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This post has 39 Replies | 4 Followers

Posts 5232
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Sep 4 2015 1:18 PM

Faithlife has become a curse-word to me...  Early this morning I went to use Verbum on my iPad on opening up it said something strange like cannot download (I never made an attempt to download anything) strange error messages aside all my iPad's downloaded books were suddenly gone. THIS IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE. I begrudgingly bought into the LIE that everything must be done on Logos servers, even though Companies like Olivetree manage to have passage guides run fine offline as well as have interlinear support. Accordance also does not rely on servers. I have always been willing to accept the iOS limitations. If this had been the first time this sort of thing had happened I would have said an unknown bug but this thing happened before and we were assured downloaded books would never be erased again that it was a glitch. Many of us have limited download restrictions because of where we live, this costs money, and it is going to cost you money too.... I have spent enough on faithlife resources to pay for a small SUV, but I will not buy a single new resources till I can be assured this sort of thing will not happen again. YOU are insisting on moving towards a more cloud based model when you you cannot maintain it—this makes no sense. I am not a Logos NOW customer or subscribed to any rentals. There is no good reason for you to erase my iPad's Library.. I have no interest in being part of your cloud, and from what I have read in the forum I am scared to start up my desktop software since others are reporting similar issues with it.

-Dan

Posts 8967
RIP
Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 4 2015 1:30 PM

Dan Francis:
I have spent enough on faithlife resources to pay for a small SUV, but I will not buy a single new resources till I can be assured this sort of thing will not happen again. YOU are insisting on moving towards a more cloud based model when you you cannot maintain it—this makes no sense. I am not a Logos NOW customer or subscribed to any rentals. There is no good reason for you to erase my iPad's Library.. I have no interest in being part of your cloud, and from what I have read in the forum I am scared to start up my desktop software since others are reporting similar issues with it.

We are at the mercy of Faithlife.

Logos 7 Collectors Edition

Posts 4823
doc | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 4 2015 1:35 PM

Super.Tramp:

Dan Francis:
I have spent enough on faithlife resources to pay for a small SUV, but I will not buy a single new resources till I can be assured this sort of thing will not happen again. YOU are insisting on moving towards a more cloud based model when you you cannot maintain it—this makes no sense. I am not a Logos NOW customer or subscribed to any rentals. There is no good reason for you to erase my iPad's Library.. I have no interest in being part of your cloud, and from what I have read in the forum I am scared to start up my desktop software since others are reporting similar issues with it.

We are not at the mercy of Faithlife.

And thankfully so...

Posts 506
Tim Taylor | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 4 2015 1:47 PM

Dan, I can definitely resonate with your sentiments here. I understand that perhaps it's not realistic to expect servers to never ever have down time, but at least they can make their apps not be so dependent upon the Faithlife servers! You should see my thoughts about it here. I think you will resonate.

https://community.logos.com/forums/t/115018.aspx

Posts 2829
Don Awalt | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 4 2015 2:02 PM

For a cloud based solution Faithlife is down way too much for long periods. You cannot count on it at critical times.

Posts 2756
Erwin Stull, Sr. | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 4 2015 2:11 PM

I think that the biggest issue is the DEPENDENCY on the cloud/online component in order for the desktop to function correctly. I'm seeing it time and time again that when there are great issues with the Logos infrastructure, there are also some pretty big issues flowing down to the desktops (not mentioning mobile apps). If more of the dependency is removed, although there will still be issues with online services, most will be able to tolerate those issues without massive posts (some understanding, and some not so understanding).

Posts 506
Tim Taylor | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 4 2015 2:40 PM

Erwin Stull, Sr.:

I think that the biggest issue is the DEPENDENCY on the cloud/online component in order for the desktop to function correctly.

What dependency are you seeing? I'm finding that Logos 6 desktop app works great during server downtime. Getting to the screen that lets you press the "Work Offline" button takes a little trick (see my post here: https://community.logos.com/forums/p/115007/760976.aspx#760976), but once you do that, everything else works great, except some obvious cloud features like highlight synchronizing, visual copy, etc.

Posts 2756
Erwin Stull, Sr. | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 4 2015 3:59 PM

Tim Taylor:

Erwin Stull, Sr.:

I think that the biggest issue is the DEPENDENCY on the cloud/online component in order for the desktop to function correctly.

