January 6, 2012
This week has been focused towards the cleanup and redesign of the Service Manager. It’s a very large module built inside of Shockey Monkey and required a lot of special attention to assure the new code did not interfere with any existing interface mechanics. Everything has gone very smoothly and today we will be finishing the last few sections, before publishing the changes to the remote portals. With the new publish, everything should look a lot cleaner and loading times have been reduced dramatically.
Next week we have a few focus points that have been requests for quite a while. First on the list will be SLA management. We have been notified of several issues with the current SLA system and will be working towards resolving those problems. Next, as several of you have noticed the “Projects” section has not been updated to match the look and feel of Shockey Monkey v2.0 yet. We also have several back-end enhancements we will be implementing into the code base over the course of the week.
We’ve delayed the updates to these sections on purpose. We didn’t want to simply re-theme these areas, but transform them into something more powerful! We originally designed these sections a few years back and the scope of implementation was limited. Now that we integrate with several platforms and have a more advanced understanding of how everything works and plays together, we hope to make these sections something amazing!
VP Development, ExchangeDefender
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December 27, 2011
This past week the main focus on the development side was to bring the accounting module up to standards with the new version of Shockey Monkey. This was no easy task and required a lot of code revisions and new implementation methods. In total: 20,000 lines of code had to be “reviewed” and modifications/additions made where found necessary.
The first thing you will notice is that the GUI has been brought up to standards to match the current look, feel and flow of the 2.0 design. The next things that we addressed were outstanding bugs within the system and new bugs that were created as a result of the upgrade. I won’t go into details here, but you can read about the bugs that we fixed here. Finally the last thing many of you will notice is the ability to set your “currency” within the Shockey Monkey Portal.
You can modify the currency displayed inside your portal on a Global level by going into your branding settings. Here you will notice a new section called “Regional Settings”.
Next week our continued focus will be on improvements to the core and Service Manager enhancements, while we continue to fix bug reported by our Partners within the scope of Shockey Monkey.
VP Development, ExchangeDefender
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December 9, 2011
This week was our Shockey Monkey v.2 Bug week, where we worked very closely with you (our partners) and quickly addressed the majority of the bugs that were reported. Overall, the volume of bugs reported was relatively small and typically very easy fixes!
***A special thanks to everyone who tested the SM Agent and provided us with feedback. We’ve identified several issues with the Agent and are now planning our revision process, which should take about a month to complete.
Let’s talk a little about the SM Agent and the direction we are looking to take upon its actual release. The SM Agent is essentially a component that you would install on your clients machines across an entire organization. Once this component is installed, you can now monitor the machine in several ways. One way is through data collection of things like (drivers, hard drives, optical devices, installed applications, event logs and more). The second way is through direct interaction, AKA Remote Desktop or Screen Sharing. The last core piece of this software will be scheduled and on-demand script execution. This would allow you to configure monthly, daily or hourly events that would trigger your custom scripts on a per machine basis.
One of the biggest requests we have had for implementing software of this nature has been for network installation. We are currently exploring several methods to help complete this goal and make network discovery and installation across and entire infrastructure possible. Obviously the goal here is to be able to deploy the agent across hundreds of machines with very little leg work and time spent on site.
The next huge request has been for an automatic ticket alerting and sending notifications when something breaks or reaches a certain threshold. With the introduction of the SM Agent, we believe we finally have a way to create such a system. The idea is simple, we allow you to basically script in the desired action dynamically based on your collection of devices.
IF [MACHINE]->[OBJECT]->[Attribute]->[VALUE] <= [VALUE] THEN [ALERT]->[OBJECT]
Human Script Builder ( Drop Down Boxes )
IF “Desktop_XYZ”->“Hard Drive”->“Free Space”->”Size” <= “2GB” THEN “Open Ticket”.
What we hope to accomplish over the first few months of 2012 is implementing these advanced management features and then directly linking them back into the Dashboard and sections of Shockey Monkey.
