President Obama made an appearance on Reddit this last Wednesday with an AMA (Ask Me Anything), answering questions from users for thirty minutes. At the peak of the event, there were over 198,000 users who were attempting to view the President’s AMA.
In just a couple of hours, the President gained over 17K points of comment karma. Based on stats from the RescueTime user base, he also had a pretty significant impact on Reddit’s server load (and other users’ page load times).
We saw that many users spent more time viewing Reddit’s heavy load outage page than they actually spent on the AMA page itself.
We looked at the aggregate user’s Reddit time broken down between viewing the outage page and successfully viewing the AMA page. Here’s what that data looks like:
The guys at Reddit posted a blog today giving some other great statistics regarding the event. They added a total of 60 servers to try and keep up with demand, but still had problems due to their load balancers not being able to keep up.
Overall this was a great opportunity for Reddit and the community at large, I would love to see on-going AMA sessions with the President on a monthly basis (regardless of who that ends up being!). Perhaps as an addition to the “Weekly address”?
In November of 2009 I used RescueTime’s productivity software to create a RescueTime goal that would alert me after I had spent five hours on productive activities at work. That five-hour goal was eventually adopted by the rest of the RescueTime team and has been a daily benchmark we’ve used ever since.
Recently, I was discussing this five-hour goal with a colleague and explaining how I came up with that specific number. And I thought others outside of RescueTime might find the reasons behind this goal interesting. Specifically, how it might be used to increase productivity in the workplace for you and your team.
Why the 5 Hour Goal?
After running RescueTime for five years, I have a good understanding of when I am being productive and when my productivity starts to drop. For me, I see a dramatic fall in my productivity in the workplace after spending five hours of my time on day-to-day activities. I also know that when I switch to working on more creative activities, I see my productivity begin to climb again. Using that information, I created a RescueTime productivity goal that was setup to alert me once I reached five hours of productive time for that a day. When I see my five-hour goal alert show up, I wrap up what I’m working on and move my focus towards more creative activities.
Using this information I break my work day into two distinct categories, functional and creative.
Functional activities are scheduled, expected, administrative, or janitorial. Sales meetings, database maintenance, responding to support issues, development of a scheduled feature, daily scrums, and paying bills – all fall under activities I consider “Functional”. Generally functional activities don’t give me a lot of opportunity to exercise the creative side of my brain.
Creative activities are spontaneous and may have unpredictable outcomes. Comparing the strengths of various key-value stores, testing Amazon’s latest AWS offering, reading my favorite technical blogs, and prototyping an experimental feature – are activities I consider “Creative”. Giving myself time to work on creative activities invigorates me so I see my productivity climb, but also gives me a way to capture those unpredictable moments of inspiration that can sometimes lead to amazing things.
For example, one afternoon two weeks ago, I met my five-hour productivity goal and used my creative time to build out a database server using the new Amazon high performance storage offering. With only a few hours effort, I was able to test the database enough to see that, yes, the benefit to moving our primary database to the high performance storage option was a big win and certainly worth the costs.
By building in daily time for creative activities, I was able to measurably impact the RescueTime experience for our users, months before a database upgrade may have shown up as a scheduled activity.
As the CEO of RescueTime, I encourage all of my team to set aside time for creativity, not only to keep people motivated, but to capture those spontaneous creative ideas that can have a big impact on any business. Perhaps there is an opportunity for your team to improve their productivity in the workplace? You never know what unpredictable creative moments await you.
2012-08-12: Import your Wakoopa data to RescueTime
Dear Wakoopa Social Users,
We wanted to take this time to introduce ourselves as a potential home for previous Wakoopa Social users. When we launched RescueTime in 2007, we hadn’t yet been aware of the work Wakoopa was doing. We learned about Wakoopa soon after launching, and we’ve always viewed Wakoopa as kindred spirits in the domain of personal analytics.
We are saddened to hear that Wakoopa has shutdown their Wakoopa Social product – Wakoopa Social Shuts Down but we were happy to hear that they are making data exports available to all users. We are currently working on our Wakoopa data importer tool, and will have that ready for use by next week.
We ask that you take 30 seconds to watch this video and if this sounds like RescueTime may be a great way to jumpstart your new relationship with your time, we will work to make the transition as easy as possible.
Joe Hruska, CEO & Co-Founder – RescueTime
We are currently performing maintenance on our SSL Certificate. The existing certificate has expired, so you may see an “invalid certificate” while we are getting the updated certificate in place. I’ll update this blog post and our Twitter status ( twitter.com/rescuetime ) when we have completed the maintenance.
Update #1: New SSL Certification for https://www.rescuetime.com is in place. You should no longer receive an “expired certificate” error. We are still working on the new certification for https://help.rescuetime.com
Update #2: Maintenance complete!
(updated) We do not have an iOS/iPhone application in the development queue. We do not have the same level of access to iOS as Android.
