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What's It Gonna Take?


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What's It Gonna Take?
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Bryson
Rocket Surgeon
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Whitby
 
2019-06-03, 10:39

Jeez, how did I only just notice this thread? (I guess that's the whole point, no?)

I also admin another forum of a similar style and we notice the drop-off too. I think this type of forum is only for the grizzled old guys now. No new blood.

Still, I'm down to participate in ways if you need me. I like this place.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2019-06-03, 10:57

Bryson, perhaps you could share a few thoughts on some topics we could write on? So far we have:

- The Future of Mac Tech
- Sci-Fi Things
- Thoughts On Space
- Girls and Beer

I can write on any of those subjects.

Boise State! … Boise State! … Boise State!
  quote
Dave
Ninja Editor
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Bay Area, CA
 
2019-06-03, 21:01

Quote:
Originally Posted by drewprops View Post
Brad's long term concerns about the forum are still echoing in my head. Like him, my bandwidth is maxed out. Regardless of what happens here, I should probably make a few of you admins of the subreddit.


...
We have a subreddit?
  quote
drewprops
Magnificent Basturd™
sagacious-d
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2019-06-03, 21:04

I started one several years ago. It's like a failsafe place to meet up in case both AppleNova and AppleInsider tank.


...
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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2019-06-03, 21:31

It looks like I may have some free time this Wednesday and/or Thursday evening. I'll get a copy of WordPress installed, update the Nginx configs to route something to it, and get started picking out a decent themable skin then.

The WordPress users are going to be independent of forum users, though. I remember it being a challenge (although I did manage to pull it off) getting Mongo's user model to share auth with vBulletin. WordPress is famously modifiable, but because of the aforementioned security fears I have about vB, I'd rather not even introduce the possibility of cross-talk.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
  quote
Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2019-06-03, 21:34

Also, if it does come to us reconnecting on Reddit some day (probably due to me flubbing a server config here accidentally), I'm /u/infinitewarp. Don't worry; I post even less frequently there than I do here.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
  quote
Dave
Ninja Editor
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Bay Area, CA
 
2019-06-03, 22:31

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
I'm just now catching up on this thread... forgive me while I rehash things for a moment just to throw my belated opinions into the mix.

I'd agree with several sentiments here about the reasons behind "death of the forums". To repeat and maybe add a few more thoughts:
  • Apple in general just isn't exciting any more. The company doesn't innovate or compete like it used to; it's in a safe, stable period instead of one that was more exciting, fluctuating, and growing.
I think this is the single biggest factor. Apple started getting pretty boring in general around the time they dropped the "Computer" part of their name. Most of their innovation lately has been in programming languages and SDKs and such, and while those are tremendously important (IMHO), there just hasn't been a ton for the general user base to be excited about. Pro users have some things to look forward to if they're video/photo editors and they or their companies can afford the, what, $10k(?) that a new Mac Pro & monitor will cost, but that's a pretty small portion of the market.

It seems to me that the computer nerds — the people who get excited about computing "as a concept" — who were on macOS (and to some degree, Windows) have largely moved towards Linux. Apple still sells what I'm assuming are a lot of Macs to developers, but how many of them are only using macOS because their job is in iOS development? Even though I still think macOS is the best overall desktop OS from a UX PoV, it hasn't really advanced much in the past 10 years. Not in user-facing ways, at least (aside from the realization I just had that I can't install the 10.15 beta on my laptop because I still need one 32-bit app for work, and, come to think of it, having to consider app compatibility is more of a step backwards than forwards).

Apple used to be exciting and interesting on the software side because macOS was far & away the best desktop OS, and on the hardware side because PowerPC wasn't x86.

On the software side, as I said above, I still think macOS is the best desktop OS, but it's not by nearly as big of a margin as before. If it weren't for me using iOS and watchOS devices day in & day out, and the integration macOS & iCloud have with iOS, I'm not sure I'd still be on the platform. Windows still sucks, but Linux has been getting better and the supposed Apple tax can feel pretty real*. Also, with Purism gearing up to release their Librem 5 Linux phone, there's a lot of potential for that same kind of tight integration that iOS and macOS enjoy (except for the parts which require a vendor with huge infrastructure, anyway).

On the hardware side, I understand why Apple switched from PPC and I (begrudgingly) agree with that decision, but it doesn't change the fact that it made Macs much more boring for hardware nerds. Apple has started adding their T2 chip to more and more products which is theoretically interesting from a hardware PoV, but they won't release any info on them which limits the amount I can bring myself to really care. It almost seems like the T2 is just a stop-gap on the road to... I don't know, somewhere different... maybe an arch & OS designed & written from the ground up with the assumption of multiple processors? Wherever they're intending to take the Mac hardware-wise with it, though, I wish they'd get on with it. Or at least talk about it. Maybe we'll see something if/when the rumored transition to ARM happens?

