Posts Tagged: notifications

Improved Device Detection

Whenever your user account is logged into from a new or unfamiliar device, MIDAS can automatically alert you by email. This additional security feature helps keep your account secure by alerting you to suspicious logins. An unfamiliar login notification includes details of the browser, operating system, IP address, and – with our optional Geolocation addon – location, of the device that’s just logged into your account.

Until now, MIDAS has been unable to distinguish between more recent operating system versions. For example, between Windows 10 and Windows 11, or between MacOS Ventura and Sonoma.

This is because MIDAS has relied on the “User Agent” (UA) string that’s presented by the browser that’s logging in.

Here’s an example of a browser’s “User Agent” string presented to a web server:

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/ Safari/537.36

There’s a lot of information there, but essentially, from this string MIDAS can derive that it’s a Windows (64 bit) device, and the browser is Google Chrome 123.

Here’s another example:

Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.15; rv:124.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/124.0

From this, MIDAS can derive that it’s a macOS device, and the browser is Firefox 124.

But wait… can’t MIDAS also determine the exact version of the operating system from these UA strings?

Mac OS X 10.15…. Catalina? …Big Sur? …Monterey? …Ventura?

Doesn’t “Mac OS X 10.15” imply macOS Catalina? ..and doesn’t “Windows NT 10.0” imply Windows 10?

Well, that used to be the case, but not any more!

Modern browsers now “clamp” the versions of more recent macOS/Windows operating systems reported by the User Agent string. For macOS operating systems, the User Agent string will report a maximum of macOS X 10.15. For Windows operating systems, a maximum of Windows 10 will be reported. Browsers no longer natively report the specific version of the operating system they’re running on.

This means that a Chrome browser running on either Windows 10 or Windows 11 will report “Windows NT 10.0”. Similarly, macOS Catalina (10.15), Big Sur (11), Monterey (12), Ventura (13), and Sonoma (14), will all report “Mac OS X 10.15”.

So Windows 10 and 11 are the same then?

In an effort to improve user privacy, browsers have decided to no longer reveal the specific operating system version a user is using when visiting a website, in order to make it harder for websites to “fingerprint” users.

“Fingerprinting” is a technique that some websites employ to uniquely identify and potentially track visitors.

So because of these changes to the way browsers report User Agent strings, it’s been difficult for MIDAS to provide a unfamiliar login notification containing details of exact operating system version that’s been used to login to an account.

But advancements in technology mean that we’ve now been able to make improvements to device detection for MIDAS v4.36.

Utilizing New “Client Hint” technology

Client hints are a set of HTTP request headers that provide useful information about the client such as device type and network conditions. This then allow servers to optimize what is served for those conditions.

Unlike the traditional “User Agent String”, client hints provide a more efficient and privacy preserving way of getting the desired information.

A web server can proactively request the client hint headers they are interested in. The browser can then include the requested headers in subsequent requests.

If the web server upon which a MIDAS system is running proactively requests either the “sec-ch-ua-platform-version” or “ua-platform-version” client hint header, MIDAS can receive details of the user’s operating system version.

Unfamiliar login notifications (if enabled) can then provide much more accurate information as to the operating system of the new device which has logged into your account.

Improved Device Detection in MIDAS v4.36
Improved Device Detection in MIDAS v4.36

Web Server Configuration

Because a web server has to proactively request these new client headers in order for browsers to respond to them, servers have to be configured accordingly.

All of our cloud-hosted nodes have been appropriately configured. Our client servers now proactively request the necessary Client Hint headers. This in turn means that all cloud hosted users can start to take advantage of these improvements to device detection and unfamiliar login notifications.

For self-hosted customers, a small configuration change to the web server when your MIDAS system is running from is required.

Details of the configuration change you’ll need to make can be found in our KB article, How to configure your server for Client Hints.

Get Notified On Invoice Payments

The powerful “Watch Notification” features of MIDAS allow users to configure automatic notifications whenever certain activity occurs within their MIDAS.

Examples uses of Watch Notifications include:

  • Staff members could be notified whenever they’re added to a booking
  • Catering staff could receive notifications whenever refreshments are added to bookings
  • A purchasing department could receive notifications when consumables are running low and need re-ordering
  • A user could be notified should an unavailable venue/time slot becomes available again

For MIDAS v4.36 we’ve added an additional Watch notification option. This provides the ability for a user to be notified whenever a payment is made against a MIDAS generated invoice.

New Invoice Payment Watch Notification
New Invoice Payment Watch Notification

Now, MIDAS can automatically update invoices in its system when payments are made against them, however this new notification option allows a user to be notified whenever such updates occur.

The “Invoice Payment” Watch notification option is available to users who have been granted invoicing permissions within their MIDAS system.

When enabled, a new Watch Notification is generated for the user whenever an invoice has been paid in full, or when a partial payment is received against an invoice.

Mark notifications as “Read”

New option to mark notifications as having been "read"
New option to mark notifications as having been “read”

In MIDAS v4.28 we introduced a new “Notification Center“. The Notification Center allows users to view messages from other users, booking and custom reminders, and Watch notifications.

Notifications each have their own expiration time, after which they are automatically removed from a user’s Notification Center. Users could also manually remove a notification at any time.

For MIDAS v4.29 we’re also giving users the option to mark notifications as having been “read”.

Read notifications will still be present in the user’s Notification Center until they expire or are manually removed. However, unread notifications will be highlighted, whereas read notifications won’t be.

Also, if the user has opted to be shown their notifications each time they log in, this popup will now only show them their unread notifications. So the new “mark as read” option will help keep clutter to a minimum. It will only show notifications the user hasn’t yet seen and acknowledged on the notification pop-up after login.

Users will of course still be able to see all their notifications – both read and unread – via the Notification Center icon.

Watch for Venue Availability

In MIDAS v4.28, we’ve introduced a new “Notification Center“. In earlier versions of MIDAS, this functionality could be found within the “My Messages” screen.

As part of the new “Notification Center”, we’ve added a brand new type of “Watch” notification. “Watch” notifications allow you to be automatically notified whenever certain activity occurs within your MIDAS booking system.

For example, you may wish to be notified whenever a new booking is added to a particular venue, or when a particular type of booking is modified. You may also wish to be notified whenever certain “consumable” resources are running low.

From MIDAS v4.28 you can now create Watches for “Venue Availability”.

Receive notifications when a space becomes free and available in MIDAS
New Venue Availability Watch option in MIDAS v4.28

We know it can be frustrating when you go to book a room and find that it’s already been booked.

Well, wouldn’t it be great if MIDAS could automatically notify you should that timeslot become available again?

That’s exactly what Venue Availability watches allow you to do!

Simply select a currently occupied date, room, and time slot, add a new Watch, and MIDAS does the rest!

Should the unavailable time slot become available again (for instance, if the existing booking is moved or deleted), MIDAS will automatically notify you.