier this summer. They've moved their corporate blog to a new site, and are talking openly with users about some of the problems they're facing.

Disclosure: I am an investor and on the board of directors of Omnidrive, which is also in the online storage space and can be considered a competitor to MediaMax and Nirvanix.



The article, in some instances is accurate, but it does contain some inaccuracies that need to be clarified. Streamload was split into two entities in July. The consumer online service became "MediaMax" and a second entity, Nirvanix, was founded as a new and separate company. We ("MediaMax") continue to focus on the consumer online storage space (B2C) as we have done for many years. We can't talk about Nirvanix as they are an independent company; however, we can say that we never changed over to Nirvanix, as the article suggested, and are not using their new system now.

In regards to MediaMax's problems mentioned in the TechCrunch article, this was only partially related to the spin-out process. One issue was trying to do too much, too quickly. Over the last six weeks, we completed a new round of financing and corporate spin out, moved MediaMax into a new office, migrated our web application servers to a new hosting provider, consolidated two other data centers, and have been hiring new MediaMax employees to fill in the personnel holes that were created from the split.

In addition to these major projects that were underway (and impossible to reschedule), we were still recovering from the unforeseen storage problem encountered on June 15th. The "storage problem" was a result of operator error in preparation for the data center move. There was no power surge or hacker or failed hard disk or fundamental technological problem or aliens - we just messed up. Fortunately, it was discovered fairly quickly and the data is recoverable.

If you'd like the gory details, here is exactly what happened (we have always enjoyed reading those stories about NASA probes crashing into planets because someone typed + instead of -, but didn't think it would actually be us): We wanted to manually "shrink" part of the storage system and a database that manages files in closed accounts, trash folders, etc. That is, we didn't want to move files that had already been deleted, but not actually removed from disk or the database. Normally an automated process handles this type of task, but because of the move, we thought we could create a manual process to reduce the amount of data we would have to move. And that's what messed up - this new process that should have just taken out the trash, went far beyond what we thought it was doing. Once realized, the process was stopped but significant damage had already been done. So then we started the recovery; the "shrink project" failed and we just ended up moving the entire database anyways. So the potential data loss (again, it is being recovered) was due to the most common cause for data loss: operator error.

To prevent this from ever happening again, we have put in place an even more rigorous code review process for any project that has a potential for affecting customer data like this.

So, that's the short story behind the story in the TechCrunch article. Spin off done, and data recovery is in progress. We have brought in as many additional resources as possible to help accelerate recovery, but it will still take an additional 6-8 weeks.

Over the years, maintaining the ever growing infrastructure to run MediaMax has become a distraction from our core business - to build the absolute best-of-class consumer storage applications. With this new corporate structure, we can fully focus on MediaMax.

We appreciate your support and patience and we'll continue to update you here.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Your files are coming back

Your files are coming back. John Hood of Mediamax has just posted this comment on the entry asking how long the missing files will take to process.

---
We usually do about 800GB a day in uploads when everything is running smoothly. We're obviously not back to that level yet, but are running at a few hundred GB per day.We are about a third of the way through restoring access to files. I don't have a timeline for you beyond what Steve has already stated. We have more than a petabyte of files to sift through. What I can say is that 99.9998% of the files that we have tried to restore access to have been successful. We're working with our vendor to speed up the process.
---

A petabyte is 10 to the power 15. So at 10 terabytes (10 to power 12) per day, as Steve stated, we are looking at 100 days to completion. If it has taken this long since 15 June to get through a third, that sounds about right I guess.

So now we know.

If someone wants, you could calculate the volume that is not expected to be recoverable.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

OFFICIAL BLOG: Support emails

Posted at:
http://mediamaxblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/support-emails.html

---
We've heard from several customers that they are not receiving emails from our Customer Support team. We've done some internal testing in response to your queries. Our emails are frequently blocked by AOL and are almost always blocked by Comcast. To ensure a timely reply from Support, AOL and Comcast users should email us from an alternate account such as Yahoo or Hotmail.

Please don't forget to include your username.

We are currently working with both companies to resolve this situation.