* Yeah, I know "spec for spec macs and PCs are pretty close in price", it's just that specs like "as thin and light as a page from ye olde family bible" and "soldered-on RAM & SSDs" are ones that I'd rather not have.

When I was a kid, people who did wrong were punished, restricted, and forbidden. Now, when someone does wrong, all of the rest of us are punished, restricted, and forbidden... and the one who did the wrong is counselled and "understood" and fed ice cream.
  quote
kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2019-06-03, 23:10

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
It looks like I may have some free time this Wednesday and/or Thursday evening. I'll get a copy of WordPress installed, update the Nginx configs to route something to it, and get started picking out a decent themable skin then.

The WordPress users are going to be independent of forum users, though. I remember it being a challenge (although I did manage to pull it off) getting Mongo's user model to share auth with vBulletin. WordPress is famously modifiable, but because of the aforementioned security fears I have about vB, I'd rather not even introduce the possibility of cross-talk.
Yeah just find something nice-looking with 4 buttons on it. Let's not go too hog wild until we see if A) we can get some of these old-ass yahoos to write more than three complete words in a sort of sentence-like structure, and B) we see if that attracts enough attention to warrant a bunch of gloss. Not that you should draw up a turd, mind you, just don't kill yourself over it.

Once an article is posted, we could stick the comments thread to the top of its relevant forum and link straight to it from the article. Easy-breezy!

Also, for now I would suggest that the domain continue to point directly to the forums. Stuff the new front page into the background somewhere and just post a link to it in here (or perhaps we'll start a brand new thread down in the bowels of the Feedback forum). Create a poll, toss in some article ideas, collect some old people to write 1000 words or so on some [useful] topic, and see if the glue holds.



Also, would it do us any good to purge the membership list? I can think of a couple categories that should go:

- All of the banned users
- Any user with less than X posts who has not posted in the last 5 years.

Looking through the list, that's a lot! Not sure what that costs us in overhead or if it's worth the effort. But, you give me a tool, and I'll drop a nuke in there!

Boise State! … Boise State! … Boise State!

Last edited by kscherer : 2019-06-03 at 23:25.
  quote
709
¡Damned!
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Purgatory
 
2019-06-04, 07:55

I think we can all agree that updating the Minecraft server would be a far better use of resources than fiddling with a 15 year old forum.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2019-06-04, 10:17



Priorities, priorities!
  quote
turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2019-06-04, 10:25

After watching my son play his local world in 1.14 I kinda agree.
  quote
Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2019-06-04, 15:20

Who am I to argue with popular opinion? So be it! WordPress is going to the back burner in favor of some sweet, sweet Minecraft upgrades.
  quote
chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
Send a message via ICQ to chucker Send a message via AIM to chucker Send a message via MSN to chucker Send a message via Yahoo to chucker Send a message via Skype™ to chucker 
2019-06-04, 16:38

Sigh.
  quote
kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2019-06-04, 17:07

LOL

Alright, you clowns.
  quote
Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2019-06-04, 18:23

I just now spent some time spelunking through the server, and I totally forgot that I had a mostly successful import to a super-secret Vanilla Forums installation on the side in, uhhh, I guess 2015?

My memory is pretty hazy, several parts are simply broken, and I've lost the login I had for it, but maybe it's a reminder for me to check out the latest versions of Vanilla...


The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
  quote
Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2019-06-04, 18:47

Also, our version of PHP is so old that the latest WordPress doesn't support it.

So, I'll need to look at some bigger upgrades here...
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PKIDelirium
Nobody bumps my lock
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Xenia, Ohio
 
2019-06-04, 19:10

This version of vB is also rather ancient, although the newer versions are junk. Most of the other vB forums I see have converted over to XenForo which is led by the original developer of vB and is excellent. It's got a price tag, though, same with Invision (which I use).

Invision has its own CMS framework called Pages, which seamlessly integrates into the forums (they use a core framework where the base is "System" and Forums is just one of the apps available), but with the Suite Core, Forums and Pages, it would total $300 for a new license and then $40 every six months for updates and support: https://invisioncommunity.com/buy/self-hosted/

Early '09 Mac mini (El Capitan), iPhone 7 (iOS 12.3), iPad Air 2 (iOS 12.3), Mid '10 MacBook Unibody (High Sierra), Mid '05 14" iBook G4 (Tiger)
Kings Island Site, Horribly Outdated Flickr
  quote
Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2019-06-04, 19:28

Also, some quick live experimentation just proved out another fear of mine: this ancient version of vB is incompatible with modern versions of PHP and crashes hard, showing just a white screen to visitors. Can't even get it to 5.6.

(Sorry if anyone here happened to catch a white screen while I was doing that.)

