Our Blog

Fluxin' in and geeking out

Woof! Your data is safe from POODLE

If you keep an eye on computing news, you have no doubt heard about POODLE.

If you haven’t, suffice it to say that it is a security vulnerability that can, in the right circumstances, lead to the disclosure of information that was thought to be transmitted securely across the Internet. In the very worst case scenario, this could leak sensitive data, and allow a malicious user to highjack an authenticated session.

The good news is that you are already safe, and fully protected against POODLE when using Fluxiom. No action is required on your part. If you are interested in the details, please read on.

Was Fluxiom affected by POODLE?

POODLE is an attack against the SSL 3 protocol. It is not a vulnerability in any particular application. As such, Fluxiom was indeed theoretically vulnerable to POODLE, much like the very vast majority of sites around the Internet.

However, because POODLE was disclosed responsibly, because we reacted swiftly, and because POODLE requires the attacker to operate from a privileged network position, we have every reason to believe that it never posed a practical threat to Fluxiom customers. We say this from our usual standpoint of informed paranoia.

Am I safe from POODLE on Fluxiom?

Emphatically yes. Support for SSL 3 has been disabled across the board on our servers. This means you are totally safe from POODLE while using Fluxiom.

What should I do?

When it comes to Fluxiom, nothing. Continue practicing good password hygiene, refrain from connecting to your account on public computers, and exercise care on public networks. Same old, same old.

Generally speaking, keep an eye out for software updates. A lot of them. Vendors are poised to release patches for browsers and operating systems in the coming days. While you are safe on Fluxiom.com, keeping your software up-to-date across the board is the only way to ensure your continued safety online.

This blog post suggests workarounds for users who wish to heighten their degree of protection, pending official updates from vendors.

More questions?

Should you have any questions about the security of your data on Fluxiom, please get in touch. We are committed to the safety and security of your data, and are always happy to hear from you.

Key points

  • POODLE is a security bug
  • It affects almost every site on the web
  • Your data is safe on Fluxiom.com

Contact sheets have finally come to Fluxiom

Digital asset management may be the way of the future, but the humble sheet of paper remains surprisingly useful. Cheap, unbreakable, and infinitely expandable, it is ideal for early drafts, quick reviews, and ad-hoc shares. This is why contact sheets remain in heavy use in ateliers, design studios, and magazines around the world.

Today, we’re making it extra-easy — and extra-useful — to jump from Fluxiom to paper, by introducing Contact Sheet Printing, a new feature that does just what you would expect, beautifully.

Select your files, and click on the Print button. (You’ll find it in the bottom Toolbar). A window will pop up, allowing you to confirm your selection, and tweak the number of columns. A click on the green Print button is then all it takes for the contact sheets to emerge from your printer.

Go offline, not backwards: the full power of Fluxiom is available to you, as you select images to print. You can click on thumbnails, filter by tags, highlight results from a search, and even open a Stage. It all works, and you can organise your sheets by client, date, mood, process, theme, etc.

Pro tip: use your system’s « Print to PDF » feature for instant portfolios, and to quickly insert image galleries in your documents.

While simple on the surface, this new feature has been optimised to answer the needs of professional photographers, across paper sizes, printer types, and workflow habits. We hope it is as useful to you as we strived to make it, and we look forward — as ever — to hearing your feedback.

Key features

  • Print Contact Sheets from Fluxiom
  • Pick files any way you want
  • Available everywhere, including Stages
  • Images are optimised to remain crisp and beautiful
  • Simple layouts encourage efficient collaboration

We’ve had a little work done

The more you use Fluxiom, the better it gets. Today, we are introducing two small updates, to help you work in greater comfort. With so much happening in computing news at the moment, we’re holding off on bigger changes, but this round of improvements should fit right into your existing workflow.

A new Tag Bar toggle

Tags have been key to the Fluxiom experience from the start. They are displayed prominently above the file picker for quick, convenient access to your documents.

As your collections grow, so does your Tag Bar. Yet, on today’s smaller screens, it no longer makes sense to keep a long list of tags in full view at all times.

The new Tag Bar toggle allows you to hide or show the Tag Bar at the click of a button. Click to see, un-click to un-see: this is all there is to it: a small button makes a big difference.

Focus on files, focus on tags: the choice is now yours.

A clean new look

We’ve updated our icons, switches, and boxes for greater visual consistency. You’ll notice a cleaner, slightly flatter look, as well as subtler colours, to better complement your content.

And yes, Fluxiom is now Retina-optimised all the way through! It will look gorgeous on any device, including the brand new Retina HD iPhone 6 Plus.

Finally, the visual representation of Tags has been updated, so that it is consistent throughout the interface. The familiar Tag « bubbles » will appear in the Tag Bar, on Stages, and in the Edit Panel. This will make it easier to manipulate Tags, and it paves the way for deeper Tag-related features…

It’s the Fluxiom you know and love, all grown up.