VP Development, ExchangeDefender
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December 2, 2011
With the release of Shockey Monkey 2 coming early next week, we have been working like craaaaaaaaaaaazy these last few weeks to finish the major revisions and clean up all the banana peels! This will be the LARGEST update to the Shockey Monkey core that has happened since it was created several years ago. The first thing you will notice is the new UI and dashboard layout on the main screen. With this redesign we tried to encompass the majority of all the vital information to one central and eye catching location. It will give you and your staff the ability to see a complete ticket overview, recent tickets, announcements, your agenda and tasks at a moment’s glance. The best part… it’s compatible in virtually every browser!
Out of the gate, the new UI will come with 5 preloaded themes that you can switch between inside of the portal. It won’t make it in time for the launch next week, but the goal is to implement a dynamic theme configuration tool inside of the portal. This would allow you to make the solution really and truly represent the look and feel that encompasses your company. We’ve also made several improvements to other aspects of branding that will give you an ease of comfort when navigating your settings.
We have also added several new features that really help Shockey Monkey stand out from the crowd! You now have the ability to go completely full screen and remove the menu bars while working inside of our solution. They are can be controlled by a toggle anytime from the bottom left toolbar and your setting will remain persistent for the duration of your session. This allows you to view more information and stay focused on the task at hand without any compromise to performance. We’ve also implemented a chat and notification system to allow interoffice communication and to give your customers the ability to chat directly with your support or sales team. We’ve improved the logging system and enhanced the search mechanism that will allow you to navigate through the activity inside of your portal.
On the backend we have been continuing to reduce the code overhead and processing load across all pages. This isn’t a difficult process, it’s just a very tedious and mind numbing experience. It may not make a lot of sense right now, but essentially this process is laying the foundation for very exciting future releases. Simply put, it’s all about being dynamic and allowing the solution to be put together to meet your individual needs. Overall the redesign has amazingly well and we will continue to improve dozen of areas even after the Shockey Monkey 2 launch.
VP Development, ExchangeDefender
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November 18, 2011
This week the development team has been focused on cleaning up Shockey Monkey. This process is mainly composed of three focused categories (UI, Performance, and Bug/Warning Fixes). I would say this has been the largest update to Shockey Monkey since it was originally created over seven years ago. This update should also help lay the framework for any future additions or tweaks.
– We’ve applied a consistent look and feel across the entire portal.
– Implemented a themed backend that allows quick and easy branding.
– Improved cross browser support
– Improved loading performance across the portal.
– Implemented more session variables to reduce the amount of queries.
– Decreased Disk IO access by resolving more than 1000+ warnings that were constantly being written to a local log file.
– We’ve fixed a handful of bug over the past few weeks and have been continuing to resolve these issues as we enhance the portal.
– If you have a bug, submit it here: https://support.ownwebnow.com/create.asp?item=development
If we go a little bit into the cleanup of the User Interface, it was a project that was mainly focused on consistency. We are also making sure that the look and feel between browser types is very similar. There are also a few special features of the new UI that will really help bring the User experience to a new level. One of these features is the ability to view any page in “Full Screen” mode. What this does is remove the top and side menus from the portal. This allows you to manage any page without the annoyance of having to resize or scroll to achieve simple tasks.
We have a lot more information and a ton more features that we are saving for the unveiling. If you would like to be a part of the Shockey Monkey Reloaded webinar on Thursday, December 1, 2011 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST, visit the following link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/812869640.
VP Development, ExchangeDefender
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November 15, 2011
Shockey Monkey will be receiving a massive refresh in both features and the business model in early December. Throughout 2011 we have been adding new features, new integrations and have entered several partnerships that just begin to showcase what is possible with Shockey Monkey. With that, we are about to revise the pricing, positioning, marketing and access to Shockey Monkey and want our partners to be aware of the changes that are coming.
Shockey Monkey Media & Partner Briefing
Tuesday, November 22nd. Noon EST.
