LAUNCH: Campfire, easy group chat for business Jason 16 Feb 2006

212 comments Latest by Lewis Chuba

Today we officially announce the launch of Campfire, our simple real-time web-based group chat tool for business. We’ve been using it internally for the last 45 days or so and it’s become the most important collaboration tool we have. We hope you’ll find it equally useful.

Some keys to Campfire

  • Every chat has a permanent URL — just like a web page or a blog post
  • Campfire chats don’t require special chat software or networks
  • Campfire chats are persistent — the rooms are always open and when you return you can catch up on the conversation you missed
  • You can instantly share and discuss files with your colleagues/clients
  • Upload a gif, jpg, png, or PDF and get a live preview of the image inline — it’s fantastic for discussing a mock-up or logo or design in real-time
  • You can search or browse through transcripts of past chats.
  • Campfire also offers secure chat over SSL (Plus and Premium plans)

The first question we get is “How is this different or better than instant messaging?” so we’ve prepared a page about why Campfire is better for group chat than conventional instant messaging.

If you know what IRC is then you can think of Campfire as IRC that anyone can set-up and use. If you don’t know what IRC is then you’re in the massive majority which is one of the reasons we built Campfire. The concept of IRC is strong, but the implementation of IRC is techie, confusing, and strange. Campfire drastically simplifies the concept of the persistent chat room and puts it in a web browser so everyone can use it.

At this time Campfire does not integrate with Basecamp on a deep level (but since chats have permanent URLs you can just post a chat URL to a project if you want to have chats about a project). We will be considering tighter integration later this year. We wanted to nail the basic product first. We also believe Campfire has a much broader appeal than just to people who use Basecamp — any group that collaborates on anything can use real-time group chat. And yes, an API for Campfire is planned.

Take a tour, check it out, and sign up for a free 30-day trial.

We’ve put a lot of energy into this app and we’re really excited about it. We hope you find it valuable and useful. It’s our simplest product on the surface, but the most complex under the hood. It was definitely a great learning experience and special thanks to Sam and Marcel for their magic. It was quite a first project to tackle!

So, have at it.

UPDATE: Join us in the Signal vs. Noise room.

212 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Gstfssn 16 Feb 06

Whoo, Campfire is awesome!

Brad 16 Feb 06

Good luck with this one! I hope you make 40 trillion dollars and have a planet named after you.

Michael 16 Feb 06

With regard to “Under the hood”, is this app driven by simple ajax requests or does it run on some sort of socket server?

It would be cool to see some sort of graph showing the loads, that this kind of app produces - I suspect it is quite tricky to get this thing optimized.

Michael 16 Feb 06

With regard to “Under the hood”, is this app driven by simple ajax requests or does it run on some sort of socket server?

It would be cool to see some sort of graph showing the loads, that this kind of app produces - I suspect it is quite tricky to get this thing optimized.

matt Carey 16 Feb 06

i signed up earlier and have been loving getting to really play with it.

*but*

i think it has one major flaw…

if i want to invite a client into a room (say to discuss some design mock-ups we have done, which campfire is perfect for), they get to see all the other rooms. Rooms where we are talking about things they shouldn’t see.

if campfire had some form of permissions like basecamp it would be amazing.

or maybe i’m missing something and this is possible already!! ;)

Michael 16 Feb 06

Sorry for the doublepost…

JF 16 Feb 06

if i want to invite a client into a room (say to discuss some design mock-ups we have done, which campfire is perfect for), they get to see all the other rooms. Rooms where we are talking about things they shouldn’t see.

Turn on guest access for that room and invite them as a guest. Guests only see that one room.

We will be considering room-by-room permissions later this year (as well as tighter integration with Basecamp).

matt Carey 16 Feb 06

JF: sorry, i just didn’t get that (and yes it is obvious!)

this really is a great tool

Rahul 16 Feb 06

Congratulations, guys. And many thanks for finally solving the Ajax-upload issue that no one seems to have stably figured out until Campfire!

Tyler 16 Feb 06

Without sound, it is nearly impossible to multi-task. This should at least be an option. My clients are already saying it. Otherwise, this is pretty cool.

And yeah, I can see the permissions thing being big. I don’t want to send my clients “guest URLs” everytime. If I wanted to bother with all that, I’d use WebEx.

JF 16 Feb 06

Without sound, it is nearly impossible to multi-task.

We’ve been multitasking like crazy for 45 days without sound. It’s not optimal, but “nearly impossible” is a bit of a stretch ;)

But yes, we agree, sound is nice and we have some plans for that moving forward.

lebreeze 16 Feb 06

not sure if this has been answered but why no free version? we do our daily scrum meetings over evil msn every morning.. we’d love to trial campfire as it is absolutely ideal for these.. however there are 5 of us in the team and the free trial is limited to 4.. bummer..

JF 16 Feb 06

lebreeze, we have a free 30 day trial. If you find it useful and valuable spring for the $12/month version.

Real-time group chat is too expensive (from a tech/performance) to give away for free at this time.

lebreeze 16 Feb 06

..would be great if integrated into basecamp.. as we have plenty of that :)

Tom R 16 Feb 06

After reading a post on a previous thread about campfire (before this thread was created), I really have to wonder now … if someone was to use some IM chat program, what does Campefire offer that those applications don’t?

1. Chat programs have the ability to save the chat
2. If you want save the chats for future reading, just post them as “Messages” to your BaseCamp account.
3. Now yes, you have to install the program but is it really that much of an issue?

I’ve been playing around with Campfire with my office mates this morning we have haven’t yet understood the product.

Especially, as someone previously pointed out, that it will cost at minimum $144/yr to use.

I could see using, or at least paying to use (I’m still not sure if myself and my collegues find it overly useful), a few extra dollars ($2-3) per month more to add Campfire ontop of my BaseCamp account. But paying $12/mo solely for group chat …. well, I haven’t been sold yet.

I really see this as a better way to communicate with your customers or clients and not necessarily as a way to communicate within side a company. I say this because, within our own company - it’s just easy enough to say “well all need to use IM product X for group chat”.

However, how often does a person talk to their clients or customers via chat at all? I personally think this product might be working well for 37signals internal use but doesn’t necessarily mean that myself and other will find it useful.

robb 16 Feb 06

I think that you guys might need to look into some integrated pricing plans. Backpack+Basecamp+Campfire is starting to get very expensive.

Chad 16 Feb 06

I signed up earlier, and somehow my email didn’t go through right, so now I’m locked out of my account. domain is cashew.campfirenow.com, account is “matrix9180”, email is… what I put in above…

Anonymous Coward 16 Feb 06

you serious robb? for $49/month you can have a very serious basecamp plan. for $19/month you can have the best Backpack plan (and you probably only need the $9/month one anyway). and for $24/month you can have a very solid Campfire plan. That’s under $100/month for some incredible tools to run your business. if you can’t make $100 more per month by using these tools to be more productive and keep your clients happier then it seems like you are doing something wrong.

Tom R 16 Feb 06

[Anonymous Coward] Are you seriously? I’m with Rob on this one. Paying $1200 a year is quite high.

37signals will need to start creating integrated pricing packages for my future business.

Jeremy Flint 16 Feb 06

Jason - has there been any issues with seeing images from behind certain types of Firewalls?

I was group chatting with some friends, and uploaded an image, and one couldn’t see the image and said he was custom firewalled.

Thanks! Great App.

JF 16 Feb 06

Tom R and Anonymous, it all depends on what you need, what you find valuable, and what you feel comfortable paying. There are plenty of packages out there that can cost upwards of $5K, $10K, or more a year. And there are also free products that don’t cost you a thing. So, it all depends on how much value you think you can get from the products and how much money they can save you.

We get emails all the time from people who win client work *because* of Basecamp. They win $40K, $50K jobs because of a tool that they pay $49 or $99/month for. And plenty of emails come in about how people are keeping clients longer because of our products. So for them the price is more than worth it.

The value judgement is yours and yours alone.

Rabbit 16 Feb 06

37signals will need to start creating integrated pricing packages for my future business.

Wow. *I* feel slapped in the face.

37S needn’t do shit for you my friend. :P

I challenge you to find a collection of tools (or a single tool) that provides all the functionality described by Anonymous Coward for under $100/mo.

I don’t even do freelance work, but CF is cool as hell. I’ve had two guests sign into it from my blog since I signed up yesterday - I’ll probably sign-up for it just for the novelty of having my own chat room. =P

BTW Signals, I think the level of persistence within the chat is freaking awesome. GREAT JOB! (And mad props to Sam and Marcel - I can’t even begin to imagine how you guys made this thing so responsive.)

