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MIDAS v4.09 Now Available!

If you follow us on social media, then you’ll probably already be aware of MIDAS v4.09 and the buzz its been generating amongst users, especially surrounding the new “Booking Alternatives” feature!

Here’s what a few customers have already said on this exciting brand new feature:

“Trying not to overreact here…THIS IS THE BEST NEWS EVER! … This just changed everything!”
“Very nice – love the Booking Alternatives feature!! – Bring it on!”
“4.09 looks good, especially that Booking Alternatives feature!”

We’re excited to announce that this new update is now available, so you can start taking advantage of all the new features of v4.09 for yourself!

Here’s what’s new and improved in MIDAS v4.09:

Booking Alternatives Multiple Client Email Addresses Optional High Resolution SVG Theme
Booking Alternatives Multiple Client Email Addresses Optional High Resolution SVG Theme

How To Get MIDAS v4.09

New customers can purchase v4.09 securely and directly through our website at https://mid.as/purchase

Existing MIDAS customers running “self-hosted” editions with a valid Annual Support Subscription can update to v4.09 from within the software right now via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Update.

Existing customers who instead have their MIDAS hosted by us in the “cloud” don’t need to do anything – we’ve already automatically updated you to v4.09!

We hope you enjoy the new & improved features of MIDAS v4.09!

Over the past couple of blog posts, we’ve been looking at some of the new features coming in our next update to MIDAS, v4.09, including high resolution SVG graphics, and the ability to assign multiple email addresses to each client.

However, the features we’re perhaps most excited about, revolve around those instances where you encounter an “Unavailable” on the Booking Availability screen because the venue/times you’ve specified would conflict with an existing booking.

We’ve made two significant improvements in this area for v4.09 – firstly, an icon will appear alongside any instance of “Unavailable” which you can hover your mouse over to see full details of the existing booking which conflicts with the one you’re trying to make, in the Booking Information Panel.

But wait – that’s not all! MIDAS v4.09 is also capable of offering you booking “alternatives” in the event of a conflicting booking!

Booking Alternatives

MIDAS can offer you alternative times for the booking you’re trying to add (i.e. earlier or later than you’d originally specified), as well as alternative venues at the times you’re trying to book. Selecting one of the offered alternative times/venues can be done with a single click from the Booking Availability screen, so there’s no more having to go back and “Change Booking” to try a different time/venue yourself, MIDAS will offer such alternatives for you!

What’s more, we’re giving you lots of control over the “Booking Alternatives” feature…

Booking Availability Settings

For instance, you can control whether MIDAS should offer earlier times, later times, alternate venues, or any combination of the three.

Furthermore, when offering earlier/later alternative times, you can enforce a “spacing” (or “buffer”) between the conflicting booking and the proposed alternative.

Where MIDAS is set to offer alternative venues, you can specify for each of your venues which other venues should be offered as suitable alternatives:

Specifying Alternate Venues

Watch a short 3 minute video tutorial on the new Booking Alternatives feature:

MIDAS v4.09 isn’t quite ready yet, however, we are currently looking for Beta Testers to help test this next update to our software before it is becomes publicly available – If you’re interested in helping us make our software the very best it can be, please consider becoming a valued Beta Tester today – it’s free, and you don’t need any experience or programming knowledge, all you’ll need to do is test and play with the new features of v4.09 and provide us with your feedback and bug reports!

Multiple Email Addresses For ClientsThe next release of our web based room booking and resource scheduling software, MIDAS is just around the corner, and we’re giving you a “sneak peek” at some of the new and improved features coming with this next update!

Today we’re excited to tell you about an improvement coming to client records within MIDAS. Until now, it’s only been possible to associate a single email address with each client record. This has meant that booking confirmations and reminders as well as invoices can only be sent to the single email address on record for the client in question.

In MIDAS v4.09, you’ll now be able to specify multiple email addresses for each client record, and accordingly, email correspondence (such as booking confirmation/reminder notifications, and invoices, etc) can be automatically sent to multiple email addresses.

Why might this be useful? Well, we’ve had a number of requests from customers for such capability when it comes to client email addresses. For example, some customers have clients where the email contact for the booking itself differs from the email contact for invoicing. This new improvement to email addresses in MIDAS v4.09 will allow you to assign both the booking contact’s email address and the invoice contact’s email address to the same client record, so that all email correspondence from your MIDAS will go to both!

Similarly, if you have a booking for an external organization, for which there is more than one contact person, you could create a generic client for the organization, and add all their contact email addresses to it, thus ensuring that correspondence is distributed to them all.

Important information for our “Hosted Customers”:

  • Hosted customers who have their MIDAS system configured to send email via the built-in “Sendmail” option (MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Email) will be limited to sending email to a maximum of two email addresses per client record.
  • Hosted customers who have their MIDAS system configured to send email via the external “SMTP” option (MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Email) will be limited to sending email to a maximum of five email addresses per client record.
  • To avoid these limits, and be able to assign as many email addresses to an individual client record as you’d like, please consider switching to a self-hosted edition. These limits on the number of email recipients are not applied to self-hosted editions.
MIDAS v4.09 isn’t quite ready yet, however, we are looking for Beta Testers to help test this next update to our software before it is becomes publicly available – If you’re interested in helping us make our software the very best it can be, please consider becoming a valued Beta Tester today – it’s free, and you don’t need any experience or programming knowledge, all you’ll need to do is test the new features of v4.09 and provide us with feedback/bug reports!

