Dear Members,

All of us at Aluminati and I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and thank you for your continued support throughout 2013. It has been a pretty good year for us all in all with around 10,000 new graduates joining us across our various university services. We have also expanded the scope of these services to include eMentoring and bespoke website design through our new division: Aluminati Creative.

I would like to take this opportunity to update you on a few things which I believe will be of interest to you now and in the near future.

  • Webmail Upgrade – Initial Release Ready for Testers!
  • Service Availability in 2013 Exceeds 99.9%
  • Aluminati Creative Launches Website for Cambridge Comedian
  • Recovering ‘Lost’ Storage

Webmail Upgrade – Initial Release Ready for Testers!

Last Christmas we shared with you a design preview of our new webmail interface project and received a huge amount of support saying that we were very much going in the right direction. We have been working to make this a reality and will shortly be contacting our volunteer testers to give us their initial feedback. We have completed an early stage release that works with your own email account, allowing you to read and reply to messages (though not much more just yet!). Development will continue on Webmail in January taking into all test feedback we receive. Our goal is to have a public Beta ready for everyone to use by April 2014.

Service Availability in 2013 Exceeds 99.9%

Last October we responded to feedback regarding the more frequent outages we were receiving, disclosing our uptime over the previous few years and setting a goal for 2013 of being available to you at least 99.9% of the time.

We implemented some major system changes which allowed us to isolate and respond more quickly to problems and are pleased to say that we have delivered an effective uptime to you of 99.92% throughout 2013.

This isn’t to say our work is done. We still had several incidents in 2013 and would like to deliver an even more reliable service to you in 2014. We are currently investigating a solution that may eliminate around 90% of our outage incidents. Our target in 2014 is to reach 99.95% availability.

Aluminati Creative Launches Website for Cambridge Comedian

Shortly after our announcement of Aluminati Creative, our internal web design agency for alumni, Pierre Novellie, a Cambridge graduate, comedian and finalist in the Chortle Student Comedian of The Year, contacted us stating that he “required a professional and appealing website to assist in forwarding my career”. Taking advantage of our current member discount, he engaged us to design, host and launch http://www.pierrenovellie.com/. If you are interested in having your own website professionally designed and hosted please contact us.

We are offering a 25% Christmas discount off any website project, exclusively to our current members on any inquiries received between the 25th December and the 25th January!

Recovering ‘Lost’ Storage

In 2014 we will be changing slightly how storage quota is calculated and how we deal with your over quota accounts. We have always excluded emails stored in your Trash folder from your storage quota but this has resulted in some accounts having many gigabytes of emails stored in their trash despite having much smaller storage allowances. In 2014 we will be tightening this up and introducing a time limit on how long emails can remain in your trash folder before they are deleted.

We have also been generous with accounts that have downgraded storage. An account that had say 5GB of emails but downgraded to 2GB would now be well over quota. We have refrained from deleting any mail but we now have considerable storage that is being used but not paid for. We will be alerting owners of these mailboxes before removing email (starting from the oldest) until they are again within quota. This is necessary to ensure that our normal paying members are not unnecessarily subsidising costs incurred from those who are abusing their accounts.

Any email removal will be done in an extremely conservative way to ensure that no temporary excess of quota would result in you losing any email.

The Year Ahead

So that is all for this round of announcements. We have an exciting year ahead with the long awaited webmail launch in April along with a few other things up our sleeves. I hope to have a few more regular updates as things progress.

Thank you very much for all the kind words and support, as well as the constructive criticism and suggestions, you have provided us over these last 12 months. It is a genuine pleasure to have such bright and engaged customers.

Wishing you all the best for a happy and fulfilling 2014.

Merry Christmas!

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Daniel Watts