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  1. #1
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    Maintenance and updates

    At some point this month I'll need to take our forum offline for an extended period of time, somewhere on the order of a couple of hours. I don't know when that will be, but it will be late at night during a slow time. I need to do some house cleaning and install a few new things. When I have more information I'll post it here, but I did want to get the word out early.

    We're definitely going to buy a new fancier schmancier photo gallery (fancier schmancier for forums anyway) and maybe get some interest there. And I'd really like to do something to bring more attention and activity to our blogs capability. I'm not sure what that will be. I'm also going to see what it will take to get everything that's done here secured. We don't deal with sensitive material, but being secure appears to be the way to go. Other forums, facebook, twitter, etc. have all gone that route.

    Anyway, keep an eye on this thread for updates.
    Oh Grigor. You silly man.

  2. #2
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    Re: Maintenance and updates

    According to a few articles I've read, setting up the forum to use https, thereby securing the info that goes to and from TAT, should be a fairly easy and inexpensive thing to do. Of course, the "easy" part is usually were problems arise. So time will tell.

    I'm thinking I'll probably do the forum things on the weekend of the 22nd. I expect a lot of our members will be busy with Christmas/Family stuff at that time which will be a good time to shut TAT down for a bit. Pencil in Saturday night (12/22) between 11pm and Midnight (Eastern time) and expect us to be offline for several hours - at least.
    Oh Grigor. You silly man.

  3. #3
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    Re: Maintenance and updates

    Bumpity bump.
    Oh Grigor. You silly man.

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    Re: Maintenance and updates

    It looks like I'm going to move this to the following Saturday night, Dec. 29th. I forgot one of my daughters and granddaughter will be here next week.
    Oh Grigor. You silly man.

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    Re: Maintenance and updates

    It also looks like this is going to be more than a simple bit of maintenance. Without getting too far into the weeds, at the end of the year, the version of a program that runs on our server (that is needed for websites to work) will no longer receive security updates. This means we have to have that program updated to a more recent version.

    It was this same necessity that caused us to lose our old TAT Chat years ago then, more recently, our old Recent Post Bars.

    I haven't done a lot of research yet, but I'm pretty sure what's possibly in danger this time would be our Awards System and Arcade. (With the awards being such an integral part of our community, if necessary, I'll find a comparable replacement. We will not lose contest awards altogether.)

    With the holidays here and family on the way, I won't be able to do this bigger update until after the first of the year. I'll need to copy TAT onto a non-accessible server here at home and do the upgrade to it to see what's going to be broken and what I will need to do to fix it.

    Anyway, I said all that to say what I'm going to do on the 29th will not be as big as I intended as the bigger stuff will have to wait until we get that server program updated. As always, any updates that will take a substantial amount of time will be done later at night so as to be as inconvenient as possible.

    Merry Christmas, btw, to you all!!!

    --Kirk
    Oh Grigor. You silly man.

  6. #6

    Re: Maintenance and updates

    Merry Xmas to you too, K. Hope the season with the family will be super nice.
    About the maintenance: we know you will get it right. No worries there.
    Starry starry night

  7. #7
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    Re: Maintenance and updates

    Here's an update on the maintenance/updates/changes plan.

    I've cleaned up the navigation bar at the top of our pages.
    I removed the Amazon Store link.
    I added the new thread "Tennis Players Random Random" to the Popular Threads drop-down menu.
    I removed the "Happy Birthday" thread from the Popular Threads drop-down menu (the last post was made in 2017).

    We have a new block in the RPBs in the right column... between Recent Contests and Recent Non-Tennis there is now a Recent Blog Entries. This block will show up to 4 blog entries that have been posted within the past 60 days.

    I replaced the icons on the main forum page with the custom ones that I made a long time ago. Apparently they were replaced with the default icons during an update at some time in the past and I just recently realized this. To see them you'll probably need to clear your browser's cache.

    I think our forum software offers a lot of conveniences and kinda cool things that we might not all be aware of. I plan on doing a series of videos demonstrating some of these things. I hope to start rolling those out sometime in the first few months of this coming new year.

    ::

    I'm still working on a better photo gallery and hope to have something in place within the next week or two.

    I'm getting a little squeamish about the secure URL plan (https rather than http). We have more than 14 years of discussions here, almost 23,000 threads and going on 1,000,000 posts. With a database that big I sometimes feel like we're balancing on a razor's edge of stability (knocks on wood) and the idea of implementing something that might screw the whole thing up makes me nervous. We don't deal in personal information so I don't feel like it's a necessity and, to be honest, I'm talking myself out of it. Your thoughts on this would be very much appreciated.

