human frailty

General discussion re sg.

human frailty

Postby josh » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:27 pm

Hey everyone - great to be back up and again, really sorry for the downtime!

In case you were wondering, I believe the immediate cause was a failing power supply which has now been replaced by our service provider.

That alone shouldn't have caused such a big problem though. Rather, the length of the downtime was due to two other issues -- 1) I had configured the main server so that the mail server did *not* start automatically on reboot. This I did over a decade ago when we were under some direct attacks and also when we had a *much* less efficient server configuration. We often had to deal with staggering backloads of email before restarting the mail server or the system would simply go down again.

We haven't had that problem for a very long time - since we moved to exim4 as the primary mail server and got better hardware -- and I knew the time had come long ago for me to use the standard configuration that would start the mail server automatically, but I didn't make the change. Instead, I simply paid close attention and started the mail server manually after each reboot.

But not this time - 2) I had a health issue that happened to occur at about the same time as a reboot that likely was caused by the power supply issue - I was simply not available for a few days. I'm much better now, and importantly, I made the configuration change so that if there is another reboot for some reason, everything will start working again, and likely no one will even notice.

That said, I have to acknowledge that this incident outlines the fact that it is probably time for the group of us to start thinking about ways to protect the ongoing continuity of the service, or to find an alternative.

I'm pretty much open to any consideration -- the service doesn't really make any money - it pretty much makes enough to pay the service provider fees and some of the domain registration fees (and that's basically all of the real costs), but definitely not enough to pay salaries for full time support personnel - not that we really need any.

To be sure - I don't have any plans to shut the service down, and it's likely it can continue to operate normally for many more years / decades - time is on our side. My experience in the last few days was sort of a 'wake up call' though - a reminder that I won't be around forever, and so I would love for us to take the opportunity to brainstorm possible approaches to reducing dependence on me.
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Re: human frailty

Postby kasu64 » Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:21 pm

Hello Josh.

Glad to see that your health is better.

If I understand correctly, SG does not earn money, and have one or more employees to maintain
costs money.

Have not you thought of having a basic SG, a pro SG and a premium SG?

Basic: to manage 5 or 10 addresses per user
Pro;: to manage 100 addresses per user
Premium: to manage an unlimited number of addresses.

Basic would be free,
Pro would be charged 5 or 6$ per year
and Premium would be charged 10 or 12$ a year.

This is just a suggestion. :wink:

For my part, I find your service amazing.

Create addresses on the fly by following the rule
of SG operation,
it's great and surprises my interlocutors.

And in addition it works perfectly
being managed by dedicated volunteers
and super talented!

The only flaw that I find at SG is that
you can not cancel addresses ...
This generates traffic for addresses that have become useless ...
It would be nice if you could find a solution to that.

In any case, thank you and hat for SG and your involvement.

I wish you a total recovery,
and the best for you and your family.

Bests Regards,

from basque Country


><((((°> <°))))><
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Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:15 pm

Re: human frailty

Postby lwc » Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:46 pm

kasu64 wrote:The only flaw that I find at SG is that
you can not cancel addresses ...

That's just a visual issue. You can always hide an address, and define it to accept 0 messages with a blank exclusive sender.

Josh, may I ask some questions?
  1. How come there's any revenue at all, after the ads got taken down a long time ago? And even then you said you took them down because they barely made any revenue.
  2. What was the second downtime (sudden slowdown in Sunday) that occurred after the first one (complete shutdown over Friday-Saturday) was fixed?
  3. Almost 3 years ago I've offered bounties. I think a commercial service will only drown you deeper, as it won't make enough money to justify what will be your new mandatory 24/7 support. But bounties are just one-time obligations from time to time and they benefit all users, not just those who pay.
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Re: human frailty

Postby ace604ace » Thu Aug 02, 2018 10:07 pm

Great to have you back Josh!

I was beginning to wonder if your post count was contrived ... until your return it was stuck at the very 'elite' 1337 post count for a couple days :)


Posts: 1339
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 2:28 pm

Any chance of setting up crypto donation page? I feel like a lot of users of a service like this might gravitate more towards something like that over PayPal.
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Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:21 am

Re: human frailty

Postby josh » Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:28 pm

I will put it on my to-do list to finally accept cryptocurrency donations. People have been asking me about that for a long time.

There is no revenue other than donations, but people donate from time to time - it's funny, most donations come in when we have a downtime event. That's human nature I suppose.

I believe the second downtime event was because the service provider had to reboot again in order to fix the power supply problem, and at that point I was still in the hospital and hadn't yet changed the configuration to auto-start the mail server - doh!
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