Now this is what we’ve been up to.

Hey everyone, glad to be posting once again over here. It’s been a while since I hit the “New Post” button on this blog, and god it feels good. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up on what we’ve been up to these last few months.

Server (over)load

Ahoy! Yes, this has to be the number one on the list because, with no doubt, it is the first and foremost reason why we’ve got almost no sleep for the past months. If your reports ever got delayed — all appearing at once later — or if you ever received a “timeout error” or even got to see the infamous “fail feathers” on the Control Panel, well this is why. Scaling issues. And again. And again. And when we thought the battle was finally settled, yes, again.

And there we were, once again, up to 3 am in the morning fixing things to keep the servers running as usual.

We’ve dealt with complex setups in the past — on different projects here and there — but you must know that Prey is a whole different beast. The fact that there are hundreds of thousands of devices hitting the servers and posting data constantly, every single second, with huge (and I mean HUGE) spikes every 20 minutes poses a very singular challenge.

I’m not going to dive into the specifics about where our bottlenecks were or how we managed to fix them — that’s a topic for a future post –, but I can happily say that we finally managed to tame the beast. We made some big changes in our server infrastructure, optimized our report processing backend, tested and tuned the web servers, the app servers, the database cluster and even the Linux TCP/IP stack to our optimum settings, and of course, set up a real monitoring environment to ensure that everything keeps running smoothly. Even after whatever happens on 21/12/2012. 🙂

So that’s it — the timeout days are over. Next one!

Team getting bigger

As you know, for a very long time Prey was just me and Carlos (and before that it was simply me). However, I’m very glad to tell you that our team is no longer a two-man-army but a — drumroll please — FOUR man army! Besides me and Carlos, Diego Morales has joined the team to help us on the business side of things, and a new member is just about to join as well. Diego’s been a tremendous addition to our team and we hope things will get better in the forthcoming weeks.

Welcome, Diego!

And by the way, we also moved to a new office! We’ll send some pictures later once we get everything in place — now where IS that keg anyway? (Hehe, just kidding).

Developers, developers

Yes, developers. That’s what we are, after all, and that’s what we like to do. So I guess what makes me really glad right now is that, now that the battle is over, we’re finally back on track. Our code editors are open again and our hands are fully dedicated to building new stuff for Prey — rather than only responding to support requests asking about the timeout issues!

We’re also in the process of moving all our code repositories to the Prey organization at Github.

There are about 82 or 83 new things that we want to do and believe me, it’s difficult to choose where to start. But there’s a couple of things currently underway that we’ll be letting you guys know about in the following weeks. Hold on — why don’t we start right away?

iPhone version

Oh yes, Prey now runs on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. Didn’t you see it? The awaited-for-longer-than-i-can-remember iOS version of Prey is no longer vaporware, it’s 100% realware and available for download at the App Store. There’s a bunch of things to know about the iOS version so we’ll be posting something new about it in a while.

In the meantime, check it out and let us know what you think! (And don’t forget to rate it as well).

By the way, I just remembered — we need to update the FAQ!

Control Panel updates

If you’ve logged in the last few weeks, then you should’ve noticed a few changes we’ve been making to the Control Panel. First of all, we built a new page that consolidates all reports — yes, we heard you guys — making it easier to browse through them, and also having a much faster way to delete the ones which are of no use.

Additionally, we added a search input for Pro accounts which hold over 10 devices, so you don’t need to browse through the full list of devices to find the one you’re looking for.

Benvenuti nel Pannello di Controllo

(That stands for “Welcome to the Control Panel”, by the way).

It took a bit longer than expected but the work of our translations team has finally come to life. Thanks to the amazing work of over 10 people — guided by the great Benny Rodríguez from Spain, we can finally unveil five new languages for the Control Panel: Catalan, Turkish, Dutch, Russian and Italiano!

So if you’re in the land of spaghetti or the land of vodka and you don’t know English too well, there’s no need to pick up the dictionary anymore. Hit your flag of choice at the upper right corner and boom! If you find out there’s a wrong translation, though, please let us know so we can fix it.

By the way, this has all been possible thanks for your constant support and feedback, and specially to the ones who’ve believed in us by upgrading to Pro. After all, the servers don’t pay themselves and we do need to have lunch, so thanks everyone and we hope to keep bringing you new stuff and improve our service day by day.

That’s it for now folks. Happy hunting!