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Headline: "Elven Warriors From The Moon Gave Me Chicken Pox" Claims Princess Amydala.

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December 9, 2014 - Lost one of the RAID drives, so that had to be replaced and resynced before the system could be brought back up! No data lost though.

August 25, 2011 - Dealing with a hacking attempt from China that may be disrupting the server.

July 7, 2011 - Fixed some preview issues with the heart, flame and netbaby counters. These should now let you change their colors correctly. The heart counter had some colors transposed, so if you made yours in 2008 or later you might want to check your colors! If they're off, you can fix them in the editor.

June 9, 2011 - Added some extra URL filtering logic to the counter system, as a lot of malformed counter urls may have been hosing the system. Hopefully things will be more stable now.

December 7, 2010 - The server experienced some downtime as one of the processes exploded and locked up. Things have been restarted!

May 3, 2010 - Counter service is being impacted by a network routing issue with the server hosting company. IP addresses are going to be shifted around this month, and the old one for the counter server is not routing properly.

February 7, 2010 - The counters were down for about 10 hours when a support process exploded. Not sure what the issue was yet.

December 18, 2009 - The database suffered some corruption this week, and about 424 counter instances were affected, having their values set to the maximum of 2147483647. For those that haven't had any hits in the previous 7 days, there is no way to restore them to an accurate value I'm afraid. I will try to restore those that have log records, but can't promise anything. To avoid generating errors these instances will be reset to 100. Sorry for the inconvenience!

October 14, 2009 - There will be an outage on Sunday, October 18 while the server is moved to a new datacenter. This can last from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on how tricky the migration is. All counter data will be backed up Saturday night as a precaution.

June 8, 2008 - There is a network issue at my host that is effecting the counter service, where connections are not getting through or are being hung. It's being looked into, but may also be from a denial-of-service type attack.

May 14, 2008 - Policy Change: 'sharing' counters out among multiple people, posting your counter code for such and 'rebranding' (creating overlay counters, etc. and then just giving out the code) is cause for account deactivation. These practices are pointless since the 'count' is totalled for all of the different pages hosting it, and is thus meaningless. If people want to offer custom images for Overlay counters, that's fine - just give the URL for the picture and point folks here to get their own account that they have control over.

February 25, 2007 - To get around people simply copying counter URLs and using them on their own pages (effectively 'stealing' your counter) a new feature has been added: URL Keys. Click on the 'Edit URL Key' option for a counter, and you can set a string to 'match' against the incoming URL for the page the counter is being requested from. If the match fails, the counter will not display or record the request. Enter in a domain, directory path or just a unique substring. Examples are given in the account manager.

February 22, 2007 - There was a glitch in the new setup that had random display options showing up for some counters, including counts from other accounts. This has been fixed, and the counters won't vanish after 10,000 hits per day - but the log files will be restricted to under a megabyte each. So tracking info and other stats won't be recorded beyond a certain point.

February 22, 2007 - As an experiment, I'm limited counters to about 10,000 hits per day to see how this affects overall performance. Only a few users get more than this, and they tend to get a huge amount of traffic. So for the time being, once a counter instance's log file exceeds 800K the counter will simply vanish and be replaced by a blank pixel. I know these counters are popular, but they really aren't meant to be used for sites getting 50,000 hits per day! Hopefully this will make the system more responsive for the majority of users while subtly discouraging high-traffic users (generally a few NeoPets related resource pages).

September 28, 2006 - In an effort to cut down on login issues, the Counter Manager will no longer use cookies to manage sessions. This will hopefully clear up people's login problems.

September 22, 2006 - Service was down for awhile today due to a nameserver switchover. It should clear up soon.

August 28, 2006 - Service broke down last night and this morning due to overloading. To compensate, more database tweaks have been added and the service autotest-and-restart process checking has been reduced from once every five minutes to once every minute. There are still a few users generating over 100,000 hits per day - if stability issues come up again I may have to set a max count-per-day, disallow high traffic pages, or start charging for high counts.
PS: I'm not dead yet - Paul Osze

June 2, 2006 - Due to people being unable to log in (firewalls/blacklists blocking permanent cookie) the session cookie is back to being a temporary cookie - although logout will still clear it for people who allow permanent cookies. This should solve all the login difficulties people have been having.

