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New version out: Weekly availability, new navigation, better notes

We have just released another version of Desk-Net (version #70, actually…) and this is what’s new:

  • New navigation: The navigation has been adjusted just a little, but clearly noticable: The Inbox is now located under Management. The pages Calendar and Story Lists have switched places.2014-12-16_153211
  • Weekly availability: Many of our users are working part-time. Our new version makes it possible to select your regular working days on the Settings page.
    Your recurring attendances and absences are automatically displayed in the usual places like the Dashboard page.

Major changes to the Notes feature:

  • Notes per issue: In the past it has only been possible to assign notes to a date, but now you can assign notes to an issue. Such a note is displayed on the Dashboard page and on the Short-term Planning.

    2014-12-16_154221
  • Attachments for notes: It is now possible to attach one or more files to a note.
  • Notes for multiple groups: Notes with a date can now be assigned to multiple groups – not just one.
    This works even across multiple Desk-Net accounts if you are a user with access to more than one account.

Besides those major changes we have implemented multiple minor improvements:

  • Publication platforms without categories: From now on you can assign a story directly to a platform without having to pick a category. This makes it possible to set up simple platforms like “Newsletter” or “Facebook”.
  • Deletion confirmation: By popular demand we have (again) implemented a deletion conformation layer when you delete a story. This will prevent the accidental deletion of an entry.
  • Content tab – saving in draft status: We cleaned up the content tab to make space for new features.
    The saving of content in draft status is centralized. Instead of being on the right the new feature is placed above the save button.
  • Improved Availability page: The Availability page has a legend now to explain the colour codes. You can also find the absence notes in the contextual layers.
  • Timeline – new column: We have added a separate column on the Timeline page. It tells if an entry is a story, an appointment, a deadline etc. to make
    the page far more readable.timeline engl
  • IP access restriction – add an exception: You can restrict the access to Desk-Net so that access is only granted from within your corporate network.
    Now it is possible to add an exception to this rule for individual users (this setting can be set in the user profile).
  • Bigger file attachments: You can now upload files of up to 90MB (previously 70MB). We are planning to increase this limit further.

We hope these changes make working with Desk-Net easier for you and welcome your feedback at
support@desk-net.com

The Desk-Net team

New version out: Design refresh, iPad optimisations and more

We have just released another version of Desk-Net (version #68, actually…) and this is what’s new:

  • Design refresh: We have continuously updated many design elements of Desk-Net over the years.Now it is time for a modern design of the header and navigation area as well as some other elements such as the buttons.New vs. old header designAs you can see from the before/after picture we have managed to decrease the header’s height.You will also notice that the new designs succeeds in better guiding the users to the important header elements.
  • Touch optimisations: As part of the design refresh we have also added some optimisations for users of touch devices such as an iPad.Menu items and other touch elements are now further apart reducing the risk of accidental deletions or other incorrect actions.
  • Reporting: Users working in departments of communications or PR agencies have asked us many times for a reporting feature. Read more…

Get to know the new Availability page

We have just delivered a new page that will massively help you in coordinating your newsroom’s staff: The new Availability Page

dn Availability page - for newsrooms 2014-07-31

Why this new page? You want to know who is available right now? Or tomorrow? You need to see who is busy or who is assigned to a shift?

The new availability page quickly provides you with this information.

These are its main features:

  • Display the availability of a user: A colored rectangle displays the rough availability per day and user.
    Grey signals non-availabilty such as a holiday for instance, whereas green indicates a user’s general availability.
    The list of users is automatically sorted by availability upon opening. A click on another date sorts the list by availability on that day.
  • Detailed list of tasks: A click on one of the colored boxes opens a layer depicting the user’s tasks on that day. Read more…

Manage topics in Desk-Net – new feature

We have released two major new features. Both are based on lots of user feedback.

This is what’s new:

  • Topics: So far you had been able to group multiple stories or events by using hashtags such as #wc2014 for the World Cup 2014. We call such story groups Topics.Many of our clients have asked for a possibility to manage such topics and to have more features for managing entries related to that topic.

    Enter the new Topics page.

    Here you can define a Topic and review the list of your topics. In addition to that you can enter new stories and events related to the topic as well as view those entries.

    Learn more about Topics in our support portal.

  • Timeline: This new page below Management enables you to list multiple entries in a strictly chronological way.The two main purposes are to view all or select entries around a topic (e.g. “Show me all stories related to the World Cup 2014″) or to view all entries related to an issue (e.g. “Show me all deadlines related to the Summer issue of our monthly magazine”).

Both new pages are considered “version 1 pages”. They will be expanded and optimized heavily based on your feedback.

