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.


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'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.


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.


Anonymous said...

I could care less what John Hood or Steve Iverson say.The fact is this service is destroyed , done and useless.Streamload was what worked.This Mediamax is a complete and utter failure.After all this John Hood nor Steve Iverson have not sent 1 e-mail to all the users explaining or even a Im sorry for this.The blog is so impersonal.A message to members ...PAYING members who may not be able to live in a well decorated downtown apartments would have been nice.All I keep hearing is talk , talk,talk from them.Just today I got files in my mailbox...I get the same old error message something is wrong crap.All Im hoping from mediamax is for these clowns to restore my files so I can get my stuff off their servers and cancel.I refuse to trust them with 1 more file of mine.Mediamax can call them seperate companies all you want but I can call sh&t more than 1 way...crap , turds , ,etc.Its still SH@T...just like Mediamax and Nivanix.

WillTRiker said...

Thank you for that insightfull comment. I do sympathise on a certain level though ... in this day and age companies that work in IT have, once you're in, a strangehold on you that would rival even the most totalitarian regime. If I would have been able to find a service similar to MediaMax ... not only costwise, but also how things SHOULD operate .... and I would have had a way of somehow moving around 4 TB worth of stuff from MM to another service I would have switched a long time ago. Unfortunately if MediaMax works, I dare say it's 2nd to none ... and ofcourse moving 4 TB stuff also put us off more then a little. Like Martin Hood I'll reserve final judgement until everything is ... sort of normal. Having said that, this is the 2nd time a move to a new version brought along major catastrophes although this time the problems and the time to fix them have proven WAY above what happened earlier. I sure hope that if there is a need of a 3thd move MediaMax proves that it has learned it's lesson from this debacle. Hopefully it's finally going up hill from here for those that still stick with MediaMax ... for whatever reason that maybe.

EegahInc said...

I'm in the same boat. Though I doubt I have 4TB of data, the 2 1/2 years of uploads I do have would be difficult to move. I'm trying to be patient even though, for all intents and purposes, my account is dead. I wonder who the 80% are that have their files back?

IcyPurplepants said...

I'm a UK-based MediaMax user of a few years and have been reading this blog for some time now. It's good to see John Hood and Steve Iverson taking the time to reply somewhere, if not on their own blog. It has long been a source of frustration that Mediamax are so so awful at keeping their CUSTOMERS informed about what's going on. I mean even back in the good old days when the site would drop out for a couple of hours for "maintenance" hard would it have been to send an email out 24 hours in advance to warn everyone? Not only easy, but free, low maintenance, and creates a good customer service reputation. People could always opt out of receiving these updates. I'd rather have received 100 emails from MM explaining what was going on than days and weeks of silence.

I also have quite a few ideas for things that I'd like to see added to the service to improve the use-ability of it, some of which worked well in Streamload, but have vanished since the migration to MediaMax but right now, I guess getting the system working again is the number 1 priority.

Anyway, I'm not writing here to complain, I may be unique, but I love MediaMax (perhaps not as much as Streamload admittedly), WHEN it's working. They know they have the best system on the Internet, and I'll bet they are desperate to get it back and running. It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if the disgruntled users who have closed their accounts will eventually come back if, and when, a reliable service resumes. I just hope that those of us who have sat back and (almost) patiently waited during the last year, will get something in return for their loyalty, perhaps several months of free useage, or a massive increase in allowed downloads or something. I guess they do have us by the short and curlies when they are storing so much of our data, but I do try to keep local copies of as much of it as possible.....I've looked at loads and loads of other "backup" services, but none of them offer anything like as good a system as MediaMax, in my opinion.

By way of a test, I have been attempting to download various files over the last few months, and have come across three specific ones that I want (not desperately, just for the purposes of proving it is improving), which have been unavailable (not found) for quite some time. Well today I was able to download two of them, so something's definitely getting better. I'd also like to know how Martin Hood has been doing his "bulk accessibility audits".