Muscle-memory friendly: our fresh new icons won’t confuse you.

Consistent Tag « bubbles » pave the way for a better, richer Fluxiom.

Let us know…

Fluxiom was born from your needs, and continues to evolve hand-in-hand with your workflows. We’re always here to help, and we love hearing your feedback. We’re already hard at work on the next round of updates, and can’t wait to share them with you. Stay tuned…

How we reacted to the Heartbleed Bug to protect our customers

As widely reported, an exploit known as OpenSSL HeartBleed CVE was discovered on April 7th. An attacker who exploits the heartbleed vulnerability would have access to the contents of server memory, which means private information could be extracted.

Although it was just found, the bug has been around for more than two years, which means a lot of sites that we all use every day may have been affected. About two-thirds of Web servers rely on OpenSSL.

The Fluxiom application servers were not affected by the Internet security threat Heartbleed.

Only our servers responsible for the initial signup were potential targets so we’ve immediately patched the servers and re-keyed and installed new SSL certificates. This closed the vulnerability of the signup servers.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email security@fluxiom.com. For more information on the Heartbleed vulnerability please visit: http://heartbleed.com/

New feature: self-serve, consolidated logins in Stages

Fluxiom has been designed to help large teams share large files with large groups of people, and our secure Stages are central to this mission. Many of you have created dozens of Stages, and handed out hundreds of accounts to trusted clients and partners.

Today, we are delighted to introduce three key upgrades to the Stages login system. They have been designed with scaling in mind, and will greatly facilitate account management, for both administrators and end-users.

1. Logged-in users can now switch from one Stage to the next

Each Stage previously came with its own login page, and set of credentials. This means users could be required to authenticate multiple times on multiple pages, to view all the files they had been granted access to, across all their Stages. They will now be able to log in from a central location, and access all the Stages you have shared with them, through an in-app drop-down menu.

Users can access all the Stages you have shared with them, through a drop-down menu at the top left of the screen.

2. Stage logins are now assigned per user

Users were previously handed one password per Stage, even if the Stages they had been granted access to were published by the same Fluxiom account, and were shared with the same email address. From now on, they will be given an opportunity to set up one single password of their own, which will work on all the Stages they have been invited to join. Once logged in, they will be able to switch between Stages, without needing to re-authenticate.

3. Stage users can now reset and change their password

Stage passwords, known in Fluxiom parlance as Magic Phrases, were previously fixed, and randomly generated by the application. Resetting them required that the administrator took manual action. Stage users will now be able to follow the standard Fluxiom password reset process, should they ever forget theirs. They will also be able to change their automatically generated password to the string of their choice.

The transition

We know such transitions can cause confusion, and become a burden for account administrators. But they needn’t be a problem! In fact, this one will be nearly transparent, as Fluxiom will walk your users through the process of upgrading their account, all by themselves. Here is what to expect…

Users who have only been invited to a single Stage will be transparently redirected to the new unified login page, where their existing credentials will continue to work. They will be able to update these credentials, but will not be required to do so. If they do not want anything to change, then nothing will, at least on the surface.

Users who have been invited to multiple Stages will also be transparently redirected to the new unified login page. Upon entering their email, and any one of their existing passwords, they will be sent an email containing a link to create a new password of their own. From then on, this new password will unlock all the Stages they have access to. This will happen the next time they log into Fluxiom, and no unexpected emails will be sent until then. The entire upgrade process will be as easy and painless as resetting a password on a regular web application.

Together with the recent addition of a Tag Bar in Stages, these dramatic improvements to the authentication system will greatly streamline the workflow of teams who rely on Stages to communicate with external partners. In addition to the convenience and security boost it provides, this user management overhaul paves the way for an even simpler, smoother Fluxiom — but that is a story for another day.

New feature: Tags in Stages

Tags are a key ingredient in the Fluxiom formula. Tagging files makes it easy to drill right down to the documents you are looking for, no matter how large your account, and how advanced your criteria. And we all know how convenient Stages are, when it comes to sharing your files securely with clients and partners.

Yet, until today, Stages did not reflect the various tags you had assigned to the documents they contained. While it was not a big issue for smaller Stages, it could occasionally make files more difficult to find than they could — and should — have been.

Today, we are happy to announce that this limitation is no more. All the tags that have been assigned to the documents you put in a Stage will be displayed in a Stage-wide Tag Bar. This bar behaves just like the Tag Bar that already appears in your Fluxiom account. It will also feel instantly familiar to anybody who has ever used labels to manage their email, or tags on OS X.

The Tag Bar is now available in Stages

This new feature does not change the way Stages work. There is no new interface to learn, and nothing to update in your existing Stages.

