What we learned from the licensing server debacle

Those of you who have been following these posts know that our licensing server died last Wednesday because the host had the wrong voltage power cord plugged into the hard drive.  This just goes to show you never know when Murphy will visit.

The “licensing server” is actually a windows service running on a dedicated Windows server, that interacts with our customer database and generates license files for you.  The process we had to go through to get it running was:

  1. Rebuild IIS and the secure server
  2. Reinstall our customer database software (an in house written project) and restore from a backup
  3. Rebuild the licensing server services (one for EstiMate 2 and one for EstiMate 2011/Desktop) and bring them back online

What we’ve done to ensure this won’t happen again is we’ve got the host making nightly drive image backups so we can theoretically get back up online within a day or sooner if this happens again.

Thanks for your patience in the process. Now we can get back to work on an EstiMate update and deploying our new website.  Keep your eyes peeled and have a super week!

Licensing server woes continue

Unfortunately we are still in limbo with the licensing server.  Apparently when the host reinstalled the OS on the server, it is a different version of Windows and our server binaries won’t run on it.  In order to rebuild the binaries I have to upgrade to the newest version of the database components it uses, and I am waiting for the software to be delivered (the component developer is in Russia).

So hopefully I will get that delivery over the weekend and can get the servers  back up.  In the meantime please email customerservice@estimatesoftware.com if you need help (we have the ability to manually edit license files to update the date for you).

My sincerest apologies for the trouble…

Licensing server issues affecting “manage your plan”

Many apologies to anyone affected by this, our licensing server is down right now. The host apparently had the wrong voltage power cord plugged into it’s hard drive and the drive had to be replaced.

I am rebuilding the server now from the ground up and hopefully I will have the licensing server live again within a few hours. I’ll report back here when it’s up.

Our internal personal emails are also down as a result, but the support@ and customerservice@ emails are hosted elsewhere and are functional.

New 5x Faster Reporting Engine Coming In This Month’s Update

I’m excited to announce a new update for EstiMate coming this month.  Right now I’m in the process of rewriting all the reports in EstiMate to use a much faster reporting engine than the one currently in use; it’s about 5x the speed.

I’ve never liked the old one we used, but the new one from FastReports seems to be a much better choice.

This is a screen shot of the new report preview screen.  Note that now reports can be viewed 2-pages up.  Also note that this “Open Estimates” report using our sample data is 35 pages long – and the preview was generated in less than a second.  Using the old reporting engine the report took 5.5 seconds to generate.

New EstiMate Build Available:

A new EstiMate build has been prepared that addresses several issues and adds quite a few small but helpful new features.

The complete list of changes:


New Features:

  • 33651: File attachments are now limited to 5MB in size.
  • 33652: The option to exclude file attachments when making a backup has been added. This allows smaller backups to be sent to the tech support desk.
  • 33550: The ability to print the material waste calculations for Wide Format and Flatbed Digital printing has been added.
  • 33661: The QuickBooks link now persists the form settings (checkboxes checked, grid column widths, etc.)
  • 33662: Newly copied jobs and estimates now have today’s date; jobs also have the default status flag rather than the status flag of the original job.
  • 33664: Incremental search has been added to the QuickBooks export screen.
  • 33669: You are no longer required to check a box verifying that QuickBooks is running before proceeding with the quickbooks export process.


  • 33646: The left and right arrows to scroll through open estimates on the customer dashboard were covered by the customer’s phone number.
  • 33659: The headers were missing from the top of the columns on the printed purchase order.
  • 33660: The Screen Printed Signs and Thermal Printing plugins now show dimensions as width and height rather than width and length.
  • 33654: The transactions by date report failed when sorted by customer name.
  • 33655: The total lines on the Transactions by Date report were cut off on the left side.
  • 33656: When copying a job or estimate that has been sent to quickbooks, the copy was still marked as having been sent and didn’t show up in the Export to QB list.
  • 33665: When another network user saved a job or estimate, the open list would jump around.
  • 33670: Duplicate job and estimate numbers should not be able to happen anymore. New behavior is that when another user on the network saves a job or estimate, and you are working on a new, unsaved one, you will actually see the number change on the one you are working on!

This build is still in testing but so far stable.  It will be released later this week but I wanted to give everyone a heads up if you want to get it sooner.

Download links are:

EstiMate (29.4 mb)

EstiMate Multi-User Server (8 mb)

The link for the Multi-User Server is for those of you who like to keep everything up-to-date; it is not necessary to update the server to use this build.  EstiMate is compatible with all previous versions of the server.

Enjoy, and have a great week!


EstiMate 2011 Build Just Published

The rollout of EstiMate 2011 has highlighted a few things that needed fixing – and they’re fixed! We expect to roll out a build here and there over the next week or two that will correct any other issues that come up.

In the meantime, click Help > Check For Updates and download the new build.

The issues fixed in this build can be found in the release notes for

What a day!

Today was one hell of a day!

Orders for EstiMate 2011 have been flooding in, along with little final bug reports and an insane number of trial downloads.

All in all we have closed 95 customer service cases (orders, queries, etc) in the last 24 hours, as well as done battle with a mail server that crashed for 2 hours (wonder why?)… We are one tired crew! ;-)


EstiMate 2011 Is Launched!

Today we released EstiMate 2011, a full four days ahead of schedule.

Time to break out the champagne!  After several thousand hours of work and revision after revision of the codebase, EstiMate 2011 is finally here!

Over the next three days we will be rolling out the serial numbers and links to our EstiMate Freedom customers and to everyone who pre-ordered EstiMate 2011.  The pre-orders have been a huge success and I’d really like to thank everyone who had enough faith to order EstiMate 2011 sight unseen.  I’m always humbled by how many people believe in EstiMate and our mission of having software that makes you money every time you use it!


EstiMate 2011 Feature Of The Day: File Attachments (Video)

Today I’d like to show you one of my favorite new features in EstiMate 2011 – File Attachments.

This Enterprise-level feature allows you to attach any file to customer records, vendor records, estimates, and jobs.

Now you can keep all the paperwork related to a specific client attached to their record in your database, or all the paperwork related to a specific job attached to the job itself.