You are here Status Update (2012-11-16): Hurricane Sandy Impact, New Apps, 12.0 Schedule, Donations, Site Status

John T. Haller's picture
Submitted by John T. Haller on November 17, 2012 - 1:21am

Now that we've caught up after the impact of Hurricane Sandy, we thought it would be a good time to do a ' Status Update' to let everyone know what's going on. We've got new apps, an update on the first 12.0 platform beta, some more site tweaks, and more. Read on for the details

Hurricane Sandy Impact

As many of you are aware, New York City was impacted pretty badly by Hurricane Sandy, which caused widespread internet, phone, power and transportation issues throughout the city, in addition to some tragic loss of life. We were spared the worst of it, and our hearts go out to our friends and colleagues who lost homes, businesses and loved ones.

As for direct effects, we lost internet and phone for about 2 weeks. We were able to make do with some backup systems, some of which we purchased just for the occasion. We kept an updated status report on the hurricane's impact linked in the header from every page on the site so that everyone was aware of the situation and its impact. In the end, our backup systems allowed us to keep all our apps up to date and the site administered. It did impact the flow of new releases and the platform beta rollout, however.

New Apps

We've been continuing the rollout of new apps, sticking to our 'new apps every week' pledge of launching at least one new app every week. In mid-October, we began releasing a new app every day without any major announcement to that effect, just because we could. We did 18 apps in 18 days until the hurricane disrupted things a bit. We resumed on Tuesday and have released 4 new apps in the last 4 days.

The range of apps covers the gamut with everything from games to benchmarking to firewalls to graphics to word processing. Friday's new app (released an hour early on Thursday) is Pencil Project Portable, a full-blown UI prototyping and diagramming tool based on the Mozilla XULRunner platform. See the full list of new apps to get a feel for what you may have missed.

Platform 12.0 Beta Schedule

We'd originally planned on launching the 12.0 Beta 1 release on October 31st as a Halloween treat. Sadly, that didn't happen as the hurricane impacted our internet access and development schedule as we prepared for it and were busy attending to other life-pressing issues. Now that things are mostly back to normal, all apps are caught up, business issues have been addressed and we have working phone lines, we'll be continuing with the 12.0 Beta 1 release next week just before Thanksgiving (Thursday for the non-US folks) or, more likely, just after the long weekend (likely Tuesday the 27th) on Saturday, December 1st (made a personal appeal for donations to our users to help continue to support I'm happy to report that October and November were our first months ever of donations covering our hosting costs. The donations we raised exceeded our hosting fees and even allowed us to pay down some of the debt we've built over the years. So, a very big thank you to everyone who has donated and to everyone who continues to donate and to sponsor the Platform. Your support is going to help us keep delivering new apps and features. And, honestly, the number of people who have shown support has been inspirational. So, we're better both finance-wise and drive-wise as a result!

Site Status and Spam

The hurricane did not impact our site or downloads at all as they are not located within New York City. We have, however, been experiencing a dramatic rise in spam. We're addressing it with a combination of methods. I've detailed the issue in an Update on Spam Levels and Mollom where forum members and commentors can learn more about the situation and ask any questions or make suggestions.

Until Next Week...

That's about it for this week. We'll be posting the 12.0 Beta 1 platform next week just before Thanksgiving (Thursday November 22nd) or just after the long weekend (likely Tuesday the 27th) on Saturday, December 1st (donations and support!



Simeon's picture

Thanks John for all your work and to all the donors for theior support. Its nice to hear about the donations covering expenses.

I am looking forward to the new platform features and have one question:
Are site translations any nearer to completion? I guess the drupal upgrade didnt go well as everything still looks the same and I think an update would have changed the layout a bit.

I am so proud of this community!

"What about Love?" - "Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate." - Al Pacino in The Devils Advocate

John T. Haller's picture

I'll be putting the finishing touches on 12.0 Beta 1 tomorrow and finalizing the new features included. I should have it posted by tomorrow night or Thursday. As Beta 1 is released, we'll be announcing the release date for 12.0 Final as well, which we just nailed down yesterday. For now, sleep. Smile

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Gord Caswell's picture

Thanks for the update, John. I'm sure all the impatient people will be pleased, since we seem to be getting more and more people asking for a release date.

