Sunday, January 13, 2008
MONDAY 9:30am UPDATE:
We have identified the source of the problem and will be working on the fix today.
MONDAY 4pm UPDATE:
I believe this is fixed. If you don't see this working shortly, please post. Thanks for your help, everyone.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Okay, here's the bottom line. We've got some fixes that we'll implement in the next couple days. The good news is that this will improve things for many of you; the bad news is that it won't improve things for some of you - alas, probably the heaviest users. The reality is that you've uncovered a serious issue, and that the real solution is not quick. We're working on it now, and i'll have more information as it comes in, but there will not be a fix possible that cures this for those of you with many friends and many ratings. (It doesn't seem to affect Faves or Fans use.) Through your input and alerts, this has been caught - but i have no happy words for those affected (check early next week to see if it has improved for you; it could take that long for the fixes to ripple through the system and membership). More news as it becomes available. (And if anyone comes up with some work arounds that improve experience - PLEASE let me know here.) Sorry, and thank you.
UPDATE: 7/11/07 1:03pm
Thanks for the info and the alert. I think you've uncovered a flaw in the design of notes -- When we first implemented it, we hadn't fully fleshed out what happens in the cases where someone has lots of friends and lots of notes and lots of ratings and rentals. There are a number of ways we are exploring to address the problem, but i'd like to ask members who only have 1 or a couple friends and use the notes features to let us know if you are having problems. It is unfortunate that this is starting to affect our most active users. I'll let you know as the situation improves. Until then, consider some of these features unstable. My apologies (I might have been writing this blog when i should have been anticipating that problem...)
I"ve noticed a couple people reporting problems with Friends only working partially, or the Notes features not working at all... those postings were the first we had heard of it -- with no unusual outages on this end, lest you believe we just weren't reporting it.
When something goes wrong its almost always widespread (meaning: everyone has a problem at the same time -- which didn't happen in this case), or it is connected to a new software release on our side (which didn't happen either, we haven't changed this code in some time, so if it is now broken, it's not obvious what caused it). Regardless, the postings on Hacking Netflix got us to look around and see if we could deduce if there was a bona fide problem, and if so, what was going on. I certainly believe some people are having occasional issues, but at least at this early stage, they don't seem to be widespread bugs and they do seem to (magically?) self-correct. Anyway, we're still looking into it. Leave comments here if you've got these problems too, and any specifics you can relay about how they manifest and if/when they seem to self-correct. It will help us get to the bottom of it.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
We'll get this fixed for the next release. In the meantime... sorry.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Latest Reviews feed. Slowed down, better looking. Hover over to pause is now explained and a review highlights when you hover, so it is clearer. This is not yet like the future sketch shown here recently, but you can see the way this is evolving.
Members Similar to you: if you click on someone you go to their Ratings page, where you can immediately compare their ratings to yours. Should be a faster way to judge for yourself your movie taste similarity. Then you can look at their reviews or lists if you are interested.
Local Favorites are now labeled “Unique in…”. This block does not just present what is popular in your town, but rather the movies that are uniquely popular in your town. It is a subtle distinction, perhaps, but it is more accurate. Not all that many of you love this, but it's a sort of guilty pleasure... (it's usually more interesting for me to click the link and visit other cities...)
Friends Activity block – If you are a friends user, we are starting to move more Friends features to the community home page. The first two are this activity block (showing what your friends are renting, rating, returning, reviewing, etc.) and the quiz. Both of these blocks, I’m sorry to say, were released with a number of small irritating bugs in them. The activity block says your friend rated a movie, for instance, but it isn’t showing their rating (this, along with many other little nits, will be fixed in subsequent releases). I thought: better give y'all something working mostly, than nothing until it's perfect. Was i wrong?)
Your Friends Loved/Hated: this isn’t updating properly, but should rotate through a selection of top rated movies from all of your friends. This will also be improved in subsequent releases. AS it is now, this is just slightly better than a placeholder.
Community link button in the sidenavigation. This should make moving around a little easier. NOTE: as we move forward, we will likely move more of the navigation within the community pages from the top to the side.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
For the next month or so, I'm going to be experimenting a lot on these Community pages. I like your feedback and we all have a lot of ideas to refine these -- to be more fun and more useful. Later this week we'll revise the way those movie reviews appear -- more readable I expect.
Anyway, our team is busy busy pounding on these pages. If we break something in the process, you have our deep apologies. The plan is to make them better. See what you think early next week, I should have a few more gears working by then.
Monday, July 30, 2007
POSTSCRIPT TUESDAY: Okay, I think we've fixed this now. Now, to slow down and improve the useability of the Reviews feed...
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
1) For a number of technical reasons you can only have 5 Friends sliders "open" at a time, plus your own. This is not the top 5. It could be any five. If you open more than 5, you can see them, but the site won't save this configuration, and will automatically close the lowest few to get back to 5. If you select five you want to keep open, no matter which they are, it will remember this. To be candid, i don't like this limitation: i have 17 Friends. But i tend to be keeping an eye on only a few and I guess i've gotten used to it. Also, I cannot escape the fact that only a small percentage of Friends users have more than 5 Friends. Anyway, we see this as a bug, but it only affects a few of us.
