You’re safe! Why the Heartbleed Bug Doesn’t Affect Axosoft

heartbleedcrop

The Heartbleed Vulnerability (a.k.a. “The OpenSSL Bug”) exists in implementations of OpenSSL, which is used to provide SSL/TLS content encryption HTTPS (as well as some VPNs and other services). OpenSSL is widely used, with the vast majority of its use is in open source products like the Apache web server and nginx running on Linux or other *nix operating systems.  Even some networking equipment uses implementations of OpenSSL.  While not used or implemented on Windows servers or IIS natively, OpenSSL can still be present and installed on Windows servers if you install it directly or as part of another product (for example, by installing the Windows version of the Apache web server.)

So, how does this affect Axosoft and you, our customers?  Given that Axosoft does not use OpenSSL for encryption in our web servers, application servers, software products, load balancers, or any other server or network infrastructure, the Heartbleed vulnerability does not impact Axosoft services or our customers.  Axosoft uses Microsoft Windows servers and its IIS web server for our company websites (Axosoft.com, store.axosoft.com, etc.) as well as all of our web-based SaaS products.  Microsoft does not use OpenSSL for SSL/TLS encryption functionality in IIS, but instead use their own Secure Channel (SChannel) implementation to provide encryption services and functionality, and this SChannel component is not vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug.

For anyone who needs or wants more information, here is a short post on one of Microsoft’s TechNet Blogs that doesn’t get too technical: http://blogs.technet.com/b/erezs_iis_blog/archive/2014/04/09/information-about-heartbleed-and-iis.aspx

For anyone who may want a deeper dive on the technical side, there is an excellent post by Troy Hunt describing a lot of the details on Heartbleed: http://www.troyhunt.com/2014/04/everything-you-need-to-know-about.html

If you would like to test a site to see if it is potentially vulnerable, here is a site that people can use to test websites and see if they are potentially affected by Heartbleed: http://filippo.io/Heartbleed/.

New Axosoft Pricing, New Features, Branding Tweaks and Other Big Announcements

Today, we are announcing a number of very exciting changes to Axosoft and OnTime, so lets get right into them:

  • NEW V14.1 released – Tons of new features. Check out our “What’s New” page here.
  • Axosoft and OnTime branding changes – We are dropping the “OnTime” name from our hosted product, but keeping it for our installed customers. Read more below.
  • New pricing for Axosoft Scrum, Bug Tracker and Premium Support – Lots of exciting changes to pricing that you can read about below.

Axosoft and OnTime Branding Changes

Since Axosoft was founded in 2002, customers often referred to the OnTime product line as “Axosoft.” Axosoft has become synonymous with providing best-of-breed Scrum, Bug Tracking, HelpDesk and Wiki tools for software developers, so when we separated the Axosoft OnTime product onto its own domain two years ago, OnTimeNow.com, the change didn’t make sense to a lot of our customers. Quite frankly we were slow to realize this ourselves. Two years later, we’ve come to the same conclusion: The “OnTime” portion of the product name is largely unnecessary, especially in the new cloud-centric world.

Now, rather than “Axosoft OnTime Scrum” or “Axosoft OnTime Bug Tracker”, the new names of our products are just “Axosoft Scrum” and “Axosoft Bug Tracker.” The entire set of products is just the Axosoft Product Suite.

This name change makes it easier to just say “we use Axosoft” when you refer to our dev tools. As a result of dropping the OnTime name, it also made sense to bring everything back under the Axosoft.com domain. So while your instance of Axosoft Hosted products will continue to work under [AccountName].OnTimeNow.com, they will also work under [AccountName].Axosoft.com. The Axosoft.com version is preferred as we expect to phase out the old name at some point in the future.

Keeping the OnTime Name for Installed Customers

For our installed customers, we’ve decided to keep the OnTime name. This makes it easier to find your downloads, manage the OnTime Services on your servers, and any other dependencies you have built in your installed system that depends on the OnTime naming convention.

New Pricing Changes

Lets start with a quick price matrix of the products that are affected by the pricing changes:

NewAxosoftPricingThe Axosoft Help Desk and Wiki products will maintain the same $7 per user per month pricing they had before.

