You're viewing the posts for ClearCheckbook News
« Return to Blog

ClearCheckbook Premium Membership Price Increase

3/10/2017 in ClearCheckbook News

The price of our ClearCheckbook Premium upgrade will go up $1 per month starting on March 24, 2017. All existing Premium members will be grandfathered into the existing price.

We introduced the ClearCheckbook Premium Membership upgrade over 8 years ago, back in December of 2008 when the site was less than 3 years old. Since then we've grown more than we ever imagined. Along with the tremendous growth and keeping up with the latest technologies comes ever more costs associated with running a site as large as ClearCheckbook.

Since our launch in 2006 we've never taken a single penny of outside investment money which is something we're rather proud of. Every cent we've earned and used to build, host, develop and maintain ClearCheckbook and our associated apps has been made by those of you who have opted to upgrade to ClearCheckbook Premium. ClearCheckbook wouldn't be here today if it weren't for those with a ClearCheckbook Premium upgrade, and for that we thank you.

While the ClearCheckbook bank account has funds to keep the website hosted and operational for years to come, that isn't good enough in today's technological landscape. We need to keep up with the ever changing mobile environment and make sure our mobile apps are up to the same standards as the website. Mobile app development doesn't come cheap and we want to make sure we're able to keep our apps updated more regularly and get more of the features you want added to them.

With the recent re-launches of both the iOS and Android apps this has become more apparent to us than ever. Those apps were originally designed when the mobile landscape was much different than it is today. Our apps were meant to be a quick reference for checking your balances and budgets and to make it easy to add transactions on the go. We've discovered that as smartphones have gotten faster and cell providers have increased their connection speeds, people want more out of the app than the simple interface we currently provide.

In addition to the mobile apps, the act of keeping ClearCheckbook running smoothly as growth explodes is an endeavor with ever increasing costs and complexities. Those of you who have been with us for many years might remember some of our big growth spurts that resulted in site down-time or long load times. We want to make sure these issues remain "things of the past," and that means upgrading hosting plans and hardware long before it becomes a critical necessity.

All that being said, the new costs to upgrade to ClearCheckbook Premium will be as follows:
  • $5 - 1 month membership
  • $15 - 3 month membership
  • $27 - 6 month membership (save 11% vs. monthly)
  • $52 - 12 month membership (save 15% vs. monthly)

Raising the price of the membership wasn't an easy decision but this will help us stay innovative and give you a much better experience both on mobile devices and the website itself.

Like we said above, all users with an existing ClearCheckbook Premium upgrade as of March 24, 2017 will be grandfathered into the existing rates. If you're currently a free user and want to upgrade with the existing rates, you'll need to upgrade between now and March 24. You can learn more about ClearCheckbook Premium and how to upgrade here: https://www.clearcheckbook.com/premium/info.

If you're already a ClearCheckbook Premium member, we recommend updating your billing information to ensure your membership doesn't expire, causing you to lose your grandfathered status. To update your billing information, click on Settings at the top right side of the page and then click on Manage Your Premium Membership. There will be a link in the green box at the top of the page to update your billing information (auto-renew must be enabled to update your billing information.)

Again, I'd like to extend my deepest thanks to our ClearCheckbook Premium members. You are the life-blood of the site and your continued patronage to ClearCheckbook has made the site what it is today.

Thanks,

Brandon O'Brien
Founder / CEO
ClearCheckbook.com

ClearCheckbook MoneyManagement 2.0 for Android available for download!

3/3/2017 in ClearCheckbook News

The completely overhauled and revamped ClearCheckbook app for Android has been finished, tested and is now available for download on the Google Play store!

New features in the updated app include:
  • Completely updated Material Design UI
  • basic offline functionality
  • auto-complete when adding transactions
  • transaction register filtering
  • addition of grouped, combo and income percent budgets
  • improved support for currency formatting
  • faster load times
  • better crash prevention

Android App - Account Overviews
Account Overviews
Android App - Transaction Register w/ Filters
Transaction Register w/ filters
Android App - Add Transaction form
Add Transaction
Android App - Budgets / Spending Limits
Budgets
Android App - Reminders / Recurring Transactions
Reminders

The new app should be much faster to use and also fixes a lot of bugs and addresses a lot of feedback we received from you. You should be able to update the app through the Google Play store soon, if it isn't already available.

We were able to catch and fix a lot of issues in our internal testing and beta testing, but if you experience any other issues please let us know and we'll work on getting it quickly resolved. We'd also like to point out that we'll be adding an "All Transactions" register view to the app shortly, since it's currently not available on the app.

We'd also like to give a special thanks and shout-out to the developer of the new app, Russell Stewart, for his speediness and professionalism through the entire development process. If you're in need of getting an Android app developed, please consider Russell. You can contact him through the following outlets: LinkedIn, StackOverflow or Facebook.

What's been happening at ClearCheckbook - February 2017 Edition

2/7/2017 in ClearCheckbook News

We've been busy with a lot of updates and upgrades to the systems that run ClearCheckbook and our mobile apps. This blog post will cover a lot of those changes and how they affect ClearCheckbook.

1. DNS / SSL Updates - The biggest change this week has been switching DNS servers and SSL certificates. Our old DNS provider was discontinuing service so we found an alternative that also has some really cool features such as automatic asset minification and caching which have cut down bandwidth by over 50% daily.

Since we switched DNS providers it also gave us the opportunity to update the way we handle SSL certificates and serving our site over HTTPS. This fixed some of the redirect issues some people were experiencing when entering http://clearcheckbook.com. Now all urls are redirected properly to https://www.clearcheckbook.com. These new SSL procedures also brought up a couple unexpected errors though, which brings us to...

2. Android app connection issues - When we switched DNS servers we started receiving messages from some Android app users saying the app would no longer connect. At first we thought it was simply a DNS propagation issue but after a few days of people still having problems, we finally figured out that it was due to the new SSL certs that use the latest ciphers not supporting some legacy Android versions and really old versions of Windows. Once we discovered this we were able to make some changes to the way SSL certificates are handled and provide an older certificate for these antiquated systems, while still serving the most recent and secure certificates to modern day technologies.

3. API updates for mobile apps - We've been busy making updates to the API for our mobile apps which include adding the Bill Tracker and currency + conversion methods. The current iOS app is almost finished being updated to add the Bill Tracker as well as the auto-complete feature.

4. Android app 2.0 - Our developer is finishing up some of the last pieces of the new Android app and we'll be launching the previously mentioned beta testing very soon. Thank you for those who have submitted your information to our beta testing program. We'll be sending out invites soon to download and start testing the beta app. If you're interested in helping us beta test the new Android app and haven't already done so, please sign up to be a beta tester!

5. Updated Pie Year Charts - We realized that our old 'Pie by Year' charts weren't that helpful. They were small and didn't show all of your spending in a very intuitive way. With the update to the Pie Year Charts, we now use one large chart that shows both parent and sub categories on the same report in a very nice and clean way. Below the report we also have a breakdown of each of your categories with total spending for the year.

This new view of your spending for the year is a great way to help figure out where you can cut back on for 2017. We also recommend taking a look at the chart and using the information from 2016 to help you set your 2017 budgets. The Pie Year Chart is available to all premium members and can be found by clicking on 'Reports' at the top of the page, then click on the 'Categories' tab and finally 'Pie by Year'.
ClearCheckbook Yearly Pie charts
Click for full screenshot of yearly pie charts


We want to apologize to anyone that was affected by the DNS/SSL legacy issues but those have all been sorted out and we hope you're able to connect without any issues now. There's been a lot of activity behind the scenes lately and soon you'll start to see some of that make its way up front in the way of the mobile apps being updated (iOS) and overhauled (Android).

If you have any questions about these upgrades or simply want to leave us any comments or suggestions, please let us know!

Thanks,

Brandon O'Brien
Founder, ClearCheckbook

SSL Connection Issue with Android App

2/6/2017 in ClearCheckbook News
Update: It appears there's an issue with older versions of Android and the updated SSL certificate we're using. The new certificate uses protocols that aren't supported by old versions of Android (<=3.0) and some very old operating systems. We're working on a fix for this now.

Last Friday (February 3) we had to switch our DNS servers due to our previous one discontinuing service this month. There seems to be some lingering issues with the Android app not connecting with our site for some users and showing No accounts / No balances. All of your data is actually fine and secure on our servers (since no data is actually stored on the app). We believe it's simply a DNS propagation issue and it should be resolved with time. Until that happens you can always access your accounts, balances, budgets and more by visiting https://www.clearcheckbook.com from the browser on your phone.

We're monitoring the situation to see when it starts clearing up. The problems don't seem to be affecting everyone which is what makes us think it's taking some time for some Android phones to get the updated DNS information. We've tested logging into the app from several of our own Android devices and it's been working properly.

If you previously had this error in the last few days and then it started working again, please let us know.

We're sorry for the inconvenience.

Site maintenance on Friday February 3, 2017 at 10pm ET

2/3/2017 in ClearCheckbook News
We will be running a test to switch to new DNS servers on Friday February 3, 2017 at 10pm ET. We're not anticipating any downtime but we wanted to make you aware of the maintenance just in case.

Request for ClearCheckbook Android App Beta Testers

1/31/2017 in ClearCheckbook News
We're happy to announce that the new ClearCheckbook Android app is nearing completion and we'll be ready to start beta testing it soon. If you're an Android user and would like to sign up to help us beta test the app, please submit the email address associated with your Google Play account on our beta signup page here: https://www.clearcheckbook.com/android/signup.

Beta testing for the app will run for a couple of weeks which should give us time to address and fix any bugs or issues with the app. After that we'll launch the app to the public.

We've been putting in a lot of work into our API to make sure the Android app (and the iOS app) will be great tools for you. We'll also be releasing a big update to the iOS app soon that will contain auto-complete and the Bill Tracker.

ClearCheckbook Welcomes 2017!

1/1/2017 in ClearCheckbook News
The start of a new year always brings a renewed interest in keeping your finances under control. At ClearCheckbook we want to make this as easy for you as possible. To help make our Jiving (balancing / reconciling) process much easier to understand for beginners, we made a dedicated tutorial page that has a video tutorial as well as a guided written walkthrough and some troubleshooting FAQ's. This tutorial can be found here: https://www.clearcheckbook.com/help/jive

This time of year can also lead to some headaches when it comes to adding transactions. When you're adding a transaction, be very aware of which year you're adding it for. If you add some transactions for early 2017 and then go back to add some from December 2016, make sure the year is switched to 2016. Also, the opposite is true. If you're adding transactions from late last year and then want to add a transaction for January 2017, make sure the year is correct. If it's not correct, the transaction will be added as January 2016 and you won't see it at the top of your transaction list (since it'll be with all of the year old transactions).

2016 saw a lot of behind-the-scenes work plus some new features and a revamped iOS app. Plans for 2017 include a new Android app as well as a lot of enhancements to ClearCheckbook as a whole.

We've been very pleased with the continued growth of the site. You can help us even more though by spreading the word of ClearCheckbook to any friends or family members who might be looking to get a better grasp on their finances for the new year.

Thanks and happy new year!

- The ClearCheckbook Team

Massive DNS outage affecting many major sites also affected ClearCheckbook

10/21/2016 in ClearCheckbook News
Today, Friday October 21, 2016, there was a major DNS outage that affected an untold number of sites including Netflix, Twitter, Spotify, Reddit, GitHub, New York Times, Heroku (who we use as a server solution) and more which took ClearCheckbook offline as well.

Unfortunately in situations like this there's nothing we're able to do. The issue was with technology controlling how the internet fundamentally works and nothing we actually have any control over.

It appears things are coming back online now. We're sorry for the inconvenience and wish there was something we were able to do.

More information on the outage can be found here:
https://www.wired.com/2016/10/internet-outage-ddos-dns-dyn/
https://techcrunch.com/2016/10/21/many-sites-including-twitter-and-spotify-suffering-outage/

ClearCheckbook iOS app now available!

8/16/2016 in ClearCheckbook News
We're happy to announce that the ClearCheckbook app for iOS is now available for download in the App store.

The app has been completely redesigned from the ground up using the latest iOS development tools and technologies which will help future-proof it for upcoming updates to iOS.

The ClearCheckbook iOS app behaves similarly to the old app and has most of the same features. One thing to note is to edit or delete any accounts, transactions, budgets, reminders or categories, simply swipe the item to the left and you'll be presented with an option to edit or delete it.

This is just the first iteration of the app. We've got a lot more updates for it in the works and will let you know more about those in the future.

iOS Screen Shots:

iOS App - Account Overviews
Account Overviews
iOS App - Transaction List
Transaction Register
iOS App - Budgets / Spending Limits
Budgets
iOS App - Add Transaction
Add Transaction
iOS app - Reminders
Reminders / Recurring Transactions


We want to give a special thanks to all of the users who helped beta test the app over the last few weeks. You provided some extremely valuable information that helped us catch and fix a lot of issues.

If you have any issues while using the app, please use the Contact Us form at the bottom right side of ClearCheckbook.com and we'll work on getting any problems fixed.

ClearCheckbook iOS app to re-launch this week

8/8/2016 in ClearCheckbook News
We're making some final updates to the last version that was out for beta testing and plan on submitting the app to Apple this week for review. We'll have more information and screen shots when we actually submit the app for approval.

ClearCheckbook was hit by a DDOS attack which caused site downtime

6/2/2016 in ClearCheckbook News
On June 1, 2016 starting at around 10:20am ET, ClearCheckbook was hit by an extremely massive amount of fake logins which overwhelmed our database and caused the site downtime some of you had experienced.

These kinds of attacks are used either by a competing organization to cripple their rivals or by nefarious individuals or groups that use the attack to expose any weaknesses in the database which would let them gain access to it.

We're still not sure what the reasoning for the attacks were but none of your data was compromised while the issues were going on.