Rabbit 16 Feb 06

Gah, how noob. Forgot to close my em tag. Sorry!

David Nicol 16 Feb 06

My initial impression is that Campfire is certainly better than instant messaging for group chats.

However, most of my online chats are with just one other person and I don’t think Campfire is significantly better at this than my current tools.

At this time, I don’t think I will pay a monthly fee just so that my occasional group chats will be more effective.

How about an option to pay for one-off group chats?

JF 16 Feb 06

However, most of my online chats are with just one other person and I don’t think Campfire is significantly better at this than my current tools.

We don’t either. IM is great for 1-on-1 chats. We use it all the time.

Steven van Wel 16 Feb 06

Guys, awesome! Really doing what its suppose todo.
Love the “files & transcripts” search!

anonymous 16 Feb 06

I’ve been subscribing to this blog since before you started releasing web apps and used to actually design stuff for other people. I’d say I’m a little peeved that i read about the launch of campfire from no less than three other blogs (yesterday) before I heard it here. I need to stop reading so many damn web dev blogs.

Tom R. 16 Feb 06

[Rabbit] I challenge you to find a collection of tools (or a single tool) that provides all the functionality described by Anonymous Coward for under $100/mo.

Now I haven’t used the product yet, but it looks like Microsoft Office Live Collaboration, which costs only $29/mo, might provide all the functionality within 1 application

http://officelive.microsoft.com/OfficeLiveCollaboration.aspx

Anonymous Coward 16 Feb 06

Tom R, it *starts* at $29, is limited to 10 people at that price, and requires IE. Not what I’d call a great collaboration tool for client work and people on different platforms.

Rabbit 16 Feb 06

*gasp!* $29/mo IS cheap! But wait… what’s all this fine print?

Live requirements:

1. Certain features require Microsoft Office 2000 or higher
2. To use the Edit in Datasheet feature within the Business Applications and Shared Sites areas of Microsoft Office Live requires Microsoft Office 2003.
3. To export to Business Contact Manager requires Microsoft Office 2003, Microsoft Office XP, or Microsoft Office 2000.
4. To import contacts from Microsoft Office Outlook requires Microsoft Office 2003 or Microsoft Office XP.
5. To link contacts to Microsoft Office Outlook requires Microsoft Office 2003.

That’s a truncated list, but you get the idea.

What does Basecamp and friends require to use ALL available features?

1. A modern browser.

Hmm… Wonder how much Office costs… Wonder how many other people have all those Office products… do they have the right versions? Are they working properly? Your Office is broken?! Call MS support, I’ll get the lube!

Sam 16 Feb 06

it looks like Microsoft Office Live Collaboration, which costs only $29/mo, might provide all the functionality within 1 application

*Opens a lawn chair pops open a coke*

Tom R. 16 Feb 06

[Anonymous Coward] om R, it *starts* at $29

Well the minimum plans of BaseCamp ($12/mo) + Campefire ($12/mo) + BackPack ($5/mo) *starts* at the same $29/mo.

This doesn’t even include the cost of my FTP account so that I can actually upload documents/images to my BaseCamp/Campfire/BackPack accounts.

Charbel 16 Feb 06

Maybe you can have the browser flash or something if it’s minimized and you get a message in the chat…

JF 16 Feb 06

Ok guys, we can argue about price all day. Like I said above, it’s not about price it’s about value and everyone’s value judgement is different. So let’s leave it at that.

David Heinemeier Hansson 16 Feb 06

Not to argue price with you, Tom, but all paying 37s products includes space in the offering. Whether that’s sufficient or a good deal to you, that’s of course only something that can be answered by your own evaluation and needs.

John Topley 16 Feb 06

Looks very nice, congratulations!

Scott 16 Feb 06

Is there someplace that lists the actual pricing plans, beyond just “from $12 to $49”?

Justin Reese 16 Feb 06

I’m consistently shocked by the number of people who believe a product that doesn’t not perfectly fulfill their own unique subset of needs is a bad product. Not worthy of your money? Certainly! Worth moaning about on the blog of the manufacturer? Hardly.

Nick Chapman 16 Feb 06

Jacked! 500 person limit! I can’t wait! Oh, and the price is fine… stop complaining…

JF 16 Feb 06

We may open up some more slots later today. We’re making some software adjustments before the hardware arrives.

David 16 Feb 06

I just cancelled my account; someone can step in.

David 16 Feb 06

I just cancelled my account; so there’s a slot open now.

Matt 16 Feb 06

We’re making some software adjustments before the hardware arrives.

So it looks like a previous commentor was right in guessing that 37signals released Campfire *now* in order to spin the Microsoft Office Live product release to their favor.

Just think about it, the previous post was describing how “bad” Office Live is and now the next post is, “hey everyone … we just released a new product called Campfire”.

37signals, you guys are tricky :)

Charlie 16 Feb 06

What happens to your transcripts/account if you stop paying/cancel?

JF 16 Feb 06

Charlie, if you stop paying for the service you don’t have access to your stuff anymore. Transcripts are HTML files so you can just save the ones you want in HTML and have them around forever.

David Nicol 16 Feb 06

Justin Reese - “I’m consistently shocked by the number of people who believe a product that doesn’t not perfectly fulfill their own unique subset of needs is a bad product. Not worthy of your money? Certainly! Worth moaning about on the blog of the manufacturer? Hardly.”

I happen to think that the blog of the manufacturer is the perfect place to ‘moan’, based on the philosophy that it is usually possible to learn more from the negative reaction of an as-yet-unconvinced customer than from the gushing praise of a fan.

Sure, if the product is totally unsuited to someone’s needs there is no point in that person posting a comment telling the world that they have no use for it.

However, if someone feels that Campfire is close to what they need, but not quite right, then I think they should be encouraged to post.

Campfire doesn’t perfectly fulfill my needs, and I probably will not pay a monthly fee to have access to it … yet.

I’m keen to see if any the product does change at all based on the feedback in this blog.

Greg 16 Feb 06

It would be nice to be able to see what all the plans include even if the daily signup limit has been reached (assuming the plans are only detailed on the signup page - I couldn’t find any mention of them elsewhere).

Damian 16 Feb 06

Where can I report bugs? I can’t get more than two people to chat simultaneously (free account, should be able to do 4). Tried making the third person a member and inviting as a guest, but no cigar.

Rahul Sinha 16 Feb 06

I know 37signals aims at small businesses… but this would be such a great tool for general social interaction, if it could be linked up w/ Jabber…

and could have a plan that made sense for social interactions *sigh*

Perhaps a one-time fee to host such a thing ourselves? (without the mutliple environments) I already have a web hosting account, and would pay $50+ one-time for Jabbered Campfire to run on my own server… or even $5/mo… more than that gets expensive for what is (to me) just a small part of an overall package.

RS 16 Feb 06

Damian, you can email support at campfirenow dot com. Thanks.

Matt 16 Feb 06

I can’t login into my account now and I know I am typing in the correct password. I used the e-mail me my password about 15 minutes ago and I have yet to receive the e-mail that includes my password.

Very frustrated :(

JF 16 Feb 06

Matt, check your spam filter.

Matt 16 Feb 06

check your spam filter.

JF: nope - not in there. my account is frooyo if you can help out. Thanks.

Chad Sakonchick 16 Feb 06

$12-$49 dollars!? You have to be kidding me! Adium is free, yes you get to talk to one person at a time but how much more productive would talking to 40 people at a time be?

I wish ya’ll well, I like to see web-apps be successful. But I truly believe ya’lls pricing will have to be cut in half for this one to be as successful as you’re hoping.

JF 16 Feb 06

Chad, see this. Value is in the eye of the beholder.

Nicole 16 Feb 06

Scott: Is there someplace that lists the actual pricing plans, beyond just “from $12 to $49”?

I’m with Scott. I scoured the site looking for a link to a pricing plans/features per plan page and found nothing. I assume such information is at least listed on the sign-up page, but, alas, one cannot get past the “we’ve reached today’s new account sign-up limit” message.

Very frustrating.

David 16 Feb 06

you guys might want to fix guest logins. Dominey is hosting one on his, room got full, and I decided to try and login as a guest that’s already logged in. Tested it with a few friends and there’s no problems.

It works.

So as it stands right now, you can have unlimited users chatting… but they must be logged in as the same account.

tim 16 Feb 06

Sounds like customers are telling the manufacturer (37signals) that Campfire has a very high “price elasticity”. Meaning, a small change in price will lead to a large change in quanity sold.