Of course, the most exciting pricing announcement is that we are making the Axosoft Bug Tracker just $1 per year (or free with any other product) for teams of any size. This is an unprecedented move by any developer tools vendor. Never before has a full-featured bug tracking product been made available as a hosted solution to software development teams for practically free. This is big. Imagine every software development team around the world having access to a high quality, feature-rich product for tracking their bugs and working together as a team. We fully expect that Axosoft Bug Tracker will become the de facto standard bug tracker for dev teams worldwide.

So why are we doing this?

The why is easy. We love software and we want software developers to be able to create even better software. Tracking bugs is a fundamental requirement to creating great software products.

You might be asking yourself, “what’s the catch?” or “how can you afford to do this?” The answer to that is scale. We now have over 10,000 paying customers for our highly popular Axosoft Scrum software (as well as Axosoft HelpDesk and Wiki). This is a great way for us to give back to the community. Plus, something tells us that giving more development teams exposure to the Axosoft Product Suite through Axosoft’s near-free Bug Tracker will probably make our products even more popular than they already are. So while we do expect to benefit from the $1 Axosoft Bug Tracker, there truly is no catch for the customer. Buying Axosoft Bug Tracker for just $1 per year doesn’t put you on the hook for anything more!

What’s the deal with the $1? Why not free?

There are two reasons for this: 1) We don’t want to get a zillion junk accounts that will never be used. A little skin in the game, even when it’s just $1, goes a long way to ensure only interested parties apply. 2) Collecting even a nominal fee of $1 gives us the opportunity to support new software startups with a new $10,000 grant program. We love software companies and this grant program gives us an opportunity to support new software startups with both money and mentorship that they badly need to build new products.

Wait, I’m paying $7/user for Scrum or Bug Tracker, is my price going to change?

No. If you have Axosoft Scrum at $7 per user, even though we are raising the price to $10 per user, your price will remain the same $7 per user that you have been paying. Also, if you only have Axosoft Bug Tracker and were paying $7 per user for it, we kept your price the same, but added Axosoft Scrum at the same rate because the $1 bug tracker no longer has burndown charts and other features that are specific to Scrum. By adding Axosoft Scrum and keeping your price the same as before, we make sure you don’t lose any features and your price is unaffected.

Can I change my configuration to downgrade to just the Bug Tracker for $1/year?

Yes, absolutely. Any existing customer can modify their account through the Tools Menu -> Account Administration.

The Making of Axosoft’s “Logotype in Water on Leaf”

axosoft-logotype-leaf

Have you ever seen a word created from actual water drops? I hadn’t either until one day I came to work to see this beautiful picture of our company name made from water drops. Yes, a picture of the word “axosoft” made from water drops. This wasn’t some 3D computer generated graphics. It was a picture! To think that all these water molecules would be coordinating with each other and gathering themselves into English letters that formed the word “axosoft” was just amazing. I had never seen anything like it before. To me, it was an absolutely stunning thing to see. The picture was created by our resident design guru and videographer, Shane D Rymer. He’s a true genius when it comes to these things and because I thought this was such a unique creation, I asked him to document how he did it. Enjoy…

Hamid

The Making of Axosoft’s “Logotype in Water on Leaf” 

Hi, this is Shane from Axosoft (sensitive .mov-smith and sometimes pixel dabbler). I’d like to share the process, techniques, and equipment that I used in creating Axosoft’s “Logotype in Water on Leaf”.

Concept:

For this particular image, I had decided to be open-minded and just experiment with things to capture the spirit of Axosoft- a progressive, successful, agile company that truly walks-the-talk. A couple of weeks ago, a colleague, Chad, had brought in a piece of wood that he had sprayed with NeverWet. It was so fun and fascinating to pour water on it and watch it bead-up/ aggregate around non-sprayed surfaces.

original-neverwet-board

All the little balls of water were coming together, moving with agility, and splitting up to join other water drops. Seeing the possibilities, I thought it’d be cool to try to form the Axosoft logotype in water.

