My first Seam Application – 10MinuteMail

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My first web application built using Seam is now live. It is called 10MinuteMail and you can see it at www.10MinuteMail.com.

It gives you a temporary e-mail address, and lets you receive and reply to e-mail sent to that address. The e-mail address expires in 10 minutes (or more, you can extend it as you need more time). Basically I created to learn Seam, and to provide an easy way to avoid giving your real e-mail address to websites which require an e-mail from you to sign-up. Think of it as spam avoidance.

By | 2017-05-18T15:19:23+00:00 November 5th, 2006|10MinuteMail, Java, JBoss, Seam|17 Comments

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17 Comments

  1. christian November 6, 2006 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    It’s unfortunate that you don’t have a longer post on this, because I think it’s pretty cool. And actually useful, which is rare.

    I still hate email, because the end result is that you take the bandwidth hit from billions of bouncing emails, but that just further illustrates that it’s a flawed system.

    Unfortunately, like most flawed systems, it’s too ingrained in the way we do things so it will likely not change for a very long time.

    Still, this is a cool site idea that I’ll definitely use from time to time. :)

  2. JohnB November 28, 2006 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    Very nice little app – thanks! The idea is great and the UI is nice and simple.

    However I can’t help noticing that the amount of code for it, short for java apps, is long compared to a Ruby-on-Rails app for the same thing. Have you tried re-implementing in Rails? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  3. Adam November 28, 2006 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    I’m sure, with the slashdotting, you must be overwhelmed, but I just wanted to say this is a great idea, with one tiny flaw in the implementation: I sent myself an email with no subject, and had no way of reading it from your site. Probably a trivial fix, and probably not a situation likely to crop up often, considering the intended use of your application, but I thought I’d point it out.

    Again, this is an excellent idea – thanks.

  4. James November 28, 2006 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    Something about how transient this is appeals to me – is it anonymous as well as being temporary, or do you keep logs? Oh, and btw – the irony of the email address requirement to submit this post was too good to ignore…

  5. Charles November 29, 2006 at 3:51 am - Reply

    Nice idea but I spot a worrying security flaw.

    You sign up for a site that sends you confirmation of your username and password (for example) and a validation key. This site then potentially has access to all your details for that site. Not sure why they would want them, but they could get them.

    They could also get your password at a later date by simply entering your temporary email address (which can still exist at their backend) in the forgotten password box etc.

    Am I missing something?

  6. Todd Swain November 29, 2006 at 9:14 am - Reply

    Devon,
    Kudos on the ‘

    10MinuteMail App

    ‘ I’ve often thought that a solution like this needed to exist and as an alternative I’ve got 20 or so free email accounts spread through-out the world that I use for the very same purpose. However, they are time consuming to setup and still leave a digital footprint of sorts. 10MM is an awesome solution. I will be surprised if Google or one of the other big providers don’t try to buy out your code or just write one of their own. Again, Great idea and well done app. Thank you.

  7. Devon November 29, 2006 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    Lots of comments:) I’l try to respond to them all here:

    John: Thanks. I looked at RoR briefly when it came out, but at least at that point it wasn’t compelling enough to draw me away from Java, or even php (which I use for small apps). It seemed to make doing certain things, VERY easy, but in doing so hid a lot of the details, which at least when I was playing with it, made doing something similar but different, VERY hard. Anyway, I work with massive J2EE systems for my day job, so I’ll always be using Java, but maybe I’ll look at RoR one more time. Does it provide good functionality for non-user interaction based processing? I mean things like a scheduled service, globally processing threads, JMS support, etc…? That’s usually been my deciding factor as to whether I’ll build something in Java or PHP. Where does RoR sit on that fence?

    Adam:Thanks! And excellent catch!!! I hadn’t thought of that! I’ll put a fix out shortly. Thanks!

