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. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Community Outreach / Links Section Information

    Hello everyone,

    We have recently updated our links section, which can be accessed from the Community drop-down menu nearly anywhere on the website. (See below)

    outreach.

    A new feature has been prominently launched to this section which allows you to create your own categories of links. These categories can be set to public or private. Registered members can create and moderate up to six of their own categories. In your user categories, you have full control over this information. Premium Supporters can create and moderate an unlimited number of categories, and can mass-upload links. To prevent spam, registered members will have to wait for their links to be approved by the moderator staff, but Premium Members do not have to wait for this pre-approval.

    The decision to use this new feature is entirely yours. From time to time, we will try to upload new and interesting links we can find on the web. The Community Outreach Program is also a great way to partner with Windows 7 Forums by performing a link exchange.

    But, most of all, the links area is a great way to create a central repository for useful links our members may find useful. Please do not hesitate to create your own categories and upload links to meaningful websites. You can now use this section to store a list of your own bookmarks and favorites, deciding to make them either public or private. Much like the blogs section, the links section allows you to express your own creativity and ideas in an organized way.

    Enjoy!
     
  2. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    End of May Updates

    Today has been a busy morning for important updates for the website. Most of these changes have been under the hood, but many long-time members may find them to be valuable. Among the changes are the following:


    • The link software used for Communtiy Outreach has been updated with fixes.
    • The search engine optimization software has been updated with major fixes.
    • New spam guards have been put in place for members and casual visitors.
    • The live search code was updated with optimized code (faster loading).
    • The awards system was updated with bug fixes.
    • A message appears when blog posting reminding members to post problems in the support forums.
    • Windows 7 Forums Community Toolbar has been updated.
    Many users may not even have found problems with any of these features. The changes made solve obscure problems that only take place in certain scenarios, but overall will effect the loading of the website somewhat significantly.

    Over this month, many changes have been introduced to improve the performance of the site, as well as introduce some new features for our members. One feature, that is still not done yet, however, is the ability to display computer specs on your post.

    This is a feature that was unfortunately lost when we upgraded the forum software to its newest iteration. The feature will let members pull up all of your computer information from a drop down every time you make a post. This requires some extensive recoding, but is still on target as a "new feature", or in this case "feature restore" from some time ago.

    Thanks so much for your support, as we are always looking to improve the functionality of the website. As an admin of the site, this is usually my top priority when not answering questions. Please also remember that the spam guards we have put in place have not been designed to punish new members, but are a necessity due to the roving advertisements and spam that are all around. After a new member makes about 5 posts, full and uninterrupted access to the website is completely granted. There are just some areas where we have to take measures to protect our community, and that is why we have put some restrictions into what types of things you can do when you first start out.

    Overall, we are looking at future opportunities to make the website even better. Any recommendations are most welcome. The latest recommendations have come from Agent Data, who has turned out to be a great contributor. The forum staff is currently voting on whether or not to use a new forum icon that he has designed for site loading. He has also suggested we make the poster of a thread appear in a different color, so that people realize this is the person who made the post. We are looking into these ideas and hope to hear more good ones from you.

    If you have any ideas on how to make the site even better, please consider this now to be the thread to discuss it in.

    Take care,
    Mike
     
    Mitchell_A and (deleted member) like this.
  3. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Award Winners

    Congratulations to several award winners today, including members of our staff, for winning the new Website Helper award, as well as a few new members who have won the Problem Solver award for their contributions to the website.

    Website Helper Award for over 1,000 Posts on the Website:

    Celestra
    cybercore
    davehc
    kemical
    Mitchell_A
    Radenight
    RAK
    reghakr
    Saltgrass
    tblount
    Trouble
    whoosh

    Website Helper Award for fully responding to our recent survey:

    TKR99
    Mitchell_A

    Problem Solver Award for excellent help to our members all around:

    jcgriff2
    fjgold
    Captain Jack

    Watch out for a new User of the Month award winner nomination coming soon!
     
  4. Captain Jack

    Captain Jack Extraordinary Member

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    Congrats Team !! :p
     
  5. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Latest Updates for June 2010

    Everyone loves an update. Here are the latest:

    • Search engine optimization code has been updated. This should not be directly apparent.
    • For fun, daily Horoscopes can now be found from the Community dropdown.
    • New borders on front page encompass the Latest Posts area.
    • Feedback Forum has been opened for members to vent their ideas/concerns/frustrations regarding the website.
    • A map of user activity as it is occurring in real time (the last 10 minutes) is plotted and now appears on a page hosting Google Maps.
    • A moderator meeting is being held on June 20 to discuss the website. Some details of this meeting may be posted.
    • We are looking into a spell check problem that cannot be reproduced.
    • Office 2010 review video may be re-done, as well as a video involving solid state drives which is only available on the YouTube channel. This is due to the low quality of these presentations in comparison to the older ones.
    • You can now use mood-lets to describe how you are feeling.
    • Members will see a dismissible extended description of each forum category at the top of each forum page.
    Many of the latest updates focus on the social usability of the website for members. Mindful of the fact that there are many technical features and search capabilities, a renewed interest in making the site friendlier and easier to use was the goal for the latest round of updates.