Please send us your comments and suggestions to support@desk-net.com

The Desk-Net team

New features in Desk-Net: Custom formats, story list email and more

We have just released a new version of Desk-Net and we would like to tell you about all the cool new features and improvements we have implemented for you.

Our efforts have focussed on Custom Formats – a feature that many of you have been asking for.

dn Neue Icons 2014-03-14

Read more…

New version: Improved editorial shift management, better performance and more

We have just released a new version of Desk-Net. And this is what has changed:

Improved Editorial Shift Management

After the release of the Shift Management feature in May we were pleasantly surprised by how quickly many of you started using it. We have listened closely to your feedback.

And we are now rolling out the main improvements you have been asking for:

  • Shift notes: You can now add a note to a shift on a specific day.
    These notes will be displayed in all places where the shift is displayed, even on the My Schedule page. They are also exported into a user’s Outlook, Google Calendar or smartphone calendar via the export feature.
  • Minimum staffing: You can define a minimum staffing level for each shift and every day (e.g. “min 2 users on Mondays and min 1 on the other days”). Shifts on days with staffing below the specified minimum level are displayed in orange or with an orange line (depending on the page you are on; see picture).
    Administrators need to access the Shift Management page, open a shift for editing and then set the minimum staffing level in the “Occurrence” line.
  • Monthly view: The Shifts page displays an entire month, no longer just up to ten days.
  • Print-out: You can now print out the monthly shift view using a special print-out version of the Shifts page. Shift notes are also displayed on the print-out.
    Click on the Printer icon in the upper right-hand corner if you want to use this special print-out feature.

    dn Editorial shift management with Desk-Net - screenshot 2014-01-24

Other Improvements

In addition to the changes to the Shift feature we are deploying the following improvements:

  • Display of empty categories: On the Dashboard all selected categories used to be displayed, even if they were empty. On all other pages empty categories were hidden. We have now harmonized this behavior. Empty categories are never displayed.
    If you do want to see empty ones please go to the Settings page and select the option to see empty categories.
  • Time separators: Certain event lists / calendars are separated by lines for the hour. These will be removed on the Dashboard and on the Long-Term Calendar in order to make them more user-friendly.
  • Performance of Alerts page: The Alerts page had gotten quite slow in recent months due to the growth of Desk-Net. We have improved the way the page loads and it should load much quicker once the new version is rolled out.
  • Types: Up until now types had to have a minimum length of two characters. We have now reduced this down to one character.
  • Compatibility issues with Chrome plugins: Some plugins like the Evernote Webclipper plugin were causing compatibility issues with Desk-Net (Desk-Net’s layout was broken when the plugin was installed).
    We have fixed this now making sure you can install and use your favorite plugins and Desk-Net.

We hope these changes will make working with Desk-Net easier for you and welcome your feedback at support@desk-net.com

The Desk-Net team

We had a great year 2013 – here are some interesting stats.

We had a very successful year 2013 and are off to a great start into 2014. Time to share some of the interesting tidbits of 2013 with you.

Desk-Net grew strongly in 2013

43.99%

That’s how much we grew the number of visits to Desk-Net compared to 2012. Put some strain on our servers, and we have responded and will continue to upgrade our cloud architecture.

Desk-Net now imports event feeds from Finnish news agency STT Lehtikuva

Entering an event or a story into Desk-Net manually is easy. But not having to enter any data at all is even easier.

That’s why we are proud to announce that Desk-Net can now import event feeds from the Finnish news agency STT-Lehtikuva.

As soon as an event is published by STT it appears in Desk-Net.

In Desk-Net users can review the STT event lists for national news, sports etc. and easily insert the event into their editorial calendar and story planning.

Here is an excerpt of such an event list:

EventML G2 files of STT Lehtikuva in Desk-Net

STT delivers more than just the basic information such as date, time and description. Using the new feed standard EventsML G2 allows STT to also deliver additional information such as

  • notes,
  • contact and
  • registration information as well as
  • the location.

Here is an example:

Example of an STT event file in Desk-Net

Reporters and photographers assigned to cover the event receive all this information and have it in their smartphone calendar when outside the newsroom. Emails inform them about updates.

This feed import feature improves the editorial quality by providing an excellent overview of upcoming events and streamlines editorial processes by avoiding unnecessary copy & paste procedures. The feature is currently used by Helsingin Sanomat, Finland’s largest newspaper.

Desk-Net also imports the events feeds of the German news agency dpa as well as those of multiple event database vendors. Contact us at info [at] desk-net.com if you want to learn more about this feature.

Learn more about Desk-Net on our website.