What dependency are you seeing? I'm finding that Logos 6 desktop app works great during server downtime. Getting to the screen that lets you press the "Work Offline" button takes a little trick (see my post here: https://community.logos.com/forums/p/115007/760976.aspx#760976), but once you do that, everything else works great, except some obvious cloud features like highlight synchronizing, visual copy, etc.

None, this time around, other than the updated resources notification (which is not really an issue). I have seen this in the past where it generally affects the resource count on the desktop (and it will end up somewhat matching the count on the mobile app). If you are blessed to be able to go into offline mode before L6 on the desktop is affected (or have another machine in which you run continuously in offline mode), the desktop will work just fine, however, if you are not aware of this beforehand, that part of the bug will get you and you may be left with next to no resources to work with.

In any system that is complex such as this, the least one part depend on the other, the better. The more complex a system is, the more likely it will be that something big will go wrong with it from time to time, and we must keep that in mind. I am confident and sure that Faithlife is doing their best to resolve this current issue as quickly as possible, and many of us are definitely praying that the fix comes soon. I don't think they like reading and listening to the many posts of disgruntlement, threats, and so on, and at times, those posts seem to drown out the posts of encouragement that gives one extra energy during a time such as this.

One solution is to limit the dependence of one system on another, although that is not always feasible.

Posts 5232
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 4 2015 10:39 PM

Tim Taylor:

Dan, I can definitely resonate with your sentiments here. I understand that perhaps it's not realistic to expect servers to never ever have down time, but at least they can make their apps not be so dependent upon the Faithlife servers! You should see my thoughts about it here. I think you will resonate.

https://community.logos.com/forums/t/115018.aspx

Yes I know I am not alone. But there is no good reason for this I have a large number of resources installed on my iPad because I do not always have connectivity. Fortunately I loaded my MacBook in work offline mode I would have been even more irate had my computer been erased. Which I see happened to others.  At this point I would rather buy from Olivetree resources are almost always cheaper and the work offline perfectly. Although Logos mobile apps have always been too slow for any serious use. When I am in church wanting to get to a verse quickly FL apps are the last thing I consider opening up. The real problem is FL is deaf to our concerns.  With quotes like phones are not powerful enough when the truth is either they have chosen a model which requires it no matter how often we have ask to cut the cords a little more. I also have heard them argue that the mobile apps are free as if poor function is all you should expect from a free program, even though they tout mobile access as a selling point. I will not be leaving FL as I have a heavy investment and resources not available elsewhere but unless there are major changes I will try my hardest to ensure my resources get purchased at Accordance or Olivetree, you can only be burned so many times before you have to realize FL really doesn't listen to their customers concerns. 

Dan

Posts 1675
LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 5 2015 3:52 PM

Dan, I'm very sorry for the frustration you've experienced.

I get what it feels like to be at the mercy of a company that isn't paying attention -- my iPhone has started hanging in the phone and message apps on a daily basis. (You know, the two apps that represent the core function of what a phone does!) Having gone through this with my wife's phone a few months ago, I've learned that many Apple users have this problem (it survives backup and restore, and wiping the phone!), and that Apple has nearly nothing to say about it after many months. You just start over, and slowly reinstall apps / add data hoping you don't hit it again.

When I go to make a call, and the whole phone freezes and needs to be rebooted, it makes me incredibly angry.

I imagine we've made you angry too, and I get it.

Bradley has posted a very concise explanation on this thread:

https://community.logos.com/forums/p/115062/761303.aspx

The problem started with a failed upgrade of a hardware component, and was compounded by a mistake on our part.

This particular problem wasn't even a 'because we went to the cloud' problem -- it's more a 'because we check licenses against the server', which we'd do even if we weren't moving more toward the cloud.

As the leader ultimately responsible, I can apologize: I am very sorry for your frustration. 

I can't promise we'll never make another mistake; we are human. 

I can assure you that I do care very much about this: you had a bad day with one product. I woke up to angry "Ending my relationship with Logos" emails from multiple users. :-)

You were annoyed; I had my income and business future threatened (justifiably). Trust me, I really do care about not failing you. I want to keep my business and income.

And beyond that, nobody wants to be on the painful end of an 'I told you so.' I don't want our cloud or servers or people to fail you.

But technology is complicated. Apple has more money than any business on earth, and presumably can hire the smartest, best, and most technologists in the world. And my iPhone (_phone!_) can't make a call without being rebooted. And hundreds of people have reported essentially the same bug on and on since 2011 in various configurations. And it isn't fixed.

I don't think Apple doesn't care -- I just think it's very hard.