I’m not arguing the prices, I’m just trying to help point out what it seems to be what people are saying.

Will 16 Feb 06

Is there someplace that lists the actual pricing plans, beyond just “from $12 to $49”?

I have the same question. It would be nice to be able to explore the pricing and features structure for those of us where weren’t able to get in on the initial signup group.

Right now there is no indication of what $12 gets you versus $49.

Chad Sakonchick 16 Feb 06

There is no destination
The destination is my computer. Everyone I know and want to talk to during the day is always online.

Networks are incompatible
I use Adium, I can chat with people in over 8 different networks

File sharing is unreliable
Yes, annoying but annoying is not worth $12 last time I checked

History and transcripts
Again, Adium

Persistence
I don’t have to be there all the time. I just put myself on away and when I come back I respond to anything people wrote to me. There is also this thing called email.

Security
I don’t have an anything for this >_

Value is in the eye of the beholder, but your marketing is a bit misleading.

JF 16 Feb 06

Chad I don’t think it’s misleading at all. Remember, you are talking about *you only*. You may have access to the transcripts in Adium, but do the other people you are chatting with? There’s no central location to store those in Adium. And then what happens if you need to get to a transcript and you are away from your computer? You can’t if they’re stored locally.

If reliable file sharing in a chat environment isn’t worth $12/month for you then that’s fine, but it’s not misleading. If I’m using iChat and someone else is using Adium I can’t send them a file.

Your destination is your computer, sure, but not everyone keeps their chat client open all day. And what about the people that don’t have a chat client? What about those that aren’t on IM? How do you chat with them? You don’t.

etc… Anyhow, point is that your set-up is not everyone’s set-up. Your situation is not everyone’s situation. Everyone has a different judgement of value. So maybe it’s not worth it for you, and that’s fine, but to call it misleading is a bit, um, misleading.

Anyhow…

Matt 16 Feb 06

I still haven’t received my password via e-mail and I’ve tried now a few times. Still can’t login, I should have never closed the window :(

Anonymous Coward 16 Feb 06

Matt, what’s wrong with your brain? how do you forget your password THAT FAST? the thing just launched today!

Sam Stephenson 16 Feb 06

David, it’s functionally useless to log in as a guest who’s already in a room because you won’t be able to see anything that person says (and vice versa).

Chad Sakonchick 16 Feb 06

Ok, maybe misleading was a bit harsh…

What about those that aren’t on IM? How do you chat with them?

Lmao… I don’t want to chat with them, they’re called cavemen

;-)

J Lane 16 Feb 06

Hey JF,

I’m slightly unclear on one thing. What happens after the “30 days” on the trial is over? Does your account delete, or are you just limited to 4 chatters?

FM 16 Feb 06

I just wish Basecamp users had been notified about the impending launch — also (not to mean to the free accounts), perhaps it would be nice for Basecamp users to be pushed up the list for signing up. In blunt terms, some portion of recurring fees fund R&D, so an email or Basecamp announcement would have been cool (or am I not on the cool kids list?).

David 16 Feb 06

Sam: you actually are able to see what each other say, that’s one of the reasons I tested it with multiple people; making sure it wasn’t a fluke or non-functional.

JF 16 Feb 06

J Lane, you have to cancel or upgrade after 30 days. It’s a 30-day free trial.

David Heinemeier Hansson 16 Feb 06

FM: We just added another 100 slots. Hurry up and sign up ;).

Jorge Arango 16 Feb 06

Congratulations on another fine-looking product. Currently testing it with my web dev team, and have a couple of comments:

* Add my voice to those who’ve suggested Basecamp integration — this would be killer. IMO, this is a much more valuable complement to Basecamp than Writeboard is.
* We’re trying to figure out how to organize our “Rooms” — if we do it per-project (seems desirable to keep them separate), we will be replicating a lot of info already present on our Basecamp account (see previous comment). Also, seems we would quickly run out of space on the top horizontal tab bar. (It’d be great if you could post examples of other folks’ use of the service, as you’ve done with Backpack.)
* Have I missed it, or is there currently no way to export conversations? Given that this is the first 37s product with no real free version, what happens to our data if we decide to not subscribe after the 30 day trial?

Thanks again for another great tool. Looking forward to your promised “CRM-ish” app…

JF 16 Feb 06

Jorge, transcripts are in plain HTML. Just save them to your computer.

pwb 16 Feb 06

Chad, don’t use it.

37s, Campfire is cool. I still don’t like your practice of not providing login directions on the product home page.

Critics, if you feel 37s is missing an opportunity, there’s a perfect outlet for you and you might even make some money: roll your own! 37s has done a lot of the heavy lifting for you and laid down a perfect blue print.

Matt 16 Feb 06

I would like to see a comparison not of what Campfire provides over IM but what Campfire provides over blogging with comments turned on.

Because to me, Campfire and products of the like seem essentially like blogging with comments … much like this 37svn web site.

And to answer Anonymous Cowards question about forgetting my password, like I said early - I am almost certain I’m typing in the password I used to setup the account.

JF 16 Feb 06

thank you pwb.

re: login on the home page, everyone’s login is tied to their URL so we can’t have a generic login. you have to log in at your own URL.

Charlie 16 Feb 06

I have to second Chad’s point about History and transcripts. Campfire might be a good tool to get something done this month, but if I want to search my history 6 months from now, I have to still be a paying campfire customer.

With Adium, I always have my history and transcripts whether it’s next week or next year or 5 years from now.

If your campfire transcripts and account persisted after you cancel, then that would be different. For example, instead of deleting my account, you could make it “inactive”. If my account wasn’t active, I could still search and view my transcripts, but I wouldn’t be able to start any new chats.

Forcing me to pay month after month - forever - to keep access to my history and transcripts is too much to ask.

(btw, I know I can downloaded transcripts, but that’s a clunky solution that I have to remember to do. Adium records everything automatically)

RS 16 Feb 06

Charlie: Adium is an IM tool. Campfire is not IM.

Charlie 16 Feb 06

Ok, so what about my point about making accounts inactive instead of deleting them?

Dan Boland 16 Feb 06

It’s funny how much bitching is going on. If you don’t want to spend the money, then don’t, and please, don’t tell us about it either. We don’t care.

I had the opportunity to test Campfire and I thought it was very well put together. Personally, I don’t have any use for it, but there are countless people and companies who are probably pooping their pants with excitement.

Mike Swimm 16 Feb 06

Wow,

Everyone needs to chill a little bit on the IM comparisons. No one criticizes Apple for releasing Final Cut when you can make great videos with iMovie. There is definitely a place for both. And if Campfire doesn’t add $12 of value to your operation than you probably don’t need it. Simple as that.

Anyone criticizing $12/month needs to pay for and configure their own bank of servers. And I am not talking about some Beowulf cluster of commodore 64s that you got for free and run for a few hours at a time. And asking 37 to store your data forever, you have to be kidding me. Its HTML, download and burn it to a CD!

Maybe this app is a little more targeted than 37’s other offerings. I think it may take time for people to get over the gut reaction and see the value of this tool. Some type of sound would be really nice, but overall I think you guys did a great job.

JF 16 Feb 06

Charlie, we’re not going to host your chat transcripts and files for you for eternity. Once you cancel you cancel. Hosting data and pulling from the database isn’t free. Campfire is a web-based subscription service. If you don’t like that model then you’ll probably want to stick to desktop-based software.

RS 16 Feb 06

Charlie… Re: “inactive accounts” — you’re asking for someone to host your files and transcripts for free. C’mon.

Justin Reese 16 Feb 06

I happen to think that the blog of the manufacturer is the perfect place to ‘moan’, based on the philosophy that it is usually possible to learn more from the negative reaction of an as-yet-unconvinced customer than from the gushing praise of a fan.

You’re completely right, it’s the perfect place for dialogue between customers (or potential customers) and companies, and I didn’t mean to denigrate that. I’m referring to the sentiment of “convince me why I should care” that often permeates the posts of critics. I like to read about 37s’s new products, check out the features, and determine whether or not it’s worth my time and money. It’s never crossed my mind to start moaning about how it doesn’t fit my needs… I can just go somewhere else!

Eric 16 Feb 06

Ok yea this campfire thing is cool, but the real question is, can we have Rails 1.1 now? Please? Pretty please? I want fields_for so bad I can taste it!