New status “Published” and more fresh improvements

We have released a new version of Desk-Net and would like to inform you of all the improvements:

  • Status “Published”: We are adding this new status next to the three existing statusses “Proposal”, “Accepted” and “Top story”.
    dn Screenshot Status Published 2011-13-25 v01
    Obviously this will allow you to mark a story as published. However, we would like to point out that you can use this feature to filter published stories from story lists. This has been heavily demanded by many online newsrooms that want to control during the day what stories still have not been published. Simply click at the top on the small link “More filters”, de-select the new status “Published” and save your selection.
  • Editable Content tab: More and more of our customers are using the Content tab on the detailed entry mask to receive content from freelancers. So far the content has not been editable in Desk-Net once it was saved. This will change now.
    dn Screenshot Content tab on DE 2013-11-28
  • STT feeds: Our Finnish users will be able to access up-to-date event data from the Finnish news agency STT in the NewsML G2 format. These data feeds contain not just the main event data such as a description and the date and time, but also additional information such as contact persons with phone number and email address, the location, registration info and more. These feeds will be displayed on the page Event Feeds.
  • Attachment download behavior for iOS7: For some users of Apple products with iOS7 it was uncomfortable to open attachments. They had to be downloaded first. We are now changing this opening and download behavior so that most files and links should open immediately.

For administrators we offer two additional improvements:

  • User deletion: The new version will allow admins to completely delete a user profile. Simply open the user’s profile from the user list page and find the “Delete user” link at the top of the user profile layer.
  • Improved Groups page: We have greatly simplified the Groups page and made it more user-friendly. It is no longer necessary to provide a name for an entire group structure when you simply want to enter a group.

We hope these changes will make working with Desk-Net easier for you and welcome your feedback at support@desk-net.com

The Desk-Net team

October release: Design and usability changes

Just a few weeks after the September version we have now released some more improvements.

This time we focussed mainly, but not exclusively on design and usability improvements:

  • Shifts and absences in calendar feed: Most of you know that you can subscribe to your personal Desk-Net appointments. This way they automatically appear in your electronic calendar (Outlook, iPhone, Android phone, etc.; learn more).
    With the new version this feed will also contain a user’s shift assignment and absences. Once you assign a user to a shift he will automatically see the shift in his (mobile) calendar.
    He will also see who else is assigned to the shift and the assignees of other shifts on that day. Next to the other assignee’s name he will also see their phone number (if they have entered it on their Settings page).
  • Email notifications, entry mask and login page: We are cleaning up the content and design of all these elements in an effort to make using Desk-Net easier for you.
  • Notes section on My Plan page: We are removing the Notes section from the My Plan page.

Excerpt of the redesigned entry mask for stories

We hope you like these changes. Feel free to send us your feedback at support@desk-net.com.

The Desk-Net team

September version has been released

We have released a new version of Desk-Net and hope the following changes will improve your Desk-Net experience:

  • New story list sorting orders: Currently all story lists are primarily sorted by publication platforms and categories.
    We now offer two new sorting options: a) by publication time and b) by group.
    New story list sorting options in Desk-Net
    While these may seem trivial at first glance especially the sorting by publication time can have a profound impact on how valuable Desk-Net is to you.
    Many newsrooms need to know exactly when a story goes online and they need to see the flow of stories on their website across the day. The new sorting by publication time allows just that.
  • Absences on My Schedule: A user’s absences will now also be displayed in the left appointment column on the My Schedule page.
  • Adding a user has become easier (for admins only): We have simplified the layer that allows admins to create new user profiles and to edit them.
  • New minimum length for passwords: We have increased the minimum number of characters for a new password to nine.

New: Contact details, navigation changes, new wording and more

We have just released a new version of Desk-Net. And these are the new features and changes:

New working shifts feature now available in Desk-Net

We are excited to announce a major new feature in Desk-Net: Working Shifts

The feature will allow you to create shifts (e.g. “Early morning shift”), assign users to them and view them on various pages next to your calendar or story planning lists.

This makes it even easier to assign the right reporters, photographers and others.

dn Shift overview 2013-05-16

These are the main characteristics of this new feature:

  • Create shifts: Admins can create any number of shifts. Example: Early Morning Shift, Mondays through Fridays, 06:00 – 14:00 EST.
  • Assign users: Assign any number of users to a shift for one or several days.
  • Shift display: Internal and external users can review their personal shift assignments on the My Schedule page. Shifts are also listed and displayed on the Dashboard, the Short-term Calendar and (depending on a setting) on the Short-term Planning page as well as on a new and separate Shifts page (under navigation element Management).

You can find all details on our support portal (click here for the German version) .

