ForumsQuestionsHow to see in-app notifications for planned maintenance outages?
How to see in-app notifications for planned maintenance outages?
Posted: Feb 23, 2019
Need a bit of simple education here. Perhaps I should just address this "Hi J-O-D" but appreciate anyone's help.
Yesterday, Friday evening, there was a planned toodledo outage.
There was an in-app notification which I saw (after the fact when trying to find it) at the top of the drop-down menu located next to our avatars in the upper left of the web interface. Is there any other way to view this or get notified within the web interface if one almost never uses that drop-down menu?
Also, I did not click anything to clear the notification but it seems to have disappeared after the first time I opened the menu; I guess if I miss noticing it, then I'm just out of luck?
The in-app notification for the outage was, as I understand it, only because the time of the planned outage has been postponed against the date that has been announced before. When the outage passed, there was no need for the notification to be there.
However, in my opinion, better channels for being informed are these:
- for service status: Twitter (or alternatively Facebook)
- for full worded explanations and other updates: Toodledo's Blog (Help/Blog)
- for roadmap and new features suggestions: Help/Feature Requests
These forums are only viable to users to find help from other users, not the team - for official support: Help/Info Center/Contact Us/Create a support ticket (or a much shorter: https://www.toodledo.com/info/ticket.php).
This was an utter nightmare, for the second time in a row within a couple of weeks. Instead of the promised "less than 1 hour of outage", it took 6 or 7 hours. Then, when the site came back up, it was an older version of tasks, notes, and everything – 2 or 3 days old. I got very worried I'd lost all of my data for the last 2 or 3 days. A few hours later, everything was back to normal – which I'm not sure means that the move to the new datacenter actually succeeded. We are presumably back to the old datacenter now. No news on it here in the forums, no news in Toodledo's blog, either, during the time of the outage or shortly afterwards.That's terrible communication with customers. The heads-up email by Aaron was appreciated, but eventually it did not correspond to reality, so it was of little help.
After the site supposedly came back up, there was a chaotic notification advising us to "flush our DNS". Even after flushing it, Toodledo remained inaccessible for me. For a time, temporarily, only when using VPN, I got to access Toodledo – with all updates from the last 2 or 3 days missing.
In one word: a disaster. Toodledo is doubling the prices for loyal subscribers this year, but if this is the sort of service to look forward to... If this was a one-time (well, two-time...) occurrence, it could be tolerated, but I very much fear more outages are to come. Indeed, there's now an update in the blog article saying the move to the new datacenter is "90% done" – which means, more trouble on the horizon.
Very troubling to double the prices for us and then make us go through all this. My workflow over the last couple of days has been thoroughly disrupted. I'm a paying Toodledo subscriber precisely so that my work can stay organized and can be processed smoothly at all times, without my having to fight work-unrelated software meta-issues repeatedly.
My personal experience with the first outage, that took place without a notice, was also pretty bad. For several hours I was unable to systematically complete my tasks, because I was not sure what these tasks were in the first place! However, this second one I cannot say anything about, because here in Europe it was night, and I don't work on Saturdays...
However, things like this are the reason, why although I am Toodledo-positive, I still keep testing my exit strategy and and I am ready to be transferd completely within hours, should this need occur. On the other hand, this outage sequence I still give credit to Murphy's Law more than anything else...
This message was edited Feb 24, 2019.
Posted: Feb 24, 2019
Score: 3 Reference
I really agree with and would echo the comments both of you made above, AA and J-O-D.
Thanks very much J-O-D for the tips on where to go to try and get clued into what's going on with the toodledo app.
What's happened these past few week has sure been mortifying to me and I really miss the more calm, simpler days of Jake. I hope that at least he was able to cash out and get some nice financial reward from selling his toodledo baby into which he poured so much care and effort over the years.
I truly am sympathetic to the challenges of trying to oversee a maximum uptime tool used by many people around the globe. Murphy's Law always strikes and nothing ever seems to go as smoothly as anticipated.
At the same time, I am pretty SHOCKED at the lack of clear communication coming out of the folks who've taken over toodledo. The maintenance windows don't proceed as anticipated and we only get fitful information thru twitter as to what's going on. Given how things drag on and miss stated time estimates, I cannot believe that no one from toodledo posts any sort of a message of closure when everything is back to running normally. We are left guessing and ferreting around to see if everything is as it was, if there is stale data, or other unstable parts of the tool.
I think TOODLEDO REALLY NEEDS A STATUS PAGE where users can go to ascertain the stability of the system, progress of downtime maintenance, etc. In lieu of that, I can't believe that there aren't at least clear beginning and end announcements on twitter (and other communication platforms being used) so we can have an idea of what's going on.