Thanks for your support!
---

Comments are disabled on the official blog, so leave your comments here.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Uploads per day figure, but what about the downloads figure we want?

Well we learn something else through this blog, which has not been posted on the official one. John Hood says in a comment on the blog of 3 August: "Uploads HAVE improved since this the downtime from this transition. We are performing more than 100,000 a day."

Cool. I wonder what the official success rate is given the experiences of failed uploads people are posting here.

Another question that should be easy to answer I posed in the 3rd August posting, but got no answer. If the missing files are being recovered at the rate of 10 terabytes per day, as claimed by the re-called CEO, Steve Iverson, then how long till completion?

My dead mp3 files are still dead. Just checked. This problem arose on 15 June according to Steve, so if they have been recovering files since then, it's about 50 days or 500 terabytes already processed or 500,000,000 MBytes.

Wow! If 500,000,000 MBytes of files have come back on line, it seems to me that there must have been an awful lot of people over the past 7 weeks who have suddenly found their files available once more. If you are one of them, please let us know. It will give the rest of us some hope.

In the meantime, John, can you type the numbers into your calculator so we know how long till completion? The sum is:

Time in days = Volume of files still to be processed in terabytes/10.

Tweaking to do

Posting Sunday 5 August on Mediamax blog:

---
We've still got some tweaking to do, but upload volume remains high. We realize that some uploads are still not completing and are working on a solution. We are also still working on access to some user files. Much progress has been made in this area over the last week.

Keeping checking here for updates.

As always, thanks for your business, patience and support!
---

Friday, August 3, 2007

Is there a Mediamax cover up?

On the last entry, I flagged up when Mediamax disabled comments on its blog and deleted those that had been left and suggested Mediamax is not wanting its new customers to know about our concerns. Mediamax's John Hood responded on this point (though not the others raised since he last commented) to say:

"Huh?! Of late our whole blog is about problems with the system. We're hardly hiding anything. We've addressed every issue brought to us by users through support and posted it on the blog for all the world to see."

Okay, well what does it currently say on the Mediamax blog? "We installed new upload servers! We’re sure you’ve seen the improvement in upload processing because we’re seeing record upload levels...."

No suggestion of problems there.

A few more representative quotes from the blog:

24th July: "Uploading continues to work much better...."

21st July: "Thanks for your patience through our major migration to a new datacenter. The worst of it is behind us.... When you attempt to download these files, an “ooops and error occurred” message will appear. We are working to resolve this problem as soon as possible..... [no update that it is still not resolved nor indication of when it will be]"

11 July: "We’ve corrected most of the issues that resulted from the transition....."

2 July: "The transfer of our IT/DB operations to an outside vendor in Chicago is complete. Of course, when a move this large occurs there are going to be a few random issues to iron out. The known issues are listed below...." [Yup, this one was telling people of 'a few random issues', then nothing the till the 11 July post suggesting the problems are corrected].

This unofficial blog shows people are experiencing serious problems with both the system and customer support.

What is most disappointing is that despite John's 'Huh?!' comment, we are learning far more through Mediamax comments posted here than from the official blog.

For example, we have learned here from Mediamax:

28 July: "We don't allow comments on the blog because we don't the manpower to manage it and respond. We're a small start up of less than a dozen people....."

31 July: "There's an issue with some bit for bit copies, that compunds this issue, a new upload of an existing file won't work unless you change the content of the file itself. Just changing the file name won't work, you need to edit something like the metadata to change the checksum of the file. A new upload should then result in a working file. We are very sorry about this and are working to resolve it but please try the above workaround in the meantime."

And here's the most amazing one. An email from Mediamax posted as a comment on the last entry. This can also be seen at:
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/07/26/streamload-upgrade-goes-very-wrong-some-users-revolt/

---Quote begins
Hi Michael,

We appreciate your willingness to hear Streamload’s feedback. Yes, Streamload has had a tough several weeks due to two serious issues on our part.

On June 15, Streamload had a major storage problem that has caused many of our customer files to become inaccessible. They are not gone forever, but it is taking a very long time to recover all the data because of the extraordinary amount of data stored. With our current recovery infrastructure, we can “only” recover about 10 terabytes per day, but we are adding more hardware to speed this process.