We hope these changes will make working with Desk-Net easier for you and welcome your feedback at support@desk-net.com.

The Desk-Net team

New Desk-Net version: Standing features, time zones and more

[scroll down for German version]

We have deployed the latest version of Desk-Net and these are the main changes:

  • Standing features (recurring stories): Certain types of stories are published on a regular basis (e.g. “Interview of the week” each Saturday or a sports column every Monday). Desk-Net will allow you to enter such standing features or series via its new Standing Feature functionality. Simply click on the publication date in the entry mask and select Standing Feature. This way you can enter reminders for such recurring stories, enter an entire editorial concept into Desk-Net or just save time entering many redundant stories.
    New publication date layer featuring the Standing Feature option
    Read more…

New Uptime Page Now Live

Having an enterprise system up and running as continuously as possible should be a prime concern of any system vendor and IT department.

We at Desk-Net believe we have a pretty good – though certainly not perfect – track record when it comes to uptime and downtime, respectively.

We have been very open about tweeting about uptime issues. And we  have published our downtimes on a yearly basis.

Now we are going on step further: You can now check Desk-Net’s uptime at any time via our new Uptime Page.

Desk-Net Uptime Page

The data is provided by Pingdom that tracks Desk-Net’s availability in Europe and North America from various locations.

Read more…

January version has been deployed // Die Januar-Version ist live

[scroll down for German version]

We have released a new version of Desk-Net – and these are the improvements we have implemented:

  • Editorial system integration: We are making another step towards integrating Desk-Net with editorial systems. With this new version Desk-Net can export content that has been entered into Desk-Net on the Content tab feature via ftp. We are using the new NewsML G2 standard for that. Please do contact us at support@desk-net.com should you be interested in this.
  • Assignment confirmation page removed: So far users could confirm and reject their stories on the specific Assignment Confirmation page. This page has been removed. Users can now instead confirm their tasks right on the My Schedule page in the My Tasks box on the right. Read more…

The November version is out // November-Version ist live – neue Funktionen

[scroll down for German version]

We have released the November version of Desk-Net last night and these are the major changes:

  • Copying: You will be able to copy stories and appointments. Simply hover your mouse over the story and in the contextual layer that opens you will see the Copy command on the left.
  • Link display: Links to websites and other URLs will be displayed in a linked way so that you can click on them. Long URLs will be shortened so that they do not have too much of a negative impact on the story list layout.
  • Layout and design clean-up: The story and appointment lists as well as the detailed entry mask will feature a less cluttered design. This also applies to the print-outs. No major changes, but a lot of small changes intended to make the pages better readable.
  • Admin area: No more names and codes: In the admin area you had to enter both a name as well as a short code for pages, publication channels etc. This redundancy will be removed completely.
  • Bug fixes: So far long words could lead to differently spaced columns on the short-term pages. From now on all columns will have the same width independent of the lengths of words in the stories. In addition to that we will fix a bug in the new Content Entry feature. When a user enters a caption for an uploaded jpg this caption will be inserted into the correct field in the picture’s IPTC header. We have also implemented a work-around for a bug caused by the new iOS6 update for users of the Safari browser on iPhones and iPads.

We hope these change prove useful to you. Feel free to contact us at support@desk-net.com in case you have questions or comments.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***

Wie üblich möchten wir Sie über einige Neuerungen in Desk-Net informieren, die wir am gestrigen Abend eingespielt haben:

  • Themen und Termine kopieren: Mit der neuen Kopier-Funktion können Sie leichter Serien und ähnliches anlegen. Verharren Sie dazu einfach mit der Maus über dem Thema. In dem sich dann öffnenden und Ihnen bereits bekannten Layer finden Sie dann links den Befehl “Kopieren”.
  • Link-Darstellung: Bislang wurden Links zu Websites u.ä nicht verlinkt dargestellt. Ab sofort sind diese verlinkt. Lange Internet-Adressen werden gekürzt dargestellt, um das Layout der Themenübersichten nicht zu sehr zu zerschießen.
  • Bessere Übersichtlichkeit: Wir haben das Layout bzw. Design der Themen- und Terminübersichten wie auch das der Detaileingabemaske angefasst. Ziel war es, die Listen noch übersichtlicher zu machen. So haben wir unnötige Designelemente entfernt und die Gliederung der Seite verbessert. Auf der Detaileingabemaske sind die Beschriftungen jetzt in Grau, während die eigentlich Einträge weiterhin in Schwarz erscheinen.