    There are still many features in long-term development, both by the forum staff itself, as well as the developers of the software. Some of these changes are modest, but will not be promised, in order not to disappoint members if they do not come into fruition quickly enough.

    Remember that in July, our Millennium Celebration member award nominee will be announced. See: http://windows7forums.com/forum-announcements/38789-windows-7-forums-promotions-giveaways.html

    Thank you for your interest!
     
  6. kemical

    kemical Windows Forum Admin
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    Looking good Mike!
     
  7. kemical

    kemical Windows Forum Admin
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    Big Update for the forum

    Mike today has implimented the latest patch for the forums software which contains over 500 fixes!
    Paradoxically this in itself has created problems due to some of the unique code that the site uses.
    As I'm writing this Mike is going thru each conflict to make sure the site is running 100% sooner rather than later.
    If you do come across a particular problem please make a note of it in this thread and it will be dealt with as soon as possible.

    :)
     
  8. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Re: Big Update for the forum

    No big secret we are using vBulletin here.

    vBulletin v4.0.4 introduces new features, but again, curtails some of our latest efforts to make the site have new features. As some of you long-timers have known, we are constantly trying to stay on the cutting edge for our members. This means always providing the latest forum software. Because there were some major code changes, some add-ons to the site aren't working properly right now. This means they are disabled. What is more important is that you can actually use all of the features of the site, and that your ability to use the site for its primary function (forum, community, and searching) is enhanced.

    Over the next coming days and weeks, I am confident this will change. For more information on what this update has provided, please see here:

    vBulletin 4.0.4 - Now Available - Blogs - vBulletin Community Forum

    I will keep everyone up to date on the extent of the update work. During this time, some features were also deemed to be rather useless to our members, and this included the HelpDesk system, where it became very apparent that members either were not using it at all or do not need it much.

    Updates to the core software are very healthy for the site, but require a substantial amount of work when bringing back addons that are lost. So I am looking to see which ones are still relevant to our members and bringing them back quickly. Most of the sites functionality should be improved.
     
  9. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Explanation of Latest Changes

    Tonight we conducted a meeting with the majority of the forum staff over Skype, for the first time in months. Normally, administrator meetings are held on a regular basis. If time does allow us, we may expand this to podcast in the future, if people are interested, or if the idea catches on

    The events immediately proceeding the admin meeting required attention. The forum software has been upgraded to a new version, which required extensive reworking of our theme system. Because some had complained of a slowness in the previous display and rendering, and because viewership was on a very steep decline, it was decided very quickly to create a new theme that would be instantly accessible. It was also decided to remove any bloat not necessary to the full functioning of the forum.

    This has resulted in several things we use to measure site speed and accessibility.

    A ranking called YSLOW2 used in Firefox found the site with a score of D originally, this has now been upgraded to a B. A page speed test in Firebug found an initial score of 52, then after some refinements 65, and now 72.

    The work that was involved in doing this was tremendous and has sped up resource usage of the site significantly.

    Code:


    • All CSS and Javascript has safely undergone minification and combination.
    • The way the datastore cache handles information has been improved based on recommendations from an article from Digital-Point outlining problems with vB4. This also includes other changes to speed up the rendering of pages.
    • In almost every instance, measurements were systematically taken of nearly every image on the site and width and height tags were attached to them to speed up rendering.
    • The sidebar has been removed, which was actually an enormous content management system adding many queries to the database. This will result in less immediate information, but at the same time, much less lag.
    • Despite financial difficulties, 33% of all advertisements have been removed from the website.
    These changes come with the understanding that Windows7Forums.com was and always will be, primarily, a forum site for information. Information is easily search-able and reachable to the masses. To make that search easier, a focus on simplicity, rather than abundance has been made.

    Already, I have heard cries foul that the site is running slow. This is not possible given the circumstances. This has been completely optimized for speed and ease of use. The only one item which may slow the scroll of the page, is again, the background, which is high resolution.

    This forum relies entirely on structured query language (SQL) database queries. We have reduced these queries from 15-20 to around 5-6 on every page. This frees up the database for heavy traffic.