I am very much looking forward to the switching on of the FTP service, I used to be able to upload around 150Mb or so in an hour. Whereas nowadays, using MMXL, I am lucky to do that amount in 24 hours. The web uploading is much quicker, as long as you use single file mode, though I find it very frustrating that it errors at random times/places and you have to start again. It would be much nicer if the files it's already completed would still make it through, but it seems not. Count me in if you need more beta-testers of your FTP/MMXL software! :-)))))

Anyway, MM, here's hoping for a speedy recovery!

JD said...

Good to read the latest posts. I hope that John and Steve will continue this. Again you invited us in for a call. I am at GMT so that is not handy and besides that I think more people are interested in some answers. Because of new posts question disappear maybe so I repeat them.
1) why not open up a ftp server, should take not more than a couple of days to get it up and running? What is so different with your ftp solution?
2) why is this webupload behaving irregular? What is your expectation about this problem solved?
3)you also must have programs to check availability of files. Will you make those public so we can check te recovery?
4) what are those problems with big accounts, what and when are you planning to do about it?
5) You hired a new director for engineering but what about engineers? I have the feeling you are short about those but maybe the remaining can do some explaining because then we might understand the little progress made sofar. Understand me correctly I appreciate your effort right now to go into discussion but so far it is mainly marketing talk. All (remaining) users have worries and needs whether this end good and when so we want facts.
6) I proposed it before, I will appreciate an offer that you roll forward the billing date say to 1th of november and restore account in their previous state (mine has gone from a basic paid account to freeloader on my request) I know more people have gone this way. I think you gain a bit more if you do this for all users.

Steve, John I hope you react positively and we can all continue on this way of the last post or 2

Martin Hood said...

Rather than clutter up this blog with details of the rather kludgey method I used to gather the MediaMax file loss rate data, I'll be happy to respond directly to to individual requests to (make the obvious substitution for _at_).

I'll post an updated graph showing progress later this week.

Anonymous said...

Ill never trust these crooks with 1 file of mine

Anonymous said...

I am not one of the 80% of those whose files have been recovered.
If there is just one of the 80% who can claim total recovery, please drop a line on this blog.

Martin Hood said...

An individual's files stored on MediaMax are dispersed across a large number of storage servers rather than all grouped together in one place. Hence recovery performed by server will restore files in a piecemeal fashion from an individual user's perspective.

The progress of the recovery shows this quite clearly with scattered groups of files reappearing at the same time.

Hence the statement made by MediaMax that the file recovery process is 80% complete does not mean that 80% of users now have ALL their files back. It means that on average each user can expect to have about 80% of their files back.

I'm not yet seeing quite so optimistic results in the restoration of my own collection. It was 63% restored the last time I checked and I hope this does not indicate that their will be a high residual loss rate at the conclusion of the formal restoration process.

WillTRiker said...

Thanks Martin for responding (here and by email). You could get lucky and have that remaining 37% show up when MediaMax works it's way through their last 20% of files that need to be restored, but to be honest, I doubt that very much.

I know there are missing links in my archive and some files will have been gone for longer that the june 15 last as Streamload also lost file on occassion. The problem will be to put back what was lost.

Also is it me, or is it whenever the new week start the processing and uploading service takes a nose dive? Am getting several resets to null during upload and have around 50% of my uploads not showing up.

Anonymous said...

Its taking them this long to realize the xl app needs to be fixed? Its been STRAIGHT garbage since they released it

JD said...

Did a small test with xenu
of 105 urls, I got 83% available
about 5% errors and about 10% not

WillTRiker said...

Steve, John,

could you tell me if you have some kind of script running that enables uploading/processing for a certain timefrime per account?

After yesterday processing still was magnificently unreliable I stopped uploading and resumed this morning. Except for 'only' 2 files that I had to upload twice, they usually showed up almost immediately. Seems my alloted timeframe that everything works is over again as the last 5 files (868 MB) I uploaded are nowhere to be seen. It could be that it takes longer this time before they're processed, but I lay odds that they'll never show up unless I re-upload them all ... spending again 2 hours and bandwith I could have used to upload other stuff.

Community members of mine are having similar experiences and while I doubt if you actually have some kind of script running it's a testament to the fact that uploading and processing still remains severely unreliable / unstable.

JD said...

Strange things happen there.
First about uploading. I reckognize your suspicion. I have experienced the same. Right now it worked
with just 1 album, 12 files in about 30 minutes uploaded, had other experiences where the problems started after an hour or so.