(Side note: It is possible to make much more solid tech... it just does less. I remember when the iPhone was very stable: when it only ran one app at a time, and switching apps unloaded the other app from memory. People were merciless about Microsoft's tech failings, Blue-Screen-of-Death, etc. But Windows was running multiple apps, and it was hard. Today Windows runs multiple apps and I never have it crash. And my iPhone (and my wife's) crashes apps all the time, and now freezes completely several times a day, as Apple adds support for apps running in background, auto-updating, etc. This isn't a story about Microsoft having been idiots and Apple geniuses, and now the opposite. It's a story of these things being hard, and that as you add the power and capabilities users want (or that you want), it takes time to work out the bugs in your complex system. Windows went through complexity to now a surprising stability. Apple went to simplicity to keep reliability, and is now moving towards complexity and walking through the same valley of instability.)

I wish I could promise "this will never happen again", but I can't. Yes, we'll continue to try and hire the best and the brightest. (We have openings!) And we'll continue to improve our architecture. But things will go wrong, and people will make mistakes. We can't stop or control that, other than falling back to doing a lot less.

But we can promise to continue to learn from our mistakes, and to pay attention. I have no idea if Tim Cook pays attention to the tales of frustration and misery in the Apple forums, but I can assure you I'm paying attention to all of them in the Logos forums.

-- Bob

Posts 1675
LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 5 2015 3:58 PM

From our not yet complete internal analysis by a leader in our Ops department:

First, I'll address the questions about networking.

In this case, a switch upgrade (started around 10PM Thursday?) trashed a switch and we had to work with the vendor to restore it. The failed switch upgrade is something we (Ops) would have expected to be unnoticeable to customers or, at least, something we could quickly recover from. We have redundant switches in place for this very scenario (and a handful of other functionally equivalent scenarios). 

After the switch was brought back online (before 6AM), there was an asymmetric routing issue because the pair of switches had slightly different configurations. This caused intermittent degradation throughout the day.

It took longer than we would've liked to discover this issue. Once it was discovered, and reasonable well understood, a change was made and functionality was restored.

I don't have the full technical workup yet. When I do, I'll be able to share more detail. Based on the information I have today, I expect that we need(ed) to configure the switches slightly differently in order to ensure the redundant failover we would've expected OR that there was a bug with the switches themselves that prevented/discouraged the failover. Determining that with confidence will probably include additional discussion with the vendor.

About the resource deletion issues:

...I'd like to clarify a couple of things before I feel 100% confident with my analysis, but I believe the outage merely exposed a behavior in one of the APIs used by the mobile software where failure to validate a user's credentials—including when that failure is because the call to the authentication service fails for technical reasons—would cause that API to return a response that tells the mobile apps to remove resources.

The nature of ever-growing, increasingly complex systems

In many ways, we are (and have been) experiencing growing pains in our technical operations and, while it can be difficult to see for those not in the trenches, things are actually improving on the whole. ...

Expect continual information and follow up from me as I integrate more into Ops. I've only been engaged at the level I am now for a couple of weeks and this was really the first major incident I had a chance to observe closely. I'm confident that we'll continue to improve and learn from these incidents.

I appreciate Etsy CTO John Allspaw's comments here: https://www.etsy.com/teams/7716/announcements/discuss/10641726/ 

Nobody wants our services to be consistently available and online without interruption more than our Operations staff do. Everyone takes these issues seriously and is actively engaged in projects to reduce the frequency and severity of these incidents. We're also committed to continuously improving the consistency, quality and depth of our communication with customers and colleagues about these issues.

Posts 5232
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 5 2015 4:36 PM

Bob Pritchett:

Dan, I'm very sorry for the frustration you've experienced.

Bradley has posted a very concise explanation on this thread:

https://community.logos.com/forums/p/115062/761303.aspx

The problem started with a failed upgrade of a hardware component, and was compounded by a mistake on our part.

I can assure you that I do care very much about this: you had a bad day with one product. I woke up to angry "Ending my relationship with Logos" emails from multiple users. :-)

I wish I could promise "this will never happen again", but I can't. Yes, we'll continue to try and hire the best and the brightest. (We have openings!) And we'll continue to improve our architecture. But things will go wrong, and people will make mistakes. We can't stop or control that, other than falling back to doing a lot less.

But we can promise to continue to learn from our mistakes, and to pay attention. I have no idea if Tim Cook pays attention to the tales of frustration and misery in the Apple forums, but I can assure you I'm paying attention to all of them in the Logos forums.