Materials:

  • 1 kit of NeverWet
  • 1 piece of foamcore (black on one side, and white on the other)
  • 1 pack of adhesive letters- Helvetica Rounded Bold
  • 1 fallen leaf from a plant in our office
  • 1 plastic bottle
  • 1 plastic spray bottle
  • 1 tube of blue food gel

 

Process: Creating the board

In the center of each side of the foamcore, I adhered the letters to spell out “axosoft” (the metallic, reflective surface of the letters was the only available style for that size of the typeface).

applying-the-letters

The pack didn’t have enough o’s, so I cut two c’s in half and put them together to form an “o” for the white side. I was really excited about the black side because the contrast looked so cool, but found out quickly that it was going to be very difficult to keep it scratch and fingerprint free.

axo-letters

Once the letters were securely on the board, I sprayed both sides of the board with the first coat of NeverWet and let it dry. My hopes for the black side began to fade as there was a white-ish discoloration, while the white side was still flawless looking. After 30 mins., I sprayed the second coating on both sides and let that dry. The discoloration on the black was increasing and now had a blue-ish haze. I thought to myself, “Well, maybe there is something I can do in Photoshop afterwards… or maybe the discoloration will look supercool!” Therefore, I didn’t abandon the black side.

NeverWet-coatings

I brought the board inside and let it dry for one more hour. Meanwhile, I mixed blue food gel with water in a plastic bottle, as well as, in a small spray bottle. Once the board was good-to-go, I used an Exacto blade to remove the letters. On the black side, the letters seemed to stick to the foamcore. No matter how carefully I tried, the letters would frustratingly tear the surface of the foamcore. I declared the black side a failure. But in all cases, whatever I did, I did to the black side first, and because of that, I could apply what I had learned from the black side to the white side. Consequently, the white side came out near-perfect.

non-neverwet-letters-comparison

I felt eager and quickly grabbed some paper towels and began pouring the blue water on the board. It worked, but while the water formed perfectly on most of the letters, the “o” that I had created using 2 c’s, was a problem. It just wasn’t able to hold the water-tension in the center. This was almost a deal killer and as usual I started thinking, “Oh, I can take care of that “in post” (as if post-production is the fix-all; when in reality, often, it’s a time-draining nightmare. These days, I try to get everything as perfect as I can in production).  So, I used compressed air with a long red straw to spray the water out of the center of the “o”. The blast of air dried the center and pushed the smaller drops of water into the rings of the “o” so that it could hold the tension —whew! I then used the spray bottle to create a “community” of droplets around the logotype. I was super-psyched that it worked, so I set-up the shot.

o-comparison

 

Process: Setting up the Shot

I used a firmware-hacked Panasonic GH1 with a 14-140mm lens on a set of Manfrotto sticks. For lighting, I used natural lighting in combination with an F&V R-300 ring light and an orange diffusion filter. The shot came out great, even without any post-production, but somehow it was conceptually ambiguous. To connect it more with Axosoft, I decided to bring the leaf into it, “What if I composited the water with the surface of a leaf”?

shooting-logotype

 

Process: The Leaf

I found a fallen leaf in one of the plant pots in the office. As I examined the details of it’s surface by holding it up to a light, complex fractals of stems were revealed. The stem structure just gets smaller and smaller, making me wonder, “Is there really such a thing as a surface? The linear, fractal-lattice of stems will make a great visual counter to the bulging, spherical drops of water.”

shooting-the-leaf

I placed the leaf on a miniature cyclorama that I created with a sheet of paper and some tape. I combined 3 sections of macro tubes with the 140 mm lens and used a slide rail to allow micro focusing. I put a white diffusion filter on the ring light. I used the timer feature on the camera so that there would be no camera-shake on capture (when doing macro photography the slightest movement (even the shifting of your weight from one foot to the other) can become visible as a motion blur in the shot).

original-leaf

 

Post-Production:

Everything up to that point had been like creating the clay for which I would now have to sculpt. The basic idea was to composite the water with the leaf in a believable way.

Leaf-axosoft

To accomplish this, both images had to share a similar white balance, exposure, focal depth, and perspective. In Photoshop, I used the “distort” tool on the leaf to match the scale and perspective of the letters. I then colorized both images with Red Giant Magic Bullets plugin to have the same look. Then, I used layers, blending modes, and channel selections to composite the images.

layers_Image

That’s It! I want to thank Chad for advising me on the Neverwet coating, as well as, helping me with ideas and experimenting with the water on the letters. Also, thanks to Hamid for green-lighting the experiment!

axosoft-logotype-leaf

 

How Amazon has Ruined Shipping Products for Small Businesses

Notetaker-Perspective-Photo

Coming up with the idea for our Agile Notetaker was a fantastic ‘light bulb’ moment.
Creating and designing the notebook was exciting and involved some seriously talented people.
Building the notebook shop page was fun and surprisingly easy.
Setting up the shipping process for the notebooks was like visiting the fifth level of hell.

