#002 - Progress Update August

August 31, 2020 • Written by David


A list of work packages we've fully wrapped up this month. Expand any to find out more about its conclusion.

Deploy the SPN in v0.1. Give access to Marvin and Visionary Kickstarter backers.

Communicate that this is only the first step and that it will take a few weeks or months until the network is stable enough to support hundreds/thousands of users.

Hatching from the Egg

Getting the SPN out was painful, but so relieving. We planned to launch in June, then July and in the end it ended up being beginning of August. Yes, this is natural as things take time, but nevertheless was it stressful. So we are very happy that we finally got it out!

Fighting in a Dragon's Den

The SPN is buggy in its current form, but this too is normal. We lived through the same when the Portmaster launched back in April. Looking back, we are amazed at how the product matured technically in the last couple of months. The same will happen with the SPN, so after a short gasp of relief, we are back rolling up our sleeves: a lot of bug fixing lies ahead of us.

Create a service that aggregates filterlists, updates this intelligence frequently and distributes it to Portmaster clients so they do not have to do this resource heavy work themselves.

Also aggregate and distribute IP address meta-data like ownership and location (GeoIP) so the SPN module can calculate optimal routes through the SPN.

After Weeks in Staging it's Now in Production

Patrick tackled most of the workload in July and in the beginning of August, enabling him to run and test the IntelHub for a few weeks in a staging environment. After inspecting the process and some fine tuning, it now is online, serving Portmasters around the world.

Properly communicate what we currently are working on so you know what to expect from us in the nearer future.

Also provide a backlog to acknowledge everything that needs to be done further down the road. Encourage participation so you can easily let us know where we might need to adapt or what we might have missed in the bigger picture.

Mid- & Long-Term Plans Are Live

Don't know about you, but we love the next page! David was a bit bummed out when communication around SPN took his focus away from the backlog. This resulted in a bit of a delay, but right after that tangent, he quickly pushed this forward. As it concluded, we are happy that everybody can have a big-picture overview of our mid- & longterm plans.

Explore the Backlog

In Progress

Expand any work package to find out more about its progress, obstacles and sub-achievements.

After v0.1, focus on stabilizing the typical issues that arise with early software. Fix bugs, improve performance & stability.

Detect failures in the network and react accordingly.

Deliver to more and more pre-orders as the network matures.

Earliest Kickstater Backers Got Access

As promised, the MARVIN and VISIONARY backers were the first to get access to our closed pre-alpha. The SPN is buggy in its current form, but this is normal. We lived through the same when the Portmaster launched back in April. We know that a lot of bug fixing lies ahead of us, but we are on it.

Routing Revamp is the First Step

Now that the machine is working in its first form, it became pretty clear what the biggest painpoint is: Routing and Connection Management. Daniel already started to inspect these modules to then greatly improve upon. We will keep you posted.

Completely overhaul the Portmaster user interface to simplify all aspects of it.

Easily block connections from the Monitor, easily block all connection of an app, etc...

As Technical Pain Decreased, UI Pain Became More Evident

We are happy how much the Portmaster could mature in the last few months. Big thanks to all testers! At the same time, it became more clear that the UI is not really ... easy to use. We decided to prioritize to change that.

Planning Done & Ground Work In Progress

After collecting suggested ideas throughout the last months Daniel had a kick-off meeting with Patrick and Luke. We will use Angular for the frontend and Patrick already dived deep into the task to prepare and complete some ground work.

Design Concepts Almost Kicking Off

Luke will soon join the party with all of his might, right after completing the redesign of account.safing.io, which is nearly wrapped up.

This will be worth the wait.

Enable you to sign in to your Safing account on the Portmaster client via the Safing API. Also respond with details regarding your SPN subscription.

Implement device management so you can sign out of devices from the Safing website.

Will Be Wrapped Up in the UI Redesign

As mentioned last month, the API is already live. The thing missing is the frontend. Since the new UI is being worked on we decided to delay this to prevent double spending our resources.

Detect and block malicious actors trying to expose vulnerabilities by scanning through all networking ports on your device. Research thoroughly to prevent false positives.

Finished and waiting for integration

The Portscan detection is finished in its first version. Before we move it to production we need to clean up the integration with all the other Portmaster modules. This is currently paused while we prioritize the new Portmaster UI and the SPN.

You can see our high level concepts & you can inspect our code. But nothing in between.

Fill that gap by providing proper documentation of the Portmaster. What does each component do? With what other components does it interact? Where is its code located?

System Overload - No Progress in August

Too much things were going on so sadly, we could not start out with this project. It still is a dear project to us, so expect some progress here soon.

Enable admins to easily accept cash payments, manage refunds or suspend rogue users.

Also provide some basic insights on signups, payments, survey results, etc...

An Invisible Ally Almost Ready to Spawn

Altough in the end you won't notice, this is an important aspect to us as a company. And there has been lots of progress on this end: We already had two rounds of reviews and being in the third round now, we are getting ever so close to deploying this onto production. It probably won't take too long.

When visiting https://account.safing.io/ to manage your Safing account, the design clearly breaks from the main website.

Unify these designs so you get a more wholesome web experience.

Completed Design and HTML Implementation

Luke has been busy completely redesigning the payment side of the website. After spending plenty of time on creating concepts he went on to implement his finished work into HTML and CSS.

Last Part: Integrate HTML into the Backend

As Luke is literally wrapping up the HTML and CSS of his designs as we speak, the only step left will be to integrate the code into our backend framework. This should not take too long, so expect this nice redesign soon!

Enable you to pay for the SPN with credit cards.

We Are Planning and Specifying

As all projects, we started out with planning and specifying the requirements. In this case a big part was choosing which payment provider should process the credit card data of our customers. We wanted to have a company residing in the European Union, enforcing them to comply to the GDPR. We picked a winner (we will keep you in the loop) and are now writing the technical specs and clarifying last questions.

Reach out to the PTIO team. Together, schedule and host an IAMA event so people can ask us anything.

We Have A Date: 18th of September

We already reached out to the PTIO and set up a date for the upcoming AMA. They are super helpful in guiding us through the preparations, giving feedback to the texts and providing us with their great wiki on how we should go about this. We are looking forward to all the incoming questions. We are looking forward to a great time with you!

As the SPN will saw the light of day, the time has come to spread the word, also by spending money.

Reach out to YouTube channels and newsletters in the privacy scene who offer sponsored shout-outs.

You are very welcome to give us suggestions in this context.

cron.weekly Newsletter

We purchased two sponsorship slots for the amazing cron.weekly newsletter, presenting the Portmaster. This resulted in a few stars over on GitHub and even made some big names stumble upon our website. We have two more slots booked - looking forward!

Sponsored YouTube Video Coming Up

Yes, we have joined the YouTube sponsorship game. Happy to learn and grow from these experiences. One video is scheduled to come out in September and we are on the lookout to sponsor more privacy related content.

Check out cron.weekly

Co-operate with the FFG to wrap up the funding of the past year. Prepare and fine tune our documents so we can promptly respond to any requests as they make spot checks.

We Are Preparing Documents and Time Sheets

Since starting the FFG funding in the summer of 2019, a lot of work went into the outlined research. Documenting our progress and time spent naturally is part of the deal. And with this funding coming to an end, Tabitha and Raphael are collecting all the related documents so we can promptly respond to any requests and questions the FFG may have in regards to the grant. Vital stuff!

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