Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Upgrade or Perish

Hey everyone, pretty important announcement.

Since we upgraded to version 2.0 on January 1st, we were supposed to be seeing a huge dip in the number of requests our public server served each day. We were supposed to regain all the CPU we were losing to polling. I keep saying "supposed to" because, in reality, we didn't.

It seems there are some people (quite a few people?) out there who aren't actually using the app, didn't install it from the Chrome Web Store, and haven't uninstalled it or upgraded it since December. Which is two months ago. We're still getting millions of HTTP requests to URLs that haven't been in use since version 2.0 launched. These requests are eating up a significant portion (more than 10%) of our daily CPU, and for no good reason. As it exists right now, the application gives you a friendly message if you load one of those URLs-- try it yourself. I do have a list of IPs that are making server requests the most, which would indicate polling. So here's the deal:

Starting on March 7th, I will be blacklisting 25 IPs a day that are still polling the server. This is not an easy decision for me to make, because blacklisting people means that they will not be able to access the service in any way anymore. But I need to protect the main server for the use of the majority, and this minority of users who will not upgrade in a timely manner (two months is surely enough time) is making the user experience worse for everyone.

Of course, should these users, upon being blacklisted, email me, I will take that as proof that they are going to be updating their Chrome extension to no longer poll our server and will happily remove them from the blacklist. I don't think anyone will, as these people haven't even noticed the extension stopped working months ago.

Please, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to get in touch. I can always be reached through the help forums or at paddy at android2cloud.org.

I'm tinkering with an idea for a notification system that would help solve issues like these (as I'm sure the people who are polling our servers don't read the blog, follow the Twitter account, or subscribe to the mailing list), but it's a little more intrusive than I'm comfortable with. I'll be sending out a poll or feedback form about it a bit later to try and gauge the users' feelings on how it should be handled, so I'd love if you would respond for me. It will give me information that will help make your experience better.

As always, you have my thanks.

EDIT: The Chrome extension can be found here: link If you install from the Web Store, you will automatically be updated to the latest and greatest versions.


  1. I would hazard to guess that all of those people are in the same boat as I am: I had absolutely no freaking clue that a new version was required and when I click on the 'Update extensions now' button in Chrome, the extension doesn't update. My assumption when that happens is that there is no new update, not that I need to hunt for the extension on the web store.

  2. I'm in the same boat as HokieGeek. I knew nothing of an upgrade. How were we supposed to know before we got the email?

  3. This is probably because you installed the extension off the project page. My assumption was not so much that you were evil people that were not upgrading because they hate the project, but rather that if you didn't notice the extension stopped working for the last two months, you probably wouldn't notice even if you were blacklisted. Sorry if there was any confusion. Updating the post now with a link to the Chrome extension in the Web Store. Please note that an update is coming on Sunday to fix a bug you *shouldn't* experience.