The Obscure Organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that promotes community and creativity through technology. We provide free resources and training to people and organizations hoping to advance their use of technology in non-commercial creative works and community-building efforts.

Recent News

DNS changes

The set of DNS servers for domains hosted on has just been updated to this set of servers:

If you host a domain on, and it is registered with Network Solutions, and Richard Bullington-McGuire is the technical contact, all changes have been made for you. If you use another registrar, please make sure that the set of domain servers assigned for your domain matches the above list exactly.

Many thanks to go Tripp Lilley, who for many years provided a third domain name server for free for domains as a service to the community.

Mail greylisting

Recently we've added the ability to "greylist" mail, that is, delay mail delivery for unknown senders in order to reduce incoming spam volume. It may result in mail delivery being delayed by 15 minutes to an hour for legitimate mail from addresses that don't email Obscure users often.

I've applied this to every Obscure account that has its mail forwarded elsewhere, in order to reduce the amount of spam that we relay. If you are forwarding your mail and would like greylisting disabled for your account, please ask me.

community, provided by Slack.

New Obscure Chat System - Slack

I'm pleased to announce that we have a new chat system for the Obscure community, provided by Slack.

You can sign up for it with your email address at:

This is one of the new breed of persistent, searchable chat systems with support for public and rivate groups, emoji, chat bots, and 3rd party integrations. It's tons of fun and several Obscure users have been kicking the tires for a while—please join us!. If you are part of our community and want an invite but don't have a current working email address, write me or better yet send me a text message at +1 571 236 0938 and I will add you to Slack.

Keep in mind that this system is hosted by a third party (Slack) and is not directly under our administrative control - it doesn't have the same level of privacy that the central Obscure systems offer.

Removal of Old Mail-related DNS Entries

In order to conform to modern best practices with mail systems and SSL/TLS, we are removing the following DNS aliases for Obscure mail servers:


If you have any of these configured in your mail clients, please switch them to, the host name that we have configured for SMTP, IMAP, and POP.

Downtime in the Week of May 31, 2015

We had several extended episodes of downtime this week. The first one (on Sunday all day) was caused by a power outage, I didn't catch it at first because another system was throwing notifications at me at a higher rate.

The second outage happend after I did some maintenance on the hypervisor that hosts The Obscure Organization. The main server,, booted OK and could communicate to computers on its private network, but was not able to talk to the rest of the world. Somehow during the maintenance the secondary network interface got reconfigured to use DHCP, so the default route the computer was using got redirected to the wrong router, which handled the situation safely if ungracefully by dropping the traffic. Ulp!

Lessons learned: always silence the alarms you know you won't fix in less than 4 hours, or fix the systems that are broken ASAP; always check the routing on a host with more than one NIC when you see weird asymmetries in traffic flows.

New Mobile Friendly Design

The Obscure Organization now sports a mobile-friendly responsive design, using the Pure.css toolkit.

Richard Bullington-McGuire
President of The Obscure Organization

For older news, see our News Archive.

About Obscure

We give away free Obscure user accounts to anyone who asks politely. You can use an Obscure user account for email, web hosting, programming, and other non-commercial purposes. People have used their Obscure accounts to host web sites for non-profit organizations, to further their own education, to host their personal web sites, and to collaborate with other Obscure users on projects.

We try to help connect Obscure users with one another. People in the Obscure community often help each other, both by teaching each other effective uses of technology, and by providing constructive feedback on creative projects. This furthers learning both by those seeking help and by the informal mentors who provide help.


A visit to The Obscure Organization may cause you to think. Thinking has been known to cause severe pain in the heads of the close-minded.