June 23, 2006 - In an effort to keep things going smoothly, I've implented logfile size limits in the account manager and count program. This means that after a certain size is reached, the counter stops writing to the log file and the account manager stops trying to parse them. This should clear up the locking situation where the account manager was hanging and locking up the database. Anyone getting over 5000 or so hits a day probably doesn't need to see statistics at that point. There are perhaps two or three Neopets users generating 90% of all counter activity right now.

June 14, 2006 - Added 'Logout' option in Counter Manager. The session cookie is no longer a temporary cookie, but it expires in 1 hour. Logout will clear it completely.

June 9, 2006 - All of the log space on the server got used up(!) this afternoon and brought down the counters. This has been fixed for now (by turning off the webserver log). The issue came up since some of the Neopets pages are getting upwards of 60,000 hits per day and thus eating up a lot of space when it comes to the tracking logs. These logs are so huge that the stats pages in the account manager can't even load them up. There isn't much that can be done though, short of creating a separate system on a dedicated server just to handle high-activity counters.

May 24, 2006 - The new server locked up this morning and has been rebooted.

5 August, 2005 - The server was locked up this morning and had to be rebooted.

23 April, 2005 - The server locked up today for about six hours and had to be rebooted.

3 March, 2005 - Flame counter update. By request, I've added the option of choosing the color for this counter.

25 January, 2005 - Connections from the 165.21.154.x network do not appear to be transmitting cookies to the counter server! This may be a side-effect of rerouting done after the loss of a communications satellite, or just due to a router doing heavy filtering on packets. This primarily affects counter owners in that area (Singapore/Southeast Asia) who have 'Ignore My Visits' cookies set but are having their visits counted anyway. I'm still monitoring this to see if other networks are having the same issue, but there really isn't much I can do at this end of things. Repeat visits from cookie-less connections are based on tracking the IP address, so the 'drift' in the counter from people visiting their own pages should be minimal until the network is working properly again. Other cookie-based sites do not seem to be having this problem however, which makes it even more frustrating.

18 May, 2005 - Fixed a glitch in the account manager that wasn't allowing new counter instances to be created (the new server didn't like mixing query strings and path info, for some reason). Still trying to get the email functions to work on some of the stuff though.

12 May, 2004 - It looks like all of the glitches have been worked out and things are running properly on the new server, including email (I probably lost a few weeks worth during the changeover). The drop-dead date for converting your counter URLs from the old IP address is still May 31. I'll try to get an email announcement out this week to the people still using the old server IP.

8 April, 2004 - I've put '' back into the install instructions. This is because I'm planning to upgrade the server in the next few months, and the IP address will probably change as a result. I'll send an email announcement to existing users who are using the IP address before the changeover though.

12 March, 2004 - Counter response should be quicker now during the mid-day traffic crunch. I tracked the slow-down to having 20 count processes trying to handle 140 queued requests. I've upped the process count to 50 now. It still puts a high load on the server, but the response time is faster as there aren't more than 3 requests queued up on average.

11 March, 2004 - Many of you probably noticed the counters acting wonky for the past 24 hours. It was likely due to my trying to lock out a specific user account who was using the same instance on multiple NeoPets shop pages, thus racking up over 10,000 hits a day. I've gone back to the non-blocking version of the counter to fix things, but I'm still trying to figure out what is causing the high database load that is slowing down the counter system.

5 March, 2004 - The IP Locator service changed URLs last week, and a user finally pointed it out to me! I tracked down the new URL though, and now the option to locate visitors is working again.

5 October, 2003 - I've had to patch the counter system to ignore counters placed on Neopets market-listing pages, as they were running up huge but essentially meaningless counts (since 10 shops are listed per page). They will still work on all other Neopets pages however, including the actual shop pages. I had to do this because the database was getting too bogged down and causing lags of up to 30 seconds for the counters to appear!