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
  quote
turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2019-06-04, 20:35

Sounds like you would be better off migrating to a new VPS/VM at this point. Build the new environment and set DNS TTL to 300. Move DNS and sync as needed.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
  quote
PKIDelirium
Nobody bumps my lock
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Xenia, Ohio
 
2019-06-04, 20:45

Oof. What version is this anyway, it doesn't show up in the footer anymore. vB3?

I just checked XenForo's pricing scheme. They don't have an integrated CMS app available, but the license is "only" $160, with built in converters for vB 3.6, 3.7, 3.8 and 4.x, with a $55 annual renewal for updates and support.

So, cheaper than Invision which is minimum (Core and Forums only) $200 upfront, and then $25 every 6 months for updates and support, but still a three-digit price tag.

Early '09 Mac mini (El Capitan), iPhone 7 (iOS 12.3), iPad Air 2 (iOS 12.3), Mid '10 MacBook Unibody (High Sierra), Mid '05 14" iBook G4 (Tiger)
Kings Island Site, Horribly Outdated Flickr
  quote
ThunderPoit
Captain Potatoman
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Saint Paul
 
2019-06-04, 21:09

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
Can't even get it to 5.6.
Dare I ask what version we are running?

edit:
Quote:
X-Powered-By: PHP/5.4.16
sweet baby Jesus!
  quote
turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2019-06-04, 21:10

You could ask, but I would recommend it not be put down in this public forum until after the upgrades happen.
  quote
ThunderPoit
Captain Potatoman
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Saint Paul
 
2019-06-04, 21:19

I mean, its not exactly hidden. Anybody wanting to make mischief could read the response headers like I did.
  quote
Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2019-06-04, 22:43

Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle View Post
Sounds like you would be better off migrating to a new VPS/VM at this point. Build the new environment and set DNS TTL to 300. Move DNS and sync as needed.
I have considered even leaning in the "server-less" direction with container orchestration (which I do a lot of in my day job), but one of the big gotchas is that AppleNova's vB still, for better or worse, needs to be able to send emails for user registration (and things like PM notifications, thread subscriptions) through good old port 25. Unfortunately, the big elastic cloud computing providers like GCP and AWS block that traffic and require you to use a third party service, and that's more money and more integrations to figure out (and maintain). Fortunately (at least for now), running a dedicated VPS through Linode allows AppleNova to keep spamming out emails to its heart's content.

I think this ancient vBulletin version is my biggest anchor right now. If I can ditch it and move to something else, that would open up a lot more options.

At this rate, I can't even upgrade the OS because CentOS/RHEL 8 ships with/packages a version of PHP that is too new for this vB version to run. We're stuck on CentOS/RHEL 7 with old-ass PHP and old-ass everything else until we migrate the forums to something else.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
  quote
Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2019-06-04, 22:49

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderPoit View Post
Dare I ask what version we are running?

edit: sweet baby Jesus!
Yeah.

Earlier this evening I naively tried putting us on PHP 7.3 (current release) before finding packages for PHP 5.6 (unsupported but last 5.x release), and both of them resulted in vBulletin throwing fatal syntax errors. Reverting back to 5.4 I went…

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
  quote
Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2019-06-04, 22:54

Quote:
Originally Posted by PKIDelirium View Post
Oof. What version is this anyway, it doesn't show up in the footer anymore. vB3?
vBulletin 3.6.4.

Yep, many years ago I removed any references to the version from the templates in a probably ill-imagined attempt to side-step any lazy script kiddies who might be looking for specific versions to exploit.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
  quote
PKIDelirium
Nobody bumps my lock
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Xenia, Ohio
 
2019-06-04, 23:40

Well guys, you heard the man. This ancient version of vBulletin needs to die in a fire. Perhaps it's time to do a little crowdfunding among the regulars to buy a license for XenForo or Invision?

Unfortunately I'm not able to assist financially with the endeavor, however having operated an Invision forum since 2003 and knowing every little feature of it, plus some knowledge of XenForo, I could provide advice and answer questions regarding the operation of modern systems.

Early '09 Mac mini (El Capitan), iPhone 7 (iOS 12.3), iPad Air 2 (iOS 12.3), Mid '10 MacBook Unibody (High Sierra), Mid '05 14" iBook G4 (Tiger)
Kings Island Site, Horribly Outdated Flickr
  quote
Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2019-06-05, 07:38

I'd like to give Vanilla another try since they have a free/open-source version and at least on the surface it looks a lot like other modern commercial forums. Dumping and importing our current forum data to that be my next effort.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
  quote
Dr. Bobsky
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: A town that Germany forgot.
 
2019-06-05, 12:49

Does anybody know the cash flow on the affiliate links etc? Is it sufficient to cover the registration fee, let alone upgrades?
  quote
kieran
Tweeting @kierankelly
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: New York City
 
2019-06-05, 13:08

I thought the affiliate program was shut down a few years ago?
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