Charlie 16 Feb 06

Regarding hosting data for eternity: Google does exactly that with email. I guess I was just thinking in terms of what other companies do who offer web-based services. I also thought that storage is cheap, and is only going to get cheaper. Just asking-

Jeff Koke 16 Feb 06

Just signed up for the free account and am putting it through its paces. For the most part, it’s extremely well designed, intuitive and useful for what it is.

I’m going to keep trying it with my business and if it meets my needs, I’ll pay for the service. If it doesn’t add more value than it costs, I’ll cancel. (now, was that hard?)

There are only 2 places I saw that could use improvement:

1. Permissions on room access. I would love to set up a separate room for clients/projects, but can’t really allow all my clients access to all rooms. Guest access is fine for one-off chats, but one of the beauties of Campfire is the perpetual chat, perfect for keeping a running dialog going on a project.
2. Deleting/Renaming rooms from the Lobby. Not sure why this was left out, but it took me a little while to figure out how to delete a room.
3. Adding a message to a file upload.

Very slick. I can’t wait for Compass/integration into Basecamp.

Jeff

Matt 16 Feb 06

Any comments on comparing Campfire to blogging with comments?

Because how I see it, Campfire and setting up a private blog seems very similar (presistent transcripts of conversations, allowing multiple people to post, web-based). All you need to do is setup wordpress/textpattern/movabletype etc to have private rooms and allow file upload and it seems (to me that is) that you have Campfire.

I don’t want to sound like I am complaining about Campfire, just would like to hear others opinioins on a comparision between Campfire and blogging.

Tracey 16 Feb 06

Alot of people here seem to be missing the point of Campfire VS IM and the pricing.

Look, I don’t work for 37s but I know that logging, bandwidth, hardware, development and support costs money.

When you use IM, you are using a potentially insecure protocols and one thing I hate about IM is that everyone uses a different service.

I would probably pay if this was tightly integrated winthin Backpack. I almost think that is a no brainer feature, but probably difficult to implement.

I also would love to see Campfire scale beyond 40 users. Let’s see 200 :)

FastCgiServer /var/www/campfire/public/dispatch.fcgi -idle-timeout 120 \
-initial-env RAILS_ENV=production -processes 2000!!!

:)

Brad 16 Feb 06

campfire vs. blogging is like comparing IM to email.

David Heinemeier Hansson 16 Feb 06

Tracey, we’re currently serving ~1700 active chatters. Divide by 3 to get the requests per second we have to serve.

Marcus 16 Feb 06

I think it’s cool. The interface is great and I really like how you can have files attached indefinitely.

I’ve been using it on and off today with several people and the only thing I’ve noticed is that I usually don’t see when there is a new message, ofen until the other person has left the chat room.

I think that it would be cool to be able to get an alert when there was a new chat message after say, 5 minutes of inactivity. The alert could be an IM message, an email, SMS… something similar.

I can definitely see the appeal of using this over an IM client (or in conjunction with). I think the comparison to IRC is a good one. Nice work.

Jeff Koke 16 Feb 06

Oops, there were 3 requests, not 2. And I thought of one more:

4. Allow us to send guest invites from the sidebar of a room. It would be very convenient to simply type an email address and have it send a guess invite.

That’s all for now.

James 16 Feb 06

I guess one concern that hasn’t been answered or addressed - but has been alluded to once or twice - is exactly HOW LONG do transcripts and files persist after an account is cancelled. Do they ACTUALLY GET DELETED, or do you just lose access to them? What about backups - are they archived permanently on tape, etc?

There’s been a lot of press over the past day or three about Google’s new desktop search, and the privacy concerns raised by the fact that files and information hosted on their servers for any length of time become exposed to subpoenae.
http://news.com.com/More+worries+about+Google+Desktop+3/2100-1032_3-6040120.html

Just wondering if 37s has any kind of stated policy about the handling of government or 3rd party legal requests to turn over client information?

Can chats be deleted, and when they are, is that data complete and totally destroyed - from backups, your active servers, etc?

Anonymous Coward 16 Feb 06

charlie I’m sure 37s will give away some more stuff for free once their stock price hits 350 like google’s. google gives stuff away for free cause they pepper the internet with ads.

jonto 16 Feb 06

Great product as always guys. I just wanted to point out that on my trial account, I was not able to enter my own FTP settings as is possible with Basecamp. 37signals appears to be handling that aspect this time around.

If you ask the Joyent guys, I’m sure that they would say that Vertical Integration works well for them from a quality of service and additional revenue perspective. The downside of this includes: not core competency, added business complexity, etc.

Any thoughts on this?

Is it possible to use your own FTP server with the paid subscriptions? Just curious…

JF 16 Feb 06

James, we typically keep about 30 days worth of backups.

Ian Fenn 16 Feb 06

Congratulations, but when I try to enter the SvN room, I get:

Hello guest

Guests aren’t currently being allowed in this room. If you believe this is incorrect please contact the person who invited you into the room for additional assistance.

matt carey 16 Feb 06

J Lane, you have to cancel or upgrade after 30 days. It’s a 30-day free trial.

so after 30 days i cannot use the free account (4 users or less)? at the moment i would want to stay on the free account and then move to higher pricing as projects ramp up.

sorry to be specific int his thread but had thought the free option was free like basecamp ‘free’…

Anonymous Coward 16 Feb 06

Why is it that people can’t read? it’s a 30-day free trial! 30-DAYs! after that it’s clearly not FREE anymore if it’s a 30-DAY FREE TRIAL.

Jason Cale 16 Feb 06

I love it simple as that.

Anonymous Coward 16 Feb 06

I think some people are objecting to the fact that subscritpion based, web applications are like a treadmill. Once you start using it, you can’t get off — or all your data is deleted. (At least with 37s. With google, yahoo and flickr they don’t delete your data)

When you use desktop software, you don’t have to keep paying to access your files and data.

J Lane 16 Feb 06

I can read just fine AC. Problem being that I don’t need 10 chatters, I only need 4 (that’s the size of my team). It would be great if I can add this to my toolbox of free tools courtesy of 37signals (we pay for Basecamp).

If all I need is 4, why pay for 10? Less is less, and that’s good enough for me! (couldn’t resist — sorry)

JF 16 Feb 06

If all I need is 4, why pay for 10?

Because there’s no free plan. Chat is a very expensive service to provide. We can’t provide free chat for hundreds of thousands of people.

Stephanie Leary 16 Feb 06

Wow, pile-on. I have a different question: what’s the point of having us sign up to be notified about your new services if we’re going to hear it here (and in fifty other blogs) before you guys send out the announcement? I seem to remember getting the Writeboard email about a week after it had actually launched.

Stephanie Leary 16 Feb 06

Wow, pile-on. I have a different question: what’s the point of having us sign up to be notified about your new services if we’re going to hear it here (and in fifty other blogs) before you guys send out the announcement? I seem to remember getting the Writeboard email about a week after it had actually launched.

J Lane 16 Feb 06

Sorry JF, I was replying to AC post about my illiteracy.

I understand that 37signals is a company that has employees (who expect to get paid — the nerve). I think it’s great that you offer some of your apps for free, and I definitely agree that Campfire is worth paying for. We will probably make due with IM though, because an additional monthly charge isn’t in the cards.

JF 16 Feb 06

Stephanie, we didn’t have an email signup for this app.

MJR 16 Feb 06

Bug: had two lines flipped in the chat in comparison to what I posted

Drew Pickard 16 Feb 06

RE: Subscription data access

Honestly, it’s not hard.

If you have important data on a subscription-based web app and you are canceling your account … SAVE THE DATA LOCALLY!

These logs are HTML
Not very hard to save.

I can understand a request for an easier way to save a full collection of transcripts (export all transcripts to a zip of html or whatever)

But complain about the export features - don’t complain because you were too lazy or forgot to backup your data when you knew it was scheduled for deletion.

I absolutely see the value in persistent, always-on, always-searchable, always-there group chat. (as long as you pay, duh)
I’m not totally convinced *I* will keep an account - but I definitely will recommend it for the 2 side projects I am working on with friends.

Plus, I think the app is utterly amazing and beautiful in it’s execution.
Great job, 37s.

Drew Pickard 16 Feb 06

btw: If you watched the Campfire video closely (frame by frame) you can see Jason revealing that they will soft launch with no announcement, let people trickle in and then have a full launch soon afterwards.

That’s how I knew to watch the Campfire homepage … ;)

Chad Sakonchick 16 Feb 06

JF, I’m not sure how expensive chat is to provide. However, I’m learning that much of ya’ll success is from offering stuff for free indefinitely. Couldn’t you make the base account for 4 people free then place Google ads on it?