-- Bob

I do thank you for your apology... I also understand now that this was a similar but different mistake from the last time people had their devices wiped. I do not expect you or or software to be perfect, and I feel much better knowing it was a different pot hole hit and not the same one so to speak. I am very satisfied to hear that the programs are being tweaked to help ensure this doesn't happen again. It is not anyones fault directly that this happened again, unfortunately it is the nature of the beast in someways. I realize with rentals and subscriptions you always need to have a way to ensure that people are not illegally using resources. Faith life's software for the most part is a great blessing to me, I have time and time again been frustrated by less than ideal usability of the iOS app.. This is not because I am expecting miracles of you, just that simple functions that seem dependant on your servers are accomplished with ease quickly by competing software. It is perhaps impossible to get more functionality offloaded to the device because of how it has been programmed. But a very base program guide utilizing downloaded resources and RI function would be a very nice thing to have in your mobile programs (I again want to say I realize I may be asking for something not possible, but seeing others having done it it seems possible). Sometimes our complaints and more importantly bugs do get overlooked (often times some people do not know or forget to put BUG in a topic line). Sometimes thankfully things we think of as bugs turn out to be our own stupidity, like when my Verbum refused to download new books, only to find out UPDATE NOW  had ceased to override preset download times (I can feel some solace in the fact others had this happen too). But i do know you and your staff read the forums, not every word but a great deal of it. That was one of the reasons for using the provocative topic title.

Ideally everything I have would be in one place, also LOGOS is where most of my Library is, but sometimes convenience of a single library gets overridden. I went to the expense of getting NIB in both Logos and Accordance, because it felt to me that your products were less than dependable. I am not rich and normally do not have the luxury of duplicating resources, but for something I consider as important as my primary go to commentary I choose to do that (also I felt it would have been more than hypocritical of me to be pushing so hard to see Logos get the fine commentary that NIB is and then not to have purchased it). BUT as an example of how the poorness of your mobile app has cost you a sale is NIDOTTE/NIDNTTE. I recently purchased these products in a platform other than FL for the soul reason I need to be able to use them offline. The said software it was purchased in looks up the original language gives you lexicon support and then allows you quickly access related entries in larger dictionaries like Zondervan's. This company is far from perfect because although it works flawlessly for me on my iOS devices, the NIDNTTE is not going to be mac compatible till the end of the year, which the length of time for it being not mac compatible was only something I found out yesterday. That said even had I known that it was that long i still would have went with it, because their mobile software is fast and dose what i need it to without the need of a connection... 

What I say is not meant to be simple lashing out at FL but trying to explain the reasoning behind my frustrations and the need to feel safe in the ability to use software when servers fail. You cannot promise they will never fail again nor do i expect you to but loosing basic functionality and having our libraries erased feels like adding insult to injury. 

-Dan

Posts 4550
Forum MVP
Mike Binks | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 6 2015 12:11 AM

Bob Pritchett:
...I'd like to clarify a couple of things before I feel 100% confident with my analysis, but I believe the outage merely exposed a behavior in one of the APIs used by the mobile software where failure to validate a user's credentials—including when that failure is because the call to the authentication service fails for technical reasons—would cause that API to return a response that tells the mobile apps to remove resources.

Thanks again for chipping in Bob - I wasn't affected by the outage 'cos I was out.  :-)

However this, I think strikes at the heart of the matter.

Bob Pritchett:
...I'd like to clarify a couple of things before I feel 100% confident with my analysis, but I believe the outage merely exposed a behavior in one of the APIs used by the mobile software where failure to validate a user's credentials—including when that failure is because the call to the authentication service fails for technical reasons—would cause that API to return a response that tells the mobile apps to remove resources.

Why, once I have a permanent licence to a resource, is there any command whatsoever that would allow Faithlife to remotely remove that resource from my downloaded library on any device? The app should be configured to protect such resources from spurious remove commands.

Posts 21572
Forum MVP
Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 6 2015 12:27 AM

Mike Binks:
Why, once I have a permanent licence to a resource, is there any command whatsoever that would allow Faithlife to remotely remove that resource from my downloaded library on any device?

Speculation here - if you were to give your mobile device to someone else then they wouldn't be authorised to use the resources. This might require, at some stage, the resources to be removed.

