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Making card payments simpler

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Following feedback from our customers, we are pleased to announce we are trialling a new card payment processor on our website for those who’d like to purchase our web based room booking & resource scheduling software (or renew or upgrade their existing subscription) using their Credit/Debit card but without having to complete their purchase through PayPal.

Whilst PayPal is arguably the largest and most popular card payment processor on the Internet, one of the concerns some of our customers have is that in order to complete a card payment via PayPal they were first forced to sign up for a PayPal account, which many didn’t want.

PayPal advertises that customers can make card payments without also requiring a PayPal account – and in some cases this is certainly true. However, it’s not true in all cases!

For example, after you’ve used PayPal a number of times to make “one off” card payments without a PayPal account, they will then insist you create an account in order to continue making card payments:

“You will only be able to use PayPal … for up to [10] transactions before we will require you to open a PayPal account … to enable further use of the PayPal system. At that point you will be required to enter into our standard user agreement to govern the ongoing relationship with PayPal”

Additionally, the country you’re in can also affect whether PayPal will allow you to make a card payment without a PayPal account, or insist you create one first.

On a PayPal payment page, if your country is set to United Kingdom, you might see:
PayPal card payment without requiring a PayPal account

…Whereas change your location to Canada, and you’ll see:
PayPal card payment requiring a PayPal account first

…spot the difference?! Yes, the option to pay directly by card directly has been replaced with an option to create a PayPal account!

We want to make things simpler for all our customers who just want to pay by Credit/Debit card without signing up for any 3rd party accounts!

Stripe.comSo whilst PayPal continues to remain a payment method option for our customers, we’ve now also integrated Stripe into our secure site.
Stripe securely handles card payments directly from our website – so unlike PayPal, you’re not transferred back and forth between a hosted payment page on another site and then back to ours, you can complete your card purchase safely and directly from our secure site, and you won’t need to sign up for a Stripe account to make your payment either!

We will be trialling Stripe for a number of weeks, and we’d appreciate your feedback!

We’ve also updated our site’s Privacy Policy accordingly.

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We constantly strive to provide unrivalled support to customers of our Web Based Room Booking & Resource Scheduling system and one of the things we’re most proud of is our professional, friendly, knowledgeable, and responsive customer support.

That’s why we regularly review how we’re performing on this front, and make our findings public, to ensure that our customers who’ve taken out an Annual Support Subscription with their purchase of our scheduling software, are getting an unmatched support service!

To ensure the continuation our very high standards of service, we analyze the wait times between when a priority support email is received by us, and when a subsequent response is sent – and these are responses by real people – not some machine or auto-responded, but a tailored response from a real person!

We’ve now analyzed our performance again – this time for the month of June 2014 and the responsiveness of our support just keeps on getting better! When we first started analyzing our support response times, back in September 2012, we measured support response times in hours. Last September 2013, we felt the need to improve our measurements down to minutes!

The table below shows the percentage of Priority Support emails and how quickly they were answered between September 2012 and June 2014.

Our Speed of Response to Priority Support Emails:
September 2012 January 2013 September 2013 June 2014
Answered within 15 minutes - - 58.97% 71.43%
Answered within 30 minutes - - 74.36% 77.14%
Answered within 1 hour 76.29% 85.95% 87.18% 91.43%
Answered within 2 hours 90.72% 91.23% 94.87% 97.14%
Answered within 3 hours 92.78% 94.74% 94.87% 100%
Answered within 4 hours 93.81% 96.49% 97.44% 100%
Answered within 5 hours 94.85% 98.25% 100% 100%
Answered within 6 hours 96.91% 98.25% 100% 100%
Answered within 7 hours 98.97% 98.25% 100% 100%
Answered within 8 hours 98.97% 100% 100% 100%
Answered within 9 hours 98.97% 100% 100% 100%
Answered within 10 hours 98.97% 100% 100% 100%
Answered within 11 hours 100% 100% 100% 100%

As you can see, between September 2013 and June 2014 we’ve improved again!! During June, ALL Priority Support emails were responded to within 3 hours of receipt, regardless of the day of the week! – that’s not an average – that’s…

Every single Priority Support email received in June was given a real, individually tailored, human response within 3 hours (and over 90% of those within just 1 hour)!

Now, how many companies do you know where you can get a real human response to your email query that fast, any day of the week!!?