I’m willing to bet there are tons of Basecamp and Backpack subscribers that would jump on that.

RAC 16 Feb 06

Lot’s of sniping here.

It looks like an excellent product, and very useful.

I think one of the problems is that for people like me, a freelancer with a team of 1 and a small handful of clients at any one time, the pricing, while cheap in comparision to many enterprise solutions, does add up for for folks like me, since we can’t get the use/value out of it that a larger, say 10-person shop, could.

For instance, I use Backpack (the $9/month subscription) for most of my needs and the free version of Basecamp to track it all (though I’m strating to feel the need for an upgrade there—though for me the $9/month for Backpack is a much better “value” for me than the $12/month BaseCamp—and there’s the added frustration there that SSL encryption is not available until you hit the $49/month mark, which is way too much for me (in both $ and in application capacity, I just won’t ever come close to working on that scale).

And as far as Campfire goes; I’m sure I’ll find this very useful, but I’m not sure I’ll have the opportunity to use it enough each month to get the value out of it. I guess we’ll see.

I love the products though—it’s just that they’re targeted (and priced) at a different kind of user (at least in the case of BaseCamp and Campfire).

RAC 16 Feb 06

Lot’s of sniping here.

It looks like an excellent product, and very useful.

I think one of the problems is that for people like me, a freelancer with a team of 1 and a small handful of clients at any one time, the pricing, while cheap in comparision to many enterprise solutions, does add up for for folks like me, since we can’t get the use/value out of it that a larger, say 10-person shop, could.

For instance, I use Backpack (the $9/month subscription) for most of my needs and the free version of Basecamp to track it all (though I’m strating to feel the need for an upgrade there—though for me the $9/month for Backpack is a much better “value” for me than the $12/month BaseCamp—and there’s the added frustration there that SSL encryption is not available until you hit the $49/month mark, which is way too much for me (in both $ and in application capacity, I just won’t ever come close to working on that scale).

And as far as Campfire goes; I’m sure I’ll find this very useful, but I’m not sure I’ll have the opportunity to use it enough each month to get the value out of it. I guess we’ll see.

I love the products though—it’s just that they’re targeted (and priced) at a different kind of user (at least in the case of BaseCamp and Campfire).

Tony 16 Feb 06

Those complaining about the data storage, they’ve already said there will be an API, I’m sure someone can create some way to pull down your transcripts in a more elegant fashion than File > Save As if you so desire.

RAC 16 Feb 06

Lot’s of sniping here.

It looks like an excellent product, and very useful.

I think one of the problems is that for people like me, a freelancer with a team of 1 and a small handful of clients at any one time, the pricing, while cheap in comparision to many enterprise solutions, does add up for for folks like me, since we can’t get the use/value out of it that a larger, say 10-person shop, could.

For instance, I use Backpack (the $9/month subscription) for most of my needs and the free version of Basecamp to track it all (though I’m strating to feel the need for an upgrade there—though for me the $9/month for Backpack is a much better “value” for me than the $12/month BaseCamp—and there’s the added frustration there that SSL encryption is not available until you hit the $49/month mark, which is way too much for me (in both $ and in application capacity, I just won’t ever come close to working on that scale).

And as far as Campfire goes; I’m sure I’ll find this very useful, but I’m not sure I’ll have the opportunity to use it enough each month to get the value out of it. I guess we’ll see.

I love the products though—it’s just that they’re targeted (and priced) at a different kind of user (at least in the case of BaseCamp and Campfire).

Rob B. 16 Feb 06

I really like this tool. It’s simple and does the job. There are plenty of things I would *like* it to have that it doesn’t but more importantly, it has everything I *need* it to have. I’m testing now for evaluation. Look forward to seeing its future development.

RAC 16 Feb 06

Sorry about the multiple posts…the server keeps timing out

JF 16 Feb 06

JF, I’m not sure how expensive chat is to provide. However, I’m learning that much of ya’ll success is from offering stuff for free indefinitely. Couldn’t you make the base account for 4 people free then place Google ads on it?

1. It is expensive. Trust me. We’d love to give stuff away for free if we could. I think our history shows that. Maybe one day, but not now.

2. Google ads aren’t our style and secondly they can’t be displayed on private pages (Google can’t get to a chat to see what content is on the chat). And it’s pretty damn hard to make real money on Google ads.

James 16 Feb 06

I’m sure there’s a reason, or someone’s already asked - but why do you have the SiteMeter graphic/link at the bottom of the Campfire page? Don’t see why you would make that public.

Chad Sakonchick 16 Feb 06

Then how about “The Deck for Campfire?” Find tools that other small businesses may be interested in learning about and promote them for a fee. Make it like a hotel reservation system so you’re hands off, but still cover the costs of Campfire’s overhead.

Not telling you how to run your business, just brainstorming.

James 16 Feb 06

Not a huge deal, but something to think about - I may have just payed for the entry-level plan and signed up today in order to try out the service, but you only launched the limited free trial. Maybe next time, reserve a handful of those 500 day 1 seats for people that actually want to buy right away, and don’t care about the free trial period.

SLAPSHOTW/Matt 16 Feb 06

Jason,

After the 30-days of the free trial, I know we’re given the option to “cancel or upgrade.” Is there a certain time-limit we must make that decision in in order to keep our transcripts?

Also, how soon after someone cancels does that person’s URL name get opened up again?

Thanks,
-Matt

JF 16 Feb 06

Yup, Chad, we have some ideas there. Thanks for the brainstorm.

Chris 16 Feb 06

Looks like the SVN room is at 40, max capacity. Why 40?

I wonder if 40 guess show up in a room if the admin will still be allowed to log in and kick them out… :)

Chris 16 Feb 06

PS: You have a typo on the main campfire page: “Never forgOt anything that was said…”

David Ham 16 Feb 06

Congratulations on the launch!

One thing though: looks like the stylesheet is not working on the blog home page, it’s all unstyled HTML.

http://37signals.com/svn/

Good luck with the new product, and ignore the haters!

Ethan 16 Feb 06

beautiful im talking with Jim Coudal now in it

Ha ha ha 16 Feb 06

Okay, here’s the deal, if you can’t make enough money to pay $12 a month to provide chat services to your team and clients. Please close your doors, return the Web Designer/Developer Certificate you “graduated” with from Community College, and tell all your clients web sites no longer cost $199.

Note: I have gone out of business several times, I have no certifications, and never graduated college, Community or otherwise—the difference? I don’t bitch about $12 a month when a cup of coffee costs $2 a day, a pack of smokes costs $5 per day, and a gallon of gas is around $3.

By the way, if any of the complainers are actually competent designers and developers, I’d love to hire you considering your hourly rate must be below minimum wage if you work well over 160 hours a month and can’t afford $12.

Send your resumes to: cheaplabor@gmail.com

Cheers.

RAC 16 Feb 06

hey, ha ha ha

don’t be a dick

and who said anything about everyone being a web designer/developer? I know it may be hard to believe, but there are other occupations out there where these kind of tools come in handy

Security... 16 Feb 06

Just out of curiosity… if you can email passwords, that must mean they are stored as plain text in the database… which also means between all of your web apps, you potentially have tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of username/password combinations that may work at various e-commerce or bank web sites.

What do you do to secure all of these usernames and passwords?

I understand the onus is on the customer to not use the same u/p everywhere, but realistically, it’s going to happen, wouldn’t you be better off storing encrypted passwords and then RESETTING forgotten passwords to something random that the customer can then update once they log in?

Security Scare 16 Feb 06

if you can email passwords, that must mean they are stored as plain text in the database…

[Security] I have often times wondered the same thing and have explicity told my clients to not use a common password because of this. This should be correct immediately in my opinion!

Matt 16 Feb 06

Wow, did it take a loooooooooong time for my Campfire login page to come up.

{ 37signals } I am still waiting for my password to be e-mailed to me. The clock is at about 4 hours now and I still can’t log into my Campfire account.

Ha ha ha 16 Feb 06

@RAC… lighten up fruitcake, the fact remains, you gripe about $12, you deserve to get lit up.

And no, I didn’t know anyone left in the world wasn’t a Web Designer/Developer. What do you do for a living? I bet you have a blog too, don’t you?

Boo hoo, no one comments on my blog so I’ll moderate the comments at SvN. Ha ha ha…

RS 16 Feb 06

if you can email passwords, that must mean they are stored as plain text in the database…

Actually we store them as GIFs.

