New Features and Changes

Discussion in 'Forum Announcements' started by bios, Sep 15, 2007.

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What do you think of the website's overall performance in terms of speed and connectivity?

Poll closed Nov 7, 2010.
  1. Better and Speedy Indeed.

    85.7%
  2. Worse and Slow!?

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. No Change / Can't Determine.

    14.3%
  1. epk1950

    epk1950 Banned

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    It looks really bad, prior it was livable"it was clearer,cleaner to spot out the wanted support or help" but now it is just ridiculous as in "its hard to spot out the needed cuz its overran with stories", this is windows7forums and not digg or lifehacker.

    Edit
    bulky, less topics show vs the old style "many more showed, not so bulky" in the new posts section.

    ionno w/e..
     
    #181 epk1950, Dec 25, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2009
  2. Trouble

    Trouble Noob Whisperer

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    It seems that you may be forgetting the actual intention of the Water Cooler sub forum. It is plainly stated "Come here to chat about anything off topic."
    I don't know, perhaps you should concentrate on the other more specific sub forums other than "The Water Cooler" or suggest another sub if your issues are not being addressed. The Water Cooler is more or less a catch all type sub for handling anything and everything off topic.
     
  3. whoosh

    whoosh Cooler King
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    Well said and right on the money :)
     
  4. Highwayman

    Highwayman Extraordinary Member

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    One thing that has taken the shine off the new format for me is the fact it scrolls quite sluggishly now (firefox issue?)
     
  5. RAK

    RAK Extraordinary Member

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    Not exactly where this fits in to the comment, or to whom it is addressed. to was referring to "New Posts" Regardless of where one may be "concentrating", the list there, after only a ½ days absence, can be excessively long, and , possibly, not of great interest to members who are looking for Windows 7 information and help.

    Added. Just popped over. New posts today (for me) after 12 hours absence.) 32 concerning Windows 7, the remainder were all Watercooler posts. Today there were no news posts, which would have addd to it of course. I would emphasise this is only a problem for those who prefer to come onto the forum by first viewing new posts. If you care to look at Mike's first post in this thread, he requested lots of feedback. That is what we are providing. Whether or not he chooses to act on that feedback, is at his discretion.
    In defence of the suggestion of "cocentration", I should maybe say that 18 of those 32 posts were concerned with Games and new hardware. As this is directly rated to OS problems, you may notice I (or epk) did not mention this.
     
    #185 RAK, Dec 25, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2009
    epk1950 and (deleted member) like this.
  6. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Re: Concerns

    I know that many of you have been functioning on what you see on the forums, but my priorities right now have been to focus on the under-the-hood stuff that is absolutely needed for the website. This includes javascript enhancements in case someone posts a super large image in a post or blog - it gets resized automatically. Things of this nature, while small, play a large part in making sure the presentation looks good. This thread is turning out to be excellent for a number of reasons. I will be reviewing most of the concerns and definately prioritize them. I would like everyone to understand that the forum code underwent a substantial re-write, and now functions more efficiently on an internal level. However, it is recognized that many people are annoyed with a few things here and there about the style, where it is going, and how it looks.

    One option I am prepared to present to you is the ability to choose from a number of different backgrounds, including a non-gradient, solid-color background, if you feel that the look is too overbearing. This is something that I will attempt to do once I work out the internal ins and outs that make the site functional. Among the changes that have occured over the last several days was the re-institution of the SEO software which allows for canoncial URLs. What this means is that whatever is in the text body gets translated into keywords and meta tags and helps people find stuff on the search engines. It also changes the way the URLs are written on the forums so that search engines can navigate the site without getting lost in oblivion.

    The next step after that was to add lightbox javascript for oversized images. This is something that is absolutely essential to prevent large images from screwing up the page integrity. While it is possible to hard-limit the size of the image, this is not something I want to do. I want people to be able to post large images, but if its too large to be displayed, a thumbnail is given, and a lightbox javascript window opens with the full-size pic. This is best seen in action now on the screenshots thread, but even then there is a bug where the close box doesn't have an image attached to it yet, and you just kinda have to find it on the bottom right hand corner of the box.