So if you’re considering MIDAS for your organization’s scheduling needs, but are perhaps worried about how good our support is or whether an Annual Support Subscription to MIDAS is worth having, well… the above figures speak for themselves!

…but if you’re still not convinced? Read some of our Customer Testimonials about our scheduling system and the outstanding level support we consistently provide!

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Microsoft Internet Explorer 12
Today the Internet Explorer Developer Relations Team at Microsoft have hinted on Twitter at the possibility that the browser may one day become “Open Source”.

“Open Source” is a term referring to software that whose source code is available for modification or enhancement by anyone. All other major web browsers (Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Safari are based on open-source components). Presently, Internet Explorer is the only one of the big 5 browsers to remain entirely “closed source”.

As part of their #AskIE event on Twitter today, questions were invited on the current status and development of Internet Explorer. One question in particular was posed as to whether Internet Explorer would “ever consider going opensource to speed up develop/bug fixing?“, to which the response from the people behind the browser was “We consider many things!

Why is this significant?

Well, Microsoft have come under much criticism in the past over how slowly they release major updates to their browser. Five years passed, for example, between the releases of IE6 and IE7, and then another 3 before IE8! (Compare that with say Mozilla, who’ve been releasing major updates to Firefox every six weeks for some time now!). Whilst there were of course critical “security updates” and patches to IE in those big gaps between major releases, no “new features” or support for new web standards were introduced – meaning a headache for developers of websites and web based apps.

Developers had to ensure “backwards compatibility” with “stagnant” versions of IE, whilst at the same time wishing they could take advantage of newer web standards and technologies which all the other major browsers supported, but IE didn’t.

In the development of our popular browser based room booking system, MIDAS, we’ve had to take difficult decisions in the past to drop support for IE6, IE7 and then most recently IE8 – despite those browsers still having notable market share at the time we took those decisions.

To add to that, when Microsoft have released a “major” update to Internet Explorer, it’s not always available for all Windows Operating Systems. Windows XP users for example can’t run anything higher than IE8 (and if you’re still using Windows XP… well, you really shouldn’t be!!)

So how would Internet Explorer potentially becoming “open source” help?

Well, first of all, more developers would be able to get involved in the project by adding support for new and emerging technologies and standards. Secondly, it would also mean that bugs could be more readily identified and fixed. These two factors alone would undoubtedly lead to a faster release cycle, and greater compatibility with the latest standards!

To illustrate just how far behind other browsers Internet Explorer currently is (in terms of support for the latest web standards), IE11 (the current version of IE generally available) is only 67% – compared to Opera 22 and Firefox 30 on 85%, and Google Chrome 35 edging ahead with 86% compatibility with the latest web standards (Source: caniuse.com)

We’d love to see a faster release cycle for Internet Explorer and the same support for technologies and standards in IE that other browsers have had for some time!

Internet Explorer Developer Channel
On a positive note, earlier this week, a new “developer preview” of Internet Explorer emerged through the new “Internet Explorer Developer Channel“, to give developers like us a sneak peek at what to expect in IE12… the big question now is how long will it be until IE12 actually becomes available to end users? Will Microsoft wait until Windows 9 is released (Like they did with IE10 and Windows 8), or will we see the next major update to Internet Explorer sooner?

Let’s hope so!

You might also be interested in:
Mozilla: The browser vendor who USED to believe in equality and freedom of speech!
The Best Web Browser? Internet Explorer 11, Chrome 31, Firefox 25, Opera 17, or Safari 5?

MIDAS v4.06 Now Available!

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We’re excited to announce the availability of MIDAS v4.06!

Some of the highlights of this latest update to powerful web based room and resource scheduling software include…

Flexible Venue Rates

Charge your rooms at different rates based upon the length of bookings…
Flexible Venue Rates

Improved Statistics & Reporting

New Venue Utilization, Resource Usage, and individual Client statistics…
Improved Statistics & Reporting

Active Directory Integration

Provides seamless “Single Sign-on” capabilities for MIDAS using your organization’s Active Directory
Active Directory Integration

…and much more, including:

• New: Resource statistics
• New: Set different venue rates based upon booking length for each day of the week
• New: User “groups” – Easily apply a set of pre-defined permissions to each user
• New: Day Notes for any selected dates are now indicated and shown on the Booking Availability screen
• New: Active Directory Integration (Single Sign-On support) (Experimental)
• New: Database Tools – Import, merge, clean up & optimize your database!
• Improved: New venue utilization statistics
• Improved: New individual client statistics
• Improved: Now possible to set venue operating hours to be closed between 15-30, 30-45, and 15-45 minutes past the hour
• Improved: MIDAS now remembers your last selected date range on the statistics screen and the Find Similar Bookings window
• Improved: Increased the size of some setting elements to make them more easy to change on smaller screens
• Improved: Month overview now has previous/next month buttons
• Improved: Monthly overview now shows name of month/year at the top of the screen
• Improved: Client Notes now displayed in Search Results
• Improved: Axis swapped for venue capacities statistics
• Optimization: Big reduction in number of MySQL connections & queries
• Fixed: Cumulative roll-up of various fixes for issues discovered since v4.05

You can view the full Changelog for MIDAS v4.06 here

Keep Your Browser Up-to-date!

Supported Browsers We want you to have the best possible user experience when using MIDAS in your favorite Web Browser. We support our web based scheduling software in all 5 major browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera), and a list of the minimum and recommended versions for each of these browsers we support can be found at http://mid.as/browsers.

How To Get MIDAS v4.06

Existing MIDAS customers with valid Annual Support Subscriptions can update to v4.06 from within the software (MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Update)

Customers who have their MIDAS “remotely hosted” by us – you don’t need to do anything – We’ll be automatically updating you to MIDAS v4.06 this weekend!

If you’re not yet using MIDAS, maybe now is the time to get on top of your organization’s room and resource scheduling once and for all with our intuitive, powerful and easy to use, web based software MIDAS!?

Why not give MIDAS a try now, Read what some of our existing customers say, and get MIDAS for your organization today!.

Our Response to “Heartbleed”

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OpenSSL Heartbleed VulnerabilityAs many of you may already be aware, information was released on Tuesday this week about a major Internet vulnerability widely referred to as “Heartbleed”.

This vulnerability affected a common software library called “OpenSSL” which is a cryptography system built to encrypt passwords and other sensitive information on around two-thirds of all websites on the Internet.

Many popular websites, including Twitter, Yahoo!, Gmail and Facebook had been found vulnerable to Heartbleed, which if exploited could potentially reveal the contents of a server’s memory, including passwords and other sensitive information.

Your popular social site, your company’s site, commerce site, hobby site, site you install software from or even sites run by your government might be using vulnerable OpenSSL“, reveals the website devoted to explaining the bug.

Whilst many of these websites have now this week been updated/patched against Heartbleed, the vulnerability itself has been present in the latest versions of OpenSSL for the past two years, but has only recently come to light and details publicly disclosed this week.

Our MIDAS servers run OpenSSL, however, we have no reason to believe that the vulnerability has been exploited to compromise the integrity or confidentiality of any of our services or of our users’ data. Even so, due to the hard-to-detect nature of the attack, we’re taking a very broad view of the potential vulnerability and have responded accordingly.

What has MIDAS done in response?

Our MIDAS servers run OpenSSL, and we’ve been proactive in making sure that our users’ data and accounts are kept safe. Specifically:

  • Our servers have been patched.
    As of Wednesday 9th April 03:33 UTC, all of our servers have been updated to use a newer, protected version of OpenSSL.

  • We’ve reset SSL keys and certificates for our public *.mid.as servers.
    As of Thursday 10th April 21:51 UTC all of our public servers are using newly-generated keys and certificates. Additionally, we’ve asked AlphaSSL to revoke our old certificates, just to be on the safe side.

What can you do?

We have no reason to believe that the Heartbleed vulnerability has been exploited to compromise the integrity of any of our services or of our users’ data. Even so, if we “host” your MIDAS and you want to be extra careful, you can change your MIDAS password at any time, once logged in via the “Change Password” near the top of your MIDAS screen.

Here’s some handy tips for creating better passwords:

MIDAS Password Security Settings

  • Avoid using the same password for multiple websites
  • Make your passwords at least 8 characters
    – In MIDAS, you can enforce a minimum password length for users via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Security → Minimum Password Length

  • Include a mixture of numbers, upper & lowercase letters, and symbols in your password
    – MIDAS can randomly generate such passwords for users, via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage Users & Permissions → [select user] → Password → Random.

  • Avoid complete words
  • Avoid common passwords such as “123456″ and “password”
  • Change your password often, ideally several times a year.
    – In MIDAS, you can force users to change their passwords regularly via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Security → Force Password Change Every X Days