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February 27, 2015 After Action Report

3 Mar

On Friday, February 27, PBworks experienced significant, customer-facing performance problems, and for that we apologize.

The issues began in the early morning hours, manifesting themselves as slow performance and page timeouts.  While the site never went down, it became difficult for our customers to use it effectively.  You rely on us to do your work, and in this case, we let you down.

During the course of diagnosing and resolving the issues, all the senior members of our operations and technical staff got involved, as did our executive team.  We cancelled all our regular meetings to focus on restoring the service as quickly as possible.  At one point, we even sent our CEO to our data center to help with repairs.  He ended up getting a cut on his finger while assisting the technical team, which means that we literally sacrificed blood and sweat to get the service back to normal.

We ultimately determined that the root cause was an unlikely, intermittent hardware failure, and corrected the situation by replacing the affected hardware once the business day ended (to minimize any hard downtime for our customers).

Since then, we have taken steps to ensure that the specific root cause of the incident cannot happen again.  We have also identified additional precautions that we can put in place to help ameliorate any future issues, and will be working on them.

Again, our sincerest apologies for any disruption to your work.  We take our obligation to our customers very seriously, and will strive to avoid any repeats of such issues.

 

Network Menu Enhancements

8 Oct

As part of our ongoing effort to improve usability, we’ve just released a new version of our network menu.

Historically, one of the more unique features of PBworks has been the shortcuts in the network menu.  These shortcuts allow users to access their Recent Items (visited workspaces and wiki pages, uploaded files), Starred Items, Tasks, and to add content via the big “+”.

The first three shortcuts correspond to the sections of the personal Dashboard, while the big “+” makes it easy to add things.

Thanks to all the new features we’ve added, such as Network-wide page and file types, the old “+”, which only allowed you to add generic workspaces, wiki pages, and files, was incomplete.

Therefore, we’ve remodeled all of the shortcuts, adding new functionality to the “+” and updating the look and feel of the Dashboard shortcuts.

Take a moment to check it out, and let us know what you think!

PBworks is safe from Shellshock

26 Sep

You may have heard in the news about the Shellshock bug, which affects Unix and Linux servers:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/26/technology/security-experts-expect-shellshock-software-bug-to-be-significant.html?_r=0

The good news is that the way PBworks’ systems are set up, the Shellshock bug could not be exploited.  As a precaution, however, we have already applied multiple patches to all of our Linux servers to eliminate this vulnerability.  As additional patches become available, we will implement them as well.  Our service, and your data, are safe from this issue.

Introducing New Menu Bar Customization

10 Sep

The menu bar at the top of our products is the most important navigational element.  It includes links to all the most important features in the product, a powerful search capability, and a host of other cool tools like the ability to access recent items or tasks.

We’re making it even more powerful by introducing a new system for menu bar customization.

In the past, we offered some limited customization capabilities.  You could hide tabs, change their names, and provide a URL for home tab content.  A few of our premium packages allowed you to add additional custom tabs, or to set up alternate home tabs, but by and large it was very hard to use these features because you couldn’t know which tabs would appear for which users without making the change and testing it with those users.

The new menu bar customization feature adds additional functionality while solving prior issues.  The new Network Menu settings now allows you to define as few or as many tabs as you like.  You can also decide which users can see which tabs, either by selecting the class of users (Admins, Internal Users, External Users) or by setting permissions for user groups.  We’ve even added new types of tabs, like the ability to create a tab with a drop-down submenu of options.

Best of all, the Network Menu screen allows you to preview your changes by user type or group, so you can know what your users will see *before* you implement the change.

If you like your menu the way it is, don’t worry, this feature won’t change your tabs (unless you make the change yourself).

You can access the Network Menu settings from the PBworks Admin screen.  To provide more room for additional tabs, we have moved this Admin screen to be part of the user drop-down.  Admins can simply click on their profile photo in the Menu Bar and access the Admin screen.

Because this is a powerful new feature, we’ll also be offering a free webinar to demonstrate the new features and how you can use them.

New Network Menu Customization Webinar
Tuesday, September 1610 AM Pacific/1 PM Eastern/17:00 UTC/18:00 BST
https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/453545646

Now you can edit PBworks wiki pages on your iPad or iPhone

18 Aug

While PBworks has always been accessible on your smartphone or tablet, until recently, the built-in browser on iPads and iPhones didn’t allow rich text web editing.

The good news is that browser technology has now advanced to the point where rich text editors like our wiki page editor will now work on iOS devices.  As of tonight, we’ve released an upgrade that allows all PBworks users to edit PBworks wiki pages on their iPads and iPhones (you’ve been able to edit wiki pages on Android devices for some time).

Give these new capabilities a spin and less us know what you think!

Automated Amazon S3 Backup Is Going Premium

2 Jul

As of July 3, 2014, the automated Amazon S3 backup will become a premium feature.  This means that it will be a separate add-on line item in your PBworks paid subscription.

Don’t worry, if you are currently using this feature to back up your PBworks network to your corporate S3 account, we will grandfather in a free license to this feature through the end of your current paid subscription.

Security Announcement: PBworks is safe from “Heartbleed”

10 Apr

As you may have heard, many websites and services have a major security issue named “Heartbleed”

The short answer is that your information is safe, PBworks is not affected, and you do not need to take any actions (e.g. changing passwords).

If you are interested in the details, you can read on.

A major security bug, nicknamed  “Heartbleed” was reported in the OpenSSL security cipher suite.   OpenSSL is an open source library used by over 3/4ths of all web services, and it is used to protect the privacy of data transmitted over the internet.

Actions PBworks has taken

Within hours of the report of the bug, we performed a security vulnerability assessment of our system, and found that the version of OpenSSL used by our system is not vulnerable to this exploit.

What do you need to do?

At this time, you do not need to take any action.   Your login, data, and passwords are safe, and have not been compromised.

What PBworks will continue to do

We believe that the security and integrity of your data is of the highest priority.   We are taking further precautions to make sure that your data is safe on our service.  We have also updated all our systems with the latest available security patches to the software and operating systems, and will continue to perform daily security audits.

If you have any concerns or questions, please contact Support or your account representative.

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