Murphy's Law frequently appears to be the rule rather than an exception, I'm afraid. I expect the same mess the next time around when they try to complete the move to the new datacenter "from 90% to 100%". Of course, it may turn out we are "only 10% moved" right now, rather than 90% – Murphy's Law at its finest. You never know exactly how far you are in completing a task until you actually try and complete the job.
I'm also in (Central) Europe, but I do work every day and throughout the night, too. On Saturday morning 2 a.m., I was kicked off Toodledo and could no longer complete my (overdue) Friday tasks. If the outage had only been 1 hour as announced, that would be OK. But it took 7 or 8 hours, and when the site came back up initially, it lacked all updates from the last 2 or 3 days. That was downright scary. Everything is back to normal right now, but only because the DNS is still pointed to the old datacenter, I understand. So, the ordeal is still ahead of us.
Yes, J-O-D, as soon as Toodledo announced they'd be doubling and tripling subscription prices as a thank-you to loyal subscribers, for no obvious reason (no groundbreaking new features have been added – on the contrary, development freeze has been announced for all sections of the app except for tasks), I, too, contemplated ditching Toodledo immediately.
However, I still think Toodledo is the best of them all currently. I gave a test run to several Toodledo competitors, but always returned here.
Funnily enough, the thing I probably appreciate most about Toodledo is that it unites all the various features into a single package: tasks, notes, lists, and habits. Each of these 4 is very important to me. I can find no Toodledo competitor that offers all these four features in a single package, at least on the level of quality Toodledo is offering. (It may not be high quality for a feature like habits, but at least it's there.)
The irony here is, of course, that Aaron et al announced they would stop developing all the other Toodledo features except for tasks. They will pretty much focus on tasks exclusively from now on, I understand. But if the only thing offered by Toodledo had been tasks management and nothing else, I'd probably already be long gone from here. I was able to find quite a few competing apps that handled tasks similarly well compared to Toodledo. But what about habits, for example? I could find no suitable habits app anywhere – not even a standalone habits app, and I searched through both Google's and Apple's app stores extensively. There seems to be no high-quality habits app – and that's a big (probably the biggest) reason why I was "forced" to return to Toodledo.
That habits are integrated with tasks and notes and lists in a single app here, is a nice bonus, though I wouldn't really mind using a separate app for each of the four features, if the need ever arises.
This message was edited Feb 24, 2019.
Good post, AA. This is my 6th or so account on Toodledo, so although it doesn't look so, I am a long time user, who just kept deleting his accounts, when he thought found something better...yet, he did not.
My stance towards the price vs. development is a bit different. My primary reason for looking for alternatives in Jake's days was actually the lack of development (besides the new layout). And the proverbial "no timeframe" quote was not really helping. (Still, I honor what Jake did, an amazing job for a sole developer).
The unity of features is Toodledo's strength, so I take the task concentration as a TEMPORARY decission to focus (still limited) team on something. It should not stay like that forever, however, because e. g. when Clickup integrates mind mapping then depending on the way of execution, that for example may make me go there (I have already replaced Outlines with Lucidchart Basic plan - has flowcharts and mindmapping - and I still can use Outlines, then export txt and paste it into Lucidchart to finalize the visuals). Although I am with you with habits - I use several of them, but they definitely help me. And whichever alternative I tried, it was either too expensive, or too limited (I need numbers AND checkboxes) or not online. Lists I can replace with my Office 365 Home and Excel, but still, that would be worse user experience. The only thing I am not using at all is notes, but that's it.
In conclusion, the mixture and feel and experience with Toodledo has always made me come back so far and give it another go.
This message was edited Feb 25, 2019.
Yeah, habits seem to be the most difficult part of Toodledo to replace with another app. I have 89 daily habits (well, some occur every 2 or 3 days, but Toodledo doesn't really allow to configure that properly). I use all 3 habit types – checkboxes, numbers, and stars. Each type is essential. No matter what alternative habits app I looked at (iOS or Android), none seemed to offer all 3 types of habits, and/or it wasn't multi-platform (which is a must for me, as I use Android, iOS and Windows simultaneously). I'd gladly pay an annual subscription for a good habits app, but there really seems to be nothing out there. At the same time, the habits treatment by Toodledo is still rather crude, so there's lots of untapped potential here. Yes, I can check off all of my 89 habits in Toodledo every day, and that's a huge help and helps me get through every day in a methodical fashion, but I get virtually no feedback/insight from Toodledo as to how I'm doing, long-term, in terms of performance in each of the 89 habits. Some elementary stats and charts are available, but they are too basic, and/or difficult to access, in order to offer helpful insight and additional motivation. Too bad!
This message was edited Feb 25, 2019.
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