I'm extremely sorry for any inconveniences this caused you today. We'll be monitoring our logs to keep an eye on similar attacks and fix them quickly now that we know what to do.

ClearCheckbook News and Updates for May 2016

5/19/2016 in ClearCheckbook News
This blog post will cover a lot of new features, mobile app updates and bug fixes that we've been working on recently.

Introducing Account Groups
We just added the ability to create groups to help you organize your accounts. Each group will be separated within your Account Overviews with their own 'group total' balances. You also have the option to exclude a group from being added to your overall balances.

To start using the account group feature, click on Settings at the top right side of the page, then click on Accounts. Below your list of accounts you'll see a new form to add a new group. Once you've added a group you can assign new or existing accounts to them. Note: Account Groups requires an active Premium Membership.

iOS App Update
The developer we contracted to rebuild the app has finished all functions of the app itself. We're now going through and testing all the sections of the app for bugs and any issues. Once that is done we simply need to update the UI and we'll be ready to launch. I hope to have some screenshots of the app with the new UI available soon.

Android App Update
Several months ago one of our users reached out to us asking if they could have a shot at rebuilding the Android app and we said 'of course!' Since they're doing it as a side project of their own we aren't making any promises about a delivery timeframe but so far the app is looking really good. Here are some screenshots from the Alpha version of the new app:
ClearCheckbook Android app alpha
ClearCheckbook Android app alpha
ClearCheckbook Android app alpha
ClearCheckbook Android app alpha


Recent bug fixes / minor updates
Most of the recent bug fixes revolved around input validation to make sure that when you're adding, editing or deleting transactions, reminders, budgets, etc you won't run into unexpected results based on the data you enter. There were also some tweaks to the Import Transactions tool to better recognize data fields and automatically match them on the field verification page. Running balances also got an update that fixed some issues with the balances not showing up correctly if you started paging through your transactions.

Happy Birthday to us!
In addition to all of the above, ClearCheckbook just turned 10 years old today! I launched the site back in May 2006 as a way for myself and some friends to manage our personal finances. The site has grown and improved tremendously over the years due in large part to the suggestions of you, our users.

We'll have more news about the mobile apps soon.

Thanks!

Brandon
Founder, ClearCheckbook

ClearCheckbook iOS app update

3/10/2016 in ClearCheckbook News
We've been getting a lot of questions lately regarding the iOS app so this update is meant to address all of those. The app is still being worked on but doesn't have any real UI applied to it yet (the developer is getting all the functionality nailed down and then we'll get it looking pretty). Once we start adding the UI we'll post some screenshots and updates.

May 4, 2016 Update - The developer is wrapping up the last section, reminders, now. After that's done we need to go through and do some final testing and complete the UI. We'll have more information soon.

May 18, 2016 Update - All functions of the app have been coded and implemented. We are now updating the UI and in the process of running through the app to catch any bugs.

ClearCheckbook Premium Members can Attach Files to Transactions

1/4/2016 in ClearCheckbook News

We're happy to announce an update to ClearCheckbook that allows all premium members to attach files to their transactions. This is great for attaching purchase orders, receipts, contracts, statement of works, etc to your transactions for archival purposes and to easily correlate transactions with any necessary documents.

If you're already a premium member, you can enable the Attach a File feature by clicking on Settings at the top right side of the page and then click on Manage Custom Transaction Fields and then change the drop down list next to the Attach a File option.

Once you've enabled the Attach a File option you'll see a new option on the Add and Edit transaction fields that allow you to select a file. When you add or edit a transaction after selecting a file, the file will be given a unique codename and uploaded via secure connection to our file hosting server.

Click to view


Once you've attached a file to a transaction, you can view it by clicking the paperclip icon. This will download the file to your computer so you can refer to it as needed. You can also use the Search tool to find all transactions that have an attachment associated with them. This will make it extremely easy to hunt down the necessary transactions if you're searching for the file later.

Click to view


This has been a highly requested feature and we're happy to have it out and available for use now. There aren't immediate plans to integrate this ability into the iOS or Android apps that are currently being rebuilt but it's something we'll look into for a further update.

The fine print: The files you attach are limited to 2mb in size and have certain file format restrictions only allowing documents and images (such as PDF, JPG, PNG, XLS, etc). Deleting a transaction with an attachment associated with it will also permanently delete that attachment from our servers. Editing a transaction and replacing the attachment with a new file will permanently delete the old attachment from our servers.

2015 Year in Review and What's Ahead in 2016

1/3/2016 in ClearCheckbook News

The biggest change for ClearCheckbook in 2015 was the switch from our old hosting environment on our dedicated server to a new hosting solution that allows for much easier data backups, scalable resource handling and much more in depth development tools we use for error debugging.

The old server we had the site running on was set up and started hosting ClearCheckbook back in 2008. After almost 8 years of service, the server was starting to show its age and the limitations of its hardware were becoming ever more apparent. This all came to a head on July 4, 2015 when the massive size of our transactions tables was causing major problems for the server. The site wasn't able to stay up for more than a few minutes before being overloaded and crashing. After hiring some great outside help, we got those issues under control and started work on the migration to our current hosting solution (that migration took place at the end of October and has been running extremely well ever since).

What we're currently working on in-house:
* File attachments for transactions. This will give you the ability to attach a receipt or document to any transaction you add to the site.
* Updates to the Jive feature that will show you when a transaction was jived and give you the ability to 'revert' back to the jive status on a certain date
* Saving import configurations so you don't have to select the same fields every time you import a file from the same source. This will be helpful if you import files regularly from the same financial institution.
* In addition to the above, we've got our normal backlog of suggestions and requests that we'll be working on.

What we've outsourced and is currently in progress:
* iOS app rebuild. The iOS app is currently being rebuilt into a native app that will work much more efficiently on the current and future versions of iOS.
* Android app rebuild. The Android app is also being rebuilt and will have an updated UI as well as some additional syncing features.

We'll keep you updated when we have more updates in regards to the mobile apps and when we launch some of the new updates we're working on.

As always, if you have any questions, comments or feature suggestions please pass them our way!

ClearCheckbook Migration Complete

10/31/2015 in ClearCheckbook News
We've fully migrated from our old host to the new hosting solution. We'll be monitoring traffic and bandwidth over the next few days and scaling the various systems to match our demand. This transition ensures that we can easily scale to match demand as the site continues to grow.

We'll keep you all posted over the next few days about updates to the mobile apps and more.

If you're getting an SSL issue, make sure you're visiting https://www.clearcheckbook.com and not https://clearcheckbook.com. For some reason our redirecting isn't working properly but we're trying to figure that out.

ClearCheckbook Server Migration date: Friday October 30th at midnight ET

10/22/2015 in ClearCheckbook News
We will be moving ClearCheckbook from our current server to the new cloud based hosting solution Friday night at 12am ET (9pm PT) on October 30th. All of our tests runs indicate the site will be offline for about 2 hours while we backup all data, transfer it to the new host and then import all the data to the new database. We'll be communicating progress throughout the migration as well. None of your data will be lost or affected during the migration.

We will have more information regarding the mobile apps after the migration has been completed.

We pulled the ClearCheckbook app from Apple app store

9/25/2015 in ClearCheckbook News
The ios9 update crippled the app and made it completely unusable so we pulled the app from the store while we get it rebuilt. In the meantime, you can use the mobile optimized site by visiting clearcheckbook.com from safari.

Transactions fully restored and more clarity about what happened

7/9/2015 in ClearCheckbook News

All of your transactions have been restored to your accounts and they will show up as they normally do on both the web and mobile apps.

What the heck happened?
Now, a little more explanation about what happened and what we're doing to future-proof the site. On the morning of Tuesday June 30th, the database started getting hung up on certain queries which caused a queue of queries to form. When this happens, the server tries its best to get through the queue as fast as possible, but in doing so, overloads and causes the queue to essentially stop in its tracks. This makes itself visible to you by seeing a bunch of errors and not being able to log into the site.

We were able to get things running again for the rest of the day but two days later on the morning of Thursday July 2nd the database had the same issue. We scrambled to get things running again but everything we'd done in the past simply wasn't working. We narrowed the problem down to a single table in our database, the Transactions table. This is what stores all of the transactions that ClearCheckbook users add to the site, all 75+ million of them. Whenever changes are made to this table (adding, editing or deleting transactions), indexes that help the database run more efficiently are updated. Normally this is a quick process but on 75M rows of data, this can take a long time.

To try and speed up the reading/writing of this table, we archived transactions for users who hadn't logged into the site for a few months. Unfortunately this didn't help too much and after a few hours we were back to the database overloading issues. By now it's Friday July 3rd and we're scrambling to get things figured out but it seems like nothing we do is helping at all. It's now that we make some calls and, fortunately, even on a Friday afternoon before Independence Day in the United States, we were able to reach some outside help that was able to meet up on Saturday July 4th and work with us.

The first thing we did was backup all transactions and force manual restoring when you logged back in. This worked fairly well and at least got the site operational. The problem was many people were reporting that not all of their transactions fully restored and were concerned that their data was lost.

What we're doing in the short term
This obviously wasn't a long term solution and the confusion that arose made us speed up plans to break up the giant Transactions table into about 30 smaller tables based on user id. This will be our mid-to-long term solution as far as the database schema goes. The downtime tonight was necessary so we could move all the transactions from the giant tables into the smaller ones. In the short term, this will help the site maintain uptime on our current hardware since the database won't have to search 75M transactions regularly.

What's next
The next step, and what we're working on now, is migrating to a cloud based solution. The outside help we mentioned earlier also excels at making these transitions and has done so with other companies in the past. We're working with them now to optimize our site code for its next home in the cloud. The cloud solution will help us expand and scale up as the site grows without having to maintain our own servers.

A heartfelt apology
I have to admit that this is the single most stressful situation I've ever been in before. When I took ClearCheckbook on as my full time job back in 2009, I knew there would be growing challenges along the way. I use the site daily myself for both personal and business accounts. When the site is having problems, I know how frustrating it can be.

What compounds the frustration is when I receive threatening, cursing and hate filled messages to my personal cell phone and email accounts and our social media outlets and the ClearCheckbook blog while we're working our hardest to resolve the problems. At the height of the issues, we were receiving several hundred emails an hour. There's no possible way we could respond to each one of your messages individually and still have time to work on the database problems.

I can't express how sorry I am that this happened the way it did. Please know that we do have a plan of action to prevent this kind of mess from happening in the future and I'll be posting more information about it as a plan and timeline solidifies.

If you're a premium member who contacted us to cancel/refund your membership, we tried to search through all the messages and fulfill your requests, but there are probably some that slipped through the cracks. If you haven't heard back from us and still wish to stop using the site, please contact us again through the Contact Us link at the bottom right side of the page.

Again, from the bottom of my heart, I'm so extremely sorry for the inconveniences the downtime caused you.

Brandon OBrien
Founder, ClearCheckbook

Update about restoring transactions

7/8/2015 in ClearCheckbook News
We're finishing up some updates that will restore everyone's transactions without having to click the restore button. This will also fix any issues that some people are having where it looks like a subset of your transactions is still missing even after clicking the restore button. These updates will be pushed out by the end of the day today.

Again, we're sorry we can't respond to every email coming in. If you're concerned that all of your data is lost, it isn't. This confusion will be resolved after we make the above updates live.

An explanation about the server troubles this week

7/4/2015 in ClearCheckbook News
First off, we want to say we're extremely sorry for all the trouble the site and app has had this week. We received thousands of emails during the outages and there's no way to easily respond to everyone. If you contacted us to express your confusion or frustration, we're sorry we didn't get back with you. We spent that time working on getting the site back up and running.

The site went down because our database has been getting overloaded lately. Imagine each page load as someone walking through a turnstyle to enter a subway or stadium. Under normal circumstances the lines move through normally as everyone goes through one at a time. Now, imagine rush hour when there are many more people trying to go through those same set of turnstlyes. Things start to back up and people get impatient. In the web world, this leads to people refreshing the page which just makes the situation worse since each page load causes more and more requests to the database (essentially adding more and more people in line). This snowballs and eventually the wait time is so long and there are so many requests pending that the server doesn't know how to handle it so it starts throwing errors.

The main culprit is our Transactions table in the database. We have somewhere around 75 million transactions that our users have entered with somewhere around 50,000 new transactions added daily. This is a lot of data to constantly look up, add to and delete from. The hardware that we're currently running right now was built and set up around 2008 and the truth is, I think the site has gotten too big for our hardware to handle. Back then, we had outgrown several other hosting solutions and at the time, cloud based hosting was still in its infancy. We purchased hardware that we thought would last us for a long time, and has done so pretty well for the last 7 or so years.

For an immediate fix, we've backed up all transactions and are having you restore them when you log in by clicking a button at the top of the page. This process could take a few minutes but don't worry, your data is still secured and will be restored shortly (there are a lot of other people trying to do the same thing).

To help prevent these downtimes and database problems from happening in the future, we're working with an outside party to help us migrate into newer hosting solutions that aren't bound by a physical machine (namely, cloud based solutions that can expand with demand). This is the next logical step in our site's growth, but it's not something we want to jump into blindly. We're going to do our research and find the best solution to keep ClearCheckbook running smoothly for years to come.

If you're accessing the site through one of the mobile apps, you'll need to log into the website to manually restore your transactions for now. We'll work on updating this soon though.

Again, I can't express the depth of sorrow, stress and frustration I feel that we've had these issues. To compound on it, the 4th of July holiday weekend in the US has made it extremely hard to find outside help since everyone is out on vacation.

We'll keep you updated with the progress of the migration to newer hardware over the next week.

Brandon O'Brien
Founder of ClearCheckbook

Are you a University student? Get a free year of ClearCheckbook Premium!