Matt 16 Feb 06

Actually we store [users password] as GIFs.

{ RS } Are you serious? I can only hope you are joking … but you never know though - maybe that’s way it’s taking so long from my password e-mail to be sent to me since I have already forgotten the password I used to setup the account.

RS 16 Feb 06

Matt: If you haven’t yet, please email support at campfirenow dot com with your problem. It’s not practical for us to provide support in SvN threads.

Security... 16 Feb 06

And we all know GIFs are impenetrable.

Seriously though, I don’t know who RS is, are you a Signal? Is this a joke? I didn’t see any smileys or other such indication that this isn’t a serious reply.

Anon 16 Feb 06

Two notes: As someone noted above, the admin can be blocked out of their own room if too many guests show up. Maybe make the login limit X + 1 admin, or something like that.

Also, disruptive users. You may have intended the app to be only used intra-business, but for it to be useful as a B-to-C app, if you get my drift, you have to have the ability to boot individual guests. Currently if you’re running a nice chat with 39 random guests and one idiot logs on, you’d have to cancel the chat entirely to get rid of him. Admins need to be able to boot individual guests… Basically, you should look over IRC and take a look at everything IRC allows, think about WHY that feature exists in IRC, and see if Campfire should add it. Most of IRC’s features evolved for very specific and necessary reasons.

RS 16 Feb 06

Thanks for the feedback Anon. While booting guests would be useful in some cases, we find CF works best among people who already know each other. There should be a basis of trust.

RAC 16 Feb 06

just trying to provide some feedback to the 37 signals folks…

so much for a useful comments section

pwb 16 Feb 06

if you can email passwords, that must mean they are stored as plain text in the database

Why would that mean they are stored as plain text in the DB?

And maybe they’re just sending out a temporary password.

Sheesh.

Anonymous Coward 16 Feb 06

(37signals) Personally, what I think would be best for your company is to eliminate the 37svn blog in its entirety and replace the blog with a 37svn Campfire account.

Because essentially, it performs the same functionaly while benefitting users and getting them accustom to using Campfire and understanding the benefits.

Don Wilson 16 Feb 06

Looks like someone could use a dunce cap. :)

pwb 16 Feb 06

I think some people are objecting to the fact that subscritpion based, web applications are like a treadmill. Once you start using it, you can’t get off — or all your data is deleted.

I think this is a good point that many of these hosted/ASP apps are going to need to address, both from a data perspective as well as the payment model.

The subscription model is nice at first (low up-front cost; pay as you go, zero install, etc.), but down the road, especially if you grow, the monthly tax becomes lame.

brandon 16 Feb 06

why is the “monthly tax” lame? i don’t want to have to deal with installs, patches, upgrades, maintaining my own servers, dealing with backups, tech issues, IT, etc. i just want things to work. I love paying a few bucks a month to outsource that headache to someone else. way way way way way cheaper than doing it in house and hiring someone to help with that. small biz doesn’t have room for hiring IT people and dealing with that crap.

z 16 Feb 06

JF, how do i get in?

i needed campfire like yesterday.

let me in let me in let me in NOW! puh-leeease :))

(i dont even need 30 days to try, just sign me up now ;)

and for those of you cry babies, come ON, its a whole lot of value for $12/mo.

JF 16 Feb 06

z, get in now. Campfirenow.com.

z 16 Feb 06

thank you thank you thank you ;)

seriously, though, great stuff, and thanks for basecamp and backpack as well, i use both (now all three) and can’t imagine my business without these tools.

Security... 16 Feb 06

@pwb, if it was a temporary password, it wouldn’t be an issue. Not sure what about my comment warrants your “sheesh.” I get it, you’re emotional about the flak 37S catches, but you’re misdirecting your empathy.

I am not lambasting 37S for weak security, I merely posed a question, because it is of serious importance. If this isn’t the proper thread, so be it, but RS (who I’ve subsequently figured out is Ryan Singer of 37S) seems to be replying in real-time, and the question arose while logging into Campfire (it just happens to be applicable to all 37S apps) so this appeared to be as good a forum as any.

Additionally, if it was a temporary password, RS would have said so. Now back to the point, passwords are either stored as plain text (or as GIFs) so they can be retrieved, not reset. In my estimation, web apps are split on how to handle this (Campaign Monitor for instance also stores plain text passwords, and has actually sent them without even a request in an attempt to get people to come back to their app.) If 37S wasn’t as popular as they are, their practices would have less impact, however, I’m pretty certain they are looked to as a good example of best practices.

I would just like to know how my username/password is protected since I am a paying customer. I’m not looking for implementation details, I’m looking for the underlying philosophy. I’m certain the engineers at 37S are up to the task of explaining this, without anyone feeling bad for them.

RS 16 Feb 06

passwords are either stored as plain text (or as GIFs)

*sigh* That was a joke :)

Anonymous Coward 16 Feb 06

They don’t store passwords at all: RS just memorises them and emails as needed.

MJR 16 Feb 06

The whole password thing should be a non-issue. They should be stored as an encrypted string. To send it to the user via email, you retrieve it, decrypt it, bundle up the message and send it. Seeing a password arrive in an email is NO indication that it’s being stored as “plain text,” which is likely why the question was mocked. When you log in, the text you entered is encrypted and compared to the db value. I’ve no idea where this plaintext talk has come from, and frankly, I’d be surprised if apps with so much proprietary data weren’t encrypted the value stored in the db.

Maybe your users are just looking for a little assurance on this?

z 16 Feb 06

i’m getting a message

Hello guest
Guests aren’t currently being allowed in this room. If you believe this is incorrect please contact the person who invited you into the room for additional assistance.

when i go to this page https://svn.campfirenow.com/4839c

not essential, but i was curious to peek in ;)

David Demaree 16 Feb 06

1. If you own/manage your own business — especially in web development — and can’t afford $12, you probably can’t afford to spend the five minutes it took you to read the entry, form an opinion and post a comment. (Unless…that wasn’t a *kneejerk* opinion, was it? Perhaps?)

2. Unlike certain other companies (*ahem* Microsoft *ahem ahem*) 37signals isn’t trying to force you to do anything. They’re trying to help you. If you find that you often have trouble getting groups of 3-40 people who have internet access to communicate with each other, then Campfire may be for you. Simple as that. If you’re finding that IM does what you need it to do, and you’re not missing anything, then don’t pay $12 for Campfire.

3. E-mailed passwords are sent in plain text because e-mail is usually plain text. Change your password. Use a secure password. Most importantly, chill out.

4. I’d like it if admins could at least have the ability to boot or jail people, guests or not. Mostly I’m thinking about the 20-user limit on my plan, and if I needed to have that many simultaneous users a guest or member who was idle is taking up a slot.

5. Btw, GREAT WORK on Campfire, guys. Very, very pleased with it so far.

Charbel 16 Feb 06

Love campfire…

Can I make a suggestion to have an option to hide all the right hand information column so that the only thing showing is the chat conversation….and maybe an option to have the chat show up in a popup without all the browser toolbars/status bars so it looks much more like a normal IM window…

Cracker idea 16 Feb 06

Id like to invite people from the right-hand column on the fly.

Id like to open new chats without all the others being able to see the other tabs unless I want them to …

z 16 Feb 06

totally agree with your opinion, David Demaree, and here’s what i’d like to add.

not only am i buying the app as it is now, but also an expectation that it will evolve into an even better app with time. and it is this expectation that allows me to disregard some things that otherwise may be pretty compelling issues against choosing campfire today.

and for the uninitiated i’d like to reiterate, this expectation comes not from just JF’s sweet talk (which it is) but from experience of using basecamp nearly since its inception.

campfire, basecamp, backpack are all great value. thank you again and please keep up the great work!

JF 16 Feb 06

Thanks Z! We have a lot of good stuff planned for Campfire.

David Kaneda 16 Feb 06

First off, love the app (as with every other one). I won’t join the tirade against the pricing- but I do have to say, combination pricing (campfire + basecamp + backpack) would be a welcome addition, and a nice thank-you to your more steadfast supporters.

Otherwise, my only request would be a ‘This room is full’ message for guests (as opposed to the ‘Guests aren’t currently being allowed in this room.’-

Keep up the great work!

Charlie 16 Feb 06

I believe the security point had to do with ONE-way encryption. That’s the ONLY secure method. Being able decrypt a password is practically the same as having the password in plain text. Unless 37s is using oneway encryption, it’s not secure.

