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Where are notes stored?

I'm considering AIB Plus but would like to know more about the notes. Where are they stored? If I decide later to not use AIB Plus will they be lost? Also, are they searchable? If so, via a special search bar or using the main gmail search?

Thanks-
Mike
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  • Could someone please answer this topic? Or at least this one...

    http://getsatisfaction.com/activeinbo...

    My trial runs out in a few days and I'd like some feedback before purchasing. I currently don't see a way to search notes and want to make sure I'm not missing something.

    - Where are they stored?
    - Are they / will they be searchable?
    - Can they be accessed if ActiveInbox Plus isn't active?
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  • Exact same questions here.

    Also in general it is not clear where data is stored, in Gmail or on ActiveInbox servers.
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  • Would also like an answer to this before purchasing the plus version.
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  • Andy Mitchell (ActiveInbox Founder) October 10, 2011 11:12
    Thank you to Andrew for emailing me and nudging me about this!

    The notes are simply stored on our server, the same as preferences.

    If you have company sensitivity, there are things we're considering: like client side encryption. This might not be technically perfect but it would add a layer of reassurance.

    And if you want mobile access to your notes, but are less troubled by privacy (as it would require your access to your email credentials via OAuth), we're trying to figure out if it's possible to store the note as a "message" on the conversation.

    We've also contemplated a separate web access interface, so if you're on mobile you can search them via our website, but it would be a far less intuitive user experience and we'd rather get something integrated. (An ideal combination might be to store the Note on the conversation as a message, but have a link on that message to our website so you could edit it even on a mobile device that doesn't run AIB).

    What do you think would work best for you?
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  • I have just discovered ActiveInbox by searching for solutions for adding notes to Gmail. I would also purchase the Pro license but am very concerned about notes being stored on the ActiveInbox server from both security and exportability points-of-view.

    Do you have any updates on the "store the note as a message on the conversation" approach as this would address both of my concerns?

    thanks.
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  • Hello Matthew

    At the moment the situation is the same as before in that your notes are stored on our servers. In theory we could look at them as they are stored with us but in reality of course we don't.

    I know notes is something that we're looking into soon, although I don't know exactly what we are going to be changing, if anything, in the short term.

    It would be good to get some ideas as to what you and others would like to see happen with notes, and how they might be improved, not just from a local storage point of view as it all helps when it comes to developmental meetings.

    I like the idea of being able to export notes however they wouldn't then be attached to the original email - how would you like to see this work?

    I'd like to be able to highlight certain text in notes, especially if I'm adding additional notes or updates.

    What do you think?

    Lisa
    AIB Support
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    • Hmmm. Thanks I will go back to my administrator and discuss.
    • Thanks Matthew. After pushback the "+" was found to work.
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  • This reply was removed on 2011-11-02.
    see the change log
  • This reply was removed on 2011-11-11.
    see the change log
  • Andy Mitchell (ActiveInbox Founder) November 13, 2011 22:53
    Andrew:
    So, your main concern is our servers going down? This is a valid concern long term (e.g. if we went out of business - not that we ever will, but I understand that's a risk assessment a sensible person would make with 3rd party vendors).

    Because to store via IMAP would be a huge effort (and require you to give us complete access to all of your emails - which is a scary step), we need a simpler solution.

    What if we had a feature on the website to simply "export" all your notes, into XML perhaps, so you could back them up yourself?

    =====

    Matthew:

    That's actually a good low-level idea... but can I ask why you don't just use Notes in ActiveInbox?

    I will add that as a tip to other users, as I think it's a neat (if high effort to setup!) technique.

    I'm not we can commit to developing special highlight for it, simply because it's a feature that would require a lot of maintenance as Gmail changes; and I don't fully understand the value it gives you over simply using ActiveInbox's Notes feature? (But please do educate me otherwise - I'm very keen to understand!).
    • There are a few advantages to having notes the way I describe them:

      1. They are available offline. Too much of my time is spent in airplanes and it is useful to have my notes available to me when I'm offline as I try to make some of this time productive.

      2. Availability. I'm a new user to ActiveInbox so I don't have any direct experience with your service availability stats or any understanding of your underlying infrastructure.

      3. Data security. I'm already trusting Google with company confidential information. Adding another party to the mix adds risk, however slight.

      Now, I much prefer the interface that ActiveInbox provides. I just would prefer that the data storage be done within Google.

      Do let me say that I ActiveInbox is a great idea and I commend you on what you guys have accomplished. Thanks.
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  • I just got the "+self" to work properly in my environment. Had to be added as an alias as we use google apps. Originally, our helpdesk advised that "+" could not be used in google apps but when I pushed back we found it could be. One thing that the "reply to self" does not do is show its contents when looking at a view in Activeinbox, e.g., "Waiting On".

    I do think that allowing a user to export as you noted above is a reasonable compromise. And we have IMAP closed as its been deemed a security threat.
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  • Hi Andy

    Any news on this:
    "And if you want mobile access to your notes, but are less troubled by privacy (as it would require your access to your email credentials via OAuth), we're trying to figure out if it's possible to store the note as a "message" on the conversation..."
    "...An ideal combination might be to store the Note on the conversation as a message, but have a link on that message to our website so you could edit it even on a mobile device that doesn't run AIB"?