5 August, 2003 - Well, I just tweaked the database to activate the query cache, which seems to have improved performance a bit! This should better let the system deal with high traffic websites that generate about one unique hit for every 10 or so repeat hits and get thousands of hits per day. The system load on the server itself dropped by half after I activated the cache as well! I'll still be monitoring things to see how overall performance is affected, and whether or not the error count goes down as well.

29 July, 2003 - It looks like the server is getting bogged down with requests again, causing counter-image lags up to several minutes! There are a dozen users who are generating over 2000 hits/day - one close to 20,000! - that are overwhelming the generators. I'm going to try to switch those accounts to use generators on a second server to ease the load a bit.

14 June, 2003 - Yet another fix! I had to implement auto-expiration on the counter processes so that they'd each 'die' after handling 5000 counts - then a fresh process would be spawned to fill in. Apparently letting the same processes run constantly for 5 days caused them to bog down with high CPU loads.

So, last week the problem was that the processes were being killed too fast, and this week the problem was that they weren't getting killed and refreshed at all. How's that for irony?

9 June, 2003 - Okay, I've found what's been killing the counter processes: someone had a counter link to a non-existant account on a high-traffic messageboard page. This was causing the process to segfault. I've added some more checks to prevent crashes from mangled URLs (like not having the instance number, etc.), but haven't been able to recreate the problem with my test processes - so I've created an actual counter to be called by that page for now. That seems to be working!

Note: Someone asked about special counters for sites like LiveJournal that could capture the name of the user reading the page. Since that info isn't stored in the page URL, though, it's not possible to capture. That sort of data is usually stored in a cookie, and the counter can only read cookies that it issues itself.

7 June, 2003 - I still haven't worked out exactly what's been killing the counter service for the past few days, since there doesn't seem to be any unusual traffic or strain on the system. I've recompiled the service to use the latest libraries and am now running it with static binaries in case there was a memory leakage problem.

The account manager is now back to running as regular CGI, since the FastCGI version had strange problems. Hopefully the login issues won't cause problems again though.

4 June, 2003 - The counter database has been overloading, causing the processes to lock up. I've implemented more count processes and upped the check cycle to every minute to make sure enough are running, and I'll be upgrading the database this weekend as well. The account manager has also been acting up a little as well, so I may switch it back to the straight CGI version instead of FastCGI.

Addendum, 9:30pm: MySQL 4.0 is now running. Hopefully it will be able to handle the counters without the problems of the last few days.

22 May, 2003 - Follow up to last entry: it looks like there is one user who is generating about 30,000 hits/day, which may be the cause of the database overload. While the high load does not affect the counters themselves, which have dedicated persistent connections, it does make it harder for new connections to be opened for the Account Manager, which is why so many login attempts are failing.

I've emailed the person with the super-active counter to please remove it from the one page that's generating so many hits, and I'm going to see if I can get the Account Manager to work as FastCGI to allow for persistent database connections.

21 May, 2003 - It looks like the MySQL database is getting overloaded, causing outages in the counter service. I'm looking into possible causes, such as one or more users just racking up huge amounts of traffic, and will also see about getting Oracle to see if it runs any better.

5 May, 2003 - The counter management system has been reworked so that users need to log on initially, but will still be asked for password verification on critical operations, such as deleting counters, changing the password or editing user information.

25 April, 2003 - I rebooted the server today around 2pm Pacific to clear up some memory corruption. The database and server had been running for 109 days since the last reboot and needed to do some housekeeping.

13 April, 2003 - Two new Wolf counter types have been added! A lot of you keep asking about wolf counters, so I finally made some new ones. Check them out on Counter Types page or in 'Add A New Counter' in your Account Manager!

10 February, 2003 - New navigation has been added to the Account Manager, as well as a new stats readout: visitor tracking by day! This will let you see user visits for the last 7 days for all instances, and give you the option to find out where in the world that visitor came from. New donation options added as well!

24 September, 2002 - For whatever reason, the count processes began dying as soon as they were started up today. I've changed the user they run as, though, which seems to be keeping them up.

