Jungle Disk 3.04 - Update From Hell

A letter to Jungle Disk Support: (An Online File Backup Solution)

Yesterday my Jungle Disk Desktop software asked permission to update itself to 3.04. I allowed it. Because of this I spent half an hour recreating my backup set, reverifying my S3 information, and generally redoing and undoing everything the update did. This was a sloppy, mismanaged, poorly implemented, and unintuitive software rollout. Please consider all of the following.

You will surely agree that there is no situation in which any software update should wipe out all previous customization and user information, and yet that's just what this update did on my system. After the software updated itself and restarted the machine I was asked to enter my login information. It was poor timing that this coincided with your service outage yesterday, so I closed the program and waited for your website to go live again.

When I was again able to log in, my new Jungle Disk 3.04 asked for my S3 data again -- mind you this S3 data was known to my previous version of JDisk. Then it walked me through creating my backup job all over again, from scratch, as though it had never ever heard of me before; as though I hadn't done this very task when I first signed up! With all due aggravation I went through this tedious, and unnecessary process once more; again finding all the little check marks - invisible unless you click the "Advanced" radio button, hidden throughout the visually unintuitive Configurations tree - which describe my desired backup set.

"No, this is the only computer I use JDisk on, DON'T hit the server with a bunch of LIST requests every two minutes that I'll have to pay for at the end of the month." "No, don't store ten versions of every file that gets edited, 3 is more than enough for me." And so on.

When I complete the arduous and completely unnecessary task of resubmitting all my original preferences, I click 'Backup Now,' just to make sure that everything is working; to confirm that Jungle Disk still sees all those files it took me over a hundred hours, uploading to the Cloud at 90kbps, to begin with. To my complete lack of surprise, it doesn't! It wants to upload my entire backup set all over again!

Here is where I discover your new Vault format, and further that it is incompatible with your old Jungle Disk 2.0 file system. And, of course, if I'd like to use a Vault then I'll have to upload all my data all over again -- even though it's all right there in the same S3 account and could surely be moved laterally if your Dev teams were to invest that effort.

So, all the configuration I've just done is worthless because I'm not going to spend another whole week clogging up my bandwidth, uploading files that are already there! After reading the comments of some equally frustrated users at the forums I head back into the visual mess that is the Configuration tree, delete the Vault that JDisk just walked me through erecting, and again! again! go to work configuring my old Jungle Disk 2.0 archive. Again!

Thankfully, the JDisk 2.0 backup set recognized the files that were already in the Cloud and I plan to continue using 2.0 for some time hereafter. I have no interest in the Vault now, as it is the Vault that caused me all this trouble.

Summarily, when a user clicks "Update," they shouldn't have to worry that all their previous configurations will be lost, nor that their files might become stranded in a sudden obsolescence. And if you are rolling out a new format it should be stated over and over again in large font, on otherwise empty pages, that your current data will not transfer to the new format. "You will have to upload it all again." And thereafter the user should be given the clear two prong choice to upgrade to Vault or stick with JDisk 2.0.

Settings that I have used previously should follow me into a rollout of new service. If I didn't want to backup 10 file versions in JDisk 2.0, then I probably don't want to in JDisk Vault either! For that matter, you should have saved the configurations from my original backup set before the update and simply duplicated those selections for Vault service, if I wanted to use Vault.

I also suspect that had I just accepted the Vault transition and uploaded my data all over again, nothing would have been said about my old JDisk 2.0 data still sitting up there in the cloud, costing me $.15 per Gb, per month, for the privilege, and rotting away to no use. I'm guessing you don't have any system in place to notify or remind the user of the redundant data they'll end up storing after transitioning to Vault.

While I'm at it, I might as well add that I would like the option to update more often than once a week, without having to do so every single day of the week. Putting the scheduling option on a slider, like it is, instead of a series of checkboxes is plainly ridiculous. I don't know how you came up with that one.

I like your service. I like storing my backup in Amazon's Cloud. Your software has proven itself technically proficient, quiet, robust, and reliable. But this rollout was intolerable in every aspect. I couldn't possibly recommend your software to the average user as it is. Jungle Disk is presently for power users only. Anyone who doesn't want to, or hasn't the experience to dig through pages of settings and preferences cannot use this software reliably. It is visually unintuitive, the wizards are incomplete, the advanced settings all need tweaking right out of the box, and if an update comes down - God forbid you install it straight away: you might lose everything you've already done.

I hope you will take my experiences in this upgrade and the preceding criticisms to heart and make the kind of changes that would allow me to recommend Jungle Disk to friends, colleagues, and customers.


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