Site Owner tenjuna Posted May 13, 2016 Site Owner Report Share Posted May 13, 2016 NOTE: I am going to add more to this, regarding the server upgrade project, the PostAbout/c2oc project, my withdrawal from D2 and the site because of health issues, the move back to dTrades, and finally the sale of the site, its death, and today's rebirth. I have a lot of pics to add and I am sure I still have old vent recordings. It's just a matter of finding everything and eventually this post is going to be huge lol. Anyway more to come... Hey everyone, welcome to dTrades! If you are new to the site, I want to take this opportunity to welcome you and to introduce myself, and to tell you about the site. It occurred to me that I never told the whole story about how the site got to this point, and since I am in nostalgia mode here we go... In The Beginning 2004-2006... dTrades started in May of 2004, as an alternative to the relatively draconian forums at Battle.net and D2JSP. At the time, I was helping with the coding and running of d2trading.com with Brooklyn, which was a great site as well. But eventually, I made the choice to accept the offer to join the team here at dTrades in August 2004. World of Warcraft was released that Fall, which saw the entirety of the founding team leave Diablo 2 for that game. This left me in the awkward position of taking over a site I had just joined. I wasn't really sure I wanted to take over the site at the time, as I had 2 small children and a wife to take care of...in the end I decided to push on and see what happened. On November 25th, 2004, the infamous Black Thanksgiving database crash occurred. Those of you who were around back then will remember having to recreate your user accounts and posts. On my end it was a great learning experience, but horrific. I must have had hundreds of people wishing death upon me lol. In short, it was me being dumb is why it occurred. I was attempting to clean the database while prepping for a site upgrade, and instead, I dumped the contents...including the backup. I still shudder at how I felt when I realized what I did. I was able to scrounge some partial backups and we all moved on, but at first, I thought I was going to have to shut down. Fun times... Screenshot of the original dTrades site... (This site's code is old enough that it doesn't work in today's web server environment so a screenshot will have to do) I cannot even begin to express how much fun the first few years were for me. There were so many people involved in the day to day running and flow of the site it will be impossible for me to list them all here. You all know who you are, whether it was the Vent chats, the Diablo runs, the DClone pops, the Friday Night Free For Alls, you all made a really crappy part of my real life so much easier to tolerate. Special shout out to Jeet though, that guy made my life both fun and hellish at the same time lol. I do want to make one specific mention though...it was only with the incredible generosity of a few that this site was able to function as long as it has. I want to thank all of the Gold Members for their generosity over the years. There were times that it was a clutch donation of $100 or $50 or $20 that saved my bacon, and I really very much appreciate it. I especially want to thank Enzo, who donated to the site more than anyone by far. ❤️ I also want to thank the various staff members that have come and gone over the years. Especially the Admins, who took over for things when I got sick, and the subsequent time I was in Nursing School. Without you guys, the site would have been done in 2009. "The 12 Days of D-Mas" that I ran during the Holidays in 2006 ended up being the last very big event that I did for the site, and in fact, I only made it to Day 7 before my personal life became too problematic to continue large scale projects. This would be a trend that would continue for the next few years. Circa Winter 2006: 2007-2008... By 2007 the site had already started to decline, but this is the period of time where video gaming, in general, became a business for me. Eventually, it became a full-time job for me that I ran out of my basement for a couple of years. At one point I had 16 computers running D2, and the Four Horsemen servers running this site. I also was running a CounterStrike server rental site, a World of Warcraft gold farming ring, and trying to branch out into Guild Wars, and a few other games. It was with this in mind that I started the c2oc project, and migrated dTrades over to PostAbout. The intent was to have a central hub for all of your gaming, regardless of platform or game title. This was a very ambitious project, which unfortunately was not managed well by myself due to the sheer amount of work it needed and was problematic almost from the start. In hindsight, more people were needed to code and do the backend stuff on all of the sites I was working on...I was simply spread way too thin. I wish I had spent more time concentrating on dTrades and upgrading hardware, rather than trying to branch out to other games. Here is a screesnhot of what PostAbout looked like... (This site's code is old enough that it doesn't work in today's web server environment so a screenshot will have to do. I couldn't even get the tabs to work for the screenshot /shrug) By the beginning of 2008, the servers we had been running on since Day 1 were starting to die, and you cannot imagine what it took for me to keep those things running. It seemed like I was fixing one thing or another at least once a week. I was able to keep things limping along, until finally in September 2008 I decided to upgrade them. All new servers were put in during October-December 2008, eventually leading to some much-needed horsepower. Unfortunately with all of the large scale outages, database crashes, and general slowness by then the damage had already been done with a lot of people having left for greener pastures. Put this together with the general decline of D2 itself (not to mention the huge problems at home), this led me to decide to quit the game and the site in 2009. ----- 2007-2008, after EnzoD2 got big enough to buy me a house: ----- The Four Horsemen, before/during/after the upgrade project October 2008: Before: During: After: 2009-2011... 