3/26/2015 in ClearCheckbook News
At ClearCheckbook, we strongly believe in the importance of financial literacy and having a good grasp on where your money is going. Student loan debt now tops $1 trillion (averaging over $24,000 per graduate) and is higher than both auto loans and credit card debt. Student loans also have the highest 90+ day delinquency rate out of mortgages, auto loans and credit card debt.

With that in mind, we want to do what we can to help university students have firm control of their finances before graduating. To play our part, we're offering a free year of ClearCheckbook Premium to anyone with a valid .edu email address.

When you register for ClearCheckbook and use a .edu email address, we'll include a confirmation link in your Welcome email. Simply click on that link to activate your premium upgrade. If you're already a member with a .edu email address, you'll see an alert on the Dashboard with a link to send a confirmation email. This free upgrade has no strings attached and no billing information is required.

The only reason for the email link confirmation is to ensure the email address is valid. Per our privacy policy, we won't send you any offers or sell off your email address. We just need to make sure you're actually the owner of the .edu email address.

I started ClearCheckbook when I was in college because I needed a way to manage my own finances. Living on your own and going to school plus all the responsibilities that comes with it can be hard to adjust to at first, but setting budgets and controlling your spending is a great way to set yourself up with a good financial foundation.

Welcome to ClearCheckbook Version 4!

2/21/2015 in ClearCheckbook News

This has been a long time coming but we can finally say that we've launched the next great version of ClearCheckbook! V4 is the culmination of months of hard work spent re-writing code, updating the UI, adding new features, implementing suggestions and a lot of beta testing.

The goal of this update was to keep the site as similar as possible to what you're used to while updating the UI to be more friendly across all platforms, devices and screen sizes. While the site looks different, most of the behavior and locations of tools, links, menus, etc are the same as they were in the last version.

Before I get into all the changes and updates V4 brings... let me first mention a few things:

1. If the site looks weird, graphics aren't loading or you're having problems getting the site to work, please clear the cache in your browser. The easiest way is by refreshing the page about 5-10x in a row really quick.

2. During beta testing, some users complained about issues with contrast between elements on the site. We tracked this down to monitor angle issues or screen color calibration problems. If all the colors seem washed out, try adjusting your monitor angle or running a color calibration on the screen.

Now, on to what's new in V4!

Overall
  • Responsive Design
  • Increased number of autocomplete items from 5 to 10
  • Added 4 new video tutorials for a total of 10 (more will be coming too)
Dashboard
  • Reminders gadget - show alert for recently expired reminders
  • Bills gadget
    • Show alert for recently expired bills
    • Click on a bill to be taken to that bill
  • Adding Gadgets
    • Buttons for gadgets that are already on the dashboard are disabled
    • Not using pop-up box for the add gadgets form
  • Added icons to ClearCheckbooks Links gadget
  • Added 'Other Assets' field to Net Worth gadget to track any additional physical assets
Transaction Register
  • Icons for identifying Transfers and Paid Credit Card transactions
  • Site now remembers your View setting (jived, un-jived, withdrawals, etc)
  • Alternating background colors for jived transactions
  • Temporary account view doesn't get reset on column sort
  • Hover over account, category, description to see full text
  • Hover over sub category to see parent name.
  • Sub categories have a down arrow icon to specify them as sub category
  • When 'Modify Related Transfer' is selected on edit, the related transfer will also update if it's visible on the register
Credit Card section
  • If you change credit card accounts it doesn't reset your view options
Search Form
  • Ability to only show split children/transfers/paid cc transactions
  • Added This Quarter, Last Quarter and Last 90 Days options to date range for premium members
Reports
  • Charts updated and switched from Google Charts API
  • Balances timeline report updates
Debt Snowball
  • Improved display of progress bar
Reminders / Recurring Transactions
  • Improved / standardized navigation between view types
  • Deleting a reminder from the "All" list doesn't take you back to "Upcoming" list
  • Added a border to today's date even if there's a reminder on that day
  • Added a link to reminder emails that lets you disable email reminders
Bill Tracker
  • Improved report viewing
  • Standardized navigation between view types
  • Alert for recently expired bills
Budgets
  • Reports show up for newly created or just edited budgets (rather than having to refresh the page first)
  • Standardized navigation
  • Premium - Export budgets and budget history to CSV file
Budget History
  • Budget history totals are now calculated "on the fly" rather than storing the amount spent at time of reset
    • Provides more accurate historical data in case you added transactions after the budget had reset.
    • No need for the "reset budget history" function
  • View pie chart for spending vs budget on Text history
  • If a budget resets multiple times in a month period, each instance shows up correctly in the monthly text report view
  • Report graphics overhaul
Envelope Budgets
  • If you set a start date for the budget, clicking on the budget will only show transactions on and after that start date
Import Transactions
  • Added ability to click on a transaction to edit it (vs having to select the checkbox and then click the Edit button)
  • Paginating Duplicate Transaction checking
Auto-Jive Tool
  • Added page numbers to list of transactions
Settings
  • Icons to help quickly identify the different settings
Accounts
  • Inactive accounts are now faded
Categories
  • Sub categories in the category list are indented with an icon to help separate them from parent categories

As you can see, there are quite a few updates to check out. This is just the start though. One of the major driving forces behind the V4 update was to better future-proof the site by adopting modern web technologies. This will make it much easier for us to add new features, tools and updates to the site.

The next step for us is focusing on much needed overhauls to all of the mobile apps. We put those on the backburner for a while so we could get the main website updated. Now that V4 has been launched we can go back and spend time on the mobile apps.

ClearCheckbook started out as a tiny program I built and ran on my laptop so I could manage my own finances while I was in college. In the past 9 years ClearCheckbook has gone from something only I could access to a site with over 300,000 registered users managing over 60 million transactions. I just wanted to take a moment to say thanks to all of you for helping ClearCheckbook grow. Whether you've been around since the beginning or just found the site, I'm happy to have built a site that's constantly evolving to fit your financial needs.

Thanks again and enjoy V4!

Brandon O'Brien
Founder, ClearCheckbook.com

ClearCheckbook V4 Beta testing is in full swing!

10/8/2014 in ClearCheckbook News
We've had some users testing out the new version of ClearCheckbook for a few weeks now and so far the feedback has been great. Since the initial round of testing was limited to a fairly small group, we'd like to open up testing to more people.

If you're interested in being one of the first people to try out the next version of ClearCheckbook please leave a comment on this blog post or use the Contact Us link at the bottom right side of the page to let us know.

For more information about ClearCheckbook V4, check out our previous blog post on the update: https://www.clearcheckbook.com/blog/clearcheckbook-news/weve-got-some-huge-updates-around-the-corner

Thanks!

We've got some huge updates around the corner

7/25/2014 in ClearCheckbook News
We've been hard at work the last couple of months on completely overhauling the code behind ClearCheckbook. The technology running the site you see and use today remains relatively unchanged since we launched ClearCheckbook V3 and the premium service back at the end of 2008.

A lot has changed since we built V3. Old technology stops being supported and new technology comes in and takes its place. The goal of ClearCheckbook V4 is to modernize the site to help us quickly and easily release updates that can take advantage of the latest developments in both the computing and mobile world.

The next version of ClearCheckbook will be fully responsive (so it scales properly based on screen resolution) and the design will be more consistent throughout the various tools. We're going to great lengths to make sure we don't change the layout too much so you'll still be able easily recognize and perform all the same tasks you do right now.

The logo is also getting an upgrade. We got rid of the bevel and drop shadow and updated the check mark and checkbook. The new logo has been added to the current site while we finish up V4.

Over the next few months we'll slowly start opening up V4 to testing starting at an invite only basis for some of our most active users. We want to make sure the transition between the current site and v4 is as smooth as possible so getting real hands-on feedback will help tremendously with that effort.

Here are a couple screenshots from our current development site running V4. The screenshots show the updated Dashboard page as well as the updated Reminders / Recurring Transaction tool. You can see that everything looks pretty much the same as the current site but it has an updated look and feel.

ClearCheckbook V4 Account DashboardClearCheckbook V4 Reminders Tool

Some of the colors/sizing/layout will probably change slightly based on the feedback we get during testing but for the most part what you see above will be very close to what the final V4 release will look like.

When I built ClearCheckbook back in 2005 for my own personal use I definitely didn't foresee the site that we have today. With over a quarter million users and over fifty million transactions (with tens of thousands more being added daily) I couldn't be prouder of how the site's grown over the years.

Thanks for all your support and I look forward to providing you with the best money management tool out there!

-Brandon

ClearCheckbook Reaches 50 Million Transactions

5/5/2014 in ClearCheckbook News
We've passed another milestone today by now storing over 50 million transactions that our users have entered. We're averaging about 28,000 new transactions added each day which is a huge amount!

We're extremely happy to see the site continually growing and we have some great updates planned for the future. We'll post more information about these updates over the next couple of months.

Thanks again for using ClearCheckbook!

You're safe from the Heartbleed SSL exploit

4/9/2014 in ClearCheckbook News
There have been some announcements made in the news today about a new way that SSL connections could be exploited. They're calling this "Heartbleed" and more information can be found here http://heartbleed.com/.

We're running a version of OpenSSL that does not contain the vulnerability. This means that all of your data and information has been and will continue to be safe from SSL exploits while you're using ClearCheckbook.com.

ClearCheckbook Windows Phone 8 App Approved!

9/2/2013 in ClearCheckbook News
ClearCheckbook Windows Phone 8 App Approved!

The ClearCheckbook Money Management app for Windows Phone 8 has been approved and is now available to download! We're happy to bring ClearCheckbook to yet another mobile device which makes it easier than ever to stay connected to your finances.

If you're a Windows Phone 8 user, check out the store and search for the ClearCheckbook app. Try it out and let us know what you think by leaving us a comment and rating in the store.

A direct link to the ClearCheckbook Money Management WP8 app can be found here:
http://www.windowsphone.com/s?appid=1f32cac5-6902-4921-ab7f-a20eb0b8462b

Windows Phone 8 app submitted

8/29/2013 in ClearCheckbook News
We just submitted the ClearCheckbook Windows Phone 8 app to Microsoft for approval! They said it could take up to 5 business days for the approval to come through. We'll let you know when we're notified of any status changes.


In the meantime, you can check out the Windows Phone 8 app page for some screenshots.

Database Issues Resolved - Site Loading Speeds Improved

6/19/2013 in ClearCheckbook News
If you've tried to access the site over the last couple of weeks you might have noticed some slow load times or even some site outages. We've been trying to figure out what the problem is and have been updating various aspects of the site, server and database to try to increase reliability.

We finally found the root of the issue and fixed it. There should be no unscheduled down-times or overloaded databases now.

Technical Wording Alert...
We knew the issue was database related. We were keeping track of long running queries that would start causing a snowball effect that would eventually cascade into a database overload. All of the queries were coming from the massive 40+million transactions table in our database.

The problem was there was no rhyme or reason to the long running queries behaving the way they did. They would perform fine on some accounts and not at all on others. We used this as a starting point and worked from there.

We initially thought it was a vacuuming issue (basically keeping the table in check for quick access) where the table was too large and the vacuum would die part way through. That's why we took the site down last night to run a full vacuum on the table. Unfortunately, as many of you noticed today, that didn't help. The issues persisted and the database continued to overload.

Fast forward through a lot of high blood pressure inducing brainstorming and we finally realized the transactions table was highly fragmented across our hard drives. All of the adding/deleting of transactions left data all over the place. This meant it took much longer than normal to access all the data quickly and efficiently.

We ended up dumping and reloading the data cleanly and sequentially on our hard disks and that fixed the problem. Everything appears to be fixed now with the transactions table.

Over the next week we'll be conducing the same action on our other large tables to help improve site performance even more.

We'd like to thank you all for dealing with these issues as we've encountered them. I launched ClearCheckbook in 2006 because I wanted everyone to be able to quickly and easily have access to their financial information. Whenever the site goes down I do my best to be transparent and let everyone know what's going on and work to fix the problems as quickly as possible.

ClearCheckbook has grown tremendously over the last few years (we just passed our 250,000th registered user) and we've had our technical hurdles from time to time. Each time we learn something new and work to make sure nothing like that happens again.

Please rest assured that ClearCheckbook is my #1 focus and we're doing our best to provide you with the best money management site and app suite available.

If you have any other questions, please let us know.

Thanks!
-Brandon

A note about the recent site slow downs

4/30/2013 in ClearCheckbook News
As some of you have noticed about once a week it seems like the site really starts to slow down and get sluggish or not let you log in. This is caused by a few issues which I'll explain below. We're also working to fix these issues so the site continues to run quickly and efficiently in the future.

Issue #1: Complex Database Queries
ClearCheckbook has massive amounts of data we have to process each time you perform an action on the site. To give you a little perspective, we have over 39 MILLION transactions in our database. On an average day we're getting almost 50,000 new transactions added to the site.

This is a lot of data to handle and some of the reports or search functions require processing a lot of this information. The database queries to perform some of these actions are very complex and can take a while to complete. What we've noticed by looking at our logs after a site outage is that people get a little impatient and refresh the page or click the search button several times in a row which adds to the list of complex queries being run. It acts a bit like a snowball where the more of these complex queries that add up, the longer it takes the site to get to other less intense queries. If enough of these build up, it causes the slowdowns you experience.

We're usually around to catch these pretty quickly but sometimes they happen early in the morning before we're at our computers.

Issue #2: Site Growth
This is something we've had to deal with since we launched the site almost 7 years ago. ClearCheckbook is very popular and always seems to be growing. We're not complaining about that at all, but it seems like with each growth spurt we discover new issues that arise due to large amount of traffic hitting the site.

When you combine both of those issues, it means our site is getting used at all times by people all over the world and there's constant database activity. As more people use the site, more of those complex queries are getting regularly run.

What We're Doing:
Each time the site goes down it's because of the database being overloaded. When this happens we can look at the longest running queries to figure out what started the so called "snowball" mentioned above. Whenever this happens, we look at the queries in question and work on optimizing them and the database to prevent this from happening again.

