Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Zekira update, and looking for an advisor on cloud database security

We’ve been making a ton of progress on Zekira. I want to update you on what’s happening, and also ask if you can think of a potential advisor for us on cloud database security.


Zekira Progress

The feedback you gave us on our last beta clustered in two areas:

     --Although performance and stability were better, we were still seeing a troubling level of bugs and slowdowns.

     --Many people felt the app would be much more compelling if they were able to access their index quickly while on the go (via smartphones and tablets).

After chewing over the feedback, we decided the best way to address both themes was to switch our core database to Apache Solr.  It’s faster, more stable, supported by an active open source community, and ideally suited to host data in the cloud.

Fortunately, because of the way Zekira was written we could swap databases without starting over. There was still a lot to do, but the end result is a faster, more stable desktop application that can store your index online, where you can access it from mobile devices.

In our next beta, we’ll be shipping desktop applications for Windows and Mac OS as well as a client for Android devices.  Obviously, iOS will be a future target as well.

I don’t want to promise a release date for the upcoming beta because there are still a couple of issues we need to resolve. Which brings me to my next topic...


Do you know of a potential advisor on cloud database security?
Since we’re going to be hosting peoples’ information online, we want to be extremely thorough with our security architecture. We’re doing this work very carefully, but to be extra safe we’d like to also find an advisor who’s experienced in cloud database security. We’ll do the programming, but we’d like to get advice from someone who can help us make the right decisions and avoid making stupid mistakes. It should not be a big commitment of time.

In exchange we’d make this person an official company advisor, with a stock grant and of course the opportunity to get Zekira for free.

We’re working our own contacts on this issue, but I also wanted to post the question here. Many of the people following Zekira are in the tech industry. If that includes you, can you suggest anyone who might be interested in advising us?

If you have any ideas, please send me a message at michael(dot)mace(at)zekira(dot)com.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Zekira progress report


I'm overdue to give you a progress update on Zekira. I apologize for the long silence; we've been sending updates to our beta testers, but I should have posted them here as well.

We distributed Zekira beta 8 in March. If you're on the beta list and didn't receive the notification, please ping me and we'll get you the information on it. The feedback so far on the beta, plus our own performance tests, showed us that we needed to make some improvements to the internal database in the app. We were getting occasional errors in searches, and performance sometimes wasn’t up to your (and our) expectations.

Those changes require some careful restructuring of Zekira’s internal database. While we have the database opened up, we’re also making changes that will let us take the app mobile more quickly. We’re making good progress on all of that work, but it’s the sort of thing you can’t rush.

The new version we’re working on won’t just be more stable; it will also do a much better job of ranking search results by relevance. We hope that will dramatically improve the quality of the results it gives you. We’re also adding some other interesting features that I’ll discuss as we complete them.

Thanks for your interest, and as always you can drop me a note if you have any questions.