Flash Policy Server

March 31st, 2011: Filed under  by Alexander Catapang @ 10:12 pm

My latest project has a dedicated Flash policy server. Basically, this speeds up the initial connection to the bingo game servers. The good news is this is also usable on HeyBingo. The changes have been live in half of all the bingo rooms yesterday for initial tests. Today, all the rooms now benefit from it.

For quite some time now, some players are reporting that they are always having issues connecting to the bingo games. Everyday, the games do get interrupted once a day, a scheduled automatic daily maintenance, however this should only take a few seconds. Other than this very brief scheduled down time (and the monthly maintenance which takes a bit longer), the games should be accessible all the time.

There are other potential reasons why some players are always getting errors that the bingo games can’t connect to the servers (e.g. firewall settings). However, most of the reports come from players who are just having a hard time getting through, like it takes a lot of retries before the games connect successfully to the game servers.

Without a policy server, there is really at least a 3-second delay before the bingo games can confirm a successful connection (a Flash security thing). I am guessing that because of this 3-second delay, the connection of some players may be timing out improperly, hence the reported inability to connect to the game servers. I am hoping that the recent changes will minimize, if not completely solve, this particular problem.

Emergency Maintenance

March 28th, 2011: Filed under  by Alexander Catapang @ 3:59 pm

One of the servers became unresponsive yesterday. Since that is where the entire database was located, the site and all the games have been affected. I estimate total downtime to be around 30 minutes or so, before I got things back to normal.

I have been experiencing this issue in the past, however it usually resolves by itself within a minute or two, and it only occurs every couple of weeks. I haven’t been able to figure out the exact cause of the problem, since it occurs very briefly, so I assumed it was just some intermittent network issues with my host.

Yesterday, the server was just being unresponsive on and off, so I had no choice but to just reboot the machine, to see if it will fix things (it did). Fortunately, I was able to catch a glimpse of what’s possibly causing this issue, which looks like database related. I have not really made optimizations since I ordered the new servers last December, so it is likely causing some bottlenecks given the site’s regular traffic.

I have made some optimization changes yesterday and today, so hopefully the problem is fully resolved. As usual, I will be monitoring things just in case the same issue re-appears.

E-Mail Delivery Issues

March 18th, 2011: Filed under  by Alexander Catapang @ 4:19 pm

Recently, I’ve noticed that more players are reporting that they are not receiving their registration codes via e-mail. Upon further investigation, it looks like the problem started last March 3, or 2 weeks ago. Unfortunately, it’s only now that the problem is being resolved.

Microsoft has apparently blocked my server from sending e-mails to any of their e-mail systems, due to suspected spam. E-mails are not just being flagged as potential spam, all e-mails are being rejected outright. I got in touch with them 2 days ago, and they have now corrected the issue, however it might still take 24-48 hours to have the fix propagated across all their systems worldwide.

So to anyone who has a Microsoft hosted email account (Hotmail, MSN, Live), from any country or region, and you are still waiting for your registration code, please request to have your code re-sent again.

I apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused some players, especially to the new ones who thought I have been ignoring their registration code inquiries, when in fact I was unable to send them ANY e-mail at all. Anyway, the bounced e-mails are getting lesser now, so hopefully the problem has been fully resolved.

Please note: this doesn’t guarantee e-mail delivery to your Inbox 100%. I still suggest that you put HeyBingo.com’s support e-mail in your Safe List or Contact List prior to requesting for the code. This way, the e-mail will have better chances of getting delivered to your Inbox, instead of your Spam folder. This tip also applies to non-Microsoft e-mail users.