    James: I can appreciate the irony:) I keep some system logs (things like “creating new session. generating new e-mail address. processing 43 new emails” so if something breaks I can tell what was going on when it did. I process standard web server logs every 10 minutes so I can track hits, referrers, browser types, etc… into an aggregate report, and then the actual log gets deleted. I don’t log e-mails sent or received, and even the web server logs only last 10 minutes (a coincidence of scheduling I assure you:). Basically I believe in more personal freedom than your average internet service provider. It would also be very difficult for me to keep all the records even if I wanted to. I’ve moved many gigs of log data and e-mails in the last week, so storing it would be a waste of my limited drive space.

    Obviously it’s hard for me to prove this to the tin-foil hat crowd, but just trust me, I’m not logging anything personal or private, and even if it was practical or profitable, I wouldn’t, as it’s against my philosophy, and frankly the very nature of this application.

    Charles:Is your basic concern that I might abuse the site and steal people’s e-mails and their contents? If so, it’s a good question, but I’m not sure it qualifies as a “security flaw”, as it’s an impossible question to NOT have. The same question is equally valid posed to ANY e-mail provider (gmail, your ISP, yahoo, etc..) and even if you run your own mail server and control the hardware, you still have to trust all the routers, etc… So yes, in theory, any e-mail provider, could do all the things that you describe. In my above response I point out that I don’t log e-mail contents, or any other personal data. And frankly, hijacking someone’s forum account (which is probably what most people are using this for) isn’t something that would interest me at all.
    If you were trying to bring up another type of security flaw and I missed it, let me know!

    Todd: Thank you very much! I’m very glad that you like the site.

    Regards,

    Devon

  8. Fergus November 30, 2006 at 9:51 am - Reply

    Great app Devon. Thanks for sharing it.

  9. coba December 2, 2006 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    @Charles
    After you register any web base application, to be safe log-in to your new account and change your e-mail address and also your password, but for me still trust the author of this website (Devon, thank you for your nice great job. Cheers.

  10. Richard December 8, 2006 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    I just tried your site. I sent a few emails to the temporary address, with subjects, and nothing appeared on the 10minutemail web page.

  11. Devon December 8, 2006 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    Richard,

    thanks for letting me know! A very messed up e-mail clogged the cogs. It’s fixed now, and shouldn’t happen again. Sorry for the outage. And thanks for pointing it out to me.

    Devon

  12. mail475244 :-) January 7, 2007 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    This is a great service!

    mail47

  13. U January 13, 2007 at 2:07 am - Reply

    how is this used?

  14. Reginald February 1, 2007 at 10:20 am - Reply

    Good service, but I am wondering if this will put a strain on legitimate sites that work hard to capture REAL email addresses.

  15. Devon February 8, 2007 at 8:06 pm - Reply

    Reginald,

    good question. I realize that there are some honest sites out there which want to capture long term viable e-mail addresses for ongoing communication. However, usually if that fails (as e-mail addresses are an ever changing thing for many people) it is the end user who is inconvenienced by it (they can’t get a password reset done, etc..).

    And the big issue right now, is that while some sites are honest, MANY are not. This is proven out by the 30,000+ spam a day that comes in to expired 10minutemail.com addresses. The end user has no way to distinguish an honest site from one which will sell, share, or lose their e-mail list to spammers or marketers.

    Until a more secure, trusted, less-spamable mail system is in place, I feel that services like this one, are the only way to really prevent the average online person’s inbox from being overrun by spam.

    I’m happy to entertain a dialog about the advantages, negative impacts, and alternate solutions.

    Devon

  16. grateful February 15, 2007 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    Great idea! The bottomline for me is that I can choose if I give out my real e-mail address or not. If the target site/service is Ok, then I can register with a “normal” address. If not… well, that’s the use of any temporary thing: to be temporary and disposable. If I cannot tell a spammer form a honest site, at least I can avoid the risk. Many, many thanks.

  17. Graham February 19, 2007 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    Excellent idea, which I have made good use of

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