Category: New Features

Usenet service ended

Usenet access was one of the very first things that Sonoma Interconnect (SONIC) provided when Scott and I launched the service in 1994. Back then, “Sonic.net” provided dialup Linux shell access, with access to email, FTP, telnet, Gopher, and Usenet discussion groups. The Usenet feed was delivered to a single dedicated Linux server via a satellite downlink at 19.2kbps, and the content was stored on a RAID array of a couple full-height 5.25″ hard disk drives. We were able to retain text content for months, and binary content for a few weeks.

Today a Usenet full feed is over 24TB (terabytes) of content per day, requiring a significant amount of equipment, bandwidth, power and staff to manage a complete Usenet service. Sonic’s current platform simply cannot keep up, and has a significant cost to maintain as older hardware fails. And today, only about 300 Sonic members use Usenet, so it is not viable to make a significant investment in a new Usenet platform, when far better commercial Usenet services are available elsewhere. (Put another way: it is better to put our limited financial and staff resources into building more last-mile fiber infrastructure, rather than replicating a free or commercial Usenet service which can be found elsewhere online. Binary access can be purchased from a variety of online Usenet service providers.)

Sonic members can find free text-only Usenet access at:
http://groups.google.com/
http://www.eternal-september.org/

(Never heard of Usenet? You’re not alone! Most Internet users see “the Internet” as simply websites, email, and apps. To learn about the Usenet, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usenet)

-Dane

Coming soon: New Fusion equipment!

I’m very excited to announce that on July 1st, we will be launching a new equipment program for our residential Fusion Broadband+Phone service. The new equipment is a super-fast ASDL2+ modem/router with four Fast Ethernet ports, high-powered WiFi “N” and an easy-to-use web interface. Built-in Firewall protection for your home network is also included.

Our new Fusion equipment will also streamline our support systems, and allow us to upgrade firmware, manage configuration and roll out new features. For example, in future this capability will be used to offer IPv6 to customers.

The new equipment will be owned by Sonic.net and rented to customers as part of the Fusion home service, for $6.50 per month. This assures you’ll always have working equipment – we can remotely troubleshoot it, and replace it for you at no charge if the equipment fails.

Existing customers are of course welcome to continue to use the equipment that they already own, or you will be able to upgrade (starting next week) to new rental equipment if you find the features compelling.

Modem support and assistance

In the near future we will be integrating customer premise modems into a centralized configuration platform, or ACS, using TR-069. This will allow support staff to view and update some modem settings, to view connection statistics, and for some equipment, to push firmware updates.

If you have ZTE, Motorola or Pace/2Wire equipment on your Sonic.net connection, it may be included in our remote configuration and assistance platform.

To learn more about the TR-069 standard, see Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TR-069

forums.sonic.net launched!

Over the years, our local sonic.* Usenet newsgroups supported a vibrant community of customers and staff.  Unfortunately, participation has dwindled and hence, their value as a resource for our customers.  Despite our nostalgia for the local groups and Usenet as a whole, we know that we need to provide a place for a new community to grow that will be easier for all of our customers to access and a better resource moving forward.

We hope you’ll join us at http://forums.sonic.net/

With the cooperation of customers from all different backgrounds and our employees, we’re sure the forums will become an excellent resource.  Also, those participating in the forums will be the first to learn about and influence new Labs features and services.

Domain email tool upgrade

We have cleaned up and improved the functionality of our domain email tool.

New features:

  • Have email sent to your domain be delivered to multiple addresses.

In order to use this feature simply specify your destination emails separated by a comma. ex. foo@sonic.net, foo1@sonic.net

  • Alias your domain email to another domain.

In order to use this feature enter * for your alias and set your destination to be %1@yourotherdomain.com
This will setup a catchall for your domain and deliver everything to yourotherdomain.com.  If the email address doesn’t exists at yourotherdomain.com the mail will bounce.  This is useful if you have several domains and you want to setup the same emails at all of them instead of manually updating each one.

-William and the SOC

Python upgraded on web cluster

Python has been upgraded to version 2.6 on our webcluster and shell server.
Access the new version by calling python2.6 instead of python.
MySQLdb has also been installed along with this upgrade.

-William

Updates to password changing tool

In the interest of customer security we have updated our password changing tool to email main account holders when either the main account, or any mailbox under that account has the password changed. The email also will go to any “invoice to email” addresses you have on the account. We hope that this is useful in notifying customers immediately if their account or mailboxes have been compromised.

Sonic’s New Member Tools are now Member Tools!

Today we finished the process of switching our Member Tools system from its old home on http://sonic.sonic.net to https://members.sonic.net/. A few tools still remain on the old server but https://members.sonic.net/ is now the URL from which you will access all tools.

Moving to our new server will allow us to add new tools more easily and scale out our systems as needed. We’ve also tried to make our tools more reliable and easier-to-use as part of the move.

If you’ve never tried our tools before, please do check out https://members.sonic.net/. You may be surprised to find how easily they enable you to customize your account to your specific needs.

–Dianne

New features added to our DNS Editor tool.

We have added the ability for our customers to edit their Reverse DNS in our DNS Editor Member Tool:

https://members.sonic.net/websites/nameservers/host_records

This tool works for anyone with IP Address services with us; be it Colocation, Leased Server, DSL, or anything else with an IP address tied to it; you can now use this tool to assign the corresponding DNS records to those addresses.

This feature is most useful to those running their own mail servers and can also be of use to those people who want both the forward and reverse of their domain name to match.

Sonic.net Backup Service

Sonic.net would like to invite you to try out our new online backup service. Our online backup service is available for OS X and Windows 2K or greater. It comes with a 50GB quota to backup all of your important documents and pictures.

For helping us test this new service you will receive in addition to the 90 day trial period an extra 90 days of backup service. If you would like to sign up for this service, please email support@sonic.net so we can sign you up!