We've fixed countless queries and performed more optimizations to the site than we'd care to admit and we believe we're getting close to optimizing all of these complex queries that take a little longer to run.

I built ClearCheckbook because I wanted a way to easily manage my money. When I made this my full time job in September 2009 it became my main focus and all I wanted was to see the site succeed and help people with their finances.

Whenever the site has these hiccups it may frustrate you, but believe me when I say that it's infinitely more frustrating to me. We have almost a quarter million registered users so whenever there's a site issue I feel like I'm personally letting everyone down.

All I ask is that you're patient with us while we're going through some of these growth spurts. We're constantly working to make the site better by providing updates, new features, quick bug fixes and more.

-Brandon

ClearCheckbook 2012 Year Roundup

1/2/2013 in ClearCheckbook News
We did this last year and thought it would be good to give everyone some information about the site from 2012. We had 42,534 new users sign up (43% from mobile devices).

In 2012 we had 2,475,672 visits (466,274 unique) to the site which added up to a total of 15,492,688 pageviews. The average person visits 6.25 pages each time they come to the site and stay for an average of 7:42. All of these stats are up from 2011 which is a great sign.

In addition to the site numbers growing, we were also busy keeping the site updated. Over the course of the year we issued 227 bug fixes, updates and tweaks to the site. There were also 8 major updates / new features in 2012. We added/overhauled the following:
* Auto-Jive Tool
* Balances Timeline in Reports
* iOS app redeveloped
* Investment Portfolio
* Automatic categorization of Imported Transactions
* Re-arranging Transaction Register Columns
* Money Lending Tracker
* Budgets Overhaul

We've already mentioned it recently, but our plan for 2013 is to focus on the mobile apps the first part of the year. We plan on overhauling/updating the existing apps as well as building apps for other mobile platforms such as Blackberry and Windows Phone. Once we have the mobile apps all updated and available for download we will focus on some new features and updates for the site.

ClearCheckbook Mobile App Updates and Developments

11/26/2012 in ClearCheckbook News
We wanted to keep you in the loop about what we've been working on lately. In 2012 we focused very heavily on making improvements and upgrades to the main website. Unfortunately that meant our mobile apps started to fall behind as far as features and updates went. Well, 2013 is going to be the year of mobile apps. Right now we have apps available for iOS, Android and WebOS. Over the next few months we'll be working heavily on updating our current apps and getting apps out there for Windows Phone, BlackBerry and Symbian devices.

In order to get to that point, we needed to start somewhere. That start is with a huge round of updates we're making to the iOS app. This update we're nearly finished with will be the benchmark we use when updating and creating the other mobile apps.

What does this latest round of updates contain? Well, we've been collecting feedback for quite some time about our apps and we've been working on implementing as much as possible into the app.

Here's what's included in the latest update we're working on finishing now:
  • Improved Navigation (easier access to adding transactions)
  • User selectable start page
  • Jive Mode (to make it easier to jive transactions from your mobile device)
  • Running Balances (for premium members)
  • Adding transactions offline (to sync up later)

Again, we've been using the iOS app to set the standard that all of the other mobile apps will need to follow. We're not saying the iOS app is going to be 100% perfect after this update, but it will be considerably more reliable and easier to use.

Here are some screenshots of the iOS app under development right now (click to enlarge):
iOS app - Running Balances iOS app - Select Home Page iOS app - Jive Mode iOS app - Offline Warning iOS app - Sync Transactions

We hope to submit this update to Apple this week. Based on past experience it seems to take about a week for them to approve the app and release it for download. If all goes well, in about 2 weeks you'll be able to install the latest app on your iOS device.

Update (November 28, 2012): The app has been approved by Apple and should be available in the App store for download!

Big Improvements and New Features Coming Soon

10/2/2012 in ClearCheckbook News
We've been busy working on a huge amount of updates and tweaks to the site plus a new tool that will help people track who owes them money and who they've borrowed money from.

The updates and tweaks revolve around the way we calculate your Overall and Jived balances. Right now, those balances aren't calculated live each time the page loads. Instead, there is a table in our database that is constantly updated when you add/edit/delete transactions. This table is used to calculate your balances. Some of you might have noticed that occasionally this table gets a little out of balance and requires the clicking of the "Refresh Balances" link. This link goes through and re-calculates the balances and corrects any issues.

Well, we're tired of having that table get out of whack every once in a while so we're doing away with it and the need to refresh your balances. Coming soon, your balances will be calculated on the fly each time the page loads so you can be sure the balances that are displayed are the correct amounts.

We're also optimizing the rest of the site to help improve the responsiveness and load times when you navigate through the site. We've cut the number of database queries on the dashboard page alone to 1/4 what they are right now.

The new feature is a Money Lending Tracker that lets you track who owes you money or who you borrowed money from. This feature has been requested by several users and we believe what we created will work well for your needs.

We're working on finishing the tweaks and making sure there aren't any issues with the new updates and then we'll release all of the above updates. Keep an eye out on the blog to learn when the updates have been launched.

ClearCheckbook now in Chrome Store

8/14/2012 in ClearCheckbook News
You can now add the ClearCheckbook Money Management app through the Chrome Store. The ClearCheckbook Money Management app is a quick link to the main site so you can easily access your account from Google Chrome.

The Chrome Web Store is an online marketplace where you can discover thousands of apps, extensions and themes for Google Chrome.

To add the ClearCheckbook Money Management app, make sure you're using the Chrome browser and then search for ClearCheckbook or click on the following link: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/clearcheckbook-money-mana/ncgheejpeplfmifkibfifpdhceopaifp

Help us get some extra exposure to the site by adding ClearCheckbook to your list of apps!

ClearCheckbook iPhone App 2.0 Now Available

3/15/2012 in ClearCheckbook News
We're glad to announce that Apple has approved our overhaul to the ClearCheckbook iPhone app. It should now be available in the App Store now. Please download the latest update and let us know how it goes!

The new 2.0 version of the app has been completely re-written and will run much more efficiently than the last one.
  • Numeric keypad on amount entries
  • Easier to navigate and click on items
  • Less loading messages
  • Built on a framework for easier future updates
  • It doesn't crash every time you open the app


We also just issued another update that will make the app run better on the iPad as well. I'm sure it'll be another week before that's ready though.

ClearCheckbook iPhone App 2.0 Pending Approval

3/8/2012 in ClearCheckbook News
We submitted the new iPhone app to the App Store this afternoon. The new 2.0 version of the app has been completely re-written and will run much more efficiently than the last one.

Here are some of the upgrades made to the new app:
  • Numeric keypad on amount entries
  • Easier to navigate and click on items
  • Less loading messages
  • Built on a framework for easier future updates
  • It doesn't crash every time you open the app


It took a full week for the existing app to get approved, so we'll keep our fingers crossed that this doesn't take quite so long.

The app will also work much better on the iPad and we'll also be working on optimizing it some more to take advantage of the larger iPad screen.

2011 Year Roundup and ClearCheckbook's Future

1/6/2012 in ClearCheckbook News
We wanted to share with you a roundup of ClearCheckbook during 2011 and a sneak peak into what we have in store for 2012. Getting right to it, 2011 was a great year for ClearCheckbook. We had a total of 44,563 new user signups (which comes to about 122 signups per day). All of our stats were up across the board from 2010. The screenshot below shows 2011 (blue) compared to 2010 (orange) for total visits to the site.



In 2011 we had 2,085,159 visits (374,202 unique) to the site which racked up an impressive 12,646,329 pageviews. The average person visits 6 pages each time they come to the site and spends an average of 7:30 on the site. As we said above, all of these stats are up from 2010.

During the year we weren't just sitting around twiddling our thumbs either. In 2011 we released two completely new tools, the Bill Tracker and the Debt Snowball tool. We also released 3 new large features to existing tools: Checking for Duplicate Transactions on import, Saved Searches and Saved Custom Reports, and the Premium Groups feature. In addition to the new tools and features, we also completely overhauled several existing functions of the site such as the Import tool, Estimating Future Balances, Reports, Currency Conversions, Bill Tracker and our entire database. On top of all that we still managed over 100 bug fixes and minor updates.

So with all of that covered, what's in store for 2012? The first half of the year is going to focus on digging through our backlog of requests and suggestions and working on introducing any that we feel will benefit the majority of our members. We're also going to completely scrap the existing iPhone app and build something that actually works the way it was supposed to from the start. Along those same lines, the mobile optimized website will be getting a complete overhaul to make it more usable and give it access to some of the newer tools and features.

We'd also like to thank everyone who sends us email with testimonials and praise and those of you who spread the word of the site to your friends and family! You're the reason we do what we do.

Help us out and get a free year of premium membership!

12/12/2011 in ClearCheckbook News
We're calling upon you, our ClearCheckbook users, to help us create some walkthroughs/tutorials on how to switch from other financial applications (like Quicken, Microsoft Money, Mint, etc) to ClearCheckbook. Our goal is to have some nice documentation to provide for new users who are looking to switch from another application but aren't quite sure how things match up.

Ideally each tutorial would cover some basic terminology comparisons, how to properly export data from the old financial app so it can easily be imported into CCB and any other helpful information that a new user switching to our site might need. Screenshots to go along with the documentation are always welcome.

Anyone who writes a comprehensive tutorial for us will get a free year's worth of premium membership added to their account.

If you're interested, just contact us via the link at the bottom right side of the page and let us know what app you're interested in writing a switching tutorial for.

Thanks! We hope to hear from you soon.

Vote ClearCheckbook for the 2011 Reader's Choice Awards on About.com!

2/11/2011 in ClearCheckbook News
The nominations were tallied and ClearCheckbook ended up being one of the top 5 (out of 75) online personal finance software for About.com's 2011 Reader's Choice Awards.

You can now go vote for us through March 8th. There are no prizes or rewards associated with winning, simply bragging rights.

If you love ClearCheckbook.com, show your support!

Best Online Personal Finance Software Category:
http://financialsoft.about.com/b/2011/02/11/best-online-personal-finance-software-rca2011.htm

Best Mobile Personal Finance Software Category:
http://financialsoft.about.com/b/2011/02/11/best-mobile-personal-finance-app-rca2011.htm

Thanks to everyone who sent in their nominations earlier last month!

-Brandon

Site Downtime: Here's what happened.

1/21/2011 in ClearCheckbook News
Due to a series of events explained below, we were forced to suddenly move our live server to another hosting facility. If things had gone as expected, the transition would have been flawless with no site downtime. Everything is back to normal now and we will not be experiencing any more unexpected downtime.

Here's what actually happened:
1. On December 30, 2010, the company that's hosting our server said they would be shutting down their data center in Los Angeles an moving everything to Dallas. We didn't want our server moved to Dallas, because our server guru lives in LA.

2. We weighed our options and decided to purchase an additional server and host it at a new facility. We could transfer everything to the new server and have it running while we took our existing one down, then move the existing server to the new facility.

3. We purchased our new server and set up a contract with the new hosting company. Then, on January 9th, 2011, our existing host decided to route all network traffic through its Dallas datacenter. This caused several hours of outage for the site. The issues were resolved and we continued to wait for our new server to arrive.

4. Our new server finally arrived on January 15, 2011 and we made an appointment to install the new server at the new hosting facility for today, January 21, 2011.

5. At around 9:30am PST, our existing host had a major network malfunction, causing the site to go down. We weighed our options and decided we've had enough and if the outage continued, we would take our live server and move it today as well. That's what happened so we moved the server.

Where we stand now:
We are currently up and running at the new hosting facility on our main server. Over the next few days we will be getting the additional server installed in conjunction with it, to provide an even faster experience for the site.

The downtime is over and all the headaches are done. We're in a much more solid facility now and happy to be rid of the old hosting company.

Again, I'm truly sorry for the issues and any problems it may have caused.

Brandon O'Brien
CEO and Founder
ClearCheckbook.com

About.com Reader's Choice Awards

1/13/2011 in ClearCheckbook News
I was just sent an email from about.com telling us we could have our users nominate ClearCheckbook for the 2011 About.com Reader's Choice Awards in the Personal Finance category.

You can visit the following link and nominate ClearCheckbook for "Best Online Personal Finance Software" and "Best Mobile Personal Finance Software":
http://financialsoft.about.com/library/bl-readers-choice-awards-2011.htm

Voting takes place through February 11th, 2011. There are no prizes or awards, simply bragging rights. It would be great to see how we stack up against the competition though.

The article is a little outdated (as it's about 2.5 years old), but you can read About.com's writeup on ClearCheckbook here:
http://financialsoft.about.com/od/onlinesoftware/p/ClearCheckbook.htm.

Server / Network Interruptions

1/9/2011 in ClearCheckbook News
I wanted to let everyone know we are aware of the recent service interruptions. This has been due to our server host messing with their internal network routing.

Due to these as well as other issues with our host, we will be moving our server to another hosting facility and purchasing another server to reduce any other downtime and improve redundancy.

Unfortunately our new hardware hasn't arrived yet and we can't move the existing server without the new one unless we took the site offline, which is obviously not ideal.

We will keep you posted when we know more about moving our server and the new hardware, but I wanted to let you know we are working on this to ensure it doesn't happen again.

-Brandon

ClearCheckbook 2010 Roundup

12/31/2010 in ClearCheckbook News
ClearCheckbook has had a great 2010 and we look forward to making 2011 even better. In 2010 alone, we had more new signups than the previous 3 years combined, closing the year with around 147,000 users.

In 2010 we also released mobile apps for WebOS, Android and iPhone. These mobile apps have brought in over 45,000 new users alone. We know there are some feature requests and updates needed for the mobile apps and we will be addressing these in 2011.