Don Wilson 16 Feb 06

Could we open up another chatroom that we could join so we can see it in action? The given link is still not allowing guests.

David 16 Feb 06

David,

I think the point is that for a single freelancer, say a graphic artist or editor, the cost is a consideration

$12 Basecamp
$9 Backpack
$12 Campfire
———————————
$33/month ($400/year)

And my point is that while this is a value—$33/month is a good price—it’s harder for a single-person operation to realize this value than a larger operation.

So, no, not a *kneejerk* opinion.

RS 16 Feb 06

I think the point is that for a single freelancer, say a graphic artist or editor, the cost is a consideration

CF is more for teams than individuals.

z 16 Feb 06

David,

if $400/year is too much of a burden for what is, in my opinion, essential business enabler: communication with the customer, then i think may be you need to rethink your investment priorities.

granted, there is a class of people who are just starting and yes, this may be a considerable burden for them. but if you’re any good at your business, it shouldnt be too long before you get to where $33/month is feasible (or even unnoticable).

anyhow, my vote is to give a troll cap to price whiners ;)

Matt/SLAPSHOTW 16 Feb 06

RS,

Can you either open up another campfire chat, or kick out some of those people? Some of us want in!

-Matt

gwg 16 Feb 06

Booting

I’m less concerned about rowdy patrons as I am lingering patrons who do not exit the room when they are done. I expect this to be a relatively common occurance with the prevalence of tabbed browsing. I’d sure like to get rid of folks who simply forgot to leave.

Dan 16 Feb 06

I’m not being let in (guests are not allowed?). Looks like there are plenty of guests in there. Ah well.

Peter Jennings 16 Feb 06

This is a great service, with great potential.

That said, I can’t really use it myself until permissions are set-up. I have a number of clients, for whom I’ll set-up individual client only rooms. Obviously I don’t want them to see into other rooms, and guest access isn’t practical. I hope that setting this up is given priority - I don’t want to wait until the end of the year. :)

Two lessers requests:

1. Is it possible (or will it be posssible) to hide entries like ‘X entered room’ after a certain period of time? I’d see more information per page without these (less data for you to store as well!).
2. I’d like to be able to ‘flag’ some posts for other people to reply to. For example, someone I want to message may be out of the room, and I want them to know when they next log-in that there is a message for them to reply to. I can understand why this wouldn’t be in the 1st release, but hopefully somewhere down the line …

Looking forward to sewing how this (and your other products) develop. Well done!

RAC 16 Feb 06

Calling us “price-whiners” misses the whole point. 37 signals may not realize that there is a group of people out there who may only need to use Campfire once a week for client meetings, who don’t have a “team” that needs to collaborate everyday, and for whom Campfire is still a potentially valuable and important tool.

I’m not whining about the price; I’m trying to explain a situation wherein the value is relative.

Use everyday=much value
Use once/week=less value…not less useful or less cool, just not as much of a value.

Another Mark 16 Feb 06

First, I want to say, it’s obvious a lot of hard work, time and effort went into building Campfire. Sure there are some bugs to take care of and features to roll out, but it’s still QUITE an admirable feat. Kudos.

That said, I’m not looking to turn the comments into a “best programming practices” or anything, but the passwords thread has got me a little spooked.

It’s my understanding (and practice) that account passwords should NEVER be sent through the email — encrypted or not. Email is inherently NOT secure, and thus, you end up negating all of the security checks built into sign-up & log in.

While it’s convenient to have your password auto-emailed to you, this becomes a MAJOR security hole, especially when credit card or other sensitive personal information is being stored in an account accessible with that password.

Sending an email takes you & your security precautions out of the equation — you no longer have control of who sees the data. Keep security on your side by keeping it on your servers.

It would be like receiving a postcard in the mail from your bank with your ATM code printed on it. Sure, it’s possible no one looked, but it touched a lot of hands before it got to you – would you feel safe?

Like MJR & Charlie said earlier, encrypt the password and store it when the user signs up; when the user logs in, encrypt the provided password and compare it to the encrypted password stored in the database.

If a user forgets their password, they’ll need to reset it.

Simple & secure. Kudos, again.

Neil J. Squillante 16 Feb 06

Congratulations! We’re heavy BaseCamp users and like having everything related to a project in one place so we’ll wait until Campfire comes to BaseCamp.

Just to be clear — unlike some others who posted comments, for us it’s not the money, it’s the integration.

PS: Please add an expense tracker to BaseCamp — just a simple one like the time tracking tool.

Anonymous Coward 16 Feb 06

Basecamp plus and premium now have a time-tracker

SLAPSHOTW/Matt 16 Feb 06

I think Neil is saying that they want expense tracking that’s as simple as the already-present time tracking.

-Matt

JM 16 Feb 06

This also means we’re one step closer to Sunrise and Backpack API.

Which is next?

RS 16 Feb 06

JM: Backpack API already exists. Maybe you mean Basecamp. We’re working on that.

JM 16 Feb 06

I did mean basecamp, thanks RS.

Boris 16 Feb 06

I use Mac, Ubuntu and PC in the office.
My team uses Mac and PC.

- We use Yahoo, iChat, AIM and MSN.
- File transmission is no problem.
- Trillian lets us use even Rendevous.
- We can do audio and video.
- All our transscripts are saved (and searchable).

No problem for me, no need.

I would have loved a CRM app…..

Best,
Boris

Eric 16 Feb 06

Compfire to chat rooms are Gmail to emails?

PCB 16 Feb 06

Campfire (and all other 37S apps) are designed for a specific audience. They do very well for that audience. They are definitely not for everyone. That is why there are so many applications being developed every day. That is why these were developed in the first place.

All 37S apps are not perfect for my needs, and most likely never will be. There are obviously a lot of very smart people commenting, and I suppose there are others that see these complaints, compliments, suggestions, and comments as an opportunity to develop other kick ass apps that fit a different audience, than just general rantings and ravings.

Everyone needs to lighten up a bit and keep this constructive.

Security... 16 Feb 06

Charlie, thanks for clarifying while I was commuting.

Another Mark, thanks for providing the explicit details to the peanut gallery that thinks “decrypting” a password is a realistic solution.

MJR, decrypt the password… that’s funny.

RS, sorry I’m boring you, *sigh* maybe if you had addressed the question, I wouldn’t have had to wonder if you were actually storing the password as a GIF. If you find the discussion boring, maybe you should refrain from commenting at all.

It’s all about transparency right? Why not have the conversation here and contribute with some meaningful thoughts, as opposed to all of us discussing it in some other forum where you are less likely to be given the benefit of the doubt?

Having said all that, the best way to protect yourself if you’re using an app that can “send you your password” is to have an alternate password (or passwords) for sites with questionable security policies.

It doesn’t mean the discussion isn’t worth having, especially when so many of your users are probably ignorant of the risks.

If anyone here has a unique password for every site they visit, I’d honestly like to know how you manage them. In the end, almost every solution ultimately boils down to needing one password to crack the whole lot (or a good portion of ‘em.) If it doesn’t, it is usually too technically challenging, or just too much of a pain in the arse to deal with all day every day.

I am sincerely open to any suggestions.

Don Wilson 16 Feb 06

I hate that for every release that 37s has gone through, the comments in SvN automatically follow this trail:

Applaud => “Who would use this” => JF: “We design for a specific audience, and it works” > Applaud

It usually takes about 12 hours to resolve itself full circle.

Neil J. Squillante 16 Feb 06

Upon further reflection, I think 37 Signals made the right move in offering Campfire as a standalone service. Our Basecamp projects typically involve a maximum of 5 people, often in different time zones. I’m not sure if we’d use Campfire within Basecamp — messages seem to work fine for a small number of people. (We could use an expense tracker though as I noted before! And email alerts for writeboard edits and comments!)

I now view Campfire as a possible tool for online events such as an awards ceremony or a Q&A with a featured expert. The permanent URL just screams out for this type of usage. I think 37 Signals should consider even more expensive plans capable of accommodating thousands of users, perhaps with moderation tools.

In any event, keep up the good work. You guys are the Apple Computer of Web 2.0 applications.

z 16 Feb 06

spot on, Eric!

JF 16 Feb 06

Neil, we do have plans to offer special “Event Packages” for larger scale temporary usage such as a conference, workshop, or event with hundreds of people. We’re still thinking about it right now but we do plan on offering that sort of option in the future.

Geoff 16 Feb 06

{ All / 37signals } This will be the only comment that I make about the pricing of Campfire.

