Author Archives: John

About John

The the tech guy here at BonzoBox. Also, I write in the blog & manage @bonzobox

Performance Issues Resolved

You may have noticed that sometimes BonzoBox has been extremely slow to load over the past 2 weeks.  We noticed too and set to work finding out why. 

It turns out that the program that imports our updated screenshots was very hard on the database and as a result whenever it started working, (at least every 5 minutes), the database would be overloaded and BonzoBox pages would stop loading properly.  This is why BonzoBox sometimes appeared to be up one minute, down the next, and back up 2 minutes after that.  To fix the problem we rewrote the program that imports the updated screenshots so be much nicer to the database and everything seems to be running fine now, and has been since last night.  As an added bonus updated screenshots are now imported much faster!

Thank you for your patience while we hunted down the cause of the problem and got it fixed.

Facebook’s New Design Reminds me of BonzoBox

Facebook just went live with their much discussed new design, and their friends section looks kind of familiar. Now, we’re not saying that we own the rounded-corners market, but hey, we’re pretty flattered when such a huge company imitates us. What do you think?

A few of my buddies on BonzoBox

A few of my buddies on BonzoBox

A few of my friends on Facebook

A few of my friends on Facebook

BonzoBox is Faster

Since the New Year the BonzoBox community has been experiencing explosive growth. As a result of that growth, we’ve been planning to upgrade our servers for a while. The plan was to smoothly transition to the newer, faster servers. Well, last Sunday, due to circumstances beyond our control, our old server was shut down for a day and a half, so I went into overdrive to move everything to our new server and bring the site back. By the time our old server was brought back online we were far enough into moving everything to the new server that the decision was made to offer limited functionality to existing BonzoBoxers during the move then re-open everything once we were ready for prime-time on the new system. We opened everything up again on Wednesday, and brought back the final missing feature, on-demand screenshots, on Saturday. We are sorry for the problems that the downtime caused. We understand that it was a headache, it was for us too. While we were down we weren’t able to bookmark the reference sites we were using to bring everything back up! However, we’re back now, and better than ever.

We are really excited about our new server. Here are some highlights:

  • 5.5 times the processing power of the old server
  • 8 times the memory of the old server
  • 4.5 times the storage of the old server

On top of that we have moved the system that generates screenshots into an environment where we have access to virtually unlimited computing power.

We have improved our backups too. We now back-up all of your data every hour to a secure location. We also have nightly on-site backups of absolutely everything, and nightly offsite backups of absolutely all data, (even the stuff that we’re already doing hourly). This means that even if the data center where our servers are housed burns to the ground your data is safe.

Now we’re settled into our new home, We can finally fix some bugs that you have discovered and improving BonzoBox. For all of you who have been patiently waiting for something, (like better bookmark import), hold on, it’s coming. Now go and enjoy the new, speedy, servers

BonzoBox for Everyone

We just pushed a major upgrade to the site and we’re pretty excited about it.

The first and most obvious change is that sign-in is no longer obligitory.  Of course you should sign in to access your own personal BonzoBox, but if you just want to pop in and do a quick Google search then you can.

The second major change is that you no longer have a Bonzo Name, but you do have a Personal BonzoBox URL.  We have decided to move toward having everyone use their real first names here on BonzoBox.  Your old Bonzo Name is now your Personal URL, for example, if your Bonzo Name was johnbeales, (like me), your Personal BonzoBox URL would be http://bonzobox.com/johnbeales. If your old Bonzo Name has strange characters in it that don’t work in a URL contact us using the feedback link at the bottom of the page and we’ll get it updated for you.

That’s it for the moment.  More is coming over the next week.  Stay tuned.

BonzoBox 2008 Year in Review

Now that the partying is, (partly), over, it’s time for us to take a look back and see what we’ve accomplished this year at BonzoBox, and to look forward and see what we need to do.

2008 saw the successful beta launch of BonzoBox.com, our site, and our company. We’re an eclectic team with members in California and Québec and backgrounds ranging from real estate to programming to design to classical dance. Some of us knew each other before we invented BonzoBox and some didn’t, but now we’re a pretty tight bunch. That’s enough nostalgia. Wipe your eyes and read on.

This year we’ve made an attempt to reach out to our users and have received a bunch of feedback. With our next few updates we will attempt to address as many of your concerns as possible. If ever you have a problem with the site or have anything you want to say, good or bad, please let us know. There is a feedback link at the bottom of every page, and on most pages there is a feedback tab at the side that will let you submit feedback to our user forum.

In 2009, in addition what was mentioned in our Holiday Newsletter, we will be throwing our doors wide open. You will be able to link directly to your BonzoBox and even if your friends aren’t BonzoBox members they can see what you have in your box, if you let them, (of course, we want them to become members, so throw in a good word for us, won’t you?). 2009 will be the Year of the BonzoBox. Please enjoy it, and keep telling us what you think.

Happy Holidays from BonzoBox

I just sent out our Holiday Newsletter.  In case you missed it in your inbox, here’s a link.  I would post the whole thing here, but we made it all beautiful and it looks best on its own page.

I know I just said it, but Happy Holidays.  Have fun, spend some time relaxing and eating, and be safe.

BonzoBox on the iPhone

BonzoBox works great on the iPhone.  

BonzoBox works great on the iPhone.

Expecting this to be an announcement of an iPhone app?  Nope.  I’m here to say that BonzoBox works great on the iPhone as-is!  That’s right, without typing a special URL or anything you can have your favorite web pages just a tap away.  

So, how do we know BonzoBox is so awesome on the iPhone?  All of our team members who have iPhones use BonzoBox on their iPhones, (yeah, some of us haven’t been able to kick the crackberry habit yet).

For those of you not using the iPhone yet, (hey – I’m not – don’t feel too bad), stay tuned, we’re thinking of you too.

New Feedback & Upgrades

Our new feedback tab.

Our new feedback tab.

Great new feedback system from Get Satisfaction

Here on BonzoBox there’s always been a link at the very bottom of the site that allows you to send feedback to us, but it’s not very obvious and just sends an E-mail – not very 21st century of us, so this week we have pushed an update that gives all of you BonzoBoxers out there a way to participate in making BonzoBox better:  Feedback powered by Get Satisfaction.

Get Satisfaction allows you to send us questions, ideas, problem reports, and even praise, and it lets others see what’s going on and let us know their thoughts on the subject.  For example, if Sally wants the ability to make her BonzoBox sing to her she can post an idea that says “BonzoBox should sing to me.”  Then, if Jane likes the idea she can tell us so from the same web page and start following the idea so she knows what’s going on.  This will allow us to know which ideas are the most loved, (or hated).  It also means that the survey will be closed down by the end of the weekend.

You will notice a black tab on the left side of most BonzoBox pages that says “Feedback.”  Just click it and tell us your ideas, wishes, and gripes.

Back-End improvements to allow for faster updates

You may not be aware, but BonzoBox is multi-lingual, we have both English and Spanish versions of BonzoBox, and have a couple more languages coming soon.  However, it’s tough to quickly add new features to a website when everything has to be done in four languages! So, a major part of our updates this week consisted of code changes that allow us to update the different languages independently as the translations are ready.  This means that for those of you using BonzoBox in English, you may see features slightly faster than those of you using BonzoBox in other languages.  This will allow us to keep on innovating and experimenting at breakneck speed!

Who is this John guy?

You may have noticed that this post is not written by the Bonzo Guy.  It’s written by John.  I am the Chief Technology Officer of BonzoBox and I will be writing about new features and upgrades to BonzoBox, and maybe something else once in a while if I feel like it.  Want to know what’s in my BonzoBox?  Check it out here.