Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

Heartbleed Bug: No Worries

Hey All,

As many are aware by now, the “Heartbleed” bug was a major issue on the internet, which allowed a malicious user to request information from a compromised secure server without password or usernames. The people at OpenSSL along with all of the major OpenSource software companies that use OpenSSL for their Secure Sockets have patched their applications and regenerated public certificates.

heartbleed

Over the past week we have been investigating our systems and have found that www.videobox.com is not affected by this issue. Our SSL (secure socket layer) is handled by a specialized piece of equipment that does not run OpenSSL but uses another form of SSL that does not have the Heartbeat functionality enabled. Our tech team is taking the steps needed to guarantee that our SSL certificates are safe by having the upstream providers of the certs issue new ones as a precautionary step. We have performed some tests and attempted to exploit our own systems using the known means for Heartbleed exploitation and were unable to gather any information from our systems.

If you’d like to understand some more about how the Heartbleed exploit works, here is a small comic that explains things pretty well: http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/heartbleed_explanation.png.

Rest assured that VB users have not been compromised by Heartbleed. You may want to change your VB password anyway, though, as an event like this is a nice reminder that keeping your passwords fresh is a good idea.

Cheers,
Bob and the VB Team

New Download Labels

Hey VideoBoxers,

I’m sure many of you noticed that we changed the labels on the download links and rearranged the order of them recently, as shown below:

dl-rename-final

Popular technology is changing rapidly, and we felt that the labels and grouping of our links were a bit behind the times. For instance, calling a smaller .MP4 file an “iPhone” file seems a bit restrictive, given that you could play that file on an Android phone, an iPad, a PS4 or a Windows Surface.

We also felt that it made more sense, especially once they were renamed, to have the MP4s and the WMVs grouped together rather than intermingled. While this may disrupt you a bit at first if you’re used to going right for the link you always hit, we’re expecting that this will make everyone’s lives easier in the long run.

So enjoy the new labels, and we hope they make things a bit clearer and a lot more current. Rest assured that we have not removed any file types, we have just renamed them and rearranged them.

Download Porn

Cheers,
Bob and the VB Team

*UPDATE* Bandwidth Switch

*UPDATE #2* – Phase 1 of our bandwidth switchover went off without a hitch. There was actually no downtime on the site associated with this work. Thanks for your patience and your membership, and we’ll keep you posted on developments for Phase 2!

*UPDATE* – The Bandwidth switchover has been rescheduled for Wednesday morning, 2/19. Unfortunately the upstream providers ran into a minor issue w/ their hardware this morning and contacted us last minute to reschedule.

We will be doing some network-related maintenance tomorrow (Tuesday) morning between 8am – 11am PST that may result in brief service disruptions. The site may seem inaccessible or downloads may fail during this time. If a service disruption occurs, we will do our best to ensure it is restored as quickly as possible.

Please bear with us as this is one step (of many planned) towards improving video streaming/downloading experience for everyone. With this change, in particular, we will be reducing the number of hops to get our content delivered for many of you.

Our customers are extremely important to us and we want to make you all happy!

Let us know if you have any questions.

Video Issues Update

As some of our members have mentioned on this blog and via email, we have recently had issues with some of our video servers. Aging hardware, heavy recent traffic and content scrapers repeatedly blasting the servers requesting videos (including what is likely a purposeful denial-of-service attack) have created a storm of activity for our Ops team to deal with. Sometimes the issues disappear completely and then return suddenly as attacks change, and we always respond as quickly as we can.

hamsterserver

Please accept our apology for any inconvenience this has caused you, and rest assured that these issues are being addressed directly and will continue to be until service is not only restored but improved. We are literally working 24/7 to make things better, but with such a huge library of content any solution takes longer than anyone would prefer.

One important note: a common suggestion we have seen members offer up in scene comments is to change the mcache URL in a download if a particular scene is not downloading. This trick has actually made things worse, and as part of our operational improvements, it will stop working at all in the near future, so please refrain from doing it. If you have trouble with a given file, please let us know via our contact form, or try downloading it again a little later. In the meantime, hopefully one of the other 94,000+ scenes on the site will also be to your liking. :-)

sparks

P.S. If you are frustrated or unhappy with any aspect of the site, send us a message using our contact form and our customer service team will do their very best to make you happy again. We believe it is our job to provide you with a satisfying service in return for your money and loyalty, and contacting us is always more effective and direct than blog or scene comments which we may not see until later.

Best Regards,
Bob and the VB Team

Stream VB on Your PS4 or XBOX!

Hey VideoBoxers,

Last week we released a minor change that enables streaming of our videos from the VideoBox player page in the browser on your brand-new PlayStation 4 or XBOX One, as well as your not-as-new XBOX 360. I figured you’d probably want to know that!

Unfortunately, the browser on the PlayStation 3 does not have adequate html5 support (at least, the test model I have doesn’t, and a quick internet search returned a bunch of complaints and laments about the poor or nonexistent html5 support on that console). Last I checked, though, downloading to the PS3 and watching the videos from its hard drive works just fine. But feel free to use VideoBox as your excuse to upgrade to the new console generation — I’m sure Santa will understand! :-)

Happy Belated Thanksgiving, and Enjoy –
Bob and the VB Staff

Roku Porn, Stick & Mobile

Hey All,

It should come as no surprise that we’re fans of the Roku box; our updated Roku channel is my personal favorite recent VideoBox enhancement. If you haven’t tried Roku porno yet, we’ll have some fun news for you in the near future that we hope will make that much easier for you. But while you wait for more details on that, there’s a Roku announcement from CNET that the VB team thought was pretty cool:

Roku’s “streaming stick” is coming out in October for $99. It packs all the punch of a Roku box into a little USB stick that plugs into TVs and is instantly out of sight, out of mind. Rest assured we’ll be playing with one in the VB office as soon as we can get our hands on it!