9 September, 2002 - After a bit of hacking, I've gotten the new server to run the counters off of its 2nd IP address, since I seperate webpages (Apache server) from the webcounters (Xitami server) for maximum speed and reliability. There should no longer be any problems with people behind firewalls not being counted.

In related news, I've gotten some of the image generators for the counters working as FastCGI, which should also minimize overall load. I eventually hope to have all counter-related elements running as persistent processes. While the service is currently only running about 9800 active accounts, I expect these changes to allow it to scale up to 20K-30K accounts before having to move to a multi-server solution. At it's height before the DOS-attacks in 1999, I had about 15,000 users.

21 August, 2002 - DNS is pretty stable now through Verisign, so I sent out 1,787 emails to counter users who were using the IP address for their counters to change to the domain instead, to make things smoother when I eventually move the counters to a new server. Amazingly, only 384 of their email addresses were bad! A mere 21%. Now I just need to search all of their websites to see if they have updated contact info.

22 July, 2002 - DNS went down on Saturday or Friday due to a spam-tracking alert. I've switched nameserver hosts, and hopefully locked down my mailserver so that it can't be used as a relay anymore. Someone decided that would be good to send their spam through. }:P Hopefully this will be resolved within a few days.

3 June, 2002 - I've changed my DNS hosting to the more reliable DynDNS system. This is partly in anticipation of moving the server to a new provider, so in the near future I will be sending out emails to older account users advising them to switch their counter urls from the IP address ( to the domain ( This will make the transition to a new server easier down the road.

10 May, 2002 - The color selection pages on the counter manager were hanging while loading, causing the imagemap for the color-palette to not be loaded! I've rearranged things so that the colormap loads up and works first, even if the rest of the page hangs a bit.

1 May, 2002 - After a lot experimenting, I now have the counters set up to cache IP addresses of visitors to determine whether someone is a unique hit or not in the absence of a cookie. This will take care of the Internet Explorer 6 issue and general cookie related problems with some browsers. The visits 'expire' after 2 hours, after which a visit from the same IP address will be counted as a new visit again.

28 January, 2002 - The default security settings in IE6 do disable session cookies, resulting in the re-counting of returning visitors. Since the same feature also prevents a permanent cookie from being set (except from the counter management page) I'm working on a way to 'cache' that last few visitor IPs to compare against the current visitor. This may cause problems due to the way proxy and firewalls work though, since everyone behind them will appear as the same user.

6 January, 2002 - Happy New Year! If you use Internet Explorer 6 with default Privacy settings, please let me know if you encounter problems with counters incrementing on repeat page views. Reload-blocking is handled via a session cookie, so some privacy settings will disable it.

3 October, 2001 - For an as yet unknown reason, the counter webserver (not the machine itself) died at 5:20 am Eastern this morning. I restarted it at 6:35 pm Eastern, after trying to figure out what stopped it in the first place. It seems to be working fine now, though, but I'll keep on digging to see if anything recorded the process shutting down. While the logs show lots of attempts to access files vulnerable to the recent Sircam virus, the server itself is immune to it (Xitami, not IIS). It may end up that after running for 64 days straight, there was just too much memory garbage. I will be adding a new check process to make sure the server restarts if it goes down again.

6 August, 2001 - I went nearly crazy last night trying to figure out why none of the counters were animating! I checked the server setup, code, logs, everything I could. Then it occurred to me that I hadn't gotten any email complaints about it. I recently purchased AdSubtract to filter out adbanners and pop-ups, since I have a dialup account wanted the speed savings it provided. Sure enough, when I checked the configuration it was set to filter Animations, which is why my counters weren't animating! I switched off that option, and everything worked again.

This isn't really a bug report, I suppose, but thought it would be handy for those out there who might be using ad-filters as well and notice problems with the counters!

22 August, 2001 - Email is working from the counter server again! I'll be running a script to send out the registration notice to everyone again, just to make sure the people that registered during the email 'blackout' get their info.