Contact us for an invitation to the webinar.
Due to the sensitive nature of the information we will be sharing, this event is open by invitation only to vendors in the MSP space and media sites/blogs that cover them. We will be discussing:
– New pricing models
– New support procedures
– Sponsorship options
– Breakdown of user metrics
– Integration overview
– Usage patterns and value
If you’re interested in attending let us know, we are on pace to launch 2.0 in the first week of December. At that time we will be holding a user-facing webinar to announce all the cool new stuff that we hope is a real game changer for our users as well as for our partners.
Vlad Mazek, MCSE
CEO, Own Web Now Corp
(877) 546-0316 x500
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October 13, 2011
You’ve asked for it – and it’s my pleasure to say that we’ve delivered. Shockey Monkey now chats, has a desktop client, mobile HTML5 app for your iPhone and Android and plays nicely with Quotewerks, Kaseya, LPI, nAble, GFI Max, Quickbooks and more.
Over the past few months we’ve been focusing on integration between our partners and even improving the network communication in our own software. One of the biggest challenges in the software industry is foresight and being able to determine what comes next. If you have ever written a piece of software and then had to make a change to that software (even something small), maybe 1, 3, 6, 12 months later. You can probably understand how important it is to think ahead. Sure, you can rush software and have to rewrite the same code everyday several times. If you’re like me and don’t like to create (unnecessary) extra work, you can think about what functions & methods you may need for future revisions and implement at least a template that is extensible.
Truly Open API and Fat Client API Demo
That’s the approach we’ve been taking for that last year and it’s really starting to show now. We are able to (design, code & implement and actually sleep) software changes & additions a lot quicker and a lot cleaner. One of the ways we achieved this was to take all of the code that we use all over the place and centralize it into a single location. This is how we got our first API version and we started to build on top of that structure. Since we designed the API, one of our biggest concerns was SECURITY SECURITY SECURITY. We thought: You know what, one day our clients/partners will want to use this API. So when that time came and we were ready to allow the API to become public, we literally flipped one switch and it was all lights go!
A lot of people want access to an API and access to it is usually the first request. However, not a lot of clients/partners will utilize that API, until you show them what’s possible! That’s when it starts to get fun interesting! So, we released the Shockey Monkey Fat Client BETA! It takes advantage of our API and demonstrates the possibilities. Yes, it really is possible to create something useful from these publicly available resources. It’s the first release, so right now we kept it simple. It will allow you to view/update (tickets, contacts & companies). It even comes with a ticket dashboard, which shows you the status and urgency of all your open tickets.
On the other side of the office our Shockey Monkey team has been working on integrations with other Software vendors and helping to bridge that gap in resources. They’ve just finished integrations with (Level Platforms, N-able, GFI MAX). There are still a few others they are trying to complete very soon.
We literally completed these integrations within a week of actively working on them. What made it so simple was the initial template design we created when we made our first Integration point with Kaseya. It allowed all additional Integrations to be designed in a module structure allowing for easy design and implementation. We’ve moved away from the model of “Let’s just get it to work”, we created a few integrations like that in the past. They work great… until the method, you used to obtained information, has now been changed and no longer works.
Our current integration portfolio:
1. Email Gateway – Any device or service that can generate an email can automatically create a ticket in our system. Remember that this is free to you with ExchangeDefender so use it!
2. RMM – Kaseya, LPI, nAble, GFI Max (Labtech in development). We’re currently working with a number of companies that are interested as well as Shockey Monkey’s own built-in lightweight WMI/VNC tool.
3. Accounting – Quickbooks. Exports to xls, csv and data feeds for other ERP. We’re exploring adding more integrations here as requested but we’re spending even more effort into bringing the transaction processing and reporting capabilities into Shockey Monkey. We find that most partners don’t have a very formal accounting backend, especially for tracking cloud subscriptions, and ShockeyMonkey already supports Authorize.net as a payment gateway so look for a development there.