About archives validating. Martin was so kind to explain what he did. I tried this for myself. 1 small test with 105 files yesterday reported about 83% available, tonight same test 99% forbidden requests.
I extended my test to 470 urls and got about 43% availibility and 28%
forbidden requests (also with the same files as in the small tests so that is repeatable), not found 22% Strange, strange results.

I will try repeat the tests tomorrow. I saved the results ofcourse.

Mike said...

Streamload worked. Mediamax simply does not work. Are these guys complete idiots? How hard is it to rent space on other servers until they get themselves sorted out. I have not been able to upload, via ftp or their crap "beta for multiple months" product. Please mediamax, either through in the towel and admit you suck or hire some contractors to get you back online. Unless a miracle occurs, I WILL NOT be renewing my annual subscription and am actively seeking other solutions.

WillTRiker said...

Wanted to let the public know that I got a personal email from John Hood with a link to the new MediaMax XL application. The first impressions are that it's a lot faster when navigating around your HD and a lot more stable as well (no longer a standard crash / failed first login).

One thing however is positively still sheer crap ... it's speed ... I still hover around 15-20KB for uploading (I'll test downloading tonight) and that's worthless considering webupload is 10 times that fast.

Uploading and processing in general are still very poor with lots of my uploads not making it to my filemanager ... can't actually say about uploads using MM XL as they haven't arrived yet ... sigh, 1,5 hours for a 60 MB file. Not good, not good at all.

JD said...

I just used davcin's tools for the first time for testing the availibility and was pleasantly suprised. Wonder why I need their interface anyway.
Why don't they ask davcin to add more functionality to his tool and they focus on their core activities?
When they pay him a little bit they might be cheaper and the whole user interface is so much more superior.
The speed is much better also.
It's a pity John and Steve don't follow up the discussion.

WillTRiker said...

One drawback from Davcin's MediaMaxExplorer I found was that at time his explorer showed certain actions had been performed, but checking it against my account on the website itself it turned out it hadn't been done.

In essence when you work with his MM Explorer you're creating ASPI command that are send to MediaMax which then performs these actions to mirror your account to the explorer. The problems is that when MM is slow it won't perform (all of your) actions. In the end I found it safer just to browse online so that I was sure whatever I did I had immediate confirmation whether or not I had succeeded.

His explorer breaks also down quite regularly ... usually not Davcin's fault though, but still you will be forced back to webservice again anyway.

davcin said...

I am trying to fix some of the issues by removing some needed MediaMaxExplorer/MediaMaxTree stuff from MediaMax and to change one thing or two in the tools that will help them to not be so dependent of MediaMax to work.

Still, the MediaMax problems I can't fix and so the tools will keep suffering from those problems...

JD said...

I am thinking about those strange results I got in testing the availability. The only thing I can come up with is the architecture of mediamax. I guess they have clusters of servers with software and storage. If one of them fails for some reason you cannot get to the files stored on that server.
If I remember correctly streamload had mirrors of files so if one failed you could always use a different access path.
I know some the former streamload/mediamax employees used to read this blog, so if you happen to read please comment on this.

Anonymous said...

Double check your credit card bill

BEWARE THE "Billing Glitch"

my e-mail:

To Whom It May Concern:
on 08/28/07 Mediamax charged my credit card $179.80. I have a premium membership which only costs $45 / per year.
I've remained loyal to Mediamax despite all the service turmoil over the last year and all the negative testimonials these service interruptions have generated.
I implore you, as such, to please explain this charge.

MM response:

Hello Michael,

Thank you for contacting MediaMax.

I am truly sorry for the confusion with the billing of your account. I have refunded $134.85 to your credit card. Please allow sufficient time for this refund to process and to post. It appears that there was a billing glitch when your renewal was processed, and this caused the charge to process four separate times. Again, please accept our apologies. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

MediaMax Support

JD said...

The site is completely down. Why not a simple message on their own blog?
This is quite normal behaviour in the western world to inform your customers. My bank gives a message about maintenance about every 3 to 4 weeks.

Icypurplepants said...

Agreed JD, and exactly what I said in my message above!

JD said...

