Tuesday, November 11, 2008

So, Mailinator's core-duo server now gets 3 Terabyte a month

Its been awhile since I've updated my article The Architecture of Mailinator. That was a long time ago and really and tons has changed. To save you reading that article if you're in a hurry, the crux was that Mailinator was originally based on the unix email program sendmail, which pretty much died at around 800,000 emails a day. And then it discusses the design of the fully custom SMTP server designed for mailinator.

In that article, Mailinator was running on a single AMD cpu and processing 3 million emails a day or so. Well, somewhere in there I got a deal with my hosting company and was running a dual dual-core opteron machine. Mailinator ran on that for about a year as our email load doubled a time or two.

Eventually I needed a server for another project and realized that giving Mailinator that dual-opteron was pretty overkill. So I "downgraded" the machine to a core-duo. Which is where it runs now. In the aforementioned article we were getting 3 million emails a day - now I sometimes see 2 million an hour.

For the geeks out there, this is still of course a highly-multithreaded java implementation often running 4000 simultaneous threads. Pure Java I/O (not that stinky and slow NIO.

Today I got an email from my hosting server that I "surpassed my allotted bandwidth". I'm pretty used to getting subpoena's and such, but not so many of these.

Apparently, Mailinator received 3.1 Terabytes of email in the last 4 weeks.

Thats (ballpark) 480 million emails or so in that 4 weeks. As I've said before, that doesn't compare to any bigger email service, but then again, I bet they have more than one server :) I'll also emphasize that numbers I usually throw up here were measured or calculated by me - that 3T number comes from my provider so I hope its accurate as they want money for it !

Thats a LOT of spam (sure there's web traffic in there which might be hefty in other circumstances, but it doesn't hold a candle against the mail traffic).

I've priced things out and although my server still has plenty of computing capacity left, I'm clearly hitting an artificial (i.e. pay for more) bandwidth limit. It makes far more economical sense to simply get another server (per all pricing schemes I find) than to buy more bandwidth on this one.

So, someday I'll get around to writing the next "Architecture of Mailinator" article and although it almost sounds funny to me after all this time, I'll likely be talking about "both" Mailinator servers. Not just our trust little core duo.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Revolutionary Fuzzy-Logical Super-Duper Mailinator Captcha System(tm)

So, after many years of resistance for various reasons, Mailinator has finally implemented a DELETE button. That's right. The number one frequently-asked-question that isn't in the FAQ has been answered.

The reasons for its delay are many. In the early days I was too worried that someone would write a script that would attack the system and delete every email out there. Then after a year or two of people writing scripts to attack Mailinator in every other way - I had enough AI built into the system to stop most of it. (As always, I define "attack" as something that could bring the system down or ruin its use for other users - spamming Mailinator is really not on the radar, its not our place to define what is spam in this context).

Subsequently, I looked at implementing it a few times but tended to back off. If you've read this blog awhile you know that Mailinator and Talkinator at least partially existed as a testbed for implementing server ideas (some earlier articles: The Architecture of Mailinator and Benchmarking Talkinator).

And while implementing a delete function might sound simple - it had some interesting complexities in the architecture. In any case I'm happy to say - its finally here.

And here's the best news. To thwart all those rascally script-kiddies (who probably have seen the rather hidden but sometimes funny Mailinator Abuse Page) we're proud to announce the "Revolutionary Fuzzy-Logical Super-Duper Mailinator Captcha System(tm)" !!!!!

Thats right. The great service and ironclad spam (fighting/loving/tolerating, your call) abilities of Mailinator are now in a REVOLUTIONARY captcha system! We could have used a pre-written captcha system but that would have been sadly inferior and very non-mailinatory!

Just look at it and you'll know that this is going to take some major AI, image processing and statistical analysis to crack past this sucker.

Oh. And one more thing.... (got that from Steve Jobs)

We at Mailinator are happy to announce that this Captcha system is just TOO GOOD not to share with the world. So, you guessed it, we're releasing it as a web service !

You can now include The Revolutionary Fuzzy-Logical Super-Duper Mailinator Captcha System(tm) in your websites too !!!

Here's the highly-technical, low-level URL:

(edit: url momentarily removed due to immense user respo.. ok.. just a bug... be bak soon)

(where yourDestination.html is where you want the captcha to go after very securely and precisely verifying the humanness (and also non-computerness) of your user).

Put this in your web pages and sleep well!

(Disclaimer: This captcha system, although highly-advanced and chock-full of the latest advances in modern artificial intelligence does a better-than-expected job of verifying humans are humans. However we've noticed an eensy bug that seems to prevent it from sometimes (or "usually" really (actually its probably more like "mostly" (sometimes its pretty "always" tho))) figuring out that computers aren't humans. So consider this and "alpha" release.. or maybe "pre-alpha" or something like that. A "prototype", yeah, its a "prototype").

PS: Have your own idea for a captcha? Make the image 80x24 pixels and send it to support@manybrain.com !

PPS: The delete function is in beta. Please let us know of any bugs.

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