4. Business – Quotewerks. This is currently one of the best integrations out there because it was developed by Quotewrks and is tightly integrated in their software.
We’ve learned a lot from all of these integrations and have amazing ideas for future releases. One of the first things we want to implement is a SOAP version of our API. Currently, they are all written in XML/RPC and that has served us rather well. However, in the future we are envisioning an even more rapid development environment for Shockey Monkey. It’s always nice when most of the data translation is done for you. So we are thinking that SOAP and Shockey Monkey are going to get to know each other very well over the next few months!
Finally, I manage all the development projects and products at ExchangeDefender, including all our integrations, PSA/RMM and our automation infrastructure. I work with many partners but at the end of the day I’m just one guy. So here is how to plug in with the whole team and make sure your requests are being taken care of:
1. Use the portal bug/feature tracking. Located at https://support.ownwebnow.com under the Development tab there are Features and Bugs. We use this as the central storage for all our features and requests. You can see public stuff that was reported by our clients and even some stuff that our internal teams are tracking.
2. Get in touch with someone. Our support team is fantastic and they often bring the issues you are facing to me directly. Sometimes in the office but mostly at meetings and our weekly staff bar crawl where we do our best to complain about everything that isn’t perfect. If you can get someone to hear you out, you can rest assured it will get taken care of faster.
3. Make a compelling, detailed case. There are lots of great ideas. Unfortunately, time is very limited to build them all. If there is a problem that affects a lot of people or a feature that would benefit a lot of people, tell us about it in as many details as possible and recommend suggestions and ideas. You’ve clearly spent more time dealing with it than we do so you have a unique opportunity to make a good argument over why we should work on problem #9881 instead of feature #810. The more perspective and benefits/pitfalls the better.
VP Development, ExchangeDefender
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July 22, 2011
We have so much new stuff ready to go this month that I just couldn’t wait for the newsletter to be published. I’m taking a moment away from all the craziness to update you on what we’ve been up to this month. For full details you will have to look at the newsletter and join us for the webcast:
August 4th, 2010 at noon EST
You really want to clear your schedule and attend this webcast, some of the stuff discussed during the show will not be in the recorded webinar, nor will be the offers that we’ll extend to our partners that are on top of it all. Plus you’ll get exclusive peak of all the new stuff joining the Shockey Monkey family!
Last weekend we moved into a beautiful new office on the 12th story of The Plaza in the heart of Downtown Orlando. We’ll soon have live webinars, webcams and other stuff to let you interact with the staff and keep an eye on us. If you’re ever in Orlando we’d love to have you stop by at 121 S Orange Ave.
We’ve spent a lot of time working on the new ComplianceArchive product. This effort was far too big to bundle in with the ExchangeDefender 7 launch and we’ve learned a lot about how different parts of our client base rely on archiving. On the high end, we have financial and regulated industries that need high end compliance for legal reasons. In SMB though, we have the packrat mentality, and archiving is done more for locating items quickly. Obviously there is a price difference between different solutions as they are built to a different spec for a different purpose.
New International Numbers
ExchangeDefender 7 launch caught us by surprise – huge surprise. We haven’t been this busy in years and we’ve never seen a faster adoption of our product than in the past few months. As a result we have had to shuffle personnel around for training purposes and addressing the peak hours. Temporarily, we’ve been forced to reduce our phone support hours for Tier 2 from 24/7 to 4AM – 8PM EST and our support portal hours from 24/7 to 4AM – 1AM.
We have also had to evaluate a lot of negative feedback we’ve received about our phones. This was addressed in the move and I hope many of you can appreciate the difficulty in establishing a VoIP presence in multiple countries. So here are the new numbers we are currently testing:
Australia: 02 9037-4202
New Hosted Exchange Pricing
The launch of Microsoft’s new Office 365 has caught many of our partners by surprise. Not to worry, we have a very competitive new pricing scheme that will be announced during the webinar. Keep in mind that we do not encourage pricing competition but you need to make alternatives – so consider www.CloudBlock.com as one.
