DDoS Attack and Simple In/Out

Today is a dark day for internet here in the U.S., as there has been a massive internet DDoS attack underway most of the day.  Simple In/Out was affected this morning in some areas, but this afternoon the second attack seems to have hit us much harder.  This has affected many of the big sites on the internet today, like Amazon, Twitter, Netflix, Spotify, Github, etc.

In terms a non-geek can understand, Simple In/Out’s servers are still working great, but your phone/computer’s ability to connect with our servers may be not working.

We apologize for the intermittent problems connecting to Simple In/Out, and we hope that the DNS community can squash this soon.  We also hope that these culprits are found and prosecuted swiftly.

In the meantime, if you need access to Simple In/Out, this article lists a way at the bottom you can change your device’s DNS settings to another provider that we’ve had some luck with here at our offices.

The New Simply Made Apps HQ

Last month we moved into a new office. We were looking to have a bit more space for our expanding team. Our only requirement was staying in downtown Fargo, which is a developing technology hub that we wished to remain a part of for the foreseeable future.

Our new office is only a few blocks from our original spot, still on Broadway.  Our new space is in a historic building, over 100 years old, that originally was a factory. The history is soaked into every cement column here, giving it an industrial vibe. The moment we saw this space, we instantly knew this was our new home.

Below are some images of our new space. We can’t wait to build some great new software in this inspiring location.

Brian Pattison Joins the Simply Made Apps Team

Brian Pattison

We’re happy to announce the newest member of the Simply Made Apps team. Today, Brian Pattison is joining Simply Made Apps as a web developer.

In the Fargo technology scene, Brian is well known for his passion, his problem solving capabilities, and his eagerness to try new things.  His curiosity regarding new technology is something that really separates him from others in our field.

As a full-stack web developer, Brian can do everything from back-end database to user interface design.  With his help, we’re going to be able to create even more features that delight our Simple In/Out customers.

We’re thrilled to welcome Brian to the Simply Made Apps family.

Board Improvements for Simple In/Out

We’re excited to announce a few changes to our most fundamental piece of Simple In/Out, the Simple In/Out board.  These changes are incremental updates that not only address feedback from our great customers, but also set the foundation for some exciting things we’re planning for the future.

More Space for More Information

The new Simple In/Out board uses a “fluid” layout.  This means the board will grow to take up more space.  This allows us to display more information, which allows Simple In/Out to provide a few more options.  For the first time, you can display user details right on the board.  For users that use details to display things like titles or shift information, this is a welcome update.

Fullscreen mode also takes advantage of this new space by allowing more information to be optionally displayed as well.  Users can add phone numbers, groups, and/or details to Fullscreen boards, allowing our users to tailor an experience that makes sense for specific use cases like common area displays.

Board Settings Improvements

For a while, our board options have been located under a small menu accessible by clicking the gear icon above the board.  While this worked, more and more studies show that menus can be a difficult thing for users to navigate.  We’ve replaced the settings menu with a panel that appears when you click the Settings icon (and disappears if you click it again).  This allows us to add more complicated settings to save the user time.  For example, font size can be set now by choosing a size instead of having to click over and over again to make the font larger.  All changes to board settings are reflected immediately so it is easy to see exactly how changes affect the board.

We’ve also added a multi-column sort option to the settings.  We’ve had multi-column sort since the beginning of Simple In/Out, but in order to use it users needed to hold down a key on their keyboard when clicking the column headers. This was a hidden power feature that is now much less hidden.

Public Link Parameters

With these changes, we’re updating all of Simple In/Out’s web boards, including our Public Links.  Public Links also get another upgrade:  more URL-based parameters.  Users can now specify options like sort order right in the URL they are sharing.

This is just the beginning of some great new things we plan to focus on for the end of 2016.  We hope all our customers enjoy these changes and keep that feedback coming our way.

Take Off Election Day

Election Day is coming here in the U.S. and with that comes the recurring discussion about voting rights.  This isn’t a political post as we don’t take a political position as an organization. However, voting is hard for some and that is something we as a company can do something about.

According to Pew Research, the turnout in the last presidential election was a dismal 53.6%.  There are lots of reasons for this, but one reason is that many workers don’t have the time to get to the polls.  This is why many countries hold election day on either a weekend or make the day a national holiday, something we should absolutely do in the U.S.

Until this happens, we at Simply Made Apps are joining a number of organizations across the country that are giving our employees Election Day off as an official company vacation day.  Don’t report in, not at all, and bolt the office doors for the day (we still do email support, that’s how we operate).  This allows folks to vote without the worry of getting back to the office.  After voting, take the rest of the day to enjoy yourself.  Civic duty should be celebrated.

We think elections are important: they are a civic duty and a moral imperative.  Regardless of political leanings I think we can all agree, voting should be easy.  Democracy depends upon it.

We strongly encourage others here in Fargo and beyond to join this movement. Please support #TakeOffElectionDay. Here is a website listing many companies that have taken this pledge.

Spanish Support Comes to Simple In/Out

¡Hola!

It has been a couple of months since we’ve announced a big new feature for Simple In/Out.  Rest assured that we haven’t been taking the summer off, but rather we’ve been working on something big.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce Simple In/Out is available with full support for Spanish.