There were many interesting/annoying elements that made our shipping experience such a debacle, but let’s start with the most prominent…  “AMAZON!!!!” <insert fist shake here>.

Amazon has spoiled the world when it comes to shipping. If you have Amazon Prime you can click a button and BAM!  You have your purchase, in your hands, two days later or even same day in some places for free! Don’t have Amazon Prime? That’s okay, instead of 2 days you get it in 5 days with ridiculously low priced shipping still included.

*side bar* If you don’t have Amazon Prime, get it. It’s like unicorns and daffodils all bundled up in rainbows and cotton candy, yeah, it’s that good.

So we decided that when it came to shipping we were going to be awesome like Amazon and offer FREE SHIPPING! We thought this was a great idea and we didn’t really worry about the cost. Seriously, how much could it cost to ship a 14.3 ounce notebook?  That is a question we really should have researched more thoroughly before screaming out free shipping.

The first shipping option we looked into was media mail.  Aaaahhh media mail, it’s like a fabled mermaid, far away it is beautiful and wondrous, $2.53 set postage rate for all shipments. But upon closer examination you discover it’s not a mermaid, but a manatee. A big, old, fat manatee. The manatee-ness of media mail is its impressively strict guidelines over what is actually considered ‘media’.  Some of the okayed items are books, films, educational charts, CDs, etc.

Unfortunately, our Agile Notetaker notebook was deemed NON-media mail, because it’s a notebook, not a book. And no it doesn’t matter that the word ‘notebook’ actually has the word ‘book’ in it, because books don’t have pens attached. And no, it doesn’t matter if we remove the pen, as it’s still a notebook. And no, it doesn’t qualify for educational pricing, even though it has educational information in the first few pages, as the rest of the pages are all blank, cause it’s a notebook, but nice try. And finally no, you can’t have a second opinion regarding all of this. Yes, this was the actual conversation we had with our local postal woman, and no, she did not find it as amusing as we did.

Abandoning the media mail myth, we moved onto looking into dropship companies. Dropship companies are wonderful, they do all the packing and shipping for you, including offering a lower shipping rate. But again our hopes were dashed after the first phone conversation with them.

Dropship Dude: How much product do you sell a week?

Us: um, zero.

Dropship Dude: …

Us: Well we haven’t started selling our notebooks yet so we don’t have any numbers to work with, but if we had to guesstimate, thinking positive, let’s say… 20 a week, maybe 30.

After the laughter stopped, dropship dude explained that they required a minimum of 200 orders a week… moving on.

$15 UPS and $10 Fedex were quickly tossed as low cost shipping options, which left us with the good old, tried and true, United State Post Office and their $6 Small Flat Rate Box… the Small Flat Rate Box that ended up being an inch too small for our notebook.

*second side bar* When creating a product always take into account the size of the USPS flat rate boxes.

Luckily the $6 USPS Flat Rate Envelope measured up and we were set to go. And after our first week of sales, we shipped out over 200 Agile Notetakers… who’s laughing now dropshipping dude!?!

Visit the Agile Notebook store to get your own copy with FREE SHIPPING!

photo 1

Our packers hard at work…

photo 2 (1)

OH LOOK, A CAMERA!!!!

 

JIRA to OnTime Migration Tool

An increasing number of teams have been switching from JIRA to OnTime and taking advantage of our unified agile/Scrum experience, so now we’ve decided to make the transition easier! Our new JIRA-to-OnTime Migration and Import tool uses APIs to pull and push your data between systems. The import options allow you to map your projects, items, priorities, statuses and users. Even your custom fields and attachments can be transitioned into OnTime!

Check it out:

JIRA to OnTime Migration and Import Tool

Please send your suggestions and feedback to team@axosoft.com.

ontime vs jira