What does 2011 hold in store for ClearCheckbook.com? We're currently working on a complete overhaul and refresh to the site. We've been working on it for about a month and will continue putting more time and effort into it as we progress. This new refresh is taking many of the suggestions we've received over the last year into account while building the next version. Aside from new features and tweaks to the way current features work, we're re-coding the site from the ground up to help make future growth easier.

The new site will visually look pretty similar and behave about the same as the current version, but everything will be quicker and much more intuitive. We know you've become adjusted to the way the current site works, so we are striving to keep things as similar as possible in the next version.

Along with a refresh of the website, we're also working to release updated versions of all mobile apps in conjunction with the launch of the new site. This is a huge undertaking but we know it will pay off by making things even smoother between the website and mobile apps.

While I'm not going to start tossing out any kind of deadlines for the next version of the site yet, I just want to reassure you that ClearCheckbook is going strong and we're going to continue to be an industry player and make money management even easier.

We haven't been as active in the Support Forums because we've been focusing most of our resources on the development of the new site, but if you have any questions that go unanswered there, please don't hesitate to send us an email by clicking on the Contact Us link at the bottom right side of the page. We always answer any email that requires a response.

Thank you for a great 2010 and we look forward to making 2011 and the upcoming years even more exciting.

Brandon O'Brien
Founder of ClearCheckbook.com

Looking for a few beta testers

9/10/2010 in ClearCheckbook News
We're working on updating the Budgets tool to allow for transfers and deposits to be included as options. We would like to get some real user feedback about these and to ensure they're working properly before we release it to everyone.

If you're interested in testing this out, please use the Contact US form at the bottom right side of the page and let us know.

Thanks!

Looking for Spanish speakers using the translated site!

5/25/2010 in ClearCheckbook News
We're looking for any Spanish speaking users who are currently using ClearCheckbook and are interested in speaking to an author who is writing a story for the AARP VIVA magazine.

If you are interested, please use the Contact Us form at the bottom of the page and let us know. The author is looking to wrap the article up by Thursday, so the sooner you can let us know, the better.

Thanks!

ClearCheckbook iPhone App Update

5/5/2010 in ClearCheckbook News
Great news for everyone waiting for an iPhone app. Late last week I got in contact with an iPhone developer who signed onto the project. We met today for a status update and he's making some great work. We are meeting again on Sunday to go over some final updates, but we should be submitting the app to the App Store within the next two weeks.

Sorry for the delay in getting this done, but we're almost there.

ClearCheckbook WebOS App in Top 200 and the Top Finance App.

4/21/2010 in ClearCheckbook News
The ClearCheckbook Money Management WebOS app is currently in the Top 200 most downloaded free apps since February 2010. We are also the top downloaded free personal finance app!

As of this posting, the ClearCheckbook Money Management app has received almost 17,000 downloads since it first launched in February. It's amazing to see such a good following for the app.

If you know anyone who has a Palm WebOS phone, let them know about the app!

WebOS App updated with Reminders / Recurring Transactions

4/21/2010 in ClearCheckbook News
The ClearCheckbook WebOS app has been updated to include Reminders / Recurring Transactions. You can now view, add, edit and delete reminders and recurring transactions directly from your WebOS app.

The interface for the reminders is very easy to use and can be accessed directly from the overviews page by clicking on the calendar icon.

If you're going to ask about why we don't have an iPhone app out yet, please refer to this thread: Seeking iPhone / iPad Developer.

Seeking iPhone / iPad Developer

4/17/2010 in ClearCheckbook News
We're looking to hire an iPhone / iPad developer to finish the ClearCheckbook mobile app. We've made some progress (thanks to a few CCB members), but we really need to get this completed sooner rather than later.

The ideal candidate is someone who has a good working knowledge of Objective-C and has successfully created a few apps that are live in the App store.

The iPhone app will need to mimic the functionality that currently exists for the WebOS and Android apps. You can check out those screenshots and features by clicking on the respective links at the bottom of the page.

We have our API documented and working with both the WebOS and Android apps. It uses the RESTful style to perform various actions.

It took me about 60-70 hours to code, debug and launch the WebOS app to where it is right now. That included writing the API and learning the WebOS language. I'm assuming it shouldn't take very much longer for someone who knows their way around Objective-C to complete the project.

We will pay $40/hr (assuming development time of around 75 hours) for completion of the iPhone app. This price is negotiable. The iPad app development cost will probably fall under the $40/hr mark as well.

Please send an email to brandon at clearcheckbook dot com if you're interested. Serious inquiries only.

Every ClearCheckbook iPhone user and myself thank you in advance.

We're looking for testimonials

4/10/2010 in ClearCheckbook News
We're looking to build up a little section filled with testimonials about how the site has helped you out. We're looking for all ranges of testimonials, so whether the site has simply helped you get a better idea of your spending or if you no longer bounce checks or anything in between, we would like to know.

If you want to send us a testimonial, use the "Contact Us" form at the bottom right side of the page and send us a 1-3 sentence testimonial as well as your first name and city/state.

Thanks in advance!

ClearCheckbook Palm Application Updated!

2/12/2010 in ClearCheckbook News
The ClearCheckbook application for Palm WebOS has been updated to include reports and budgets as well as a few bug fixes and performance tweaks.

The reports allow you to check out pie charts for your spending categories and line charts for your overall account deposits vs. withdrawals.

With the budgets, you can view, add, edit and delete your spending limits so you always know how you're doing with your budget.

The update is available now from the app catalog and is completely free.

You can learn more and see some screen shots of the app in action here: https://www.clearcheckbook.com/app/webos/

ClearCheckbook App to manage finances on Android phones!

2/4/2010 in ClearCheckbook News
ClearCheckbook is proud to announce the release of the ClearCheckbook app for Android phones! Now you have the ability to view your balances, add, view and manage transactions, manage your accounts and manage your spending categories all from your Android phone!

You can learn more about the Android application as well as find a user manual here: https://www.clearcheckbook.com/app/android/.

We will be working on enhancing the UI and adding some more features to the application as time goes on. We wanted to get a functioning app out first so everyone could at least start using it.

ClearCheckbook App to manage finances on Palm WebOS!

1/31/2010 in ClearCheckbook News
ClearCheckbook is proud to announce the release of the ClearCheckbook app for Palm WebOS! Now you have the ability to view your balances, add, view and manage transactions, manage your accounts and manage your spending categories all from your Palm WebOS phone!

You can learn more about the Palm WebOS application as well as find a user manual and link to the application here: https://www.clearcheckbook.com/app/webos/.

We will also be releasing our Android application this week, with an iPhone application soon to follow.

Update on Mobile Apps

1/22/2010 in ClearCheckbook News
I wanted to give everyone an update on where we stand with the mobile apps. We have been putting the finishing touches on our API that we're using to interact with the apps and have been making some good progress on the apps themselves.

We will be adding a ClearCheckbook app to the Android marketplace and Palm WebOS App Catalog some time the week of February 1st. The iPhone application will be added soon after those.

After releasing the apps we will be opening up our API so other people can start developing for more devices and platforms (like the blackberry and various widgets for sites all over the web).

We will post more information when the apps are released.

Nominate ClearCheckbook for a Crunchies Web Award!

11/30/2009 in ClearCheckbook News
Enjoy using ClearCheckbook? Help and nominate us for a 2009 Crunchies web award!

There are only 4 more days to vote! Voting ends at Midnight on December 4th PST.

Best Boostrapped Startup:
crunchies2009.techcrunch.com/vote/?NjpDbGVhcmNoZWNrYm9vaw==

Simply click on the links and then hit the Nominate button. It's that easy!

Thanks!

ClearCheckbook en Español

11/19/2009 in ClearCheckbook News
With the help of one of our members, ClearCheckbook has been translated into Spanish! You can now switch to the spanish translations by clicking on the "Español" link at the bottom of the page under "Languages".

ClearCheckbook Tutorial Help Section

11/5/2009 in ClearCheckbook News
We have put up a new page in the Help section that will hold tutorials on how to use various aspects of ClearCheckbook.com. Right now there's a tutorial on how to use the Jive feature to balance your accounts. The tutorial shows how to use your bank statement and ClearCheckbook to make sure all transactions are accounted for.

Special thanks to ClearCheckbooker cswroe for putting this tutorial together!

You can find the tutorial section here: https://www.clearcheckbook.com/help/tutorial

ClearCheckbook Developer API Announcement

10/20/2009 in ClearCheckbook News
We're officially announcing the development of the ClearCheckbook API. The ClearCheckbook API will give developers the opportunity to create gadgets, widgets and other applications that interface with ClearCheckbook.

We hope to have a beta version of the API released in the next week or two and are looking for any interested developers to sign up so we can work on testing out the API.

If you're a developer or have experience working with APIs and would like to try out the ClearCheckbook API, please go to our ClearCheckbook Developers page and sign up.

We have also created a forum where developers can talk and discuss the API and potential projects. You can find that on our Forums page.

We look forward to the upcoming possibilities the API will produce!

System wide performance upgrades in progress!

10/17/2009 in ClearCheckbook News
We're currently working on some system wide performance upgrades. We released some last night and will continue to push out new updates over the next couple of days. If we do our job right, the only changes you should notice are some speed increases.

Even though we don't expect any, if you notice any bugs or weird things happening during this time, please use the Contact Us link at the bottom right side of every page and let us know.

We need your feedback and help!

10/12/2009 in ClearCheckbook News
We are currently in the planning stages to build some more debt management/forecasting tools into ClearCheckbook. We would like to know how you currently handle managing/paying/forecasting any current debt you have (Credit cards, student loans, mortgage, etc).

We're simply curious to find out how you currently do it so we can use some of these ideas to build a tool for ClearCheckbook. If you can take a few minutes to contact us and let us know, your help would be greatly appreciated!

You can contact us by hitting the Contact Us link at the bottom right side of the page.

Thanks!

ClearCheckbook is now my full-time job

9/21/2009 in ClearCheckbook News
I have officially quit my previous full-time job in an effort to devote all my time into making ClearCheckbook the best money management site available. The first things on my agenda are:
* a visual refresh to the site
* making the site more user friendly (better documentation, more "obvious" ways to do things, etc)
* making the home page more visually appealing and informative
* better budgeting tools
* mobile apps

Now is the time to start submitting and voting on new features for the site. You can do that here: https://www.clearcheckbook.com/suggest.

I'm really looking forward to putting all my effort into the site and hope that everyone will see some great additions and improvements over the upcoming weeks and months.

Transfer to Temporary Server Complete

7/26/2009 in ClearCheckbook News
The site is now running on a temporary server while we upgrade our main server. We hope to have everything moved back to the upgraded main server soon. I will keep everyone posted on that status.

System Downtime Notice

7/24/2009 in ClearCheckbook News
We will be transitioning to the temporary server on Saturday July 25th at 11:00pm central time. The site should only be down for 30-60 minutes maximum while we transfer the database.

While on this temporary server, you may notice a little bit of a slow down for a few days while we get our real server set up again. The specs of the temporary server are a little weaker than what we currently have.

I will keep everyone posted of any updates.

Server Upgrades and Relocation

7/22/2009 in ClearCheckbook News
I wanted to give everyone a heads up that we will be upgrading and moving our server soon. There are a few reasons for this update.

1. We will be upgrading the server itself by nearly doubling the RAM to 12 GB and putting dual 1.5 TB hard drives in it. This will help really speed things up on the site.

2. We are going to be rebuilding the software side of the server to speed things up and eliminate all those random crashes that were occurring.

3. We are physically moving the server from Las Vegas, NV to Los Angeles, CA to a new hosting facility that provides much more bandwidth than we currently have.

All three of those combined will help make the site much faster and reliable.

Some time over the next few days we will be moving the site to a temporary server where it will remain while we physically upgrade and move the server. We shouldn't be on this temporary server for more than a few days and it has enough power to handle our traffic in the mean time.

There is no expected downtime during this transition and I'll keep you posted on the progress.

We're looking for people to help translate the site.

4/27/2009 in ClearCheckbook News
ClearCheckbook is looking for people to help translate the site into various languages other than English. We have created a text file that can be used for the translation.

If you would like to help us and translate the site into a different language, we will reward you with a year of free ClearCheckbook Premium Membership.

You can download the translation file here: English Translations. The file is made up of msgid and msgstr pairs. In this file, they are both the same. To translate, you will want to modify the msgstr lines and leave the msgid lines as they are.

If you see some text with %'s around them, that means that text is a link and is what will be displayed on the site as the text of the link.

If you plan on translating the site, please download the file from above and then contact us using the Contact Us form at the bottom of the page and let us know what language you plan on translating the site into.

Thank you for your help.

Balances seem off? Check the year.

1/13/2009 in ClearCheckbook News
I have had a few people email me asking why their balances are wrong and it seems like the site is calculating a transaction twice. What seems to be happening is people enter transactions with 2008 instead of 2009 and then don't see it at the top of the list and add it again, this time with the correct year... thus giving you two transactions and throwing off your balance.

This is mostly happening for transactions that are taking place at the first of the year. Some people are entering January 1, 2008 instead of January 1, 2009. The transaction then gets placed way back in the beginning of 2008 transactions and they don't see it... so they add it again, throwing things off.

So to sum it up, if something seems off, go back and double check that you didn't put the wrong year in when you were adding transactions.

If that doesn't seem to be the issue and you know everything else is correct, try clicking the "Refresh Balances" link that's located under the Account Overviews on the Dashboard and Summary pages.

ClearCheckbook Launches Major Upgrade and Announces Premium Membership

12/22/2008 in ClearCheckbook News
ClearCheckbook is proud to announce the launch of Version 3 of the site. This version upgrade comes with many new features, an updated look, and the ability to become a Premium member.