2009 through 2011 were among the worst times of my life. I went through a cancer scare, then split with my wife and had a major breakdown. After losing everything, I was pretty much done with this site, and in fact, it wasn't until Summer 2011 that I showed back up and tried to pick up the pieces. By then the site had gone into major decline, and it was only the hardest of the hardcore that was still coming on a (surprisingly) daily basis. As I was going through a bit of a rebirth myself, in September 2011 I decided to migrate the site back to dTrades and re-create the original Mactastica skin, which you are seeing now. I cannot relate to you how much this helped me personally. Though since I had just started Nursing School about the same time, this turned out to be very ill timing. I was not prepared for the sheer amount of time and effort it would take to get through school, and after a few months, I had to put dTrades away (I thought) for good. 2012-2016... I had had several people interested in buying the site over the years, and at the beginning of 2012, I found a buyer that gave favorable terms. By this time Nursing School had consumed my life, and I needed the funds to cover that effort. What was supposed to happen was that the site would be integrated into another site, as some other D2 sites had been before this one. For whatever reason, that never happened...so by May 2012, it became apparent that I had inadvertently killed the site for a few bucks. I cannot even begin to describe how bad I felt about the whole situation, but there was nothing I could do. However, it turns out that the people who bought all of my domains never bothered to renew them, and I had previously (and cleverly I might add) set up the domains to be automatically repurchased if they ever expired. So by 2013, I had reacquired most of the domains. Unfortunately, all of the PostAbout domains were claimed elsewhere. After finding out that the site was never going to be migrated, I did try to grab hold of things again. By this time the server hardware, some of which I had been using since 1997, was almost completely at the end of useful life. Enzo generously offered to host the site at his web host, so I moved everything over, and threw in an IPB upgrade to boot, just to keep things current. Unfortunately that IPB version turned out to have a serious vulnerability and was almost immediately compromised, which led to the site being made completely unusable. I did not have the time or inclination to try and fix it, so the decision was made to shut it down completely. Things were so crazy for me personally that by the time I was able to go in and grab all of the files and databases, the web host had already erased all of the files. That is why we are missing data from May 2012 to February 2013. Since then I have been in Nursing School pretty much non-stop, and have been working as a Nurse since 2014. But, I always had this place in the back of my mind and had the thought that if somehow I could bring it back I would. Today... In May 2016, I was cleaning out my hard drives of the 25+ years worth of files that have collected, and I found an old list of bookmarks from some of my favorite dTrades posts. This led me to some serious nostalgia, which meant I had to fire up the site in order to see anything. Since I had just turned up an awesome server to feed my Plex addiction a few weeks prior, I decided to try to start a LAMP server, which is something I had never tried before and had been suggested to me many times to replace the Windows servers I had always used (and had problems with). Amazingly, it has been everything I have always wanted in a server and then some. Once I was able to find all the files and fix the only version of the database I could find (May 2012), the site is working and here we are. I cannot even begin to tell you how bad the state of the files and database were. I pulled this copy off an old hard drive out of one of The Four Horseman, which promptly died shortly after finishing the copy. I found that a fitting tribute, as even though The Four Horseman truly were workhorses and they lasted far longer than they really had any right to, the hardware sure did die a lot. I only have pictures of them now, I gave away everything I had back in 2014 after getting my Nursing License as a way to start fresh with a new life and a new way of doing things. It was sheer luck and a lot of hours to get things to the state you see now. I was able to find intact versions of the old sites on an old CD backup I found in a box, and from those, I was able to bring back a good portion of data that I had (either accidentally or stupidly) deleted over the years. I was able to get an even newer version of Mactastica done, an upgrade to IPB4 accomplished, and have been slowly adding features to try and get the site back to its 2005 peak. That's really what the point of all of this is...getting the site back to a point where I loved it most, but usable in today's server environment with some cool new features. I have a running worklist that will be posted in Announcements, and once I am totally done with Nursing School I will be able to start playing video games again, and will definitely be focusing more time on this site. Memories, baby! ---- Plexie, the server you are viewing the site from right now...this server is at least 8 times faster than The Four Horsemen put together: Future... Who knows? It's been more than a year since I first posted this and things have progressed rather nicely. D2: Remastered is in the works, and I expect 2018 to be a very interesting year, especially since I will be done with Nursing School (finally, after 7 years). I have every intention of playing D2 again, and I have some thoughts on how to make the site better. Maybe people will come back once Remastered is released, that would be pretty cool. I have decided to keep the site going as long as I am able, which since I am working with current generation brand new hardware should be for a long time. I have no doubt that I will be the only one on it most of the time, but call it a labor of love. ❤️ I would love to see and hear from people...I know a lot of you used this site when you were teenagers, so I am looking forward to talking about your own memories and what you've been up to. Cain Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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