Do note that because the tags you selected to create the Stage in the first place are assigned to all the documents your users have access to, they will not appear in the Tag Bar. If there are no other tags in the Stage, the bar will simply display Fluxiom’s helpful built-in tags, such as « Images », « Today », etc.

1.700 Stages on Fluxiom currently host nearly 1.000.000 documents, and we think this small but significant update will tremendously boost their usability. As the system keeps growing, we will keep looking for ways to make retrieving and sharing your data even easier.

As always, your comments and feedback are welcome on Stages. We look forward to hearing what you would like to see next in Fluxiom, and will have one more thing to share in the coming days.

Upload files automatically to Fluxiom

Uploading photos to your Fluxiom account in real time could dramatically cut down on the energy and time you spend collecting feedback from your clients.

By giving them access to a shared folder, and letting them watch the shoot as it unfolds, you are guaranteed to capture their attention like never before. It’s also a great opportunity to tighten the feedback loop, avoiding costly misunderstandings, and the frustrating re-shoots that go with them. And, finally, it provides you with a real time backup, just in case the studio’s sprinkler system decides it’s time for a wet hard drive contest.

All you need to achieve fully automated, fully transparent uploads is a small Apple Script to glue together the Finder on your Mac, and the free Fluxiom Uploader you already use.

By using OS X’s Watch Folders, you can turn any directory on your machine, including your camera’s destination folder, into a magic Fluxiom-enabled zone. Because Fluxiom accepts RAW files, and outputs them transparently as clean, web-compatible JPEGs, there is no need to run photos through a cumbersome batch converter before showing them to your client.

Two-minute setup instructions can be found on our support pages.

Obviously, you will need a fast upstream connection for the process to happen transparently, and you will need sufficient space in your Fluxiom account to accommodate the files. Otherwise, there is no limit on the number of files you can upload in this manner: as far as your account is concerned, this is a perfectly regular upload operation.

We hope this tip will save you time and frustration during a very busy time for all creative professionals. As always, our support engineers. welcome your comments on this feature, and would be delighted to assist you in setting things up.

Two small improvements to notifications

In the spirit of continuous, steady improvement, we are happy to announce two tweaks to how Fluxiom notifies you of important events. These will not fundamentally change how you interact with the application but should, hopefully, further lubricate your workflow at critical junctures.

Stage invitations are now sent to the host

Whenever you invite someone to join a Stage, Fluxiom emails that person with instructions and credentials to log onto the application.

Once in a blue moon, this email got stuck in SPAM filters, causing a small but unnecessary amount of confusion.

To side-step the problem, you will now receive a copy of the credentials that are sent to your guest. This effectively enables you to transmit these credentials easily from your own email address (which the guest already trusts) or through whatever alternate means you see fit.

Unconfirmed files now appear in the Inbox

Whenever a third-party uploads files to your Fluxiom Inbox, they are sent an email asking them to confirm their upload.

It could happen, however, that senders forgot to confirm their files, resulting in delays and frustration while Fluxiom waited for their green light.

To alleviate the issue, the application will now display the files in your Inbox tab, and allow you to confirm them directly, without waiting for the sender to do so. As before, unconfirmed files will be automatically deleted after 24 hours, to prevent clogging.

Flux' from your iPad more efficiently than ever

iPad users, rejoice! We are thrilled to announce that the Fluxiom Uploader works nicely on iOS 6.

On the uploader page, tap the +Add Files button to bring up a native pop-over with direct access to your albums and camera roll. From there, you can select as many images or videos as you want and upload them straight to Fluxiom in a single go.

Once uploaded, you can use your files as you normally would with Fluxiom: share them, add them to Stages, etc. The full Fluxiom web application works beautifully on the iPad.

We cannot wait to hear about the great things you share on the go with Fluxiom on iOS 6. Drop us a line and let us know!

Improvements to the data export feature

Fluxiom never locks you in: our data export feature enables you to download the last version of all your stored assets at the click of a button. Whatever you sent us we send you back, in a ZIP archive. There are no proprietary formats and no sneaky exceptions.

Now that Fluxiom allows you to store tremendous amounts of data in the cloud, these archives sometimes grow extremely large. Once in a while, they get so large that browsers and routers can choke on them mid-way, forcing you to re-start the complete lengthy download a few times, until it goes through.

Obviously, this goes against our « easy out » policy. This is why today we have pushed an updated, improved export feature. There is only one change: instead of sending you one potentially huge ZIP archive, we break your data down into chunks of 5 GB (about one DVD) or 1000 files. Each chunk gets its own archive, which you can download separately from the rest.

There are no other changes, and the export feature is still as complete, as fast and as freely available as it has always been. We hope this tweak makes your life simpler, and look forward to hearing your feedback.