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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
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!

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!

Emergency Access Addon Unlike the vast majority of our competitors, we offer two editions of our MIDAS web based room booking and resource scheduling software to meet the particular needs of all our customers.

Some customers prefer to download, install, and run MIDAS from their own server/infrastructure, so that they have complete control over their MIDAS system – we call this our “self hosted” edition.

Other customers prefer a completely managed system hosted in the “cloud” so they don’t have to worry about installation and updates – we call this our “remotely hosted” edition, and you can compare the difference between these two editions here.

We know that for our “remotely hosted” customers, maintaining 24/7/365 access to their booking information is crucial to the smooth running of their business operations. We therefore strive to make every reasonable effort within our control to ensure 100% uptime of our cloud servers and infrastructure.

However, as with any IT infrastructure, in the unlikely event that unforeseen circumstances arise which are beyond our control, 100% uptime can never be guaranteed. We are, for instance, reliant on external data centres and ISPs to provide us with infrastructure and services to then allow us to provide hosted MIDAS services to our customer. Our ISPs guarantee us 99.9% uptime of their infrastructure and services.

We actively monitor this to ensure that these high standards are met, and over the course of last year (2014) the combined total downtime for our hosted customers for the entire year was less than 10 hours.

That’s not a lot, and exceeds the 99.9% uptime guarantee we’re given. However, we fully appreciate that if any downtime were to occur at a crucial time of the day for our hosted customers, however brief, that this can cause implications for the day-to-day running of their operations.

That’s why, ever since we first launched MIDAS back in 2006, we’ve also offered all our hosted customers an optional “Emergency Access” addon.

Secondary Emergency Access URL With this optional addon, our hosted customers are provided with a secondary “Emergency URL” in addition to the primary URL used to access their hosted MIDAS system. At this secondary “Emergency URL”, a completely separate MIDAS system runs on a separate server, in a different data center, though a different ISP. Each day, the customer’s “live” system is automatically backed up to their “Emergency URL” to ensure that data in their backup system is never more than 24 hours behind their live system.

This means that should there ever be any issues affecting our customer’s ability to access to their primary scheduling system, with this addon, they’ll still be able to access all their booking and scheduling information via their secondary “Emergency URL”.

Over the weekend, we’ve now improved our Emergency Access addon in the following ways:

  1. Data is now backed up in “real-time” from customer’s “live” systems to their secondary Emergency Access URL (with their global MIDAS settings backed up every hour). Previously, data and settings were only backed up once per day.
  2. We’ve invested heavily in new infrastructure for our hosted customer’s Emergency Access backup systems. This means significantly faster server performance, should customers ever need to access their Emergency Access systems.

The price for this Emergency Access addon is only £89/year GBP ($139/year USD, $179/year AUD, $169/year CAD, €129/year EUR*) and certainly worth it for the piece of mind it provides knowing you’ll still be able to access your data in the event of an issues affecting our primary servers/infrastructure.

What’s more, for a limited time**, we’re offering 10% off our Emergency Access addon to all existing customers with remotely hosted MIDAS system who don’t already have it! To take advantage of this limited time offer, please upgrade your MIDAS system today!

If maintaining 24/7/365 access to your room booking and resource scheduling information is paramount to your operations, you should certainly consider this optional add-on for your remotely hosted MIDAS system!

New customers can add the Emergency Access addon to their “remotely hosted” MIDAS system at time of purchase, or at a later date.


* Prices correct at time of writing, but may vary slightly day-to-day due to fluctuations in global currency exchange rates. Current pricing may be viewed here for existing customers, or here for new customers

** Offer ends 23:59 UTC on Sunday 5th April 2015EXTENDED UNTIL 30th APRIL!!

Earth Hour 2015 – We’re doing it again!

For the past couple of years, we’ve been proud to be part of “Earth Hour“. For one hour each year, millions of people across the world switch off lights for a whole 60 minutes to raise awareness of climate change.

This annual event, which first began in 2007, is now a global event which is marked in more than 162 countries and territories worldwide. It’s organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and its purpose is to encouraging individuals, communities, households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol of their commitment to our planet through a symbolic reduction in their energy consumption.

We are once again very happy to be supporting this year’s effort which takes place on Saturday 28th March between 8.30pm-9.30pm local time, wherever you are!

Now, as you can probably appreciate, running a global web-based business like MIDAS consumes a fair amount of energy to keep our infrastructure and administration up and running year on year.

At the same time, we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously! We’ve already invested in servers with extremely low power consumptions (some of our administrative servers draw as little as 18w of power!), and have now replaced traditional mechanical hard drives in virtually all of our public-facing servers with newer, faster, yet more energy efficient Solid State Drives (SSDs) (and within the next few months ALL our public-facing servers will be running with SSDs in them!)

We also work hard in the development of our MIDAS software itself to optimize its disk, memory, and CPU usage, factors which all in turn help to reduce the amount of power consumption on servers running MIDAS (whether that’s on our cloud servers for our “hosted” customers, or on our “self hosted” customer’s own servers)

We believe that everyone, not just individuals but other web & cloud based businesses like ours, can reduce their energy footprint and show they care about our planet, and that’s why at 8.30pm (UTC, as we’re based in the UK) on Saturday, we’ll once again be joining in with “Earth Hour” and we’ll be switching off non-essential systems – not just our lights – for 1 hour.

Note: This will not affect access to our main website, or prevent our “hosted” customers from accessing their MIDAS scheduling systems during this period, but our non-essential administrative systems will be shut down for 60 mins, which may lead to a slight delay in responses to emails received during this period, etc.

So go on, make a difference and support Earth Hour with us at 8.30pm wherever you are on Saturday in the world!