    Stylization was still a consideration in the latest theme. Studies show many viewers prefer white backgrounds that are easy on the eyes and adjustable to system monitors. The theme is fluid meaning that it will expand or retract based on the screen resolution or the size of the window, supporting down to 10**x800 resolution and up to 1080P HD resolution.

    The latest staff meeting addressed a number of issues concerning where we would like to see the website at the end of the year in 2010. We will be documenting and covering Windows 7 SP1 extensively, and there is a serious consideration of bringing back the Meebo Toolbar (an interactive toolbar at the bottom of the screen which allows for further links, communication, and features without clogging up the site itself).

    What is understood in this latest round of updates is that in order for the website to succeed, some change had to be made to its look and design, and a streamlining of its functionality. The forum must always be a forum, and its features must not slow down the site significantly. That being said, we continue to look into new ways to enhance the site for our viewers. The new forum code has introduced several unique problems that were unanticipated in this round of updates. The code broke our previous themes and has caused some problems with customized code that was added. Therefore, this new theme will provide members and all viewers with the resources and tools they need to find answers to Windows 7 issues and beyond.

    Many software packages which were introduced into the site, including the website helpdesk, which went unused for months, have been removed. A focus will now remain solely on content and interaction with the website.

    A continued request from RAK that we add a "Today's Posts" into the site is completely nonsensical. The What's New feature of the site IS Today's Posts until you mark those posts as read or read them.

    There is an unofficial moratorium on new features until further code releases are made by the vBulletin Development Team which are expected soon. A second meeting of all forum staff is expected August 8, 2010 while admin meetings will likely continue on a weekly basis. I would like to thank all staff members for their continued and unwavering support. The website itself will always be a repository for important information, in no matter what form it takes. It is my goal, as overseer of the website, to continue that mission by ensuring both its financial success and marketability. I continue to work to make the website as user friendly and helpful as possible.

    The changes made in the last 24 hours represent a sharp turnaround from our efforts in the past to add glitz and glamor to a serious technology community filled with passionate individuals. We will use these changes to get people to the information they need as quickly as they can, without links going to obscure areas that no one needs or cares about. We will not hinder access to those people who rightfully want to participate in the site, and I will personally do whatever it takes to make sure that the website runs at 100% efficiency at all times, using all manner of programming tricks, scripts, and other combination code to expose the website to the most people, with the most useful information, in the quickest time possible.

    Simultaneously, even as this is written, our staff of fanatical supporters continue to answer questions to our valued members, solving hundreds of thousands of issues and inquiries. I truly believe this, and not destructive criticism from a small, but vocal minority, is what makes Windows 7 Forums the Internet's #1 Windows 7 Community Resource.

    Expect more soon, as we challenge the possibilities of what a forum can be, and extend the golden age of Windows 7 Forums even further into the future.

    Thank you for your time.
     
  10. Agent Data

    Agent Data Banned

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    Re: Explanation of Latest Changes

    I miss Mike's mood flag while he was writing this (cough) and, btw, thanks for the Award tab explaining a bit to forum visitors.

    Perhaps the forum skin could take a bit more colour as it really looks sick/pale :)
     
  11. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Re: Explanation of Latest Changes

    Trial and error are things that keep us running. The tabs will be re-aligned given good time. I would like to have organized dropdowns for many of the tabs, but its important that we keep it simple. The colors are very placid to appeal to a calm and relaxing look. It won't be long before we have several different takes on this theme, adding more vibrant colors, once we get some of the more serious code issues sorted. Given my experience with this sort of thing, I know how bad this could have turned out, and it didn't. Not a single character of data was lost in this transition. So, once we get more corrections from the next several rounds of software updates, there will be good reason to add a few more appealing themes. I have been working on this for quite some time without much rest, but we will get it back. Your feedback is vital, and time will show which opinions are correct.
     
  12. Mastiff54

    Mastiff54 New Member

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    Re: Big Update for the forum

    This post is a discussion of Windows 7 forums and a comment on the uselessness of the supposedly 'Support' forum.
    This entire forum might just be helpful if someone actually moderated it. I have yet to learn anything usefull after many hours of pounding through these cluttered posts.
    You can keep the windows forums.

    Searching it is ridiculously complicated and sorting through the replies makes it worthless. This is my last resort for help. over 16,000 threads and 50,000 posts, come on now how can that be considered a useful resource? Most threads continue on with the replies saying that the 'fixes' do not work.

    One example if the uselessness of the support section would be; IE8 loses functionality of the back button, favorites and other functions. You have no solution for htis bug. the computer has to be rebooted to fix it.
    This forum is a joke.
     
