flash video player that doesnt compress video to dust

I’ve tried using YouTube and the ilk for video, but it just doesn’t work for my use. The videos I often present are not me jumping around in a monkey suite, where the resolution is not important. I want a flash video player that leaves the video uncompressed or at least leaves it at a good enough resolution that text can be read. Anyone know of such a product? It would be great if I could host it myself, but I’m open to a hosted solution as well.

a cool day

Today our sales for 2007 reached the same level as for all of 2006. It’s hard to believe that it’s only been two and a half years since I started working on HelpSpot and this blog. The two are really one in the same in many ways. My first post was dedicated to Adam Curry, kind of funny, but his post that day did really inspire me.

It’s kind of odd to read that first post, knowing now to some degree how everything turned out. I’m amazed that I still have the same drive I did back then. It seems with all the hours I’ve worked and code I’ve written and everything I’ve been through that I shouldn’t be this motivated, but I am. More than ever I believe that you need to love what you’re doing to be truly successful at it. I’m happy to still have that love.

blogs still the best advertising

Today I found a new referrer in my logs to my Creating a Business Logo post. It appears that Trabber (some type of travel search startup) hired Mike Rohde to do their logo based on that post. They did a short write up of their own on how they found Mike.

The post make me realize yet again that the advertising power in blogs is immense and better than that, it’s self propelling. Mike has gotten a lot of business from that post and he’s only going to get more. As companies find the post and talk about it, the post propels itself higher. You could never buy this type of advertising power.

The post is currently #1 on Google for creating a business logo and #6 for creating a logo.

BTW Mike’s work on the Trabber logo is fantastic, I love it.

a few unannounced features of helpspot version 2

&tThere was a few significant features that we didn’t mention in the version 2 preview because we were not sure they’d be completed in time. They have been so I thought I’d be nice to share.

Request Push API
Version 2 has a full API, which makes it easy to pull information from the system, however, sometimes it’s nice to be able to push information from the system. One obvious example would be the ability to push request information from HelpSpot into a software bug tracker. Of course there are other uses such as pushing request information to a CRM, onto an intranet, sending emails to outside users or management, etc.

Request Push is very easy to setup with just a little knowledge of PHP. Basically the code required is a just a very simple PHP class with 2 methods. One for pushing information and one for retrieving details of a previous push. When a request is pushed the push method receives an array of information about the request. Within the push method you write the code to do whatever you like with the data. Do a database insert, make an HTTP API call, send emails, etc. You then optionally set a unique ID. For instance if you sent your request to a bug tracker you’d set the bug ID as this value.

The second method is used to retrieve information out of your system using the unique ID (if provided). The method is passed the ID and you write the code to do the lookup using that ID. You then return HTML to HelpSpot which displays it to the staff member.

A pictures worth a thousand words.

Push request link in options area of a request:
<img src=”http://www.ianlandsman.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/rp1.jpg” border=”0; alt=”image” name=”image” width=”157″ height=”110″ />

Selecting a system to push to, writing a comment to accompany the push:

History of request pushes, the details link is available if a unique ID was returned when the push occurred:

Clicking on the details link, shows meta data along with HTML returned by the details request push method:

Portal Template Editing
One thing that’s always annoyed me was that you can edit everything in the system from within HelpSpot except portal templates. For that you’d need FTP access, along with some instructions on where the edited files should go. It’s not a big deal, but it is a bit trickier than I would like especially for small changes. It can also be a problem for companies where the server admins are not the ones running the help desk installation or for some hosted clients.

In version 2 we’ve added the ability to edit your templates from within HelpSpot. The system will handle moving edited templates to the correct folder and also tells you which templates have been edited and which have not. The beauty is that it’s not an all or nothing system. You can still manually edit templates by FTPing the files down and working on your desktop.

This should also help simplify support since it makes instructing users on how to modify the templates significantly easier.


You’ll notice here that there’s even line numbers and syntax highlighting (IE/FF only):

mike rohde on the microisv show

UserScape logo and website designer Mike Rohde was interviewed by Bob Walsh and Michael Lehman on the MicroISV Show. Lots of very interesting material in there. I especially like the parts relating to pretty graphics vs an all encompassing package and how graphics relate to the overall experience.

My favorite phrase, Mike Rohde “graphic support”. A great way to put it Mike.

Of course I’m extremely flattered to have been mentioned several times in the podcast (including in the first minute or so, sweet!). I’m really glad to have been a part of Mike’s dominance of the MicroISV design space (could be overstating that slightly, though not as much as you might think).

On a side note, Mike notes the Pareto Principle which is used in the new 80/20 report in HelpSpot version 2 (note this is just meaningless test data, but you get the idea):

advice for patrick

Patrick has finally given us the details on his new web app and it sounds very promising. I really like the idea and I think it’s a good market for a small ISV. My one piece of advice for Patrick is don’t skimp on the lawyer. What you’re taking on is nothing like selling a little bingo card app. There’s going to be people managing thousands of dollars via your application. Sure it’s not life and death, but most law suits have nothing to do with life an death situations. They’re about money. If you screw up (or even if a customer does) you’re going to wish you had an agreement that was written specifically for your situation. Just my 2 cents.

helpspot version 2 preview

The future of web based help desk software has finally arrived (too boastful you think? :-)).

I’ve actually managed to get the preview page up on time!! Actually it’s very much evolution more than revolution, but there’s a lot of really interesting new features. Just about all of them come directly from customer requests so thank you all!

Check it out and let me know what you think.


batch processing video

Here’s a short video of a much requested feature in HelpSpot version 2. The ability to batch process requests. So you can now reply to multiple requests at once and/or update categories and custom fields. This is especially useful for companies who may have to deal with lots of simultaneous issues around the same event. So server X goes down and every customer on server X sends in an email. You can now respond to all those requests, categorize them and assign them in one action.

The video shows the actual batching action. Please ignore the beginning of the video which is me refreshing the page to make it batch again so I can capture it. Also the image quality is poor, not sure why. This is the first time I’ve used YouTube and it seems to have really hacked up the quality.