Addendum, 11pm: Tracked down a glitch in the non-Javascript version of the options editing page that was keeping counters setup with it from displaying properly!

21 August, 2001 - Don't Panic! Some of you probably noticed the PayPal donation button at the bottom of your counter management page. This doesn't mean the service is in any danger of going away, it's just that I'm still unemployed and am looking for anything that helps cover the $295/mo bill for the counter server.

On an unrelated note: I'm not getting domain-lookup error mails when the registration page isn't able to find a user's email domain, but I know that some of those emails aren't getting out! I'll try to track down the DNS glitch again today.

16 August, 2001 - I finally tracked down and fixed a bug that affected caused re-edited counters to lose their color options when no color changes were made in the edit. Yay! Now instance names and other options can be changed safely.

31 July, 2001 - A name-resolution glitch is causing outgoing emails to bounce, so registration emails may not get out today! The problem seems to be in the network, and not in the counter server itself, so should be taken care of quickly. If you register for a counter today and suddenly get an email response, don't be surprised if you get a second response later in the week as I resend registration notices that may not have gotten through the first time!

6 July, 2001 - I've checked the records, and over 300 registration emails to AOL users got bounced because AOL couldn't resolve '' in the From address!! I've switched all the email links in the system over to '' in hopes that this will clear up the problem.

2 July, 2001 - I finally added a way for people to recover lost passwords or resend themselves the email describing how to set up their counters; just click on the "Recover lost password or account information." link above.

6 June, 2001 - The 7-Day Statistics page for your counters now displays both the unique hits (the ones that get counted) and the repeat/return hits (the ones that don't get counted) plus the combined totals. This should help people get a more complete view of their traffic. The hits-by-url section has also been cleaned up a bit.

5 June, 2001 - It's taken me awhile to get the interface working, but the new Overlay counter is now available! This lets you use just about any image as your background, with 3 different font styles to choose from. Vertical or horizontal placement anywhere you want on the image! (Note: Animated gif backgrounds may not animate in all Netscape Browsers. I don't know if other browsers have problems with animated cell backgrounds).

Also fixed a bug in the 'Edit Options' feature.

30 May, 2001 - I've started keeping track of non-unique hits (that is, if a person revisits a page with a counter on it within the same browser session). While they won't be counted, they are now being recorded. This way I can show both unique and non-unique page view statistics. This will be handy for those of us that use the counter on every page of our websites. Expect the 7-Day Statistics page to show the new values near the end of next week, so that there will be 7 days of actual data to work with.

12 May, 2001 - There's a flaky router somewhere that's causing West Coast people to not get through to the counter server in Florida. It's sporadic, but hopefully will be ironed out soon.

1 May, 2001 - The Netbaby counter is back again. Go to the Counter Types page to see it. The next counter I'll be working on will be the Overlay counter.

19 April, 2001 - The Flag counter has been added! Go to the Counter Types page to see it.

23 March, 2001 - Updated the downloadable image generators to accept command-line arguments. This will let them work with many pre-existing counter systems.

16 March, 2001 - Fixed a recent glitch in the Counter Creation script that was causing creation to fail.

6 March, 2001 - Added two new secondary nameservers today, so hopefully by next week people won't be having trouble resolving ''.

Until DNS is working, I've switched things to use the IP address instead, and made sure the cookies will remain compatible.

2 March, 2001 - Fixed some issues with Netscape browsers not recognizing the links for adding new counters, and problems with display settings being unset when editing an existing counter.

7-Day statistics added, showing hits per day for each counter and each recorded URL, as well as averages for hits per hour.

Fixed some form problems with the Flame and Heart counters, and fixed a glitch in the Flame counter that kept appending two extra zeros to the end of the count.

1 March, 2001 - I've seen a few counter entries with the display settings missing and one with the image-generator link missing as well. I thought I'd fixed this in the Javascript versions of the edit forms, but I must still be missing something. If you edit your counter and it suddenly doesn't display, please let me know what you tried to edit. And please, don't mess with the Image Generator URL yet! This is all still Beta, but already I think I'm going to add another column to the counter database.