Roku also has a mobile app that we enjoy. It allows you to use your device as a remote (oh-so-handy when typing searches or logging in for the first time). According to the same CNET article, an update to the Roku app enables AirPlay-like streaming of music and photos from your device to your TV. Whether you’re streaming porn or looking at vacation photos with your kids (because you’ve installed our discreet app and enabled the parental access controls, right?), this sounds like another great reason to have a Roku in your house.

Read the full details here: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33199_7-57516280-221/roku-streaming-stick-coming-in-october-for-$99-while-mobile-app-adds-airplay-esque-streaming/

And, let us know what you think of the VideoBox Roku porn app, or the announcements above, down in the comments.

Happy Friday,
Bob

MP4 Clips Fixed

Just a quick note to let you all know we have discovered the source of our problem with MP4 custom clips. Content released from here forward should not be affected, and will play on the major video playback programs for both Windows and Mac. Last night we began re-encoding affected files that are currently on the site, so those fixes will hit the site as they are completed.

If you see any issues with custom clips, please use the form on our contact page and give us as much info as possible on the affected scene.

Note: full-scene downloads were not affected, and will continue to be fine, and we have no plan to remove full-scene WMVs at this time.

Once again, we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Cheers,
The VB Team

Clip Download Issues: We’re On It

Hey VideoBoxers,

As some of you have noticed, we have recently removed WMV custom-clip download options from the site. We made this decision because of the complexity involved with creating this particular file type, and the fact that WMVs are fast becoming an obsolete format that most modern devices don’t support. We view this decision as similar to the one we made to drop support for Internet Explorer 6 & 7 a while ago.

Custom clips can still be downloaded as MP4 files, and full scenes can still be downloaded as MP4 or WMV; it’s just the custom-clip WMVs that are no longer available.

Some users have reported difficulties with playback of the custom-clip MP4s in certain software programs, however. We are aware that this is an issue and are working as quickly as possible to resolve it. In the meantime, we recommend VLC player to all of you. VLC is a free software program that can play all media types and provides the user excellent control over playback. It plays our MP4 custom clips without issue.

VLC can be downloaded for free at: http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html

We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused, and will post here again when we have a solution for MP4 playback for a wider array of programs.

Sincerely,
The VideoBox Team

Big Site Update Today

Hey VideoBoxers,

As some of you may have noticed, we launched a major update to VideoBox today. Most of the changes are on the back end, but here’s a list of new things you’ll see at www.videobox.com that we think you’ll love. It’s not a complete list, mind you — you may find some other gems as you click around. There will be more to come, and we know there may be some items in need of polish; more on that after the list.

  • Category and Tag Filters: when you’re logged in, they’re on the left side of the results pages, and by popular demand, you can choose categories to exclude from your results set for DVDs and scenes!
  • Profile Pages: if you click a fellow user’s name or avatar on a comment, or in the tooltip for a clip, you’ll be taken to their profile page where you’ll see their stats and a list of all the comments they’ve made. From there you can jump to a page of all the clips they’ve created, or all the content they’ve rated, grouped into DVDs, scenes and clips.

  • Search: this now works the same as VB2, including a drop-down list to narrow your search, and it also has auto-complete for when you’re looking for something specific or which includes some portion of text that you already know.

  • Avatar Picker: yes, you can now change your avatar from the auto-assigned one you have now to one of the 5,000 options we’ve pre-loaded! The “My Profile” link on the left nav of the “My VB3″ page takes you to your own comments and stats, and it has a link at the top to “Edit Your Profile” where you can choose a new avatar image and update your stats as well.

We know that some of this will change over time as we all use the site and as we incorporate your feedback and suggestions. We’re also aware that there may be items that didn’t translate exactly from our previous tech stack to this one: some pages might be slower than they were before, or display differently than they used to. I can assure you that we’re looking for those kinds of things, and if we know of an issue, we’re working on it. Please let us know in the comments below or on the Contact Us page if you find things that aren’t working right, or that you think could be improved. We are always grateful for your input, as it helps us serve you better.

Ultimately, we hope you enjoy this update and look forward to the changes to come. It’s a great feeling to know that we can now act more quickly and easily on bugs and new features.

Enjoy,
Bob

Alpha Test: HTML5 on VB3

Hey VideoBoxers,

As you may have seen in John’s recent post, we have been playing with AirPlay a little bit. Well, with a couple of days somewhat open at the start of this week, I decided to see what it would take to get HTML5 playback happening on iPad, iPhone and Android. I’m pleased to tell you that this afternoon we put an alpha version of this functionality up on VB3!

See the instructions for using it below, but first let me offer a few caveats:

1) This is an alpha test, which means “not even a beta test yet.” I threw it up there for you guys to try out, and I will be busy on other stuff for the next few weeks. Therefore, expect bugs and odd behavior, and you won’t be disappointed. :-)

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