Why does my Baby’s Days crash regularly? Is it because it isn’t a website?

As blogged last night a fair few number of people have posted in the Baby’s Days support group or messaged me directly to say they are experiencing technical issues using mainly the Risk Assessment section, The 2 year check and also the SEF section of Baby’s Days.

What seems to be happening is mid way through using these sections the device just freezes so the work is lost or a little grey pop up says, “this web page needed to reload”.  Obviously many people are frustrated that this is happening and they don’t feel they can open a support ticket for fear of being made to feel like an idiot or even worse for fear of losing all their work by “annoying” Baby’s Days.

Mark Kahl director of Baby’s Days has said this issue is because the Baby’s Days system is,

“NOT a website, it is a SaaS application that is very ram and system resource hungry”.

Tonights blog post is going to clarify exactly what Mark Kahl means by this and as with most other things in this blog I’ll hope you’ll see why this statement is very misleading.

Firstly what is a SaaS application?

Mark Kahl is right in that Baby’s Days isn’t a website.  I agree with him there, first time for everything I guess.

SaaS stands for Software as a Service.  Software is usually defined as the programs and other operating information used by a computer.  So on a typical laptop you might find software like Microsoft Word or Norton Anti Virus.  This software is run and stored on your laptop.

SaaS is a different type of software that isn’t actually “run” directly from laptop, it’s usually run through a web browser and stored on a server.  So it’s still software, but it’s not “hard” software in the sense that most people might be more used to; it’s not a disc you can pick up for example it’s virtual software.

A website isn’t a programme at all, it’s just a document if you like stored on the internet.  That’s the easiest way to explain it although if you want to be a purist it’s not 100% accurate, but it’s good enough for the purposes of this blog post.

Does SaaS require a load of RAM?

There is absolutely nothing in the Geek Bible that says a “SaaS” is or should be inherently more resource heavy than any other aspect of web browsing.  My understanding is that the whole point of a SaaS is to remove the resource heavy part of the software off of the persons computer and on a server in the cloud.  So it then seem ludicrous to say the reason the system is crashing is because SaaS applications are more resource heavy!

Does my device have enough RAM to do what most would expect from a typical SaaS application?

If you can watch a video on YouTune then in my opinion your device has plenty of RAM to operate a SaaS application like Baby’s Days.  Closing apps that may be “on” in the background (as frequently advised by support) wont stop Baby’s Days crashing.  If you can load Youtube on your device then chances are that RAM isn’t the issue and if it is the issue you need to question what exactly BDs is loading up that’s bigger than your average Youtube video?

So what’s the conclusion?

As ever I believe Mark Kahl and the support staff are using Geek talk to mystify people rather than dealing with actual issues present in the Baby’s Days software.

If people have facebook open (not a SaaS App but an awesome platform that updates in real time, plays videos automatically, loads constant photos etc) but babysdays crashes then it’s pretty obvious where a big chunk of the issue is.  Do not be fooled by the smoke screen of “awww poor love it’s because it’s SaaS, don’t worry you wont understand it, just believe me”.

It may be that some people have low ram machines, but then you have to ask the question what is Babys Day’s trying to load into memory that is so large that it makes things fall over?

If they’ve potentially coded a site bad enough that it’s crashing people’s browsers or devices, the problem is in their coding, not in the site being “resource hungry”.  SaaS or website, there’s no reason to ever use enough ram or CPU to crash anything; despite what Mark Kahl says Baby’s Days and any system like it uses a fraction of what sites like Youtube or similar high quality media SaaS sites do, and they can manage it without crashing anything.

I hope this post helps those feeling really frustrated with the system at the moment have the courage to open a ticket with support and get the issue sorted. Just becasue you do not have an IT degree it does not mean the issue “must be your end”.  You pay a lot of money for this service, the least it could do is actually work.

Make sure you pop back tomorrow when I’ll be blogging about the changes in Baby’s Days customer service over the years and the recent server downtime that many customers may not be aware of.

Are all Baby’s Days systems “identical”?

