Weekly Update [March 8-14, 2015]

Weekly updates are back, and we are going to stay on top of them. These will be short and to the point blogs, explaining what is going on at Zetamex and its sub-projects.

Discontinued GoDaddy Usage – Zetamex has made the executive decision to move away from shared hosting and start hosting all websites on our own hardware. Sites will continue to be hosted on separate machines from the simulator and grid servers, to maintain the utmost security.

My Zetamex Updates

  • Issue with Grid Database Connections – This was a result of us moving everything behind our own network and off of GoDaddy. Some database servers failed to do a proper Privilege Flush, however we have corrected this issue on all grid servers.
  • Web Interactive Simulator Console – During our move, we have had several complaints about the console not staying updated or working properly. We have since then, found out the issue was people’s connection was timing out, because we had the timeout set to an insanely low count. This has since been changed to a 45 second time out. NOTE: This feature is not turned on for all users, to request this service enabled please send in a ticket.
  • Grid Client’s UserCP – The current back-end for My Zetamex doesn’t allow us to do this securely, we have begun a rewrite of our back-end and are running it on our dev systems. As soon as it is stable enough, we will have people move over to begin testing. ETA: March 20, 2015
  • Secure Re-Write of My Zetamex Has Begun [Completion ETA March 20, 2015] – Upon research, we have found multiple possible improvements to be made in our current system. We have already begun the process of patching some of those in the current My Zetamex. We have started on the new version, which we are building to look the same to the user. The changes will only be on the back-end. However some cosmetic changes are being made, as per customer responses to our survey. These are as follows:
    • Simplified Location Of Services: Users have stated that it is complicated to find the list of their services. We are now bringing this to the Dashboard, meaning the instant you login, all services will be listed on that screen.
    • Tutorials/Video Guides: We will be adding documentation to our Knowledge Base, giving users access to tons of resources.
    • Login Notifications: To become more compliant with security concerns, we will be adding in a notification for whenever a login has occurred. The panel will send an email with the IP address the login came from to the account holders email. This will allow customers to have a better feeling of security, knowing they can track who logs into their services.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to send an email to support[at]zetamex.com to have your questions answered.

Ringing In The New Year

It has been pretty quiet over at Zetamex in terms of getting updates on what we are doing. So we wanted to publish this quick news update about what’s going on, and our release schedule for the stuff coming out of Zetamex in the New Year.

Break Down:

Zetamex Re-Opens Simulator Ordering: Jan 3, 2015
Zetamex Re-Opens Grid Ordering: Jan 5, 2015
ZetaWorlds Hits Release Candidate: Jan 15, 2015
Zetamex Offers True Mini-Grids: Feb 1, 2015
ZetaWorlds Offering Sub-Grids: Feb 1, 2015

ZetaWorlds Open Grid, has a back-end like no other. The grid’s services run entirely out of the cloud, behind a distributed setup. This distributed setup, allows us to provide a more reliable and steadfast grid. There are two sets of robust running, a group of robust services for regions hosted by Zetamex and a group of robust services running for those who connect their own regions. We have designed it this way, so that people connecting and attempting to abuse the grid cannot effect regions customers are paying for or the core working regions of the grid.

On top of this, ZetaWorlds being put into the same technology that all our grids that Zetamex hosts are. Put directly into the cloud, this provides us the ability to have backups that are of the entire machine. ZetaWorld’s core grid services, as well as other grids we host. The entire virtual server is snapshotted every night, allowing if something bad does happen we can spin up another server instantly using the snapshot, and even in a different region if the need arises. This provides us the ability to make sure data integrity remains high.

While assets are of biggest concern, we backup our assets server hourly. While if something does happen to the grid we roll back 1 day at worse case. You would lose up to 24hours of work, but if you had it rezzed on a region it would be safe and with us backing up hourly the asset would still be in the asset server. This allows us to ensure reliably even in the worse cases. The fact that we use SRAS gives us two advantages; the ability to have assets saved as files making hourly backup easy, and having the ability to have a fast and reliable asset server that can take a beating.

ZetaWorlds Sub-Grids, is a service we are working on after seeing so many grids merging into one another because of costs and other various reasons. We want to provide a service to allow grids to merge into a ZetaWorlds, while still keeping track of their residents inside of ZetaWorlds. This means all Sub-Grids of ZetaWorlds will be in ZetaWorld regions and residents. This allows the owners of the Sub-Grids to have their own registration page, starting region, list of their users inside of ZetaWorlds, and residents register in the Sub-Grid will have in their profile “Tims World Resident” or whatever the Sub-Grid’s name is.

These are just some of the things we are working on here at Zetamex, just so you know we are not sitting on our hands we are hard at work developing new and great things for everyone to enjoy. We look forward to the New Year, with us all this coming pubic for everyone to use.