Posts 4550
Forum MVP
Mike Binks | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 6 2015 12:57 AM

Graham Criddle:

Mike Binks:
Why, once I have a permanent licence to a resource, is there any command whatsoever that would allow Faithlife to remotely remove that resource from my downloaded library on any device?

Speculation here - if you were to give your mobile device to someone else then they wouldn't be authorised to use the resources. This might require, at some stage, the resources to be removed.

Speculation here - if I wanted to give my login details to somebody else then they wouldn't be authorised to use the resources. This might mean that they would be quite likely to get away with it. Especially if they set up a dummy user on their machine?

Posts 21572
Forum MVP
Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 6 2015 1:06 AM

Mike Binks:
Especially if they set up a dummy user on their machine?

Not sure what you mean by a dummy user in this context. Mobile devices (such as iPads) don't really have the concept of different users as far as I know.

Posts 13116
Forum MVP
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 6 2015 1:13 AM

Mike Binks:
Why, once I have a permanent licence to a resource, is there any command whatsoever that would allow Faithlife to remotely remove that resource from my downloaded library on any device?

Because you might return the resource or transfer the licence to another user. So when your licence data changes, Logos re-downloads the list of all the resources that you own, it doesn't just download what's been added.

Posts 5232
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 6 2015 8:12 AM

Mark Barnes:

Mike Binks:
Why, once I have a permanent licence to a resource, is there any command whatsoever that would allow Faithlife to remotely remove that resource from my downloaded library on any device?

Because you might return the resource or transfer the licence to another user. So when your licence data changes, Logos re-downloads the list of all the resources that you own, it doesn't just download what's been added.

I do realize this but I think the programs should be more fire walled ie if there is any issues with the servers it does nothing not erase our files. or at the very worse lock them until verification can be made. 

Dan

Posts 13116
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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 6 2015 8:16 AM

Dan Francis:
I do realize this but I think the programs should be more fire walled ie if there is any issues with the servers it does nothing not erase our files. or at the very worse lock them until verification can be made. 

Sure. I obviously agree with that (and Bob/Bradley has said that's what they'll do). But removing even the capability of remotely removing books (which is what Mike proposed) is not the answer IMO.

Posts 506
Tim Taylor | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 6 2015 8:48 AM

Dan Francis:

Faith life's software for the most part is a great blessing to me, I have time and time again been frustrated by less than ideal usability of the iOS app.. This is not because I am expecting miracles of you, just that simple functions that seem dependant on your servers are accomplished with ease quickly by competing software.

Yes! I couldn't have said it better. I am really hoping that you will listen to Dan on these points, Bob. We don't expect perfection from Faithlife, we only expect a mobile app experience that is comparable to the competitors, because of the amount of our own personal finances that we have invested into the Faithlife system. I'll be honest, when you compare how needy the FL mobile apps are on the servers compared to pretty much all of Faithlife's competitors' apps, it's hard not to be tempted to take your business elsewhere sometimes.

This isn't just a matter of whether or not the FL servers are dependable. I know that you guys do your best to keep the servers up and running. For me, the most important reality is that mobile devices are, well, mobile! That means they're not always going to be connected to the internet. If I'm at a church that doesn't have WiFi, a large percentage of the Logos mobile app's features are completely gone on my mobile devices unless I have a data subscription. I don't have a data subscription on my tablet, so I'm simply out of luck when traveling or away from a WiFi network. Even on my smart phone, my cell data plan is limited, so I don't like to know that precious data is being consumed by tasks that could easily be done locally without a need for internet.

Not to mention the issue of connection speeds. Depending on how fast one's connection to the internet may be determines how fast the app works when it is so needy on the servers. I couldn't even tell you how many times I've gotten so frustrated with a FL app that I have to just close it down and open a competitor's app because of the extremely slow response time due to server dependency. Internet connection speeds vary, and I don't like my Bible study experience to be dependent on that.

If I knew that this concern has been heard and that Faithlife is working on a plan to fix this problem eventually, it would make it more tolerable to deal with in the meantime. What makes it even more frustrating is that whenever these concerns are expressed here on the forums, Faithlife employees have consistently either completely ignored them, blown them off as impossible, or just said, "the mobile app is not intended to be like the desktop app" as a reason to accept less than standard quality for a mobile Bible app. Right now, as a loyal Faithlife customer who has invested a lot of money into this business, I feel unheard and unimportant. I want to be able to have more confidence that I'm not going to regret my investment in Logos Bible Software resources down the road. Addressing this one issue would go a long ways in doing that for me, and I don't think I'm alone on this one.

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