Hey readers thanks for all the messages of support over the last week, many of you were worried the blog might not return, but as promised here it is!  I managed to get so much wedding stuff done, the only thing left now is a heavy duty Generator that I need to hire so if you’re in the South West and have one kicking about let me know :)

Anyway, today I wanted to blog about how the director of Baby’s Days, Mark Kahl, repeatedly claims all Baby’s Days systems are “identical”.  This has come up this week on their Facebook support group as many users are experiencing their devices (mainly iphones and ipads) crashing and then losing all their work.

A line that Baby’s Days like to use when dealing with some technical support issues is, ‘all systems are identical, if anyone else was having this issue we would have 1000s of complaints, it must be your end’ or words to that effect.

In my experience this isn’t true, all systems are not identical.  I say this based on my own experience; if you have read this blog from the start you will know it was started because the director at Baby’s Days (Mark Kahl) uses his discretion to decide which systems do and do not get the monthly upgrades, that’s right you aren’t automatically entitled to them as part of your subscription.  My system and at least 2 other systems did not receive the control centre update when it was released, despite the fact that all other customers had been updated. If you don’t believe me here is a link to a post which has further details.

So no in my experience all systems are not identical and Sys IQ Ltd have the ability to make some systems do some things and some systems do other things. So when Mark Kahl says all systems are identical please take this with a pinch of salt.  If you have a technical issue open a ticket with support and get it sorted, don’t be fobbed off with ridiculous excuses.

As lots of users have had problems with Baby’s Days crashing their devices recently and their servers have been down twice in the last few days so I’m going to be blogging about that tomorrow and what exactly a SaaS Application is; so bring your nerd glasses!  Just take heart in the fact that if the system is crashing and you can play videos on youtube it’s probably nothing to do with the RAM on your device (as Bbaby’s Days advise), so don’t drive yourself mad trying to “fix” it like I used to!

Babys Days: The reviews they don’t want you to see.

So, it seems that current customers of Baby’s Days have been told that I am a customer with a grudge and that everyone else in the world thinks Babys Days is awesome.  Just to remind everyone this blog is here because Baby’s Days refused to update my fully paid up system, when I questioned this and tried to make others aware their updates could be restricted my account was terminated.

I was a happy user plodding along for almost 4 years without a care in the world, and then this happens.  It’s arguably only a matter of time before these customers who currently see me as some sort of hysterical grudge holding loon, find themselves in the same position as me.

I thought it would be helpful to collate some other users views of Baby’s Days.  It seems most negative reviews are removed under threat of libel action but if you look you will find them and you will also find posts by Babys Days that demonstrate their true attitude.

I am hoping that these reviews will demonstrate to current customers that my concerns are rational and shared by others; not just a byproduct of holding a “grudge”.  As ever, all I ask is for customers to please back up their data so that they will be safe if Baby’s Days pull the rug from underneath them.

Tomorrow I am going to be blogging about the Data Centre that Baby’s Days uses, so pop back for a nosey.

Who is MAKUK and are they connected to Babys Days?

Hey folks, sorry for the lack of posts over the weekend, it has been so busy here!  We had a Childminder night out to celebrate Xmas and then chopped down our Christmas tree and decorated it and before I knew it the weekend had gone!  Anyway enough about me and on with the first of this weeks blog posts….

Who is MAKUK?

Following on from the last post, I said I would be blogging about adverts places by a user called MAKUK on website advertising for freelance workers.  This was after I discovered that Baby’s Days possibly use freelancers to design the system and that possibly the system is not created “In house” as they claim.

MAKUK has posted many many adverts, so I will just provide you with a brief overview of this users activity.  Obviously I do not know if MAKUK is connected with Baby’s Days (by the way the company director of Baby’s Days is called Mark Adam Kahl and he lives in the UK) so I will show you one advert made by this user that possibly shows there may be a connection with Baby’s Days.

The user MAKUK has posted many jobs and has used many different contractors from the Ukraine (at least 2 different contractors), the USA (again at least 2 contractors), India and Sri Lanka.  This could account for the possible small bug that I found on my system and which led to me being removed from The Official Support Group.  Let me explain…..

The best way to describe it in lay person terms is to say, there are essentially lots of different authors writing chapters in the same book; the authors don’t know each other and possibly don’t speak to each other, so they don’t know each others thoughts or ideas and without reading all the other chapters they can’t be sure what others have written.  So although the story makes sense, there are times when the language used is different, or where one author might write in a different tense to the next.  The flow of having only one author just isn’t there.