To start, we'll tell you about the Premium Membership. A Premium Membership gives you access to some new and exciting features such as the ability to view all transactions that were edited and deleted and gives you the power to restore them. The Premium Membership also displays the running balance on the Account Summary page and gives you the ability to estimate Future Balances. The Premium membership costs $4 per month, but you can also purchase multiple months at a time at a lower cost. We do want to emphasize the fact that the site will always remain free for you to sign up and use. However, we believe that offering a Premium membership is a great way to help grow the site and keep the site competitive for both free and premium members. To learn more about the Premium Membership, check out the premium information page.

Some of the new features added to the site are the new Dashboard that replaces the Account Summary page. Here you can quickly add transactions, view reports, check out your spending limits, view upcoming reminders and recurring transactions and more. Rather have the old Account Summary back? That's fine too, it's as easy as clicking a link on the Summary page. You can now add transactions from any page without actually leaving the page. This will make it easy to quickly enter your transactions while browsing other parts of the site. The reports have also seen an extensive overhaul. The look of the reports have been greatly improved over the previous version of the site. You can also dynamically compare your spending categories against each other in a new report. We now give you the ability to mass delete transactions by clicking on a checkbox next to each transaction you want removed. If you're a premium member, you can also use this method to mass edit transactions.

If you're curious about how to use some of the new features of the site, check out the tour page. We have some videos that walk you through some of the key features of the site.

The iPhone and iPod touch webapp has also been upgraded and now has the complete set of features the normal site has. You can learn more about the mobile site by going to the mobile page.

There are still a few things we will be slowly launching over the next few weeks. One of the main new features will be the ability to view the site in different languages. We have several people helping to translate the site into various languages and when we receive those back, we will put them up.

We encourage you to check out the site and see all the new features first hand.

Thanks!

The ClearCheckbook Team

ClearCheckbook V3 Launch Date: December 22nd

12/11/2008 in ClearCheckbook News
We're finally ready to set a firm date on when V3 will launch. The official launch of V3 will be Monday, December 22nd. We have been working very hard over the last few months developing the site and testing it over and over again.

Some of the new features that will be available at launch are:

  • Running Balances

  • Transaction Histories (ability to undo edited or deleted transactions)

  • Estimating future balances (based on your reminders)

  • Accounts dashboard to see every aspect of the site you want at a quick glance (with the option of setting the current Summary page as the default)

  • Much improved reporting tools (no more pie chart legends overlapping the chart, much nicer looking line and bar graphs, plus more)

  • Mass editing and deleting of transactions

  • Ability to add transactions from any page

  • Improved Credit Card functionality

  • Each account can have its own currency, plus the ability to set a global currency

  • Timezone settings

  • iPhone webapp now has every function the regular site does (aside from importing and exporting)

  • Ability to view the site in languages other than English

  • plus much more

We will have to take the site down for a few hours over the weekend of the 20th just before launch of V3 in order to update the database and server, but we'll post more about this when the time comes.

Thanks everyone for waiting patiently. I know the next version of the site is going to be even more helpful than the current version in helping you manage your money.

Unexpected Downtime: Server Host Issues

11/25/2008 in ClearCheckbook News
The company that is currently hosting ClearCheckbook was down for about 2 hours this afternoon. Something brought their entire datacenter down, including our server.

We are extremely sorry for this inconvenience and we're currently looking for a new company to host our server. We have been having other issues with them for quite some time and this is the final straw.

If you know of any reliable server coloation services in the Los Angeles or Las Vegas area, please let us know.

Again, sorry for the issues. It was completely out of our hands.

4 Million Transactions and a V3 Update

11/10/2008 in ClearCheckbook News
Some time last night we surpassed 4,000,000 transactions stored in our database. It has been 4 months since we hit the 3 million transaction mark.

ClearCheckbook v3 is still in beta testing right now. We have most of the bugs worked out of the site and are currently working on the iPhone webapp version. We should have this done by the end of the week and release it to beta testers at that time.

There was a question about the server upgrade that was canceled earlier in the month. We still plan on upgrading the server (We bought the new hard drives and ram), we are just waiting until we are closer to launch to do this.

We're getting close, just hang tight a little longer.

ClearCheckbook V3 Update

9/19/2008 in ClearCheckbook News
It has been a little while since we gave an update to the progress of ClearCheckbook version 3. Over the past few months we've been working very hard to get everything updated and added to the new version of the site. As of now, we only have two more features to rebuild for the new site (Reminders and Reports) plus a few more smaller additions and general cleanup.

We are looking to launch our private beta testing of the site in about 2 weeks and will use that time to fix any bugs and finalize the layout and other things like that.

We're sorry for the slight delay in launching the new version, but we want to make sure everything is there and working smoothly before the launch.

In a couple weeks I will post more information about the beta testing and how to sign up for it if you're interested.

ClearCheckbook July Roundup

8/5/2008 in ClearCheckbook News
General ClearCheckbook News:
July has been another great month for ClearCheckbook. We had over 310,000 transactions added this month with around 2,100 new members sign up for the site. We also broke the 3,000,000 transaction mark in July!

Donations:
We were about $60 short of our donation goal, but it's still great to see so many people donating.

V3 Development Update:
Many more hours have been poured into the development of V3. A lot of the new ideas are starting to take shape on the site, but we still have a few more to start on. These next few weeks will be very busy for the development of V3.

We also announced in July that we are developing a native iPhone app and plan on launching that along side V3.

There will be some more news about V3 as the launch date gets closer. The estimated launch is still September with beta testing opening up at the end of August.

ClearCheckbook now storing over 3 million transactions!

7/17/2008 in ClearCheckbook News
Just a few minutes ago we passed the 3,000,000 stored transactions mark. It has been less than 4 months since we hit the 2 million transaction mark.

During the course of July, we've had an average of 11,000 transactions added each day.

It's great to see the site growing so quick! Thanks to everyone who has been telling friends and family and helping to spread the word of the site.

iPhone users... It's Coming.

7/15/2008 in ClearCheckbook News
We hear you. Development is underway and the native ClearCheckbook iPhone application release will coincide with the V3 launch.

For the time being, check out our iPhone / iPod Touch Webapp.

That's all for now. Stay tuned for more.

V3 Development Update

7/10/2008 in ClearCheckbook News
I wanted to give everyone a little more information about what ClearCheckbook version 3 (V3) means.

V3 is the culmination of over 2 years of comments and suggestions from both users and non-users. We took a lot of those suggestions and applied them to the current version of the site. There were still a lot of updates we simply didn't have time to make or were too large to handle for the V2 launch.

The V3 launch, at current count, will see more than 40 new features and improvements made to the site. Many of these improvements are things that have been suggested to us, but others are some very unique new features that we have thought of on our own. One of these features in particular will make you question how you've managed your money without this new tool.

While we're not going to make public a full list of all the new features and improvements until the site launches, I want to give you an idea of a few of the things we're working on.

    - Running balances (the most requested upgrade we get)
    - Limits/Budgeting histories.
    - Report improvements (we'll leave it at that for now)
    - Much improved importing features.

We will probably get a little more specific in some of our new features and enhancements as the time for launch gets closer.

Development has been going very well lately and should continue to do so. We're almost at the point now where we're starting on some of the newer features that haven't been mentioned yet.

Stay tuned for more info.

ClearCheckbook June Roundup

6/30/2008 in ClearCheckbook News
General ClearCheckbook News:
June has been another great month for ClearCheckbook. We've had over 275,000 transactions added this month with around 2,000 new members sign up for the site. If these numbers keep up, we're set to break the 3 million transaction mark some time in July.

Donations:
We hit our donation goal again for June! A huge thanks goes out to everyone who sent in a donation. We upped the goal slightly for June and we still achieved it. The average donation coming in is around $5. A lot of people have been donating that amount on a monthly basis which is really cool.

V3 Development Update:
More version 3 work has been going on lately. I have started getting up at 5:00 in the morning to work on V3 for a few hours before heading off to work. We have also added another developer to the team to work solely on V3.

New estimates for when you will see the site is August/September. We hope to have the next version of the site open for beta testing in August and then a few weeks after that fully launch the site. We want to have a few weeks of beta testing so the new version will be completely solid.

We're looking for a developer to help with V3

6/18/2008 in ClearCheckbook News
With the basic groundwork of ClearCheckbook V3 underway and August fast approaching, I would like to extend an offer to any developers out there who would like to help work on the next great version of ClearCheckbook.

The ideal candidate should have a good understanding of:

  • PHP

  • PostgreSQL

  • SVN for version control

  • Running the above on a development machine

  • Javascript and AJAX knowledge


V3 is being completely re-written from the ground up and is now being built on the Zend Framework. Having used the MVC method of coding PHP is a major plus. I would also like to hire someone who currently uses the website, as they will have a working knowledge of how the site currently behaves. While this isn't a necessity, it would be very nice.

The chosen developer will be compensated for all work done on the site. The exact terms will be finalized with the chosen developer.

I will be accepting applications until Wednesday June 25, 2008.

I look forward to hearing from you!

ClearCheckbook April Roundup

5/1/2008 in ClearCheckbook News
Like most other months, April has continued to show growth in the site. We had 300,000 transactions added this month with over 1,600 new active users. Our donation goal was also met within the first two weeks of the month and that's great news!

Development of V3 is still going strong. We have the new layout up and some of the other basic functionality of the site working on our development machines. We've also started working on some of the more unique and new features for the site and they're already looking really cool.

ClearCheckbook March Roundup & Big Surprises on the Way...

4/1/2008 in ClearCheckbook News
March has been a great month for us. We released ClearCheckbook Mobile, added several updates to the Quick Add feature and the Search page, and we also hit the 2,000,000 transaction mark.

In addition to these great things, we also implemented our Monthly Donation Goal and hit that goal within a week or so for the month of March, which is awesome! A huge thanks to everyone who has donated.

As a way of saying thanks to everyone who has donated, I'm announcing now that we have begun development of ClearCheckbook v3. This next version of ClearCheckbook will have most of the features everyone has been requesting as well as a few big surprises that I'm sure will make everyone happy. I'm not going to say any more at this point because it's so early in development, but be sure to keep sending in those feature requests so we can gather them all up and try to add them all to v3.

Thanks everyone!

ClearCheckbook is Managing Over Two Million Transactions!

3/26/2008 in ClearCheckbook News
In yet another milestone for ClearCheckbook, we're proud to announce that we're now managing over 2,000,000 transactions for over 17,800 active users.

Over the last month, the site has seen an average of around 9,000 new transactions and 125 new user registrations each day.

In other news, we also met our donation goal for the month of March with a few days to spare. This is great news! A huge thanks to everyone who took the time to donate this month.

As always, please send in any feature requests or ways to make the site better!

Monthly Donation Goals

3/13/2008 in ClearCheckbook News
First off, I would like to say that I'm truly amazed at how many people donate to the site each month. Your donations are greatly appreciated and are helping make this site even better.

As you may know, running a site has several costs associated with it (servers, hosting, etc) and these costs start to add up quickly. In fact, this year alone we're spending around $3,600 to keep the site up and running.

In an effort to try and make the site self sustaining, we have put a small image at the bottom of every page that shows the percentage of our donation goal for the current month.

Please remember though, even if we don't receive any donations, the site will continue to be funded out of my own checkbook. While I have no problem with this, it is nice to be able to have some of that cost taken care of by the site itself.

Thanks again for everyone who has donated to the site!

Attention: Internet Explorer 6 Users

2/7/2008 in ClearCheckbook News
If you're using Internet Explorer 6, we would like to strongly encourage you to either upgrade to Internet Explorer 7 or more preferably, download and start using Mozilla Firefox.

It seems like more and more of the emails coming into us about login issues or data not getting updated (because it's getting cached by IE when it shouldn't) all revolve around the fact that Internet Explorer 6 is an extremely outdated browser and should not be used.

If you're forced to use IE6 and cannot upgrade for some ungodly reason, please try the following instructions if you're having the following issues:

Trouble Logging In
-Click this link to ensure cookies are cleared: https://www.clearcheckbook.com/logout.php
-Refresh the page about 10 times in a row really quick (sounds strange, but it helps clear things out from memory)
-Clear your cache (instructions here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/ie6/using/howto/customizing/clearcache.mspx)
-Close your browser and start it again
-Try logging in

Pages not updating when you add transactions... or accounts are showing up empty:
-Refresh the page about 10 times in a row really quick (sounds strange, but it helps clear things out from memory)
-Clear your cache (instructions here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/ie6/using/howto/customizing/clearcache.mspx)

If you are still having issues and have tried the above instructions, please send us an email and let us know. Please strongly consider upgrading to a new browser if you're able to.

ClearCheckbook Tracking over 4 Billion Dollars!

1/16/2008 in ClearCheckbook News
I just ran some calculations and the website is tracking approximately $4,200,426,390.10 in transactions right now. The last time we checked (about 6 months ago) we were somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000,000.

The site has averaged over 8,000 new transactions made each day for the past week. That's a little over 5 new transactions each minute!

It's crazy to think that we're now getting as many transactions added each hour as we used to get in an entire week about a year ago. Keep spreading the word of the site to your friends and family so we can continue to grow and make the site better!

ClearCheckbook Projects: Great for Groups and Classes

1/11/2008 in ClearCheckbook News
This little known feature has been around since about August and was developed specifically for a personal finance course at Purdue University. The Projects feature allows a group of people to manage their ClearCheckbook accounts as usual, but then adds a new kind of report to their navigation.

This new report allows you to view your spending in a set of specified categories with the rest of the group. This is a great way to see how your spending compares to those of your peers. You also don't have to worry about other group members seeing what you've spent your money on. All they can see are group averages compared to their own spending.

If you are interested in setting up a Project with ClearCheckbook, please use the Contact form at the bottom of any page and let us know. This feature is completely free to use and all we need to know is what you would like your project code to be (all users will enter this code when they register) and what categories you would like the project to track.

Since the Project feature is still relatively new and tailored mainly for the needs of one personal finance course, we'd be glad to hear what your opinions are on how we could expand the Projects section to make it even better.

