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Prey Control Panel updates: A whole new shebang

We’ve been a bit silent lately, and that’s not because we’ve been cruising the Cayman’s or riding with Santa. The truth is we’ve been working like monkeys on Prey, and now the time has come to begin unveiling what’s been done under the hood.

This time it’s the Control Panel’s turn. We’ve heard all of your requests and that’s why we decided to take a while and polish all the rough edges, to add new features and thus make it easier for you to manage Prey and track your computers for when the time comes.

‘Nuff said. Let’s start from, well, from the beginning, shall we?

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Prey finds a new home

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At last!

We’ve finally completed the migration to what will be our home for the next months: our own VPS for the control panel and website. This means we won’t get any more 500 errors because of server overload, and in general the service will work faster, leaner and meaner.

This wouldn’t haveĀ been possible without the contribution of several different people who kindly made a donation to our Paypal account. However our current funds are still very low so if you would like to give us a hand please make a contribution. Any amount will be appreciated.

By the way, our VPS provider (Linode.com) allows for referral codes on account signup. So if you’re in need of a good hosting solution, we recommend you try a Linode VPS, their machines are great and the prices are even better. If you do so please enter this code when signing up: e3a20152e86710707df51cb16484a6ab66a493dc (you can also use this link). We’ll get a $20 discount!

Thanks again everyone who made this possible. Thanks for letting Prey keep growing.

Prey + Control Panel, it does work!

As you may know, a few weeks ago we launched a new way of controlling Prey, by using a web control panel that allows you to activate it remotely with just a few clicks.

Being still in early stages, we had thought that this new service would start off slowly but things have been quite different: we’ve already passed the 1000 user mark! Best of all, it seems to be working really good and it keeps to grow steadily, so we’re very pleased with how things are working out. So big thanks to everyone.

Now, as you may imagine, the control panel does get some load (after all it’s being constantly hit by requests from Prey in devices all over the world), so we decided to take some precautionary measures to reduce the server load, and make sure it keeps up and running as a rock. Most of the stuff you won’t even notice (it’s mainly got to do with caching), but there’s one which you will, and that is that devices will hold a maximum of 10 reports from now on.

Basically nothing happens until you reach your 10-report limit. But if you do, new reports that arrive will “push” the old ones out, deleting the oldest records as well as their associated files.

Being a free service, we simply cannot offer an unlimited amount of record-keeping for devices and certainly not unlimited storage (for your screenshots and webcam snapshots). In fact, with how things are going we’ll probably have to upgrade soon to a bigger server! Anyway, we think that 10 reports is a good number, and probably more than enough to keep track of your computer (heck, probably with just two or three reports you’d be able to catch the guy!).

We’ve also received some requests to raise the maximum number of registered devices on the control panel, but for the same reasons as above we’ll have to say no for the moment. Now, what we are indeed figuring out is whether or not to enable some kind of premium (payed) accounts, that allow registering more devices on the control panel (and perhaps access to more features). We still haven’t made out our minds on this, so we would love to hear your opinions to have a better view of things (through the mailing list please!).

Anyway, you must know that if we do enable premium accounts, we will still (always!) have free accounts for everyone (with a limit, but free as in beer). And of course, needless to say, Prey will be open source software for the rest of eternity. That, you don’t have to worry about.

Yes, we now have a Prey web control panel

One of the biggest requests we had in our suggestion box was to develop a way to toggle the missing state of your laptop in an easier way. Lets face it — maybe you and me know what a URL is, but there’s no way your sister or your mom will.

So basically our idea was to build a one-click way of activating Prey remotely, something simple yet useful, and not only for experienced hackers but to everyone.

So as we say in Chile, “pusimos manos a la obra”, and not only did we accomplish our task but we decided to go a bit further.

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