When you transfer this analogy over to a computer system, it means there is the potential for small bugs to creep in as there is no “master author” overseeing how the software (or ‘book’) is coming together.  That would explain how my possible bug and other possible bugs I will blog about later have come to be. 

I’ve posted already on this blog that many companies use contractors, that’s isn’t what the problem is here.  The problem is that it isn’t good practice to also mislead your customers and put down your competitors in the process of using them.

I also wonder if Baby’s Days head in the sand approach to their use of contractors may have led to some problems in terms of systems bugs and problems as it doesn’t seem that anyone is properly overseeing the flow of the “chapters” these contractors write.  Most companies have systems in place to do this, but as Baby’s Days deny using contractors I am unsure if they have considered this possible problem.

I have had over 60 questions in my inbox / on Facebook over the weekend and sadly I can not answer them all as I am not the director of Baby’s Days but I have done my best.  It is a shame the company hasn’t taken the opportunity to clarify their use of and supervision of freelance workers and the work they create.  I think they are rather hoping I will go away, but I will be here and I will help you all as much as I can.  Feel free to post any worries in the comments below anonymously, it might take me a few days but I will get back to you.

Pop back tomorrow when I will be blogging a collection of Babys Days reviews sent to me anonymously or written on other websites.

What type of support does Baby’s Days offer?

Having been a subscriber to the Baby’s Days service for 3.5 years, you can imagine there have been a few different times that I have needed to contact support.  Sometimes this has been because I am doing something wrong and other times because the system doesn’t seem to be working as I would expect.  The response you get from support will depend on what type of problem you have so I will look at them both below.  One thing I will say for Baby’s Days support is that they do reply very promptly, even during evening and weekends.

The type of problem that is caused by misunderstanding of how the system works.

Sometimes, when I’m doing something on the system I encouter a problem.  I obviously email support and when the problem falls into this category we have a very pleasent and usually very helpful exachnge.

Let me give you an example.  I had a problem with my Homepage, it was formatting in a very odd manner and wouldn’t save.  After trying for about an hour I couldn’t see why this would be the case, so I contacted support.

They were very helpful, and informed me, you can’t paste pictures into the home page they have to be uploaded. They fixed it for me and my Homepage was perfect.  TaDa problem solved, and it only took about 1 hour in total.

This is the sort of customer service I expect from a company and to be fair to Baby’s Days when ever I have an issue like this they always resolve it quickly.

The type of problem that is caused by the system acting in a way you wouldn’t expect.

Their approach to these types of problems I call the “LaLaLa” response.  These types of responses seem to be designed to deflect from the problem the system may be having.  Support may advise you to reset you router, turn off your laptop, reinstall your browser, update flash or even delete and reinstall it.

The possibilities are endless and they will suggest them all, even if you are having the issue on multiple devices, with different operating systems and different browsers, which is obviously extremely frustrating.  What they absolutely will NOT consider in these cases is that there MAY be a problem their end.  This is very well documented here in my blog post, about a possible small bug I may have found in the next step section.  Current system users may also have noticed this approach with the new control centre which was not saving the new layout set by minders; it took a good while for Baby’s Days to establish this was their end after many abrupt replies along the lines of, it works fine for us, or, all systems are identical… (which obviously they aren’t because currently some customers have the control centre upgrade and others don’t!) …you are the only person with this problem.

It is in these situations that I have experienced very negative customer support.  When you have followed all their trouble shooting suggestions and you have still not managed to fix the problem there is nothing more they will do.  The most often heard phrase is along the lines of, it’s working perfectly for me, it must be a problem your end.  They will still say this even when multiple users on different devices on different internet connections have the exact same problem.  GAH!  So so frustrating!  A distinct lack of  support  I’d say.

Here is an email exchange I have had with support which hopefully explain this to anyone that is still confused.

So which is it?  A problem that at least 6 other users have reported that they don’t yet have time to fix (which would be understandable, just say if that is the case) or is it something they have never heard of before working perfectly their end?

Which type of customer service have you received? Please let me know in the comments below.