Die beiden nächstgenannten Punkte sind auch Ergebnisse dieses Aufräumens im Layout:

  • Einfachere Auswahl von Aufgaben und Kanälen: Auf der Detaileingabemaske werden ab sofort alle Aufgaben (Text, Bild, Video, etc.) in einem Balken dargestellt. Auch die Publikationskanäle erscheinen in einer Leiste. Hierdurch können Sie noch schneller Aufgaben und Publikationskanäle hinzufügen, da Sie nicht mehr erst das jeweilige Menü öffnen müssen.
  • Icons für Schnelleingabe-Icons: Bislang konnten Sie auf den Themenübersichten die grauen Icons für die Schnelleingabefunktion sehen. Diese beeinträchtigten jedoch auch die Übersichtlichkeit der Themenlisten. Von daher haben wir diese Icons durch Links ersetzt, die dann erscheinen, wenn Sie mit der Maus in der Nähe einer Seitenangabe verweilen. Durch Klick auf den Link öffnet sich dann das Schnelleingabe-Fenster. Ab sofort erfolgt zudem die Auswahl des Statusses innerhalb des Schnelleingabefensters und nicht mehr über das graue Icon.
  • Aufräumen im Admin-Bereich: Für fast alle Angabe wie z.B. die Seiten, Ressortangaben etc. gibt es in Desk-Net einen Namen und ein Kürzel. Beispiel: Für eine Sportseite können Sie als Namen “Sport” und als Kürzel “SPO” angeben. Diese Doppelungen entfallen ersatzlos. Für Publikationskanäle, Ressorts und die Firma entfällt jeweils das Kürzel, bei Seiten entfällt der Name. Diese Änderungen sind Bestandteil eines größeren Unterfangens unsererseits, Schritt für Schritt den Admin-Bereich noch intuitiver und nutzerfreundlicher zu gestalten.

Fehlerbehebungen:

  • In der vor Kurzem neu eingeführten Funktion zum Hochladen von Inhalten wurde die Bildunterschrift bei jpg-Dateien in das falsche Feld im IPTC-Header eingetragen. Dieses wird nun behoben.
  • Lange Wörter konnten auf den Kurzfrist-Seiten (Kalender und Themenplanung) dafür sorgen, dass die Spaltenbreiten variierten. Hier sorgen wir jetzt für einheitliche Spaltenbreiten.
  • Wir haben eine Lösung eingebaut, die es nun wieder Nutzern des Browsers Safari auf iPhone und iPad ermöglicht, Desk-Net zu nutzen.

Update (27 Nov 2012): A note to iPhone and iPad users with iOS6

Update: We have implemented a work-around solution on 26 November so that now you can use the Safari browser on iOS6 devices again.

We have received reports from our users that Desk-Net does not work properly on iPhones and iPads that have been updated to the latest version of its operating system iOS6.

Changes made in Desk-Net are not displayed correctly.

Turns out we are not alone – this is apparently a bug in the latest version of Apple’s mobile version of Safari, the pre-installed browser on iPhones and iPads (see this article on TechCrunch).

What to do?

While we are all waiting for Apple to fix this bug you may want to use other browsers such as Google’s Chrome browser. Even though Desk-Net has not been optimized for these browsers it works fine with them.

You can download Chrome or other browsers just like any other app from the App Store.

New version out: Content Entry, new formats, faster search – and more

[scroll down for German version]

After about ten weeks of hard work we are happy to release the latest version of Desk-Net. And these are the changes:

  • Content Entry feature: Many users receive their assignments v
    ia Desk-Net. The new version will allow these users to upload the content they have created (e.g. text, pictures, etc.) to Desk-Net. This way all the assignment data as well as the actual content are located conveniently in one place.
    Initially you will be able to process that uploaded content manually (e.g. by downloading the pictures). In the next few weeks we will work with one of our pilot customers on automatically transferring the content into their editorial system.
    Please contact us at support@desk-net.com should such a feature be of interest to you as well.
    Read all about this new feature in our support portal.Screenshot Content Entry feature in Desk-Net
  • Read more…

The cloud-based systems we are using

As you know Desk-Net is a cloud-computing application. We firmly believe that a major part of enterprise software will be provided in such as way.

Pingdom Screenshot

And we don’t just try to sell our own solution, we also heavily use other cloud-computing tools. Since they are of such great use to us we thought we tell you about the applications we use in our daily business:

  • Support: We use Zendesk for all our support requests. It helps us keep an overview across all support requests, it partially automates certain support replies and it provides a range of answers to typical questions in its support forum.
  • Uptime monitoring: Our server is constantly monitored from around the world by Pingdom. It sends us emails and SMS whenever Desk-Net is unexpectedly down (has not happened in a looong time) and provides us with uptime statistics (see picture above). Read more…
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