If you're interested in learning more about the Project feature or if you want to give some suggetsions on additions to make to it, please let us know!

Your donations being put to good use.

11/1/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
With the traffic to ClearCheckbook more than tripling in four months, our server has really been put to the test... and it hasn't been doing so well. The release of V2 and the additional traffic it has brought has just about pushed our existing server over the edge and into unstable territory.

Because we want ClearCheckbook to be as fast as possible, we've decided to finally upgrade to a real server that will be able to serve our needs for years to come. With that being said, I would like to thank all of you who have donated to ClearCheckbook since we started taking donations almost exactly a year ago. To date, we have received almost $1,000 in donations ranging from a few dollars all the way up to $50 a piece.

We've taken that money and purchased a new server with two Quad Core 1.60Ghz processors, 4 GB of RAM and dual 80 Gig hard drives (We're calling the server DocOck). The server itself cost just over $2,000 and should be arriving in our hands this Friday (tomorrow). Now that we will finally have a really sweet and powerful server, we also need to upgrade our hosting to accommodate it. With the new hosting provider, we're looking at a yearly fee of around $1,200 simply to host the website.

If you have been thinking about sending in a donation, it would be great if you did in the next couple of weeks. Every little bit we have helps. For now, with the remainder of the server cost and the hosting fees for the year, we're going to be paying about $2,200 out of our pockets.

Don't worry though, even if we don't get enough donations to cover the additional costs, the site isn't going anywhere. It just helps us out a little more if we have some additional money to pay for upgrades, etc.

We're probably going to be switching to the new server some time the week of November 12. We'll post more details when the time comes.

Thanks!
-Brandon

CheckBot Name Change

10/27/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
Well, it appears that for some reason CheckBot's account was suspended by AOL for some unknown TOS violation.

While we work on getting the original name back, we unfortunately needed to change the screen name to "clearcheckbot" in the mean time. This means you'll need to update your buddy lists and text messages to point to that instead of "clearcheckbook".

Sorry for the inconvenience. We're working on fixing the issue.

1,000,000 Transactions and 10,000 Users!

10/26/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
Yes, that's right. ClearCheckbook has now passed the 1 Million transaction point and has over 10,000 active users. This is a great milestone for the site and I would like to say thanks for everyone who uses the site daily and helps spread the word of the site to other people.

The 1,000,000th transaction and 10,000th active user marks were met within about 24 hours of each other, which is great!

V2 is still scheduled to be made live some time on Sunday Night. Again, the site and CheckBot will be taken offline for a little while so we can update the backed database without new information being written. We'll make the transition as quick as possible so you can start using the new version right away.

Thanks again and congrats everyone!

Database Server [UPDATE]

9/20/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
Things should be back in order now. Sorry for any problems this caused.

The database server is temporarily acting up. We are actively working on the issue and things should return to normal shortly.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

3/4 of a Million Transactions Recorded!

9/11/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
Not even two months have passed since we reached the half-million transaction mark. Today we're amazed to see how quickly an additional 250,000 entries have been made. That comes out to over 4,000 transactions per day being added to the site! As of now, we are currently storing over 750,000 transactions made by over 7,600 active users.

In other news, work has started picking up again on ClearCheckbook v2. We're now setting a target of mid-October for the release of v2. This next version will come packed with many performance improvements, as well as new features that many of you have been requesting for a long time.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Two days left for developer submissions.

8/29/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
That's right, there are 2 days left to submit your information if you're interested in developing for ClearCheckbook.com. We've had a lot of good applicants submit their information to us already, but the more choices we have the better.

If you missed the previous post, please check it out for more information:
https://www.clearcheckbook.com/blog/view.php?id=50

I look forward to hearing from you!

10 Days Remaining for Developer Submissions

8/21/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
That's right, there are 10 days left to submit your information if you're interested in developing for ClearCheckbook.com. We've had a lot of good applicants submit their information to us already, but the more choices we have the better.

If you missed the previous post, please check it out for more information:
https://www.clearcheckbook.com/blog/view.php?id=50

Interested in Developing for ClearCheckbook.com?

8/9/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
ClearCheckbook opened for public use on May 20, 2006 and has since grown to around 6,500 active users who have entered over 600,000 transactions. Up until now, there has only been one person coding/maintaining/answering questions/troubleshooting/running the site, and that's been me.

What started out as a personal project for myself has grown far bigger than I ever could have imagined. I thought I had the time and energy to keep the site updated and evolving as the demand came in. Recently I've come to the realization that I simply have too many projects on my plate and can't keep ClearCheckbook updated as needed.

This has made me decide to ask for some help and look for someone who has a great knowledge of PHP/MySQL/Javascript and a good eye for design. This position would mean you helping with site updates (mainly the completion and release of V2) as well as future projects such as building an API for the site and improving and evolving the site as needed.

Unfortunately, this will have to be an unpaid position as the site doesn't actually make any money. The donations we receive are used to cover the costs of hosting and everything that goes along with it.

The ideal candidate is someone who enjoys seeing other people benefit from their work and wants to help people stay on top of their finances by providing the best site out there for just that. Being a user of the site is also a great plus, but not a requirement.

If you're interested, please email me a brief resume and some sites you've worked on or currently work on as well as a little bit of information about yourself. You can send all information to brandon [at] clearcheckbook [dot] com (modified to prevent spambots).

I'll be accepting resumes until August 31st. I look forward to hearing from you!
-Brandon

ClearCheckbook Mentioned in Money Magazine

8/1/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
ClearCheckbook was mentioned in the August edition of Money Magazine in a segment about cutting your spending with free tools. We were mentioned along with two other software alternatives.

The segment reads:
"Pros: Info is stored online so you can access it anywhere. You can add expenses as they happen via cell phone or IM. The program also reminds you of recurring expenses.
Con: Budget resets every month, so if you've underspent on groceries, say, the balance doesn't roll over.
"

Here are images of the cover and story.

For those of you who found the site from this article, welcome! Please let us know your impressions and any comments you have by posting here in the blog or sending us a message.

If your publication or blog would like to talk to someone about ClearCheckbook, please use the Contact Us form and we'll be happy to point you in the right direction.

Half of a Million Transactions recorded!

7/16/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
Last night we passed the 500,000 transaction mark. This is yet another huge milestone for ClearCheckbook and it's great to see the site doing so well and continually growing. Getting over half a million transactions in a little more than a year should tell you a little something about how many people use the site on a daily basis and how we're helping a lot of people stay on top of their money.

Development of V2 hasn't been making huge progress due to other projects and other time restraints. In another week or two, the load on the developers should lighten up greatly and we can focus a lot more time on getting v2 out the door.

Got an iPhone? You've got ClearCheckbook.

7/5/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
Reports are starting to trickle in from our users who recently purchased an iPhone and they're telling us that the ClearCheckbook performs beautifully on the iPhone.

We had to delay our development of the mobile version of the site due to some other projects, but we will soon begin working on it again. The new Mobile version of the site will be optimized for devices like the iPhone, taking load times and the amount of data displayed into consideration.

Are you currently using an iPhone? Let us know how the site works for you or if you've noticed any problems with the site by sending us a comment or posting a response to this blog post.

V2 Development Update

5/16/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
I just wanted to keep everyone updated on how the status of the version 2 development was going. There have been a few unexpected wrenches thrown at us while trying to get the new version coded (mainly the server experiencing major performance issues). In addition to those issues, all of the code is being re-written for the next version to help improve performance and reduce any errors.

Beta testing should be opening within the next two weeks or so once we have a little more of the site finished. As of now, the main accounts page is functioning with new jiving and sorting capabilities, plus work on a new "quick add" form is almost finished.

Rather than rush out a beta version of the site, we would rather spend a little extra time making sure things work the way we want. Thanks for sticking with us and stay tuned for a new post shortly which details the beta testing process.

Thanks!
-Brandon

CheckBot back online

5/8/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
We figured out a (at least temporary) solution for CheckBot. It is back online without any slowdown in speed to the actual website. CheckBot might react a little slow, but it will still behave as it should.

The site has been acting very slow recently and after spending hours trying to track down the cause, we have found out that CheckBot is infact the reason things have been going slow. To avoid geek speak, we'll just say we needed to take CheckBot offline and work on getting it updated to fix its problems.

We're not sure how long CheckBot will have to remain offline, but hopefully it won't be too long. At least the site is performing at a reasonable speed now.

Sorry for the inconvenience.
-Brandon

Monthly Roundup: April 2007

4/30/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
Yet another month has come and gone and we're still going strong. We currently have over 3,800 active members who are tracking over 307,000 different transactions. We reached the quarter million transaction mark this month and have far surpassed it.

There hasn't really been too much in the way of updates to the site this month as most of the focus has been shifted towards preparing Version 2 for launch at the end of May. The beta testing should be open in a couple weeks and we'll start taking names for those of you who are interested in testing the new version of the site out before we release it to the public.

Other than that, keep telling your friends about the site and stay tuned to the blog for more updates on version 2.

Server Issues: Hopefully resolved

4/29/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
Over the past few days the server that's hosting ClearCheckbook had been acting up. This morning, it went down for a few hours and we contacted support and tried to find out what the heck was going on. It turns out there were a few factors coming into play, but the end result is that they moved us to a different machine that shouldn't have any of the problems the old one had.

I'm sorry for any problems you've had while trying to access the site. If we continue to experience problems with this company we will start searching for a new server soon.

Over a quarter million transactions and still going strong!

4/12/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
Over 250,000 Transactions!

We just hit the quarter million transaction mark today! Over 250,000 entries are currently being stored on ClearCheckbook, although over the 11 months the site has been up and running, an additional 150,000 have been added and then later removed. This means during the time the site has been up and running, we've had over 400,000 transactions entered.

It's great to see the site growing so well and how much it's helping people. Thank you everyone for continuing to make ClearCheckbook.com the best place to manage your money online.

Here's to another quarter million!

ClearCheckbook V2 has started development

4/5/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
We've started compiling a big list of all the feature requests you've all submitted over the past few weeks and we are starting work on the next version of the site. CCBv2 will have some great new features as well as a newer and easier to use interface.

Keep an eye out for some information about beta testing the site. We'll post a message in a few weeks here on the blog letting you know when the time to beta test is here.

The beta testing will be limited to a specific (yet undetermined) number of members, so once the message is posted follow the instructions if you're interested in testing.

Monthly Roundup: March 2007

3/31/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
ClearCheckbook has continued to grow during the month of March. We've had about 500 new members start using the site and there have been over 75,000 entries made this month alone. With all the new entries we finally passed the $100,000,000 amount in transactions. We continue to receive emails on a daily basis from people telling us that we're helping them out so much and that they're telling all their friends about the site. To those of you who do that, thank you!

March has also seen the additions of some ways to keep your finances close to you. We released the Google Homepage Gadget so you can view your account balances directly from your Google Homepage and we released the Mac OS X Dashboard Widget that also allows you to see your account balances whenever you view your dashboard. A large number of you quickly adapted and started using these features and that's great to see.

The reports have also been improved so they now load extremely fast and have added charts so you can see a breakdown of your accounts as well as categories.

The next few months are going to bring some big updates to the site and we know you will love them. Stay tuned to the blog for more updates on those. You can subscribe to an RSS feed of the blog by clicking on the orange icon on the right hand sidebar or by clicking here.

Time to give us your 2 cents...

3/20/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
No, not by paying us! We want to hear any suggestions for updates, feature requests, ways to improve the site or anything else you've been thinking about. We're getting ready to gear up for some major upgrades to ClearCheckbook for its one year anniversary on May 20th.

Version 2 of the site is going to bring some big changes. There will be some layout upgrades and visual tweaks, the javascript that handles most of the actions on ClearCheckbook will be majorly overhauled and the code running the site is going to get updated too. After these updates you'll notice a huge improvement of load times.

We've also got some big new features planned for release around May 20th as well. We know you'll be excited to see those. Also, stay tuned for a blog post some time near the early-middle part of April asking for some beta testers for these new features. We're going to open a limited beta for some of you to get a months head start on testing out these new features and new version of the site!

So please, if there's anything you've been wishing was a feature on the site or you think something would work better if it was handled differently, please let us know by sending us an email with the Contact Us form. It doesn't matter how big or small the request is, we just want our inbox filled with them so we can look them all over. We won't promise to add all the features and requests, but we will read them all and implement the most requested / best ones.

Thanks for making the site great!

Over $100,000,000 in transactions!

3/7/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
That's right. ClearCheckbook just surpassed $100,000,000 in transactions today. Right now we're nearing 2,900 active members (meaning they've verified their account and have added entries to the site) and are at almost 170,000 entries.

I'm glad to see the site growing so well. If there's anything else we can do to make the site better for you, let us know in the comments or by using the Contact Us form at the bottom of each page.

Monthly Roundup: February 2007

2/28/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
February has been an interesting and exciting month with ClearCheckbook. At the beginning of the month we started out with around 1,750 active users and 28 days later we're almost at 2,700 active users. We reached and passed the 150,000 entry mark and are getting almost 1,000 new entries every day.

February has also brought some much requested additions to the site. We introduced a way to add new categories and accounts on the Add Entry page. This makes it much easier to add accounts and categories on the fly. The Accounts Overview has also been added to the accounts page. Now you can see an listing of all your accounts and their balances quickly and easily. If you don't want to see it, simply hide it (and to get it back, just click the show button and it will reload automatically). The Help section was also added this month. Now everyone has a quick and easy way to find out how to use the different sections of the site. There are around 80 questions, so pretty much anything you might have a question about should be listed there.

As shown by the statistics I gave earlier, the site has been growing incredibly fast... almost 1,000 new active members this month alone! With that increased traffic came some inevitable growing pains. As witnessed by those using the site the night of February 27th, our site finally became too large for our old web host and they shut us down. As we've said in the two previous posts (here and here) we spent several hours scrambling to get everything back up and running with as little downtime as possible. We basically had the rug pulled out from under us while carrying a tray full of crystal glasses. There were a few bumps along the way, but I think we did a pretty good job with what we had to work with.

