First of all, a very Merry Happy Ten Juna Day to everyone! Yes, I have a big enough ego that I made myself my very own Holiday, deal with it.
Because it's a special day for me (and the world too duh), I wanted to post a summary of the work to date, and what is going on in the background while I figure out where this beast is headed.
Since this is being linked to a mass PM I am sending out, the fact that the site is even running is going to come as a bit of a surprise to some people, so...SURPRISE! Yes, I am now actively working on the site again, and in fact quite a bit is going on in the background. And for those keeping score, yes I have been "back" before, just to turn around and bail again. Read on, things are different now.
- Wrote a history of the site, pinned in the Announcements forum. I plan on adding more to this as I organize my thoughts and put together a better timeline of events. Your thoughts and revisions are most welcome, especially from staff who probably have a much better memory (and a higher tolerance for alcohol) than I do.
- After finding that the site would come and go intermittently, I spent most of last week tracking down what the problem was. I finally decided to upgrade my router, as I could not find any other reason for the problem. After the router upgrade, found some other problems and finally just decided to rebuild server rather than burn my house down from rage lol. Since the rebuild everything seems to be working rather nicely.
- Decided to put v3 of the site behind me, rather than trying to figure out what I was trying to do 5 years ago when I originally upgraded. There is such a long list of things to fix that upgrading to something new makes a lot more sense. This way I am "enhancing", rather than "fixing". It's all about the small battles people, you gotta make it as easy as you can sometimes.
- I have version 1 and 2 of the site fixed and stable, which can be found at http://www.happyfunbear.com and http://www.sta.kitchen, respectively. That particular chore has been on my personal wish list for years, so I am very happy to have them up and running again.
- Because I have the old sites up and stable again, it occurred to me that I can fix a very major error I made when I did a gross purge of the database back in 2011 while prepping for the v3 upgrade. I almost immediately regretted doing that purge, and because of hardware problems I thought I had lost the chance to fix that error. Until now, that is...I am researching how to perform a UNION of multiple databases to try and recover as much of the old data as possible, including messages, posts, topics, pictures, etc. I have no idea how far I will get with this, but there is the potential of recovering about double what you see on the site now. I think this would be very cool from a nostalgia aspect. I very much wish I could do something about the data loss after the move to cloud hosting in early 2012...there is roughly a year's worth of posts and such that are lost forever. However, thanks to the Wayback Machine, I can at least get the forums restructured to match the efforts of IAmNumbaOne and the rest of the crew who carried the torch during some very rough years.
- And because of all of the database work, I am now working on cleaning up the databases as well. There are certain tables that contain so many columns that the admin program flat out refuses to work with them. Not to mention all of the bloat from 3 major version upgrades, all of the orphaned skin templates, and all of the abandoned projects over the years (lottery, arcade, etc). Version 4 of IPB is much more elegant than what I am used to, and this seems like the perfect time to fix all of the problems that have come up over the last 12 years. It truly amazes me how the site was still able to keep plugging along after the dozens of database corruptions, hardware failures, and really dumb mistakes by yours truly.
- Please keep in mind that I am actively working on the site, and there are going to be unavoidable issues, so the skin might look janky, or something might go down, but these things will be fixed. This is all a bandaid until v4 is up and running anyway, so just bear with me.
- Master work list for v4 upgrade is at: http://www.dtrades.org/index.php/topic/433289-worklist-for-dtrades-40/
So, what will happen after all of the database work is done? Great question, and the answer is, I really am not sure yet. This started out merely as a trip down memory lane, but has very quickly turned into something important for me. I am not sure how long the database work will even take, and it's something I want to get right. Having said that, I have already started the push ahead to v4 of the site, mainly so I can put the last 12 years behind me and start fresh. I am really excited about the possibility of seeing old friends again.
After that, I am not really sure. I still have a Masters degree to work on starting in September, but I don't think it's going to be as all-consuming of my life like Nursing School was. I am also still struggling to really enjoy playing video games again, and trust me it's surprising to be typing those words. I have been involved in software development, map creation, community development, server administration, network engineering, pretty much every aspect of video games that there is in one way or the other for almost 35 years. I am not sure if I am burned out, or if maybe I have simply done it all and I'm bored. In any case, I feel like I WANT to be doing this again, but I am missing the PASSION to do it. *shrug* I don't have an answer for that, other than I really miss doing stuff like this.
My daughter Ariona is now 16 and a huge video game nerd like her Dad, and this all started because of her enthusiasm for the stuff I used to do in the video game world, especially CounterStrike. So I am for sure going to have a CS server running, along with TeamSpeak and Mumble plus some other goodies I am working on. There is a LOT more to come! You can thank her later. Pic of her and I below.
Anyway, this got a bit long-winded, but it was important to me to put all of this down so people can see it later.
I am pushing forward though, we will see what happens. What I CAN say for sure though is the site is going to be up permanently, there is no longer any doubt in my mind about that. Well that and I have brand new hardware and a 300 meg internet connection, which does tend to make things a little easier.
By the way, I want to say for the record that this effort is NOT about competing with JSP or making money, or any of that hater nonsense. In fact, as I have stated multiple times, I don't even really expect this to go anywhere. This is purely something I am doing for me and those that were very loyal to the site over many hard years. This is really more about following through on some really old promises than anything to be honest. One thing I have learned about getting older, you don't always get a second chance to get it right...but when you do, you gotta take it. Even for things that don't mean anything at all to anyone but yourself. And that's what dTrades v4 is to me.
Peace and waffles,
Ariona and Cain