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:

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:

"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:

We have resolved the upload processing issue. Uploads will process immediately now. If you are continuing to have issues please email us at 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.

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.

---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:

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:

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.

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.


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.

---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.


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

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: