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What's Happening

 What's Happening

New proposed changes to be implemented as I have time 11/20/2020.

As of Nov 20 2020
Older accounts which have not been renewed since Oct 10th, 2016 and are expired will be purged and not renewable by Dec 31st, 2020 or earlier.

We will be changing the level system!

Higher level ops can kick lower level ops if they are abusive, but we need to make sure that older memebers who are inactive to not get precedence over newer members who value a clean happy chat space.

Under the old sytem ops could add an account and then leave it inactive for years then renew and get a high level based on time since account creation. Levels were calcualted from account creation date assuming they would keep the account active with 1 level per month for the first year and 1 additional level every 3 months until a maximum of 60, (the old/current system).

This doesn't seem fair because idle (not renewed) accounts still increase in level.

This is where it get complicated, but as of Oct 10th 2016 we have records of both PayPal and office renewals and new accounts.

Older Accounts before Oct 10 2016 - Accounts before this date will be updated via the old calculation of level as per what it would have been on that date (max 60). This will be the base level. Then we will add on 1 level per month with no max, but limited by the number of months billed after Oct 10th 2016. So, if your total renewal after this date was 24 months, your max extra increase would be 24 months. Yout would get 24 extra levels even if you signed up more than 2 years ago because you only billed for a total of 24 months since Oct 10th 2016. This also means if the account is old enough (36 months or more) and has a max of 24 based on total renewed time and you renewed for 12 momths, the account would be recalculated at level of 36 when the server refreshes the levels, (once per day); pretty much 12 levels in 1 day. Ideally a very old level 60 account on Oct 10th 2016, renwewed Oct 10th 2016-2020 would be level 60 + 48 = 108.

Accounts after Oct 10 2016 - Accounts started after this date will get an increase of 1 level per month, to max of the total months billed (same as above). This means if you only billed 1 momth in 2017 your account would be level 1. If you then renewed it for 12 months it would be recalculated at level 13 when the server refreshes the levels, (once per day). If continually renewed the account level would be 48 after 4 years.

This means new accounts will go up once per month as long as they are renewed but old accounts have incentive to keep them active.

 Server Fixes

As of Nov 5, 2020 the old server at the Denver NOC was retired and we migrated to a new server also in Denver. The server email is fixed and should be working properly and sending notices for successful billing. The webpage to send messages to office is fixed as well.

Most everything is working, let me know if you find any problems, just go to the contact page and send a message to the EM Office general subject. Thanks!

 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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