Synchronizing with ChaosHost.com after our recent security upgrades

We update our servers regularly to keep them secure, but there are updates and then there are updates, if you know what I mean.

As part of our most recent round of changes and security updates for our ChaosHost.com cloud service and web site at www.chaoshost.com, some old security protocols and ciphers that are no longer considered secure have been disabled. I think this is a good thing, because you have an expectation of good security, after all, when you enable SSL.

Unfortunately, this also means that many of our older versions of our Windows programs won’t be able to sync any longer with ChaosHost when you have the SSL option enabled in the sync settings, as they lack the newer security that is required (and that our current versions can offer). Affected programs would include Time & Chaos 5, 6, 7 and 8, Intellect 3 and 4, and Legal Billing 7.

While many of our users have moved to our current versions and are unaffected, we realize there are still users who haven’t yet updated.

If you have one of these affected programs, you could disable SSL and still sync, but that would obviously not be recommended given the lack of security that would offer your data in transit.

If you choose to install a newer version, you can always find our current releases by going to www.chaossoftware.com then clicking Products and Downloads at the top.

Does the newer version cost anything?

The upgrade to the current version of one of our products would be free if you made your purchase of the prior version within the last two years. Otherwise, we’d ask you to purchase a discounted new license as an upgrading user on our web site. When you go to the Purchase link at the top of www.chaossoftware.com , you’ll find Upgrading User is one of the options there, where you can enter your prior registration information to qualify.

Anything special to keep in mind about changing versions?

If you were previously using Time & Chaos 8, Intellect 4 or Legal Billing 7, there should not be much more to getting the synchronize process working again than installing and using version 10 instead.

If you were previously using Time & Chaos 5, 6, or 7 or Intellect 3, the move to version 10 will be more involved as the modern versions do use different data files than the old version used. If you’ve never run a newer version before now, the update to your data files will happen automatically when you install the newer version.

However, given how much time has passed, it seems likely that someone has previously installed a newer version at some point before you decided to go back to what was more familiar. If that was the case, when you install and run the newer version, you may see older data from that earlier false step rather than the current data you expect.

If you don’t see the current data in the newer version once it is installed, you can ask our support department for assistance so they can tell you what you can do to force a fresh transfer of data from the old databases to the new ones.

You also need to update the software for everyone who was using Time & Chaos 5, 6 or 7 or Intellect 3. Since the older versions used different data files, you can’t leave anyone on the team behind once you’ve made the move to our current software.

Thoughts on Creating a New Version

I thought it might be interesting to give you a small amount of detail into what goes into a creating a new version of Intellect or Time & Chaos.  Unlike other software companies, we do not release a new version of our software based on the year or simply because it feel like it’s time our users paid for the program again.  Rather we have a list of changes we would like to make in any certain release.  If those changes can’t be made to the current version, they become long term changes that we would like to add if we completely rewrite the program in the future.  If that long term list gets long enough, it starts to feel like a completely new release is the best course of action.

What we implement is based first on how we use the software on a daily basis and second based on how we hear the software being used.  There are no favorites when recreating software from the ground up.  Every feature or function is evaluated.  Is this feature used by most people?  Is this feature intuitive?  Does a change make the program more confusing or less confusing, more functional or less?

Skip ahead through the months of development and testing and we will usually have a version that is almost ready for public consumption.  This is a bit like the “not ready for prime time players” of old Saturday Night Live.  Finally releasing this to your eager hands is a bit like crossing a minefield to move into a new house.  Yes, we are going to run into snags along the way but with time and patience, all snags can be traversed and the destination can be welcoming.

Of course, once you move in, it’s time to start redecorating.  The same is true with our software.  We almost never see a release as a finished product.  There is always room for growth and change.