For those of you that had your display settings erased somehow, I've restored them to defaults so your counters will show up again. You can edit them back to the colors you want in the UI.

28 February, 2001 - Everything seems to be working, so I'm opening up the counters for registration and crossing my fingers!

27 February, 2001 - The counters will be ready for registration by this weekend! Really! I mean it this time! }:)

I've gotten the counter control functions of the user interface done, gotten them to work whether or not a browser supports Javascript, and made sure they work. All that's left is the user information editing pages and the install instructions. Oh, and the email with more instructions you get when you register.

What's not going to be in this first version are the counter statistics. You'll be able to see the current count for all of your counters, but no monthly/weekly/daily/hourly breakdown yet, unless I get really inspired before Saturday. Or, I could work on getting the Flag counter running again.

Other stuff to do, unrelated to letting people get counters: database replication/failover, log management, general backup, and setting up downloadable versions of the image-generators.

13 January, 2001 - I'm still working on the counter management interface, mainly because I've been tied up with research and job related projects. In order to get out something people can use quickly though, I'm going to release it before any of the tracking or statistics are available. This way, people can set up their counters and then get the stats and such later. Instructions will be pretty minimal too, since I don't have time to check out all of the currently-used page editors. There will be a big disclaimer letting folks know that if they haven't added a counter before to their page then this one will require a bit of research on their part.

19 December, 2000 - Previews are ready for Eric Schwartz' Amy the Squirrel, Amy Walking, and Amy Swishing.

16 December, 2000 - A preview of the counter preferences setup is ready, click to see the Dragon or the Unicorn so far! It uses Javascript 1.2, so may not work in all browsers, but if people let me know which ones it fails with, I'll try to put in some work-arounds. This especially applies to older AOL users, WebTV and Amiga browsers, which I don't have access to at the moment for testing.

In answer to J's question in the guestbook, "Yes, the counter only counts you once per session, and it also checks for a permanent version of the cookie so you can have your own counter ignore your own visits to your site." The ability to handle multiple instances in each cookie will be tested soon, when I add a test instance for the Unicorn. I haven't decided yet if it will also record total hits vs unique hits in the logs. The main problem with the counter logging right now is that it isn't resolving IP addresses, which kills the 'top 20 visitor domains' part of the reporting (the older counters had this, and I'm trying to maintain all of the same reporting features).

14 December, 2000 - Things are stable so far. The unique-visitor cookie is working correctly, and the random digit-placement is also holding up, so I'm going to start working on the some of the other counters now (Amy Walking*, Amy Swishing*, Cat, Faery*, Angel*, Flame, and Unicorn*). I don't know when the Overlay will be ready again though, as it has the trickiest setup. I'll see if I can get the color editing page for the dragon working.

* - these counters will have new looks and options.

13 December, 2000 - Progress! There should be a little dragon counter running at the bottom of the page, which is my testing one. I still have to convert over the other counters and set up a management system for them, but so far so good.

In other news, I've been laid off for December, but should be working again in January. My DSL line fell through because I'm too far from the CO }:(

The new dragon counter will have three different options for digit placement: Weightlifting (all the digits bob up and down at once with the snores), Hotfoot (the one below, where they jump up when the fire hits them) and Spinehugger (the digits follow the curve of the dragon's back). I'm working on a 'random' setting as well to switch between them.

20 November, 2000 - The new server is finally online, now I just need to install all of the counter software again (although I'm still rewriting it all). I'll be working on it this week and weekend. In other news, my DSL line will be brought in on December 4, and hopefully be clean enough once hooked up to let me run a backup server on it. Wish me luck }:) The new server is a LOT beefier than the old one, and not dependant on older unsupported versions of Linux.

9 November, 2000 - Slight (hopefully) delay on things: the counter server is dead! If the damaged libraries can't be reinstalled by the technicians, then the system will have to be reinstalled from scratch, wiping out all of the old counters, and setting me back a bit as I try to reinstall all of the new components. There were problems with getting MySQL to install correctly, which probably led to the system failure.