I figured out the problem in my testscript, i have to renew my logon token. I see no other option then getting this from a manual login.
Anybody other ideas?
Really annoying that I cannot continue because I can only do this from home.

jd said...

mysteriously mediamax is there again

JD said...

ok was able to repeat my small test
and did it correctly now with a valid logon token. Result same as the first time about 83% availability. Will try
later on this week again. Now working on some kind of automated scripting for testing because this method needs too much work,

peebs said...

Oh mystery of mysteries! I can't access MM at all. First I clicked on the link that would've taken me directly to my File Manager (but due to my reluctance to pay for services not rendered, I can't see my File Manager even though I now have a freeloader account) and it gave me a window asking me for my name and password. So I typed those in and nothing. I was still being asked for that info.

Very strange since I'm "logging" in to the web interface and not an ftp. So I typed in MM's address and I started to get a runtime error. Now I'm getting the same request for name and password and I'm not even going to my File Manager. Something's up and despite my snarkiness, I'd like to know what. I still dream of getting my files back and off my account.

peebs said...

The world is coming to the end.

MM has announced in their blog that they're having technical issues. Now I can access their site but not my File Manager.

I think I just saw a curly tail flying by my window. Maybe it's just my imagination.

John Hood said...

willtriker- thanks for your email and feedback on the newest version of MMXL. No, we are not running a script. The completion of the data recovery project has forced us to take down some storage servers which means some files that complete will not show up in your account. We're scheduled to have those servers back up in the next few days.

icypurplepants- thanks for your kind words. You're right, no one wants MM up and running properly than Steve and I. I'll put you on the list of bete testers. Is icypurplepants your MM username?
I'll look into sending out mass emails and putting up a maintenance window when the site is down.

eegahinc- it's not an across the board deal, unfortunately. 80% of all files have been returned, not 80% of files in each individual account. If your files are on the 20% of remaining servers that would be why you haven't seen them yet.


1. We're working on fixing MMXL first as I've mentioned in another post. Then we'll move on to FTP.
2. I answered this one above.
3. The data that we have is by server, not by individual file. It would be prettty meaningless to release it.
4. I answered this one in another post. Our first priority is to get uploads working properly, the data recovery project and a working MMXL. When we're done with that we'll move on to the next set of issues.
5. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, we actually recently doubled our Engineering staff. So, yes we do have a full staff of Engineers.
6. Your account has been reinstated and I've rolled back your billing date to the end of the year.

peebs- we're here right now in the office working on restoring service. As of right now it should be working for 90% of users.

John Hood said...

davcin- If you could please go into the API/developer user group and leave a message about current issues you're experiencing, the moderator there should be able to troubleshoot them. I'm also going to send you the new MMXL.

Anonymous said...

icypurplepants said...

Hi John, thanks for the response, and thanks for listening to those of us on here calling for more regular blog updates! :-)

Would be delighted to test the new tool, my MM userid is mcronin.....

Timmytour said...

So where do I stand now???

I joined as a member of Streamload back in September 2003

My annual subscription is up for renewal tomorrow, but the credit card details I have lodged are for one that expired some months ago. So I would appear to be safe from the random debiting that appears to have been going on!

I have 24.41 GB of downloads remaining.

Like most people I guess I have been hardly able to use the account for what seems ages now. Obviously I have no intention of forking out for another year's subscription. Does this mean I will lose my files and unused allowance? That would be hard to take, but not as hard as forking out for the privilege of having them there and not able to do bugger all with them.

And whatever happened to the streamload download manager? It used to work great for me. If there were files within a batch it couldn't download, it would still do the rest. But it seems not to work with that the case?

To be honest I'm not sure that Mediamax was ever working well enough to really test the replacement (Mediamax XL) on a batch system, but I got the impression that even it one of the files WAS available for downloading, the presence of one file that wasn't within the batch would prevent anything downloading. Is this the case?

God I miss Streamload. Like others on here I have wondered why there has been no news of any sort posted as an email in my inbox, but then again, on current form, it's unlikely that I would be able to open it even if there was one!

Sorry, but complete and utter frustration makes me a cynical and bitter person. Probably why I ration my trips to my Mediamax account so much these days!

Kenna said...

Well said.