Easy Photo Gallery released

The new Photo Gallery (which has been in testing on the beta site for some time) is now available for everyone to use. Here you can see examples of the photo gallery in action:

To use it

  • upload your photos into a folder in your file storage
  • go to Websites, and create a new website for that folder (perhaps “photos.yourusername.fastmail.fm”), specifying Publish As: “Photo gallery – slides” or “Photo gallery – film strip”

That’s it! Now your friends can view your photos by going to photos.yourusername.fastmail.fm.

You can specify comments for your photos by going to the folder with your photos in file storage, selecting the Action: “View as photos”, and then clicking “Do”. Now you should be able to enter a comment for each picture.

I’ll be adding a detailed FAQ section in the next day or so.

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Frontend services now on new replicated infrastructure

I’ve switched our frontend services (IMAP, POP, Authenticated SMTP, FTP, Web) over to two new machines in a replicated infrastructure.

Each service has two IP addresses – which are prioritised to run on different servers – but if either of the servers fails or is shut down for any reason, the IP address will migrate quickly (maximum timeout, 20 seconds) to the other host.

These machines will be placed (eventually, still waiting on cabinet migration plan to complete) in different cabinets on different power supplies, giving us much greater safety against power failures in future (though our IMAP servers aren’t replicated yet – so there are still failure modes that take us totally down)

Anyway – nice to be started on the path to full replication!


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Upgrading fixed again

Ooops, we broke some of the upgrading code, so some users trying to upgrade would just get an error message. And just after we started a special pricing. Doh!

It should be all fixed now, so feel free to upgrade away!

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Full/Enhanced special price now until end of May

Coinciding with the addition of unobtrusive advertising to the web interface for Guest users, we’re offering a special to new users and existing users upgrading their accounts to Full/Enhanced for the remainding days of April and through May. For the next month, we’re taking $5 off the price of all Full and Enhanced subscriptions, which means that each year is now only US$14.95 for a Full account and US$34.95 for an Enhanced account.

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Unobtrusive advertising added to guest accounts

We are currently running a trial to investigate the effectiveness of some advertising on Guest accounts only. Paid subscribers will remain free of advertising. If this trial is successful, we hope to be able to be able to invest the revenue gained back into the company to improve our services and features.

We’re using single-line text advertisements, so there are no graphics to slow things down.

Currently we’re only showing advertising for FastMail.FM features and upgrades, but once we’re confident that the mechanism is working properly, we’ll be introducing external advertisements.

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New backscatter spam protection

Backscatter (bounces to emails you never sent) are an annoying problem due to spammers abusing the way internet email was originally designed. Unfortunately most backscatter was not correctly detected by the existing spam filter. Fortunately, we now have a new more advanced system for detecting and stopping these backscatter emails.

To enable this improved protection, just go to Options -> Spam / Virus protection. If you already have Normal or Aggressive level protection enabled, just click Done, this will enable the new protection. If you have Custom settings, select what you would like to do with backscatter from the Backscatter Action pop up menu, then click Done

For more information on what backscatter is, how it occurs, and how the new proection system works, see this FAQ entry.

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New “Test” option for Pop Links

When entering a new external Pop Link on the Options -> Pop Links screen, previously there was no way to actually test that the information was correct without explicitly going back to the Mailbox screen and doing a retrieval. There’s now a Test button after you add a Pop Link, which will test that the connection and login to the remote POP server works correctly with the supplied details.

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