I'll be looking into getting a newer server for the counters at the same time. For now though, the domain is down.

6 November, 2000 - It's getting close }:) I've got the underlying part of the new counter technology mostly working, which involves a fast DB, persistent CGI code and a fast new multi-threaded webserver. I hope to have the basics done by the end of the week. Since I need to keep the existing counters running while the new ones come online though there are still some issues I haven't worked out. Some of the old counters will no longer be available in their current form, as I'm switching most of the 'overlay' ones (fairy, unicorn, etc) back to optimized inline images. I'm also working out features of the new user interface, such as whether to use frames for certain functions to get around JavaScript issues with some browsers - especially Amiga browsers, as my own Amiga is in storage right now so I'm not sure what the latest browsers are like for it. I'll also be trying to make it more friendly to WebTV users.

At launch, the instructions for different publishing systems will be rather sparse, and all problems will have to be reported through a form: I just can't do the same level of email support I had before the DOS attack last year, since I just don't have that much time.

The counters are going to be limited to 2000 hits/day at first, so it really counts as a beta test for how much the system can handle. Later, there will be downloadable local CGI generators that high-traffic users can run on their own webservers. In the past I've found that 1% of the users had been responsible for 70% of the traffic, so this limit shouldn't affect many.

21 March, 2000 - Update, update, where is the update! Okay, sorry to vanish again, but things have been hectic. The synflood attack has finally stopped (coincidentally at the same time Yahoo, CNN, and other big sites started getting attacked. Bet the FBI wishes they'd done more now) so I've taken off the firewall. So far so good, and it saves me $95 a month! Email for is still dead, but I'm hoping to get a new primary server up and running over a DSL connection soon. I haven't had much chance to work on the new counter system due to working full time now, but hopefully I'll be able to start on it again as soon as the new server is ready (the one the counters currently run on doesn't have the features needed for some parts of the counter setups, and isn't easily upgradeable. It was only meant to handle the image generation half of things).

7 December, 1999 - The nightmare is nearly over! The counters will be back online this week, thanks to a rebuilt server and hardware protection against flood attacks.

The FBI may still try investigating, since the attack is still actually going on, but I'm not counting on them at this point.

Sorry about not keeping you all more up to date on things, but since it was likely that the attacker read the update page I couldn't risk tipping him/her/it off to what was being done.

I'm taking this oppourtunity to upgrade the counters again, so even though they'll be back up I won't be accepting any new counter registrations until the new features are in place.

Here's the list of features I'll be adding:

  • Multiple instances with unique settings
    This means that you only need to register once, and you can create new counter instances, change counters, mix cats and dragons and so on, and view or manage them all on one page.
  • Advanced Statistics on Demand
    Advanced tracking can be assigned to any given counter instance, as needed. I will no longer be charging for the advanced tracking features, so long as the server can support them.
  • Problem Report Forms
    This is so I don't have to dig up people's info from their email address, or make guesses about what software they're using.
  • Full and Overlay Options for some counters
    This will let people on eBay, etc, use the faery and angel, etc, again.
  • Simplified installation
    Counter urls can end in '.gif' so publishing programs won't choke on them. I'll also try to embed more information into the headers to prevent publishers from saving snapshots and browsers to stop caching the images.
  • More detailed installation instructions.
    Screen captures of how to add them in various publishing programs.
  • Email Confirmation
    You'll have to enter a real email address now, so that instructions can be emailed to you as well.

For the curious, the flood attack began on August 31, and was directed specifically at the webcounter service as a Denial of Service attack (a felony in the United States, with high fines and mandatory jail time). Along with the counters, it brought down the primary nameserver and webhosting service, costing an estimated $10,000 in lost revenue. The cost of getting a new server and trying to defeat the attack has personally cost me close to $1500.

I still don't know why this person decided to destroy my free counters, but if I hadn't started a new job in June so as to be able to afford to fight back it would have succeeded.

My email is still down for now, and I'll try to get things up and running as soon as possible. Between moving, working full time, and fighting off the flu I haven't been able to devote as much time as I used to to the service.

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