Off To A Rocky Re-Launch

During our re-launch, I Timothy Rogers, made a clerical error in the new DNS configuration for the new site. This resulted in our unfinished site being on the root domain Zetamex.com which did attract some media attention. The countdown timer did expire, and did state a new web design was coming but that had to be delayed as we are trying to not let new orders happen or work on the new site that much until My Zetamex is fully finished. We don’t want another unfinished product to tarnish us, and that is why we brought back our old site, so we can show users we are still here and still strong. Unfortunately because of my mistake, media attention was attracted to our unfinished re-design.

I personally want to address some of the issues with the media attention the new site that is in development brought up. Starting with the title, stating we are taking a step backwards and well a new site looks like we are going backwards let me explain. The new site is a site in development, that has not even passed our Q&A(Quality Assurance) yet meaning it may or may not even become the new look. The new site, was going show the change in who and what we are and give us that fresh new slate.

Addressing the concern that I am lapsing back on my plans of changing everything again. I want to point out that our plans have not changed. Not only that, we are not going to be changing our plans as I am locking in these prices for a minimum of 2 years, and it will most likely stay the same after that. The only change, which we already spoke on before we closed, is the dropping of Region Plans. This was because of shared performance caused a mix of abuse and confusion, the best course of action was discontinuing and going back to focus on quality and performance. I personally take the blame for the failure of the Region Plans, as they caused increase work for us over time, due to the confusion of usage that wasn’t well defined. Going back to selling full simulators, allows us not to worry about one customer’s regions effecting the performance of others.

Remember that we respect and protect your privacy, something that our customers admire most about us. So in regards to us using “cartoon pictures” (words of Maria Korolov) for the people whom provide us with testimonials, we do this to protect our customer’s privacy. While some people may like to show their faces, some do not, which is honestly understandable with how hard it is these days to keep your privacy on the Internet. In fact, most commonly from out analytics and those of some of the grids we host, people normally leave the Real Name fields blank till the last step, and many attempt to submit without filling those fields in. This shows us statistically many people are afraid to put their real name out there. So we respect our customer’s privacy, by not publishing anything they are not comfortable with sharing.

Lastly, we did prematurely launch into My Zetamex (formally ZetaPanel v3) and I will take the blame for this. However, staying true to my statement we are not accepting the new orders until it is fully functioning and operating as intended. As of right now, the only feature still being debugged is the Grid Interface service. Which is already functional, just working out the last few kinks. Once that is complete, the system will be entering a freeze and all new features and services will be ran on our development servers, and introduced into a preview site that users can opt-in to using if they want to test the latest features, or keep using the stable. We will continue to strive and keep the panel’s design the consistent and simple to use.

Thank you, all for your continued service with us. We hope to exceed your expectations into the New Year, moving into reliable services for everyone. 

Grid Management System

Zetamex has been hard at work, making sure before our relaunch that everything we have is ready for rollout and is not half complete. Well we feel it is time to show you whats been taking us the most time, and how far we are from being 100% complete with it.

Dashboard – click picture to enlarge

Meet the new My Zetamex, Grid Management System. With it you can now manage your grids, simulators, and regions all from one single place. Not only that, but it also gets rid of any need for third party systems such as Diva Wifi, and other related technologies. This system is 100% written from scratch using PHP and MySQL. Lets now continue on our tour of the new system.

User List – click picture to enlarge

Here is your Manage Users, interface. This allows you to see all the users registered, pending approval, banned, grid gods, and edit them. This interface is very simplistic and designed to look easy on the eyes, even though there is a lot of information in front of you.

Admin Create User – click picture to enlarge

The ability for the grid administrator from our feedback, is that they have always wanted to be able to register avatars without them physically having to make them on the customer registration screen. So now from here you can register a new account from the back-end clean and simple.

Edit User (customer info blurred) – click picture to enlarge

Now editing users has never been simpler, and resetting their password for them as well. We know how frustrating it can be when users need their password reset we coded it right in for you. Also we understand user levels are confusing, so we included descriptions of what each number is and its a drop down select tool so no need to understand the numbers is needed.

Grid Settings – click picture to enlarge

Now we wanted to build the easiest way for you to manage your grid, so all the settings are right here for you to configure. We also had tons of requests for controlled registrations so you can set that at Registration Type, where its public or controlled. If your registrations are controlled, the users will register, but be set at -2 aka “pending” they can not login till you set them to 0 aka “resident” status. This panel also allows you to change the start region and location settings, and starter avatars as well.

Embed Codes – click picture to enlarge

Now we want to be a true white label hosting company, on top of that we don’t want our customers have to redirect people to a website to register or have it forced upon them to redirect people to diva wifi, so now we are building it to be simple embed codes to look like part of your website, and did I mention these forms are unbranded and HTTPS not HTTP so the information transmitted for your registrations are secure.

The system is already working, we are just finishing a few features up: starter avatars, reset password, and user control panel. Everything else is done and working, for existing customers who want to go ahead and switch to the new interface, just send in a ticket from your My Zetamex account and we will move you over, and you can start making your registrations look like its part of your site today.

The Answer To The Craziness

Whats been going on

First I would like to thank everyone who has been putting up with our problems we have been having these past few weeks. Zetamex has been through more in these past few weeks that it has had issues in all the years combined we been in service. This greatly saddens me to tell you why, we have been under heavy attack.