Why does 37signals keep insisting that the reason why they are pricing Campfire at $12/mo+ is because their internal costs (bandwidth, disk space etc) require it to be at thoses levels.

Any economics 101 class will teach a person that price is not determined by the companys internal costs but determined by what the market (customers) are willing to pay for that product/service.

If that means that a company, in this case 37signals, is not able to produce the product at the price the market is requiring and still make a profit, it means then that the company should stop selling the product.

It appears from this blog that the market is saying that the price is too high. Some even are telling 37signals that they need to 1/2 half the pricing.

37signals, keep this in mind for current and future products. I wish you all the best.

JF 16 Feb 06

It appears from this blog that the market is saying that the price is too high. Some even are telling 37signals that they need to 1/2 half the pricing.

A few posts on SvN does not make a market. In fact, based on today’s signups and upgrade conversions I think we’ve done a great job pricing this product. Time will tell of course, but so far so great.

darius 17 Feb 06

Is it just me, or is the privacy policy *behind* the login?

Tried to lookup ‘terms of service’ before signing up, and it redirected to a login screen…

Don Wilson 17 Feb 06

darius: Have you changed the very bottom of the frontpage? Both the privacy policy and ToS are freely accessible.

Mathew Patterson 17 Feb 06

It appears from this blog that the market is saying that the price is too high. Some even are telling 37signals that they need to 1/2 half the pricing.

No matter what price you set, some portion of the market won’t be willing to pay it. It doesn’t matter, as long as enough people are willing.

Spencer Fry 17 Feb 06

It looks and feels great. :)

Doug S. 17 Feb 06

So I went to the signup page with JavaScript turned off. I saw the nice little check box enabling the submit button with it turned on and I wanted to see what happend.

I assumed you guys would have done some nice defensive design and still allowed users to sing up or at least give them a message that indicated they need JS on. But no!

What gives?

Benjamin R 17 Feb 06

I LOVE your products, I confirm with the thousands of the other users out there, and my company has three basecamp packages.

Two Negatives:

1- Open Source junkies/ unix admins have problems with the fact that it is not really an “open” application. I mean, you cannot even export your data.
2- Campfire- IMHO an over-priced bad idea. Let me explain myself. I think as a stand alone priced product, it is over priced and though there may be corporate companies who have over-sized IT budgets, I wouldnt call in a DEAL or a MUST have piece of software. Now- if you integrated it into basecamp, offered it for 5 bucks more a month, 10 users- I could see my company paying that.
3- But, It may be a hard sell for a non profit company with a tight budget as ourselves. By the way, I think your software is a great value, but as a non profit, we are used to that “discount” if one company does not give it to us, we are likely to pass it up, no matter how good the value. (just they way these guys work)

JF 17 Feb 06

Doug S, what gives is that we’re not perfect. We make mistakes like everyone else and can’t nail 100% of the things 100% of the time.

Lisa 17 Feb 06

JF—

Is there any plan to display the number of people in the chat?


Curious

Lisa

Willy Wonka 17 Feb 06

If people don’t like 37 CF product - don’t use it. If you think it’s too expensive - don’t use it.

The fact remains that JF & Gang designed a *AWESOME* tool that most services till this day have ignored.

+ IM is based on your machine - which is a pain, since if you go from home to work or vice versa. SO - they took the experience out of the machine and onto the web.

+ Attachments are stored onto the side & have a preview. 2 things that are lost in normal IM programs

+ Allowing for multiple people users is a plus, most programs don’t affectively allow that.

+ You can allow guest or keep them out, most IMs are a pain to keep people out (Yahoo IM anyone).

+ Minimum system requirements


37 brought an awesome product. If you can see that go bark somewhere else.

Anyone who doesn’t like CF - don’t use it & SHUT UP.

Willie Abrams 17 Feb 06

Ok, we bought it, have been using it, love it. Something that would help us is a way to tell people in batch or individually to get in specific room. In some cases, it could be a link to open iChat up to write a quick note, in other cases it could be an email. Just a little thing we noticed.

Elliott 17 Feb 06

Very eloquent Willy Wonka.

:)

“Anyone who doesn’t like CF - don’t use it & SHUT UP”

Rick Garcia 17 Feb 06

They’ve created they’re own hype, products, & philosophies. And at times Jason will “nearly dislocate his shoulder patting himself on they back”, but that doesn’t take away from the top-notch work they all do. (we still love you JF)! :)

If you ask me - most people are jealous of 37’s products, philiosphies, hype, & success. Why do you have act like 2 years olds and nit pick at every little detail.

Perhaps you ego feels good that you’ve put down 37, and the problem you realize is that you don’t have a product, or anythting measurable, and not a single person cares what you have to say.

CF rocks! Thats a reflection of designers & team.

JF 17 Feb 06

Thanks Rick! I’d shake your hand but my shoulder is dislocated.

Benjamin R 17 Feb 06

PS-

JF- I agree, your freakin cool. Just the fact you read our comments and reply- to know that you read my comments- I feel “special” - your a freakin rock star. http://vertomedia.com/jf_rockstar.jpg

(I thought I would add to the 37s love fest)

JSimmons 17 Feb 06

Does this work as a one-time-only monthly fee? I don’t have the need to have a payment plan for monthly service but what I would like to do is when I have to have a meeting, go to Campfire and give my 12 bucks for that one time and when that month was over forget about it instead of worrying about canceling, then in a few months if I have another client meeting, go back and pay again. Does it work like this?

Thanks!
(I used the test version of this and loved it. I’m itching for an opportunity to use it again.)

Ahmad 19 Feb 06

I’ve just tried it and it’s awsome. I’m definitly going to use it.

I have one feature request: a favicon that changes when there is activity in the chat room. This way I can notice activity in the just by looking at the rooms tab in Firefox.

I noticed that the title is currently serving that purpose, but something like a start that turns yellow is easier to check on and notice.

I was working on something similar and I have a proof-of-concept of how to technically implement this here:

http://www.ahmadh.com/static/chfav.html

When the page loads, the favicon will be Google’s. When you click the botton it will change to Yahoo’s.

Michael March 21 Feb 06

Hi.
I’ve been using campfire for a few days. It still has many small bugs. I have integrity problems with rooms, transcripts and files. Generally speaking I often see something existing at one place and not seeing it somewhere else where I definitely should.
1. Deleting files is buggy. After deleting a block of transcripts and files the list of 3 last files haven’t been cleared. Goto point 3.
2. Creating new rooms from settings panel is buggy. Some Ajax issue I think.
3. Free space size is not properly upadted I guess.
4. After I deleted or renamed room “Room 1”, I can still see the welcome message saying that I have “Room 1” created and that I should try it first.
5. When I deleted all transcripts, I could see the welcome message saying that I haven’t been chatting yet.

Thats what I remeber for the moment.

I feel excited in overall tho. Great job, I love it and want to make it popular!. I already poisoned a couple of friends, they like it too.
I wish I had some money for testing for you ;-)

Greetings from Another World,
Michael.

Paul 21 Feb 06

I’m rather surprised at how many childish people are there posting here…some of you guys have got to be 13.

I’m British, $12 for me is £7. £7 a month is nothing, and for a reliable, easy-to-use, cross platform service is extremely cheap.

If you don’t want to pay the $12, you don’t need this service.

I run a fan club, we’re using Campfire for online meetings, and we find it very productive. The stores history, that everyone can access, is very handy.

After each chat, we sum up an action plan, and upload it in plain text for everyone to download. The uploads is a very handy (and smart) feature. The photo display and resizing, the PDF preview, it’s all amazing.

Well worth it, if you really need it.

Ales 22 Feb 06

Campfire should be free to basecamp paying customers!

It just makes sense.

Anonymous Coward 22 Feb 06

Free free free! Everything should be free! Pay 37signals $12/month and get everything they ever do in the future for free!

Sebhelyesfarku 27 Feb 06

Another overhyped stinker from 37signals.

celeste 03 Jun 06

I want how to say “carrito” in english. It`s a link to buy things I´m working in a studio for voice overs. We offer our services through internet so …

d.jtony in uganda eastafrica 03 Jul 06

hello friends i wish to promote this project in uganda please write to me or u can call my mobile number +25671 40 22 59 during p.m time ,,anthonyyawe

Lewis Chuba 15 Sep 06

Does anybody know of any good business chat sites. Please contact me at allstarcountertops@hotmail.com
Thanks, Lew

Lewis Chuba 15 Sep 06

Does anybody know of any good business chat sites. Please contact me at allstarcountertops@hotmail.com
Thanks, Lew

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