2) "New Notes" are absolutely not very new. In the first version we released we made some unfortunate compromises, and what it calls "new" are going back four months or so. It doesn't track what gets read, which is the problem. It's just a moving time window. This has been bothering us since we first released the new pages, and it is definitely on our bug list. My sincere apologies for this.
3) Alerts about "Replies" is an interesting idea, and we'll think about what it would mean. I can tell you that when someone replies to a note, even an old old note, it moves the entire "conversation" to the top of the pile, so you will still see the most current conversations at the top of Your Notebook. Thanks for the feedback.
The sliders were an experiment and i'd say the vote is still out whether or not they are a positive way to interact with Friends recent activity. (I'm not asking for your votes here -- we know many of you have never liked this presentation.) I like how visual they are, and they are really more dynamic than most elements on the Netflix site. But they don't replace other forms of presentation and, as I've said, we'll be revising this part of the site very much in the coming seasons.
Monday, July 2, 2007
One thing you could help with in particular - do you find that you still use the numbers to reorder, or just the drag/drop? [If you could include the # of movies in your Queue with your comment, that would be great. Thx]
Friday, June 29, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
1. You can now add movies to any of your custom lists directly from the movie page. Look for the "+Add to custom list" link in the left column on every movie page. It's not perfect, but it's at least a start. We'll refine this flow as we go forward.
2. We added a link to this blog directly from the Netflix site -- it's in the top navigation bar on the Friends pages. Up until now, the only way to really know about this blog was from Hacking Netflix. But you guys helped us find our voice and now we feel ready to open the doors to everyone else. (And probably if you're reading this now, you already found that magical portal to here.)
3. We've improved (but not totally fixed) the re-ordering of movies in your custom list. If you swap numbers between items, and save the list, it will hold the new order. (But it is not as robust or smart as the Queue.)
4. We fixed some UI problems with the avatars; with the nicknames (you'll probably be able to see more of the characters in your nickname in more locations); with various page presentations in different browsers. This should make the visuals a little more clean.
A couple tips on your nicknames: Even with our improvements - short names look better than long ones, and you don't need to list your city or state in your nickname because in key locations, it's shown under your name, anyway. They really add a lot to your reviews. Some of you, i'll bet, are going to get quite popular from your reviews here at Netflix. Let us know how that feels.
Enjoy the fixes and features. More to come. Lots more.
POST SCRIPT: Thanks for the bug tracking notes! Most of y'all do this already, but if you hadn't --If you want to be truly helpful (as opposed to, say, grumpy...), when you mention some bug or oddity you're facing, also add your OS info and version (e.g. Mac 10.4.2, Windows Vista), your Browser (e.g. Safari 2.0.4, Firefox), and any odd circumstances that might be helpful ("...my sliders were empty, which was immediatley after I left this really long note...") We appreciate your help tracking these problems down.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
The core Netflix website is unusually solid, but some of our new features operate independently, like the Sim%, like Friends. I guess i'm being less than candid to say we were down (actually, ARE down -- since we probably won't be back online until Wednesday) for maintenance. As you probably noticed, we turned on many of these new features (the new reviews structure, the avatars, etc.) with little fanfare. We wanted to slowly build up stress on the servers to make sure all was smooth before making a big deal about it. And it turns out that we slightly underestimated how many of y'all would jump on these features--which is good, but it creates a pretty significant load. So we rejigger once a week or so, improve code. Then we build new features on top of the foundation (for instance, the kinds of tools you -- and we-- really want to provide our community), and then check some more about how the servers are doing. Anyway, that's why we haven't yet made big announcements about our evolving set of new features. (We could put a big "Public Beta" up there on the top of the page, but isn't everything online a sort of public beta?) Anyway, this is why we've had some Friends Unavailable notices or you've had problems uploading avatars periodically over the past few weeks. We'll have this under control shortly. Until then, thanks for bearing with us. (Sleeplessly yours, The Friends Team)
WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Still working on it, and Friends will likely be unavailable through Thursday, coming online probably on Friday or thereabouts. Watch this space for latest news. (the good news, should we chose to see the silver lining, is that we're using this opportunity to deploy a few new features, which we'll release once all this comes up again.)
Monday, June 11, 2007
Being the clever folks that we are over here in Community, we pilfered some existing work the Search guys were building that automatically fills in the name of the movie you start to type. While it works well for search terms (what it was built for), it is appears to be hit-and-miss in the case that there are multiple movies with the same title. (I was trying to add "Swiss Family Robinson" to a custom list and found it impossible to hit the 1960s Disney version, and kept hitting some lousy cartoon). Apparently, fixing this is not going to happen overnight - and while it is a drag, in many cases you'd never notice it. Anyway, the workaround we humbly offer is that we'll make sure you can always go to a movie page and add the movie to one of your lists directly from there. (It's the way this feature used to work). I'll let you know when it's available, but we're working on it now. And in the long run, we'll fix the way the custom list creation works to address this, and a few other little problems along the way. From all of us to all of you, sorry.