    Taking into consideraton all of the requests, I am looking into primarily moving the advertising outside of the posts and placing them once again into a side-bar, so that people who are interested in an ad can still click on it, and the post itself has not been inundated with a crappy and chessy looking commercial. Unfortuntately the site is and always will be supported by advertising, so it is something I am working around. For todays holiday I made the decision to disable all ads on the site as a show of good will towards all and to show appreciation for everyone who comes to the site. As it has always been, around 90% of the people who come to the site lurk around, maybe find the answer they are looking for, and take off, so it makes sense to have advertising for that reason alone (not to mention to pay for the expense of maintaining the site. Many changes that occured this year could never have taken place without the advertising revenue. This includes moving the server to solid state drives, replacing the server entirely and adding more (and faster) RAM with hat spreaders, completely moving the server to a new host with a 100Mbit download, 20Mbit upload, purchasing CPANEL licensing specifically for one website which is unheard of, completely upgrading the forum software to a major revision, removing branding off the SEO software, and a number of other small things to make the site that much better). None of this could have been done without that level of support, and I want to continue to be able to offer you guys the best.

    I mean I could have just left everything alone and let it age and become stale, but this is a lame idea. By the time Windows 8 rolls around, I am confident that a technological solution will exist whereas the domain can be seperated, but we maintain the same internal database. There is early alpha code for this. So anyone who is here on Windows7Forums.com will be able to use Windows8Forums.com, even though it will have the appearance of a completely different site and have its own domain name. The trouble here is that noone knows if it will be called Windows 8, and it probably won't be released until 2012, so there's not much to worry about right now in that regard.

    Some issues like having to push a button twice have been introduced by the release candidate of the search engine optimization code, which makes major changes and is still in a release candidate stage. So we are working with some minor glitches here and there that I hope you wil be willing to accept. There is a content mangement component that can be activated for the site, giving the site a front page, but how to go about it is quite tricky, and chances are I'm not going to put it into action. It would be nice, but it will create alot of confusion for new people and this has and always really wil be a forum site and not so much a site that has static content. I am looking forward to an upgrade that will allow us to bring back "Latest Discussions", etc. which you will remember existed on the forum home in a side-bar format. This was through another 3rd-party prouct which was licensed to the forums and is being re-developed for this version of the forum software.

    So taking into account all of this, I hear the suggestions and am taking them very positively. However, some cosmetic changes will not be available right away. There is an excellerated update schedule for the forum back-end and I am also following that schedule very closely because it will determine when a lot of changes people are requesting can be brought into the loop.



    This is a big bandwidth hog for the forums, but for the sake of people who have just joined the site, I wanted to make it so that 1) they would know immediately when they get a response and (2) it would keep them more likely to participate in the discussions. It can always be changed in the user settings, but I may re-consider changing the frequency if it is a big problem. I never heard someone complain about this, but got big complaints when I sent out mass e-mails in regards to Windows 7 related stuff, oddly enough.

    So I can look into changing this straight away if a demand is there.

    For the member profiles, this is functionality that is scheduled to be restored. It is not on the table yet because the entire templating system has been changed. Therefore, the coders for the forum software have put this on the back-burner to make the forums run better internally and make use of later versions of PHP (although the absolutest latest minor revision of PHP5 doesn't work with this code or even the old code, that will probably be fixed in a future release very soon).

    The problem of things like adding SOLVED or making the whole site look *completely* different straight away is that when I customize a template, and then that template is revised in a software update, I have to extensively go in and re-do those changes over and over again. This is because the template/styling system that controls the entire layout of the site, how it is presented, and how it looks, is being updated with new functionality and/or reliability and security updates by Jelsoft, Inc. I want to make these changes for you, but I need to wait until it looks like the code is stable enough to hold off on updating every time a new release comes out. As soon as the forum software co. releases an update to v4, it is going to be patched straight away onto Windows7Forums.com, so any changes I make will have to be re-applied again and this could take hours.

    I hope that you will understand the situation and that it may take us a few weeks, or even a month or two, to get up to par. Slowly but surely, we will get a lot of things that existed in the previous code back up to speed with this new and refined code. Oddly enough I have not heard a single issue with the fact that Facebook/Google/Yahoo/AOL integration is gone. This was a big plugin and we had at least 300-400 people who had joined and were logging in using Facebook alone. It bothers me that we don't have it online yet, but this new code is more modular and opens up the door for more nifty features that I am hoping the active users will appreciate. This includes, hopefully, bringing back that integration soon.