This morning we finally moved the site to its permanent home on a new server that's solely for us. The SSL certificate has been replaced with a newer one and will no longer be giving the warnings you were seeing during our transition period.

Thanks to everyone who's sticking with us. Seeing your encouraging words in the blog posts and in emails regarding last night's hiccups reaffirms my belief that we're offering a great service to everyone and you're completely awesome!

Continue to tell your friends about the site, blog about us, and spread the word and keep the site growing. The bigger the site gets, the better it gets. Anyone who's been with us from the beginning can tell you this. If you have any suggestions for improvements on the site, please feel free to use the comments here or the Contact Us form to let us know.

Thanks!

Home Sweet Home...

2/28/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
ClearCheckbook.com has finally found its new permanent home on a brand new server. Those of you who experienced all the problems during the last 24 hours will be glad to know that pretty much all of those issues have been resolved now (We're in the process of getting a new SSL Certificate so you won't be prompted to accept it each time you visit the site).

Why did we have to get a new server?
ClearCheckbook grew far faster than we had anticipated. While using a shared hosting plan was ideal at the time, we quickly outgrew our welcome as the site was drawing a lot of traffic.

Things finally got really heavy yesterday as we were featured on DumbLittleMan and our traffic shot out the roof again. Our host pulled the plug on us and said we're using way too much bandwidth and processor power for a shared hosting plan.

Without any warning we were suddenly without a website. We scrambled for a few hours to get everything moved to a temporary location while we made plans to upgrade to a permanent server.

After a few more bumps, the transition to our new server has been completed.

What's this mean for the site?
Well, this means great things for ClearCheckbook! Here are some of the things we can now do with the powerful new server:
  • SMS or AIM you reminders from the reminders system

  • Give you a lot more statistics in the reports

  • Improve load times across the entire site

  • Add greater functionality to Checkbot

  • Plus much more...

Stay tuned for updates and new features as we produce them.

What we're working on now:
The most pressing issue right now is the new SSL Certificate. This should be up and working within a day or two.

I want to extend a personal thanks for everyone for sticking through this rollercoaster. When we were planning the natural evolution of the site, we didn't account for such quick growth and were forced to act fast and update the servers in order to keep the site alive.

Thanks again everyone!
-Brandon O'Brien

What a night....

2/27/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
Where to begin... I might as well start from the beginning so you'll know where we're coming from with this.

What happened:
Back in September we were hosted on a really bad host that had horrible down time. Back then, we had about 300 members using the site. We got featured on LifeHacker.com and our traffic blew up overnight. Unfortunately, the server also blew up (not literally, figuratively) so we were forced to switch servers and spend hours making sure the transition was painless. We finally got settled into our new server and things were going great.

Over the next 6 months our traffic grew very fast as we approached 2,600 active members. This afternoon, ClearCheckbook was featured on the "Tips for Life" blog DumbLittleMan.blogspot.com and our traffic shot out the roof. In keeping with tradition, our new host couldn't handle the traffic and shut us down... literally. They simply pulled the plug on our site and said "you've outgrown a shared hosting plan."

By now I've grown livid as I can't stop thinking about everyone who is now trying to access their finances and is getting strange errors and is unable to do so.

Acting quickly, I contacted a friend who has a Virtual Private Server (VPS) that we could set up shop on for a week or so until we can buy a new dedicated server. So over the last 4 hours, we've been scrambling to transfer everything over to the new server, test everything to ensure it's working properly on the new site, set up email accounts, make sure CheckBot is still active, etc.

What we're waiting on now is for the DNS servers to update so everyone will see the site on the new server.

Lingering Issues:
Because our old host abandoned us and our dedicated IP address, the SSL certificate isn't working properly. We set up a new certificate, but it's going to ask you to accept it before you can use the site. Please know that your information is still being encrypted and is completely secure.

Reports are taking a lot longer than usual to generate. If you don't need to generate your reports right now, please hold off for a while until we get a few more things situated. (CSR 342 students, please be patient when generating your reports. There were a few issues with them earlier, but right now expect to wait upwards of 2 minutes... just be patient :) )

What's next?
Over the next week or two, we will be searching out a new Dedicated Server plan. This means we will be the only site on the entire server and means you will see an extreme improvement in load times.

Buying a Dedicated Server is not cheap, so we're doing our research on finding the right one for the right price. If anyone knows of a great host, please post about it in the comments.


Again, I can't express how sorry I am that this had to happen again. I give you my word that once we're on our own server, things will be soooooo much better.

Thanks for sticking with us!
-Brandon O'Brien

[CLOSED] Win $100 or an iPod Shuffle for talking about ClearCheckbook?

2/20/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
The contest is over now per the rules posted in their blog.

Yes, you heard me right. Financial blog Dumb Little Man is holding a contest where they're asking for everyone's methods for managing their money and personal finance.

Here's a quote from their post:

"On your website or blog, create a new post with your absolute best personal finance advice. This could be something that pertains to credit cards, mortgages, budgeting, etc. It doesn't matter, but it has to be a new post with 250+ words. We are not mandating that you link to Dumb Little Man in your post but it would certainly be appreciated so your readers know about the contest. Maybe they want in!"

You can read their post and more information about it here:
Win $100 from Dumb Little Man: Personal Finance Tip Contest

If you have a blog of your own and 5 minutes to spare, you should take the time to write about ClearCheckbook and how it's helped you manage your money. Who knows, maybe you'll win the $100 or an iPod Shuffle. The deadline for submission is February 23, 2007 at midnight EST.

If you do decide to enter the contest, post a link to your blog post here in the comments so we can see!

Good luck!

Tip: Using the Reminders System

2/2/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
The reminders system is a great tool for helping you remember those recurring monthly bills or any other event you think is important. With the different settings, you can set ClearCheckbook to send you an email between 1 and 7 days before your event occurs to help remind you. In addition to the email, a message will appear on your main accounts page keeping you informed of your upcoming event.

To use the reminders, log into ClearCheckbook and click on Tools. When the tools page loads, click on Reminders. This will bring up the main reminders page. Here you will see two calendars on the left plus some instructions and reminder box on the right.

Adding a Reminder
To add a new reminder, click on the "Add" link in the reminder box. Here you can enter the date the event will occur. You can also click the "Repeating" checkbox to bring up some options on how the event repeats through the week, month, or year. Another great feature with the reminders is the ability to set a stop date when you repeat an event.

The next option when you're adding a reminder is the ability to set a notification. You can click on the "Notify Me" checkbox to bring up the options. To set a notification, select the number of days before the event occurs that you would like to be reminded. This will make a message appear on your main accounts page. In addition to that message, you can also have us send you an email by clicking on the "Also, email me" checkbox. All emails are sent at 7:00am EST.

When you are finished with the settings, click the "Add Reminder" button and your reminder will be added. If it is set to happen within the next two months, the calendars on the left will update to show you your reminders.

Editing / Deleting a Reminder
To edit or delete a reminder, use the calendars on the left to move forward or backward through the months to find the event you want to edit. Each day that has a reminder will have a yellow background. If you move your mouse over the day it will tell you how many reminders are occuring on that day. To edit the reminder, click on the day and the reminders box on the left will load that reminder. From here, you will see an Edit and Delete action. If you want to delete a reminder, click on the Delete link. A pop up message will appear asking if you want to delete this specific reminder or all of them. This is a good way to modify events that might not have a weekly or monthly recurring rate. When you make your choice it will remove the specified reminder from the system.

If you would like to edit the specific reminder, click on the Edit link. This will bring up the same box that you saw when you added a reminder. You can change any of the information you desire and then click the "Edit Reminder" button to save it. This will save the changes for every reminder if it's repeating.


It's that easy. All you do is tell us when you want to be reminded and we set everything up for you. If you haven't tried the reminder system and have some monthly bills (like the credit card, rent, loans, car payment, etc) give it a shot and we're sure you'll love it.

If you use the reminder system, let us know what you think in the comments!

Welcome Purdue CSR 342 students!

1/29/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
Last semester the CSR 342 course was the first to use ClearCheckbook as part of the course curriculum. The Professor and I had a few meetings to discuss how it could be used and it fit in very well with the exercise on spending.

It appears that they are using ClearCheckbook again as several Purdue students are registering. Last semester the course held around 300 students and I'm assuming this semester will be the same.

So, welcome CSR 342 students from a December 2005 Purdue Alumni. I also took CSR 342 in the Fall of 2005 before ClearCheckbook was even open to the public and for my personal use.

If any of you have any questions on how to use the site, please post here in the comments or send us a message by clicking the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of every page.

Tip: Using the Credit page

1/17/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
In order to use the Credit page, you need to have at least one credit card set up on the site. To do this, go to the "Settings" tab and click on "Manage Account Types" and make sure one of your accounts has the type "Credit Card."

When you make purchases on your credit card and add them to the site, they will show up on the "Credit" page. To get to the "Credit" page, click on "Accounts" and then click on "Credit." This page will list all your credit card purchases. If you have multiple credit cards, you can use the drop down box to select a specific one.

The main goal of the Credit page is to allow you to "pay off" your credit card bill and identify which purchases were included on this bill. To do this, when it comes time to pay off your credit card bill, select the check box next to each payment listed. When you have selected all the payments on the bill, click the "Pay Purchases" button.

This also serves an additional purpose of making sure that all entries on your credit card statement are accounted for. There's nothing worse than trying to track down some purchase you don't remember making. Keeping track of everything in ClearCheckbook will help reduce these headaches.

After you click "Pay Purchases" it will take you to an "Add Entry" type page that automatically fills in the total amount of your bill (assuming you're paying it off in full) as well as all the payments included on this bill.

You can enter the rest of the information, like the description, account you're paying with, etc. When you are done, click "Pay Card" and it will archive all the credit card purchases for that bill and replace it with your payment.

If you want to go back and see what purchases were included on any payment, go to the "Credit" page and there is a section that says "Paid Credit Card Purchases." This section will list all your paid payments and you can click on the name of the payment to see all the purchases that were paid off for that specific bill.

This is a really powerful feature that helps a lot of people, but I know that some people are often confused and don't know how to use it. Hopefully this helps clear some things up and you can start using the Credit page to help you manage your credit card payments.

Tip: How to use the Jive page

1/10/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
The Jive page is a very helpful tool for you to keep track of your money and check all of your purchases with what your bank is saying you made. This is basically the Web 2.0 equivalent of the century old checkbook balancing tool.

When you load up the Jive page you will see all your accounts listed at the top of the page. You can click the check mark next to the specific accounts you wish to display. For example, I have a checking account with Bank of America. I regularly make purchases with my debit card and check my Bank of America account online.

So if I wanted to check and see if my purchases match up with what Bank of America says I've made, I log into my Bank of America site and click on the checking account. I view the list of purchases and deposits and then go back to my Jive page on ClearCheckbook and select each entry. This lets me see if there are any entries in my account that I did not make.

A great example of how this is useful is something that happened to me recently. I was traveling and flew into the Chicago Ohare airport and bought some pizza at one of the vendors for lunch. I was charged the 6 bucks or whatever the day after I made the purchase. A month later another charge for the same amount was made from the same pizza place at the airport. Since that withdrawal wasn't in my ClearCheckbook jive page I knew something was wrong. I contacted the bank and told them the story and had them credit my account back. They did and everything was fine. Without jiving my account I probably never would have found this and lost 6 bucks.

After you jive all the entries your bank account lists, there is a total at the top of the page that says "Jived:" and some amount. This amount should match what your current balance is on your banks website. If things don't match up, you know something is wrong and can do some detective work to figure out what that is.

So in short, the Jive page is there for you to check with your bank statement and make sure all your withdrawals and deposits are accounted for and no one has messed up and charged extra purchases to your account.

If you have a story about how you use the jive page or how it helped you find an error in your bank statement, post about it here in the comments!

New Years Resolution: Take control of your finances

1/8/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
With New Years a week behind us, have you stuck to your resolution to keep your checkbook balanced or keep a better watch on your budget? If you made a resolution regarding your spending, ClearCheckbook.com is here to help you keep your resolution and help you stay on top of your finances.

With our easy to use interface you can keep track of all your savings, checking and credit card accounts in one place. You can balance your checkbook, view reports on your spending, import and export your records, plus update your account from anywhere with CheckBot.

Do you know someone who made a money related resolution this year? If so, let them know about ClearCheckbook. We're positive that after just a few weeks of using the site they'll be thanking you.

Happy New Year! We hope that all our current members continue to enjoy using the site and that new members will continue to join and experience how easy we make managing your money.

New ClearCheckbook.com Blog

1/6/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
In order to bring you the most up-to-date news about ClearCheckbook, tips on how to use the site, articles about managing your money, and much more, we have decided to create this blog.

Anyone who has an account on the site will be able to leave feedback on the blog in the form of comments. Rest assured that your email address will not be displayed if you leave a comment. The only thing that will appear is your username. If you have an article you would like us to publish, use the Contact Us form and send it to us. If we think it will be helpful to other people, we'll post it.

We went ahead and copied the more important site updates into the blog from the previous upgrades page. If you would like to see the old list of all the updates, you can click here.

There is also an RSS feed for the blog. You will be able to subscribe to it and be notified right away when a new post is made. You can access the RSS feed in Firefox by clicking on the orange icon in the address bar.

Archives

» 2016
» 2015
» 2014
» 2013
» 2012
» 2011
» 2010
» 2009
» 2008
» 2007
» 2006

Categories

Contact ClearCheckbook

If you have a question about the site, please check the Support Forums, Tutorials and Help section to see if it's already answered there.

Your message has been sent.

Thank you for reaching out to us. We work hard to respond as quickly as possible to our emails. You'll receive a response soon.