You may have noticed delays in ticket response times larger than normal, this is due to we are working hard to secure our back-end from all types of attacks to prevent anymore downtime. We feel pretty confident we have finally secured our systems, but we are already working hard on tracking all future threats and have developed new and faster ways to making sure we are prepared on all fronts against both exploits, and blunt attacks against our servers.

Just to give you an example, Zetamex’s main website, which is hosted on its own server away from all simulators and client information, gets about over 300 hacking attempts on a slow day. We of course have implemented tools that just ban ip addresses that attempt to access our secure servers, to prevent any network slowdown. We have rolled this type of technology out too all our servers, and have been performing a large scale security audit of our systems and locking them down as hard as we can.

Upgrades to My Zetamex

In other news, we have made some great strides with My Zetamex and we are happy to say we are getting really close to calling it a Release Candidate. There are only a few more bugs and features we have to put in, but if you haven’t noticed as of late. We have rolled out the ability to download your OAR’s if your a Region customer without requesting, just by clicking a button to get your OAR file. We also several new features people have been asking for, such as the ability to change your password, support tickets being integrated no more separate login. We are still working on the separate login for billing however, this will most likely come at a later date as you don’t need to login to billing to pay invoices.

We are rolling out a new and more secure file management tool for our simulator customers. We have shutdown the standard FTP because of vulnerabilities we found in it. We will be turning on the new file management within the next two days. After which, we plan on starting the roll out documentation on how to use My Zetamex and all its new features. We are also always wanting to hear your feedback, so please remember you can always send feedback through our ticketing system.

Changes you should know about

In recent news, we have been having issues with customers having problems in various grids we offer region hosting in. We have decided to roll out our own custom version of OpenSimulator on these regions. These custom releases are close to stock code, but with minor edits we have made for better uptime and reliability. For example, if you are in Metropolis and you teleport to one of your regions hosted with us there, you will see “ZetaMetro Release” when you land into those regions. We have already started getting new feedback, telling us of the improvements that this has already had for several people. Granted some of the problems are not on our end, and we are still giving our ten percent to help out Metropolis with its growing costs to operate a grid at this large of a capacity.

Also from our research, we regret to inform all Region customers and Region customers only, this does NOT effect Simulator customers. That we are turning off the ability to use NPCs, as they are resource intensive and have been known to cause issues on these shared environments. If you wish to use NPCs, we ask you upgrade to our Simulator plans. We do apologize greatly we have to do this, but it is so we can continue to offer affordable quality services for all our clients. This policy change will go in effect on October 10th, 2014.

Again, I personally thank every single one of you for putting up with all the problems we have been having recently. But we are very happy to say things should start calming down here very shortly, as My Zetamex gets finished up, and now that we have secured our servers.

Happy Halloween Wishes,
Timothy Francis Rogers
Zetamex Acting CEO

From The Desk of the New CEO

Dear Zetamex Customers,

Hello Zetamex community,
My name is Richard Lehman and I will be the one taking over Zetamex as the new CEO. You can also call me Reuskay.

I have had an interest in virtual worlds for many years and have been using them for a long time. I want to make Zetamex flourish and become the best company it can be. I am a very determined individual who can see both the good and the bad of a situation. I can see that Zetamex has much opportunity to become bigger and an even better company at what it does now. What I plan for this company, can put it on the top and be extremely helpful for our users.

What I do have planned for Zetamex is to increase pricing for the user but not by much. Our current customers will be getting honored the Grandfather Service and they will continue being charged the same as what they are now. For any upgrades or new customers they will be paying the new prices. I want our current consumers to remain happy with our efforts to bring them the best. That is what I plan on for everyone we have now and our future customers.

Our current Service promises will stay in affect and not change. We will be adding new ones as we move along with the growing of Zetamex. We will announce any new policies and promises once they are made. I am not going to do anything to cause any of our current customers to want to change their services.

In fact our performance and our service will increase. We will have better customer service and support. With our new prices it also comes along with new tools that everyone will have access to. Our phone service will be active and running every day if anyone needs help with anything. I want Zetamex the flourish and be all that it can be and I know it can be so much more. We are looking into expanding the company to bigger and brighter ideas. We will be looking forward to partnering with other companies and improving our services. We have a couple companies and grids in mind that we want to become part of and help support.

Another Thing we are going to start doing is we are going to give 10% of what we make every month and put them towards the non-profit grids we host regions on. They are Metropolis and OSgrid. We want to support them because they are non-profit and this will be a steady donation they will get every month.

One of the new platforms that is being developed is called WhiteCore. We will follow the WhiteCore development as it has peaked interests in the past, and is on the road to become a mature and stable project. At such point, we feel it is ready we will bring it to our customers; we will look into bringing it at an affordable price like Zetamex does already.

I am looking forward to putting Zetamex back on track and being the best it can and I hope to be the best CEO to the company I can be; and, to bring it to the top. If you would like to write to me or ask me any questions, or say hello you can email me reuskay@zetamex.com.


Richard Lehman
President, Zetamex