(updated) Folks, RescueTime mobile is here– look for us on the Android marketplace!
We’ve been a bit quiet lately but I wanted to let you know why – The RescueTeam has been hard at work with the development of RescueTime Mobile! We will be looking for beta testers starting in early March to help us test. Our first launch platform will be Android.
Our goal is to bring the same level of detail usage logging for mobile devices that RescueTime currently provides on the OSX and Windows platforms.
Outside of RescueTime Mobile, we’ve recently pushed out a lot of behind the scenes changes. One of the changes was a complete rebuild of our search infrastructure which is providing 10-50x speed improvements in search related functionality (Search, ProjectTime, and Custom Reporting).
Keep your eyes peeled here to be one of the first RescueTime users to get their hands on RescueTime Mobile.
Over the last few weeks RescueTime has added a large number of users. This is great and we welcome all the new (and returning) users, however we’ve been experiencing a bit more load than our servers have been able to handle at our peak times. This has resulted in a number of users seeing the dreaded RescueTime maintenance page. Tonight we added more hardware to handle the increased load which should alleviate the sporadic maintenance pages. We are monitoring the load closely and will add more hardware to keep up with the growth.
The main reason that RescueTime was not working with Google Chrome 6 is the removal of the “http://” protocol from the URL location bar. There is a lot of controversy around Google’s decision and it certainly caused us some headaches.
Regardless, we’ve found a way to work around it and all of you bleeding edge browser users should be back up and running!
Update: as of ~12:20 PM PST site access was restored.
We are not too pleased with GoDaddy right now.
We had the RescueTime.com domain set to auto-renew every 2 years. The credit card they had on file was no longer valid (one of the frequent instances where banks randomly send out new credit cards and invalidate old ones to keep ahead fraud).
The amazing thing is that GoDaddy sent the notice that the billing failed at midnight last night. And then promptly parked the domain! No grace period.
All of the domains that we DON’T have set to auto-renew, GoDaddy bombards us with notices. RescueTime.com? No courtesy note saying, “hey, even though you have 15 domain names that you’ve paid for successfully, this one isn’t auto-renewing successfully– maybe use another card?”.
They just parked the domain.
Given this, I think it is MUCH safer to NOT auto-renew.
We’ve renewed the domain – and are waiting for GoDaddy to re-enable RescueTime.com. Apologies to folks who are being inconvenienced. All of your data is still there and while RescueTime.com is down your tracking data is being stored locally on your computer and will be sent to our servers as soon as we are back up.
[Update: We have completed Beta testing this feature. Thanks go out to all of the people who helped by providing bug reports and a lot of really good suggestions. We gave out a number of Solo Pro upgrades. Keep an eye on our blog post for upcoming opportunities to get yours!]
As Tony pointed out in last week’s blog post, we are getting ready to roll out a feature that allows people to voluntarily turn off some of the distracting portions of the internet.
We’re looking for some people that would be interested in beta testing to help us tune this feature.
If you are interested in participating you can download the beta version of RescueTime from:
- Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari for Windows – Opera support will come later
- Safari, WebKit, Firefox, and Minefield for OS X
As an extra incentive, we will be giving out a limited number of Solo Pro upgrades to beta testers that provide us will exceptional feedback and bug reports on the new feature. Send bug reports and feedback to: team AT rescuetime.com
RescueTime is looking for a few good volunteers to help us test out the next generation of the RescueTime installable client (version 2.0).
We expect there will be issues with the new RescueTime client and it will likely not work with all system configurations. We have done extensive testing internally and are ready to broaden our test base with a set of volunteers who don’t mind helping us out.
If you are interested in assisting in testing, head over to our GetSatisfaction forums
Features of RescueTime 2.0:
- A simplified user interface – most settings will now be managed from the RescueTime.com website, and for teams and businesses using RescueTime, settings can be shared account wide, greatly simplifying installation for a large number of users.
- More accurate time recording – the new RescueTime client was built from the ground up with accuracy being our key objective. Network issues, non-responsive external applications, and other issues should no longer affect the time recording functionality of RescueTime.
- More intelligent idle, sleep, and hibernation detection
- Faster updates sent to your RescueTime.com dashboard
- A common code base between OS X and Windows – bug fixes and new features are much easier to implement
- Enhancements for enterprise wide deployments, silent installation with response files and the ability to pass configuration information at the command line
- Automated background updates – allow uninterrupted updates of the RescueTime client so you don’t lose any of your productive time
Specific Features of RescueTime 2.0 for OS X:
- RescueTime should now use significantly less CPU and use slightly less memory than the 1.0 client version
Specific Features of RescueTime 2.0 for Windows:
- RescueTime no longer depends on the Microsoft .Net 2.0 framework – which means a much simpler installation process especially in the enterprise environment
- Support for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome web browsers