Combined with that, we had another project underway to move our entire infrastructure to a new datacenter with the goal of making it more efficient and cost effective for customers. The move did not go as planned since it took longer than we anticipated and there was much more customer impact than originally estimated.

With the new data center, MediaMax is backed with an all new technical infrastructure, which is fully redundant, has more capacity, and is faster. This new transition, as challenging as it has been, will ultimately allow us to provide better service and support more customers in the future.

On that note, your reader comments are right - a better job should have been done to communicate with affected customers. Though we may not have communicated quickly or with much detail, we are attempting to actively address concerns, and are exploring ways to address this issue and improve our customer service.

Having said that, three weeks ago I took over as CEO again and will be able to monitor the service and customer needs more closely and hopefully bring back the customer satisfaction that was built since I started the company 9 years ago.

-Steve Iverson
---quote ends


It seems to me that if Mediamax knows "we can “only” recover about 10 terabytes per day" it would be a calculation of a few seconds to calculate how long we have to wait till it is all recovered, working at the current rate.

Steve knows what is going on, but the answer I received from support on 30 July, posted here previously, said: "The fix is ongoing and in progress, but I don't have an ETA on it's completion. I'm sorry I don't have a better answer for you than that."

As Steve says: "On that note, your reader comments are right - a better job should have been done to communicate with affected customers."

Let me just repeat the comment from John Hood, Mediamax Director of Customer Support:

"Huh?! Of late our whole blog is about problems with the system. We're hardly hiding anything. We've addressed every issue brought to us by users through support and posted it on the blog for all the world to see."

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Mediamax says it's even better now!

According to the Mediamax blog, their system is now even better!

See:
http://mediamaxblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/site-update.html

---

We installed new upload servers! We’re sure you’ve seen the improvement in upload processing because we’re seeing record upload levels. Please let us know if you’re having issues with uploads at support@mediamax.com . Thanks for the files!

On a different front, you’ve probably seen that we’ve raised email sharing limits. We’re proud to say that our new db is ably handling the increased traffic. Please keep sharing!

As always, thanks for your continued support and your business!
----

At the time of writing comments are active on the Mediamax blog, so you may be able to give your feedback, but be quick.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Download problems continue

Here is a round up of messages from Mediamax on download problems.

Some files are unobtainable. They are working on it, but no idea of when files missing for over a month will be obtainable. This was a reply I received from the new improved support email service (seems like you will get a reply now within a day or so).

---Mediamax support 30 July

The fix is ongoing and in progress, but I don't have an ETA on it's completion. I'm sorry I don't have a better answer for you than that.

---

I have tried to upload the missing files as I am fortunate to still have copies. Mine are mp3 files. They do not appear. This is what Mediamax support had to say.

---Mediamax support 28 July

There's an issue with some bit for bit copies, that compunds this issue, a new upload of an existing file won't work unless you change the content of the file itself. Just changing the file name won't work, you need to edit something like the metadata to change the checksum of the file. A new upload should then result in a working file.

We are very sorry about this and are working to resolve it but please try the above workaround in the meantime.
---

I responded that changing an mp3 file is not a particularly easy workaround and my preferred approach is to use another service.

Now, some people are unable to download because their download limit has been reached and not re-credited at the start of the next period. This is the response from Mediamax:

---Mediamax blog 30 July 2007

Download Credits

Some users with accounts renewing the last four days of this month may not have automatically received their regular allotment of downloads. If you are one of the users affected please email us at support@mediamax.com. In your subject line please type "Download Credits". We'll have your download credits posted within 24 hours of receiving your email.

We are working on a solution to prevent this from happening next month. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Thanks for your patience and your business!

The MediaMax Customer Support Team

----

Finally, work is underway for an FTP system to upload and download files. There is a suggestion that Mediamax may actually get this working before subjecting us to it. This is the Mediamax blog 28 July.