As anyone who has done internationalization can attest, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to accomplish.  For us, we only wanted to add other languages if we could do it everywhere.  That’s why we’re not only supporting Spanish on our website when signed in, but also all our phone apps, FrontDesk, TimeClock, Simple In/Out TV, and our desktop apps for Windows and Mac.  Many of these updates are already live and for the others they are in review and will be available shortly.

This is just the beginning.  We hope to add many additional languages in the future to the benefit of our customers across the globe.  In fact, if you have any languages you’d like to see please do drop us a note and let us know.

¡Adiós!

Push Notifications Arrive on Windows

Push Notifications are among Simple In/Out’s most popular features.  Keeping tabs on your users can be a chore, but Push Notifications make this easy by getting your attention when things happen.  No need to constantly check your board, Simple In/Out will let you know when folks are checking in/out.

We’ve supported Push Notifications in our iOS and Android apps for a while.  We also support it on Mac desktop via Safari.  Today, we’re adding Windows Phone and our Windows desktop application to the list of apps supporting Push Notification.  Now, you can get those same great notifications on your Windows Phone or computer.  You can follow everyone in your organization, or pick and choose the users that you follow.  It’s entirely up to you.

We hope this feature really improves the experience for our Simple In/Out Windows users.

Schedule Future Statuses in Simple In/Out

We’ve had a lot of requests over the years for Simple In/Out features.  We love receiving emails with ideas from our customers, and they heavily drive our roadmap.  Few requests have gathered as many responses as being able to schedule status updates for the future.

Scheduling a status update is an idea that we never anticipated when we started Simple In/Out back in 2011.  Simple In/Out has always been about what’s happening right now and what happening in the past.  There are a great many of our customers that don’t have a need to see what’s coming in the future, but there are a few customers that have compelling use cases for this functionality.

Future statuses is a feature we’ve been giving thought to for years, and today we’re proud to announce we’re taking the first steps.  Known internally as “Project Firestone”, Simple In/Out now features the ability to tell us when you intend to be In or Out in the future.  When the time comes, Simple In/Out automatically applies your status update, sends any Push Notifications (if your plan supports them), and fires Web Hooks (if you have those or are using our Slack integration).  All the while, those future statuses are viewable by other users like past statuses.  We’ve even built a calendar report to make it easy to see what’s upcoming.

For now, you’ll need to use our website (simpleinout.com) to schedule future statuses.  In the near future, we’ll be adding scheduling to our phone apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.  Look for these updates in the next couple of weeks.

We know that this is a lot of power and while there are organizations that will put this to work immediately, there are also many that will not have a reason to ever use scheduled statuses. We’ve taken great pains to choose good default settings, allowing everyone to see scheduled statuses and only users that can modify the statuses of others to schedule statuses.  These are just the defaults, and organizations can disabled this entirely, allow everyone to schedule statuses, or restrict scheduling to various levels in between.  The choice is completely up to you.  We also identify all scheduled statuses as coming from “Scheduler”, so it’s 100% transparent where any user’s statuses are coming from.

This is the foundation on which we can continue to build some amazing things for Simple In/Out customers.  If you have additional ideas about future statuses (or anything at all), never hesitate to fire us an email.  We come to our office every day with the singular goal of making Simple In/Out the best electronic in/out board around.

Simple In/Out Desktop Apps and Automatic Updates via Presence Monitoring

Simple In/Out learns a new trick, Desktop Presence Monitoring. This is a great new feature for our line of desktop apps that automatically updates your status when your presence changes on your computer. Now you can rely on your computer to change your status as you come and go. This new feature is right at home with our existing automatic update features: Geofences, Beacons, and Networks on supported devices.

Simple In/Out for Mac

The Simple In/Out family just got a little bigger today. We are happy to announce Simple In/Out for Mac, available today. Simple In/Out for Mac joins our current desktop offering for Windows with many of the same great features. You can update your own status from your Recents or Company Favorites as well as creating your own status comments. The board is available in whatever size you need and even works great in full-screen mode. Users profiles can be viewed to see their information as well as past status updates.

We know our users are going to love the new app that is right at home on the Mac. It was written completely in Swift and is available for the latest version of Mac OS X, El Capitan. As with all of our apps, it is free to use with your Simple In/Out subscription. Download the app and try it today.

Simple In/Out for Windows

Simple In/Out for Windows is getting some great new features today as well. In addition to the new Automatic Updating feature, we added a few nice-to-haves including a customizable board refresh interval, the ability to start a new Simple In/Out trial, and control over sound effects. We also did some housekeeping and fixed a few minor issues.

Wednesday Webinars

Today we’re happy to announce a new way to learn more about the Simple In/Out family of apps and services.  Wednesday Webinars will be brief webinars conducted by us to show off new features, new use cases, or core features you may not have known about.  One week we may demonstrate a brand new feature that we just shipped.  One week we may cover a feature you’ve had for a while.  Based on our support, we may cover some of the most popular questions we receive.

Our plan is to conduct a brief, 10 minute or so demonstration of a particular feature.  Afterwards, we’ll stay available for a Question/Answer segment to give users a chance to ask us questions directly.  For us, this is another great avenue to speak directly with new customers, existing customers, and potential customers.

Our first Wednesday Webinar will be tomorrow at 10AM Central.  As with our great email support, our webinars will be conducted by us, the folks that actually build Simple In/Out.  Check one of these out in the future on our Webinar page.