    #412 Mastiff54, Jun 20, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2010
  13. RAK

    RAK Extraordinary Member

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    Re: Big Update for the forum

    For Mike. Reference the "chat"
    I will reiterate that I have no problem coming to the site., but, fwiw, here is my ping. It is the use of the site which is slow.
    If I address the site with the IP, it takes me to the second picture.

    View attachment 6679

    View attachment 6680
     
  14. kemical

    kemical Windows Forum Admin
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    Re: Big Update for the forum

    It does actually help if you post what your problem is......

    May I suggest you take a slice of humble pie and then go back to the support section to create your own thread.



     
  15. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Re: Big Update for the forum

    Thank you for trolling Windows 7 Forums! Make liberal use of the search function and you will find an answer. IE8 doesn't have a back button? It can be uninstalled and re-installed through Control Panel. Windows 7 can function without IE installed at all. You can also run sfc /scannow to check for system integrity violations. Let me get this one right.... you are complaining there are too many posts answering too many questions, but not all of them have the right answer? Post a link to the thread where it says reboot the computer to fix Internet Explorer missing the "back" button :)
     
  16. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Re: Big Update for the forum

    Code:
    -bash-3.2$ traceroute [privacy]
    traceroute to [privacy] 30 hops max, 40 byte packets
     1  69.20.6.194 (69.20.6.194)  2.152 ms  2.419 ms  2.620 ms
     2  core1-1.iad1.rackspace.com (69.20.2.2)  0.305 ms  0.363 ms  0.423 ms
     3  vlan901.edge2.iad1.rackspace.com (69.20.1.2)  0.345 ms  0.413 ms  0.470 ms
     4  ge-6-2-0.er1.iad10.us.above.net (209.249.11.33)  0.282 ms  0.334 ms  0.316 ms
     5  xe-2-0-0.er1.dca2.us.above.net (64.125.31.205)  30.981 ms  30.976 ms  30.972 ms
     6  xe-1-1-0.cr1.dca2.us.above.net (64.125.26.173)  1.831 ms  1.668 ms  1.647 ms
     7  ge-2-3-0.mpr1.dca2.us.above.net (64.125.29.18)  1.445 ms  1.452 ms  1.445 ms
     8  so-0-1-0.mpr1.lhr2.uk.above.net (64.125.27.58)  73.623 ms  73.625 ms  73.636 ms
     9  so-1-0-0.mpr1.lhr3.uk.above.net (64.125.28.37)  73.631 ms  73.634 ms  73.621 ms
    10  xe-0-1-0.mpr2.lhr3.uk.above.net (64.125.27.154)  73.459 ms  73.469 ms  73.479 ms
    11  ge7-0-0.ldn2nxg2.uk.ip.tdc.net (195.66.226.64)  73.583 ms  73.549 ms  73.561 ms
    12  ge0-2-50-100M.kd4nxx20.ip.tele.dk (83.88.7.82)  116.630 ms  100.715 ms  100.836 ms
    13  *
    
    There is not a major problem getting to you from windows7forums.com. The 100ms is .1 second. After this long, I don't have an answer for you.

    However if you do look at it, you ill see where it jumps from US to UK is about a 73 ms delay and grows larger... so you have a few second or two delay on the connection likely...
     
  17. RAK

    RAK Extraordinary Member

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    Re: Big Update for the forum

    Well. Not too helpful, I access the site, as I say again, quite quickly. But what about the IP address? I have not experienced that phenomena with any other sites?
     
  18. Mitchell_A

    Mitchell_A Excellent Member

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    Re: Big Update for the forum

    Maybe you're right - we should cleanup some threads with useless posts.
    But uhh.. I'll get right on that when I'm done with my daily dose of spam.
     
  19. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Important Information about 4-hour Revert Today

    Please be advised that we have reverted the forum back 4 hours due to an administrative error that was made in one of the forums. This made certain postings made by members partially inaccessible or nearly impossible to find. To mitigate this problem, any activity performed between 6:00 AM Eastern Time (US) and 10:30 AM Eastern Time (US) has been nullified to restore the forums to their prior state.

    The accessibility and preservation of information is one of the primary challenges to our administrative team. This decision was made quickly to avoid further loss of information in restoring that forum.

    We apologize for any inconvenience that this has caused our members, viewers, or those who registered between the times of 6-10 this morning. Steps will be taken to ensure this problem never happens again without good cause.
     
  20. kemical

    kemical Windows Forum Admin
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    Windows 7 forums has a new moderator

    Many of you will have seen TorrentG flying around the forums helping users and this kind of input does not go unoticed for long and so we are very happy to welcome him to the moderating team.
    :)
     
    #420 kemical, Jul 2, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010

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