Something interesting is happening in the world of video displays. At one of end of the spectrum, mobile device screens are becoming ever smaller, whilst at the other end, TV and computer screens are becoming increasingly larger. In both cases, the actual display “resolution” (picture detail, or the number of individual “dots”, known as “pixels”) is also increasing exponentially. High Definition (HD) and Ultra High Definition (4k) displays are fast becoming the norm.

We’ve designed MIDAS to be visually “responsive” and adapt itself to displaying on a wide range of device screen and orientations, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices.

For MIDAS v4.09 we’re also introducing a new special “High Resolution” theme, ideally suited if you access MIDAS from a device with a large, high definition, screen.

So how does this “High Resolution” theme work?

Well, traditionally, images and icons within the various visual themes for MIDAS have been in JPG or PNG image formats.

These are very common, standard, image formats which have been around for years and are used on just about every website you’ll visit!

JPG images are traditionally used for photographic or background images (in the majority of the visual themes available for MIDAS, a .jpg image is used as the main background image). JPG images are “compressed” leading to small file sizes (and therefore faster downloading times) whilst retaining a high level of detail.

PNG images on the other hand are traditionally “lossless”, meaning they retain all the original image information without compression. They have the advantages over JPG of being higher quality and also allowing for transparency, but have the disadvantage of being larger in size.

MIDAS makes use of PNG images for the various buttons and icons contained within each theme.

We carefully optimize both JPG and PNG images within the various theme packs available for MIDAS to make them as small and as quick to load as possible, without noticeably affecting image quality.

One major downside of both image formats however is that neither “scale” particularly well…. enter SVG images!

SVG stands for “Scalable Vector Graphics”, meaning that an image can be scaled up without any loss of quality or blurred edges.

Here’s a good way to illustrate this using the standard “Add Bookings” PNG icon found in the default theme which ships with MIDAS:

png icon scaled png icon
The icon at normal size The icon at x3 its original size

Now, let’s look at an equivalent SVG icon:

svg icon scaled svg icon
The icon at normal size The icon at x3 its original size

As you can see, at its original dimensions (40 x 40 pixels) both the PNG and SVG icons look virtually the same, however, scaling both by a factor of three leaves the PNG icon looking distinctly “blurry”, whilst the SVG equivalent retains its “crispness”.

That’s why, for the benefit of users with very high resolution displays, we’ve created a “High Resolution” version of the Default theme for MIDAS v4.09 which uses SVG icons, and SVG gradient backgrounds (we’ve also made the traditional blue background software and a slightly less intense “blue” as a result of customer feedback!)

Here’s an example of how the traditional “Default” theme compares with the new “High Resolution” theme in v4.09:

MIDAS Default Visual Theme
MIDAS v4.09 – Default Theme MIDAS v4.09 – “Hi Res” Default Theme
UPDATE – 22 May 2015: MIDAS v4.09 has now been released and we’re including both the Default and the Default (High Resolution) themes with this build.
If you’re running MIDAS on your own server, here’s how to Configure your server to handle SVG images so that you can take advantage of the new High Resolution theme!

World Backup Day 2015

Today is World Backup Day, an annual event which raises the awareness of the importance of keeping your critical digital files and data regularly backed-up.

A “backup” is a secondary copy of all your important files – for example, your family photos, home videos, documents and emails.

Instead of keeping a single copy just in one place (like your computer), the idea is that you also keep another secondary copy of everything somewhere else as well, in case anything should happen to the original copy.

We strongly believe in the importance of regularly backing-up data you can’t afford to loose, and we’ve built in a number of backup features to our world class web-based room booking and resource scheduling software, MIDAS to do just that!

MIDAS seamlessly makes a complete and automated backup of its own database upon the first successful login each and every day day. These database backups are then compressed (typical backups are less than 1MB each in size) and stored on the server where your MIDAS resides for a period of time you specify, typically 7-30 days.

To further protect your data, these automated daily backups can additionally be optionally emailed to a pre-defined email address each day too, allowing you to retain your own “off-site” copy of your database too!

We’ve also provided the ability to generate instant backups manually at any time by simply clicking once on a “Backup” button (via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Database → Backup Now) – we really couldn’t make it easier to backup your MIDAS data if we tried!

Database backups (whether generated manually or automatically) can be easily and readily restored – either partially or in full – at any time via the simple user interface available through MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Database → Restore. So, should you ever wish to “roll back” your MIDAS system to an earlier point in time, or if you suffer a massive server failure and loose data, you can have your MIDAS system back up and running in next to no time!

Backup and Restore in MIDAS

For more information on the powerful backup/restore features of MIDAS, please see http://mid.as/help/manage_database_settings

For our “hosted” customers (who don’t run MIDAS on their own infrastructure, but instead choose to have their MIDAS remotely “hosted” by us in the “cloud”), we also take complete database backups daily, which are then stored off-site for a period of six months.

What’s more, we also offer an “Emergency Access” addon for our hosted customers, which we’ve recently improved. This optional addon allows users to access a “real-time” backup of their hosted MIDAS system in event that they are ever unable to access their primary MIDAS system. These backups run on different servers, in different data centers, via different ISPs to our Primary Servers.

So, as you can see from all the above features and procedures we’ve built into our software, that we take backups very seriously! And we make it painlessly easy to ensure that your important MIDAS booking data can easily and readily be backed up and restored with the minimum of fuss!

But on World Backup Day today, whilst your MIDAS data is taken care of, why not take a moment to backup your own important personal files – your family photos, home videos, documents and emails too!? Yes, it may seem a little time consuming, but you’ll be glad you did should anything ever happen to the originals!