----Mediamax blog 28 July 2007

FTP Update

We've gotten inquiries from users about the return of FTP uploads. We have a new version that will allow the management of both uploads and downloads. (The previous version only allowed for the management of uploads.) This added functionality was a request from many of our users. We're currently performing quality assurance testing on the new version to ensure full functionality. We'll post here when it becomes available for use.

---

So still not much joy for customers.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Communication established with Mediamax

As mentioned previously Mr. John Hood, Director of Customer Support at Mediamax, left a comment on this blog, after which I formally welcomed him.

I'm pleased to say John has responded to some of the specific questions raised here and has offered to drop by to leave additional information.

If you have left a comment raising a particular issue, keep an eye on it as you may find an answer. I'll flag up anything in a new posting that I think is of general interest.

Here is John's comment left here:

---

Hello,

As we've stated on the blog we're working on restoring access to files. We do not have an ETA for completion but will post on both of our blogs and here when it's done.

We're posting all refund requests in the order received. Due to an unusually high volume of email there will be a delay in responding but we will get to every email. Thanks for your patience.

We don't allow comments on the blog because we don't the manpower to manage it and respond. We're a small start up of less than a dozen people. We feel that it's more important that all of us work at restoring service instead of pulling one of us off that work to manage the blog. Having said that, I'll try to check on here when I can to respond to your posts.

Thanks,

John Hood

Streamload is dead - it's just Mediamax now

There is a new Mediamax blog, hosted here on blogger! I wonder if we inspired them?

And the latest entry says Streamload is dead. It is just Mediamax now. Those who have been telling us of the good old days before Streamload was taken over, may wish to mark its passing.

As usual, you can't comment on the Mediamax blog, so I'll include their latest posting here so you can comment.

----Mediamax blog 27 July 2007 - Quote:

Email limits, Streamload.com, and the blog

A one improvement and a couple of changes and for today:

Mediamax.com application improvement:

- Email limits. With our shiny new database servers (again, very sorry about the problems encountered getting us here) we have significantly more processing capacity to handle large message volume.

We'd prefer not to share exact limitations because spammers may be able to use that against us, but the limits are about 10 times greater than before and we don't think you should hit them under any normal use.


And BIG changes to the web site for the marketing folks, but it doesn't have any material impact on you:

- No more "Streamload", "Streamload.com", or "powered by Streamload". We're consolidating brands and just going with "MediaMax". In fact, our new company name is "MediaMax, Inc.", and our service and website is now just "MediaMax". Simple, eh?

- We're also using new blog software. Actually we're not actually running software at all anymore but using a hosted blog at Blogspot (that's where you are right now). Links to old postings on the old blog will continue to work for some time, but life is much simpler for us here not having to maintain blog software and it's good to have one less thing to worry about.

----

Welcome Mr. John Hood from Mediamax

I would like to formally welcome Mr. John Hood, Director of Customer Support at Mediamax to this blog. I have been alerting Mediamax to its existance since setting it up, so nice for someone to drop by.

This is Mr. Hood's reply to comments on an earlier entry about the lack of response to emails:
http://mediamaxusers.blogspot.com/2007/07/lost-emails.html

---
Nothing could be further from the truth. We are most definitely listening (and reading...)
We were swamped with emails which slowed down response times as I said in my post. We've got a better ERM system now and are up to the challenge. Please shoot us an email.

John Hood
Director of Customer Support
MediaMax
---

I'd like to invite Mr. Hood to respond to some of the other key concerns people have been raising here. Specifically:

1. When can we expect files that no longer stream or download to be accessible again?

2. As there appear to have been breakdowns in service periodically since Mediamax took over Streamload, how can we have any confidence that there won't be more? Some users have lost access to files for the past month. This is not a minor issue.

3. What compensation will be offered to users? How about extending the billing period by twice the down time? Two months extension owed so far. Those off us who have had to go to extra expense and trouble to put services like podcasts back on air would perhaps see this as getting off lightly.

4. When will refunds be made to people who have been billed after closing their accounts?

Feel free to leave answers in a comment or I can give you posting rights if you contact me.

Alternatively why not answer these questions on the Mediamax blog and allow people to comment there?