    It would be a real game-changer to be able to access Notes like you suggest on my mobile. I currently have a set up that allow me full AIB workablility and review on my mobile (mainly using the 'non-app' access & saving searches as buttons on my home screen) which is great (& using it effectively as GTD system)....but the one massive drawback is that many of my 'next actions' are defined as a Note which appears as a snippet in the Active Results (it would be too much hassle to 'edit subject' and put the description there each time) - but I can't view these on my mobile. Of course it would be ideal if the Notes could somehow similarly appear in the mobile's list of results without having to open the conversation, as the whole point of GTD is to work off a trusted 'list' fast & easily (but I suspect this is technically impossible?).

    Thanks
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  • 1
    Just a thought. Since a GMail user has access to Google Docs, why not store notes using Google Docs (or the GMailFS) or something functionally equivalent? They'd then be stored entirely in space controlled by the user (more accurately, Google on behalf of the user, same as the mail messages themselves). Since there's some support for offline access to Google Docs it might even be possible to provide offline access to notes. Certainly mobile access would be straightforward.
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  • Andy Mitchell (ActiveInbox Founder) September 12, 2013 12:39
    Hi W B,

    It's definitely something we're considering, and of all the possible options (when we have the resources to do it!) it's a front runner.
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  • Has there been any change with respect to the location where notes are stored? Plans to make them searchable?

    I imagine task steps are also stored on AIB servers. Is anything else related to the content of email stored on AIB servers? If I add a note, does the entire email thread get copied over to AIB servers? I have concerns about confidentiality and want to understand where there might be risk. Thanks.
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  • Hello

    Notes *are* stored on our servers and I know we have been looking at things such as making them searchable etc.

    Your email thread isn't copied over at all and the notes aren't something we go to or look at.

    Lisa
    AIB Support
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  • Interesting thought by McCarty on using functions available via Google Apps. Notes on your servers in general I don't see as an issue, particularly as it further puts the service in SaaS, and part of the reason why I pay this as an annual operating cost. The challenge of course is the unknown with any small company, and of course security & reliability. None of this should be new to your users, as we are using Google and hosting our mail on their servers and subject to their outages etc. Of course understanding where you host (e.g. AWS) and what security you will provide (e.g. encryption) would eventually be worthwhile.
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  • Lisa,

    Can you expand on whether the AIB-specific data is sent to your servers over an encrypted connection? I imagine so. Also, is it stored fairly securely? Can you provide any comments about the security practices at the facility? Thanks.
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    • I wouldn't go as far as to store data in a Google Drive Spreadsheet. Not that its unfeasible, it would just add a lot of unnecessary complexity in terms of data retrieval as it wasn't built to perform search within documents with database-like performance.

      Andy could check AppScript + ScriptDB out as an alternative. ScriptDB is the database created for AppScript, designed to store objects composed of key-value pairs. Each gmail user has 50MB of storage there(it's a lot considering this type of content).

      With AppScript Andy can develop a content service to serve JSONP content. It woudn't work out of the box, because the user has to authorize access to his storage, but its just a matter of visiting a link and clicking a button in a single occasion.

      There will be always a hit in performance as Google Web App scripts have to redirect requests to a sandboxed url, so there's this extra request to consider.

      I always questioned myself why Andy didn't go this way for all server side services. Maybe he has already tried and found the performance to be desirable. It just makes sense to stay inside the Google environment for his type of product.

      Regards
    • Oh.. I forgot to mention that by using that approach he could export data to a Google Drive Spreadsheet with 5 lines of code. Well, 10 if you consider styling :)

      Peace
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  • Just following up. Lisa, do you have any info on this? Thanks.
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  • Please export my notes and send it to me. It's been 4 days since I asked for it. It can't be that hard.
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  • Hello Alexandre

    I need to speak to Andy as to whether it's possible - he's been working day and night on the beta version to get it mainstream.

    I am hoping to come back to you today or if not today, first thing in the morning - we're in the UK so it would be first thing in the morning UK time.

    Have you tried the new beta version which has been released today? It's v4.0.5.71 and might solve your issue anyway.

    Lisa
    AIB Support
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  • Lisa,

    Just tried 71 and it didn't solve the problem. I couldn't find the link for it in the blog, but I rewrote the 68th URL and was able to download the new one.

    As I've stated in my last email, this is really beside the point. I've already given up at using notes with AIB. This is so critical to me that I've developed my own gmail gadget for it, integrated with my CRM.

    What I need is to you to export my notes from your system. I'm fairly sure this can be done in just about 90 seconds of your developer's time.

    Please keep in mind that the first time I brought this to your attention happened more than a year ago (2013-01-31) - https://getsatisfaction.com/activeinb...
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  • 5.0.3 restored my access to notes and todo items.
    Thank you
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  • Am I correct in thinking ScriptDB items are limited to 4kb? I see a problem report that implies this is/was the case. Such a limit might complicate programming, by making it necessary to slice notes into chunks. Otherwise, ScriptDB does seem a better solution than GDrive since, for instance, it's not directly accessible by the user and therefore not immediately subject to tampering.
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  • I've never heard of the 4KB limitation. If thats the case, I guess he would have to either accept a 1000 chars limitation(worst case scenario) for notes or split then into several records, as you said.

    I'm assuming Andy uses UTF-8. Depending on which characters are being written, 4KB should handle from 1000 to 4000 chars. That's enough for the type of note I write, but I can't even imagine the average use case.

    [update]
    Just checked and you're right about the limits: https://developers.google.com/apps-sc...
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  • Here's the problem report I have in mind. It could be wrong or outdated or I could be misunderstanding it.

    https://code.google.com/p/google-apps-script-issues/issues/detail?id=2280
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