    It has changed the boot time for the Windows server from a minute or two to several seconds. It is blazing fast internally and gives us greater capacity for more activity. One thing that it is, as a pre-emptive measure, is to prevent any loss of data. Before that we were using two 1.5TB 7200 RPM HD's which could have failed. If one of them had failed it would have been a few hours to restore and an entire days worth of info would have been lost. By going solid state, the chance of a meltdown is that much less likely. Actually much less likely, since these are high profile and extremely reliable SSD's. I have seen too many drive failures and knew that it had to be done as soon as the price was reasonable. Even upon testing on a Core 2 Duo laptop, boot time changed from around 30-60 seconds to around 10 seconds. Benchmarking tests show it is extremely fast. Cannot go wrong in that regard. There is a reason that things are the way they are for this site which has worked quitte well, and I am of the belief that most websites are not done this way. We run Windows Server 2008 as the backbone for a virtualized Linux server which is hardware independent. If the physical server is ever moved, switched out, fails, or what have you, the actual forum server itself is completely hardware independent and can be moved to nearly any computer. It is also easier to maintain and restore backups in a Windows PE environment.
     
  7. stueycaster

    stueycaster Millennium Celebration Award Winner
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    Mike. I think you're doing an awesome job of maintaining this site. I just hope you're not losing sleep over it. It doesn't matter if it takes some time to get things perfected. Oops, did I say perfect? Perfect is nothing but a word. I'm sure you'll have it all working well soon. Good job dude. :)
     
  8. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    StopForumSpam.com

    I have added a new modification that interacts with StopForumSpam.com. Like the other spam service we are using, StopForumSpam.com specifically maintains a list of spammers e-mail and IP addresses. During the initial registration process on the forums, a check is made to their database. We also have an API key to submit spammer information to this DB. Hopefully this should cut down on the illegitimate registrations

    (Last night I deleted over a dozen user accounts from some Forex day trading group)
     
  9. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    This has been fixed.
     
  10. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Today's Posts IS New Posts. It is based on your activity and tracked by the database. If you open up a post it goes away from new posts.
     
  11. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Do we not already have a light blue background, or am I missing something ?!
     
  12. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    You should notice a speed enhancement due to an enhanced compression module now being used on all pages, styles, Javascript, and CSS. This has proportionally reduced the size of the code and therefore should improve the load times on the site.

    Update: X this out -- it is not ready (yet)
     
  13. Tepid

    Tepid New Member

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    It appears whiter than blue, but it is very light blue. Kinda bright though. Maybe go not as dark as the most outer boarder, but closer to it?
     
  14. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    The background is somewhat of a fixed, semi-transparent gradient. I can look into changing it around, but it will take time. There are other features I am trying to restore for the userbase.

    What do you think of the change in advertising placement? Unfortunately, this cuts off a large amount of page real-estate, but if people felt it was interfering with their postings, then perhaps this is necessary.
     
  15. Tepid

    Tepid New Member

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    Yes, it is much better. Thank you.

    The background to me, is not a major issue. And doesn't bother me. Yeah, it maybe could use a bit of a tweak, but there are other things I am sure need attention more.

    I do notice the site is still lower than it used to be. Or not as responsive. It takes a moment to start scrolling, pages scroll slower
    It does seem better than it was at first, but still, not like it used to be. Maybe this has to do with connectivity, the garbage PC I am on now, or soemthing on the forums side. not sure.

    Someone mentioned the Subscribing thing be set default to non-subscribe to threads. Not me,, I vote leave it the way it is, users can change it who don't want it.
     
  16. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    This could be due to the fact that I re-instituted what are called URL re-writes and an SEO product that helps pages hit the search engines. The software is in release candidate stage and could be slowing things down significantly. I also re-booted the server just in case. The web server was also recompiled with additional extensions for something, but that shouldn't slow you down in the slightest. I will keep an eye on it. How slow are we talking about here? It is to an extent that the site is almost unusable or just a minor slowdown?
     
  17. RAK

    RAK Extraordinary Member

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    It is not easy to do comparisons. But, with three instances of IE8 open, on two other similar sites (one is very active), I found in most selections, this site was a mite faster.
     
  18. RAK

    RAK Extraordinary Member

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    I just found something which may need incorporating.I accidentaly came on the site and erased "Newposts". Is there an option anywhere to see todays posts?
     
  19. RAK

    RAK Extraordinary Member

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    Thanks Drew. I found it in the end. I don't normally start browsing on that page.
     
  20. cybercore

    cybercore New Member

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    I would like to thank for the buttons clearly visible and the media embedding fixed. All is working fine now.
     

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