Soft Launch of Dead Man’s Snitch

Update 8/1/2013: Dead Man's Snitch has been sold to Collective Idea. Hurrah!

TL;DR I’m soft-launching a service called Dead Man’s Snitch that will notify you if your periodic tasks (backups, notifications, calculations, etc) don’t check in with the service. You can sign up for free but if you upgrade before the real launch, you’ll save $10/month for life. 

Around a month ago one of my clients had a little scare when one of their db instances (one of many) started acting up. They quickly went to check on the backups and noticed that they had stopped running about a week before. Luckily, we didn’t need to restore from a backup, but it was a little scary. Having to restore from a backup sucks, having to restore from an OLD backup really sucks. 

I decided it was time to fix this problem in the simplest way possible. Today I am soft-launching Dead Man’s Snitch. Using the example above, you just tweak your periodic task a little bit to check in with Dead Man’s Snitchwhenever it finishes running by hitting a special URL we give you. If your process fails to check in during your chosen interval (hour, day, week or month), we’ll send you an email. That’s it. I like to think of it as a way to make your periodic jobs PROVE they are running. 

The design isn’t done and all the features I want it to have aren’t there yet, but I feel like it has 90% of the value it will ever have and is useful as-is. Also, things like this kind of need to simmer for a bit to make sure they behave as expected. I’ve had several people using it for the last month and I have ironed out many of the kinks, but I’m sure there are others. 

You can sign up and use one switch for free. If you want more than one switch you’ll have to upgrade to Pro which gets you unlimited switches. If you upgrade to Pro before the official launch, you’ll lock in a price of $19/month for life. When I relaunch in September with the new design, Pro will go up to $29/month.

So, if you are a web developer or a sysadmin, git it a try? Check out the FAQfor some answers to common questions and follow @DeadMansSnitch for updates.