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What's Happening

 What's Happening

As of Oct 2003 we removed out old SG server and replaced it with a new machine. As many of you know we have been busily designing the new site you see here. Unfortunately we had to remove the old machine before the new site was ready so we're busily getting things running again.

 Deleted Emails

If you submitted a problem or responded to a problem between Oct 1 and Oct 7th it was probably lost or deleted or sent before our email services were restored. We apologize for any inconvenience and please use our new ContactUS form as soon as it's ready!

 Contact US & Email

The contact us page has been down since the shift and it's first priority.

The reason for this is we have been installing and reinstalling our emails system (several times). Our new email system supports virtual users, our target being to add email for Ops possibly with individual virtual domains for each Op or at least your own (alamak.com) email.

 Mail Upgrades

The problem was that Alamak receives enourmous amounts of spam email which makes it literally impossible to respond to any valid customer problems. Between Friday and Monday we had over 1000 emails that went to invalid email addresses (emails never used or removed) and over 100 that went to my personal mailbox mostly of the type 'make money fast', 'buy viagra online' and 'see my sister naked'.

The software we have been using to block this is called TMDA, it's a nice package and works well but was not compatible with the qmail-smtpd-chkuser patch. Normally qmail-smtpd recieves email checks for user accounts and delivers mail. If invalid it can be either dumped it or bounced. Normally bounce is a good idea to let people know that the email has failed. Unfortunately spammers almost always use invalid email accounts, so first we recieve an invalid email (using network traffic), then we bounce that back to nobody (using more traffic), and then that bounces back to the postmaster account to inform us of the failed bounce!

It's much better to read the incoming email header and block invalid emails at the smtpd level before recieving the whole body of the email. Our machine doesn't need to bounce since it returns failure directly to the offending machine. These errors are probably ignored by spam boxes but at least real users will get a failure mail message and we don't do triple bounces. This is what chkuser patch for qmail-smtpd does but this patch does not work with TMDA coded email responses! Anyway, after a few hours of hacking on the patched qmail-smtpd we managed to get it working with TMDA! Something we could use to protect future Ops emails from spammers too!

On to fixing up a new Contact US form (uses email so the email had to be fixed first).

 Ops Commands Page

It's broken or at least looks screwy and we know it has to be fixed.

 Games

Games will be next in line to get our basic games back up and running on SG (Cybermyst,Hangman,Minesweeper, and possibly a rewrite of Blackjack). Currently we're not supporting Galactic Conq. (I do love the game myself but it's not popular enough to generate sufficient support).

 Freehome & Guestbooks

We'll be restoring the guestbooks as the original with possibly a topical change to style to make it consistent with the rest of the new site.

Freehome is running but the web hosting is going to be taken out and converted to a new system using php and virtual hosting for Ops. It should be vastly better and easier to use than the old freehome. Ops will get at least thier own hostname like joe.alamak.com.

 Provider Switch

Quite litterally our network expenses are eating us out of house and home so we are considering a shift to a new provider and possibly new platform. We'll be setting a test box somewhere and messing with the chat code there to see if we can get it working.

 Flood Robots

There is a report that the robot blocker is no longer working and some more advanced robot has come out able to get around the norobot code. We'll be checking this out soon!

 This Page

Since some of you are very curious what is going on in Alamak I am considering to write a quick little script so I can drop some notes directly to this page to keep you informed as to what is going on.

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