    If we get some action with photos and blogs I may implement the build-in home page system to highlight these things. Currently, going to our base URL (talkabouttennis.com) simply redirects to the forum. If I think it's worth it, the built-in home page system would be displayed when using our base URL. This is just a thought at this point.

    The major update that I spoke of above regarding the the server program is another of those things that makes me squeamish. Unfortunately it has to be done, sooner rather than later, but I still want to test it here at home and I'll put it off as long as I can.
    Oh Grigor. You silly man.

  8. #8

    Re: Maintenance and updates

    I'm so sure that you know more about what you're doing than I do that my comments are not ones that will likely be very helpful, but rather:

    1. Because I'm so technologically inept, I hope you'll keep that in mind when you are making those videos. For an almost embarrassing example, I don't know how to attach a URL of a source onto my posts.....I finally did figure out how to attach photos that are on our computer. So you can't be too basic for me.

    2. Relative to site security...again you will know best. I know I have posted some fairly personal thoughts and personal history onto the threads, but still, I do so while keeping in mind that almost anyone could be reading this. I have personal e-mail addresses for those I want to tell more specific info to, and use that to go further (though I don't really know how secure that may be). So far, I have not used "personal messages" on TAT for stuff I really don't want just anyone to know, but usually more for stuff clearly only of interest to certain people. I should likely do that more. The most frequent way I use that is to post something in Spanish to the South American contingent.

    Thanks as always for all you do!!

    GH

  9. #9
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    Re: Maintenance and updates

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirkus View Post
    I'm getting a little squeamish about the secure URL plan (https rather than http). We have more than 14 years of discussions here, almost 23,000 threads and going on 1,000,000 posts. With a database that big I sometimes feel like we're balancing on a razor's edge of stability (knocks on wood) and the idea of implementing something that might screw the whole thing up makes me nervous. We don't deal in personal information so I don't feel like it's a necessity and, to be honest, I'm talking myself out of it. Your thoughts on this would be very much appreciated.
    Yeah, I sort of agree. What personal information do we have on here that got get stolen? Our email addresses maybe? And I'm sure mine is all over the internet anyways, I use the same for all sites pretty much. Do we need https for anything? Other than "more security"? Behind the scenes, have we been "attacked" or had our info attempted to be compromised at any point? I don't remember myself it happening...
    Thanks for the medal Johanna!

  10. #10

    Re: Maintenance and updates

    I am having trouble getting "Live Scores" to run successfully. Am I the only person, or is this a general problem?
    My Suicide Draw Pool avatar

  11. #11

    Re: Maintenance and updates

    If you erase 23,000 threads, even by mistake, I will scream "LOCK HIM UP, LOCK HIM UP!" again and again!
    Joke. The page looks good this way and I agree with PT and Glenn. Heck, if somebody hacks us, the worst thing that might happen is that they might get educated if they read our posts.
    I would move the RECENT BLOGS under the RECENT NON-TENNIS. It changes less frequently.
    Starry starry night

  12. #12
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    Re: Maintenance and updates

    Quote Originally Posted by dave g View Post
    I am having trouble getting "Live Scores" to run successfully. Am I the only person, or is this a general problem?
    What kind of trouble are you having, Dave?
    Oh Grigor. You silly man.

  13. #13
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    Re: Maintenance and updates

    Quote Originally Posted by ptmcmahon View Post
    Yeah, I sort of agree. What personal information do we have on here that got get stolen? Our email addresses maybe? And I'm sure mine is all over the internet anyways, I use the same for all sites pretty much. Do we need https for anything? Other than "more security"? Behind the scenes, have we been "attacked" or had our info attempted to be compromised at any point? I don't remember myself it happening...
    No. This has never happened to us (knocks on wood again). But I've always been pretty diligent in keeping our server and forum software up to date. That's where the server software update that I mentioned above comes in. That will have to be done for security reasons. The http/https thing is more a protection against someone grabbing information as it's being sent to and from your computer and the forum (in transit, if you will).
    Oh Grigor. You silly man.

  14. #14
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    Re: Maintenance and updates

    Quote Originally Posted by dave g View Post
    I am having trouble getting "Live Scores" to run successfully. Am I the only person, or is this a general problem?
    Works for me...although I bookmarked a direct link to it, so scores would actually show in my time zone

    https://www.scoreboard.com/tennis/
    Thanks for the medal Johanna!

  15. #15

    Re: Maintenance and updates

    More and more websites are using https, which is recommended in any web programming course or discussion. While the issue of personal information being available may not be a big deal, I might be worried about web infrastructure organizations starting to enforce the use of https more rigidly. This is already happening to some degree with browsers. The Chrome I am using labels this site as "Not secure" with a red triangle. Again that is not a big deal, but it could be step 1 in a larger process which makes it harder to get to regular http sites.

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