Oh, the new Compliance Archiving…
We’ve pretty much rewritten everything.
· Written on top of .NET 4.0 Framework
· Supports Exchange 2007 SP1 & Exchange 2010
· Can be installed on any windows machine (XP, Windows 7, SBS, etc). (Does not have to be installed on the exchange server)
· Extreme validation and real time response validation.
· Service does NOT REQUIRE administrative login credentials, runs as local system.
· Allows management of an unlimited number of Hosted Exchange Servers for Compliance.
· Multithreaded service model, supports up to 10 running threads at one time.
· Start/Stop Service is handled gracefully to allow any pending threads to complete the step they are on then terminate.
· Archived mail is check for integrity, if an insert fails due to (bad connection, error in record, etc).. it will roll back any previous actions for that message.
· Attachments are now stored as individual records, this will allow attachment searching and direct download of attachments.
· Removed the DISK IO dependency from the program, messages are no longer written to disk. Everything is done in memory.
Looking forward to seeing you all in August and on behalf of the entire ExchangeDefender team, wishing you continued prosperity, our partners grew 21% in Q2!
CEO, Own Web Now Corp
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September 2, 2010
Many of you first heard about Shockey Monkey when it launched about a month ago at CompTIA. Now nearly a month later, and well over 1,000 portals strong, Shockey Monkey has been an overwhelming success. It has consumed nearly all of our development resources as the delivery of Shockey Monkey and it’s deep integrations is critical to all of our partners success in the cloud.
We have done a great job with the feedback that you’ve given us and are on-schedule to deliver the Service Manager functionality next week. In fact, it will be the core subject of our townhall webcast next week, and it’s a great time to ask questions as the entire team will be present:
Shockey Monkey Townhall – Service Manager
We have already shipped the Import/Export Wizard and Email integration and we have committed to delivering full ExchangeDefender suite to each Shockey Monkey user – free or pro. With the portals generating an enormous amount of email, and our partners relying on them more and more, we simply had to make sure you would stay in business in case of a catastrophic data loss event. Let me repeat that – when you sign up for Shockey Monkey, your organization gets full ExchangeDefender free of charge.
I have been asked this question in a number of ways: Why do I need Shockey Monkey? Why do I need Autotask or ConnectWise if I can get Shockey Monkey? Why would I use this if I already have a PSA? Why would you develop this if you’ve already developed integrations to other PSA’s. Allow me to answer this in two parts.
1. Regardless of which PSA solution you have, you will have Shockey Monkey by the end of September. Our investment in Autotask and ConnectWise is not going away, but we have a huge need for services that we could not offer through third parties because of both legal and development (API) constraints. First, in order for our partners to win in the cloud their name and logo must be the first – the only – thing the client sees. Our partners spend an enormous amount of time building their brand and client trust & loyalty: so we must deliver a solution that makes it easy for our clients to manage their cloud solutions with a brand that is uniquely our partners. Everything from checkout to self management to documentation is Own Web Now’s responsibility to provide, and by integrating it with the rich experience we deliver in the Service Manager there is only one way to do it.
2. Let me say it again – our investment in Autotask and ConnectWise is not going away. Shockey Monkey does not compete with these solutions nor is it designed to replace them. However, the level of self-service and client management we deliver as a part of Shockey Monkey is not yet possible with the third parties, but we still expect you to count on them for support management, billing integration, executive reporting and service statistics.
To sum it up: We have designed Shockey Monkey for you, to help you build a better client-friendly cloud business. It’s free and it’s really all about you and your users. You need Shockey Monkey because your users need this feature set and these products. If you don’t provide it, someone else will and we’re here to help you win.
That said, I encourage you to go ahead, sign up, and check it out. And please make sure to register and tune in next Wednesday.
I will be discussing this today, live, around 1:05 at MSPU in Washingon DC: http://www.mspu.us/livebootcamp
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