Keep on trucking! Smile

John T. Haller's picture

I hate to do this, but I'm going to need one final day of coding to shake out some issues with the Beta 1 release. Unfortunately, much of Friday is spoken for on other projects (read: paying rent), so I'm going to set aside Saturday (December 1st) for working on the final bits and posting the actual release. I know this is a disappointment for everybody anxiously awaiting the new features, and I am sorry it's come to this, but I'd rather ship it in a couple more days than push it out today and have it break something important for one of our testers because it's more alpha than beta.

This will not affect the schedule for 12.0 stable which will ship before Christmas. It won't even affect it by a single day, which we'll still be announcing as we post 12.0 Beta 1. It also hasn't impacted our app updates (which are all on schedule) nor our new releases (which have been rolling out regularly). In addition, Beta 2 is already being prepped as we'll be doing a new release every few days, giving everybody time to test and give feedback on each new feature as it is released so it's solid as each next feature is added to the public beta.

We will still be sending out a newsletter in conjunction with Beta 1, and it will still be the November newsletter. It will just be the Off-By-One-Day November Newsletter.

Again, my apologies for this extra time. And thank you for your support!

Kind Regards,

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Thanks for letting us know.

For a free project you give better information updates than most companies that charge for software.

personally, I suspect you spend to much time on PortableApps and need to go enjoy 'real life' a bit more Smile


"much of Friday is spoken for on other projects (read: paying rent), "

John, John, John let me introduce you to online banking. Pay bills, transfer money, etc, 24 hrs a day without ever leaving your home. Many banks have the ability for this, check around. I've been doing it for 20 yrs and it's the ONLY way to do banking. (If they would add the ability to print money I could drop going to ATMs too. LOL)

BTW You many want to review your last update to the Statuses here. Some of the sentences don't read well.



wanted to ask sometimes whether does the new update appear even today?
Or whether are there there, nevertheless, delays?

John T. Haller's picture

Hey, it's only noon. Blum As mentioned in my last post, this is the first week I've gotten time to work on it since recovering from the hurricane and today is only the first full day I've had set aside to work on the platform beta since the hurricane. I had to give up my day off to be able to do it as my work week was filled with app and site work and working to pay the rent ( costs me money to run as it isn't yet self sufficient).

Additionally, I'm pushing out updates of Firefox stable, Firefox beta, Thunderbird beta and SeaMonkey stable which always take priority. There are security vulnerabilities there that need addressing. And we always make a point to get updates out ASAP for all of them to keep our users safe. That's one of the reasons I dropped the extra cash on a backup backup wireless internet hotspot during the hurricane aftermath. Leaving our users vulnerable with outdated browsers or email clients would be incredibly irresponsible and I won't do it, even if it means being a bit later on a promised platform release.

So, again, it's only noon on the first full day I've had to work on it. More to come! Smile

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

as jon has posted its only NOON so we still have time.

Its not like Jon is a Best Selling Author like say Jim Butcher so he actually has to do some stuff to get the program out.

Simeon's picture

My guess is that the actual payment doesnt take long but rather working on something to make money.

"What about Love?" - "Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate." - Al Pacino in The Devils Advocate

He means working on other projects that actually earn him money so he'll have some to pay his rent! If you were being sarcastic, you weren't obvious enough to trip my meter...

John T. Haller's picture

Just so no one gets worried, the platform is still coming tonight. But I'll be coding past midnight to finish it up. Stay tuned. Smile

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Flatbeast's picture

I developed for 30 years, all it got me was cancer Sad Get some sleep and let the release date slip John!!!

Nobody Holmes!

Flatbeast's picture

Can't code for the life of me right now, no interest.

I'll let you do the work while I relax and play amateur radio (ROFLMAO)

Looking forward to the installers retention for friends with tiny internet or no internet connections.

Good job!

Nobody Holmes!